Monday night, for the first time in recent memory, Charlotte's City Council debated what face the city ought to offer to Raleigh.
The issue was whether Charlotte should push the legislature to pass a bill changing the equity formula for allocating transportation money.
That formula puts urban areas, where the scope of need is great, in a ditch. Yet such a bill is very unlikely to pass, which makes this a symbolic fight.
For the first time we can recall, there was dissent on City Council about adopting a posture and taking a position that will be preceived as arrogant and self-serving in Raleigh.
From at large representative Anthony Foxx (and a candidate for mayor)
"We need to unclench our fist."
"We are moonwalking. We are making it look like we are fighting something on behalf of the city when in reality we are hurting the city"
"We have fought this with a smashmouth approach."
"This is not a bill that's being presented to be passed, it's being presented to make a
point. We have to advocate in a different way."
From Michael Barnes, District 4:
"This arrogant, big-headed, "I'm gonna tell you what we want' is
John Lassiter, an at-large representative who's also
running for mayor, feels differently. Here's what he had this to say:
"I'm not overly concerned that we would step on some toes if all we're going to get
Get outside the shadow of it's skyscrapers, and the view of North Carolina's largest city changes.
We see ourselves as a city of need and outright neglect when it comes to state dollars. But many others - particularly lawmakers and policy-makers in Raleigh, see us as parochial, arrogant and preoccupied with our own needs while remaining blind to the needs of other places.
The irony? Charlotte has an important story to tell. But it's been unable to get that message across because of years of me-first, take-no-prisoners rhetoric from local leaders about what Charlotte needs from the state. That's a character flaw of this fine place.
Changing that strategy and posture would be a shrewd and productive step for both Charlotte - whose future is tied to North Carolina's future - and for North Carolina, whose prosperity is directly rooted in many ways to Charlotte.