Black Democrat Weighs In On Greenville’s “Tent City”

SENATOR WANTS STATE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR UPSTATE’S HOMELESS S.C. Sen. Karl Allen – whose tax problems this website has previously exposed – wants the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to take responsibility for the homeless residents living underneath the Pete Hollis Bridge in Greenville, S.C. According to a letter…


S.C. Sen. Karl Allen – whose tax problems this website has previously exposed – wants the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to take responsibility for the homeless residents living underneath the Pete Hollis Bridge in Greenville, S.C.

According to a letter sent by Allen to the SCDOT, the state is attempting to “neglect its duties” related to the sixty or so residents of “Tent City.”

Specifically Allen blasts S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s new SCDOT director – Janet Oakley – for her “failure to address the homeless population that (her) agency has allowed to reside under the Pete Hollis Bridge.”

“It is my understanding that the SCDOT acknowledges that the agency is aware and has been aware of the homeless population and that you also have knowledge of the immediate unsafe and hazardous conditions existing,” he writes (emphasis original) .

Allen goes on to say this exposes the state to “liability” and that he has “zero tolerance for the alleged neglect of responsibility associated with this group of South Carolinians.”

Allen refers to the residents of “Tent City” at one point as “our homeless brothers and sisters,” but it’s clear his angle is blocking what he refers to as “SCDOT’s alleged attempt to … inartfully pass this obligation to the County of Greenville by lease or sale of State owned property.”

“Tent City” is reportedly on the verge of being shut down as the county seeks to acquire the property from the state.  As many as thirty homeless residents have already left the area in anticipation of this property transfer – aided by a network of non-profit groups.  More than sixty people reportedly remain under the bridge.

Down the road from Greenville, the state’s capital city made national news last year when it approved – and then rescinded – a plan to exile its homeless population from the downtown area to the suburbs.


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James Smith August 29, 2014 at 10:24 pm

So we have 60 homeless people living underneath a bridge in Greenville? Why in the hell aren’t Tom Ervin and Kathryn Williams down there feeding these people everyday and/or putting these people in hotel rooms so they are safe and have some dignity?

Ervin is spending millions , running as a self-identified “born again” Christian yet he and his wife won’t help or save the lives of 60 of their neighbors in distress? How about giving a million to the nonprofit’s trying to help these people?

Tom and Kathryn apparently won’t help those in their own community that need assistance despite being wealthy. Hypocrites. Typical liberals.

Sands Of Time August 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Many two faced people claiming to be religious hide behind the Bible.

aikencounty August 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

And wear a Masonic ring!

GoldenRule September 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I once rented commercial property from a “God fearing” man out in Lexington. He told me to my face the only reason his church went and fed the homeless at Finlay Park in downtown Columbia was to keep them from wandering out to Lexington. Nice “christian” values there.

SCBlues August 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

“Hypocrites. Typical liberals.”
Yep got to love those “liberal” South Carolina Republicans. LOL

Deo Vindice SC August 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Hello there republican, thanks for your help also. Promote Nikki in a new commercial as ” Helper to the ones that need help “. Isn’t Nikki a Christian now ?

vicupstate August 31, 2014 at 11:42 am

You don’t need to wait on them to make your own contribution.

ervin electing Nikki August 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

August 27,2014

Nikki Haley 51%
Vincent Sheheen 36%

Real Clear Politics

Ervin is taking votes from Sheheen.

johnq August 30, 2014 at 6:53 am

Notice FITS has to use the “Black” headline to let the frothing at the mouth racists know that it is time for them to spring into action. This is South Carolina by GAWD!! Black person talking ALERT!!

SCBlues August 30, 2014 at 9:11 am

“Notice FITS has to use the “Black” headline . . .”

Sadly you are 100% correct – the same thing happens with any photo of a black person posted on this site.

And I’m actually a bit surprised that the headline did not read
Black Democrat-Hood Weighs In On Greenville’s “Tent City”

Ludwig Von Mises August 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Yeh Fits was “due” for a “Black” story.

The ol boys here have been missing it.Too bad he couldn’t work the NAACP in somehow.

That Really gets em going!

Vote Haley out August 31, 2014 at 10:22 am

Vincent Sheheen says, half joking, that he is not the first face his supporters want to see on the campaign trail.

rather see my dad, or Anthony or Amy,” said the Democratic state
senator from Camden, referring to his father Fred, his youngest son and
wife, in a recent interview with The State about his bid to unseat
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in November.

“Maybe it’s not a joke. Maybe it’s real.”

Self-deprecating humility is textbook Sheheen, the 14-year legislator’s Democratic and Republican allies say.

that quality, Sheheen has become a go-to guy for smart policy insights
or a capable bridge across party lines for building support for
legislation, House and Senate colleagues say.

“Vincent’s smart,
and you figure that out pretty quickly,” said his friend and
sometimes-legislative partner, state Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, who
also is close to Haley. “He also works hard … and when you combine
the intellect, and the willingness to work hard, that will get you
attention in the Senate.”

Lawmakers also say Sheheen is known for
taking on tough issues. On some, he pushes publicly. Other times,
however, he works quietly while others take the lead, fearful his
candidacy for governor might doom a bill in the GOP-controlled General

Sheheen pushed hard – first publicly, then more behind
the scenes – to expand the state’s 4-year-old kindergarten program. He
also aided in the successful passage of a statewide
texting-while-driving ban this year. Sheheen authored another successful
bill giving lawmakers and the governor more oversight of state
agencies, but said he knew when to stop talking during the debate and
say, “Shane Massey, go to the podium. Please.”

“None of those
things are small,” said Massey, who co-sponsored the government reform
bill with Sheheen. “You have to give him credit for tackling the big,
hard issues. You may disagree with his position on them, but he doesn’t
shy away from the fights.”

With the November election about two
months away, Sheheen is hoping to best his 2010 performance against
Haley, who as a relatively unknown Lexington state representative beat
him by 4.5 percentage points.

Even though Sheheen faces a tough –
some say insurmountable – battle, a few of his GOP allies see little
difference between the two candidates in their ability to lead the

“Four years ago, the choice might have been a little
clearer” between Haley and Sheheen, said state Sen. Wes Hayes, R-York.
“But I don’t really think it’s quite as bright a definition. Sheheen
would do a good job, but I think that Gov. Haley is already doing a good
job. I don’t see a huge amount of difference between the two. Both of
them would like to see us do something to improve our roads; both have
been outspoken on educational issues.”

So far, however, Sheheen’s campaign has been low-key – perhaps too much so, political observers say.

has run just two television ads to Haley’s four. He has focused instead
mostly on shoe-leather politicking, talking to groups of Democrats
statewide to encourage higher voter turnout. While one political
scientist recently called Sheheen’s effort “lackluster,” Democrats say
the campaign really doesn’t start until Labor Day.

Haley has a
tremendous head start, finishing the June fundraising quarter with $4.5
million in the bank to Sheheen’s $1.7 million. Haley and her allies also
have worked hard to tout the incumbent’s advantages.

campaign ads portray her as a jobs creator and a politician who has
moved people “from welfare to work,” numbers Sheheen disputed last week.
Meanwhile, the governor’s allies have run ads attacking Sheheen for
defending violent criminals and supporting the expansion of Medicaid,
the federal health-care program for the poor, under President Obama’s
health-care law.

But some polls suggest Haley’s advantage over Sheheen is not decisive.

polls this summer, including one commissioned by the S.C. Democratic
Party, show Haley with a 3- to 4-percentage-point lead. A
conservative-leaning poll out Thursday showed Haley ahead by 15 points.
Two July polls by Clemson University and CBS News also showed Haley with
a double-digit lead.

So far, Sheheen has aimed to cast Haley as
an incompetent leader whose state agencies are in disarray. He cites the
2012 hacking of taxpayers’ information or a delay in notifying
Greenwood parents of a tuberculosis case in their children’s school.

convincing voters that Haley is to blame for those incidents could be a
tough sell, political scientists say, because it requires explanation.
Meanwhile, Haley already is imprinting on voters’ minds images of her
cutting ribbons at business openings and touting falling jobless rates.

he goes, Sheheen tells voters that S.C. incomes have declined, and
Haley refused to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, a decision
that cost the state economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs,
according to a University of South Carolina study.

For Sheheen,
who is accustomed to the low-key corners of the State House, shining
brighter than Haley on issues is difficult. Haley also has laid claim to
many of the issues that Sheheen championed, including education

Democrats remain hopeful.

“It’s a challenge being a
Democrat in this state,” said state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, one
of Sheheen’s longtime legislative friends. “But people know Vincent, and
those who certainly know him respect him and think a great deal of him.
Nobody looks at him and says, ‘He’s not prepared to be governor.’ ”

‘Realistically change the state’

says out of his entire family, his son Anthony, now 13 years old and a
frequent companion with him on the campaign trail, took his 2010 loss to
Haley the hardest.

“About three weeks after I lost, we were in
church and, just out of the blue, he turned to me and was like, ‘Dad, I
really want you to run for governor again. Will you run for governor
again?’ ” Sheheen recalled. “He liked being out there with people. He
liked seeing people and being exposed to new things.”

political roots run deep in Camden. His grandfather was mayor. His
father, Fred, was commissioner on the state’s higher education board.
Sheheen’s uncle, Bob Sheheen, brought the family name to the State
House, spending 24 years in the Legislature, including eight years as
House speaker.

Just as his family led him to politics, Sheheen
said the needs of his community – including a desire to fight a plan to
pump North Carolina wastewater into the state – drove him to run for
office in 2000.

He said he helped the community by working on
expanding Camden’s technical college, working with conservationists to
protect a Revolutionary War battlefield site where colonial soldiers are
buried and helping with the creation of the S.C. Equine Park, a 40-acre
horse park.

The rest of the state has similar educational,
conservation and economic needs, he said. So when Anthony asked him to
run for governor again, Sheheen talked to his wife, Amy.

The couple did not, he says, discuss the difficulty of beating a majority-party incumbent.

Instead, they asked whether, if elected, they “could realistically change the state.”

Growing the grassroots

has traveled across the state, meeting with Democratic groups and
trying to build coalitions of supporters among women, teachers, small
business owners, students and even Republicans who can help spread his

The senator has a chance to appeal to a range of voters
because he is not fiercely partisan – a trait that makes him a good
Democratic candidate in a red state, political observers say.

at a fish fry at the Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, an
African-American church in Conway, Sheheen asked parishioners to “remind
(their) neighbors what we have experienced” for four years under Haley –
dropping wages and tax dollars paid into a federal health-care program
that are not coming back home, he said. The group of about a few dozen
people applauded when he said all 4-year-old children should have access
to full-day kindergarten.

But in Loris, Sheheen told Horry County Democrats to reach across party lines with his message.

doesn’t even matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, and if you
believe that, you’re part of the team,” said Sheheen, who lost the
county to Haley in 2010 by a nearly 2-1 margin.

Alissa Warters, a
Francis Marion University political scientist, recently said during a
forum on the governor’s race that Sheheen’s campaign has been
“lackluster.” In the same discussion, however, Winthrop University
political scientist Scott Huffmon said Sheheen likely has been “active
more behind the scenes, building his base, making sure that they’re
going to turn out in large numbers.”

Sheheen’s opposition to gay
marriage – an issue energizing some activists, shifting state and
national Democrats increasingly left – should not hurt his efforts in a
red state, Huffmon said. Instead of demanding their candidates adopt
more left-leaning policies, S.C. Democratic activists are mobilizing
against a GOP leadership that they see as too far to the right, he said.

says he would rather focus on issues where he can make a difference,
including advocating for laws that ban workplace discrimination because
of sexual orientation.

A Democratic candidate is “not going to
win an election in South Carolina by playing to the furthest left
coalition,” Huffmon said. “That coalition is simply not large enough.”

If all the Democrats who voted in 2008 had voted in 2010, Sheheen would be the governor, Democratic consultants say.

party’s hope may lie in S.C. newcomers, including conservatives who
find themselves out of place in the state’s GOP, said Scott Buchanan, a
Citadel political scientist.

“The demographics are changing,”
said Joan Furlong, chairwoman of the Horry County Democratic Party who
moved to South Carolina from Washington to retire two years ago. “New
arrivals, like me, have moved here in the last 10 years” and many of
them are more progressive.

Behind the scenes

his 2010 loss, Sheheen has continued his behind-the-scenes work in the
Senate, but his higher profile as the presumed again-Democratic nominee
for governor has helped push some legislation into law.

When Haley
opposed offering online retailer Amazon a 20-year tax break and an
exemption on collecting sales taxes for a distribution center in her
home county, Sheheen urged lawmakers to back the deal and helped broker
an agreement.

Lexington business consultant Scott Adams, a
Republican who gave to Haley’s campaign in 2010 and led a grassroots
coalition pushing for the deal, said Amazon would not have brought its
2,000 jobs to the state without Sheheen’s help. Though Adams said he is
still undecided on who will get his vote in November, he did say that he
was “extremely grateful to him for what he did. Because of that, I
could easily vote for him.”

The new Department of Administration,
which Haley has championed, also would not have passed this year without
Sheheen’s work authoring and pushing the bill, Republican and
Democratic lawmakers say.

State Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland,
once filibustered a government restructuring bill to create a
Department of Administration, calling it “Dead on Arrival” on the Senate
floor. Then, Jackson says, Sheheen worked to convince him and other
Democrats that the bill was sorely needed.

Haley thanked Sheheen
for his work on the bill in her State of the State address and invited
him to the ceremonial bill signing where she gave him a pen.

“I’ve worked on that for years and years and years and years, and it was crazy cool to see it come to fruition,” Sheheen said.

‘Don’t achieve a lot on my own’

Though Sheheen has seen some of his long-sought policy wishes come true, he’s also been somewhat in the shadow of Haley.

the governor, Sheheen also has written a book, “The Right Way.” The
book is an outline for fixing the state’s battered roads, bringing jobs
and improving its public schools by changing the way tax collections pay
for public education.

Expanding the state’s free, 4-year-old
kindergarten is something he has “fought and bled for” since he was a
House member, he said, and this year a bill became law that lays the
groundwork to offer that program statewide.

However, this year,
Haley pushed her own education plan, causing some Democrats to grouse
that the governor hijacked the traditionally Democratic issue in her
re-election bid. Her education plan increased education spending by
about $180 million for technology, reading coaches and more money to
school districts for teaching students living in poverty.

Haley’s plan received bipartisan praise, lawmakers and education
advocates have said the state must change its tax code to finally fund
schools fairly.

Asked whether he feels upstaged by Haley taking
credit for issues that he has pushed, Sheheen said, “I work hard with
other people. I don’t achieve a lot on my own.”

Politics or principle?

as lawmakers tout Sheheen’s ability to move bills past the finish line,
one Republican Senate leader says the Democratic challenger’s absence
from an effort could spell its doom.

Senate Judiciary Committee
Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens, said he and Sheheen worked together
since last year on what supporters said was the most meaningful ethics
reform in 20 years.

But then, Sheheen pulled his backing from the
bill near the end of the session for political reasons, Martin says.
Democrats wanted to deny Republican Haley a victory on ethics reform in
an election year, he said.

Sheheen said the proposal lost its
teeth. Two years of shuttling the bill between the House and Senate had
stripped the proposal of a key element, ending the practice of lawmakers
policing themselves when they are accused of violating the state’s
ethics laws, Sheheen said.

Haley, though critical of the bill, had
said she would support it without independent oversight of lawmakers
since it included broader income disclosure. Sheheen had voted for an
ethics bill without independent oversight. But in the dying minutes of
the legislative session, Sheheen was clear he would not support it.

not just going to pass a bill so that Nikki Haley can pretend she’s
doing something,” Sheheen said at the time. “(I’m) not going to pass a
bill that doesn’t have real independent oversight of the governor, the
Senate and the House. … It didn’t even do the things that she said
should occur.”

Sheheen also agreed with government watchdogs who
pulled their support: a watered-down bill would allow lawmakers to claim
a victory on ethics and put it off for another 20 years.

Republican Martin said he still does not understand Sheheen’s change of
heart after supporting the proposal even without some of his priorities.

“(T)hat didn’t sit well with me,” Martin said. “He will bend to the politics of the moment in that respect.”

also takes heat from his own party on occasion. Sheheen opposed a
bipartisan move by lawmakers to approve through the budget process a pay
raise for themselves this year and the proposal failed in the Senate.

were literally up in his face saying, ‘You are costing us the ability
to earn more money,’ ” Jackson said, recalling an intense debate over
the issue in a private meeting of Senate Democrats.

Democrats also were aggressive in their efforts to change Sheheen’s
position, trying to enlist Smith, Sheheen’s friend, to talk to him. “I
didn’t even put forth the effort,” Smith said, adding that he knew
Sheheen had made up his mind.

Sheheen, who says he opposes
legislative pay raises whenever they come up, told his colleagues the
right way to get a raise was to introduce legislation that the public
and a committee could vet.

“At the end of the day, although I was
on the other side, I left there admiring him – because here’s a man who
sticks to his convictions,” Jackson said.

Attacking the attorney

In contrast, Haley’s campaign and her allies say Sheheen is someone who cannot be trusted, citing his work as a lawyer.

hits on Sheheen started this year with attack ads from the Republican
Governors Association. One called into question Sheheen’s judgment for
defending violent criminals, including an 18-year-old convicted of a sex
offense involving an underage teen. As a young attorney, Sheheen said
he wanted to try different types of law. He handled a small number of
defense cases before moving to mostly civil cases, he said.

campaign also questioned Sheheen’s ethics for having cases pending
before magistrate judges appointed by the S.C. General Assembly.
Critical of the way lawmakers appoint judges, Sheheen has introduced
bills to have the state Supreme Court appoint magistrates. Those bills
have failed to gain traction.

Sheheen’s critics also say his
attacks on Haley are unfair and dishonest. Sheheen’s recent TV ad said
Haley intentionally hid the hacking of S.C. taxpayers’ information. She
was asked by federal and state law enforcement to wait more than two
weeks to make the breach public.

But some lawmakers who count
Haley and Sheheen as allies say they see little difference between the
two candidates in their leadership abilities.

Massey, the GOP
senator who counts himself in a “small club” of lawmakers who have both
Haley and Sheheen as friends, said voters have good options in November,
despite their different approaches to policy.

“We have two very
good people to choose from. Both of them … are capable of leading the
state, and both of them want to move the state forward, and they have
good ideas to make that happen,” he said.

As the campaign season
rolls on, voters can expect the allegations to fly from both camps, and
those of the three other challengers in the race. But Sheheen says the
charges and countercharges miss what South Carolinians care about.

Sheheen was running for the state House, he said he was surprised when
people remembered his great-grandfather, who ran a store in Camden and
let farmers buy groceries on credit, paying after the crops came in.

had to have occurred 60 years earlier, Sheheen said, standing on a
Camden sidewalk and peering into his great-grandfather’s former store,
where he remembers running around as a child and lobbying for a Coke.

reminded me of what’s important and what people remember,” Sheheen
said. “What they don’t remember is a bunch of TV commercials and a bunch
of hype and a bunch of political stuff.

“What they remember is if you help them or not.”

more here:

aikencounty August 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Exactly where is this this bridge in Greenville?

Timmy Tebow August 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

This bridge is right before Pete Hollis turns into Cedar Lane Road as you’re heading towards Berea.
Lat/Lon for Google Maps:
34.866798, -82.414348

aikencounty September 1, 2014 at 6:56 am

Thank you.

truthmonger September 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

Funny. The plan by Columbia to create a homeless retreat mirrors that of a number of other cities which resulted in substantial growth for those cities (and increased revenue to support the program without raising taxes to do it). Ever notice how facts just seem to get in the way of the things Sic says?

FEMACAMPER September 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Sounds like a job for Cameron Runtyan.

Lisa Ka September 2, 2014 at 7:44 am

Please note: there are more government employees involved in the homeless questions than there are homeless. One might also look to see how many bigger g’ment poli-wonks actually take the needy into their own homes.

Lisa Ka September 2, 2014 at 7:49 am

So a liberal wants to steal my cat’s food and put it on his back porch … Achieving what? More stray cats?


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