Little Mountain, a little town in Newberry County, has a big problem.
So big that The New York Times reported from Little Mountain last week:
“Nobody wants to be the mayor. No candidates ran in an election to replace the retiring mayor in November and, more unusual, the top two write-in recipients declined the job.”
Mayor Buddy Johnson decided he didn’t want another term. And because nobody was on the ballot to replace him, voters had to write in their choices.
Former Town Councilman Marty Frick finished first with 67 votes. Yet he didn’t want the job. Mayor Johnson finished second with 20 votes. And as already noted, he doesn’t want the job any longer.
The third-place finisher, according to Newberry County elections director Brenda Rogers, was either Mickey Mouse or Snoop Dogg. They evidently don’t want the job, either — and are ineligible since they aren’t among the 292 residents of Little Mountain.
So why doesn’t anybody want to be Little Mountain’s mayor?
In part, according to The State, because politics there have turned a bit bitter. As the Columbia newspaper recently reported:
“Organizers canceled the Little Mountain Reunion this year because of ‘conflicts dealing with Little Mountain Town Council,’ according to the festival website. Council would not let the festival organizers sell alcohol because they feared the town could be held liable in court if something bad happened.”
And: “Things got ugly at Little Mountain Town Council meetings, with residents posting things critical of council and the mayor on Facebook.”
Alas, the modern menace of social media strikes again.
Mayor Johnson officially left office Tuesday with the start of the new year. Ranking Town Council member Melvin Bowers must serve as mayor until a special election is held, likely in late March.
No, he doesn’t want the job, either.
As for general-election write-in victor Mr. Frick, he told the State that he sought divine guidance before rejecting the chance to become mayor — and received a revelation in alarming dream form: “Let’s just put it this way: It involved snakes. It was enough for me to make a decision.”
And as for the notion that after 16 years, Mayor Johnson deserves a break:
Heck, around these Charleston area parts, our mayors are just getting warmed up after their first 16 years in charge.