Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Merge Charlotte, Mecklenburg governments? Effort stumbles

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx's latest effort to study the consolidation of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments is off to a rough start. Local politicos are buzzing about the topic today, but the talk, sadly, is less about whether to study consolidation and more about whether Foxx was trying to sneak something past anyone.

Foxx, a Democrat, and former Mayor Richard Vinroot, a Republican, sent a letter to 46 community leaders this month. The letter urged them to push Mecklenburg commissioners to approve a study of consolidation. The City Council approved such a study but commissioners must go along too.

Republican commissioner Bill James was miffed -- or amused -- that he was left off Foxx's mailing list. He said the effort shows how urgently part of south Charlotte needs to secede and create its own town.

"It does seem to (be) a surreptitious effort to use government resources behind the scenes. Not that it is illegal, just sneaky," James wrote in an email.

Another Republican commissioner, Karen Bentley, said she too didn't like being "kept in the dark."

"Is this really how we conduct business here? ..." Bentley said in an email. "This type of gamesmanship is completely ineffective with me, in fact, it has the opposite effect."

We're not sure what was sneaky about this. Foxx has been a frequent and vocal advocate for consolidation. The City Council publicly endorsed the study. That Foxx (and Vinroot) would try to get powerful people to lobby county commissioners on the issue doesn't surprise us.

Still, purely from a strategic perspective, Foxx might have given commissioners a heads-up he was sending the notice. That way there would be no allegations of sneakiness, and the debate could be on how to best govern the community rather than on political tactics.

By the way, all that's being proposed here is studying the idea. The study would be funded privately, with no taxpayer dollars. What's the harm?

-- Taylor Batten


Zon said...

Well of course the the County Commissioners, and especially the Republicans, are going to be opposed to it. They would lose power as a result. I thought Republicans were for less government and taxes?

Wiley Coyote said...

I'm all for it as long as Mayor Fixxit doesn't try to king himself.

The Mayors position must remain part time.

Fixxit is looking for a bigger paycheck.

Carlos W said...

If we want to be a "world class" city, we need a full time mayor that can travel and solicit industries and businesses to come to Charlotte. We need better economic development and this would be a great move!

cytomitch said...

Obviously this is in response to the growing momentum for Ballantyne/South Charlotte to secede from Charlotte. If they can consolidate city and county, then Ballantyne will be locked into CharMeck and subjugated to inner city political bosses.

Dr. Jimmy said...

That's like getting two thieves to move in together. Way too much money and power involved in the equation. It would take a voter mandate.