After 40 years, the City of Charleston will have a new mayor. Our much loved mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr., is finally putting down his City Council gavel, leaving behind some pretty big Oxfords to fill.

The City Paper has joined forces with Lowcountry Local First, Preservation Society of Charleston, S.C. Community Loan Fund, Coastal Conservation League, and IfYouWereMayor.com for a series of articles featuring the seven men and women who want to replace Joe: Ginny Deerin, William Dudley Gregorie, Toby Smith, Leon Stavrinakis, John Tecklenburg, Paul Tinkler, and Maurice Washington.

The good folks at these organizations, collectively representing a broad base of Charleston residents concerned with local culture, commerce, and livability, came up with a series of questions to ask the candidates, and the candidates have kindly answered them.


Q1: With the departure of Mayor Riley, this is a period of transition, change, and opportunity. What changes would you make to the organizational structure to ensure that Charleston remains, at a minimum, a beautiful, livable, and economically vibrant city?

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Q2: Many of the challenges Charleston faces are regional issues. How would you propose working with others to lead a regional conversation?

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Q3: What city in this country has “done it right?” Can you name a specific project or initiative that shows an example of what you mean?

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Q4: The City’s Comprehensive Plan was updated in 2010. Given the explosion in development, do you support the implementation of the current plan or would you undertake developing a new plan?

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Q5: What bold, innovative idea do you have for addressing the need for new development and redevelopment while preserving the historical character of the city of Charleston?

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Q6: The rapidly growing Charleston real estate market leaves many behind. What would you do to create a more equitable approach to affordable commercial real estate and housing?

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Q7: The cost of living in Charleston does not align with wages. What would you do to address this?

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Q8: As the number of minority businesses decrease and commercial prices increase, what type of economic development plan would you develop that provides prosperity for all people?

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Q9: Charleston is an international tourist destination, regularly winning awards largely because of our walkable, compact central business district filled with unique stores and restaurants. As more and more national chains come to the city, and population increases, would you advocate new regulations to ensure Charleston remains a unique and livable city for residents and visitors alike?

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Q10: Describe your approach to economic development as it relates to both large and small business, as well as your plan to support businesses located here versus recruitment.

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Q11: Recognizing the significant role tourism plays in Charleston, City Council recently approved an update to the Tourism Management Plan, but many of the objectives and tenants are already behind schedule. What is your opinion of the plan and how would you ensure the timely implementation?

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Q12: Flooding in the Charleston area is problematic, impacting not only commutes but also safety and general quality of life. As sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and intense, how would you protect the city against the increased flooding and sea level rise?

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Q13: What specific steps would you take to improve traffic not just downtown but throughout the region? How would you propose these steps are paid for?

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Q14: What specific steps would you take to create a walkable, bikeable, and public-transit friendly city?

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Q15: If elected mayor, what legacy would you leave behind?

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