Before you come to the library for tomorrow night’s panel discussion on the presidential election, come to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center this evening — actually, registration starts in just an hour as I hit the “publish” button — for this event:
The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council will host a civil, in-depth discussion of the transportation sales tax referendum at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 22.
The forum, to be moderated by veteran local broadcast newsman David Stanton, will begin at 6 p.m. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
The Community Relations Council is NOT taking a side on this issue, but intends for this event to provide a thorough and fair airing of the issue by all sides, to help Richland County voters be better informed.
There is more than one reason to be for the referendum, and more than one to be against. Consequently, CRC has invited four panelists each from both sides of the debate.
Presenting the case for a NO vote will be:
- Don Weaver – Businessman and president of the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers.
- Bishop Redfern II – The Ecumenical Church.
- Michael Letts – Businessman and candidate for Richland County Council.
- Daniel Rickenmann – Businessman and former Columbia city councilman.
Presenting the case for a YES vote will be:
- Lee Bussell – Businessman and chair of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.
- Paul Livingston – Richland County Council member and Chair of the Richland County Transportation Study Commission.
- Jennifer Harding – Businesswoman and member of the CMRTA board of directors.
- Brian DeQuincy Newman – Attorney, Columbia City Council member and chairman, CMRTA board of directors.
“CRC believes that it is important to bring about frank and civil discussions of issues that affect the quality of life in the Midlands,” said Henri Etta Baskins, executive director of the Community Relations Council. “For that reason we are hosting the upcoming forum.”
The CRC intends to hold other such forums on important issues facing the community, in keeping with its mission to bring together differing views and opinions so that they may be heard “in a manner that aligns with our core values of mutual respect and equal access to opportunities for all,” said Ms. Baskins.
I will be there, as a member of the Community Relations Council, but will not be participating in the program. I had to tell my fellow board members early on in the planning for this that I couldn’t take a direct role in it, as I unquestionably favor one side of this debate — the yes side.
But I will be there and will watch with interest, because assuming we can successfully conduct a civil, fair discussion on this hot local issue, it could be a model for a new way for the CRC to serve this community.
I hope to see you there…