2 Democrats seeking office discuss quality development

Two Democrats seeking the nomination to run against an appointed Republican for County Council District 19 are telling voters they will work for quality development by requiring strict zoning enforcement.

One candidate, Jim Patterson, said linking District 19 to the downtown with a better highway system is crucial for future development in the area, while candidate Sally Crumley said she will work to combat litter in the district by educating the public and pushing for stricter laws.

Patterson and Mrs. Crumley were the top two winners in a field of four last week and will face each other in a runoff next Tuesday.

Democratic officials and the candidates are expecting about the same number of voters to turnout for the runoff, estimating between 850 to 900 votes to be case, although Mrs. Crumley said she thinks 1,000 or so may vote.

All eight precincts in the district will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This is just a good local race,” said Billy Webster, chairman of the Greenville Democratic Party. “The candidates have gotten out and met the people and talked about the issues voters are concerned about, and that’s what makes this election so interesting.”

Webster said he thinks integrity and honesty in county government are key campaign issues in light of recent events in District 19.

The seat became open after the resignation of Skip Goldsmith, who pleaded guilty to filing false statements on bank loan applications.

Webster said that incident has given County Council a black eye. “There are other problems on the council that have caused integrity and honesty to be an issue, but they’re just not directly related to this district.”

The winner of Tuesday’s runoff will face Republican Tom Boone, who was appointed by Gov. Carroll Campbell to fill the seat after Goldsmith resigned.

Patterson and Mrs. Crumley said their door-to-door campaigns are focusing on issues that have significant and long-lasting effects on residents, and those are mainly zoning, development, roads and highways, and litter.

The two candidates said residents in the district are tired of being the county’s “dumping ground” and more people becoming aware of how county government impacts on the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

“I think more people are seeing how important it is to become involved and know what county government is doing because they see how they can be affected,” Mrs. Crumley said.

Patterson said one of the keys to quality development is a major highway link to downtown.

“It’s practically impossible to get from the Eastside of the county to our district without having to go through 15 or 20 traffic signals,” Patterson said. “What we need is a major highway tying us in with downtown so it would be a straight shot because there is just no easy way out here.”