There’s been a battle for the soul of the Town of Summerfield going on for over three years now – with a sharp division between residents who want the town to stay largely the way it is and those who are more amenable to the idea of controlled development.
Many Summerfield citizens have lined up on one of the two sides and, on Wednesday, Aug. 6, one side in the battle introduced a new website, www.summerfieldproud.com, and announced that five candidates for the Town Council are running “as a team” this year.
Members of the self-professed team of candidates are Summerfield Town Councilmembers John O’Day and Reece Walker, who are seeking reelection, and Tim Sessions and Lynne Williams Devaney, who are also seeking seats on the board in the next election. The fifth member of the team is former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, who’s now running for mayor of Summerfield. The mayor sits on the five-person council but can only vote in the case of a tie.
Some members on that team say their positions have been misrepresented in major ways in the past. The website is meant to provide information on what they really stand for – such as low taxes and restoring civility to town governance.
Some team members and their supporters get upset if anyone refers to them as “pro-development” – they are, instead, they say, in favor of responsible, controlled advancement of the community; and they argue that those on the other side are frequently opposed to virtually every change of any sort for the town. They say their opponents often want to simply stand in place and vote no on everything.
The new website is going up just months before a crucial election that will to a great extent determine the future of Summerfield and will determine the way it meets water needs, addresses zoning issues and funds town projects.
Barnes wrote on Wednesday in an email to the Rhino Times that the purpose of the new web site is to inform the citizens about the team of candidates.
“It explains who we are and where we stand on the issues we feel are important to Summerfield,” Barnes wrote. “We do this so there is no question about where we stand. In the past, positions have been distorted and misrepresented by some of the folks running in opposition to our positions and candidacy.”
Barnes wrote that candidates, including himself, are running “as a team” because they have “a common commitment to Summerfield.”
He also wrote that the team strives to be “professional in action and demeanor and represent the citizens.”
“The mayor and council in many ways define our town,” Barnes wrote. “The mayor and some of her supporters, some who are running for office now, have not or would not represented us well.”
The new website gives the positions of team of candidates, information about each, contact info and other information.
According to the candidates, the site will have future announcements related to the election as well as provide other information.