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At War with the County Council
web posted September 10 2012
Back in April, I penned a letter to Mr. Dorn welcoming him officially
to the election and campaign season, as he had just officially filed to
run to seek another term. I shared with him that I felt it would
be an amazing experience to seek office and an honor to be part of the
pageantry. I had learned through research that at one point,
politicians that opposed each other often mingled, shared ideas, and
had an open dialogue. This is rare today but something I highly value
and a reason I sent a letter.
I felt this was a kind gesture as we see throughout the United States,
elected officials from opposing sides refuse to even sit down at a
table to seek out solutions. This is an issue on both sides of
the political aisle and something that I feel is important to engage in
even on the local level.
In the letter, I spoke how even though differences existed, I highly
respected the years Mr. Dorn has put into office. I pledged a
respectful campaign that showed honor and dignity. I was also very
clear that even though ones character, family, and faith were off
limits, one’s record or set of ideals could be scrutinized. I told him
that this is how my campaign would work as we pushed forward with an
agenda that showed respect and restoring the voice of the people.
Several months back, a woman from the north side told the council
during public input that she felt that council was “at war” with Mr.
Dorn. This particular comment was over the former north side park and
the fact she was disgruntled that the council had closed the park. She
blamed council for having issues with Mr. Dorn and she felt that was
the reason they had closed it down.
That was not the case and even the month before, Mr. Bright stated the
park was not following the lease agreement and was a liability to the
county. But something that caught my attention was the woman
truly felt county council was against Mr. Dorn.
Well, she has a point.
Over the past year, I have been to many county council meetings and Mr.
Dorn’s approach to local government is for his convenience and what
suits his agenda. His “off-the-cuff” approach to “serving” causes
issues for himself against the rest of council and in return, District
1suffers from it. Whether dealing with the park, county water,
the noise ordinance violations, infrastructure in the Merriwether area,
the lack of understanding in regards to taxes or how to read and
understand a budget, redistricting the county council lines; the list
could go on and on. Mr. Dorn seems to be against anything to move the
people forward in District 1 or throughout the county.
During many votes, Mr. Dorn is the lone one on the island and is often
times never on topic. The lack of respect he shows to the rest of
county council, the county administrator, her staff and others, is
disheartening. He has even made derogatory statements to
Edgefield County citizens making public comments during council
This isn’t representing constituents and solving problems. This is
simply being the problem.
I was brought up in a family where you always treat others with
respect, even when they haven’t earned it. My dad would always say, “If
you want it, give it”. This is a lesson in life that we teach our
children and it is something that adults could learn from time to time.
County Council truly has patience and is willing to work with anyone.
They truly care for the people of the county and making sure all
decisions are in the best interest of the people.
However, there is a line that Mr. Dorn always seems to cross.
As difficult as it is, Chairman Campbell, Vice-Chairman Blackwell, Mr.
Bright and Mr. Ashcraft do what they can in a civil way to respectfully
engage Mr. Dorn and his rhetoric.
Each meeting, Mr. Dorn seems to have the same talking points and gets
nothing done. District 1 must fully understand that he is not
doing the job the voters sent him to do. It is a disappointment that
for two decades, District 1 hasn’t gained any ground when the rest of
the county has advanced forward.
You see, no one is at war with Mr. Dorn. Those in District 1 must
realize District 1 needs leadership change. There are many areas that
need to be addressed throughout the county and until change happens,
the rest of council will not engage in a dialogue until respect is
It seems the only way that will happen is to change who is sitting in
I met a lady last week that has been a Dorn supporter for many years.
She is from the Johnston side of the district and she asked me my
thoughts on Edgefield County and why I moved here and why in the world
I wanted to run for office. I told her that my calling was to serve the
teachers and children of this county with my chosen career and I wanted
to run for office to represent the voices throughout District 1 that
had been lost over the years. She questioned as to what I meant. I
asked her one simple question: What has Mr. Dorn done for your
family or your neighbors over the past 22 years in office? She smiled
and simply couldn’t answer the question. I told her that I would change
that and she asked what I could promise her if I was elected.
My response: I could promise her representation. I could work with
others on council in a civil way to move the county forward. I would
bridge differences and work to strengthen the community of Edgefield
County. I promised her open communication and transparency. I promised
her values would be represented and no one would be second class. I
promised her that I was a phone call away when issues arose and that I
would form partnerships in each community to make sure all voices were
And lastly, I promised her that when someone on council had a different
opinion, I would treat them with respect. I would listen and I would
seek common ground to find a way forward on any issue.
She smiled and asked for one of my campaign yard signs.
On the night I am sworn in, I will restore that respect and the people
of District 1 will have a true voice that the rest of council will work
with and get the work of the people done. Mr. Dorn has served his time
and if he can’t tell that it is time to step away, the voters must do
it for him.
Like the lady in Johnston, we are gaining ground every day. One person
at a time will advance our cause and our districts voice will be
restored. It is essential that one must understand that this election
is an important one. You can choose to continue the lack of
representation or you can choose for your voice to finally be heard.
I asked that you vote for me on November 6, 2012. We will restore the
voice and push forward in building our community together.
William P. Smith
County Council District 1, Candidate
note: All candidates are welcome to send in Op-Ed's stating
their case for office.
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