Over the last decade the town of Allendale, South Carolina has shed 20 percent of its population. Of those who remained in this rural municipality, nearly 38 percent are living below the poverty line.
The state of South Carolina has been forced to take over Allendale’s chronically failing government-run school system on multiple occasions, while agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) have recently been pressed into duty to fill critical frontline police positions.
Well, there are plenty of problems … none of which are new.
Back in 2015, travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux described the declining municipality as a “ghost town” in his book Deep South: Four Seasons On Back Roads. “poor, neglected, hopeless-looking, a vivid failure.” Amazingly, its downward trajectory – already well established by then – is gaining momentum.
Don’t believe me? Take a look …
(Click to view)
What in the actual, right?
The “gentleman” banging the gavel and demanding silence in the video segment above is Allendale mayor James L. Cohen. Meanwhile, the woman mixing it up with him – and being forcibly removed from the chambers – is town councilwoman Hattie Jackson.
What precipitated this feud? And what was its eventual outcome? I don’t know … and frankly, I don’t care.
Allendale is getting the government it chose. And therefore, the government it deserves.
In fact, as far as I am concerned the entire county of Allendale (which saw its population decline by 22 percent over the past decade) should probably consider falling into the ocean. Or getting deeded to Georgia (except Georgia probably wouldn’t take it).
Hmmmm … maybe state leaders should present the Peach State with a fait accompli? Just dig a channel around Allendale and reroute the Savannah River through it?
Now that’s an infrastructure appropriation I would support …
Seriously, though … this news outlet rails against corrupt systems. Corrupt institutions. Corrupt governments. We expose misconduct, embezzlement, fraud, abuse, waste … you name it.
But if a community has given up on itself … what’s the point?
The state of South Carolina can throw all the money in the world at this town (and this county). And The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier can run all the “Uncovered” stories it wants about local corruption and who is responsible for it.
What happens when nothing changes, though? Or when the change (or reform) everybody demanded turns out to be just as much of a sh*t show as the corruption which preceded it?
Here is the blunt truth about Allendale, South Carolina: Anyone and everyone who can afford to leave is leaving.
Which, if you think about it, will eventually solve the problem of its dysfunctional municipal government …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Buffalo Bisons’ lid pictured above).
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