The upside of adopting a more efficient, accountable governing structure that would better serve citizens and help the city realize potential it has sat on for years far outweighs the possible drawbacks.
A Day in the Life
On December 3rd the city of Columbia will vote on implementing Mayor Steve Benjamin as the first 'strong-mayor' of Columbia.
Election Day is less than a week away and there's no doubt we have the momentum going into the campaign's final days.
Your yard sign or bumper sticker is just a few clicks away. Show your support for Mayor Steve Benjamin's re-election campaign by getting one today.
I'm proud of the progress we are making in building a safer city, creating jobs, improving education and providing a high quality of life for our citizens. But recent news has helped to demonstrate that the present "weak mayor" system of governance in Columbia is outdated and structurally flawed. Like all Columbians, I'm frustrated by how long it takes to get things done.
As you know, public safety has and continues to be my top priority in the City of Columbia and, while we've made real progress over the past several years, a number of recent high-profile incidents have further demonstrated the need for continued focus and action.
Today, after 10 years of widespread community discussion and nearly three years of intense negotiation and significant media coverage, we finally have a development agreement for Bull Street that will create more than 11,000 new jobs and more than $1.2 billion in new annual economic activity and generate $20 million in new revenue for our schools and local governments to serve our citizens.
In late January, I was in Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in January, and talked about some of the ways cities are coping with federal budget issues at the local level. Topics included local tax structures, top industries and employers in their regions, the struggles of other cities around the country, and the use of municipal bonds to raise money for infrastructure projects and other needs. Click the read more link to view the video.
Our annual State of the City Address provides us with a unique opportunity to step back and remind ourselves of how much we’ve accomplished together. It's an opportunity to take stock of the remarkable progress we've made on issues like Job Creation, Downtown Revitalization, Public Safety, Infrastructure and Environmental Preservation.
An editorial in The State newspaper suggests that Columbia's downtown is again becoming relevant. From restaurants and galleries to Soda City, a weekly local farmer's market; from the renovation of Palmetto Center and the Brennan Building to Mast General Store and the new Nickelodeon Theater; from an ice skating rink to a second Famously Hot New Year party - I am proud to be part of downtown Columbia’s revival.
Columbia’s downtown continues to grow and gain vitality. I am excited that one of the state's largest health-care providers, Agape Senior, will move its corporate headquarters to the 1600 block of Main Street, bringing a wonderful, diverse, around-the-clock user to downtown Columbia. The article in Sunday's State outlines many of the new projects adding momentum to Columbia's downtown renaissance.
Election Day is finally upon us and, after all the polls and the pundits, editorials and ad buys, what seems like the longest campaign season ever will finally come to an end as we the people cast our ballots and collectively decide the future of this great nation. In meeting and talking with a number of our candidates for School Board both in Richland County District One and District Two, I have found a handful of men and women who share our vision for the future and embody our highest ...
My column supporting the one penny sales tax appeared in today's edition of The State newspaper. On Tuesday, you can take part in this bold grassroots initiative and join this broad coalition of community leaders, small business owners and families just like yours by voting “yes” for the transportation penny.
Every time I think about this day 11 years ago, I think about a verse in the Book of Isaiah. The heavens had opened up for Isaiah with a vision of terrible majesty. The full host of angels and God himself stood before him and he was awestruck and frightened.
Over the past week, legislators and community leaders have joined artists across the state in opposing Governor Nikki Haley's veto rejecting funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission. They have argued that supporting the arts is critical to improving education, enhancing our quality of life and bringing us together as a unified community.
Each morning when I take my two little girls to school, I find myself blown away by their humor, their kindness, their intelligence and their beauty. I marvel at God's miracle that they represent and the immensity of my responsibility to teach them right from wrong, to protect them from harm and to lift them high enough to reach their potential.
As we head into Mother's Day weekend, I want to take a moment to say thank you to all the proud strong women and dedicated mothers throughout our community who, through patient devotion and clear example, shape the world around us and enrich our lives each and every day.
Last night One Month, One Columbia celebrated the close of a famously hot and surprisingly cool month. April 2012 was host to an incredible number of events and last night Councilman Brian Newman and Councilman-elect Cameron Runyan helped unveil our new video showcasing just how much is happening in our wonderfully creative Capitol City.
Whether touring the studios at Main Street's new Tapp's Arts Center, listening to the SC Philharmonic, or enjoying the street performers and flash mob at last night’s Urban Tour, I am constantly blown away by Columbia's deep pool of creativity and artistic talent. But to have that talent engaged in such a noble pursuit is nothing short of inspiring.
My seven and four year-old daughters are taught regularly in their classrooms to "make connections" in the seemingly disparate areas of their lives and studies. It's a good lesson for children to learn and for adults to remember as we should all strive to do the same in our lives.
What do you think of when you hear the names George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Do you think of service and sacrifice or leadership and honor? Does your mind turn to chopped down cherry trees and stovepipe hats, white marble monuments or the one and five dollar bills? I'm sure some imagine pitched battles on wide landscapes while others recall high school essays on declarations and proclamations but, for my part, I just think "America."
Over the past weekend, I had both the pleasure and honor of reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 Letter from Birmingham City Jail. I've had the opportunity to review, analyze and discuss the letter several times since my days as a student in Professor Harriford's class at the University of South Carolina and yet each time that I read it, it is ever more impactful on me and my views on our responsibilities as citizens, as leaders and as children of God.
What a wonderful day!
The City of Columbia enjoys amazing resources that we must make sure we are capitalizing on. We have a wide array of academic institutions all within our city limits and an overwhelming influx of some of the nation's most talented and brightest students at our schools of higher learning. It is imperative to the progress of our city to actively engage both these students and these colleges.