Mayor Bob’s response to today’s editorial

Mayor Bob Coble sent this at 7:55 a.m., but I just got to it:

Safety and Security Ordinance is needed

     I wanted to respond to your Friday editorial, “High-crime areas should draw more police protection.” Your editorial says “when crime escalates to the point it becomes ‘an unacceptable risk to public safety’ — whether at an apartment complex or in an historic neighborhood — residents should be able to expect swift, intense police intervention. But under a proposal by Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, if you live in an apartment complex beset with crime, you would have to depend on your landlord.” That statement is both untrue and misleading. A more accurate description of the Safety and Security Ordinance I have proposed would be, “if you live in an apartment complex, owned by an absentee landlord and funded by the federal government, that consistently rents to drug dealers and other criminals, and the Columbia Police and Richland County Sheriff Deputies are constantly coming to the same apartments time and time again, and the level of crime on the private property owned by your absentee landlord exceeds one percent of total major crime in the City, then your absentee landlord has a responsibility to be part of the solution.”
The City of Columbia recently did a gang assessment that was conducted by the University of South Carolina and Benedict College.  That study demonstrated that a great deal of the drug and gang activity as well as domestic violence and violent crime are clustered in several large, federally funded, apartment complexes in Columbia.  The State did a series of articles about North Columbia and reported the same findings.  These apartments receive hundreds of thousands of federal dollars through project based Section 8 vouchers, federal tax credits for low income housing, or individual Section 8 vouchers. The federal government, since it provides subsidies for housing in these complexes, should require security just as it has structural safety requirements-but the federal government does not. The residents of these complexes are the victims of these crimes.  They deserve the same level of safety as every other citizen. 
The requirements of our Safety and Security Ordinance would start if an apartment complex was the source of one percent of major crime in the City. A safety and security plan is not a substitute for the police. The apartment owner can do things the police cannot: enforce lease provisions against renting to those convicted of drug crimes, enforce rules of the apartment established by the property owner such as a curfew; and screen persons for trespassing more effectively.  It’s not appropriate for city police to stay in one apartment complex 24 hours a day and act as private security, at the neglect of nearby areas. 
    Gable Oaks is an example of success. The former owner hired private guards and instituted other measures earlier this year that transformed one of the city’s toughest housing complexes into a safe community.  The City Police and the Richland County Sheriff worked in partnership with Gable Oaks to produce this safer community.  The City, of course, has the obligation to provide protection for our citizens.  A Safety and Security Ordinance is part of a larger strategy to fight crime in Columbia. Chief Tandy Carter is preparing his comprehensive plan for the Police Department. This year’s City budget that was adopted in June included monies for our pay and retention plan for both police and firefighters that will total $2.5 million phased over three years. Additionally, this year’s budget includes funding for 14 additional officers with seven added in this fiscal year and seven in the next. The City is implementing a security camera system, our Gang Initiative, as well as our Criminal Domestic Violence Task Force.  A Safety and Security Ordinance should be part of that strategy.

                            Mayor Bob Coble

3 thoughts on “Mayor Bob’s response to today’s editorial

  1. C. Nelson

    Dear Mayor Bob:
    Perhaps you should retrun all that federal funding back to the nanny state federal government and scrap the entire section 8 plan in your fair city. The real damage to low income or welfare families is the notion that the government will always be there to bail them out of their obligations to themselves and their neighborhoods. Perhaps not having children until one can afford them should be stressed to those unfortunate poverty stricken “victims”. Following your observations of these neighborhoods, if the section 8 folks are removed, the crime they attract will follow them. Accepting all that section 8 federal funding and then complaining about having to police the areas is yet another example of how the welfare state left wing political machine has become addicted to tax payer money they neither deserve nor can manage once they get it. Eliminate the section 8 funding and all your other problems, including your loyal voting base, will fade away as will you and those like minded individuals who keep this government slavery alive. Either that, or beef up your security until the areas in question become war zones. Better yet, why not move there and set an example for the community.

  2. Bill C.

    Maybe if “Mayor Boob” would spend time running the city instead of writing responses to editorials something could get done in this city. Coble and Austin are two of the biggest idiots to ever attempt to run a city, have they done anything correct since being put into power? Austin sure hasn’t, he spends too much time writing sermons for Sunday instead of trying to figure out where city money is spent. Between these two idiots and the Richland County screw-ups I’m amazed that anyone voluntarily still lives in Columbia/Richland County. I did for 7 years and finally had enough of their stupidity.

  3. Lee Muller

    Mr. Nelson,
    You are quite right about the government Insta-Slums, which just relocate crime waves to the newest projects.
    Why does the government not offer an counseling on money, drugs and the poverty caused by the sexual promiscuity of the tenants? If it is too late to save the adults, they could at least try to teach the children to not act like their parents and other sorry denizens they see loafing about.
    The Welfare Industry seems more interested in maintaining a large population of people in miserable dependency on bureaucrats handing out a subsistence. The bureaucrats and politicians have no incentive to eliminate poverty and the bad behaviors which are the root cause.


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