Steve Benjamin’s re-election campaign video

I sort of got stuck on the first sentence of this release:

Exactly three years ago today, we launched the ad that coined the phrase that defined the vision I had for our city’s future: One Columbia

That “launched the ad that coined the phrase that defined the vision” bit sounds kind of like it’s stuck in first gear,and reminds me of the line from “Swingers” about “the guy behind the guy behind the guy.”

Anyway, watch the video and see how many local celebs you can spot. In the first run-through, I saw ex-Sen. Kay Patterson, ex-Gov. Jim Hodges and Rep. James Smith. I’m sure I missed some.


I’m looking at an invitation to a reception on April 24 in support of challenger Moe Baddourah, hosted by Jack Sloan from my Rotary.

Looks like the race has begun…

26 thoughts on “Steve Benjamin’s re-election campaign video

      1. Steven Davis II

        And the Columbia head cheerleader is at it again… she reminds me of the ROTC guy at the end of Animal House screaming, “All is well”.

        1. Mark Stewart

          I have been in a recent rut of disagreement on Brad’s blog with Kathryn recently it appears. However, Steven, Columbia deserves involved and committed cheerleaders. Hell, the entire state of SC does as well. Don’t knock her civic involvement if you aren’t willing to be an equal positive force for change in the community.

          The hardest thing is generating social momentum to encourage change and growth. It is far easier for people to be snide, disengaged and fatalistic. It’s easier in the short term, but never better in the long run.

  1. bud

    Three years ago we coined the completely useless, weasel-word slogan “One Columbia”. Today it’s clear just how empty that slogan really is.

  2. Mark Stewart

    At least the Mayor said the vision “I” had… While acknowledging that all work, even politics, is a joint effort, I still get annoyed when I hear politicians say “we” when they really seem to be unable to take ownership and use “I”. I’m voting for you; not your weasely we. I expect everyone to hire the best team that they can – sort of goes without saying.

    Anyway, One Columbia sounds like an office park address. It sort of insults the intelligence; who would feel that one viewpoint in a city would ever be a good thing?

  3. Steven Davis II

    If he happens to screw up and win re-election, will the RCSD and CPD close down the streets from 9:00 pm to 8:00 am to keep anyone from getting hurt this time?

    1. Mark Stewart

      Until Mayor Benjamin went off the rails committing obscene public money to line the pockets of the current owners of the Palmetto Compress wreck, I thought he was doing pretty well for a nominal figurehead. I’ve appreciated his efforts. While it has been small steps, the farther we can get from Bob Coble’s stasis the better we will all be.

      Columbia doesn’t need another elected councilman as much as it needs a strong mayor. Even given the cotton warehouse giveaway. Which still shouldn’t happen. Well, it could at a price of less than $1.3 million – which is about fair value for that site. if the owners want over $5 million for it, let them tear it down – and get stuck with the cleared lot for another several decades. If Benjamin pushes through the purchase at a stupid money price, he should be voted out of office.

  4. Silence

    As someone who spent the entire day sitting in the Eau Claire print building on a beautiful Tuesday, let me just say that I appreciate the appearance of other failed politicians in Mayor Steve’s video. Notably Jim “The Lottery Gov” Hodges and Councilman Cameron “I singlehandedly solved the homeless problem in Columbia and I am also the Mayor’s boy” Funyan Runyan.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Some arts groups are reportedly wary to opposed to One Columbia, in part because they fear that only One Cola groups will receive H-Tax. There is a lot of misinformation and distrust out there, alas.

      1. Steven Davis II

        Nobody listens to arts groups, the local governments give them a couple thousand dollars each year just to shut them up.

  5. tired old man

    Not criticising, just saying but a major irony in the “One Columbia” theme is that so many of its features (New Year’s Eve) for instance, now incorporate VIP sections where Columbia’s pretty people can pay a little extra to distance themselves from the great unwashed. Of course, the “pretty people” is a tight circle that enthusiastically self-promotes each element within their blog/art/food/music/film/fashion/cool group. Watch how smoothy everyone sincs up (festival organizers plus in-crowd PR people plus cool foodies plus the latest fashionistas) as they rotate from event to event, ever enjoying their VIP status (which is often comped) — and celebrated along the various blogs amid joyful back-patting. There is a new and self-proclaimed elite embedded in the “one Columbia” concept.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Well, yes and no, “tired.”

    The VIP tickets for New Year’s were, as I understood it, partly a perk for businesses and their customers. For instance, The Whig wanted some accommodation for their regular patrons, and were given a bunch of VIP tickets. Some of my kids, who hang out at the Whig regularly, received some of those tickets. It wasn’t about the rich and famous or anything.

  7. Ralph Hightower

    Okay, that’s good for Columbia.

    Although many of us don’t live in Columbia, many of us work in Columbia.

    It is time for the local and county governments to unite and enhance the Midlands. No more fighting over who gets the next major company. Columbia, West Columbia, Lexington,, Cayce, Chapin.

    It has been said that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” So it should be, local and county governments should cooperate to bring industry and jobs in.

    1. Silence

      That’s why we need metro (county) governance in the Midlands. There’s no reason that we need Columbia, Forest Acres, Eastover, Arcadia Lakes, Blythewood, Irmo AND Richland County governments.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, I’m all for that. I’m for consolidating school districts to one in each county as well, of course. So are most people. But we never get common-sense reforms such as that; lawmakers and governors would rather have pointless fights over vouchers and tax credits.

        I’d also be for consolidation across county lines, so that we could bring in West Columbia and Cayce. And maybe Lexington.

        Not sure that would be constitutional, though. I ought to know that, but since it’s such political impossibility, I don’t think I’ve ever looked it up…

        1. Silence

          I know you are for it Brad, you are on record as such. I was trying to respond to Ralph’s comment. Honestly though, I think the “One Columbia” talk is exactly talk. As a downtown Columbia resident I feel left behind, or swept aside by many of the city’s efforts. I think the city takes those of us for granted who work hard, volunteer, pay taxes and rates, and generally contribute to the improvement of the city.

          1. Mark Stewart

            Columbia is the rare city that could benefit from large scale de-annexation.

            It get’s stuck trying to be the provider of last resort to a populations (such as USC and the State in addition to the obvious problem of North Columbia) that it simply does not have the resources to adequately address. Even if it had the will.

          2. Silence

            Mark Stewart is correct – The city of Columbia’s 130,000 residents are frequently called upon to act like a much larger municipality.

        2. Doug Ross

          “So are most people.”

          Are you sure of that? I think you’d see a backlash from certain powerful segments of the Richland 2 school district against consolidating with Richland 1. It would be difficult to overcome the perception that Richland 2 would be absorbing a lot of problem schools.

          But I am personally for it. Off topic, but have you heard about the backdoor method used by Richland 2 to take bond money that was designated for new elementary schools in 2008 and now has been re-directed toward building a new $40 million dollar district office/career center? The school board attached the $39 million dollar revision to a $500,000 contract to assess a new district office. That was done after a school board meeting and wasn’t on the agenda.

  8. Mark Stewart

    The Airport Commission exists. The City of Columbia exists within Lexington County. The only reason that there is not a regional government is politics.

    It is kind of sad that Ballentine/White Rock can get more traction (but not much more) attempting to succeed from Richland County than any effort to create a metropolitan government has been able to generate.

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