John Hull, running for Dorchester County Council District 6, sat down with Patch and concerned voters 4:30 p.m. Thursday at .
Thursday was Patch's final Coffee with the Candidates for this primary election. Hull's opponent, incumbent Larry Hargett kicked off the series March 29. Every candidate contested in Tuesday's Republican primary has attended the event.
Here is a recap of Thursday's event with Hull:
Q: Why are you running?
I'm running because five days before the inauguration of then President-elect Barack Obama he said he was going to fundamentally change America. That is running through all government down to the local level. I got highly motivated, doing what I can at the local level.
Q: Are you a tea party candidate?
I'm chairman of the Summerville 9-12 group and a member of the S.C. Pastors Alliance. I'm a member of the tea party, and I attended the Washington, D.C., event.
Q: Are you fulfilling the tea party mission to get candidates in at the local level?
It bolsters my ambition, but I'm more driven by my passion on what we need to do to unite under this nation's founding values.
Q: What are the two to three most important county issues?
I am very knowledgable of people's property rights being infringed upon. If your business is related to zoning that zoning should be protected. The second thing is did you all see the real estate crash coming? I sure did. It wasn't hard to figure out. I saw the rules being changed and free market choices were abandoned for social desires. That was caused by government, not business and free enterprise. To make the house of cards continue to stand we had to monetize our debt. The sea of debt is not going to go away. County council overpays for land for jails. They're worried about fringe benefits for employees — we don't have to worry about losing them in this economy. There ought to be some business sense on council.
Q: Council passed its 2013 budget this week. What are your thoughts?
It's short $1.7 million. This whole argument of "Columbia owes us money" is moot. I'd have the biggest, baddest pit bull I got chasing down that money.
Q: What would you cut?
One of the first things I'd do is keep track of cash. Look at the cash flow to maximize its use. You don't cut spending on infrastructure. Roads are essential. The amount of money slated to be spent toward the jail — the price tag sounds like retail space not jail space. Are we being prudent with the taxpayer's money? You can incarcerate just as good on $5,000 an acre property as a $500,000 an acre property.
Q: How will you deal with unfunded mandates from the state?
We aren't going to change this problem overnight, but we have to draw the line in the sand now. Why do we have to be the sacrificial lamb? Why don't we stand our ground? It's legally our money and we're guessing whether or not we're going to get it or not? I'm tired of it.
Q: What are your thoughts on comprehensive planning at the county level?
The market should dictate the needs and the uses of the land. Do you know what the top industries will be in 20 years? The free market has always moved toward efficiency. Planning has a purpose in economic synergy of the private sector. The whole 20-30 year plan and doing light rail is absurd. Government should be responsive and ask "What do you need" of private industry, and then invest accordingly.
Q: How do you see the county's role in economic development?
You can plan all you want but you have to be responsive to the market place. Government didn't build the Boeing or Google plant. In this environment, we should not be building industrial parks. It's not rocket science. If this was a robust economy and people were knocking on the door, maybe — but be prudent. Government always does the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Q: What are your thoughts on impact fees?
They are a very broad brush concept. I resist arbitrariness at any level. You have to let free market forces reign.
Q: Summerville 9-12 has come out against alleged "Agenda 21" forces at the local level. What specific examples do you have?
It's insidiousness with manners — walkability and sustainability. Where government competes with private industry, there's your red flag. I'm not going to give you specific examples but they are there.
Q: How will you fix Dorchester County?
By stopping and blocking. You're one of seven votes but I think I know what I know and I know what I don't know. I will try to use my positive, educational background, and bring what I have to get people to be pragmatic. Let's defend the people. It's we the people, not we the council.