By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
Six members of the Isle of Palms City Council thought it would be a good idea to reduce the size of the Council from nine to seven. IOP residents apparently disagreed – and in a big way.
At a July 26 meeting, the Council voted by a 6-3 margin to approve on second and final reading an ordinance placing a referendum on the size of the Council on the Nov. 8 ballot. IOP voters soundly rejected the plan 1,790 to 749, according to scvotes. org. “I feel really good. The people have spoken,” said Council member Jimmy Ward, who, along with Council members Kevin Popson and Jan Anderson, voted against the referendum.
“They had a voice of unity. It was a huge victory for the people. They just didn’t want it. They came together and rejected it.”
“The folks behind it would never own it,” Ward added. “We never knew who they were and that really concerned a lot of people.” Popson said he was “obviously really pleased” with both the results of the referendum and the voter turnout. “I never understood where or why the movement to decrease the size of the Council originated,” Popson said, adding that he was not opposed to holding the referendum. “Councilman Ward made a really good point when he said any referendum should start with the people rather than the Council pushing it down on them.”
Voting to place the referendum on the ballot were Council members Rusty Streetman, Scott Pierce, Katie Miars, Blair Hahn, John Bogosian and Mayor Phillip Pounds. “The residents spoke loud and clear, so we will continue on,” Pounds commented. “It was important to have the conversation.” In precinct 1A, 448 voters opposed the change, while 187 were in favor of reducing the size of the Council. In precinct 1B, the count was 634-195 against the change; while in precinct 1C, opposed to the question prevailed 708-367.
IOP voters also helped propel Republican State Rep. Joe Bustos to another two-year term in Columbia. Bustos bested challenger Democrat David Artushin in precincts 1A, 1B and 1C, 448-189; 553-277; and 793- 337. On Sullivan’s Island, Bustos got 604 votes to 517 for Artushin.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Tim Scott won easily across the state and on the islands. He finished ahead of challenger Democrat Krystle Matthews in all three IOP precincts – 463-178; 575-264; and 800-333. On Sullivan’s Island, he won by a 643-478 count.
Incumbent District 1 U.S. Rep. Republican Nancy Mace won all three IOP precincts, 399-236; 503-331; and 735-402. Challenger Democrat Annie Andrews picked up 591 votes to Mace’s 547 on Sullivan’s Island.
In the governor’s race, incumbent Republican Henry McMaster won all three IOP precincts, 378-271; 473-364; and 697-437. Challenger Democrat Joe Cunningham came out on top on Sullivan’s Island, 623-517.