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RandomThoughts: The City Council Election Edition

When I started writing this article, there were 72 hours left until the polls close in the 2016 Danville City Council election. It’s been one of the most bizarre elections that I’ve ever covered, so it’s time to think randomly about what’s happened, what’s happening now and what will happen. Let’s get started!

The RandomThoughts Big Board hasn’t been brought out yet in 2016. Wow. Let’s knock the cobwebs off of it and wheel it out.

  • As you’ve probably seen here on SouthsideCentral, we have a lot of candidates that have bought advertising here this year. I’ve got my personal voting selections almost locked in, but I don’t feel ethically comfortable with issuing endorsements this year.
  • Generally, the media coverage of this election has been good enough for informed voters to have enough information to make informed choices. I’ve still got three questions left from the first candidates forum that I can do articles on, but I’m concerned that those types of articles would be too big of an influence this close to the election. I haven’t made up mind whether to write those articles or not yet.
  • I’m still strongly sticking to my mathematically based prediction that all four incumbents will be re-elected. Each of the four incumbents continue to have a base number of voters for them and with such a large field of candidates, that will be enough to get them back into one of the five winning spots.
  • Sherman Saunders has been spending some of the campaign money that he’s stored up over the past election cycles. I don’t think that’s because he thinks he’s in danger of losing the election, it’s just because this is probably his last election before retirement. There’s no chance that Sandy Saunders lets him run in 2020. Heh.
  • I strongly believe that Larry Campbell is safe for reelection, but Larry Campbell doesn’t believe that. This is the hardest I’ve seen him campaign yet.
  • Lee Vogler has ran a lower-key yet smooth campaign than in 2012. He started out bold and strong then moved to an easy-going traditional city council type of campaign. He’s been hammered incessantly by Confederate flag supporters but he’s deflected almost all of the criticism they’ve thrown at him.
  • Let’s talk about that flag supporter push to get Vogler this election. The flag supporters have gone all-in on that effort and if they succeed, it’s going to be a big win for them. But if Vogler wins reelection, the flag supporters have lost everything. Susan Hathaway, one of the leaders of the Virginia Flaggers said it would be a “minor setback” if Vogler won. Horsecrap. They lose everything, including what credibility that they have left. The “No Votes For Turncoats” mantra was stupid to begin with and will be mockable if they fail. On that note…
  • If you live in Danville, your opinion in the upcoming election means a lot because you can vote in it. If you live in the surrounding county, your opinion means some but I’m not paying much attention to it because you can’t vote here. If you live in Richmond, South Carolina or even Kansas… stop. I don’t care if you used to live in Danville, your opinion means diddly-squat to me. Go away.
  • To add to that one above… If your opinion is solely based on your Confederate stance, shut the hell up. There are way more important issues than the friggin’ Confederate flag and if you don’t care about those issues… I don’t care about you. Anyway, back to the candidates.
  • I like Fred Shanks because of his expertise in planning, zoning and all things related to that. He’s got a skill set that nobody else brings to the city council. Yeah, here we go again. He’s getting a lot of pro-flag support. It will help carry him to victory (not that he needed it) but he needs to be known for his engineering skills and his financial conservatism more.
  • This year’s field of challengers have been all over the map. Candidates that I thought would be strong have under-performed, while ones I thought would be joke material have impressed me.
  • Philip Haley has gone in my mind to “Ahoy there, Mr. Hoity-Toity United Way Guy” to a man who would fit very well on council. I was wrong about him from the start and I see that now. He’s really impressed me with his unlimited desire to learn how things work in local government.
  • Madison Whittle pulls off the Excellent Candidate Material persona along with the “Guy That’s Fun As Hell To Hang Around With”. He knows his business stuff, that’s for sure. I was sure there was some clown potential as he went through the campaign trail, but that didn’t happen. Not even close.
  • Thomas Motley confuses the hell out of me. One day, I see him blathering on about stuff he seems to make up as he goes, totally wrong on things. Then I see him at the Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum and he’s calm, cool, collected and right on target. If Motley ever gets into local government to learn the facts in the 22 months between elections, he could become a formidable candidate. That is unless he gets trapped with topics that make his head explode… then he’s back to the bottom shelf.
  • Jim Lindley was “The Last Minute Candidate Recruited By And Funded By The Flag Supporters”. Well yeah, he was that. He went from somebody not knowing what the heck was going on to somebody who wanted to learn everything and actually win the campaign on something besides the flag. Lindley needs a good campaign handler that isn’t “All Flag, All The Time” and he would be an extremely viable candidate. I’m not counting him out in this election, but he’s tattooed with “Flag Flag Flag” and he’ll have a hard time drawing any votes from Danville’s black voting bloc. Bottom line, I like Jim Lindley and he’s been refreshing in this race.
  • Trina McLaughlin is an amazing person. She’s smart, witty, eager to learn. All of those adjectives and phrases that make her an excellent city council candidate. But it just hasn’t all gelled together for her in her first cycle. She’s got strong adamant supporters, but those people are cancelled out by the people that just haven’t gotten to know about her. It could have been so much more, but it hasn’t happened this cycle. That being said, this is just her first election cycle. If she misses out in the election, she can use the lessons learned and get a well-funded campaign machine running for the next time.
  • Sheila Baynes transformed herself from a partisan hack to a person who truly wants the best for the city. That wasn’t easy to do but she pulled it off by eating up everything that she can find about how things work in local government. Like McLaughlin, Baynes was handicapped by a low-funded campaign in this first attempt. No matter what the election results are, Sheila’s became a well-informed resource to the city and needs to stay involved in governmental affairs.
  • I didn’t know who Robin Dabney was until a week after she announced her candidacy. She never has been able to escape a low-funded campaign effort. I can tell she really wants to help make a difference in the city, but she hasn’t gotten her message out to enough people. Again, this will be a case of “lessons learned” for the future.

Whew. This one turned out to be the longest RandomThoughts article ever, but it was worth it.

4 comments to RandomThoughts: The City Council Election Edition

  • Robert Wayne Byrd Sr.

    This election will be interesting to say the least. A lot on the table for the citizens of Danville.

  • Tony Lundy

    Jim has not ran on a flag platform. Jim is not a flagger, Jim is his own man and has been form day one.The flag issue has been constantly thrown at him but he has not brought it up . Jim has run on a pro-Danville platform and has run on the important issues facing Danville. Jim’s issues are Education , Public Safety, and jobs. He has constantly been on point for the main issues. He understands that until we stop the shootings and the crime and a doctor can safely walk down main street without fearing for his life , jobs will never come.Until we get our churchs , parents, schools and city leaders to work together on issues of education and discipline in our schools we will never have a work ready populace to draw companies to this area. No one has made the flag an issue except the candidates who have sway over the debate questions and the media . Jim has constantly been the candidate that wanted to discuss the real problems facing the city.

  • Jim

    Everything you said is true, but Lindley has been vigorously and vocally supported by some of the worst-behaved and least well-spoken members of the pro-flag movement that, quite honestly, sane and sensible people are sick to death of. In the end, this will cost him votes and possibly the election.

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