Open Letter

When we talk about the American Dream we usually think of home ownership. Older folks and those with physical impairment are more likely to perceive the dream as being able to stay in the house they have owned and enjoyed for years.

Case in point: A woman in our midst is nearing retirement age, lives alone and has physical limitations. This woman’s home is modest by community standards. She has made extensive changes to her home with hope of being able to remain independent. She has no garage and for that reason desired to install a carport at her own expense (a few thousand dollars). Our town government stepped in and made it impossible for her to locate the carport where it would meet her needs. When queried why she could not install the carport as she wished, the mayor responded, “because it is the law.”

What law Mr. Mayor? A law which has languished on the books for years, but a law which has not been enforced in the last decade and perhaps never. Would a reasonable person not think this an unusual and questionable action? Certainly. To make matters worse or perhaps to shield themselves from charges of discrimination those in positions of power mandated that existing carports in driveways which were forward of the front line of their house be taken down. Carports – some of which were in place for several years and until now were functioning. The unfortunate citizens who owned the carports became collateral damage in the town’s vindictive and seemingly unjust employment of the law which until now had not been enforced.

Some would say this incredible situation puts up a sign which reads “Irmo is a town without a heart.” To most Americans, Judeo-Christian values of charity and compassion towards the less fortunate are thought of as the fabric of our communities. Leaving this lady to face the unpleasant dilemma of moving out of her home in coming months is anathema to the good people of this community.

In the past two years, this council has left a trail of many and varied situations which can be likened to the carport saga. This council has acted on an agenda-of-their-own which is counter to long-standing American values and has given rise to huge numbers of citizens turning out at council meetings to express outrage and disbelief at what is going on in this community. We have witnessed unprecedented bickering and angst on the dais. Councilman Walker you have stood tall and exhibited strength of character and a stature which brought into focus the smallness of others on council. This town needs your reasoned and heartfelt compassion to give depth to our town’s leadership and to bring about a return to good government.

Patrick Donlon