Thursday, November 9, 2017

aShortChronicle's take on the election results...

With the smoke clearing on Tuesday's election, here's aShortChronicle's take on the outcome.  But first a little history...

Back in 2010 Davidson's Board was considering making a unilateral change to the Town charter that would have changed elected terms from two years to four years and staggered them so only three elected officials would be up for election every two years.  The mayor and two commissioners would be elected one cycle for four years and two years later the other three commissioners would be elected for four years.  The initial plan was for the Board to make this change without even going to the voters for approval.

If that had gone through for the 2011 election as proposed, this past cycle would have been a three commissioner cycle.  The job of Mayor would not have been on the ballot.  Assuming the other things over the past few years remained the same, John Woods would have won in 2011 and again in 2015 and be mayor until 2019.  On the commissioner side it is harder to know exactly what would have happened, but by our estimation Rodney Graham and Stacey Anderson very well may have been two of the three seats up for election this year.  Who would have been in the third seat is less certain.  This scenario requires making some assumptions that may not be true, but it is certainly possible.

The point being that what happened this cycle would not have been possible if that 2010 effort by Town Hall had been successful.  In fact, back in 2010 proponents of 4-year staggered terms argued that preventing what happened this cycle was exactly the reason to implement staggered terms - to prevent the status quo from changing in a single election.

The issues and candidates elected this cycle prove why the proponents of 4-year staggered terms were and are flat wrong.  Sometimes, major change is necessary.  Sometimes, waiting two extra years is two years too long.  Sometimes, it needs to be done now.

This election was one of those times.

So, with that in mind, here is what aShortChronicle thinks of our entire new group of electeds.

Mayor - Rusty Knox winning an outsized victory was a great thing not only for him, but for the town.  In a three way race, it was very likely the winner might have won with less than 50% of the vote.  After an at times contentious election season, that outcome would have been very bad for the requisite post-election fence mending and hatchet burying that is needed.

As Mayor, Knox is well positioned to do that.  His vote total was almost equally split between precincts 127 and 206 when adjusted for population differences.  His opponents in the race were much more skewed towards one precinct or the other.

As for the policy and problem solving aspects of a Knox led administration, aShortChronicle has a high degree of confidence Knox will work very well with the new Board to accomplish the goals of reigning in development and protecting Davidson's small town charm.

Commissioners - With Jim Fuller, Matthew Fort and as of this writing, David Sitton, all coming from the list of candidates aShortChronicle recommended, things are looking better for the issues aShortChronicle cares about most.  ho confident debacles like the Catalyst Project, the Beaty Street RFP, the RAP mass rezoning, and a non-voter approved new Town Hall will not be repeated.  With Shana Erber trailing Sitton by just 8 votes and with as many as a few dozen provisional and absentee mail votes to be counted the final result could change.  However, that would not change how aShortChronicle feels about the results.

While Autumn Michael and Jane Campbell were not on the list aShortChronicle recommended for Commissioner, it is clear they are exceedingly qualified.  The only reservation was the uncertainty around the Mayoral race.   If things had gone differently in that race aShortChronicle was not sure Campbell and Michael would push as hard for some things as this blogger would like.  Now that the Mayoral question is answered, it is clear they will both bring great experience to the Board.

During the campaign Campbell's comments on fiscal issues were on the mark and Michael will bring great experience in both land conservation and historic preservation.  With Campbell specifically, it should be noted that she also really put in the effort going door to door (even stopping at aShortChronicle HQ), and it seemed like she worked every hour of early voting at Cornelius Town Hall.  That definitely shows a lot of commitment and deserves being noted.

Bonds - All three of the first ever GO Bonds for Davidson passed easily.  While aShortChronicle recommended against them, that too was as much out of an abundance of caution regarding the election as anything else.  Knowing who will be approving spending the money over the next two years gives greater confidence that crazy things won't be done to jack up tax bills.  aShortChronicle strongly encourages the new Board to make sure that does not happen and ensure Bond money isn't used to support things like the use of eminent domain, particularly along Potts Street.

All in all, this election turned out almost exactly the way aShortChronicle thought it would regardless of who was on the recommendation list, and looking ahead, great things are expected from everyone in this new group of elected officials.

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