Enough already. It’s time for someone to bring this fiasco of a PR nightmare to an end.
We at The Pulse debated this one for far too long among ourselves before we finally realized that it’s not that we’ve heard too much. It’s more like we’ve NOT heard enough!!!
It’s been 16 days since Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin and waitress Deborah Rubens had their ill-fated meeting at the corner of Pickens and Gervais. Less than 12 hours after the polls closed on a monumental moment in our city’s history, the political honeymoon was over.
At that moment, leadership should have stepped in and reared its boisterous head, brought things under control, and gotten to the bottom of a very precarious situation.
Instead, it’s been nothing short of official silence.
Two days after the wreck had been cleared off the street, Police Chief Tandy Carter held a press conference telling us that his team was trained and capable of handling this investigation. We haven’t heard from him since.
If, as Councilman Sam Davis put it, the Columbia Police Department called in the Highway Patrol when he was involved in a simple fender bender a while back, why in the world weren’t they called in when the Mayor-elect was pleading for help as he stood over the broken body of a woman in the wreckage of her own car… a car that he had slammed into?
We’ve heard from a few of our city leaders, who have at least had the schmaltz enough to ask for outside help. Unfortunately, their requests have come too little too late. Just Thursday, the director of the Highway Patrol said too much time had passed since the accident for his team to lead any investigation. You think? It’s not like the cars are still blocking traffic!!!!
That leaves us with the one person who can explain everything.
Mayor-elect Steve, you’re the soon-to-be new leader of Columbia. It’s time to talk!!
Since 5:40 am on April 21st, accusations and innuendos have surfaced suggesting carelessness, willful neglect, even serious improprieties by our newest elected official.
We’ve heard from dozens of folks who’ve expressed opinions and supporting evidence ranging from “There is absolutely nothing to any of this.” to “He’s done!” So, which is it?????
For his part, Mayor-elect Steve has done nothing to minimize the potential damage from the accident and the rumors that are flying everywhere.
The afternoon of the accident, was he visiting Mrs. Rubens and her family at the hospital? No. Mayor-elect Steve was reportedly meeting with political advisers at the Hilton planning a response… from which their best comment was to refer to the critically injured driver as “that lady.”
Has there been a detailed version of the accounts leading up to the accident? Not that we’ve heard. Perhaps Mayor-elect Steve has been “lawyered up” on this one.
Has there been any refuting rumors that Mayor-elect Steve was drinking at his election party and out as late as 5 am that fateful morning? Not yet.
Have we heard whether Mayor-elect Steve’s headlights in his Mercedes SUV were on or not… or that he might have been speeding…or on the phone…or texting? No… no statement whatsoever.
So, that brings us back to the investigation… the one lead by the City of Columbia that continues oh, so slowly! Is anyone else screaming “CONFLICT OF INTEREST!!!”???
It looks like the government of “One Columbia”… of transparency and openness… is “Dead on Arrival”, and the government of “conceal, deny, and delay” is still firmly rooted all around us.
Disappointing? You bet.
Too late? No, it is never too late. Mayor-elect Steve, make a statement. Tell us it was an accident. Tell us you are sorry… that you wish you could reverse time… that you should have called Mrs. Rubens by her real name… something!!!
Just tell us what happened and try to repair your chance to be the mayor of “One Columbia” before it is too late.
Just tell us the TRUTH.