What Voters Need to Know


Tameika Isaac Devine is a true leader who has served this community as an independent voice for over 19 years. As Mayor she will help us recover from the pandemic, ensure that our communities are safe, make homes affordable, provide economic opportunities, and create a more equitable Columbia.

Summary:

Black Voters, White Progressives, Independents, and Moderate Republican voters need to hear, see and read on the go a contrast: Daniel Rickenmann is not one of us and has always put his personal interest ahead of our community. Tameika’s top priority has always been to keep our families and community safe. During the height of the pandemic, Daniel Rickenmann had the opportunity to protect our community. Instead, he voted against regulations that would have kept our city and families safe. 

Tamieka Isaac Devine has always stood up for the rights of our LGBTQ community. When given the opportunity to support this community, Daniel Rickenmann voted against banning conversion therapy potentially puting members of the LGBTQ community at risk.  This therapy has been discredited and is very dangerous. Rickenmann has also donated money to an elected official who had a very long anti-gay voting record that included allowing employers to discriminate against gay employees. 

Daniel Rickenmann’s friends and their financial gains come before the needs of our residents.  Rickenmann’s former aid had to repay the city for a $22,500 consulting fee that resulted in an FBI probe.  Before his aid had finished repaying his debt to our city, Rickenmann introduced a proposal to give his new company a no-bid multimillion dollar city contract.  We deserve better than this.   

As a business owner, Daniel Rickenmann had the opportunity to work with residents and neighborhood leaders to address their concern about his restaurant’s impact on the community. Instead of coming to an agreement with the community, he campaigned on being a voice for businesses like his own over residents on the city council. When faced with the opportunity to work with residents and neighborhood leaders to upgrade much needed infrastructure in the community, he sided with other businesses over the neighborhood out of concern for his own financial interest.  

Tameika Isaac Devine has always pushed for greater transparency and wiser spending decisions in the city budget. For our city to thrive, we need to prioritize improving our streets, sidewalks, water lines, and other infrastructure projects. Daniel Rickenmann has proven time and time again that he’s not afraid to stand in the way of progress in Columbia. He voted against a publicly funded wireless internet network that would have created outdoor WiFi throughout the downtown area.  

Tameika Isaac Devine knows that we need to protect our most vulnerable residents. As mayor, Tameika would expand funding to increase affordable housing and provide more options for people experiencing homelessness. Daniel Rickenmann opposed a plan to build a much needed homeless shelter by a nonprofit group.  

Tameika Isaac Devine has spent her entire career working for a Columbia where everyone thrives. As Mayor, Tameika would be a champion for all communities by promoting inclusivity and equitable growth. Daniel Rickenmann made a failed attempt to create a members-only social club that he said was inspired by the whites only club from the antebellum era. Rickenmann’s lack of knowledge of South Carolina’s history makes it clear that he is not who we need as mayor.

Proof Points:

Daniel Rickenmann and Covid 19 Pandemic Response 

Rickenmann tweeted about wanting to keep all businesses open during the March 2020 stay at home order

03/26/2020

Image 360 helping businesses stay safe and open as we should as well. All businesses essential to this community as well employment and customers let’s keep safe, act sensibly and stay open for business

He also opposed mask mandates and stay at home ordinances during the height of the pandemic

[1] “Columbia now requires you to wear a mask to combat coronavirus. Here are the details,” Jeff Wilkinson, The State, 6/23/2020

The city of Columbia is now requiring all residents to wear masks when they are in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Council members voted 6-1 after a nearly 4-hour emergency session Tuesday to require the masks for anyone in public and within six feet of someone else. Employees of all businesses will also be required to wear masks.

Council member Daniel Rickenmann voted against the ordinance, saying that the wearing of masks should be an educational process.

Despite AG’s opinion, Columbia is under a ‘stay at home’ order amid COVID-19,” Chris Trainor, Post & Courier, 4/1/2020

Columbia City Council passed the measure during a March 26 meeting. The vote was 6-1, with Councilman Daniel Rickenmann voting “no.”

Daniel Rickenmann and LGBTQ Rights

Rickenmann voted against banning conversion therapy, which increases the rate of suicide for LGB people, and was the sole vote in the council to vote against a resolution affirming support for state legislation to ban the practice

“Columbia passes ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors in narrow vote,” Chris Trainor, The State, 6/15/2021

The Columbia City Council on Tuesday afternoon officially passed the conversion therapy for minors ban that had been bandied about at City Hall for more than a month. The measure passed by a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Steve Benjamin and councilmen Daniel Rickenmann and Ed McDowell voting “no.”

Also Tuesday, the Council passed a separate resolution affirming support for statewide legislation that would prohibit conversion therapy for minors. That resolution passed 6-1, with Rickenmann voting voting “no.” The resolution is not a city law and does not have penalties.

“LGB people who have undergone conversion therapy almost twice as likely to attempt suicide,” UCLA, 6/15/2020

Rickenmann donated $3,278.10 to the Gubernatorial campaign of Ant-LGBT politician Gresham Barrett

Contributor Recipient Seat Date Amount
Rickenmann, DanielBarrett, GreshamGovernor6/30/2009$1,000.00
Rickenmann, DanielBarrett, GreshamGovernor12/17/2009$678.10
Rickenmann, DanielBarrett, GreshamGovernor3/26/2010$200.00
Rickenmann, DanielBarrett, GreshamGovernor3/29/2010 $1,000.00
Rickenmann, DanielBarrett, GreshamGovernor5/10/2010$400.00

“Anti-Gay Barrett Announces S. Carolina Governor Bid,” On Top Magazine, 3/5/2009

Not included on his resume to voters was his civil rights record. But there is no need to ask Berrett where he stands on critical gay rights issues; one only needs to look at his biased legislative voting record.

While in Congress, Berrett’s voting record is clearly anti-gay: Voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation (ENDA), co-sponsored and voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a heterosexual union (the Marriage Protection Amendment), and opposes legislation that would repeal the military’s ban on open service (Military Readiness Enhancement Act).

In grading members of Congress, The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights advocate, has consistently scored Barrett at 0% for gay and lesbian rights.

In making his announcement, Barrett, a Republican, remained firm in his conservative ideals, “There are some things that we can improve, there are some things that we can change and move our country forward with, but our conservative values [we] will not compromise.”

Daniel Rickenmann’s Friends and Their Financial Gains

A former Rickenmann campaign staffer was ordered to pay back a $22,500 consulting fee to the city following a 2-year FBI probe

“GROUP TRIES TO REVIVE FAIRFIELD YOUTH HOME,” The State, 12/13/2004

A group wanting to build a home for troubled youth in Fairfield County is attempting to resurrect the project nearly two years after it spurred an FBI probe in Columbia. 

Consultants for the Rosewood Youth Development Academy are asking Fairfield County Council for money to restart the project.

The city of Columbia, meanwhile, is preparing to sue to recover $237,000 from some of the consultants on the project, who launched their idea with federal Columbia empowerment zone money.

City officials canceled its controversial $437,000 empowerment zone loan to the Rosewood group in 2002. They then paid the Rosewood consultants out of the city’s general fund, eliminating the use of federal dollars.

The FBI does not confirm investigations. But FBI officials examined all documents connected to the project, city officials said.

The home for troubled youth was pitched as something that would create jobs for Richland and Fairfield County residents.

Mayor Bob Coble and City Council member Daniel Rickenmann in July briefed Fairfield County Council on the pitfalls and possible advantages of the project.

Carlton Washington – a Rickenmann campaign aide and Rosewood consultant – also was at the meeting. Washington said he and fellow consultant Joe Grant, who is a lobbyist for Columbia, “were trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together” and move forward with the project.

Both Washington and Grant are repaying their consultant fees to the city. Washington owed $22,500, and Grant, $27,500. Another consultant, Sam Foster, is repaying $22,500. Ten other individuals or firms are challenging the repayment.

Columbia city manager Charles Austin said he is prepared to sue whoever does not pay.

Washington said most of the original organizers had departed.

“We’re just trying to hold it together,” he said.

The July meeting came less than a month after Rickenmann took his seat on City Council.

Rickenmann said he did not attend the meeting as a political favor to Washington. “I just want to see the city get its money back,” he said.

Fairfield officials called for the meeting, Rickenmann and Coble said. If Fairfield decides to embrace the project, the consultants might be able to reimburse Columbia with Fairfield money, Rickenmann said.

While his former staffer was still paying back the city, Rickenmann introduced a proposal for a no-bid multimillion dollar contract from a consulting company his former staffer was partnered

“Consultants drop controversial plan; Group had sought contract to help city provide utilities to Fort Jackson,” Jeff Wilkinson and Gina Smith, The State, 3/1/2006

The politically connected Municipal Partners LLC stood to make millions of dollars, according to city estimates, on the no-bid contract by brokering service deals between the city and the fort.

Carlton Washington is paying back $22,500 as one of about a dozen consultants for the proposed Rosewood Youth Development Academy – consultants city officials say misbilled them for $237,000. The deal spurred an FBI probe.

He also was a consultant to Councilman Daniel Rickenmann’s election campaign two years ago.

Washington said Tuesday he agreed to pay back the money because he wants to continue to do business with the city and to be a good citizen.

“I am the only person who has stepped up. I agreed to pay a $20,000 note back that I own nothing on.”

Councilman Daniel Rickenmann introduced the proposal to council. He said he supports Columbia taking over the fort’s water and sewer system – and possibly other services – because it would create another revenue source for the city and help the fort.

Daniel Rickenmann the Business Owner

During his 2004 campaign, residents who lived near his restaurant Birds on a Wire protested his lack of compliance with city building codes

““NEIGHBORS CRITICIZE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE,” John C. Drake, The State, 3/30/2004

Rickenmann owns Birds on a Wire restaurant and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlor, which sit in a 2-year-old brick building at Devine and Holly streets adjacent to a residential area.

Area residents insist his business does not comply with city zoning regulations that require a specific number of parking spaces for certain types of businesses. They also have fought and defeated attempts to demolish a duplex behind the restaurant and build a parking lot in its place.

….

Rickenmann’s compliance with zoning requirements and his relationship with the residential area are the primary criticisms being lobbed against him in what has been a particularly contentious race to unseat 18-year incumbent Jim Papadea. Five Points businessman Joe Azar also is a candidate in the April 6 election.

Residents have challenged Rickenmann in campaign forums, written letters to the editor in local newspapers and passed out fliers.

Skirmishes between businesses and nearby residents on zoning issues are common, and if elected to City Council, Rickenmann would have to serve as a mediator on such issues. He said that despite being unable to reach consensus with residents around his own business, as councilman he would be able to work with neighborhoods.

residents say they believe Rickenmann would put businesses ahead of neighborhoods. “He is for commercial encroachment into neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Gardner, who lives two blocks from the restaurant. “Our problem as voters here is, do we want more of this on City Council?”

In letters, residents complained that Birds on a Wire was causing an influx of traffic, garbage, and rats in the neighborhood

 LTE: “RICKENMANN DOES NOT ACT LIKE GOOD NEIGHBOR,” C.M. Hill, LTE, The State, 3/27/2004

Now that Birds on a Wire owner Daniel Rickenmann has offered himself for City Council, people need to know that he has little concern for residential neighborhoods and people.

Our neighborhood behind his restaurant has been buried with traffic woes, garbage fumes and rats since he opened.

Our largest problems have been caused by the traffic and parking snarls forced upon us because Rickenmann misled the city (and us) when he opened his restaurant and informed no one that he was also opening a bar. We’ve been struggling with him for the last two years.

His proposal is to tear down a neighborhood residential structure for parking and get that property rezoned accordingly. He has said that as a councilman he wants to “streamline” regulations that small businesses have to contend with.

Since when has Mr. Rickenmann ever let a few zoning regulations or ordinances stop him?

Our prescription for citizens of Columbia is this: If you want someone sensitive to neighborhood concerns on Council, elect or re-elect someone else. Mr. Rickenmann will seek to bend the rules to fit his own needs or those of whatever business interests he champions.

“Upset win for Columbia City Council At Large seat,” WIS10, 4/2/2004

Rickenmann says he will be a voice for small business owners on city council. Many Rickenmann supporters say this is just the beginning of his political career. Someone even shouted “the mayor’s race is next” at the victory celebration.

Rickenmann expressed concern over sewage infrastructure upgrades over the impact it might have on his restaurants

“Shandon sewer upgrade to begin; Work is scheduled to start next week and be completed by the end of June,” Gina Smith, The State, 3/11/2006

City crews will begin digging up 20 intersections in Shandon beginning next week – part of the largest sewer line upgrade in the city’s history.

At-large City Councilman Daniel Rickenmann said he worries the Devine Street work will harm businesses like his three restaurants, including Birds on a Wire.

“If they can get it clear where people can travel at night, that will help some,” he said. “But the project is starting in March when you still have Dreher in session. You still have USC in session. I think it’s going to cause some headaches in traffic, and it’s going to put a lot more traffic on Millwood.”

Daniel Rickman and Columbia’s Infrastructure Needs

“COLUMBIA GOING WIRELESS IN ZONES,” John C. Drake, The State, 2/24/2005

If you have a laptop or other wireless device, soon you might be able to surf the Internet anywhere in the center of Columbia.

Columbia City Council on Wednesday set the city on a path to cover Five Points, the Vista, Main Street and other areas downtown with a publicly funded, $150,000 wireless Internet network.

Daniel Rickenmann’s Opposition to Homeless Shelter

“Some residents oppose planned homeless center,” The State, 8/10/2007

Some north Columbia residents say they’ll oppose a plan to build a homeless center at Assembly and North Main streets.

The nonprofit group Christ Central Ministries plans to buy the four-acre site and build a $15 million enclosed campus where the homeless could get job training, medical and mental help, said Pete Cannon, a Christ Central representative who attended a north Columbia community meeting Thursday. 

Two City Council members at the meeting – Sam Davis and Daniel Rickenmann – said they’ll oppose the plan, which requires planning commission approval.

“Proposed homeless center draws opposition; North Columbia residents and two council members will fight project,” Gina Smith, The State, 8/22/2007

North Columbia residents and two city leaders say they will fight a $15 million homeless center from rising at a major gateway into the city.

At issue is Christ Central Ministries’ proposal to build a homeless center and enclosed campus where the homeless could temporarily live, get job training, medical and mental help and more.

“There is so much we don’t know yet,” said Daniel Rickenmann, a City Council member. “Are we talking about treating 20 people? Or hundreds of people? No one has said yet.”

Daniel Rickenmann’s Members Only Social Club  

A new page for Columbia Athenaeum,” Gina Smith, The State, 10/17/2006

Development partners Russell Cann and Daniel Rickenmann say part of the inspiration for their new Argyle Social Club is the Columbia Athenaeum, an antebellum club and reading room for Columbia’s businessmen and politicians.

The Athenaeum was housed in a two-story building on Richardson Street – now Main Street – until 1865, when it, along with about one third of Columbia, was burned by Union Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops.

“Columbia Athenaeum was designed as a reading room and a place for oration,” said John Sherrer of the Historic Columbia Foundation. “People would give speeches. It was geared toward Columbia’s upper crust and was a place for businessmen and educated folk to congregate, to have entertainment and intellectual stimulation.”

In fact, William Campbell Preston, S.C. College president, state senator and local aristocrat, donated his 1,600-volume library to establish the reading room, according to John Hammond Moore’s “Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740-1990.”

But occasionally, it opened its doors to the general public for exhibits, according to Moore’s book. In May 1857, for example, adults, children and servants would see an exhibit on arctic explorations.

The Athenaeum was undone in 1859 when its treasurer absconded with its funds, according to the Richland County Public Library’s Web site.

“Restored Main Street building up for sale,” The State, 8/2/2007

Built in 1915, the historical 1537 Main St. was to have been home to the Argyle Social Club, an exclusive downtown dining club that was the brainchild of Columbia City Councilman Daniel Rickenmann and developer Russell Cann.

But the two men backed off the project in late April, Rickenmann said, when they failed to get enough initial shareholders for the project.

They had proposed to sell 300 equity shares at $10,000 a share. But only about 85 people subscribed, Rickenmann said. “We got about 50 percent there and didn’t make it to the finish line,” he said.

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Tameika Isaac Devine for Mayor - Columbia, SC

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