Washington Runs Campaign that’s heavy on ideas, lean on dollars
In his professional life, candidate for Mayor of Charleston Maurice Washington is a man driven by details. As the President/CEO of financial consulting firm Trust Management, LLC, figures and facts are Washington’s business. But where equations, theories, and projections are the realm of economists, Washington’s feet stand firmly grounded in the tangible world of here and now.
As of the July 12 campaign disclosure reports, Washington’s campaign had raised only $17,500, or just over one percent of the total of $1.74 million the candidates have raised in total. And while opponents Stavrinakis, Deerin, and Tecklenburg each have raised in upwards of a half-million dollars, Washington’s campaign is one built on principle, and make no mistake, he’s out to win in November.
“Don’t be fooled … I’m in this race to win it, but I don’t believe City Hall should be for sale,” said Washington from his Grove St. headquarters, less than a mile from where he grew up, in the Gaston Green housing project. “I don’t believe that anyone should be excluded from running for office because they cannot raise a half million dollars. I believe public service should be in the reach of everyone.”
On the topic of the City of Charleston government evolving into a more inclusive municipal body, Washington joins some of his opponents in touting a tactic that, while not new, has never been truly explored, says Washington, the use of cooperative, public/private projects. “Public/Private relationships are critical to any government functioning at optimal levels.
“Take the ‘Gathering Place’ on James Island. I personally believe that such developments should be pursued through the private sector,” states Washington.
“Growth comes at a tremendous cost and it creates a tremendous strain on quality of life, on neighborhoods, on schools. I’m a big believer in smart growth management.
“If you as a developer want to build subdivision with 300 to 400 units, you’d better come with an infrastructure plan as well,” continues Washington. “And there’s nothing wrong with utilizing intelligently placed moratoriums (on areas primed for development) in order to protect and preserve quality of life, to assess adverse impact on quality of life before more development comes in.
“Zoning is a huge issue. I believe we need to take a total review, a complete look at our zoning laws and regulations particularly on James Island, West Ashely and Johns Island.
“I recommend that we forget about the existing zoning laws and regulations as they are right now and start anew from the bottom up, with true citizen participation,” he says.
“On Johns Island, the City has already overly developed the parts of the island it annexed with no interest in infrastructure that dates back to the 1700s.”
Another area, and an important one, Washington has given specifics on is that of affordable housing and what’s to be done about developing more of it in the Holy City. “The cost of living in Charleston is way out of line with wages. Oftentimes people think that it impacts only low-income African Americans, but gentrification knows no color,” concludes Washington with the look of someone who’s been touched by the issue.
“The bottom line if Charleston is to remain a diverse economically viable and little city we have to expand affordable housing as well as real estate opportunities for all income levels,” says Washington. “Mobility is a huge issue and it requires a lot of money; we just can’t go it alone.
“I think the approach should be for us to look at CHATS (the Charleston Area Transportation Plan) and what its proposing, let’s look at COG and their role in this as well (the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments), and let’s not try and reinvent the wheel,” he concludes.
For more information on Washington’s campaign see his website at www.Washington4Mayor.com