Grassroots Mayoral Campaign Hosts Second Meeting
In the warm lighting of the “Juggling Gypsy,” a local hookah bar and music venue in The Bottom, the second volunteer meeting for Devon Scott’s mayoral campaign assembled at dusk on August 1st, 2019. Quite outside the usual offerings of firebending displays, high-energy musical acts, and occasional highbrow burlesque shows typically hosted in the location, that night Wilmington residents filtered into the venue to see Devon.
The mayoral candidate, active in the arts community, is not a stranger to this stage, having hosted Open Mics and poetry slams in a variety of Wilmington locales over the years, he has walked it many times. Tonight, his purpose is different. Describing the present development situation in Wilmington, which has a city council run almost entirely by real estate agents and developers, Scott laid out his grievances with the fox-patrolling-the-henhouse dynamic this created. Several present echoed these concerns, calling for diversity on the city council.
The jump in growth and land speculation in the Wilmington region has gone largely unimpeded during incumbent mayor Bill Saffo’s 13 year tenure, leading to rapid tax increases and forced redevelopment of rent-burdened communities occupying what is seen by developers as prime real estate. The Bottom and nearby Northside neighborhoods, geographically close to Wilmington’s thriving downtown, have been feeling the effects of these changes to their communities acutely as the downtown area builds up.
Echoing the familiar slogan “citizens before cement” in his speech, Scott laid out two more central principles of his campaign. The candidate expressed his solidarity with the movement to “reclaim Wilmington water” from environmental degradation, and his intention to put power back into the hands of “Port City people.”