Monday, September 18, 2017

Save Davidson movement subjected to campaign "silly season" attacks

The Save Davidson group has been making quite a stir and getting a LOT of attention around town recently.

The group has been working hard to spotlight a growing number of issues.  It has been organizing.  It has been researching.  It has been pushing back on Town Hall supported initiatives across the board, and the green Save Davidson signs have been popping up all across town like mushrooms after a cleansing thunderstorm.  On Thursday evening the organization proved itself on the political scene by hosting what was undeniably the best and most well organized political forum this town has seen in years, possibly ever.

All doubt, makes some people nervous - people who want to keep things running business as usual.  In fact Save Davidson has gotten enough attention that standard dirty political tactics are now apparently being used against it - the anonymous editorial pen and the whisper campaign.

In last week's edition of the Lake Norman Citizen, some anonymous member of the "staff" penned a hit piece against the Save Davidson organization for raising legitimate safety concerns about placing a hotel next to an elementary school on Davidson's Griffith street - concerns the Town and developer have yet to even acknowledge.  By attacking Save Davidson in this piece, the courageously anonymous "staff" at the Lake Norman Citizen effectively mock parents concerned about their children's safety.  They minimize and deflect and say raising safety concerns about potentially serious issues is only playing politics. All the while, they are hypocritically playing the game they erroneously accuse Save Davidson of playing.

That's a pretty classless and sad move for a paper that calls itself "the only experienced, professional, legitimate news outlet in the Lake Norman Region"   (Yes, they really wrote that about themselves.)  However, while classless and sad it's not all that surprising.  In recent years, the Lake Norman Citizen has become the publication of choice for the Davidson Town Hall message.  Push back too hard on the Davidson Town Hall agenda and it's a safe bet you'll find a story emphasizing the Davidson Town Hall perspective in the next edition of the Citizen.  With election season underway and Davidson Town Hall under pressure, seeing some political water carrying by this group of "professionals" at the Citizen is just par for the course.

However, the "anonymous pen" is not the only political trick being deployed against Save Davidson.  A dirty "whisper campaign" is apparently also underway.

On two separate occasions in recent days aShortChronicle has been told of incidents around town where people are saying Save Davidson is against diversity or doesn't want diversity in town.

What's the apparent rationale for such a ludicrous claim?

The warped logic goes something like this.  Because Save Davidson has spoken out against the rampant development underway in town, a good portion of which is apartments, the group must be against diversity because apartments are more affordable.

The people spreading these divisive rumors clearly haven't seen the Save Davidson signs dotting the West Side neighborhood which has a considerable amount of  the town's affordable housing.  The historically African American neighborhood also claims a large percentage of the town's racial diversity.  The rumor mongers clearly haven't seen the numbers of West Side residents at recent public meetings sporting their Save Davidson pins.  Those spreading this misinformation clearly don't know or want to believe, that Save Davidson is naturally aligned with any and all groups who feel like they have been mistreated by Davidson Town Hall.

aShortChronicle reached out to Ms Evelyn Carr and Ms Daisy Raeford, two West Side community leaders who both happen to have Save Davidson signs in their yards to get their take on this whisper campaign.

Ms Carr is a lady full of history.  Talking with her is like getting the opportunity to go back in time and actually feel what Davidson was like over the course of decades past.  There are stories about people who helped the West Side community over the years as well as stories that are uncomfortable to hear.  When asked if she had heard the rumors directed at the Save Davidson group, Ms Carr acknowledged that she had, but when asked if she believed them, she quickly responded "No.  No, I don't."   When asked what she thought of the group she said, "They are trying to save Davidson."  She followed up by saying "I am going to stick with those people over on Delburg" giving a nod to the area just down the street from her house where Save Davidson got it's start.

Ms Raeford, another pillar of the West Side community, is also a walking history book about the town.  aShortChronicle has had the opportunity to speak with her several times over the years.  She had not heard the smear that Save Davidson was somehow against diversity or affordability, but she did have this to say about the group.  "We see what they are doing.  They're doing the right thing for everyone in Davidson."   As if to drive that point home, she added with another nod to the group's roots "These people over on Delburg are working!"

Yes, Save Davidson is working and working hard to effect positive, community oriented change.  Unfortunately, dealing with this kind of behaviour designed to keep the status quo in place is also part of that journey during the political season.

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