This past week’s local election should be a lesson to some unsuccessful candidates. Keep an eye on your rear view mirror if you have political history or baggage that could prove unhelpful. Specifically, in the ridiculous candidacy of former town commissioner Tonzie Collins, Mr. Collins found out that the voters of Hope Mills do not forgive and they do not forget. To his embarrassment he trailed the field. Maybe it was because Hope Mills’ taxpayers did not want to continue to deal with Tonzie’s questionable behavior and the possible liability it could present to the town if it reoccurred. Or maybe Tonzie’s poor showing was because Hope Mills voters did not want their town to be the joke of Cumberland County. So Tonzie should look to new jurisdictions if he wants to be an electable politician. Somewhere in Alaska would be a likely place to start. But, in fairness there was something positive about ol’ Tonzie. For those who read the newspaper for amusement and enjoyment, his antics did provide that. On the other hand, late news has it that Matt Hoerner who garnered more votes than hard campaigning Tonzie is 12,000 or so miles away and thus may find attending Board of Commissioners meetings difficult. So Tonzie could, by default, be back.
Then came loser Curtis Worthy. A former city of Fayetteville council person whose most memorable accomplishment was to vote for the annexation of 27 square miles of Cumberland County to the city. This was against the will of 40,000 residents of that area and they have not forgiven and will never forget. Worthy had opportunities during his campaign to throw himself on the mercy of the annexed voters’ court. But he chose not to, apparently convinced in his own mind that he had done a great thing supporting the disastrous forced annexation. What is somewhat inexplicable is that Worthy is an accountant and a tax expert. As such, he should have at once, when the annexation was proposed, insisted that the numbers be analyzed for accuracy. He should have seen that the additional ad valorem tax revenues from the annexed areas would not offset the additional costs and liabilities that the annexed areas presented to the city. A thoughtful elected official should have listened closely to the warnings given by PWC regarding the impossibility of providing water and sewer to the new city areas in a timely manner — but he did not. These shortcomings in his past live after him and he now should understand that his political ambitions will never be realized again in the city of Fayetteville.
Val Applewhite lost an election that, by all reasonable reckoning she should have won handily. Her history as a city council person was satisfactory but her behavior during city council sessions did not serve her well. Val has a style and temperament not unlike New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie. They both can be abrasive and contentious at times. But the problem for Val was and is that Fayetteville is not New Jersey and what wears well in New Jersey is seen as generally offensive here. Her demonstrated hubris before and during the campaign played into the hands of her opponent. She failed to capture solid support of African-American voters, some of whom found her council behavior disrespectful and unseemly for a sitting council member. But her most damaging error as she planned her run for mayor was to make a public opponent of the incumbent mayor, Tony Chavonne, who made his preference for his successor known in the final stages of the campaign with a well distributed letter. That endorsement of Nat Robertson tipped the scales away from Val. Most likely, she will be back on the local political scene — perhaps the wiser from her unsuccessful experience as a candidate for mayor of the city of Fayetteville.
Photo: David G. Wilson