Mary Pruitt will still do nothing for 58 or anyone else. Steven Turner may have all the energy in the world, but if it exclusively helps wealthy donors and developers who finance the county party, what good is that, broadly considered, for local communities? Some local Democrats would have you believe bread crumb economics is good for all of us. I say better to have done nothing at all.
Both Pruitt and Turner spoke to the last Salemtown Neighbors business meeting. Neither one said anything to make me think either would be in tune with neighborhood issues and balanced growth. Mr. Turner continued to court the geeks by emphasizing broadband and internet access (without regard to campaign donors who would profit from virtual expansion), and the rest of his talk was straight out off website memes on economic development. Ms. Pruitt failed to answer a simple question on how she would act as an advocate for neighborhood concerns about an expanding state highway bordering Salemtown, dodging by saying in effect that she would listen to any concerns we had.
My only litmus test in the 58 primary has been that either candidate show me how they stand for neighborhoods in their district over self-interest and moneyed influence. Both have failed.
There is no amount of fear-mongering or fabricating oversimplified choices between "the good" and "the ideal" that convinces me that there is an authentically redemptive choice here.
Mary Pruitt does nothing. That's clear. It's not clear to me that what Steven Turner might do would be good, at least not a common good. My guess at this point is that Mr. Turner has enough momentum in a rapidly changing district to win today. If so, I hope my neighbors who value balanced growth, sustainable development, and consistent progressive governance are not disappointed one day if Mr. Turner helps leverage community choking growth legislation that serves special interests and his wealthy campaign donors. I hope I'm wrong. I hope one day I don't have to say I told you so. I hope we all don't have to look back one day and say, "Nothing would have been better than the something they plan for us" (don't find that logic persuasive? Apply it to Bells Bend and state-sponsored sprawl).
Davidson County Democrats do not seem to be interested in balanced growth and sustainability issues unless you can add value on them, so they don't care either. Democrats here are basically useless on matters of economic sustainability, democratic input at the legislative level, and substantive community development.
I would not discourage anyone in this House district from going to the polls today if they see it their civic or patriotic duty. I would encourage them not to delude themselves into thinking that things could get better just because anyone is better than Mary Pruitt.
Today's election is not about District 58 or you or your family or our neighborhoods or anything else they want you to believe. It is about rival younger and older factions in the local Democratic Party, pure and simple. There is no good, there is no perfect. It's party-style snake oil. If you're into partisan politics, by all means, go vote for Pruitt or Turner, but do not try and convince me that the choice of a winner has not already been made: it's the local party apparatus, the sluice of campaign finance. The rest of us have already lost.
However, I still might have to go vote against Eric Crafton in the Juvenile Court race.
UPDATE: The unofficial results tonight with 172 of 173 of precincts reporting are:
- Mary Pruitt -- 1,308
- Steven Turner -- 1,158
Compare the nearly 2,500 votes cast today to how most of the 3,660+ votes were cast 4 years ago:
- Mary Pruitt -- 2,012
- Jason Powell -- 1,414
A lighter turn-out seemed to make little difference this year in the ultimate goal of beating Mary Pruitt. Even though Jason Powell got more votes in 2006 than Steven Turner did today, the latter lost by less of a margin than the former. If Mr. Turner had energized a couple hundred of perhaps more liberal voters or community activists to the polls, instead of appealing to business interests and the Democratic Party faithful, he just might have done what Mr. Powell couldn't do with more votes.