Thursday, December 9, 2010

Columbia Transit system is broke, buses about to be cut

Bus System to be cut seventy-five percent in 2011, with possibility of going out of business in 2012.

By: Keith H. Seymour

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) recently announced that following the failed referendum to pass a penny sales tax in Richland County to repair roads, and support the transit system, that bus services will likely be cut no less than seventy-five percent. This will include the Dial A Ride Transit (DART) service for the disabled. According to Joyce Dickerson CMRTA chairperson, and Richland County Councilperson, the DART services, which travel three-quarters of a mile further than the regular buses, may only legally run at the same time the regular buses are in operation. This means that if the cuts take place on April 1, 2011, the DART system will only be available to the disabled between 5 a.m. until 10 a.m., and 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., with total elimination of weekend service. Up until this time the bus system has been supported the ten dollar additional automobile property tax that was adopted in 2006 that will cease to exist as of June 2011. As well as a one time federal grant received by the CMRTA in March.

CMRTA board members and others in favor of the penny sales tax pointed out the rise in unemployment and the inability to attract business that occurred within the the Charleston area, when they voted the same way, a few years back. Many of those opposing the penny sales tax were business people in the “Five Points,” and Vista” area, and CMRTA board member Tommy Windsor, who opposed it on the grounds that it would hurt business. However, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce came out in favor of the penny sales tax, stating that if the bus system was cut, fewer people would be working, which would in turn mean that businesses would be making less money. Among those losing jobs, if the cuts take place on April 1, 2011, will be transit employees. Specifically, forty bus drivers, twelve DART bus drivers, four mechanics, and ten supervisors and staff members. If these take place, they will only allow the buses to run until September 30, 2011.

According to CMRTA board member, Frannie Heizer, who gave the budget briefing during the executive board meeting that took place prior to the regular public meeting, the firing of the sixty-six transit employees would by itself, be a gross loss of 2.2 million dollars to the community. “This is what those people who voted against the penny tax have done to this community. I just hope they can sleep at night,” said Dickerson who has since become a a very vocal supporter of the sales tax, since her and Richland County Council's 2008 vote to disallow a referendum on the penny sales tax.

According to South Carolina State Law the penny sales tax may only be included on a referendum during a general election year. However, even if a penny tax referendum passed in 2012, the money would not be likely allocated to CMRTA, until early 2013, and the CMRTA and its member municipalities would need to find the money to fill that unfunded period of time. On the other hand, if a 2012 referendum fails, the bus system will without a doubt dissolve, due to lack of funding.

On December 20th, Richland County Council, the City of Columbia, and the CMRTA will be holding a public meeting at the Richland County Public Main Library, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The purpose of the meeting will be to public input, before voting on the proposed changes in late January 2011. Meanwhile the CMRTA is finding ways to raise money to avoid the cuts. Among the ways that this is being done are the sale or leasing of land on River Drive, selling the eight additional buses and trolleys owned by the CMRTA, and possibly applying to the secretary of state for non-profit status, so that the CMRTA may raise funds through grants and donations. Also, beginning January 1, 2010, all bus riders will be required to pay an additional seventy-five cents for each transfer, the five CMRTA administrative employees will be furloughed for one day a month, for the state amount maximum of ten months, and off duty City of Columbia Police officers will no longer be used in addition to t he regular security guards at the transit station, where recently released prisoners are dropped off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why Haley Election could cause South Carolina to become a national role model for 21st century diversty

Haley Election could be used as historical model in diversity for rest of country

By: Keith H. Seymour
schotline Contributing Editor

Tuesday, November 2, 2010, I had the privilege of witnessing what will inevitably go down in South Carolina History, as a “landmark moment.” I am of course referring to the election of Nikki Haley as the first Female and Minority governor of a state that has been governed by Caucasian males, since its creation as British Colony in 1729.

However, I believe that my more illustrious colleagues in the media have either not realized, or have overlooked the importance that the governor-elect's “historic” accomplishment lies not so much in her gender and ethnicity, but more importantly, what appears to be the consistent diversity of her supporters, since she entered the race for governor. In the opinion of this observer, the socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and even political make up of Haley's supporters is an indication that as chief executive of South Carolina, she has the very real potential to unify what is often seen as the one of the most ethnically and politically polarized states in the country, in manner, that could be used as a positive model for the rest of this country.

As someone of a diverse racial background and upbringing, this is not a statement that I make lightly. During the course of the evening, and throughout her campaigns, I have noticed individuals of every background imaginable, including people who who have sworn they would never vote for a Republican candidate. This is not to state that Governor-Elect Haley will not have opposition from various political and ethnic groups, because she will. Such opposition is an inevitability. It is merely pointed out that in the opinion of this writer, that more than any other governor of my recollection, Governor-Elect Haley has the greatest potential to appeal to a greater number and a more diverse group of current and future residents of South Carolina. I believe this not merely because of her gender and her ethnicity, but also because her demeanor.

Whereas, other candidates have secluded themselves with the help of their entourages, Iy has been my observation, that then Candidate Haley had consistently made herself available to media and voters/ While it may be argued that this is a popular way to get the most votes from the greatest number of people, this observer believes Governor-Elect Haley's efforts to reach out to the most diverse section of the state possible, are sincere. When one considers that for the past two years ,South Carolina's politicians from both sides of the aisle have made South Carolina a national punchline for every comic and news talk host out there, having a state led by a governor who will sincerely reach out and appeal to as many groups of people, is extremely important.

When Haley gave her acceptance speech, she pledged that regardless of whether you voted for her or not, or whatever a person's background, she would work for every South Carolinian.

It is the sincere hope of this journalist, that he is correct in believing that Haley will follow through on this pledge. At the same time, it is up to all South Carolinians to make sure that Governor-Elect Haley does follow through, by staying informed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Community and School join to benefit children with special needs

Non-Profit Organization, District Five Schools, Community Unite to Benefit Children With
Special Needs and Pay Tribute to Veterans.

The Family Connection Network, Inc of Columbia “officially” announces “American Idol” star, La Kisha Jones for its twentieth year anniversary celebration and fundraiser to be held at the Dutch Fork High School Football Stadium, Sunday November 7, 2010.

According to the organizers of the events, in addition to Ms. Jones, various Lexington/Richland School District Five bands and choirs School, including the award winning Irmo and Dutch Fork High School Choirs.

Various ROTC programs from Richland/Lexington School District Five will be joining various patriotic and scouting organizations at the event, in a salute to our country's current and fallen veterans., including the presentation of the flag to the family of a local veteran, recently killed in the Middle East.

For more information on tickets or making donations individuals and local companies may contact W.C. Hoeke at 803-252-0914 or they may go to They may also contact Mr. Peter Zeef at 803-807-1337 or Mr. Keith H. Seymour at 803-960-8785.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

La Kisha Jones to appear at November 7th fund raiser for special needs kids, in Columbia, South Carolina

September 20, 2010

Special Needs Organization Proudly Announces Name of Star for November 7th Fundraiser.

The Family Connection Network, Inc of Columbia “officially” announces “American Idol” star, La Kisha Jones for its twentieth year anniversary celebration and fundraiser to be held at the ,Dutch Fork High School Football Stadium, Sunday November 7, 2010.

The star's agent Ms. Cynthia Jackson of La Kisha Jones Music just have waited to release Since Ms. Jones' 2007 “American Idol “ appearance she has been chosen for several acting and singing jobs on Broadway, and in television and movie roles. Among her Broadway roles she has played both supporting and starring roles, in Alice Walker's “The Color Purple.” This includes the pivotal role of Sophia in “The Color Purple.”

According to the organizers of the events, Ms. Jones, who is the founder of La Kisha Jones Music in Los Angeles, California has graciously taken time out or her busy schedule, which includes work on a new album.

The November 7th anniversary celebration and fundraiser will raise money to assist Family Connection's Special Needs Children and their families.

For more information on tickets, interested parties may contact W.C. Hoeke at 803-252-0914 or they may go to

Monday, September 27, 2010

Transit board member needs to be ousted!!!

Comments to CMRTA concerning board members comments opposing support of bus system

By: Keith H. Seymour

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Keith Seymour, and I am a bus rider, and I have also been a car driver, and maybe a driver at some point again. However this meeting is not about me, but about what is best for this community, and how the importance of a viable transit system. In that vain, I will make my comments short, but they will not be sweet!

The CMRTA board has worked too long and too hard over the past several years to sustain and improve the bus system, including but not limited to the CMRTA and others finally convincing Richland County Council to agree to put this penny sales tax on a referendum. Now during this time, I have been both one of the CMRTA's biggest critics and biggest defenders, depending on my feelings concerning those efforts.

I also wish it to be noted that I have always thought well of Mr. Tommy Windsor in regards to my dealings with him at transit meetings, and as a result of his association with at the former Epilepsy Foundation of South Carolina. Therefore, I have nothing personal against him.

However, I absolutely refuse to keep quiet about what I see as comments that have the potential to dangerously perpetuate an attitude that will lead to the economic destruction of both the bus system and the City of Columbia.

In my opinion, CMRTA board member. Windsor's comments to the press and public, opposing the passage of this referendum, are potentially detrimental not only to the well-being of bus riders, but to the growth of this community. At the very least he has presented an image problem concerning the CMRTA's sincere advocacy on behalf bus riders and drivers, as well as negating how this penny sales tax has the very real potential to benefit the economic growth of individuals and businesses within our community, in the long run.

The bottom line is that I feel the best course of action, is for the City of Columbia, who appointed Mr. Windsor to the CMRTA, to relieve him of status on this board, and replace him with someone who will actively work to help this bus system and this community grow.

Thank you for hearing me out on this matter. I sincerely hope my advice is heeded.

Keith H. Seymour is a thirty-three year resident of Columbia, a local community advocate, writer, and media consultant, and bus re may be reached at 803-960-8785 or at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Operation H.O.P.E fundraiser to benefit the physically and mentally disabled

IRMO- Our Lady of the Hills' Knights of Columbus Council 6892 will hold a community wide Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everyday) kickoff breakfast for its Council's 2010-2011 Operation H.O.P.E. fund raising efforts, on Saturday August 7, 2010.

The family and community oriented fund raising breakfast will be held at Fatz Cafe,located at 7420 Broad River Road in Irmo,and will be from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM.

Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everyday) is a nation wide Knights of Columbus campaign, that benefits various charities that work to assist and enhance the lives of physically and mentally Challenged citizens, and 85 percent of all proceeds stay within the community in which they are raised.

All of the proceeds for Operation H.O.P.E fund raisers put on by Irmo Council 6892, at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church, go to support Special Olympics and Pendergrass Fairwold School in Columbia.

Over the past several years, Knights of Columbus 6892 Council has actively assisted, and continues to assist these organizations, and their clients.

The entire public's participation in raising funds for the essential and heart warming services that the Special Olympics and Pendergrass Fairwold School provide would be greatly appreciated.

Tickets are $7.00, and may be purchased in advance or at the Broad River Rd. Fatz Cafe, on the day of the event.

For more information on this August 7th Community fund raising event sponsored by the Irmo Knights of Columbus Council, interested persons may contact Jim Sansonetti, Operation Hope Chairman, at 803-361-1801.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nikki Haley-The Face of a new and better South Carolina


BY:Keith H. Seymour

I recently attended one of many many meet and greets for gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, and like many other people, I also attended the recent rally at the state house, where former vice-presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska, Sara Palin endorsed Representative Haley in her Republican Primary bid for governor of South Carolina. This appearance by

Now, over almost a a twenty year period, I have attended so many of these events as a journalist, public relations person, and private citizen and voter, that I am rarely impressed by the speeches made, and much less by the candidates themselves. In all honesty, I find most to be run of the mill necessary evils, I need to attend to stay informed. Therefore, Governor Palin's appearance, although impressive and a definite boost for Haley, is not what caused me to see Haley as a more viable candidate. Quite honestly, I thought Governor Palin was an effective cheerleader, who rattled off a bunch of crowd pleasing cliche's. Whereas, Representative Haley in my opinion gave the crowd the straight talk that they needed. I originally saw Representative Haley as the definitive “dark horse candidate.” The fact that she was willing to against more visible opponents such as Lieutenant Governor Bauer, and Attorney General McMaster, not only caused me to believe her elevator not gone all the way to the top floor, it caused me to wonder if had ever even even been installed at the basement level! Needless to say, my opinion has since severely changed!

Origunally, it was between Bauer, (who my mother taught in middle school, and whom I have always respected as good person, since high school) stood up for me against a bunch of bullies, in high school), and McMaster, who I have known since he was my precinct captain, during part of my time tI living in “Five Points.” I consider both friends, and believe both would do a wonderful job as governor. However, I also believe Nikki Haley would do an even better job, and would bring a refreshing and much needed change to both the South Carolina Republican Party, and the state in general. She is younger, and will not be seen as part of the “old guard/ “Good Ole' Boy, Good Gal” system that has often made South Carolina the laughing stock of this country. While Attorney General McMaster is competent and experienced, he does risk being seen seen as a member of the “old guard.”

Representative Haley has already proven she will not be part of this system, by standing up for transparency legislation that resulted in members of her own party retaliating against her, and forcing her off every committee, possible. 'Lieutenant Governor Bauer does not have this problem, and will be like Haley, a governor who is more active within the constituency, and less of an office administrator. Lieutenant Governor Bauer has consistently proven this in every office that he has held. Even in non-election years, unless he is needed for legislative business, he is traveling around the state meeting constituents, and attending town hall meetings. However, the lieutenant governor does have an image problem, that has resulted from a condition many in political life contract. It is called “foot in mouth disease.” While Bauer has several great ideas, instead of initially saying what he means, he has taken to playing to the crowd. While I Bauer and McMaster would be my second and third choices, respectively, I would definitely choose Representative Haley as my first choice. o Let's look at why.

First, Haley is for mandatory term limits, to my knowledge none of the other candidates have pledged to get a term limits law passed. Secondly, Haley believes that the governor and lieutenant governor should run on the same ticket. Bauer has explicitly stated he feel the current two ticket system should remain. This is one of the few although important disagreements, I have had with Lieutenant Governor Bauer since he was Representative Bauer and we first discussed this topic at our ten year high school reunion, in 1997. While I understand Bauer's reasoning, our current two ticket executive office system has often turned out to be a disaster! Not only was it a disaster , when we had a governor and lieutenant governor were in separate political parties, but during the Sanford and Bauer Administrations. It is no secret that our current governor and lieutenant governor have had the most personally and politically adversarial relationship, than probably any governor and lieutenant governor belonging to the same political party, in South Carolina's recent history. Third, while both Bauer and Haley are business people and will run our state as a business, both are grass roots oriented individuals who believe our systems of generational welfare dependency. Haley, will just come out and say what she means, and take the consequences, instead of playing to an audience by using would have been an appropriate “analogy,” if had either been immediately explained or more completely phrased. In other words, Haley is what Bauer was four or five years ago, and what he has the potential to become again. However, this state does not have time to wait for that to happen, unless he instead of Haley ends up in what will inevitably be a run-off in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

I know a lot of people have their doubts about Representative Haley, because she is a female, and has not been in office as long as the others. So let's deal with these issues. First, I\if Haley had the same platform and she was a man, would you have reservations? If the answer is no, then why do you have reservations now? Secondly, while it is true that Haley has only been an elected official for six years,that is the same amount of time it took Lieutenant Governor Bauer to go from private citizen to his current elected position. Let's face it,Lieutenant Governor Bauer had made more positive contributions to this state in his first four years, than Governor Sanford has made during his entire time in office! This is why he is my second choice.

I do not generally make public endorsements. As a matter of fact, I have a general rule that because journalists (including freelance journalists) need to remain impartial and impersonal on such matters, they should refrain from making political endorsements. However, because I believe this candidate to be exceptional in every way, I am publicly stating that Nikki Haley should be every Republican and every South Carolinians choice for governor.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Richters comments to Gulf War Hero at South Carolina Lt. Governor Candidate forum out of line

Richter's Recent comments on Connor's Military Service Indicate Lack of Patriotism,
Lack of Leadership Qualities Needed to Help Lead South Carolina

BY: Keith H. Seymour,

Recently Candidate for South Carolina Lieutenant governor, Larry Richter at a recent forum sponsored by a group of woman Republicans compared his service as a judge who had sent five men to death row, to the life and death decision of Army Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Lt. Colonel Bill Connor. As a “patriotic American, the grandson, son, and nephew of military officers who have seen combat, I feel such a comparison is out of line. Especially since Mr. Richter has never served in the military.

While sending someone to be executed for a crime that they have committed is no small decision, as Mr. Richter pointed out in his rather insulting remarks, that is a very deliberate decision, and a judge has time to consider his options. A soldier must be able to think on his feet, and be ready to adapt to any situation at moment's notice. Furthermore, the outcome of the decision made by a solider in combat is much heavier than that of judge, simply due to the fact that the soldiers decision not only affects the safety of himself and those in which he is put in charge, but the country he charged with defending. It should be also pointed out that our judicial process is such that those men sentenced to be executed had the right to appeal, and there may have been a chance of a commuted sentence or even a reprieve. On the other hand, when a soldier dies or someone in his command is killed because of bad decision, there are no second chances.

It should be noted, while Mr. Richter was safely enjoying the creature comforts and freedoms, available to Americans, Lt. Colonel Connor was putting his life in danger so Richter and others could safely enjoy those comforts and freedoms. Therefore, Mr. Richter's comments were hypocritical and un-American. Considering the fact that South Carolina is home to the largest basic training Army instillation in the world (Fort Jackson), Mr. Richter's comments should be of great concern to the voters in this state. The people elected in this state need to be people who exhibit the ability to respect the abilities, and enhance the moral of those who faithfully serve this country. Whereas Lt. Colonel Connor's actions indicate that he is such a person, Mr. Richter's clearly indicate the opposite.

Furthermore, Mr. Richter's comments contrasting his judicial and legislative to Lt. Colonel Connor's military experience, seem to imply that he feels Connor's executive military experience, in addition to his combat experience, is insufficient experience to lead this state. If my assessment of Mr. Richter's comments are correct, I would suggest to Mr. Richter that holding an executive position that requires someone to consecutively oversee various military units and equipment and operations totaling over $160 million dollars, and later implementing and overseeing the training of junior officers, takes a great deal of administrative skill. I would also contend that anyone selected to be Aide de Camp to a commanding general, and whose service to this country has caused him to be selected for the famous Cambridge “Who's Who” publication, is a leader qualified to oversee the physical, governmental, and fiscal well-being of this state.

In closing, I would like to ask my fellow Americans and South Carolinians a question. “Are you really able to endorse a person who for the purpose of political gain, will attack the intelligence and integrity of a war hero, who has literally risked his life to safeguard our freedoms, or do you feel our state deserves better?” My hope is that it is the latter.

Keith H. Seymour is an Contributing Editor and may be reached at phoned at 803-233-9622 or 803-960-8785.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

student with cancer needs prayers

Please pray for Michael Lassiter a high school sophomore as he fights for his life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cromartie's constituents knew what they were getting

How Cromartie's Constituents Contributed to Cromartie's Actions.

BY: Keith H. Seymour

I have been a journalist for close to twenty years in this town,and most of that time, I have dealt with the African-American press. I have been a community advocate for slightly longer. From 1994-2001, I was even public information director for a non-profit organization in Mr. Cromartie's district. During and since that time, I have always be confused that in spite of this man's public known dishonesty, that he has been re-elected. Having said that, I am going to make a statement that will get me in trouble, but needs to be stated. Yes, E.W. Cromartie has caused a lot of people a lot of problems, and he did it with the help of his constituents. They knew about this man's dishonesty, and still re-elected him, when there have been alternatives over the years. Let's look at the fact that prove that Mr. Cromartie's own constituents assisted in creating this situation that has disgraced their district and this city.

Mr. Cromartie has been found guilty of every thing from parking illegally in handicapped zones, and running up expense accounts, to landlord violations and not paying property taxes. As Public Information Director for Waverly United for Action, Inc. neighborhood group, I actually had a run in with him. The situation was at a forum where one of his constituents/tenants complained about the sub-standard conditions of the rat infested apartment building in which she lived. The woman must have been about eighty at the time,and this was in 1995. The woman complained that one apartment in her building was so rat infested that, the rats chewed through the ceiling though the floor, which was a ceiling that landed on her neighbor's bed.Mr. Cromartie's answer was he would get around to it, when he got around to it.
This same man has run up expense accounts, and then had his constituents hold fund raisers to pay off his overspending of "thie" tax dollars. So my question is: Why are they surpised. There is an old saying: If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Columbia District Two residents chose not to be part of the solution, by voting his sorry ass, out of office, so they are part of the problem.
Now, I am not denying that Mr. Cromartie has done a lot of good things for his community such as cleaning up Read Street, the Saxon Homes area, and getting the funding for the Drew Wellness Center. However, to keep re-elect him because of this, when his lack of ethics has become habitual, is like keeping on a dishonest employee, because he came up with some good ideas. As sorry as I feel for the residents of District Two, I also acknowledge that they got that for which they allowed their tax dollars to pay. The real sadness here, is the that if only the District Two residents had exhibited the good sense to vote this man out, when they had the chance, they would not have to deal with the disgrace of knowing that there first and only district representative will now be a “federal” convict. Mr. Cromartie committed his most recent and most criminal acts for one simple reason. He knew he could do it, and either get away with it, and if he got caught his constituents would forgive him, and not hold him accountable. Well, thank goodness the federal government is holding him accountable. Even if it is for less time than anyone else would get, for the same crime.

The best thing that could have happened to Mr.Cromrtie's constituents, and this city, was his being kicked out of office. I am just sorry that it had to be in a manner that will mar the reputation of his constituents, this city, and honest African-American leadership of this town.

Keith H. Seymour is a 32 year resident of Columbia, who has worked for about 20 years, as freelance journalist, media consultant, and community advocate. He may be reached at, or at 803-233-9622.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coming soon: op-ed on cromartie plea bargin

Well, it finally happened! Columbia City councilman E.W. Cromartie, who has a list as long both my arms for dishonesty, is finally going to jail. This time it is for Federal Tax Evasion charges.

However, it seems even now this guy is going to get nothing more than a slap on the wrist amount of jail time for his fraudulant behavior. He is living proof of what is wrong with this country, state, and city's legal and political processes.

When a political fat cat ( I use the term in both the figurative and literal senses) that wears gold rim glasses gets a year, and will likely serve only ten months, there is not only something wrong with the person who is in office, but the people who put and kept him there, in spite of his dishonesty. Especially, when in the same situation, any regular person would not see the outside of a jailhouse for a couple of decades, at least.

More to come on this topic in the near future.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Flash: Rossi killer not paroled

I just got an e-mail from the mother of Barbara "Bobbi" Rossi, who was up for parole today, January 6, 2010, for the 1984 for of Barbara Rossi. See previous blog article.

I join Mrs. Rossi in thanking everyone who signed and circulated petitions to keep Marcellus Pierce behind bars.

As a contibuting editor to, I have spoken to Editor at Large and owner of Sewell consusltancy, and he has offered to put a free banner ad up to promote the scholorship funds that have been created in honor of Bobbi Rossi, who was a nursing student at the Univerisity of South Carolina, at the time of her murder.

Donations may be via The Central Carolina Community Foundation or to BOBBI ROSSI MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND.
C/O Central Carolina Community Foundation 2711 Middleburg Drive
Suite 213 Columbia, SC 29204parole