Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Humility breaks out in Charlotte?

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
not working."

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
is nothing."

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.

- posted by Mary Schulken


Anonymous said...

As much as I still believe Raleigh hands out the cash unfairly, I do agree that Charlotte leaders would do well to watch how they speak to our State's leaders.

It's no wonder that NC never elects a governor from the western part of the state.

~ LMA said...

This is a perfect point. Charlotte's put on an arrogant face for years, and not just politically. I think this entire city (including many of its citizens) need a dose of humble pie. (For the record, I'm a native Charlottean.)

Anonymous said...

Agree with LMA - also a native Charlottean - humility is needed - if for no other reason than to position us for the future.


Anonymous said...

I would love to know the "important story " that Charlotte has to tell.

Anonymous said...

The state needs to remember where most people are employed and where most people move to in this state. It's not New Bern. I have been here 10 years and I could not have told you there was a place called New Bern until this week. We are are suffering because the majority of the people in this county decided it was more important to vote straight ticket during elections instead of voting for the candidate that was going to help your city and county.

Anonymous said...

They don't call it the Great State of Mecklenburg for nothing.

Anonymous said...

The fact that arrogance is a factor substantiates the claim that resources aren't allocated according to need, which is the heart of the problem

Anonymous said...

I want to know why NCDOT is wasting stimulus money on "widening" NC 218 in Union and Anson Counties. There is never anyone on that road. Why not use the money to finish widening Providence Rd. to Waxhaw in Union County?

Anonymous said...

The funny part is the hipocracy of the Mayor always telling the council they must make decisions for all of Charlotte, and to place their districts second, but let's tell our delegation in Raleigh to forget the state, and think about their district.

Second, the Mayor says Charlotte sends up a lot of money and wants its share back from the state, but when the suburbs send in a lot of money to Charlotte, funny how that needs to be spent uptown.

Just self-serving hipocracy.