October 13, 2013

Election 2013 | Davis faces first re-election challenge in Columbia

Veteran Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis faces a challenge at the Nov. 5 ballot from a neighborhood activist unhappy with City Hall.

Veteran Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis faces a challenge at the Nov. 5 ballot from a neighborhood activist unhappy with City Hall.

Bruce Trezevant is the first opponent since Davis became a city leader after winning a four-candidate showdown in 1998.

Davis says he is “geared up” – not rusty – for the nonpartisan contest.

The pair are running in District 1, which includes the northern part of the city as well as its arms in the St. Andrews and Harbison areas.

Both oppose a “strong mayor” referendum going before city voters Dec. 3 to give the mayor more clout over daily operations of City Hall, expressing concern it would dilute neighborhood influence.

But they differ on the Bull Street redevelopment project.

Davis expects it will pay off despite complaints that city officials rushed into a deal requiring an initial investment expected to be at least $31 million, and possibly more, for a package of improvements.

“I tried to look at the big picture on that,” he said. “We didn’t want this to walk away.”

Trezevant says it may wind up an expensive folly depriving other areas of long-wanted improvements. “We always get involved in things like that that don’t work,” he said.

Both also want City Hall to sponsor more activities as a supplement to those in schools for youngsters as an anti-crime measure.

Here’s a snapshot of other themes each candidate is sounding:

Davis says he hasn’t lost touch for neighborhood interests despite longevity making him a City Hall insider.

“I try to make sure people who don’t have a voice have quality representation,” he said.

A top goal is to spur redevelopment in the northern part of the city, particularly through “fundamental things” such as better drainage and roads, he said.

City Hall needs to help assure revitalization in the area by upgrading facilities, he said. “There’s some things the city is going to have to bite the bullet on and step up. We’re going to have to plant the seed.”

Davis, 65, a business consultant, lives in the Belmont neighborhood.

Trezevant’s emphasis on fighting crime reflects his background as a former police officer as well as what he said is poor law enforcement response to calls for help in his neighborhood.

That assessment is “not bashing” city police but recognition that some officers need better training in dealing with those concerns as well as more attention on “hot spots” with frequent problems.

He also wants to promote new development in the area, but offered no specifics on how he would do that.

Trezevant, 54, is an apprentice funeral director who lives in the College Place neighborhood. He ran previously for Richland County Council.

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