Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bleecker Wants To Put Ethics and Civility in Campaigns

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Anne Francis Bleecker may have lost her reelection bid in November, but she'll be introducing a proposed ordinance this week to address some of the questionable election practices of her challenger, incoming councilman Timmy Mallard, including false accusations that she was violating the city's parking policy downtown and a mailer that claimed the city was sabotaging a new grocery store for the West Ashley community.

Here's the rundown from the City Council agenda for Tuesday:

An ordinance to amend Chapter 11 of the Code of the City of Charleston by adding a new article III, Section 11-24 through section 11-30, providing for the establishment of the civil and ethical campaign practices ordinance; further providing that all candidates for office in the City of Charleston shall be encouraged to follow civil and ethical campaign practices; further providing that certain campaign practice violate the civil and ethical campaign practices ordinance; and further providing for the establishment of the civil and ethical campaign practices committee.

The City Paper endorsed Bleecker, but we're not sure how a "civil and ethical campaign practices" ordinance or committee would have prevented her defeat (Mallard won by a healthy margin).

"I am completely at peace with my loss, and will exit gracefully in January, but I wanted to do something to say this is not how we do business in Charleston," Bleecker told the Post and Courier.

"It's proactive in that it makes a statement that the city doesn't approve of the tearing down of campaign signs and sending out mailers with malicious lies," she said. "What could be bad about civility and ethics? Who would vote against that?"

Mallard's response doesn't disappoint.

"For my part, I found my first election last month to be an altogether pleasant experience which allowed me to meet thousands of my neighbors for the first time," Mallard said, after learning of the proposed ordinance Monday. "I don't think city of Charleston elections are any less civil than all other elections, and given our city's historic reputation for gracious hospitality, our elections are probably more civil than others."

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