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A Different Triangle


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Everything that came out of Jones Street and the Executive Mansion this year has had major repercussions for everyone--even if they didn't vote in last year's elections. This topic will cover the topic of student voting. 


What would Raleigh and the rest of the Triangle look like today if the General Assembly's voting changes forcing students to vote in their hometowns were in place in 2001 instead of 2016? 


For starters, Paul Coble would have had more than 588 votes to avoid a runoff in the mayoral race--and progressives would have regarded moderate Republican candidate Joel Cornette as the Triangle's version of Ralph Nader. As a result, there would have been nine years of the Fetzer/Coble era because...Coble would have then toppled Eric Reeves in the 2002 Senate District 16 race, overcoming Libertarian Jason Mara's alleged spoiler role. 


John Odom would have garnered enough votes to be Raleigh's mayor pro tem in '01--therefore, he becomes mayor when Coble becomes State Senator Coble. As far as Raleigh goes, it wouldn't have gotten the praises it did because the focus would still have been on the north part of town--with a bone thrown in for Southeast Raleigh. Even though Fayetteville Street reopened in 2006, downtown is only a little less bland because there's no effort to revitalize the central city (the convention center never moves because Charles Meeker endorsed building a new convention center as did Tom Fetzer's precessor [Avery Upchurch], but all three members of the original Fetzerite alliance were swept into power in 1993 due to their opposition to such a project). Odom steps down in 2005, ending 12 years of conservative rule. 


Raleigh rejects Richard Florida's ideas on attracting the creative class. Due to deadlocked 4-4 city councils and the recession, the City of Oaks plays catch up and gives up, focusing on the sprawling northern and southeastern parts. Young people who don't have an interest in politics or sports look to Durham and Orange Counties upon graduation.


The real action would have been about 30 miles to the northwest as Durham fully embraces the creative class concept. This article would have been justified in 2009--only, the author is Bob Geary and the publication is Independent Weekly rather than Bernie Reeves and Metro Magazine respectively.


It's also worth pointing out that then-NC State student Zack Medford would have been forced to run for an at-large seat in 2003 rather than the District D seat due to these restrictions on where students can vote.

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