Friday, July 7, 2017
Save Davidson's level of organization peaking as election season begins
Originally started as a Facebook group focused solely on the Beaty Street RFP, the Facebook group quickly expanded and now boasts over 1100 members. That's a tremendous representation and reach for a town the size of Davidson. In addition to hosting several nature walks on the town owned Beaty Street property, conducting flyer handouts, and coordinating information sessions at homes around town, the organization has just expanded its web presence as well by launching SaveDavidson.org .
As a show of the dedication and research capacity this group is capable of harnessing, a 100 page dossier on the history of the Beaty property and the RFP process was posted to the new website. Check it out here.
When a group gets this organized and this active, it is a game changer when it comes to local politics. Look at WidenI77.org for a comparison. While that group hasn't stopped the I77 HOT lanes project - yet - it has had a tremendous impact on our local elections over every election cycle since 2013. It's very arguable the anti-toll group's efforts and the other groups it spawned cost the governorship of a sitting incumbent at the state level. That is in addition to the impact the movement has had on the makeup of the Town Boards in Huntersville and Cornelius.
With "Save Davidson", it looks like a similar phenomenon is in the works in our local college town.
A big part of the reason for the saying "you can't fight Town Hall" is that Town Hall (or government in general) has a whole staff whose job it is to promote the "official" point of view. It is hard for part time activists to compete against that. When average citizens get organized and leverage the time and talents of many, it changes that dynamic. The balance of power between activists and the local government shifts.
Election season starts Friday with the opening of the filing period for candidates. The Save Davidson group is peaking at the right moment to truly have an impact on the outcome. The key will be which candidates does it get behind and which ones it opposes.