Politics 

By getting selected in this year’s Best Of Charleston edition, the following politicos and players have proven that they’re winners both in and out of the voting booth. Only in the City Paper can locals vote twice for the same candidate. Hail to the Chief(s).
READERS' PICKS

Best Charlestonian
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Best Charlestonian to Exile to Drum Island
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Best County Council Member
Tim Scott

Best Local Legislator
State Sen. Glenn McConnell

Best Confederate
State Sen. Glenn McConnell

Best City Council Member
Kwadjo Campell

Best School Board Member
Brian Moody

Best Community Activist
Dana Beach, Coastal Conservation League


CRITICS' PICKS

Best Example of a Well-Funded Project
The New Cooper River Bridge

On time, on budget, few deaths. See what a little money can do when tackling a monolithic project intended to connect and improve our region? Now, if only the same kind of money, planning, talent, and thinking could be applied to our public school system. The only problem is that, like the S. C. Aquarium, the new bridge will never live up to expectations. People are not going to flock from all over the state to view our mighty new edifice. The peninsula will not be completely transformed. And traffic in Mt. Pleasant will still suck as urban sprawl creeps farther and farther up U.S. 17 N. —Bill Davis

Best Attempted Shakedown
Kwadjo Campbell’s East Side Patronage

Last year, City Councilman Kwadjo Campbell moved to delay a rezoning vote before Council, apparently so he could use the time to hit up the developer for a “donation” to the East Side’s neighborhood association, which he dominates. Kwadjo defended his actions, likening them to tactics the City has employed guiding development all over town. Difference: the City was doing it in broad daylight, and Kwadjo was acting on his own. Did we mention that Kwadjo has tried to become a real estate agent? Curious. Mayor Joe Riley requested an opinion from the S.C. Ethics Committee on the matter, making it the first time the words “Kwadjo” and “ethics” have ever appeared in the same sentence. Ironic. —Bill Davis

Best Effort at Futility
Save the Garden Theatre

Last May, a group of citizens came together to save the Garden Theatre, one of the last vaudeville houses in town, from the iron grips of a retail store, Urban Outfitters. The group didn’t want to see the two-tiered theatre lose its historic fabric, a laudable goal. That is, if they had come together before the ink was dry on the new lease. Sure, it’s fun to raise hell about some injustice when it’s already done, but how ridiculous would have flat-earth Spaniards looked if they mobilized after Columbus got back? While the NFL has instant replay, there’s no way for the South to claim Sherman stepped out of bounds on his march to Atlanta. Maybe a better use of their time would be to figure out which is the next-most threatened edifice and rally around it now. Well-meaning and stupid is no way to go through life.
—Bill Davis

Best Baby Mama
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson

Maria, Maria, Maria. What were you thinking? Shouldn’t you have at least waited until you graduated from high school before you went and got yourself knocked up? Oh. College, too? A doctoral degree is nice resume fodder, but babies are expensive, Maria. You can’t buy diapers without money, and you can’t get money without a job. What were you going to do, find some of the $61 million the School Board lost? Oh, you’ve got a job. How much do you make? No shit?! More than the governor? Wow, that’s great. But still, shouldn’t you have gotten married ... Oh, what’s his name? Bruce is a nice name. So you had a girl, did you name her “Terrye,” as in Terrye Seckinger, Chip Campsen’s sister on the state Board of Education who called for your resignation after you became pregnant out of wedlock? Didn’t think so. —Bill Davis

Best Baby Daddy
Bruce Johnson

Word has it that Bruce Johnson worked for UPS before impregnating our school superintendent. I guess we know what Brown can do for Maria (see Best Baby Mama, above). —Bill Davis

Best (Crack) Pipe Dream
Kwadjo/Mary Clark vs. Joe

Talk about your rainbow coalitions. City Councilman Kwadjo Campbell apparently floated the idea of teaming with Mary Clark and other disaffected James Islanders to form a coalition to take on the all-powerful Oz (Joe Riley). Here’s why this is a pipe dream. One, the Town of James Island got shut down in court ... again. They don’t have any political (or legal) pull. Two, one reason the (mostly white) residents on James Island were so hot to form their own town was to keep their tax base from funding services in poorer parts of town. Kwadjo Campbell is from a poor part of town. And last we checked, he didn’t have a steady job or a driver’s license, and he has lived in public housing. If all that’s still true, then there’s probably little basis for a relationship there, even if politics make for strange bedfellows. —Bill Davis

Best Speculation
Will Mayor Riley Run Again?

Yes. In the same way Lance Armstrong will once again compete in this year’s Tour de France for a potentially record-setting seventh win after months of deliberating, so, too, will Joe Riley run again for the mayor’s office. With a Republican in Fritz’s seat, what do you expect him to do, run for governor? We said last year the only way to tell whether he had picked a successor is if an obvious go-to man emerged on City Council. Well, that hasn’t happened. That means there’s a handful of avaricious Dems in town who will have to wait until 2012 for their shot, if ever. —Bill Davis

Best-Kept Secret
Who Will Riley Get To Replace Johnson & Wales?

Ever since J&W announced they were brass-ringing their collective ass out of town and up the road to Charlotte, Mayor Joe Riley has been promising to deliver a culinary school to replace the school. We’re now two years down the line, and no word yet. Trident Tech is trying, having unveiled a monstrous new facility at their Rivers Avenue campus, but they hit a recent road bump (see below). Now it’s up to Joe to land a big poisson, like a Cordon Bleu, or a CIA, or hell, even an Art Institute of some order. If he’s gonna unveil a name, it’s high time; J&W will be gone next year. —Bill Davis

Best Hope for Replacing Johnson & Wales
Trident Tech

OK, this one took a major hit this year when the General Assembly’s kitchen-sink Life Sciences Act got deep-sixed by the state Supreme Court, killing (for now) a four-year program at the community college. It’s no good, apparently, when everyone and his brother attaches a piece of pork to a barrel. But Trident still remains the best replacement because (and this is going to piss off some J&Wers, again) Johnson & Wales is replaceable. Here’s the thinking: J&W is a “career” university that specializes in job placement. It’s a cook-and-restaurant manager mill. It’s not a producer of high-end talent; that’s the Culinary Institute of America. J&W produces the rank and file, not the leaders (with a few notable exceptions). Charleston’s cuisine scene is hopefully on the verge of being able to attract talented future chefs who want to work with the Bobs (Carter and Waggoner), the Kramers, the Franks, and so on. What we need is a sous-chef mill, and Trident could well provide that. —Bill Davis

Best Crisis That Wasn’t
CARTA Going Belly-Up

First off, Mayor Joe Riley overstated the funding problem for our public transportation authority in hopes of scaring the General Assembly and the S.C. Supreme Court into some emergency funding. Didn’t work. Then, area liberals (OK, this paper) opined that cutbacks to busing service would hobble the black community. Didn’t happen, but it did make life less convenient for those depending on public transportation. Then we find out CARTA is considering smaller buses and more spread-out routes once the money comes in again. So, we’ll shut up for a while on this one ... maybe. —Bill Davis

Best Public Demonstration
Apathetic Weapons Grade Plutonium Protest

Only a handful of Charlestonians felt enough unease to publicly express their concern over 300 pounds of weapons grade plutonium being shipped last year through Charleston Harbor to France. Once in France, the plutonium was processed into fuel and shipped back through town as part of a disarmament treaty with Russia. The no-nukes demonstration could have broken new ground (and water) for the city had the original protest — a flotilla of sailboats, motorboats, kayaks, and dinghies — been able to take to the harbor. Greenpeace even sent two professional environmental activists to help organize the event. But the U.S. Coast Guard declared martial law in the harbor, leaving the demonstrators dry-docked. Still, protesters gathered on the pier at Waterfront Park — all nine of them. —Bill Davis

Best Court Order
Single-Member District County Council Races

As a result of a recent lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department, Charleston County Council was forced to go to single-member district voting. The suit was intended to undo years of institutional discrimination against blacks, who make up a third of the county but have elected only three black representatives to Council over the last 30 years. Now, after the most recent election, four of the nine Councilmembers are black, accurately reflecting the racial makeup of the county for the first time. —Benjamin Schlau

Best News for County Council
Leon Stavrinakis Named Chair

Actually, this should be called Best News for Charleston County. A Republican-dominated Council designating a Democrat as its top dog is sure-fire proof that it’s more concerned with what’s best for county residents than petty issues of party politics. Bravo! Now, don’t screw up and get the county mired in another unwinnable lawsuit like the Ten Commandments or the property tax reassessment or the ... — Bill Davis

Best Abuse of Power
Congressman Henry Brown (R) vs. Smokey the Bear (G)

Charleston’s U.S. House Representative Henry Brown may be better known as a Republican work horse,than as a firebrand, but the U.S. Forest Service knows him as the latter. Last March, Brown was doing some prescribed burning on his property when his fire began to spread out of control. He accidentally set fire to 20 acres of the Francis Marion National Forest while burning 238 acres of his own timber. When two Forest Service officers tried to give Brown the usual $250 fine and the bill to cover the fire-fighting costs, they said their superiors warned them not to fine Brown lest the Lowcountry representative make good on his threat to slash and burn their federal funding. But the local administrators looked to ol’ Smokey the Bear for guidance and didn’t relent even after a Bush administration official told them to drop this political hot potato. Brown denied their allegations and said the disorderly inferno was an act of God. But the two brave men refused to give up the fire fight and the ticket was finally delivered. That’s gotta burn, Mr. Brown. —Benjamin Schlau

Best Cock Block
Convicting Charles Sharpe

Back in January, former S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Charles Sharpe pled guilty to two cockfighting-related felonies. Sharpe, whose job it was to fight cockfighting, had taken at least $10,000 from a “game fowl” association in exchange for his efforts to get cockfighting legalized. He will likely be cooped up in prison for at least two and a half years, where he may learn a new meaning for the word “cockfighting.” What’s next, the president pro tem of the state Senate getting lucrative contracts for his fellow Hunley-lovin’ buddies? —Bill Davis

Best Way to End a Political Career
Argue with Jenny Sanford

In the heat of his reelection race last year to hold onto his state Senate seat, Republican John Kuhn confronted S.C. First Lady Jenny Sanford outside her husband’s office about her support of his main challenger, Chip Campsen. Depending on who is telling the story, either Kuhn or Sanford was the aggressor, yelling the most vociferously. Regardless, Campsen won, Kuhn lost. But Kuhn hasn’t let the matter die, writing a letter recently to the editors of The Post and Courier once again explaining why he lost. That is the same daily paper, mind you, that he blamed in these pages for his loss. —Bill Davis

Best Campaign Vehicle
Charlie Smith’s Segway

Charlie Smith looked great speeding through West Ashley neighborhoods, campaigning for the state House on the electric, self-righting, stand-up scooter. The Dean Kamen invention was emblematic of Smith’s campaign: new, fresh, of this century. Smith’s other campaign vehicle was a bizarrely-shaped electric car. But, alas, he lost. Does that mean John Graham Altman III rode a yak cart to victory? Of course not; yaks are godless militant homos. —Bill Davis

Best Closet Republican ?Inez Tenenbaum

When the state superintendent of schools ran for the U.S. Senate seat Fritz Hollings left behind, she was mindful of not seeming too liberal. Extremely mindful. So she ran as a Republican in sheep’s clothing. Pro-death penalty and protectionist as the day was long, she co-opted Al Gore’s none-too-successful strategy from the 2000 presidential election with similar results: register as a Dem, run as a Republican moderate, and then lose. Next time, Inez, maybe you could run as yourself and more people would support you. Or maybe she’s got it right, and only a Republican can win state office in South Carolina. —Bill Davis

Best Gay Baiting
DeMint’s ‘No Gay Teachers’ Remark

In February, we learned that U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) gets to chair the brand new subcommittee on Disaster Prediction and Prevention. Hope he has better luck anticipating the damage future hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods could inflict than he had with predicting the backlash against his own words on homosexuals in the teaching profession. Not that his blatantly discriminatory stance kept him from being elected, of course. Still, his infamous proclamation — “If a person is a practicing homosexual, they should not be teaching in our schools” — begs the question: can they teach once they have it down to an art and no longer need to practice? —Jason A. Zwiker

Best Cancelled Speech We Would Like to Have Seen
Paul Wolfowitz at Military Appreciation Dinner

Last May the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce was presenting its Annual Armed Forces Awards Dinner, featuring keynote speaker Deputy Secretary of Defense and notorious neo-con Paul Wolfowitz. Unfortunately, we never got to hear the Great Satan, as he was being grilled by Democrats in a U.S. Senate hearing. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton berated Wolfowitz for his approach to the war in Iraq, criticizing his inane predictions. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island accused Wolfowitz of not doing his job. Wolfowitz, a no-show at the dinner, gave no reason for his absence. —Megan Hubbard


Best Reason Not to Hate Lindsey Graham
His Handling of Abu Ghraib Torture Scandal

When Lindsey Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, it was questionable what his legislative legacy would be. Ironically, the former JAG officer has turned out to be one of the most reasonable voices on the Iraqi war in the Senate and has been quick to work with Democrats on many issues. Most recently Graham was one of the lone Republicans not only criticizing the Bush administration during the Abu Ghraib torture issue last year, but also grilling Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales during Senate confirmation hearings. —Megan Hubbard

Best Way to Counterbalance Bush’s EPA Cuts
Empowering State AG Henry McMasters

Currently, only the U.S. Attorney General’s office has authority to effectively investigate environmental crimes, but as South Carolina’s AG Henry McMaster puts it, they are preoccupied with terrorism. (McMaster didn’t mention the U.S. Justice Department’s preoccupation with sending Tommy Chong to prison for selling bongs over the Internet.) Anyway, McMaster has been pushing the General Assembly to give his post the power to compel testimony and subpoena documents with grand jury authority while investigating environmental crimes. A bill recently passed the state House last year, but the Senate version lingers in committee. Why? Business, of course. The bill’s biggest opponent is the state Chamber of Commerce, which argues that such a power would scare off companies thinking about relocating to the state, but on this rare occasion we agree with the editors of The Post and Courier that South Carolinia does not want industries that threaten environmental and human health. South Carolina is tired of being treated like a third-world country with no labor protection laws or environmental regulations. —Benjamin Schlau

Best Up-and-Coming GrassRoots Organization
Lowcountry Earth Force
www.earthforce.org

Many greenies say we need more ecological education so that society can find a balance with nature, not only saving all the plants and critters, but our own butts as well. That’s where Lowcountry Earth Force comes in. With just two staff members and a half dozen dedicated, unpaid interns initially in the Charleston field office of this Washington-based nonprofit, the Force has recruited teachers and students to incorporate ecological lessons into the state-required curriculum, as well as working on larger projects after class. They now have 30 teachers reaching over 1,000 students in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Colleton Counties. The College of Charleston’s Environmental Studies program has once again chosen them to receive funds raised by the 8K for H2O foot race on Folly Beach on Feb. 26. If his show had not been cancelled by corporate goons, Captain Planet would be proud. —Benjamin Schlau

Best DUI
Folly Beach Mayor Vernon Knox

Only months after a drunk driver killed a local musician on Folly Beach, Town Mayor Vernon Knox drove his station wagon into a utility pole while shitfaced, earning his second DUI. He then apologetically explained himself to the people of the once-bohemian island at a Town Council meeting, where many in the audience reportedly applauded. “Blew out my flip-flops / Got caught by the cops / Even drunk drivers can be mayors in Margaritaville.” —Benjamin Schlau

Best Judgment City Can Pursue
Danny Molony’s Personal Assets

Former City property manager Molony and his son had already pled guilty to having bilked the City of Charleston out of more than $630,000, and a judgment earlier this month means the City can go after their personal belongings to make up the difference. The City had already recovered almost a quarter of a million dollars from the bank where Molony et fils passed their phony checks. That means the elder Molony’s Mt. Pleasant home is up for grabs, even though he co-owns it with his wife. What would be even better is if they made Danny make amends once he gets out of jail in two years by going door-to-door, handing out individual checks and an explanation. That would be rigorous honesty. —Bill Davis

Best Of Charleston 2005

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