Mount Pleasant Mayoral Candidates
Age: A very active, young 63
If elected, how long are you prepared to serve? As long as the people of Mount Pleasant are willing to have me.
Political experience: Served on Mount Pleasant Town Council for nine years. Chairman of the Planning Committee, Water Supply Committee, Fire Committee, Bids and Purchases Committee. Mount Pleasant Representative on CARTA and ex-officio Water Commissioner on Mount Pleasant Waterworks. Member of the Commission for Children and Youth in Peachtree City, Ga.
What life experience(s) do you think voters in Mount Pleasant should know about you? Life experiences: Masters Degree in Administration, retired active duty Army Officer (Lieutenant Colonel), served as an officer on the Charleston City Police Department for five years, married for 42 years to Kathy Comar Bustos, two adult children and one grandchild who attends Jennie Moore Elementary School
How do you think Mount Pleasant will benefit with your style of leadership coupled to the current format of our municipal government? Having been a military officer with a Masters Degree in Administration and a member of Mount Pleasant Town Council for nine years, I have learned the art of governing is the art of compromise. Our goal should be inclusive government. We should not feel the need to overpower our opponents.
Do you think that our municipality has out grown its current format? As the fourth largest municipality in South Carolina surrounded by the first and third largest municipalities, Mount Pleasant is at a definite disadvantage having a weak mayor form of government. However, as an incumbent mayor, I would recuse myself from any vote that would increase my authority or my salary.
Have you been a passenger on public transit east of the Cooper recently and what would you do to improve it in the Town of Mount Pleasant? When I represented Mount Pleasant on the CARTA Board, I had the privilege of riding our local transit routes and assisting in the design of CARTA’s system. I think the citizens of Mount Pleasant would be well served by an expanded feeder system that would shuttle riders from residential communities to the major commercial CARTA stops. In addition upgrading the existing bus shelters would make a significant improvement in ridership.
If elected, what one thing would you work to change, remove or replace as soon as you take office? Sunshine. I am a firm believer in open government. I believe the citizens of Mount Pleasant deserve the right to participate at all levels of our government. Executive session is a tool that Mount Pleasant Town Council should use only if the FOI criteria has been met. These conditions should include, personnel matters and lawsuits. Public policy should never be discussed or voted on in secret.
What is the biggest issue facing the town right now and how will you address it? The most important issue is finding and maintaining the balance between growth and infrastructure capacity. We need to encourage economic development in order to create jobs in Mount Pleasant without overextending our roads and schools. It is important to maintain the quality of life that we all enjoy in our town and enable our citizens to both live and work in the community we have all worked so hard to create.
Political experience: No previous elected office.
If elected, how long are you prepared to serve? Two or three terms.
What life experience(s) do you think voters in Mount Pleasant should know about you?
WORK EXPERIENCE: Four years military service (USAF); Computer Software Development Project Manager; Realtor; Vice Chair Charleston County Planning Commission
EDUCATION: B.S. in Mathematics and Master’s Degree in Management
ORGANIZATIONS: PAST: Community-Based Environmental Protection Group; Six Mile Neighborhood Association (President); CHATS Transportation Plan Advisory Group; East Cooper Planning Council; Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government (COG); Charleston County Transportation Advisory Board
PRESENT: Greenbelt Advisory Board; COG Regional Land Use Plan Committee; Seven Mile Community Action Group for Encouragement (CAGE)
How do you think Mount Pleasant will benefit with your style of leadership coupled to the current format of our municipal government? My style of leadership fits the strong council weak mayor form of government because my negotiation skill as a realtor is a necessity for a mayor in this format.
Do you think that our municipality has out grown its current format? I do not think the current format or the reverse matters. The individuals elected to office should be our main concern. I do think that we have out grown the at-large method of electing our officials and suggest that we change to single-member district elections.
Have you been a passenger on public transit east of the Cooper recently and what would you do to improve it in the Town of Mount Pleasant? I have not been a passenger on public transit east of the Cooper recently. To improve public transit in Mount Pleasant, I would encourage town council to build a downtown business district near Towne Centre. Once the Bridgeside Development at Patriots Point and improvements to Coleman Boulevard are completed, it should create a demand for mass transit between Patriots Point and Towne Centre. To help protect our quality of life, I would encourage CARTA to use electric vehicles or to use alternative fuels.
If elected, what one thing would you work to change, remove or replace as soon as you take office? The one thing I would change is to place an urgent priority on recruiting product-producing businesses and higher paying jobs to the town.
What is the biggest issue facing the town right now and how will you address it? The biggest issue facing the town right now is which candidates we elect to lead our town for the next four years. We need leaders who understand the importance of maintaining a balance between land development and our transportation system. We also need leaders who understand that we can no longer depend on the construction of new homes as our main tax revenue. I am addressing this issue by offering my service to the town.
Political experience: Senior ranking member of the Mount Pleasant Town Council (2006 - present)
If elected, how long are you prepared to serve? I am prepared to continue serving Mount Pleasant as mayor for two terms.
What life experience(s) do you think voters in Mount Pleasant should know about you? Unlike my opponents, there will be no need for “on-the-job training.” As the senior ranking member on council – not only do I know the current issues the town faces, but I also have a working knowledge of their history and their potential future effects. As the top candidate with the most CEO experience, I have led organizations and staff much larger than the town. As a Lt. Col. In the Marine Corps, I have 30 years of experience leading in high stress situations. As a successful small business owner of two businesses which I started, I have the understanding of what the town can do better in support of starting businesses and existing businesses to grow. As the only top candidate with a Bachelor’s Degree and a MBA, I have the educational background to meet our economic challenges. Our internal town procedures require senior staff in Mount Pleasant to have a minimum of at least a four year college degree. My education and training gives me the appropriate skill-set to lead the staff properly.
How do you think Mount Pleasant will benefit with your style of leadership coupled to the current format of our municipal government? Do you think that our municipality has out grown its current format? My leadership style was formed during my years of service in the Marine Corps, progressed while earning my MBA, and advanced while owning and operating my small businesses and serving on town council. It ensures that the talent and skill-set of each individual within the town’s government is utilized and united to accomplish common goals. Thus, it will work well with the “strong council, weak mayor” form of government Mount Pleasant has. It will allow me, as mayor, the ability to work in conjunction with council, senior staff, business leaders and community leaders to devise and execute a plan to grow Mount Pleasant’s economy, provide low property taxes, maintain the town’s charm and strengthen our community. Lastly, the growth of our town does not justify a growth in the size or a change in the structure of our government. We have the pieces and protocols in place for Mount Pleasant to continue being a great town. With the right leadership, I know we can make Mount Pleasant an ever better town to work, live and raise our families.
Have you been a passenger on public transit east of the Cooper recently and what would you do to improve it in the Town of Mount Pleasant? Yes, I have been a passenger on public transit east of the Cooper recently. I also rode public transportation regularly growing up. It provided me and my mother, a single parent, transportation to school and work. As councilman, I have spent a significant amount of time meeting with all of our local school principals. The most conveyed concern they shared is giving our children greater opportunities than we had to achieve success. Having utilized public transit growing up, I truly understand the necessity of having a reliable public transit system and how such a system can literally move people forward from their current situation to a better life. As mayor, I will work to increase the number of covered waiting stations through public-private partnerships. I will also advocate for more consistent routes, so our neighbors can get to work or class more easily. In particular, I will advocate for a new, express route from Wando High School to Trident Technical College and increased service to and from the Oakland Market.
If elected, what one thing would you work to change, remove or replace as soon as you take office? I want to make doing business in Mount Pleasant easier. To do this, we must streamline processes, particularly in permitting. The lag time alone in approving construction projects impedes new businesses from locating here and current businesses in expanding. Builders and developers have a harder time doing business in Mount Pleasant than in other Lowcountry municipalities because it takes, on average, five months longer to build a house here (due to permitting and inspection processes). Not only does this drive up cost for the builder, but it also forces the builder to increase their price to the consumer. As mayor, I will start by assessing each department, finding and streamlining processes and departments when able, and cutting the duplication. I know that town staff is not only well educated, but also hard-working. I believe that streamlining processes and departments will allow these great workers opportunities to achieve new successes for our town and her residents. I will also utilize the expertise of the diverse council (well-educated and experienced accountants, attorneys, bankers, and small business owners) and senior staff to develop a “Bring Business to Mount Pleasant” plan. My goal with said plan is to highlight and address each phase of new business development in our town, so we can make doing business here easier.
What is the biggest issue facing the town right now and how will you address it? There are three major issues the town currently faces: intelligent economic growth, fiscal responsibility, and tax/fee reduction. As the only top candidate who has supported the Coleman Economic Growth plan from the beginning, I know that the town government can and must lead in making Mount Pleasant a more desirable place to do business. While recruiting new job creators and enhancing our infrastructure, we must maintain the high quality of life our residents enjoy and visitors desire.
Unlike other candidates, I have not flip-flopped or vacillated on important issues related to economic growth. When I make a decision, I stand by it. As mayor, I will work to grow our tax base so we can reduce taxes and fees when able, while providing exceptional core government services.
Linda G. Page
Political experience: Current Town Council Member, Vice-Chairman of the Charleston Regional Transportation Authority.
If elected, how long are you prepared to serve? The term is four years, politicians are elected. I believe this is the will of the voters.
What life experience(s) do you think voters in Mount Pleasant should know about you? Successful business owner; single mother; served on several local boards and committees; Past President S.C. Auctioneers Association.
How do you think Mount Pleasant will benefit with your style of leadership coupled to the current format of our municipal government? Do you think that our municipality has out grown its current format? We are a strong council form of government and I am prepared to work with our town administrator, Eric Demoura, and the elected council. I believe the voters should decide if it’s time for a change in government.
Have you been a passenger on Public Transit east of the Cooper recently and what would you do to improve it in the Town of Mount Pleasant? I have been on both routes and I know the system very well. I serve as vice chairman of CARTA and we need to work with employers and citizens to promote our routes. We must also work to have at least a bench at every stop and shelters where applicable. We need to get support from developers to include transit in their plans. We need to identify future park and ride and a transit hub.
If elected, what one thing would you work to change, remove or replace as soon as you take office? I would work to remove any obstacles that impede our citizens from working cohesively with our town government.
What is the biggest issue facing the town right now and how will you address it? The stress created by the rapid growth of our town and the negative impact on our schools, transportation and infrastructure.
Carl Carroll did not respond to repeated requests for participation.