By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
Five more candidates have been added to the slate for the Nov. 2 Isle of Palms election, bringing to 10 the number of local residents seeking seats on the IOP City Council and setting the stage for a three-way battle for the mayor’s position. Jan Anderson, S. Bryan Stevens, Nadine Deif and Edwin Boyle have filed the proper paperwork with the South Carolina Election Commission, joining John Bogosian, Blair Hahn, Katie Miars, Jeffrey Rubin, Alex Skatell and Andrew Vega in the crowded race for four spots on the Council. Meanwhile, Joshua Hooser is now running for mayor against two current Council members, Ryan Buckhannon and Phillip Pounds. Buckhannon’s term on the Council will expire this year, but, if Pounds is victorious, there will be a special election to fill the remaining two years of the fouryear term he captured in 2019. Incumbent Council Members Susan Hill Smith and John Moye have chosen not to seek re-election. Randy Bell, who did not respond to text messages concerning his political plans, did not file for re-election by the Sept. 3 deadline.
Mayor Jimmy Carroll will retire after serving in the position for four years. Hooser, an attorney who earned degrees in political science, communications and Spanish at the College of Charleston and graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, said he is ready to use his education and experience with businesses and nonprofits as mayor of the Isle of Palms. “I want nothing more than this island to succeed, and I feel blessed by God to be in a position to help,” he said. He pointed out that he considers rapid development on and off the island to be the major issue facing the residents of the Isle of Palms, adding that “we must strictly follow the law when it comes to basic governing principles such as responding to public records requests, managing city-owned property and selecting crucial positions like the fire chief.” Anderson, who has focused on traffic and parking issues as a city planner for the past four decades, has earned degrees in urban planning and civil and mechanical engineering. She pointed out that part of the job of advising municipalities is “explaining to communities the reason for the project and gaining their acceptance.” “You don’t always get their approval, but I usually got them to understand the reasoning,” she said. “In particular, I have worked closely with departments of transportation and understand their way of thinking.” A Lowcountry native, Anderson has lived on the Isle of Palms since 2012. She cited traffic and parking; the city’s sewer system; quality of life; and securing funding to improve drainage, support local businesses and enhance public safety as the most important issues facing the island. “I believe that an effective city government develops solutions unique to our needs, then spends our funds wisely to meet those needs,” she said. As a longtime visitor and, for the past two years, a full-time resident of the Isle of Palms, Stevens said he is focused on “preserving the characteristics and features of this beautiful island community while carefully and thoughtfully balancing this with growth and further development demands.” Stevens said his experience in financial services, with the federal government and on nonprofit boards would all contribute to his success as a member of the IOP Council. He also pointed out that the Council should limit the practice of meeting behind closed doors. “Our municipal government should only leverage executive session when necessary and in the best interest of the community it serves,” he commented. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Stevens is a graduate of Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He currently serves on the Island Turtle Patrol Team. Deif, a founding board member and chairman of a public charter school, agreed that the current Council might have overused the privilege of going into executive session.
“Unless it’s to seek legal advice on personnel or contractual matters, Council should have most discussions in open session,” she said. “Citizens need to understand how and why motions arise and understand the reasoning behind them.” She added that the Isle of Palms needs to get along better with nearby cities and the county and state as well, pointing out that “we can work together as we have always done in the past to ensure that our island is safe, enjoyable and peaceful.”
In addition to transparent government and restoring relationships with other government entities, Deif cited the city’s sewer system and maintaining the balance between residential and short term rental homes as issues that should be addressed by the new Council. Deif, who has earned a bachelor’s in economics and an MBA, has lived on the island since 2003. In choosing not to seek reelection, Smith released the following statement: “While grateful to have served on Isle of Palms City Council the past four years, I am going to sit this election cycle out. This is a life-balance decision that should give me more time for family during my youngest child’s high school years and other priorities that include work and serving as a leader of the volunteer group Isle of Palms Cleanup Crew as we strive to solve pollution problems. I am glad to see a strong field of Council candidates running, including those who can represent young families, which is important to protecting the island’s character and its future. That made my decision easier.”
Note: Isle of Palms City Council candidate Edwin Boyle could not be reached by the time of this article’s publication.