Thursday, August 10, 2017

Is Commissioner Rodney Graham #PositivelyDavidson? That's a question he doesn't "wish to answer"

Many people in the Davidson area have noticed a new Facebook page recently that has attracted hundreds of likes, a page called Positively Davidson.  The site provides a laundry list of great things about living in this wonderful town.

Davidson is a great place to live.  Those of us who have spent years fighting to preserve that small town character and those who are relatively new to that fight know this intrinsically.  If this is the only point Positively Davidson is trying to make, then we whole heartedly agree.

However, a close reading of the page's "about" section shows that might not be the case.

It sounds good and very "positive", but there is also a hint of uncomfortableness with the pushback "official Davidson" has been getting in social media these days.

Unlike the other Facebook pages or groups around town (Paradise Lost, Save Davidson, Citizens for a Safe Davidson Hotel Location) nobody knows who is behind this new incarnation of Positively Davidson.  It is a "page" not a "group" and that allows a higher level of anonymity if the page admins so desire.

Oh, people have asked who is behind it.  To be sure people are curious about that.  However, only vague responses are given in reply.

So, aShortChronicle did a little digging to see if it could be figured out.  First though a little history.

You'll notice that above it stated this page was a "new incarnation of Positively Davidson".  The name Positively Davidson has a little political history in town going back to the last time citizens pushed back against Town Hall in any significant way.  That was during the 2011 election season.  A group by the same name, circled the wagons around Town Hall.  They held meetings, wrote letters to the editor, and generally worked to preserve the political status quo.  Here are some links to stories from back then when the group was clearly political. See herehere, and here.

So, who is behind Positively Davidson now?

Well, the first time aShortChronicle noticed the new incarnation was from Davidson Commissioner Rodney Graham with these posts on his "Rodney Graham, Davidson Town Commissioner" page.  This is his political campaign page.  The link is

That was back in early June.  It raised the political antennas a bit because it was a reference to a political group that didn't exist anymore.  It was also in the aftermath of the May 23rd Board meeting where the town had been exposed for its clear mishandling of the Beaty Street property and the Luminous project, a project Commissioner Graham strongly supports.

So, with that in mind aShortChronicle just went ahead and asked Commissioner Graham if he was involved with the new Positively Davidson.  Here is what he had to say.

"I appreciate the question but don't wish to answer it.  That shouldn't be inferred as a "yes" or a "no" but just wanting to separate my private life from my public life.  I've set up multiple facebook pages and websites over the years for various organizations, frankly because it is something I enjoy doing, both creatively and just to help out organizations that I support.  But I don't wish to publicize whether I'm involved with those pages because (a) it's irrelevant, and (b) I don't wish for them to have any political overtones.

The Positively Davidson page you reference appears to be completely apolitical, which is good.  Regrettably many sites out there - NextDoor is a good example - have become forums for people to express frustration and anger.  There are appropriate forums to do that - although there is never an appropriate forum for slander - but I think certain forums should be off limits."

aShortChronicle thought that was an interesting response from an elected official.  Particularly, it was interesting for an official in a campaign season where transparency is the overarching theme for many issues citizens have with Town Hall.

With that answer, of sorts, in hand a little more digging shows data points that may shed some light on this situation for readers.  aShortChronicle noticed the following similarities between the Positively Davidson FB page and Commissioner Graham's campaign page.

1.  June 1st, the date Graham first used #positivelydavidson on his campaign page, is the same date the Positively Davidson page published its first posts.

2.  The two Cover Photos on Graham's campaign page are the same two photos Positively Davidson has used as its Profile pics until a third profile pic was added just yesterday.  You can tell the two with Summit in the photo are the exact same photos if you look closely.  Variables such as the cars on the street and the shape of the flags are exactly the same.  They are the same exact photos, not two different photos taken from the same locations at different times.

Graham Campaign
Cover Pics

Positively Davidson
Profile Pics
3.  Multiple other photos appear on both pages as well - a home in the Town Affordable housing program, a picture of Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC), a picture of what appears to be a field at Fisher Farm etc.

Does all that definitively prove Commissioner Rodney Graham is behind Positively Davidson?  Not necessarily, but it is a number of coincidences .  So, you can take those coincidences and Commissioner Graham's non-answer for what it is worth.

The Positively Davidson site does appear to be reaching a milestone of sorts as it approaches 1000 likes.  Per the below, the content of the site is possibly about to change, so we'll see if the non-political tone changes with it as Davidson enters the heart of election season.


  1. I have to If it is him and he's not using it for political reasons then what's wrong with him highlighting all the good things about our town? Seems like a nice resource for people in and around Davidson and doesn't detract from the efforts of some of our organizations that oppose the current board's policies and plans.

    1. You are absolutely correct. If it remains that way, then no harm no foul regardless of who is administering the site. If it doesn't, then it is worth knowing who is behind it. Since there are many new voters in recent years and the organization name has connections to past political activity, it was worth pointing out that history. Certainly, a clear yes or no answer would have been preferable from Commissioner Graham, but unfortunately that wasn't provided.

  2. When Rodney ran for Town Board the first time, he postured himself as anti-development, anti-MI-Connection, etc. After he was elected on his second try, his demeanor and attitude seemed to change. Hmmm?