In Mount Pleasant, it is time for persistent and consistent leadership, according to Mount Pleasant mayoral candidate George Freeman.
“We need persistent leadership that is dedicated to improving our lives by maintaining a balance between development of land in our town and our transportation system. Without this balance, citizens will be in congested traffic and businesses will not locate in Mount Pleasant. In 1992, the town prepared a master plan defining a future transportation road grid system. In 1999, the town prepared a Comprehensive Land Use Plan that called for connecting future housing development to improve traffic flow. In 2006, a task force was formed to make recommendations on solutions to the traffic issues between the Isle of Palms Connector and Porchers Bluff Road,” Freeman explained.
He maintains that for decades town leadership has ignored these plans and recommendations. “During the same period, they have approved thousands of new housing construction. New businesses were built during this period, but they were mainly retail not companies that produced a product or provided higher paying jobs,” he said. “Understanding the importance of maintaining a balance between land development and transportation will lead to economic stability now and in the future.”
Freeman said he would provide leadership that would work to increase the number of product-producing companies which provide higher paying jobs. “Our leadership is currently concentrating its efforts on revitalizing Coleman Boulevard. The project has the potential to bring businesses to the area but at the cost of a negative impact on traffic. There is an existing development near Towne Centre that is an ideal location for the creation of a downtown business district. This business district would be similar to the downtown business district in Greenville. Additionally, this project will not generate a negative impact on the existing roads,” he said.
Freeman feels like locating a new town hall to this proposed district will improve access for citizens and businesses. “Although it may cost more to locate the hall to this district, the benefits will outweigh the cost. Greater communication between our council members and citizens could make this a reality.”
He said the growth in population has resulted in a separation between the citizens and elected officials. “At a recent town council meeting, there was a vote to change the election process for mayor. Since our form of government is strong council and weak mayor, we should change the election process for council members to single member districts. Single member districts will revitalize the close communication between citizens and government,” he said.
Freeman believes that in recent months, council has shown an inconsistency in their voting. “An example of this inconsistency was the Oyster Point development. In the past, when citizens complained about traffic from another community traveling through their community council sided with the citizens, but not in the case with Oyster Point,” he said. “Most citizens do not believe that their governing body will always vote according to their will but most do believe that voting should be consistent when voting on similar issues. We need leadership that promotes consistent decision making.”
After 20 or more years serving on boards and committees, Freeman said he has demonstrated persistent and consistent leadership skills. “During those years, I have listened to citizens complain about the clutter of political signs around town during election periods. Therefore, I have made a commitment not to place campaign signs around town. As a result, I am asking our residents to visit my website (WWW.FREEMANFORMAYOR.ORG) to learn about my experience and background.”
The election is Nov. 5. Freeman faces Joe Bustos, Carl Carroll, Ken Glasson and Linda Page.