Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

emerging.me

Mayor Pitches Governing Changes

Recommended Posts


Sherlock Holmes Pub Still in the Dark

(Columbia) Jan. 3, 2004 - Even the legendary sleuth would have a hard time solving this one: will the Sherlock Holmes Pub ever re-open? Owner Dexter Cooper would like to know,"June 23rd, we closed and we're still closed."

The underground pub had to shut down after chunks of concrete fell from the steel support beams that were holding up the sidewalk up on Main Street. Cooper and his wife hoped that the city would be able to help out with the necessary repairs, especially since the city was in the process of streetscaping Main anyway.

The streetscape project did not include fixing the support beams. Cooper says it's a missed opportunity, "The machines were here. They could have fought over who was going to pay for it later. This was before the building got sold. They could've had it fixed by now. And we could've been open."

The building is the Palmetto Building above the pub. Developer Rick Patel wants to turn it into a 112 room hotel, "We're looking at about a year to 16 months."

In August, Patel told News 10 the renovation would save the Sherlock Holmes. Now, he's indicating the pub might be getting in the way, "A few issues, especially the basement issue."

The city isn't offering much hope either. A few months ago, the city attorney decided the portion of the pub under Main had been operating for free on a public right of way. He recommended the city reclaim the land.

Cooper is telling customers the mayor and council "haven't found time" to deal with the situation.

Dozens like Jason Watkins have signed petitions asking the city to help the pub re-open, "If you take a look at this landscape, everything's done except for this one little hole right here."

Whether Watkins and other loyal customers ever get their pub back remains a mystery.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I inserted this post from another thread to illustrate my point of view on the issue of Columbia's form of government.

THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT AS MUCH AS IT IS THE BONE-HEADED MAYOR AND COUNCIL!!!

:angry:

The Sherlock Holmes Pub is a great urban space. For those of you that have not seen it, just imagine a smaller version of the set from the TV show "Cheers". I would eat lunch there from time to time when I lived in Columbia. The food was decent and reasonable and the atmosphere could not be found anywhere else in Columbia, or many other places for that matter.

That space has been in use as a restaurant/pub for as long as I can remember. Now, because of a bunch of bureaucratic/political BS, this small business which gave employment and provided a service, has been closed for months, and may never reopen. And for what purpose? Undoubtedly all the patrons have found new eateries or watering holes. Probably somewhere in the 'burbs! Even if it reopens, the owners will have to rebuild their clientele from square one. And for what purpose?

If the city has neglected to 'collect rent' since probably the 1920's on this place, isn't the city at least partly to blame? As I see it, the pub owner has squater's rights by now. Besides we are only talking about a small strip of land UNDER the sidewalk. It is of no value to anyone else except the pub owner. Maybe the city thinks that by closing the pub, they can now lease out the small part of it that is under the sidewalk. This is my suggestion for a advertisement:

FOR LEASE:

Approximately 75 square feet available underneath crumbling sidewalk. Excellent income potential as nightly rental to the numerous homeless in the area. Includes four restaurant booths perfect for homeless accomodations. Forward inquiries to the City of Columbia.

That city attorney should be shot, why not give the pub owner a permanent easement in exchange for him paying the cost of fixing the sidewalk. How about the city helping the guy get a loan for the expenses, similiar to the fascade loans that the city has available?

How can the city ever expect Main Street to draw new merchants when they won't even help keep the few merchants they have in business?

Dan Rickenman is a small business restauranteur that won by by running against the city's boneheadedness, what does he have to say about all this?

I also question where the new building owner's head is. Doesn't he think his clients would like a convenient place to get a meal or a drink? I guess they are suppose to get their booze at the same liquor store as the homeless. At least there are plenty of the homeless to give directions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that as long as the mayor is sensible the mayor-council would abe a good choice. It does say that the council looses some power. The question is what powers do they loose, and what does the mayor gain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that as long as the mayor is sensible the mayor-council would abe a good choice. It does say that the council looses some power. The question is what powers do they loose, and what does the mayor gain?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Currently the mayor has one of seven votes on the council. Under the strong mayor government, the mayor could singlehandedly veto anything that the council approved.

Greenville currently has a council-manager government and it works fine. The problem is Coble himself and the lazy do-nothing council. Nobody thought the city government needed to be changed when Kirk Findley was mayor of Columbia. If Coble can't convince three members of council to buy into his ideas, then they must not be very good ones. Buying USC a baseball stadium is one that comes right to mind.

Coble needs to stop looking for excuses and start *&%## leading!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I like the idea of the mayor being a separate entity. Separation of powers and all:)

Does anyone think that Coble's days are numbered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I like the idea of the mayor being a separate entity. Separation of powers and all:)

Does anyone think that Coble's days are numbered?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The only separation I'm concerned with is separating Coble from the mayor's office. Yes, Coble's days are definitely numbered IF a strong candidate runs. My queston to the forum is - Who should run for mayor against Coble.

Some of my choices...

1) Clone Joe Riley - mayor of Charleston

2) Clone Knox White - mayor of Greenville

3) Any promenient and successful businessman

4) Ex-state rep Tim Rogers, although I have a strong biase against having another lawyer on council.

5) Luther Battiste, although he is an ex-city councilman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Clone Joe Riley - mayor of Charleston

2) Clone Knox White - mayor of Greenville

LOL :rofl:

I haven't been here long enough to know any prominent people that would make good candidates. It seems outwardly that Coble does ok. He did get Meridian built...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The State has a little update about this subject. A survey was conducted in which it was discovered that of those polled, 60% of Columbians favor a strong mayoral system of city governement. 60% were also in favor of a Columbia/Richland County consolidation; however, this is coming from Columbians only, not non-Columbia Richland County residents. "Former Columbia Mayor Patton Adams, chairman of the restructuring commission, said he was intrigued by the interest in consolidation. Adams said he has an open mind on consolidation but provisions in state law make the option impractical." (As a sidebar, I also brought this last point up in relation to the possible Gaffney/Cherokee County consolidation.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though the city of Columbia and Richland County are separate entities, I really don't think there is much difference in the mind set from the county population to city population. In Richland, county and city seem to "think" alike meaning that if about 60% of Columbia thought consolidation was a good idea then probablly about 55% of Richland Co. would be in favor of consolidation (JMO). I would definately anticipate pockets of resistance in places like Blythewood, RNE, and of course Forest Acres.

Consolidation would be pretty cool though, that would make the city population on point with it's peer metros such as Knoxville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Lexington and such. These cities all have "proper" populations of around 200K+ but MSA at or above 600K but less than 1million.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though the city of Columbia and Richland County are separate entities, I really don't think there is much difference in the mind set from the county population to city population. In Richland, county and city seem to "think" alike meaning that if about 60% of Columbia thought consolidation was a good idea then probablly about 55% of Richland Co. would be in favor of consolidation (JMO). I would definately anticipate pockets of resistance in places like Blythewood, RNE, and of course Forest Acres.

Consolidation would be pretty cool though, that would make the city population on point with it's peer metros such as Knoxville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Lexington and such. These cities all have "proper" populations of around 200K+ but MSA at or above 600K but less than 1million.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would disagree, only slightly, in that the perception of those in the county as it relates to joining the city would be one of higher taxes in exchange for minimal increase in services...at least that was always the mindset I ways exposed to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though the city of Columbia and Richland County are separate entities, I really don't think there is much difference in the mind set from the county population to city population. In Richland, county and city seem to "think" alike meaning that if about 60% of Columbia thought consolidation was a good idea then probablly about 55% of Richland Co. would be in favor of consolidation (JMO). I would definately anticipate pockets of resistance in places like Blythewood, RNE, and of course Forest Acres.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Lower Richland would not be infavor of this at all.

Generally with consolidations, the existing cities stay in existance, so Forest Acre's only problem would be the lack of ability to annex. I think it is concievable to do a quasi-merger like Charlotte-Mecklenburg did.

I would disagree, only slightly,  in that the perception of those in the county as it relates to joining the city would be one of higher taxes in exchange  for minimal increase in services...at least that was always the mindset I ways exposed to.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Most likely they would set up some ssort of tax zone set up, so if you are in a rural area like Blythewood or Lower Richland you would have a "rural" tax zone, and when the area becomes urbanized (by whatever qualifications they choose) the area woudl be shifted into an urban tax zone, which would be higher to reflect the services they consume.

It coudl also be done based on ther services used. The more you use, the higher your taxes would be. I don't see why taxes would need to change at all outside of making them fit in with the City's code.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of taxes, here's what one Columbia resident had to say about water taxes:

Combine county, city for uniform water fees

There is no doubt that water rates are too high for both city and county residents.

But, in all of the discussions, I have yet to see anyone mention that city residents pay city taxes and county taxes, so for county residents to pay the same for water as city residents would not be fair.

One reader suggested that County Council could increase taxes on city residents to help offset the increase in what county residents pay for water.

A better idea would be for county residents to become residents of the city (or one governmental unit) and pay taxes to that entity, and then everyone could pay the same rate for water.

Seems like there are some folks who think logically about this whole situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I like the idea of the mayor being a separate entity. Separation of powers and all:)

Does anyone think that Coble's days are numbered?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

His days should be numbered. He has been the mayor of this town for TOO long. Is he trying to create his own dynasty or something? If he is, I think he'll beat the Ming Dynasty in the number of years in office.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point. Coble has been in office since at least '92. I don't think he's a bad mayor, but I do think it's about time for some fresh blood to come into the picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point. Coble has been in office since at least '92. I don't think he's a bad mayor, but I do think it's about time for some fresh blood to come into the picture.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No he's not a bad mayor, but change is good. We don't live in a monarchy society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Editorial forr Strong Mayor government for Cola

I have made my views on this known several times on this site, so I won't address my disagreement with the editors argument. However, I do find it ridiculous how they seem to make Columbia's government sound totally unique and unworkable.

Maybe someone should inform them that the council-manager form of government is quite common. Greenville has it, as does Charlotte. Hundreds of other cities of all sizes do as well. Sumter SC was the first city to adopt it, BTW.

Somehow those cities seem to manage just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happens when you get a totally ineffective city manager (charlie austin) and there is no way for the people of the city to get rid of him? He has added layers and layers of management since he has taken over as city manager and nobody is responsible for anything! My few dealings with the him and the city government have been extremely frustrated and there is no vision set forth for the city. Maybe the system would work with an effective city manager but it doesn't when you have one that adds to layers of government and nobody can make a damn decision without the oh powerful ones blessings. He has bogged down progress of this city and is totally worthless.

Editorial forr Strong Mayor government for Cola

I have made my views on this known several times on this site, so I won't address my disagreement with the editors argument.  However, I do find it ridiculous how they seem to make Columbia's government sound totally unique and unworkable. 

Maybe someone should inform them that the council-manager form of government is quite common.  Greenville has it, as does Charlotte.  Hundreds of other cities of all sizes do as well.  Sumter SC was the first city to adopt it, BTW.

Somehow those cities seem to manage just fine.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happens when you get a totally ineffective city manager (charlie austin) and there is no way for the people of the city to get rid of him?  He has added layers and layers of management since he has taken over as city manager and nobody is responsible for anything!  My few dealings with the him and the city government have been extremely frustrated and there is no vision set forth for the city.  Maybe the system would work with an effective city manager but it doesn't when you have one that adds to layers of government and nobody can make a damn decision without the oh powerful ones blessings.  He has bogged down progress of this city and is totally worthless.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If the city manager is ineffective, then the responsiblity lies with the Mayor and council to remedy the situation. They can tell him to ship up or ship out. There is no guarantee a "strong mayor" will be effective either. If he/she isn't effective, you are stuck with them until the next election. A city manager can be fired in one day.

As for vision, that should be provided by elected officials, primarily the Mayor. It is the city manager's job as an administrator to carry out that vision on a day-to-day basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happens when you get a totally ineffective city manager (charlie austin) and there is no way for the people of the city to get rid of him?  He has added layers and layers of management since he has taken over as city manager and nobody is responsible for anything!  My few dealings with the him and the city government have been extremely frustrated and there is no vision set forth for the city.  Maybe the system would work with an effective city manager but it doesn't when you have one that adds to layers of government and nobody can make a damn decision without the oh powerful ones blessings.  He has bogged down progress of this city and is totally worthless.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow, I think that's the first scathing critique I've read about Charles Austin, ever. Maybe I'm missing something since I don't actually live in the city??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are two opinion columns from the The State, one in favor of the current council-manager system of municipal government and one in favor of the proposed strong-mayor form. Both make good points, but I lean towards the strong-mayor form. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outside of Charlotte and Raleigh, I wasn't aware that any of those other cities were "regularly cited as the best in America." Furthermore, Raleigh seems to me to be a city with a very suburban mindset; many of the area's best developments and attractions aren't even located downtown (e.g., RBC Center, Centennial Campus, RTP). They're getting growth, but a good bit of it is sprawl. I'm not exactly sure how the council-manager system of municipal government figures into the city's situation, though; I just wanted to make that point.

Furthermore, I believe that the strong mayor-council form of government has been responsible for the unprecedented growth and development of at least one city that the council-manager system hasn't yet repeated: Atlanta. Its success came about because of the adequate and capable leadership of several mayors, including the late Maynard Jackson, who were aggressive in overseeing the city's growth (even in spite of much of it being sprawl). Personally, I think that at this point in time, that's exactly what Columbia needs.

I am still convinced that, while the council-manager system isn't exactly worthless in Columbia, a strong-mayor form of government should still be seriously considered. Here's another editorial from The State that reinforces this idea. Here's a good excerpt:

While progress could be made under the council-manager structure, the odds are against it. In some instances, quick, crucial decisions will have to be made. Council-manager works counter to that. It dilutes power and accountability, leaving no one in charge to make tough decisions or take responsibility. Many initiatives and issues get delayed or fall through the cracks.

Give the article a read. Good stuff if you ask me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.