UPDATED 5:54 p.m.
Good morning, and welcome to O-pinion, the Observer editorial board’s home for opinion and debate. We encourage you to share your civil thoughts on these issues by posting a comment. I’m Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten, and I’ll be your online host today.
With about 19 hours before polls open for tomorrow’s Election Day, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is having to fend off continued allegations that union shops are getting preferential treatment over non-unionized Charlotte companies for DNC business.
Charlotte’s John Monteith, who heads business development for a local printing firm, this morning copied the media on a letter he wrote to Foxx. He again accuses Foxx of putting politics and unions ahead of Charlotteans. The Observer reported Saturday that convention officials told Monteith he wouldn’t win a certain contract because he doesn’t employ union labor.
“As one of your voting constituents, I am disappointed that you did not take the time to contact me to discuss my concerns regarding the actions of the DNC and the distribution of work,” Monteith writes this morning.
Monteith said he was told not to waste his time bidding on a printing contract with the DNC. He says that work was awarded to a union company in Washington, D.C. UPDATE: Convention officials tell the Observer's editorial board that Monteith is mistaken about this. The contract that Monteith appears to be referring to was not a printing contract. The D.C. company, Hargrove, won a different contract for setting up the convention center.
“It is situations like these that have me concerned that you have not taken our best interest into account. Maybe you were given wrong information prior to telling Charlotte you were keeping the work here. Maybe, in actuality you ‘misspoke’ to your Charlotte constituents.” He continues: “I fear that as mayor of the City of Charlotte, you do not have the best interest of your constituents at heart. … We need a leader that is not bothered by pressure from unions, doesn’t follow Chicago style politics and puts Charlotte first.”
We’re awaiting comment from the Foxx campaign, but Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the host committee said on Friday that a DNC official “misspoke.” The host committee’s executive director, Dan Murrey, said it “is categorically untrue” that only unionized firms can bid on convention work.
The website Politico reported that Sherwood Webb, the owner of a Charlotte project management firm, ran into similar problems because his shop isn't unionized. UPDATE: Convention officials say the contract Webb was interested in was ultimately won by Rogers Builders, a Charlotte company that is non-unionized. Redstate.com is reporting that Charlotte hotel workers could be threatened by union workers coming in during the convention to replace them. UPDATE: "The claim is totally fabricated and false,” said Kristie Greco, DNCC spokesperson. “There is no Democratic Convention-related obligation to cause the furlough of hotel workers (during) convention week.”
We imagine Charlotte firms will continue to win DNC work. But to this point, it seems Foxx and the DNC host committee are losing the public relations battle on this issue.
In other news
New polls suggest the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain may be hurting his popularity. An Ipsos poll for Thomson Reuters showed Cain’s favorability rating with Republicans drop from 66 percent to 57 percent a week earlier. The poll was conducted online, though, which is much less reliable than traditional telephone polls. We think it’s a little early to count Cain out.
Hitting the hardwood?
Whether the Charlotte Bobcats will be playing any time soon could be decided in the next couple of days. Things don’t look good for NBA fans – or for the Charlotte businesses that depend on Bobcats games for much of their revenue. NBA commissioner David Stern has given players until Wednesday to agree to a deal that gives the players 51 percent of basketball-related revenue. If they don’t, Stern says, they’ll get something a whole lot worse. Without a breakthrough in the next 48 hours, much or all of the NBA season could be in jeopardy.
In case you missed it
The Observer editorial board, in today’s paper, says travelers at Charlotte’s airport would be getting a raw deal if the City Council agrees to block all banks except Bank of America from putting ATMs there. Also over the weekend, we explained why big tuition hikes at UNC campuses are bad not only for students, but for the whole state.
Check back later today for a recap of our endorsements for tomorrow’s election and other news and opinion.