Taylor Brown: Assessing Richland County’s Latest Scandal

WHICH COUNCIL MEMBERS NEED TO GO? || By TAYLOR BROWN ||  Richland County Council is hopelessly compromised. Have you ever looked through its budget to see the “priorities” it funds? Have you noticed that certain self-serving projects of council members always seem to get funded, all too often at the…


taylor brown|| By TAYLOR BROWN ||  Richland County Council is hopelessly compromised. Have you ever looked through its budget to see the “priorities” it funds? Have you noticed that certain self-serving projects of council members always seem to get funded, all too often at the expense of issues that are legitimate public concerns?

The insider trading resulting from the penny sales tax debacle is just the latest incidence of graft. But it is a big one that will keep on fleecing midlands taxpayers for decades.

Kudos to Rick Reames and his staff at the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) for conducting a review of this program.  We can only hope that the proper authorities use this review as a base for further investigation(s) and vigorous prosecution(s) of any wrongdoing that is uncovered.  Hopefully, the investigation will be made public so taxpayers can learn all the sordid details.

In fact I hope at least one body of the S.C. General Assembly will hold a hearing into SCDOR’s finding, and take sworn testimony from Mr. Reames and his staff.

I, for one, would also like to hear sworn testimony from Richland County’s elected officials and the contractors in question – although I realize Christmas is over and this is just a fond wish.

So: What to do?

To start with, council should cancel all current contracts and rebid them to reputable firms, but let’s face it – that ain’t gonna happen. In checking with people familiar with the state procurement code, almost all contracts can be voided for the convenience of the governmental entity that bid out the contract in the first place.

In other words there is an easy answer to this problem, but will our elected leaders actually do anything about it? NO!

Sometimes to change policies you’ve got to change personnel – which is why I’ve compiled a list of county council members who need to go:

Norman Jackson: Anyone who has had to deal with this councilman comes away shaking their heads.  The words I hear most often? “Self-serving,” “untrustworthy,” “arrogant” and “ignorant.”  Not a good list.

Kelvin Washington:  He argued at at a recent community meeting that water flows uphill – really?  Do I need to say anymore? He and Jackson are reportedly trying to replace current county administrator Tony McDonald with a lackey who will do their bidding.

Joyce Dickerson: Bless her heart—I think she tries, and probably even believes, she is doing a good job. However, her gerrymandered district is too large and she is quite simply not up to the task of leading one of the largest counties in the state.

Julie Ann Dixon: As a victim of domestic violence, she has a compelling personal story.  Unfortunately, she’s a tool of Jackson’s – and just not up to the task of governing one of our state’s largest counties.

Paul Livingston: A careerist, Livingston exemplifies the Peter principle – in that he has risen to his own level of incompetence. He makes his living by working at Midlands Tech – and I do not for one second believe he would be in his current job were it not for the fact he is a local politico.

Are there any good guys on council?

Personally, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Damon Jeter.  He should be serving as chairman of the council, but consistently refuses the position because he has to make a living and does not want to serve as the chief referee of the nonsense that goes on.

I also want to like Seth Rose, but he too often will go along to get along instead of standing up for what he knows is the right thing to do.  Greg Pearce is the same way – but he’s old enough to know better.  That means he is either complicit in these shenanigans, or not paying attention. Neither of which is good.

And what about Jim Manning?  As I am running out of column space, you will have to wait for my thoughts on him.

But one thing is clear: Richland County needs new leaders if its taxpayers are to have confidence that their money is being spent wisely, efficiently and transparently.

Taylor Brown is a 20-something Wofford College graduate who somehow got sucked into politics at an early age.  She is easily won over with Rush’s fast food, wine, and spirited political arguments.


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Quietus December 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Kelvin Washington is a former Volunteer Fire chief that has tried on numerous occasions to gut the City/County fire service and turn all of the unincorporated sections of the county in to a piss-poor volunteer fire service with himself as chief. The stations that are combination paid/volunteer don’t have enough volunteers so why the heck does he think he can man the entire county with Volunteers? It doesn’t surprise me he thinks water flows up hill.

Fecal Matters December 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

What in the blue fuck is up with Jim Manning’s hair? I don’t trust anyone with a century and a half old hair style.

Nathan Hale December 30, 2015 at 1:24 pm

That’s not Jim Manning. We’ve secretly replaced him with Gary Spivey.

jimlewisowb December 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

The Cockroach body can survive decapitation of its head.

Disappointingly the decapitated Cockroach head can thrive too, waving its antennae back and forth for several hours until it runs out of steam.

Sadly if given nutrients and placed in a cold environment, a Cockroach head can last even longer.

Therefore if one wishes to make any significant changes with the Columbia City Council Cockroaches, one must isolated the little buggers and stomp the shit out of them.

Fuckin’ Cockroaches

shifty henry December 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Jim, I do like your style ..!!

Mike at the Beach December 30, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Ya know, your cockroach analogy works at just about every damn level… ;-)

Yelsewh December 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Livingston is tried from MTC.

Kik December 30, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Richland county government lives by the motto #govt thugs stealing money.

? December 30, 2015 at 2:04 pm

What about Malinowski? Didn’t he vote to spend 2.5 million on 2 acres of lake property in his district even though council admits they are not sure what they will do with it?

Ralph Hightower December 30, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Nothing has changed with Richland County Council. I lived in Richland County from 1977 to 1987 when we moved to Lexington County.

Max December 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Damon jeter is a corrupt self serving p.o.s.!

For example an article from the free times on the biggest corrupt investigation that involved public officials in video poker and jeter is just one of them. And you think he should be chairman. Hell no!, he should not even be on council.

“Richland County Councilman Damon Jeter, for instance, is registered as a lobbyist for the sweepstakes game company Magic Minutes and has voted not to interfere with sweepstakes cafés popping up in Columbia.”

“Richland County Councilman Damon Jeter. It turns out Jeter was on the payroll of sweepstakes promoter Magic Minutes, even while arguing for their position before County Council and failing to disclose that relationship until it was discovered by the news media.”

Lone Ranger December 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Sticks and stones will yet break their bones because every HONEST voter figgas

After T-Bone—Diamond Jim—Darrell & McBride—it’s a thugocracy run by… !!!

Toyota Kawaski January 4, 2016 at 8:40 am

Great!… someone got a new typewriter for X-mas. Now get a dam clue

TrikkiNikki January 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Jim Manning is a moron who all too often forgets to get a haircut. Considering Forest Acres/Decker Blvd isn’t getting much in the way of road improvements except for some minor streetscaping, I don’t think he has any idea what’s going on.

TrikkiNikki January 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

Glad to see at least one of these asshats get on the hot seat….for not paying their taxes which I find hilarious since I did the same thing a few years ago. Wonder how much ICA paid county council to let them win the $50 million contract to oversee the penny tax program? Surely this will come out here soon.


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