Charleston candidate filings continued this week, with one longtime councilman in a growing downtown district getting a challenger and another member filing to run for reelection.
A resident and landlord in Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood for 17 years, Tim Weber said his campaign for District 4 boils down to crime — specifically murders — an issue he said has not gotten adequate attention.
Weber filed paperwork to challenge longtime Councilman Robert Mitchell on Tuesday. Incumbent Councilwoman Carol Jackson also filed for reelection Friday.
Weber didn’t have exact crime numbers from District 4 when he spoke with the City Paper Wednesday, but said the number of murders in the area in the past 20 years was “totally unacceptable.”
“I don’t see that it’s brought up hardly ever in city discussions and no [there’s] no plan whatsoever to do something,” he told the City Paper this week.
Charleston Police Department crime data shows homicides citywide remained steady 2014-2019, before spiking in 2020, part of a state and national trend of increased violent crime.
If elected, Weber said he’d identify murder hotspots and start with education and employment initiatives to stem violence.
“If those things don’t work, then we need to go in there with some enforcement and some heavy-handed actions to make sure that they get sentences, or whatever, accordingly,” he said.
Weber does not have any law-enforcement background. The retired merchant marine owns at least eight properties downtown, including his home on South Street.
Weber made news in 2019 when surveillance cameras on one of his properties on Hanover Street recorded a shooting around 7:30 p.m. one evening that left a King Street restaurant worker dead. Since then, tensions have run high over the path and rate of change in the neighborhood.
Mitchell, councilman since 2002, said everyone has the right to run for office, but stood by his time as an elected official, noting the Eastside is just one neighborhood in District 4 and crime is an issue everywhere.
“You have to represent all the people and see I represent everybody who live in District 4 matters, not who they are, doesn’t make no difference,” he said Friday.
District 4 is one of two downtown-only districts, encompassing most of the eastern side of the peninsula north of Calhoun Street. The area has experienced noticeable growth in the past decade, from high-rise apartments to trendy restaurants and more on the way.
Weber said Mitchell has “done what’s needed to be done over the years, but I just think that it’s time to move forward with some new ideas and some new fresh blood.”
Mitchell’s last contested election came in 2013, when he won a two-candidate contest with less than 350 votes. Off-year municipal elections typically draw far fewer voters than major election years.
Mitchell and Weber’s election is one of only two contested races shaping up for November. Incumbent West Ashley Councilman Harry Griffin will face attorney Stephen Bowden in District 10. Filing closes Monday for Charleston City Council.
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