If any of you have ever tried finding out information about candidates running for city council (particularly those who have never held office before), you will realize how frustrating of an experience it is. Good luck finding any info beyond a candidate’s name, age, or occupation. Campaign websites, public statements, Facebook profiles — these are things that many don’t find relevant to “sleepy” little towns like Forest Acres.
Luckily, candidates’ phone numbers are publicly available information (which they should be, right? Why run for council if you don’t want to be accessible and accountable to the citizens you’re supposed to represent?). You can obtain these numbers yourself via a simple phone call inquiry to the Richland County Election Commission (or respective body for your area), but we’ve tried to spare you some time by contacting the candidates and getting some statements (and even contact info!) from them.
Note: Unfortunately not all candidates could be reached by the time of writing, but we’ll keep this updated as we can get a hold of them.
The nitty-gritty: The council election will take place Tuesday, May 14, 2013, with six running for two slots. The city council is made up of five members governing about 10,500 people. Council members serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,600 a year starting July 1. Long-standing councilman Charlie Fetner will be retiring this year after 36 years of service, which many believe has caused the high number of candidates vying for the two slots this year. If you want to berate (er, I mean converse with) the candidates in person, there will be a candidate forum hosted by FANA on May 7, @ 6:30pm at St Michael & All Angels, 6408 Bridgewood Rd.
Check out the sample ballot below and what we gleaned from our discussions with the candidates. Share this information with others via Twitter or Facebook, and voice what you think about these candidates in the comment section below.
OFFICIAL [sample] BALLOT, GENERAL ELECTION
City of Forest Acres
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
INSTRUCTIONS: Make a cross (X) in the voting square opposite the name of the candidate(s) for whom you wish to vote. If you wish to vote for a candidate whose name is not on the ballot, simply write the name of your candidate in the write-in block opposite the office for which you are voting. Before you leave the booth, fold the ballot so the initials of the manager are seen on the outside.
(TWO SEATS TO FILL)
|(You may vote for two less, less than two, but not more than two.)||[ ] Ralph Bailey[ ] Jack Cantey|
[ ] Albert Epstein
[ ] Paige B George
[ ] Roy A Beau Powell Jr
[ ] Shell Suber
Ralph Bailey: Ralph (63, real estate agent) has lived in the Forest Acres community for years and is excited about its growth. He believes city officials can be doing more to help the citizens, including more collaboration and negotiation between city council and county council. He wants to see greater code enforcement in Forest Acres and he is currently “getting the wheels turning” to fix the bridge near Trenholm Plaza. He has served on the Forest Acres Planning Commission, and his nomination to the commission was supported by Shell Suber and Curtis Rye. He can be reached at bail902 [at] bellsouth.net
Jack Cantey: (48, works for general contractor) Unable to be reached because out of town, but his number is 261-6900.
Albert Epstein: (34, executive) After much enthusiastic phone tag, still unable to be reached but you can call him at 206-1464.
Paige B George: (33, lawyer) Unable to be reached, but try her at her office, 400-1219.
Roy A “Beau” Powell, Jr.: Beau (64, homebuilder) has lived in Forest Acres since he was a teenager and wants to preserve the small town community. He is retired and wants to dedicate much of his free time to the community. Some issues he would like to address in office include the hospitality tax, a fair licensing tax to promote businesses, Richland Fashion Mall, the broken bridge near Trenholm, traffic, and the future relocation of Cardinal Newman High School, which he admits is more long-term but thinks should still be considered. He serves on the planning commission and can be reached at beau4100 [at] sc.rr.com.
Shell Suber: Shell (78, retired lawyer) is a current council member and can be reached at (803) 622-5856.