“The Brad Show” is BACK! Our guest — Caroline Whitson

Well, I told you it was coming back, and here it is!

After a well-received pilot episode, “The Brad Show” got put on the back burner — not by network twits like the ones who canceled “Firefly” (and who will no doubt go to the “special hell” that Shepherd Book preached about) — but by me, because I was way busy trying to keep a blog going while working a new job.

But now it’s back, and it has cool new intro and theme music, compliments of ADCO Interactive’s Jay Barry. I told Jay I wanted something sort of NPRish, or Dick Cavettesque, and with that crystal-clear direction, this is what he came up with.

Watch, enjoy, and be edified. Not by me, but by my guest, the president of Columbia College, and leader in the effort to pass the penny sales tax for transportation — which is what we talked about.

We also talked about Caroline’s plans to don a Catwoman-like costume for the Ludie Bowl festivities over the weekend. She promises pictures, which I’m looking forward to seeing, and posting…

22 thoughts on ““The Brad Show” is BACK! Our guest — Caroline Whitson

  1. Doug Ross

    Very weak arguments, in my opinion.

    She avoided the question about why a sales tax is the right tax as opposed to something else – twice. The real answer is: “it’s easiest to foist on the people as “just a penny””

    The hospitality tax law could be changed… it’s just a law. It’s not like the laws of physics. It’s words on paper. Change the law.

    Saying that a large chunk of money will come from people outside the county to pay for infrastructure is a very poor argument. Guess what – those people are already paying for the infrastructure with the current sales tax, right? What are they getting now?

    The simple solution is that if it’s a priority, shift funds from other spending. That option never seems to be considered. Shift it from the parks & rec. Shift it from the libraries. Make choices instead of just taking more money.

    And why DOESN’T Columbia College pay property tax? They get the services, don’t they? Maybe Columbia College could chip more into the pot for the bus system?

    As for the pie-in-the-sky statement that we can “un-elect” the people who created the mess this 11% tax increase will actually get things done – ha ha ha. These are the people who allowed the roads to get clogged in the first place with their “pro-development without a plan” policy. Why doesn’t the county pursue impact fees? That would have done a whole lot to prevent the current situation from occurring.

    Remember – a sales tax is forever.

  2. Doug Ross

    Here’s some real life data to think about when it comes to sales taxes. I travel 150+ nights a year outside South Carolina so I pay all sorts of taxes in several states (TX, FL, UT this year). In a typical week, my company pays in excess of $100 per week just in hotel room taxes, restaurant food taxes, and rental car taxes. So I’m contributing more than $5000 per year to other state governments. I also pay income taxes in any state where I spend more than 100 hours working. What do I get for that? Roads, I guess. Police and fire departments if I ever needed it (not once in 20+ years of travel).

    Fixing Richland County’s roads and bus system on the backs of non-residents is an easy way out for politicians who are unwilling to make tough choices.

  3. bud

    I’m dead set opposed to this new tax until we can either (1) get rid of the hospitality tax or (2) change the law so that it can be used for buses and other infrastructure changes. That tax simply horrific. It is used in the most wasteful of ways and frankly it makes me ill every time I drive by the Township Auditorium.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    Nice jazzy theme–too bad you don’t actually listen to jazz–for truth in advertising, it should probably be some of that Old School pop music you favor….and the tie is, well, interesting on the video.

    I agree with Doug–the sales tax is wrong, except for how else, practically, do we get it done? I also agree with The State that it needs to be for the bus service, and not road widening which just encourages sprawl!

  5. Brad

    Oh, the sales tax is just plain awful — but that’s the only viable option that the Legislature in its wisdom allows. Until the Legislature gets its jackboot off the necks of the governments closest to the people, local governments are stuck with this…

    One reason, of course, that we have a sales tax that is too high on the diminishing number of things it actually taxes is that when it comes to looking at taxation rationally, our Legislature has oatmeal for brains. First, we tax goods and not services in an economy trending more toward services. Then we exempt about a billion dollars worth of goods, not even counting groceries. Then, just before the economy collapsed, greatly decreasing revenues from the highly volatile sales tax, the Legislature eliminated property tax on owner-occupied homes for the purpose of funding school operations, and put that burden on the sales tax, and on businesses and rental property (and second homes), thereby jacking those latter taxes through the roof.

    It’s insane, but local governments have no control over this. (Just as they have no control over the insanity of the hospitality tax, upon which the Legislature, doing what the Legislature does, dictated excessively restrictive limitations.) If they’re going to get anything done, they have to play the hand they’re dealt as well as they can.

    As for Doug’s implication that they could cut spending somewhere else to provide for these needs — where exactly? Where is the lavish spending in county government that would provide the amount of capital needed to tackle these neglected areas?

    The fact is that the state has completely neglected roads while at the same time asserting excessive control over a road system that in other states would be maintained completely by local governments (but in the Legislative State, local governments have always been kept too weak).

    Richland County has decided enough is enough, and is going ahead and dealing with the problem, addressing infrastructure for the 21st century — as Charleston, Florence and York counties have done, to the considerable betterment of their communities. This is the level of government that SHOULD be taking care of these things.

    And they’re asking voters to approve the plan. It is my firm belief that Richland County voters should approve this plan, which would put 30 percent of the burden on people like me who don’t live in the county, but benefit from its infrastructure and amenities.

  6. Doug Ross


    Do like bud says: change the hospitality tax laws to allow for investment in local transportation. Wouldn’t that be a far better use than paying for a billboard (like Blythewood did) or paying an ad agency to come up with a slogan like “Columbia – Famously Hot”?

    Or use the car property tax. But at the same time, there has to be accountability where if the bus system does not generate X passengers then the funding goes away.

    Prioritize, then spend.

  7. Brad

    I see… Doug is proposing the “wave a magic wand” solution. I wonder if county council thought of that…

    As I explained, it is not within the power of county council to get the Legislature to do ANYTHING with regard to tax law. I, for one, have screamed for comprehensive tax reform for two decades with no result. So I fully understand why a county that wants to get something worthwhile DONE would take this course, and I heartily endorse it.

  8. Doug Ross


    The money’s there. We choose libraries and parks over roads. We choose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new schools in Richland County while the roads fall into disrepair. We build those schools because nobody used any sense in trying to control growth in Richland County. The big home developers in the county got everything they wanted for two decades while the council and planning commissions rubbed their greedy little hands together instead of dealing with the road issue as the development occurred. Shame on them. And shame on them for asking us now to pay for their stupidity.

    The bottom line is that you can’t have everything. They wanted $30 million dollar high school football stadiums used 12 times per year instead of a bus system. Think about that. Defend it. If you can’t, then you see why the voters in the county are going to say no to this tax.

  9. Kathryn Fenner

    I like the Famously Hot campaign–although the billboards are a bit hard to read from a graphics perspective. We take a fair number of road trips, and I have not seen a similar campaign, but if I had, I would definitely be more inclined to stop in that city or town. Even if I were not in the market then, I would note that such a place wanted my business.
    Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

    Okay, Smarty Pants Musicologist, what do you call that non-classical, non-jazz stuff you like?

  10. Brad

    I don’t know. As the liner notes of “Meet the Beatles” quoted John Lennon when asked to categorize the band’s work, he said “Our music is just — well, our music.”

    Here are a few of the performers I’ve given the thumbs-up to on Pandora:
    10cc (not the stuff you heard on the radio; the more obscure stuff)
    Al Green
    Crosby, Stills & Nash
    Elvis Costello
    Erik Satie
    Jose Feliciano
    Me First & the Gimme Gimmes
    Philip Glass
    Randy Newman
    Solomon Burke
    The Band
    The Beatles
    Led Zeppelin
    Rod Stewart
    Creedence Clearwater Revival
    Elvis Presley
    Marshall Crenshaw
    Bob Dylan
    Ray Charles
    Brian Setzer
    Leon Russell
    Bill Withers
    Jimi Hendrix
    Simon & Garfunkel
    The Rolling Stones
    David Bowie
    Jerry Lee Lewis
    Johnny Cash
    Tom Petty
    The Byrds
    Joe Cocker
    Otis Redding
    John Wesley Harding
    Marvin Gaye
    Hank Williams

    and on and on…

    About the one band whose work I gave a thumbs-up to that I would put firmly in the “pop” category (in the restrictive sense) would be “Hermans Hermits.” And that was just to some of their songs…

  11. Doug Ross

    FYI, when I ran for Richland County 2 school board in 2002, one of my key issues was that the district was not handling growth correctly and the school district should have taken a greater role in trying to influence the county council to slow things down. I lost – but I was right. The school board loved the tax dollars (and the opportunity to build a new school every year) just as much as the county council did.

  12. bud

    Brad, when I made my movie list you were aghast that I left off the Godfather. I’m equally aghast that you left off ABBA. Most underrated band of our time.

  13. Kathryn Fenner

    Satie and Glass are classical-you might also like Claude Debussy, btw. A few of the others are country or blues, but all are popular musicians–the type with chart-toppers.


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