Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:51

Horse's Mouth for Sept. 13, 2017

Written by  Staff

Protest propaganda
Talkers have seen this before and, regrettably, too often remained silent. But this time the hyperbole and borderline insanity displayed, apparently to make political headway, warrants response.

In Davidson, the Save Davidson group started out as a justified, unified and dignified organization of residents determined to have their voices heard about multi-faceted developments planned in their town. While there might always be a tinge of “Not In My Backyard” sentiment fueling complaints, there are also very often legitimate issues that groups like these are able to highlight by voicing opinions and standing firm.

But somewhere along the way, Save Davidson, or hopefully just a more militant sect separated from the original flock, seems to have morphed into a more politically motivated beast. Fact-based statements and rational assumptions to validate points have been replaced with far-fetched scare tactics and worst-case predictions of the peril proposed projects could produce.

For example, in a recent release — boasting a formidable “Media Alert” message in large type at the top — Save Davidson states, among reasons for opposing a proposed Hyatt Place hotel at the Griffith Street/Davidson Gateway intersection, that the facility could pose a threat to children: “The greatest concern is safety for the school children in light of potential increase in drugs, pedophilia, human trafficking, guns and other violence, and other safety issues.”


The proposal by Beacon IMG partners is a four-story hotel with a retail component — possibly a bakery — with a landscaped public courtyard in front along Griffith Street and a lighted parking area behind. There are also plans to upgrade the sidewalk along Griffith Street, a project that would move the walkway farther from the road and enhance the passageway over a gnarly creek bed.

Now what exactly makes a lighted, fully-monitored courtyard and lobby of a brandname hotel, probably with nightly rates in the $150 to $200 range based on supply-and-demand issues and acceptable standards for Davidson, a lure for conniving criminals? Talkers can’t presume to predict how all lowlifes think, but it does seem that an unlit and often abandoned asphalt parking lot bordered by trees along a dark and deep tree-canopied creek (a pretty fair current description of the property) would seem to be a much more suitable skulking place for those intending to do harm.

So maybe it’s the bakery that poses the serious threat. Yeah, imagine those helpless kids at Community School of Davidson next door, or the imperiled students at Davidson Day School up the block, being constantly bombarded by the aroma of fresh-baked bread and muffins.

Or maybe it’s just hotels in general that attract the unwanted. Don’t overlook that constant parade of troublemakers and ne’er-do-wells masquerading as distinguished alumni, proud parents and visiting professors always loitering around the seemingly quaint and quiet Village Inn downtown, lurking just a few steps (egads!) from the student store.

Nope. In reality, folks, this is cooked-up controversy designed, above all else, to make folks making decisions look bad while giving those hoping to fill their shoes campaign ammunition.
The introduction to the most recent Save Davidson release declares citizens are “outraged about proposed hotel near two schools” and that was enough to grab the attention of some, including a Charlotte Observer reporter who passed along the blarney as balanced reporting.

But those who should be outraged are the citizens seeking an informed dialogue. There are serious issues to discuss — too many to be distracted by imaginary demons.


  • Comment Link Nancy Palmisano Monday, 18 September 2017 22:14 posted by Nancy Palmisano

    Well, it is pretty obvious that the person who wrote this piece has never seen the damage imparted by a sexual predator on a child. The pain and mental anguish is unimaginable and is always there for child and family. The darkness never goes away. Nor have they known the pain of a child abducted, never to be seen or heard from, again. Never any closure and an eternity of wondering.

    So is it worth building a hotel next to a school and risking the possibility? This issue is not about the hotel, it is about the children at not one school, but two.

    Experts in the field of hotel management have stepped forward to tell the story of what goes on behind the scenes at hotels. Does it make the hotel staff bad. Absolutely not! However, it is a fact...bad things can and do happen at hotels.

    When people speak out about is not cooked up, it is not politically motivated or far fetched scare tactics! It is a group of concerned citizens - many of whom have children at these schools and other citizens who care enough to want to protect them.

    It is time for people to look at the larger picture...beyond their self-interests, beyond a property sale, beyond a business deal, beyond another client, beyond by-rights mumbo jumbo and put the rights of innocent children at the front of the decision making process.

    So reflecting back on the hidden person who wrote this article and the folks who commented on this being a ridiculous Community School of Davidson or Davidson Day where your child goes? Or where your children go to there a hotel? Do you even have children? Because if you did and you were paying attention to the world around you...not one day goes by that there not a some sort of report about sexual predators many times with children as targets.

    Let me suggest that you all get a grip!!!!'

  • Comment Link Shannon Carbone Monday, 18 September 2017 15:07 posted by Shannon Carbone

    A hotel next to an elementary school is such a wonderful idea that's it's been allowed to happen exactly zero times in the States. I'll take the counsel of a twenty year hotel industry veteran over someone looking to make money. I'll take the counsel of LEOs and civilians fighting to stop human trafficking over anyone, certainly over those who think this is a joke. This location is wrong. Simple common sense.

  • Comment Link M. Colvard Monday, 18 September 2017 14:02 posted by M. Colvard

    While I don't particularly like the wording of the somewhat hyperbolic statement, I think that this article is making two very big assumptions. First of all, some of the issues in that statement (human trafficking, pedophilia, etc) are not 'lower class issues' as the article seems to suggest ($150 - $200 range). As if pricing a hotel high enough, therefore, gets rid of all the problems. Secondly, the article seems to assume this move to put a hotel near an elementary school is commonplace. I would like for the writer of the article to consider that this move to put a hotel right next to a school is unprecedented in the United States. And when a hotel has been close to a school, consider that the hotel has had to put up protective barriers (fence, etc) or landscaping to make a clear division.

  • Comment Link Ron Powell Friday, 15 September 2017 13:03 posted by Ron Powell

    I have lived in Davidson for nearly 32 years (since January 1986). I lived here part time (September - June) for four years in the mid-1970's. I returned after my tenure at the college because I loved my time here and to this day have a deep seated emotional attachment.

    Admittedly, I preferred the Davidson of 15 to 20 years ago - little to no traffic and those faces you didn't know well at least you recognized. Without reservation - I miss those days.

    However, we must recognize that those days are gone - forever. We can rue that loss to exhaustion but it will have no effect. To quote Dan Millman, gymnast, writer and lecturer, "Change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality." Hopefully, the changes that shape the former village, now town, of Davidson can be managed and planned in such a way as to have a net positive impact.

    The suggestion that a Hyatt flagged hotel would bring "drugs, pedophilia, human trafficking, guns and other violence, and other safety issues” is so spurious as to be laughable were not some people attempting to lend the merest modicum of credibility to these claims.

    Come on, folks...get a grip.

  • Comment Link Boris Bunich Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:52 posted by Boris Bunich

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and reasoned article. I sat through the entire community meeting hoping that at least someone there could provide a rational argument against the proposed development of an upscale hotel without the scare tactics produced by tragically uninformed local bloggers and self-declared hotel experts. These "experts" came up and said how Davidson's citizens and businesses didn't need any more hotel rooms (untrue), that a hotel, no matter what the brand, in that location would foster a huge increase in criminal activity (untrue) or that even upscale hotels were rife with pedophiles and drug dealers (are you kidding me?).

    I work for Beacon IMG, the company that operates the existing Homewood Suites in Davidson and is proposing the new hotel. We have a almost a 10-year track record of supporting the town of Davidson by donating money and goods to the Ada Jenkins Center, sponsoring events including Concerts on the Green, April is for Arts and Christmas in Davidson, supporting local artists and (gasp) volunteering to read at local schools. Hearing this small but seemingly vocal group denigrate our plan and treat our existence as if it were some seedy and unwanted element was a difficult experience because I know how much of a positive impact we already make and will certainly increase with our presence in Davidson.

    Especially after seeing the headline of the Charlotte Observer article and reading the one-sided and poorly researched content, it is a much more welcome experience to read the level headed response by the staff of The Lake Norman Citizen.

  • Comment Link Bryan Cumberledge, RN, OCN Thursday, 14 September 2017 15:04 posted by Bryan Cumberledge, RN, OCN

    Written by "the staff" --who is that specifically? They are painfully unaware of the real issues here, and they completely misrepresent Save Davidson in this "article"--you are not helping the situation by publishing such misinformation--you just lost whatever credibility you had...please stop sending your publication to my home! (507 Ashby Drive)


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