Davidson homebuilder Rodney Graham on Tuesday registered as a candidate for the Davidson Board of Commissioners, becoming the third challenger in a widening race for the five seats. Meanwhile, a group local citizens calling itself Davidson Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility plans a meeting Wednesday night at St. Alban’s Church, where an unnamed resident plans to announce a challenge to Mayor John Woods. Also, the field for the school board at-large race continues to grow, with eight candidates now registered for the three seats.
GRAHAM IN THE RACE
Rodney Graham filed as a candidate in the Davidson Town Board race Tuesday. He joins Mickey Pettus and Kristen Coupal, who filed last week.
They’re all challenging for one of the five commissioner seats. Just who they’ll be challenging is still not clear: As of Tuesday afternoon, neither Mayor John Woods nor the board’s five incumbents had filed. The mayor and some board members have said they plan to seek re-election. Longtime Commissioner Margo Williams has said she has not made up her mind.
Mr. Graham is the owner of John Marshall Custom Homes and lives in the St. Alban’s neighborhood. He is a frequent commentator on town issues on this site, and also ran unsuccessfully in 2007, when he finished eighth of nine candidates.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, he said, “I am looking forward to a positive campaign and a frank discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing our town.”
“I ran for Town Board unsuccessfully in 2007, coming within 100 votes of earning a seat. I’m struck by how many of the issues I raised in 2007 are still with us in 2011, and how many opportunities we have to make Davidson an even better place to live,” he said in the statement.
Mr. Graham said he is not part of any slate, and said he is “as independent as ever.” He said in the statement that he is committed to “respect and preservation of our historic character, protection of the environment, and support for a diversity of housing types, including affordable housing, throughout Davidson.”
He also is calling for an end to the consensus approach of previous boards. “You’ve heard of ‘Hawaii 5-0.’ If there was a TV show about Davidson government they would call it ‘Davidson 5-0′ because just about every vote of our Town Board is a unanimous one,” he said.
Mr. Graham lives in the St. Alban’s neighborhood with his wife Melissa and children Marshall and Emma Claire, both students at Davidson Elementary School. He has served on several committees in Davidson, and is vice-President of the Davidson Lands Conservancy.
Read Mr. Graham’s full announcement, CLICK HERE »
CONCERNED CITIZENS TO MEET
A group calling itself the Davidson Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility circulated a statement on Tuesday outlining its plans to be “active” in the 2011 election and seek change in Town Hall. The group plans a public meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, where organizers say an unnamed challenger will announce plans to challenge Mayor John Woods in the November election.
DavidsonNews.net received the statement from Vince Winegardner, a River Run resident and Davidson Planning Board member who has helped organize other meetings recently among citizens concerned about the town finances, the town’s 2007 purchase of the MI-Connection Communications System, and property taxes.
Mr. Winegardner and the coalition say they think it’s time to end what they call “groupthink” in Town Hall. In the statement circulated Tuesday, the group said, “So why is Davidson … in the current financial shape which undermines everything we want our town to be? Our town leaders were handpicked through an appointment process that promotes a collegial atmosphere and discourages disagreement. There are many examples of this ‘groupthink.'”
“The ‘Davidson Way’ is not working at Town Hall,” the statement said.
The coalition also wants the town to appoint an independent panel to study how the town should proceed with its investment in the money-losing MI-Connection Communications System.
Read the full position statement (PDF).
SCHOOL BOARD RACE GROWS
Three at-large seats on the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board are up for election this year, and with two of the three current seat-holders stepping down, it could be a crowded race. As of Tuesday afternoon, eight candidates had filed.
Incumbent at-large board member Kaye McGarry has said she’s considering running again. She sent out a media advisory last week promising “an important announcement” this Friday, July 15, at 10:30 a.m., at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections office in Charlotte.
Fellow at-large members Trent Merchant and Joe White have said they don’t plan to run again.
On Monday, Charlottean Brian Edwards formally became a candidate. On Friday, Larry Bumgarner and Ken Nelson entered the race.
They joined Elyse Dashew, Keith Hurley, DeShauna McLamb, Tim Morgan, and Hans Plotseneder, who all filed previously. Mr. Morgan is currently the school board representative from District 6.
July 12, 2011, Rodney Graham’s candidacy announcement (PDF)
July 12, 2011, Davidson Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility Position statement (PDF)
Mecklenburg Board of Elections website, MeckBoe.org
July 1, 2011, “Coupal and Pettus file for Town Board election.”