Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Davidson 4-Year Terms Proposal Withdrawn

In what may seem to be an ironic victory for small-d democracy, during Tuesday's "special meeting" the Davidson Town Board withdrew the resolution that would have put the 4 year terms charter amendment on the ballot this November. 

The Town's current format of two year elected terms for both the Board and Mayor in an at-large setup is the most "democratic" form of government allowed by state law.  The Town's proposal to go to 4-year staggered terms would have reduced the level of small-d democracy by reducing the frequency when an elected official had to face the voters.  It also would have ensured a majority of the board was only on the ballot at one time every 4 years.  In my opinion, neither of these things would be preferable for a small town like Davidson with an active and engaged citizenry.

Without going into the gory details of the arguments for and against this issue that were presented at tonight's meeting, I'll just say I'm glad they made the decision they did.  It was the right thing to do.

DavidsonNews.net article on the meeting.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

THIS TUESDAY: Special Meeting on 4 Year Terms & Proposed Ballot Language

Tuesday evening at 5pm the Davidson Board will meet at Townhall to once again discuss 4-year terms.  This meeting came out of the issues posted here last week on this blog.  In an ideal world, the Board would drop this issue.  Between the missed procedural steps and the below examples of proposed ballot language, it is obvious this idea has not been fully thought out.

Initial ballot language received from Town Manager Brice.

Should the ordinance establishing four year staggered terms for the Mayor and Town Board of Commissioners of the Town of Davidson be approved?  ___yes   ___no

Follow-up language from Town Attorney Kline to clarify that this was an actual charter amendment (which indicates that the initial draft language may not have been fully vetted before sending to the Mecklenburg Board of Elections).

Shall the ordinance amending the Charter of the Town of Davidson to change the term of the Board of Commissioners from two year terms to four year staggered terms and changing the term for the Mayor from two years to four years be approved?  ___yes  ___no

Of course, neither one of these allows for separate questions for the Mayor and Board, so ultimately, neither of the above could be the language voters will see in November if this goes forward.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is Davidson Using Correct Procedure for 4 Year Terms Charter Amendment?

Last year when the issue of 4 Year Staggered Terms was tabled, a big part of rationale for doing so was to get it right.  Unfortunately, with the "resolution of intent" passed at last week's July meeting, the process appears to have gotten off on the wrong foot.

As was reported in DavidsonNews.net last week, questions are still outstanding on "whether the votes for the Mayor’s term and the Commissioners’ terms will be separate, and also how they will determine who gets the first 4-year terms."  Those questions were raised by Commissioners Venzon and Graham about other options on the table other than the one in the resolution of intent presented at the meeting.  When the question was asked of town staff if changes could be made later to consider those other options, the answer was "yes".

The UNC School of Government seems to think otherwise and that may have the proposal in a bind.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Election Fallout Part 2 - NC Senate 41

Watching the election night returns in the new NC Senate 41 district was like watching a train bearing down on a car trapped on the tracks.  You could sense the outcome before it hit even as you hoped it was not going to happen.

John Aneralla held a solid lead in early voting showing strong support among the party faithful, and as precinct after iprecinct reported their results, he held onto that lead.  However, the precincts in Cornelius were holding out until the end.  Then came the crunch.  When the Cornelius vote finally posted, it put Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte over the top.  The Aneralla campaign was not able to get off the tracks to safety.

For state taxpayers, this train analogy could be a recurring theme.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Election Fallout Part 1 - NC 9

On the last day before the runoff election, I received two pieces of mail from the PAC "Citizens for Conservative Leadership, Inc" parroting the tone of Robert Pittenger's attack adds.  More on the PAC here.  One was a repeat of an earlier mailing that accused Pendergraph of not doing enough to protect children as sheriff.  The other was an attack about same sex benefits.  It was pink with two male figurines on top of a wedding cake.

"Enough already!", I thought. 

The next day, Pittenger wins and Jennifer Roberts sees an opening. 

"What? No! That's not possible!" most staunch Republicans would say. This district is too conservative for Jennifer Roberts to ever have a chance.  You may be right.  You probably are right. 

But then, there's this...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vote "NO" on Davidson 4-Year Terms

Tuesday night, July 17th, the Davidson Town Board took the first step towards what could be an historic change to our town charter.  The Board voted 4-1 on a resolution starting the process to put a charter amendment on the November ballot.  If passed as-is, this amendment will create 4-year terms for our Board and Mayor and stagger the elections with only 3 positions on the ballot every two years. 

In response, the Vote "NO" Davidson 4-Year Terms Facebook page has been launched to provide the public with information on why this change would not be the right thing to do for our town.

This is a follow-on effort to the "Let Davidson Vote" initiative last year which encouraged the previous Board to not make this change unilaterally.  If it is to be done at all, it should be put it before the people for a vote.  Now, it looks like we will get that chance.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pendergraph vs Pittenger...last minute hail mary

The Pendergraph campaign just emailed this story about Robert Pittenger (published Sunday) by World Net Daily on the NC-9 runoff.

'Damaged' GOP candidate to hand Dems safe seat? -WND 7/15/2012

Glad to see others are finally catching on that choosing the wrong GOP candidate could open this seat up and make it competitive - something that was said here  and here back in May on this blog.

It's too bad some of Pendergraph's own actions could just as well bring the same result if not the same investigations. 

But, these are the choices we've left ourselves on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

For many NC-9 runoff reduced to this...

The below comments from the Observer article on the Monday's NC-9 debate paint a stark picture on how many unfortunately see the choices in this runoff.  All three posters are regulars and conservative standard bearers on the Observer message boards.

I myself am leaning towards Pendergraph, but not because I think he's the best candidate.  I don't.  However, giving Pittenger the power of incumbency in addition to the power of his personal wealth is too scary a proposition to simply sit this one out.

It's hard to believe that what should have been an easy election has come to this, but here we are.

From Accusations fly in feisty debate for 9th District

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/07/10/3372040/pendergraph-pittenger-spar-in.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, July 9, 2012

Legislature Silently Deals Potentially Fatal Blow to Red Line

When the NC State Legislature adjourned last week it appears to have done so without extending the sunset provision in legislation critical to the finance plan for the Red Line.  This legislation authorizes the Special Assessment District (SAD) financing mechanism targeted for the project, and it expires on July 1, 2013.

Edition 3 of Senate Bill 426 from May of 2011 contained a provision to extend this sunset date until 2016.  The bill sat quietly in the House Finance committee for over a year.  On June 19, 2012, this provision was removed by the House committee in Edition 4 and returned to the Senate for final approval where the bill passed without the sunset extension.  The bill was ratified on June 28th.

Without this extension, a Red Line financing plan does not exist.  Even more interesting is that this requested extension, so critical to the project, was never mentioned at any of the public meetings over the past six months.  Now, the project must count on the new Legislature passing this extension as one of the first orders of business in the next session - a risky proposition.

Bonus Observation:

At the NC Senate 41 runoff debate in June, John Aneralla mentioned recognizing a lack of support for the project in the Legislature.  Jeff Tarte responded that he thought it was a good project as long as a financing plan could be worked out.  Looks like that plan just took a serious hit, and Mr Aneralla looks like he has his finger on the pulse of what's really going on in Raleigh.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red Line Chronicle - Chapter 7 - Project Goes Under the Knife

Photo by Michael Drummond

Like a thoroughbred that has run its last race and ended short of the finish line with two broken legs, the Red Line Regional Rail project is about to go into surgery with Norfolk Southern as the surgeon.  Whether the project makes it back to the track or is put out to pasture is what's at stake.

Red Line supporters don't seem ready to admit the project is on its last legs, but make no mistake this is going to be one expensive doctor's visit for taxpayers.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Davidson Community Garden - A Quarter Ton So Far

Just a quick update on the Davidson Community Garden...

Harvesting is now in full swing.  After Saturday's efforts, DCG will be over 500 lbs delivered to Ada Jenkins - a quarter ton and a quarter way towards the goal of a full ton by year end!  The first big harvest of potatoes was dug up (sorry, no pictures today!), and cantelopes are beginning to come in as well.  That should really bring the weight.  We're also looking at a record tomato harvest this year.

The garden has also started to get some colorful "visibility" around town. Garden coodinator, Connie Beach, sent out the following as part of a recent update to volunteers...

"Stop by Summit Coffee to check out the lovely flowers decorating the tables...they are courtesy of the community garden. The good folks at Summit have been wonderful the last couple of years donating coffee grounds almost every day for the compost pile, so we are delighted they are finding a small
way to benefit from the garden. It's a happy trade!"

Stop by some Saturday morning and see what's happening!  We always need the help!