Tuesday’s runoff election is of historic importance to the city of Charleston, which will elect its first new mayor in 40 years. John Tecklenburg is the best candidate for the job.
Mr. Tecklenburg’s quality-of-life message should resonate with residents. He has the experience, focus and temperament to serve as the city’s chief executive.
Mr. Tecklenburg acknowledges that Charleston’s success in the tourism realm has been an economic boon to the region. Now, he adds, “we need to make sure that Charleston is the No. 1 place in the nation to live.”
That means improving traffic and tourism management, assisting with public education improvements, and encouraging economic growth that benefits local residents.
Mr. Tecklenburg recognizes the need to take a new direction in West Ashley, which has seen commerce stagnate even as the peninsula is booming. He would direct a greater share of the tourism-based taxes from accommodations and restaurants to West Ashley to help revive and beautify what was formerly the retail center of the county.
His experience as a business executive and his eight years as the city’s economic development director under Mayor Joe Riley give him a strong background for the job.
Mr. Tecklenburg would push the pause button on new hotel construction downtown while discussions take place with residents, neighborhood associations and historic preservation groups on new restrictions. He would halt new special events in neighborhoods until stronger limits are in place.
He would be responsive to residents, working with them to come up with practical solutions to their civic problems.
For example, Mr. Tecklenburg would work to mitigate traffic and parking problems associated with cruise ship passengers. He supports shore power for the ships to reduce air pollution.
And he says that neighbors should be heeded in discussions about a building to replace the Sgt. Jasper apartments.
He has pledged to work with other local jurisdictions to reach mutual solutions on traffic and cost-saving consolidation of public services. Upon taking office, he would begin a series of performance audits of city departments to ensure that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.
Throughout the campaign, Mr. Tecklenburg has kept to the high road, while ably articulating his plan for Charleston. In doing so, he has demonstrated a thoughtful, even-tempered approach to problem solving that will serve the city well.
In a radio debate Thursday, Mr. Tecklenburg listed the qualities that will define his leadership: “I have the business sense, the common sense and the moral compass.”
Those qualities recommend him strongly as the city’s chief executive. Elect John Tecklenburg as Charleston’s next mayor.