Remember when The Rant’s radio show was kicked off the air? Boy, we do.
What few also remember is the blog post that got the ball rolling. On April 3, 2013, The Rant posted an editorial criticizing then N.C. Rep. Mike Stone for pushing through House Bill 490, which created partisan primaries for Sanford City Council elections (the city council was formerly non-partisan, and thus needed just the one election each year).
“Taken together, these bills show that Stone’s priorities are misplaced. While we continue to struggle with unemployment and budgetary constraints, our representative in Raleigh is availing himself of the opportunity to dabble in local partisan politics. It’s a shame.”
Well, that blog led to a phone call to Central Carolina Community College (which hosted our 4-year-old show) from Mike’s office asking about funding. CCCC brass, which understandably became concerned that a few knuckleheads were talking politics on their airwaves, put the show on suspension, and eventually we bowed out, because, hey … life and stuff.
Mike’s primary creation was an absolute failure this week.
Tuesday’s primary between Sanford City Council candidates Rebecca Wyhof and Karene McLean drew 99 total votes, with Wyhof earning 85 of them. That’s a less-than-5-percent turnout. According to the Sanford Herald, which also blasted the primary in an editorial in today’s paper,
the election cost taxpayers approximately $2,000 per vote cast (Sanford Mayor Chet Mann estimated $300 per vote in a recent Facebook post) Update: The Herald printed that the $2,000 figure was for every McLean vote. The $300 figure is correct for every vote.
Whichever figure is correct, go ahead and tack on more for the parents who paid for childcare because Tuesday was a “Teacher Work Day” for Lee County Schools … a “holiday” often scheduled when schools are to host elections. Lee County Schools closed schools to open four precincts on Tuesday, and according to Mann, one of those schools received three votes all day.
An expected response from Stone or supporters of the bill might be that it’s the fault of the voters for not taking an interest in the election. If that’s the case, go ahead and blame Stone’s party for not fielding enough candidates to force a primary on their own side. The voters aren’t to blame … this was an election that could have easily been handled the “old way,” with Wyhof, McLean and fill-in-the-blank facing off in an election with other races and other candidates, and thus, more public interest.
We knew this all along. It’s a shame speaking up about it cost us a pretty cool hobby and a kick-ass radio show..