Open season

The political ascendancy of Laura Mitchell continues, apparently.

Laura finished in third, 122 votes behind first-place winner Terry Cohen, in the city’s March 1 primary but made up all that and more as she zipped by both Cohen and Tim Spies to win a four-year term on City Council. While it’s possible that absentees could push Terry Cohen into the top slot (13 votes separate Mitchell and second-place Cohen) the fact is that a woman who hadn’t even raised enough money to need a financial report in the primary beat out a field that was by and large comprised of previous candidates and well-financed challengers.

Perhaps the main ingredient in her success was her independence. It was no secret that Terry Cohen and Tim Spies were running as a Camden tag team, with several joint appearances and fundraisers. On the other hand, Muir Boda and Orville Dryden had a number of common financial backers and while they weren’t overtly running as a slate those allied with Cohen and Spies created the perception that Boda and Dryden were. Mitchell seemed as though she was the compromise candidate between the two camps, although as I revealed in my look at the last financial reports Laura had some prominent Democratic elected officials bankrolling her.

Still, Laura overcame some rumors dogging her and a campaign that was a little bit short on specifics to win a seat on City Council as the lone political newcomer. Tim Spies was successful in his second try at the brass ring and Terry Cohen won another four-year term.

So the Council appears set for two years, and the Camden neighborhood will be calling the tune. Look for a renewed push to get Mayor Ireton’s neighborhood housing initiative passed and an all-out war on the $96 million business of rentals to begin, along with a deterioration in town-gown relations with Salisbury University. The question now becomes this: is this the end of the 3-2 Council? I think it is, but that doesn’t bode well for the City of Salisbury.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

3 thoughts on “Open season”

  1. Wow, you’ve really had a big gulp of the SAPOA Kool-Aid, Michael! I challenge you to write a post one year from today where you outline exactly where you have evidence of “an all-out war on the $96 million business of rentals to begin, along with a deterioration in town-gown relations with Salisbury University.”

    It will be a very, very short post mostly consisting of you pointing to nothing.

  2. The moment the ‘Safe Streets Initiative’ or whatever Jim Ireton is calling it these days will be all the war landlords need.

    You know, for someone who couldn’t tell you the names of five members of SAPOA if you spotted me four, you sure jump to a lot of conclusions about me. Maybe I just happen to believe most local landlords are honest dealers and the Camden crew just has their collective panties in a wad because they need something to bitch and moan about.

  3. Most local landlords are honest, but you seem to have looked the other way when a landlord’s secretary contributed $250 to Muir Boda’s campaign. Well, if you really believe someone making a modest salary would pay $250 for a city council race. So I would say that is something legitimate to bitch and moan about, if you aren’t looking the other way.

    I invite you to walk the streets on the east side of this town and look at the conditions many of Salisbury’s renters live in, you will see that this isn’t just about illegally packing 10 people into a house in Camden, it is about insisting on a decent standard for our people. I have walked those streets and have been appalled. So you can join the SAPOA voice and try to make this about homeowners and council members who supposedly hate students, or you can look at the broad picture and the problems of a city that is 70% rental. Absentee landlords in particular are a major problem. Go have a look for yourself and then come back here and tell me that what this is all about is hatred of college students. Undoubtedly there are a few nuts who don’t like college students, but to reduce this to that is to have your head firmly planted in the sand. Spend two hours this weekend on the east side, see the houses literally with holes in the walls to where you can look inside, no doorknobs (using a rope to open and close the door), roofs that have had holes in them for months. Talk to the college students, whose landlords routinely take their security deposits for things they are not allowed to–like routine painting of the house–and who often live in substandard housing. Head to Facebook, where students have set up pages describing the biggest landlord cheats out there. You do that, and then let’s see if this really just is about a bunch of Camden housewives with too much time on their hands, as the SAPOA leadership has tried to frame it. I challenge you to do that, you’ll be shocked by what you find.

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