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The Problem with Ridiculous Letters to the Editor

Good morning,

The “pro-cruise ship letter of the day” campaign continues in the Post and Courier.

So what did today’s paper give us?

Big ships

Looking at the photograph of the 109,000-ton container ship Bruxelles raises the question:

Is this a more appealing sight than a 70,000-ton cruise ship?

Harriet Little
Joyce Lane
Summerville

Aside from the observation that most of the cruise ship proponent’s letters seem to be coming from everywhere but where the problems are, could this letter be more off point? As we noted two weeks ago, the MSC Bruxelles went, at high tide, under the Ravenel Bridge to the Wando Welch terminal. Cargo ships regularly visit Charleston, and no one on either side of the cruise ship controversy has any issue with cargo or container ships. Yet we still have the SPA and its PR firm ginning up the freight shippers and the ILA with the fiction that opponents of the SPA’s bad plan for a cruise terminal at Union Pier are also somehow opposed to cargo and container ships. Nonsense.

What’s the difference? Well, quite unlike cargo ships, cruise ships like the Carnival Fantasy have 3,000 passengers and crew who are routinely disgorged on the streets of Charleston’s historic peninsula; cruise ships dock at the edge of downtown and spew low-grade diesel fuel over neighborhoods, businesses, and tourists alike as they must maintain full ship operations while in port; cruise ships sound horns, use PA systems, and make other noise in addition to detracting, visually, from the historic skyline and Colonial-era charm of this historic city; cruise ship passengers, embarking and debarking, create vehicular congestion, requiring roads to be closed or blocked, in addition to creating pedestrian congestion especially at intersections; cruise ship passengers put an increased traffic strain on businesses and residences downtown and in the historic district when neither has the facilities or space for unbridled, unregulated tourism.

No, Ms. Little. Opponents only oppose the flawed SPA plan to permanently damage Union Pier from becoming an real asset as a “mixed use” development for the city. Opponents oppose an SPA that is unwilling to even consider alternate sites for a cruise terminal to another location that would not block off and blemish downtown waterfront land with an 1800 foot pier and cruise ships. Opponents oppose an SPA that refuses to put its “voluntary limits” for cruise ships in legally enforceable language in order to preclude the possibility of unbridled tourism overwhelming the city in the future. But, Opponents of the deeply flawed SPA ideas are NOT OPPOSED to cargo ships, container ships or the Yorktown being in the harbor.

What reasonable people in this city want is for the city administration to wake up and demand that the SPA put the same restraint and regulations on cruise ship tourism that is consistent with similar restraints and regulations that exist for all other tourism in this town.

But people who live in Summerville probably couldn’t care less about what goes on in Charleston. One can only wonder, then, if the SPA’s expensive PR firm is writing stuff for them to send in to the paper. When letter writers continuously and falsely asserts that opposition to cruise ships means opposition to all shipping, one has to wonder who or what is behind such a deceptive campaign.

–Jay