Friday, February 1, 2013

McCrory should butt out

Well here's an interesting twist. Pat McCrory spent years plotting how to move up and out of the Charlotte mayor's office. Now that he has finally done it by becoming governor, McCrory apparently longs to be mayor again. But he's not mayor, and he needs to butt out of local decisions.

McCrory this week delivered a threat to Charlotte officials that both overstepped his bounds and, ironically, threatens to undercut one of his biggest accomplishments as mayor. He told two top city officials -- City Attorney Bob Hagemann and Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble -- that state funding of the Blue Line light-rail extension to University City (totaling $299 million) could be threatened if Charlotte funds a streetcar.

We've expressed skepticism about funding the streetcar, but the merits of that project are beside the point. The point is this: Whether to fund the streetcar with local money is a local decision, one to be made by Mayor Anthony Foxx and the Charlotte City Council. It is not a decision in which the governor has any reason to meddle.

After 14 years as mayor, this should be obvious to McCrory. How would he have reacted as mayor if Govs. Bev Perdue or Mike Easley threatened to strip state money from Charlotte if the city did something locally they didn't like? That his threat would spike the very light rail system he championed as mayor is even more puzzling.

McCrory's spokesman says McCrory isn't threatening to pull the state money, just informing the city of the potential political fallout of using property taxes for such a controversial transit project as the streetcar. But it sure comes across as a threat, especially since it's doubtful the funding would be pulled without McCrory's explicit or tacit approval.

Asked recently whether the state should allow Charlotte to raise taxes to pay for renovations to the Carolina Panthers' stadium, his spokesman said McCrory "believes that local leaders should make decisions on local issues - the same philosophy he employed as mayor of Charlotte."

Exactly. It was a good philosophy then and it's a good philosophy now. If McCrory wants to steer local affairs, candidate filing for mayor opens on Friday, July 5, at noon.

-- Taylor Batten


EuroCat said...

Excellent commentary, Taylor!

While I believe that local government is inherently the most responsive government and should be given broad latitude to do its job - regardless of which party is in control - it has generally been Republicans who've most stridently opposed "Big Gummint" meddling in local affairs.

How hypocritical, then, that the Republican governor (following in the hypocritical footsteps of the Republican legislature) has decided that he should stick his nose where it doesn't belong.

Hey, Pat, stick to "dumbing down" the state's public university least that is a function that legitimately falls under your jurisdiction. Charlotte's capital sending is a function that most certainly does not.

Butt out.

Skippy said...

Yeah, because it's not like President Obama through his DOJ has not done this same thing right here in NC, specifically telling the voters in Kinston that their majority decision to delete the D or R after he or she candidate's name so they could run on merit and merit only was a bad idea according to Holder and the White House who stopped this process. It seems I remember the outrage from this paper.

Democrats: Blacks Not Smart Enough to Vote without Political Party ... publicly. Undo
Dec 27, 2011 – Federal judge: For blacks, 'voting rights' include identifying Democrats ... when the Department of Justice barred the city of Kinston, N.C. from holding ... rejected a 2008 referendum vote in which the city of Kinston voted to stop ...

The "dumding down" of our education system happened years ago in case you missed the memo.

Wiley Coyote said...

I love the fact liberals at the Observer can't sleep over McCrory and the Republicans having control.

Payback's a _____ isn't it?

McCrory and the Republicans will have a loooong way to go to ever catch up with the likes of Parks Helms, Jennifer Roberts. Bill Culp, Mike Easley, Bev Perdue, Jim Black.....

Wiley Coyote said... the way. How many years did the eastern establishment in this state control Raleigh?....

I thought so.

Steve Solbakken said...

His logic makes perfect sense. In essence he's saying, "Hey Charlotte, if you've got money to fritter away on an expensive streetcar that many think is a bad idea, why are you coming to the state asking for 1/4 BILLION dollars for light rail? His responsibility now is to wisely manage limited state funds and he's right to point out that Charlotte is holding its hand out for state money while using the other to flush local taxpayer dollars down the drain of government excess. Sounds like good impartial governing to me.

David McKnight said...

What about the central issue of the light rail extension to University City? It could be argued that public transportation access to UNC Charlotte, a member institution of the greater University of North Carolina system, is indeed an issue with which the Office of Governor should be concerned

David P. McKnight

Garth Vader said...

Yes the state should "butt out" of local issues. And that means NO STATE MONEY for a Charlotte-Mecklenburg light rail line.

Ettolrahc said...

Anyone have one of those thunder machines so we can play in the back ground while people read this mess.

It might help the drama they are trying to convey here.

QED said...

The "state's money" is actually our money too, unless they've managed to create a money tree. Charlotte is the largest city in this state by both the number of companies and the population. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of tax revenue is generated within the city's limits. So to simply say that those are "state funds" belies the point that most of that money is generated within city limits.

Whenever the same situation involves the federal government, I know that I hear a lot of conservative voices (perhaps rightly) say that the federal money is "our" money. Glossing over that idea simply because the roles are reversed shows a lack of principle.

Whether McCrory is right, his method of delivering the point is pathetic. Foxx is trying to continue McCrory's legacy of a dynamic and vibrant Charlotte. McCrory may have a different idea of how that can be done. But to deliver an indirect threat to the mayor via his staff just seems petty and beneath him. Have we entered a new age of state politics where Charlotte finally gets attention from the capital, but its mostly threats and insinuatins.

jt tj said...

I like seeing the little mayor Foxx given instructions against flagrant spending by the Governor. Just hope Governor and Rucho are not distracted enough to beat back Obamacare from NC.

Unknown said...

I agree that McCrory's methods of portraying his thoughts were a little underhanded but his theory has some merit. How can Charlotte pass some of the cost of Light Rail expansion but find the money to fund a sketchy street car project.

No matter what side McCrory takes he will have nay sayers and this is coming from a Democrat.

After the reports of NC going WAY over its Medicaid budget last year, McCrory better find some ways to save some cash unless he want to be in the same boat as the federal government.

Ghoul said...

Ettolrahc said...

Anyone have one of those thunder machines so we can play in the back ground while people read this mess.

It might help the drama they are trying to convey here.

You are thinking too small here. Ole Dave Enna needs to step up his game and make the more interactive. Think, instead of just Fannie Flono's pictue, we get Fannie Flono's picture aoomed in with Dramatic Prarie Dod music and effects:

tad said...

I disagree. Kudos to the Governor for acting responsibly as the leader of the State. He spoke to those who were in front of him, which was entirely appropriate. Our resources are limited and spending must be prioritized. The streetcar is much more of a "nice to have" than "have to have." Last year's City capital plan that addressed our most important needs was vetoed solely because it did not include the streetcar. That was the epitome of irresponsibility and did not exhibit leadership. - tad

Shamash said...

Wouldn't it be better if McCrory decided to help fund OUR "Bridge to Nowhere"?

Isn't that what the local guys are SUPPOSED to do when they get elected?

Support special projects for the folks "back home" while denying everyone else?

Exactly WHO does McCrory think he represents anyway?

Rockit said...

Finally we have a governor who is intelligent, financially responsible and looking out for us. Charlotte city council doubled our property taxes. They have not had to earn the money thus they spend frivolously.

When the local leadership starts acting irresponsibly the governor should definitely butt in.

While America loses it technological advantage in the world, some of you are worried about losing discounts on your liberal arts education. It is not only about jobs. People with technical educations and strong Math/Science backgrounds can help us regain our edge in the world. Einstein and Edison were not lawyers or anthropology majors.

Pat McCrory is willing to take a stand that may not be very popular but he has a vision. The rest of us need to wake up.


Dear Taylor,

Get over the fact NC is a red state and McCrory does not have to nor should he butt out. He is the Governor of this state, something Foxx will never be.



McCrory does not want to be mayor, if he wanted to be mayor he would be it. He is over the department of transportation however. As far as him keeping out of "Charlotte" business, Charlotte had no problem going to him to ask him for state funds for Panther stadium. Do some research next time.

Unknown said...

Maybe McCrory has the phone # of the mayor but no one else does. I've sent 3 emails over the past couple years to Foxx and all I receive in return is a bull@$8% response from his PR mouthpiece.

jay1937 said...

Very poorly timed article! Was it not just a few years ago that everyone asked the question: "Does Raleigh even know Charlotte exist"? Those questions came from the general public and business owners as well as most local government officials. Of course that was during the time, the 100 years plus, that the Democrats were in control of the state and lived mainly in Raleigh and the Eastern North Carolina areas. Now we have someone that lived and worked in Charlotte and knows of its problems and concerns. Perhaps we should give the other side a chance to show Charlotte that it is aware of its existence and give us some help in solving a number of our problems, problems that can only be solved with the help of the State Legislature, dumping many of the outdated laws and/or rules from the books and creating a much better relationship between the local and state entities. This, of course, includes whether or not Raleigh helps in financing wasteful items like the trolley line that will destroy, not build, businesses along its route. Just take a look at what the useless tracks have done for the areas involved on Elizabeth Avenue from Sugar Creek to Presbyterian Hospital. Talk to some of the property owners and/or past business owners along that route and write what they have to say about the trolley! McCrory has the right idea, forget the trolley, just forget the play toys and get down to the real business of promoting fast light rail to UNCC and beyond to the Mooresville area and I do suggest to McCrory that a light rail on the Independence Blvd route would be a great help to those that drive daily into the Charlotte area from Matthews and the Monroe area. Light rail is the answer but running it correctly is more of the equation than the current crop of dolts that are giving so many a free rides from the southern part of the city.

Anonymous said...

As much as I try to resist comparisons, can Taylor explain how he supported Obama's "say-so" to the banks after they received TARP..but now McCrory & state taxpayers should just shell out and shut up?

This is what happens when you use other peoples money. There is no free lunch. If we want the McCrory and state taxpayers to bow out, dont ask for the money.