Columbia SC: “Strong Mayor” Lost?

This website didn’t get too exercised about the city of Columbia, S.C.’s recent election over whether to adopt a “strong mayor” system of government (as opposed to the “council manager” system, in which power is vested in a city council). We published one article that was critical of the “strong…

This website didn’t get too exercised about the city of Columbia, S.C.’s recent election over whether to adopt a “strong mayor” system of government (as opposed to the “council manager” system, in which power is vested in a city council).

We published one article that was critical of the “strong mayor” plan, and one letter to the editor opposing it. And trust us … we were yawning on both occasions.

We opted against wasting energy on the issue because a) there’s more important stuff to cover, b) Columbia, S.C. is hopelessly screwed and c) we were 100 percent sure that “strong mayor” was going to pass in a landslide.

A funny thing happened on Tuesday, though …

By a margin of 57-43 percent, “strong mayor” got trounced by Columbia, S.C. voters – who less than a month ago overwhelmingly reelected its chief proponent, corrupt mayor Steve Benjamin, to a second term in office.

Confusing, right? Right …

What happened?

We’re not sure, exactly …

“Strong mayor” supporters spent more than $500,000 pushing the plan, while opponents spent barely $25,000 (most of it on yard signs Benjamin supporters plucked up almost as soon as they appeared).

“A very strong message has been sent, and now we see so many valleys crossed, friendships and alliances made,” community activist Joe Azar wrote after the votes came in. “We are now truly becoming one people, hand in hand, to create a better city.”

In addition to a stinging defeat for Benjamin, the rejection of “strong mayor” was a defeat for Nikki Haley – who weighed in on its behalf in the waning hours of the election.

It was also a major loss for Columbia’s crony capitalist community and for the consulting empire of Richard Quinn and Associates – both of which were pushing the measure. And let’s not forget the far leftists at The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, who breathlessly promoted “strong mayor” in numerous editorials and “news” stories.


The “little guys.” Oh, and Eva Moore of The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times, one of the only investigative print journalists left in the city who did some solid work on the issue.

Again … we didn’t really care much about this issue (our founding editor is likely to move out of Columbia, S.C. in the coming months), but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t gratifying to watch the city’s entrenched, corrupt establishment suffer a setback.

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GrandTango December 4, 2013 at 8:03 am


The State newspaper, liberals, racists, FITS and the Liberal-Tarians got REAMED by the people on this one. Hahahahahahahahahaha….You got your @$$#$ KICKED!!!!!

Gives me hope that there is still a chance for us……Despite the disaster of Obama and Co.

When the Elitists and the Establishment get REJECTED by the people…it’s VERY good…

Detroit is $18 Billion in debt…and Columbia was trying to mimic that Obama-like method of rule by Hate and Revenge…Eff-you @$$-holes. You lost….Hahahaha…The people still do matter….

CorruptionInColumbia December 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

I don’t think Libertarians supported the “strong-mayor” concept and the obscene increase in pay it would have given Benjamin for being an even bigger crook than he already is.

GrandTango December 4, 2013 at 8:58 am

FITS, is the face of the Liberal-Tarian Party. I think even the liberals, who sip upon FITS inch-worm, would admit his silence on Strong-Mayor is an endorsement given his penchant for such high-profile local issues.

And when Haley sided w/ Benjamin and the left, it was a SLAM DUNK for FITS to T-off…but where was he?

That said: Now that Liberalism is being realized as a total and very dangerous failure by the once easily-led….the left has begun a strategy of incorporating (or duping) third-party Liberal-Tarian Party spoilers to secure democrat victory (see Virginia.)

Haley, at her worst is a Liberal-Tarian, and her support for Strong-Mayor could be turning an easy re-election victory into a struggle….

We better be wary of being duped by the Stupid again.

vicupstate December 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

Kit Smith and numerous Democrats led the vote No campaign.

GrandTango December 4, 2013 at 10:00 am

Textbook leftwinger…you run from what you are, as soon as it crashes and burns (like it always does.)

You liberals got the $#!* kicked out of you…no matter if you can find some anomaly to try and deny it.

Just like: You are still Chugging Obama’s D!*k on ObamaCare while telling us the economy is improving. And blaming it on Bush at the same time…

You are Corrupt liars.. You suck and fail…then lie your @$$#$ off. You make Nixon look like a Choirboy. You need your @$$#$ kicked for what you have done to our country…You worthless piece of $#!t…

SCBlueWoman December 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

A large group of liberals were against this law. They worked tirelessly to see it defeated. Dumbass.!

Jay Ellington December 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

A coworker of mine was out to dinner last night with an entire table full of white libtards that all voted YES. I suspect because they all think that by doing so they are pacifying their white guilt. I guarantee, the same ones bragging about their YES votes last night have developed a case of the STFUs today.

Hamburger Jones December 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Wow, that’s one big fat study group! I’m sure a tabe full of blacks folks voted no someplace.

Jay Ellington December 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I’m sure, what’s your point?

I'm With Stupid?? December 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

Dude, you’re drunk, high, and/or stupid. NONE of my
liberal friends supported a strong. Haley sure as hell did, dumbass.

FudgePackerAtChocolateMonkey December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

Now Tango, don’t let yourself get upset. We’re having dinner at Lindsey’s again tonight and you don’t want to stir up your indigestion. You always enjoy sucking the Santorum out of his ass after his boy toys have pounded him from behind all day.

John Boy December 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Epic fail there, GT! As Papa Walton used to say, “Your dumb bow-legged ass couldn’t pen a hog in a ditch!”

Carls Jr December 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Agree with you that Haley sucks and is the worst governor in the U.S. We have the biggest failure in the White House and the biggest in the governor’s mansion. Two, unqualified “stars”, one made by the media and the other by the moron from Alaska, have risen. While one won re-election, we can stop the other. So agree with you on how bad Haley is.
What I don’t totally agree is on the thinking this should be an easy re-election. In a place where people think before they vote, she would never survive the primary. She is by far, the worst and cares nothing about you or the state of South Carolina. What do you expect form a tater?
But, I say I dont totally agree, because, again, you are correct…it should be easy b/c the low-information, tea-bagging, sheeple who make up the electorate in SC. will vote for her.
Don’t be fooled again. Loftis 2014

Prez Perry December 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

Idiot Boy strikes again.

Thomas December 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

va te faire foutre Benjamin

El Kabong December 4, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hopefully Haley will be handed a “shocking defeat” in 2014.

You know me December 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

Yes, she and her brood will be evicted from the mansion in 1014. Hey Michelle, you might want to start job hunting.

snickering January 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Insurance too.

jimlewisowb December 4, 2013 at 8:25 am


Teresa Wilson who had eggs over light, grits, hash browns, biscuit, coffee and a big fat T Bone for breakfast this morning

Quite a role reversal for “The” Mayor whose reputation of getting black ass will now be highlighted with him kissing black ass

CorruptionInColumbia December 4, 2013 at 8:32 am

I was totally shocked and pleasantly surprised at the outcome of this. Unfortunately, Benjamin was already making noises last night about how they were going to run this through again. There should be some kind of law on the books whereby something put up for referendum could not be run through for a while, say at least four years. The Benjaminites are going to do what they did with the “penny sales tax” in RichCo and run it through again, just having better numbers for their ballot-box-stuffers to use.

The crooks in Lexington County such as Johnny Jeffcoat, Bill Banning, and Debbie Summers, will likewise probably have the ballot boxes stuffed on the first go-round for a penny tax in LexCo. They are watching and learning.

vicupstate December 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

By law, it can’t be voted on again for four years.

CorruptionInColumbia December 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

Vic, I haven’t sat down and confirmed it yet, but didn’t the Richland County “penny tax” get voted on (AND passed), two years or fewer, later?

Charlemagne, King of France December 4, 2013 at 9:43 am

the law is only for municipal referendums to change government types

CorruptionInColumbia December 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

Ah, Thank You for the clarification, Charlemagne!

venomachine December 4, 2013 at 8:35 am

I bet T-bone threw a hissy fit when ‘his’ fantasy crashed and burned.

CorruptionInColumbia December 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

Damn! Now he will have to wait before signing on that new beach condo, yacht, Beemer, or whatever he was going to spend it on.

Mike at the Beach December 4, 2013 at 8:56 am

Wow, I too assumed this thing would pass by some silly margin like 70% or better. The only thing I can figure is that the knucklehead, low-information “Benjamin base” just didn’t care or understand what a power grab this could have been and stayed home, while more educated/informed voters came out and voted. In off-cycle elections (especially at the municipal level) small groups can have an outsized impact. I’ll have to look at the turnout numbers…

Three cheers for democracy December 4, 2013 at 10:48 am

Yep, his base stayed home to smoke crack, put away a few beers, and take some street walkers to pound town. After such a long day, they are never getting out to vote for something that doesn’t even put money in their pockets.

Jay Ellington December 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Community organizers blew their gas money, Walmart gift cards and alcohol rewards bussing Benjamin constituents to the polls for the mayoral race. That’s why Tbone was stomping his feet when it didn’t get added to the earlier vote. He knew what he was up against, common sense on the part of the citizens that voted NO and typical apathy on behalf of registered voters that would have voted YES because that’s what the ministers and deacons in their churches told them to do at last Sunday’s service.

rwwllms December 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

I thank God every day for not being a resident of Columbia/Richland County.

NOOO Tbone Emperor December 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

I bet ole Tbone the narcissist roughed his wife up a little last night, cursed at his kids, called in all types of revenge on Mrs. Devine, and started his next phase of diabolical takeover. Like a grumpy baby.

That’s the thing about narcissistic sociopaths, they never give up.

Fortunately, on this day, the evil bastard has been served a healthy setback, This will protect the people of Columbia from his corrupt agenda for a little while, at least.

Nice work, Joe Azar and others. The people of Columbia have no idea what a debt of gratitude they owe you. You have literally protected us from a monster.

Vote NO on Benjamins self serving power hungry agenda.

Dan December 4, 2013 at 11:15 am

Narcissistic sociopath? What’s Jean Toal got to do with this issue??

jimlewisowb December 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

Dear Mrs. T Bone

Sorry your dreams of being a Queen 2 were shattered last night.

It does appear you have put your saddle on a gelding. He looks good, trots good, eats and shits good but in the final analysis he is one dumb piece of shit

thanks for your time and next time you have Brunch with Teresa give her a hug from me

jimlewis, owb

miss suzanne December 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

Lesson learned…never accept a Haley endorsement. Just ask Romney.

? December 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

“We are now truly becoming one people, hand in hand, to create a better city.”

What percentage of deluded individuals residing in Columbia actually believe this?

scotty December 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

One has wonder what scheme T-Bone is working on to make up for the loss of a $200,000 salary? Could he have his operatives in the Bull St honey pot?

Adam F December 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

I tried my best Steve…can I still suck your sausage?

Jay Ellington December 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Is this Cameron Runyan?

miss suzanne December 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

Is this nimrata? Who in the hell names their kid nimrata?

Steve December 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

This should be viewed as a referendum on Steve Benjamin. He might have gotten re-elected (because of who he ran against) but in no way does anyone in the city trust him or believe he is clean. Why create a strong mayor system of government when we all think the mayor is going to get busted for something (gambling, housing schemes, banging employees).

Of course, the sad part is Teresa Wilson still has a job.

GrandTango December 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Could this be a signal of the more and more evident schism between blacks and whites in the democrat party???..The white liberals are now saying they side w/ the winners against a high-powered black mayor…

I think democrats are LOCKED-IN to presenting a black candidate, or the cheaters and multiple voters that put Obama in office, will stay home…and the democrats will lose presidential elections…

The left has abused the (more tan willing) black community…it’s that deal w/ the Devil now coming back to bite the corrupt democrat party, and racist-selfish black leftwing voters???

I'm With Stupid?? December 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Lawd, haven’t you embarrassed yourself enough for one day??

GrandTango December 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

And are you still an ignorant mother-f*#k#* who really never comes up w/ an original thought, but opposes everything not fed to you by your puppet-masters…and you always look like a failed, F*#kin Dumb@$$….trying to suck my D!*k because you have none of your own???

Lee Majors December 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm

In case you’ve missed it, you’re the laughing stock of this thread.

President Perry December 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Koo Koo Cuccinelli blows it and Christie sticks it up your ass. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Once again, old GT is a loser. Being wrong and on the losing side never gets old for you, does it?

Citizen December 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

It’s odd to me how happy some of you are. Now you get the same city government that brought you gross financial misfeasance and debt and the joke that is the police department. The same people that elected Benjamin were against this because they didn’t want their personal fiefdoms to lose control. Now you have the same incompetent city government, an unqualified city manager who runs down tom5 Points to protect Lonnie Randolph but won’t let the police run out the gangs. Congratulations. When everyone is responsible no one is. That is what we have. You can’t vote Wilson or most of these other fools out of office. You could vote a mayor out.

smargolis December 5, 2013 at 8:25 am

Well McBride must not have gotten the word to make sure to fix this election as well

josephazar December 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

To clear the air:
1-people of all sides, black, white, Dem, GOP, lib, conservative, Blue collar, white collar, preacher, sinner, etc. etc. were all on the winning side in this as all agreed the issue and those behind it did not have Columbia’s best interest at heart;
2-everyone in council and city government has been put on notice that we, the citizens are watching and care, and will take action;
3-BJ’s salary has been increased to $75,000, which is greater than Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, and other cities of our size and type, yet there is no need to increase it, especially as BJ said he would give half of his salary up, but only did it for his first year;
4-Sheheen also endorsed BJ and the issue, making robo calls, which angered the GOP as much as Haley did the Dems, so some of us plan to vote for the third party candidate, no matter who;
5-the coalition that came together to win this was a group of very strange bedfellows, ones that have fiercely opposed each other for decade, yet found a common ground with each other and an understanding of each other as never before.

Though I could write pages more, the good that has come from this and the working connections of citizens through this has brought our city up a notch or two. Now there is a network of citizens who care and are willing to work together should our political leaders attempt to run over us and take advantage of us.

It’s wonderful!

Joseph Azar


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