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Davidson News

‘Save Davidson’ endorses Knox for Davidson mayor

Oct. 18. Save Davidson, the citizen group that started out fighting the Beaty Street development​ known as Luminous, has endorsed Rusty Knox for mayor. ​A long-time Realtor and fixture in the community, Knox is running against incumbent John Woods and former commissioner Laurie Venzon.

​Davidson is in the midst of a political awakening, thanks in part to Facebook groups like Save Davidson​. ​Denise Beall, one of the organizers of Save Davidson​, said candidates ​have​ post​ed​ video introductions​ ​and participate​d​ in Facebook Live candidate interviews. ​”​We also researched candidates’ platforms and surveyed our organization’s volunteers​,​” ​she said.​

Save Davidson​, which has more than​ 2,000​ ​members​, also endorsed three candidates for Town Board—none of them incumbents.​ They are David Sitton, Matthew Fort and Shana Erber.

“Considering incumbents often have the advantage of name recognition in elections, we recommend that people who want change in our town cast their votes for these candidates,” said Beall.

There are five town board seats. Save Davidson is recommending that citizens vote for Sitton, Fort and Erber and then pick two additional people from the following: Autumn Michael, Jim Fuller and Ryan Fay.​ Fuller is the only incumbent among them.​

​Issues in Davidson center on fast growth, and all its repercussions, including traffic, density and small town values. At the same time, the current town government lost credibility around plans to develop the Beaty Street property, especially in regards to transparency and motives.

The backstory—at least a key backstory—is that Davidson looks like it will be funding MI Connection/Continuum to the tune of $1 million a year for the next several years. The ill-fated investment in a local cable company has cost Mooresville and Davidson millions of dollars over the years.

Save Davidson has ​morphed ​into ​a ​broader advocacy for ethics and transparency related to town-wide issues.

​Beall credited ​all the candidates for their “love” ​of ​Davidson and ​ability to ​bring unique skills​ to the board​. ​”​Our community, though, expects us to recommend the candidates who most closely align with Save Davidson’s values. This hasn’t been an easy task, or one we undertook lightly. We ranked commissioner candidates based on a set of objective criteria – such as leadership skills and financial knowledge and stewardship – arrived at through a cooperative effort among our citizen volunteer base, leadership team and election committee. Once the field was narrowed based on our initial ranking, we again interviewed and further evaluated the candidates to arrive at our final ranking and the recommendations we are making.”

​Taking a different path than Exit 28 Ridiculousness, another Facebook-based citizen movement, ​Save Davidson ​has also organized as a North Carolina nonprofit corporation​. ​

Its mission is “to ensure fairness, ethics and transparency in official Town of Davidson decision making through citizen education, empowerment and participation.”

​Early voting begins Oct. 28 at Cornelius Town Hall. Election Day is Nov. 7.​