One must wonder why city council is a partisan contest. As former New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia said, there is no Democrat or Republican way to pick up the garbage — and conduct other essentials that a city government is empowered by its citizens to do.
Regardless, of the 11 contested Charleston city council races, the Daily Mail endorses six Republicans and five Democrats, not because of their party label, but because of their competence, experience and ideas.
In the six council at-large positions, the Daily Mail endorses:
Randy Stanley, who spent his career in public safety, including 29 years as a Charleston fire fighter, with the last four as chief. As a conscientious public servant who put his life on the line for the city’s citizens, Stanley deserves the opportunity to represent them in city government.
Naomi Bays has long been active in the city’s cultural scene, and decided a few years ago to invest her money and time to open a downtown gift emporium. Voices like hers are needed on council.
Becky Ceperley retired a few years ago as president and CEO for the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. This decisive executive knows the region’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. The only at-large incumbent running, her skills and vision are needed on council.
It wasn’t originally Jennifer Pharr’s idea to run for city council, but folks who know and work with her suggested she’d be good for the role. The smart and savvy commercial realtor has been focused on Charleston in her career, and deserves the chance on council.
West Virginia native John Kennedy Bailey has seen the world and lived in major U.S. cities. But he is raising his family here and can offer big city insights to make Charleston a more attractive place.
Catherine Nutter owned the House of Luxe and experienced firsthand how public safety concerns can affect downtown businesses. She’s now involved with promoting the Charleston area and would bring compassionate and fresh ideas to city government.
Five of Charleston’s 20 wards have competitive races.
In Ward 5, Seth Gaskins will bring a business-like approach and a watchful eye on city spending.
In Ward 7, Adam Henry Knauff comes highly recommended by a voter. “I have seen Mr. Knauff be the PTO President ..., coach youth soccer ..., be involved in my local garden club, start a neighborhood economic development group ... (and) attend every Neighborhood Watch meeting,” a reader wrote in to the Daily Mail. “He even passes out FULL-SIZE candy bars to the kids at Halloween ...” Enough said.
Two candidates are listed on the ballot for Ward 8. Robert E. Sheets has been active in his East End neighborhood for years. Also still on the ballot is incumbent councilman Cubert Smith, who died Sept. 30.
In Ward 14, incumbent Courtney C. Persinger brings a contractor’s knowledge and two-terms’ experience to council. He will push for improvements to the city’s recycling program.
Likewise, in Ward 15, Sam Minardi has two terms’ worth of council experience along with a good common-sense grasp on what Charleston needs to grow.
In Ward 19, former Mountaineer mascot Brady Campbell would work to attract new businesses and hence, a growing population to Charleston.