North Charleston mayor candidates address Northwoods crowd

The Rev. Chris Collins answers a question Wednesday night at the North Charleston candidate forum while John Singletary looks on.

The North Charleston candidate parade continued its tour of the city Wednesday, this time with a forum in the Northwoods area.

Just as at the two previous forums, candidates answered questions about gridlock, affordable housing and how to improve relations between residents and the police department.

About 150 people attended the forum sponsored by the Charleston County Chapter of the SC Coalition for Voter Participation, where the candidates for mayor — plus those running for council districts 2 and 3 — answered questions for about two hours.

At past forums, mayoral candidate John Singletary, a former businessman, has lodged accusations of nepotism and cronyism against Mayor Keith Summey.

On Wednesday, it was their opponent, the Rev. Chris Collins, who brought up those words.

“One of our candidates has advocated that there’s so much nepotism and cronyism,” he said. “What I will get rid of (if elected) is ‘baloney-ism.’”

Singletary called his strongest attribute his “relentless pursuit of fairness,” while Clifford Smith said his leadership skills from years as a construction company executive are his.

“I think we’ve got great candidates running and I think what you have to look at is where you’ve been,” said Summey, who has been mayor for 21 years. “I may not be the best person (for mayor) but I am the devil you know and you don’t know where the other devils are coming from.”

In District 2, incumbent Rhonda Jerome faces opposition from Raymond A. Lloyd Jr.

Candidates for District 3 are Lathaniel Ford, Russ Coletti, Mark Conway and Virginia Jamison. Councilman Bobby Jameson is not seeking re-election after 12 years on council.