South Charlotte

Editorial roundup |

The (Rock Hill) Herald on Pickens County proposed English-only ordinance, Aug. 5:

Pickens County officials voted recently to make English the county's official language. We hope this contagion doesn't spread to other counties in the state. One more vote is required before the matter is finalized. If, as expected, the county adopts the provision, all business with the county must be conducted in English except in an emergency. …

Ultimately, the Pickens English-only proclamation is likely to do little harm – and little good.

The English-only law might, however, make it harder for non-English-speakers to pass a driver's test and get a driver's license. The likely effect of that is an increase in the number of unlicensed drivers on the road.

But the real problem with this proposal is that it addresses a nonexistent problem. It is based on the mistaken notion that immigrants – legal or illegal – lack the desire or ability to assimilate.

That is flat wrong. Numerous studies show that nearly all U.S.-born children of immigrants are fluent in English. …

We don't need an official-language law as a stick to force immigrants to assimilate. They already are striving to do that.

(Spartanburg) Herald Journal on deficient bridges, Aug. 5:

An Associated Press analysis of federal and state transportation data shows that South Carolina has one of the worst records in the nation regarding fixing structurally deficient bridges.

The report shows that more than 900,000 cars travel over the state's 20 busiest deficient bridges every day – and that's just the 20 busiest.

State Transportation Secretary Buck Limehouse says these bridges aren't dangerous. They are not about to collapse. But they have been labeled as structurally deficient, which usually indicates some damage or deterioration of the bridge.

And the situation will not be getting better. Those bridges aren't getting fixed. Limehouse says the state needs to do $3 billion in work on more than 1,000 deficient bridges.

But the money to do the work isn't there. …

At some point, the bill will come due. Bridge conditions will deteriorate to the point that they become dangerous. Then lawmakers will raise our taxes to pay for the bridges. They will call it an emergency and a crisis.

They will not acknowledge that this emergency measure is only necessary because they ignored the problem and spent money growing state government and trying to buy votes in their districts.

(Anderson) Independent-Mail on ATV deaths, Aug. 6:

At least 555 people, including 111 children, died riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in 2006, according to The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Injuries related to ATVs for that same year totaled 146,600, up 10,000 from the year prior.

At the very least, there should be limits on the age of an operator. We are saddened and outraged to read stories such as this latest report from the newspaper in Rock Hill:

“A 7-year-old boy has died after the all-terrain vehicle he was driving ran into the path of a tractor trailer at his grandparents' house in York County. The boy was wearing a helmet when he drove the four-wheeler down his grandparents' driveway and into the path of a passing pulpwood truck.”

The child, who would have been a first-grader in a few days, didn't have a chance. But he should have. …

As we said last year, if ATVs are operated properly and with safety precautions, as well as the benefit of a course on safe operation, whoever is willing to plunk down the cash (the “youth” model we mentioned cost around $2,600) is within his or her rights to own one.

But please, don't put a child in the driver's seat. You may live to regret it. We're sure there is a devastated Rock Hill family that does.