'Sanfordville' hopes to get the governor to change his mind - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

'Sanfordville' hopes to get the governor to change his mind

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - They call it "Sanfordville."

It's a sight that harkens back to Depression-era America, where out-of-work citizens were forced to construct makeshift homes in public places as a means of survival. Back then, they were called "Hoovervilles," named after President Herbert Hoover.

Only this time, it's a group of protestors who have pitched tents in Finlay Park to send their clear message to Gov. Mark Sanford: take the stimulus money, or risk governing a state full of little shantytowns.

"We want him to know that the people of South Carolina aren't buying what he did on Friday, which is to try to buy himself some time, take some of the pressure off that he was feeling last week. We also want to turn up the heat on some of his legislative allies," said Tim Kelly, one of the protest organizers.

Kelly, who co-edits the Indigo Journal website, is helping to put together the protest.

Sanford wants to use the $700 million in stimulus money to go to debt reduction.

"If you think a depression can't still happen, you're wrong. Robert Reich, the former labor secretary, thinks we're in a depression already. So we just want to remind people what Mark Sanford's lack of leadership, his lack of effort is getting South Carolina," said Kelly.

Sanfordville will be more of a town than a city with maybe about a dozen tents.

They'll get set up at 10am and taken down before midnight to avoid violating a city ordinance against overnight camping.

Columbia Mayor Bob Coble says the plan appears to conform to city parks and recreation policy.

"I certainly agree with what they're trying to do. I don't know that another press conference is going to change the governor's mind. I really think we need to look to Washington to amend the stimulus legislation," said Coble.

The governor's spokesman calls the tent city protest a "cheap ploy" that won't get the state any closer to solving its problems.

Joel Sawyer says instead of staging publicity stunts, Democrats should get to work on funding the state's core needs and providing opportunities for job growth.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Posted by Jeremy Turnage

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