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Dream Team of Rivers, Singletary Part of New Direction in North Charleston?
10/28/2015 4:57:28 PM

Nelson Rivers, III

John Singletary
Staff Reports

The November 3 North Charleston municipal elections likely are the most contentious in recent memory. The mayor and all 10 city council seats will be elected. Mayor Keith Summey has dominated his elections the past 20 years as have council members Dorothy Williams in Dist. 6, Sam Hart in Dist. 7 and Bob King in Dist. 19. But a new ‘Dream Team’ of youthful contenders has emerged who are on a mission to unseat all the incumbents.
Though not officially linked to the ‘Dream Team that consists of Michael A. Brown in Dist. 1, Raymond Lloyd in Dist. 2, Sean Middleton in Dist. 5, Jesse Middleton in Dist. 6, St. Julian Corey Van Hannegeyn in Dist. 7, Marvin Pendarvis in Dist. 8 and Anjene Davis in Dist. 10, Mayoral candidate John Singletary also is considered part of the team.

Supporters include Summerville community advocate Louis Smith and labor organizer Leonard Riley. Smith said their hope is that the dream team candidates who all are under age 40 will bring excitement and enthusiasm to all races in the elections.

That excitement and enthusiasm is most evident in the mayoral race where Singletary’s challenges to Summey has been marked by allegations of corruption and nepotism. Summey faces two other African American challengers in the city where nearly 50 percent of the population is Black. They are Rev. Chris Collins and businessman Clifford Smith.

Singletary is considered the front runner among the three challengers. While some North Charleston residents have stopped short of sustaining Singletary’s allegations, but contend Summey’s administration has largely ignored the needs of the Black community.

Contention in Districts 6 and 7 where incumbents Williams and Hart respectively have served over two decades also has generated heated debate. District 6 resident Eugene Johnson said younger residents of the districts want to see change in the representation that will take the city to the next census accounting in 2020.

“We have young kids and elderly parents we’re caring for who need services that are not being provided because our communities have been sold out by leadership at city hall and at our churches. We’ve got people who have been in office 15, 20, 25 years and still we see a myriad of conditions in our neighborhoods that neither our preachers nor city council members will talk about such as rampant police abuse and zero economic development,” said the Ferndale community resident.

In a surprise move, Rev. Nelson B. Rivers entered the Dist. 9 race on a platform of change. He’s competing for the seat with two other contenders - David McDonough and Kenneth Skipper. Rivers, who is Pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church and Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations for he National Action Network, never has sought public office.

He said North Charleston is the ‘Promised Land’ for Black folks, and having watched the social, political and economic dismantling of the Black community in Charleston over the past 40 years, he feels he best can serve North Charleston both from within the system and outside it.

“I’m not running to make a statement, I’m running to win,” Rivers said.

Thirty-two candidates are vying for the 11 seats to be elected  in North Charleston November 3. One Deas Hill resident said the mayoral race has created a buzz that should influence voter turnout. Many voters are uninformed, but they should cast their ballots for those candidates who support initiatives that are important to the Black community.

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