By Beverly Gadson-Birch
It’s election year and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. The problem is everyone jumping on board is not singing the same tune. In order to make melodious music, everyone must be in harmony. Two very important local races to watch are the mayor of Charleston and North Charleston. I know y’all didn’t ask me but I’se telling y’all anyhow.
If your elected officials haven’t done anything for you or your community for umpteen years, why the ham sandwich do you continue to vote them back into office? We have the two most powerful mayors in our state, right here in Charleston and North Charleston, and they have done little more than provide lip service to the black community. And, Charleston County School Board wants the voters to decide whether to extend the previous one cent sales tax beyond its 2020 expiration date. Black folk pay more than their fair share of taxes but receive very little services in their communities; and, y’all are asking for more money? Give me a break! There are very few playgrounds, equipment or recreational activities in black communities. Cable and electrical companies prominently hang wires in plain view on homes in black communities. Street drains and sewer need cleaning, trees trim, right of ways mowed, streets resurfaced, street lights installed, etc.
Folks from both mayoral camps are already soliciting the black vote by “any means necessary.” How much is your vote worth? Is it worth more than your “good name?” Y’all baby boomers know how valuable a “good name” is. Before credit scoring agencies existed, you were able to establish credit and obtain goods on your “good name.” A good name is the same as “good credit.”
Several well qualified black candidates have joined the mayoral races. And before they can get their campaigns off the ground, black folk are already talking about what they don’t like about them. And from what I am hearing, it’s about personality not qualifications. So, tell me this! What do you guys know about Mayors Summey and Tecklenburg that you can’t seem to live without? Do your research!! If you knew the truth you would stop selling your folk out. Stop listening to “naysayers” and get to know the candidates. Cast your vote for candidates that will provide services to all people and communities equitably. When you sell your vote, you sell your integrity. You are no longer recognized by your “good name.” Your new name becomes “Uncle Tom” or “Sell-Out.”
For several weeks, I have written about “Dark Money” and “Corruption in High Places.” I will continue to call folks out who use “dark money” for unfair advantages and who use dark money to keep dark folks in their “place.” Black/Brown candidates enter political races at a disadvantage. They enter races on a shoestring budget making it difficult but not impossible to compete with incumbents and “dark money.”
While the mayoral races are heating up, a reliable source provided more than 80 names of Charleston’s prominent high society donors that have allegedly given in excess of the state’s maximum $1,000 limit to a candidate’s campaign. Here are a few more on the list: Tommy Baker, Billy Barnwell, Carol Clement, Robert Clement, Gerald Kaynard, Anne Long, Vincent Marino, Roy Maybank, Sunju Patel, David Phillips, Mack Reese, Caroline Short, Carrie Kirk and Jennifer Mierras.