And if you did vote and don’t mind sharing, how did you vote, and why?
And if you think such questions are none of my or anyone else’s business, fair enough. What can you share. Any trouble voting? Were you alone at the polling place, or was the turnout better than anyone expected?
And regardless of how you voted, or would vote if you could (since the political entity of Columbia encompasses a much smaller area than the economic community, many of us lack the franchise), who do you think will win, and why? And is that a good or bad thing?
In other words, this is an Open Thread on the municipal runoff today…
Yes, I did. Andy Smith was standing outside my polling place (Kilbourne Park Baptist) shaking hands. I went at 3:00, and I was number 147 in my ward. There were a few others there voting, but no line.
I think Howard Duvall Wil win, if only because older folks turn out more than younger ones. But they’re both good choices I think, so I’d be ok with either one.
Of course I voted. Number 40, midmorning at Lourie Center.
And Howard won, by a landslide.
I hope Andy will run again. He would also make a good councillor.
Closer race for District Two. Cromartie v. Benjamin—so far Cromartie barely ahead….
Voted for Andy. Local business owner, Doug of the Vino Garage relayed this account to me. The city attorney shops at his business, said Andy came into her office and asked about the potential conflict of interest with the Nick being a recipient of the H tax and his run for the city council. City attorney remarked that she’d never been asked that by any candidate before. Speaks of Andy’s sincerity and integrity.
Conflict of interest has been interpreted very loosely at both state and local levels, far too losely. For example, one House member says that it does not represent a conflict of interest for him to aggressively lobby for and vote on issues of importance to his employer as long as the employer doesn’t have a direct financial benefit – apparently something as specific as a state grant or contract. However, the issues on which he does not recuse himself are in fact central to his employer’s mission and existence. If that isn’t a benefit, I don’t know what is.
Jamie Self’s recent article on city contracts to legislators shows that the City is allowing sole source contracts to friends and coworkers of the City Manager, justified through one or more of a lengthy list of exemptions from competitive bidding in the City of Columbia’s regulations. An ethical answer would be that the Manager shouldn’t even touch a competitive procurement under these circumstances, shoudl recuse herself, but that is definitely not what happens, and the City standards are so loose that it doesn’t appear to be illegal.
I don’t know Andy Smith, but he seems to be an intelligent and very decent man. I don’t know what the City Attorney told him. I know that I personally would see a significant conflict of interest in Smith having anything at all to do with H tax moneys. The total amount available, grants to other organizations, virtually anything to do with it could affect funding to the Nickelodeon and thus his personal livelihood. How he would serve on Council to enhance arts support under these circumstances escapes me.
Second thoughts on the above – I’m not actually sure how close the City Manager’s work relationship with those awarded the sole source contracts has been, so I shouldn’t say that she should have recused herrself in a competitive procurement. I should say that she should consider whether that was appropriate. Realistically, Columbia and South Carolina are small places politically, everyone knows everyone. That means that sometimes assessing a possible conflict is difficulty. However, it should always be considered, and officials should err on the side of caution if there is uncertainty.
Looks like McDowell won, too.
Less than 10% of eligible voters cast ballets; there was hope that moving city elections to November would increase turn out.