From the Isle of Palms Magazine, Winter/Spring 2017- 18, Bell’s quote, “he sees no future in politics for himself beyond his current four-year term…. I have no intention of running again at this point.” The Sept. 3 filing deadline has come and gone. For those that have the courage, desire, and commitment to serve our city, good luck and congratulations. You are certainly in for an education and experience of a lifetime. There are rules of governance that most newly elected officials are unaware exist. Councilmember statements and positions are of public record despite what social media pundits believe to be true. Your newfound friend and potential foe will be the Freedom of Information Act, aka FOIA. Across all political spectrums personal affronts and attacks will come when your position doesn’t equate to the noise of a few. The silent majority will remain silent.
Opponents will disregard discoverable and recorded truths. The duty to abide by the rules of governance and fiscal accountability may be labeled personal. The ability to introduce factbased articulate debate that influences majority opinions may be labelled “bullying.” As a Councilmember, you are still but one of nine votes. You may be attacked online by non-residents such as the dynamic duo of Florida’s Canadian keyboard coward and the Spanish conquistador Guillermo.
Support and supportive communities engage in respectful dialogue. Some might even opt to speak directly with their elected officials (assuming they live here) and engage in productive discussion utilizing the process of governance to influence and shape ideas. Community support is not defined by the idle and silent witness of baseless social media attacks directed at elected officials and/or their families.
Unfortunately, we live in a reality where non-resident village idiots roam free to display cowardice to those foolish enough to follow. Advice to the new candidates, simply ignore this ever-decreasing circle of influence. The days of “good old boy governance” has been and will continue to be replaced with candidates that care every bit as much about this community as those that dwell in the past.
Accomplishments are not measured by how long you have lived on the island, or how long you have served on Council. Spending eight years in high school does not make you the valedictorian, nor does 20 years of poor decision making while serving on Council. Voting records become public truths and your legacy. These truths live in the poorly written marina leases, the tragic former condition of our Public Safety Building, and the failure to act on critical drainage infrastructure.
These represent but a few of the legacy inheritances served on a platter to this outgoing Council. Add to the list the challenges inherent in COVID-19 and the 30-plus special meetings conducted to protect this community. Within the boundaries of law, governance, and our collective abilities, the above have been addressed by Mayor Carroll’s Council during the current four-year term.
Strap in and enjoy the journey. It’s a long but worthwhile ride.
Isle of Palms