Monday, December 5, 2011

'Harold has sold his soul'

By Wednesday morning, Harold Cogdell will likely be chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. Nothing is certain, of course, as we learned last year when Cogdell bowed out at the last minute and allowed fellow Democrat Jennifer Roberts to retain the gavel. But we're told Roberts has called the four Republicans on the board asking for their support again this year, and only two have returned her calls. Those two told her that she wouldn't get their vote.

Democrats are furious at Cogdell's power grab - first because of the naked ambition behind it, but also because of how it might impact board votes in the coming year. The ambition charge is a little dubious - yes, Cogdell is covetous of the more powerful seat, and he shoved aside protocol in grabbing the chair from a fellow party member who got more votes than he did the last time they ran, in 2010. But Roberts isn't devoid of ambition. She's likely running for higher office soon and knows that being board chair will bring her a very public stage when the Democratic National Convention comes to town next year.

Still, Democrats are rightly concerned with how Cogdell's maneuvering will steal power from the 5-4 majority they have on the board. By pledging to Republicans that he'll consider a more conservative view on taxes and spending, he may be committing himself to a worldview that doesn't fit with the rest of his party.

That'll be critical in 2012, with commissioners facing possible cuts to schools and programs for the poor. Will Cogdell feel obligated to side more with Republicans on tax rates and spending cuts than he previously has been? Democrats and Republicans in Mecklenburg tell us yes. Said one: "Harold has sold his soul."

What did he get in return? We're not sure. He'll have plenty of cameras pointed his way in this busy upcoming year for Charlotte. But if his aim is to use that exposure to propel himself toward higher office, he'll have to do so without the support of his party's establishment, which believes he's shown himself to be about Harold first, everyone else later. He also shouldn't expect much loyalty from Republicans, who are embracing him only for the possibility of policy support. Privately, they don't really trust him, either.

That's not a reputation you want for your next citywide, countywide - or perhaps bigger - election. But it's what Cogdell has brought himself. He'll get tomorrow what he's wanted for two years. But it's going to be a very lonely throne.

Peter St. Onge


Garth Vader said...

** he'll consider a more conservative view on taxes and spending

This is why The Observer is apoplectic about Cogdell.

Roberts is a lame duck. Let her and her tax-and-spend insanity waddle quietly into the night.

AugustEve said...

I am ashamed of Harold and wish I had never voted for him and most certainly will never vote for him again.

todd said...

So for Cogdell to want the Chairmanship is a "naked power grab", but for Jenny Roberts to use it during the DNC for asperations of a higher office isn't?

Wiley Coyote said...

...I'll say it again:

"You get what you vote for".

Now you have to live with them.

DistrictSix said...

The Observer has not seen such an affront to the promoted agenda for the last few decades.

One wonders why the editors are seeing this as the end of an era?

The structure and soundness of all their previous hard work is in place, and no real changes will slow the decline of our Charlotte.

Garth Vader said...

"I want to encourage new leaders to step forward" - Jennifer Roberts, November 14th, announcing that she would not run for re-election

"I'm a power hungry liar" - Jennifer Roberts, every day since November 14th

Skippy said...

Just can't help yourself can you Nonobservant, playing the pitiful CMS has no money card already? This coming from the same crowd that lied to us property owners so we could have the honor of paying higher property taxes to dump into the black hole that is CMS. Of course Roberts is going to seek other positions, she was about as ineffective as can be and let the morally bankrupt Harry Jones walk all over her which in this paper's eyes, makes her a perfect Democrat stooge at future higher levels. Besides lower taxes mean us working unwashed masses have more money in our pocket, but now since the BPC runs the town, cancel that thought. Besides only (R's) can sell their soul, but not the mayor who sold out this town for out of state unions jobs in the upcoming DNC clown show.

ThaQueenCity said...

Roberts sold her soul a LONG time ago and yet you never published that?