Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ronnie Bryant's backpedal

As a basketball fan, I've seen a lot of impressive pivots. But I don't know that I've ever seen one quite like Ronnie Bryant displayed today.

Bryant is the CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, an outfit that works to recruit business to the Charlotte region. He wrote an op-ed in today's Observer that was a 180 from what he told the editorial board earlier this month about how he felt about the Republican legislature.

Bryant met with the board Aug. 8. Reporter Eric Frazier asked Bryant if he was receiving any blowback as a result of the GOP legislature's controversial actions. Bryant gave a full-throated response, saying that the General Assembly's actions on issues such as voting laws, abortion, guns and teacher pay were hurting the state's brand around the country. The legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory were prompting news coverage around the nation that were making his job harder, Bryant said.

A widely-read editorial in the New York Times last month headlined "The decline of North Carolina" won the state extensive attention around the country. Bryant said he had been in New York in recent weeks trying to do damage control. "The number one question" he was getting, he said: "What the hell are you guys doing?"

Bryant said his organization and others had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars getting positive coverage for the Charlotte region. The legislature's actions, he said, undercut that work. "All of our efforts over the past few years have been negated over the past few weeks. I've never seen anything like it in my life." His frustration with the legislature was evident.

Bryant also said he was concerned that the state's move toward privatizing some of the Department of Commerce's functions could hurt his organization, because it would have to compete with the state for corporate support.

Frazier wrote a news story and I wrote a column about our conversation with Bryant. It was surprising that Bryant would say such things, even if they were well-grounded, because the Charlotte Regional Partnership receives state money and has to work with the legislature and McCrory administration on economic development.

Today, Bryant backpedals hard. "My concerns do not lie with the North Carolina General Assembly, the privatization of the state's economic development efforts or the elimination of funding for the seven regional partnerships," he writes.

He says he is concerned that "national publications cherry pick recent legislative activity and write articles that attempt to cast doubts on North Carolina's business climate..." He said McCrory and the legislature weren't getting enough credit for "positive changes" such as tax reform and labeled the national coverage "unjustified attacks on our brand."

There was nothing in our earlier conversation that suggested he thought the attacks were unjustified or cherry picking. The opposite, in fact. Bryant, obviously, is now getting an earful and feels the need to back off his earlier statements to the Observer. I'm sympathetic to that, but it needs to be seen for what it is.

-- Taylor Batten



18 comments:

Veronica said...

Perhaps the Observer was a bit overeager to trumpet the negativity about the state legislature.

This is the trap you can find yourselves in when you don't pursue balanced reporting. You relied on one source that fit your narrative and you ran with it.

You reap what you sow.

bobcat99 said...

Ronnie Bryant was right the first time. The cave dwellers who took over the General Assembly are destroying years of branding efforts by Charlotte and the state. I am ashamed of Bryant for back pedaling. We all have to earn a living, but I hate to see a public spokesperson so obviously bullied into submission. Pat, to everyone's surprise I believe, made it clear from the beginning that he would not tolerate freedom of opinion in this state, especially if it came from Charlotte. Shame on Ronnie. Shame on the GOP.

One Discerner said...

Ronnie Bryant was right the first time. But he is in a compromised position. If the NC GOP is undaunted by the voices of the majority of voters who know that the state's reputation has taken a hit by their actions, they most certainly have no problems with intimidating Mr. Bryant to put him "in his place.".

It reminds me of how then RNC Chair Michael Steele allowed himself to be bullied by Rush Limbaugh.

The time will come when there will be gnashing of teeth by the GOP perpetrators.

The proof for me is in Psalms 73. I think the Governor and the GOP-controlled NC General Assembly should spend some time studying it.

"Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.

22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.

24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.

28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works."

misswhit said...

That now makes 15 O-pinion columns in a row bashing Republicans.

Butcherpete said...

Well, if the GOP would stop being an extremist group, maybe there would be time to take a few swings at the Dems. But until that happens...

kantstanzya said...

The Charlotte Democrat Observer has outdone themselves with this one. 75% of the editorial was spent just repeating the comments that Ronnie Brant has just repudiated and clarified!

"A widely read editorial in the New York Times last month headlined The Decline of North Carolina"...Really? A declining newspaper in a declining state calls North Carolina "declining". Funny stuff. Maybe someone should tell all the people who are moving here from New York each year they are making a big mistake?

Yep...according to the left we have a small minority of legislators going against the will of the majority of people in North Carolina. All this nonsense reminds me of the mischaracterization by the liberal media of the Wisconsin protests. Every night all the grieved people protesting at the state capital. The recall would be a certainty. But surprise, surprise, Scott Walker won the recall and it wasn't that close.

And we have biased and slanted stories every day misrepresenting the actual legislation and the facts. N.C. had their jobless rate creep up last month. Big story. But no mention that it is still lower than last year when the GOP finally won a veto proof mandate to enact change. Most newspapers like the WSJ and USA Today published a map of states where the unemployment rate was above and below the national average. The liberal North East and the West Coast were the worst. The best were in red states in the center of the country. North Carolina is a soon to be corrected anomaly.

And now we are subjected to story after story about "hundreds" of people in NC protesting....moral Mondays. Surely no one except the lunatic fringe could support McCrory and the GOP legislature. It's a moral issue! Except that the average common sense citizens of North Carolina who are trying to turn around the state from decades of corruption and incompetency under tax and spend Democrats before we dig a big enough hole to become New York or California or Detroit are not yelling or screaming or holding up signs. They are going to work every day....quietly waiting to vote in 2014.

And poor Ronnie Bryant. He knows full well no companies are crossing NC off their list because we passed voter ID or abortion regulation or tax reform or oppose Obamacare medicare expansions....all common sense things that a majority of Americans in every poll support.But to Taylor Batten there can be no explanation except the evil GOP is putting some double secret hidden pressure on Mr. Bryant.

The McClatchy yellow journalists have achieved their goal that as the Wall Street Journal writes "the burning heart and soul of liberal activism and indignation this summer can be found of all places....in the Tar Heel State." But they conclude by reporting "the fatal flaw to the whole Moral Monday strategy: The Core problem is the protesters are denouncing policies like tax cuts and welfare reform that may be unpopular with the NY Times but are very popular with mainstream North Carolinians." And, as Mr. Bryant knows full well, they are popular with business as well.

IamHereTheThird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IamHereTheThird said...

kantstanzya: I have missed you on the comments section or maybe I have not recognized you under a real name. I see that you are still very active in your denial of how things really are in North Carolina.
If you are still commenting on the comments section under your real name, then please enlighten me as to what your real name is and I will apologize.
I comment under Howard Faison.

Ghoul said...

Howard, you and One Discerner, as well as Bobcat99 and the CO editorial board need to get out more. Its you that are in the small minority in NC. Did you notice the last election, the stern rebuke of liberal Democrat politics in NC? It wasn't even close.

How did the gay marriage vote go for ya? That was a landslide too.

I'm sorry, but Dear Leader has failed this nation, and whatever we can do to hold off the Califorication the Detroitoxity of North Carolina and Charlotte is a good thing.

Jeff Henson said...

Mr. Faison:

Perhaps you would like to enlighten the rest of us concerning "how things really are in North Carolina?" And when you do, please compare it in contrast to the days of Jim Black, Frank Ballance, Tony Rand, et. al and Law Enforcement Associates Corp., R.C. Soles, Mike and Mary Easley, Thomas Wright, Meg Scott Phipps, etc. And if those names are unfamiliar to you, don't bother searching The Charlotte Observer.

Best regards,
Jeff Henson

IamHereTheThird said...

Ghoul: I see that you are like kantstanza, still hiding behind anonymity.

You are somewhat correct in your statement of current NC; however, Pat fooled me and I voted for him thinking that he would do what was best for all of North Carolina, not just the rich and powerful. As the old saying goes, fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.

I will say one thing for the current situation in NC politics, it has lit a fire under the citizens and 2014 and 2016 will have much different results even though the GOP is doing its best to suppress voter rights.




misswhit said...

Tyler, I just went back and read the editorial and Eric Frazier's story about Bryant's statements when he met with you. In the editorial you quote him as saying "“All of our efforts in my opinion in the past couple of years (to build the Charlotte region’s brand) have been negated here in the last few weeks. It is devastating,” Bryant said.
“I was in New York two weeks ago trying to do some damage control. It’s out there,” Bryant said.
What are business leaders asking you?
“The number one question: What the hell are you guys doing?”

In Frazier's story we read this: He (Bryant) said the Charlotte region’s prospects are being hurt by negative headlines about the state on national news sites such as the Huffington Post.

It appears to me that Bryant was actually talking about the damage the NY Times and Huffington Post (and probably the Observer) stories are doing. He does not specifically mention the actions of the legislature or governor. If liberal papers want to slam the state because policies being implemented no longer please them then he has a right to be concerned, especially when the whole story is not being told.

Additionally in your editorial and in Eric's story you both admit that you can't find businessmen who think our business climate has been damaged.

Perhaps you and the Times should take a deep breath and calm down a bit. I might remind you that back in the early 2000s, when busing ended, the editors at that time went on a similar crusade to vilify anyone who supported neighborhood schools and predicted that Charlotte would quickly lose its allure for all those fair minded citizens from the rest of the country who would only come here if we continued to bus our students. You did a mighty fine job of creating urban/suburban animosity but the city somehow continued to grow and prosper. Is it possible that history will repeat itself?





IamHereTheThird said...

Jeff, thanks for the honesty of who you are.

Regards the listed personnel, corporations, etc. in your post, all I can say that they were not perfect models having violated the trust of those sworn to serve.

That being said, I will not waste time by replying with a listing of GOP who also violated said trust. You and I, as well as a slew of others can sit here and list those politicians, both DEMs and GOP, who have disgraced their positions of trust.

Depending upon where you sit, as it always comes down to, what is happening in NC is a disgrace; ranging from attempts to make voting more difficult to putting roadblocks in the way of women wanting to exercise their free rights to terminate unwanted pregnancies (which I do not totally agree with). There are many roadblocks being put in the way.

Again, the above really all depends upon your personal views.

I could go on with the new gun regulations (carrying them into bars, using silencers, etc.) but it would be useless to debate these issues in this forum. I have multiple pistols, rifles, and shotguns and have never felt any need to carry any of them into bars, school parking lots, etc.; nor have I never needed a silencer.

Again, the proper place to debate these issues is at the polls. See you there in 2014 and 2016.

Again, thanks for not hiding.

Jeff Henson said...

Mr. Faison:

Please enlighten us how the current Legislature is serving the "rich and powerful." Provide examples and compare it to the work of the Democratic-controlled 2009 North Carolina General Assembly which imposed a "temporary" additional 1% State sales and use tax on all North Carolinians in the teeth of the recession.

kantstanzya said...

IamHereTheThird: Nice to be missed...even by an ideological opponent. No, I don't comment. I do not do Facebook. I started to do it but there seems to be too much nonsense connected with it. I'll have to get someone to school me someday and I don't mind people knowing who I am. The Observer knows who I am.They had everyone's name and email addresses anyway so their reason for going to Facebook was bogus. And I used to send them actual signed letters long before the internet...or as I call it The World Wide Web. :) And then emails before on line comments and they would often actually respond. But it appears the Observer has managed to block 90% of the former commenters and so frankly most days it is now quite boring anyway. It seems fairly even liberal-conservative but not the quality we used to have...on both sides. I still comment sometimes on this opinion site because it still takes my posts there.I notice other old Discus people do as well.

And no need to apologize...I am still confidently in complete denial of how things are seen by the left!

Good luck!

IamHereTheThird said...

Kantstanzya: Good to hear from you again. Yea, I agree with just about everything your say. I do not use Facebook except to get pictures for my kids.

Yea, really quite out there now; kind of miss all you righters; kinda :)

Well, I will hang out more in the opinions.

Well I am going to slide back to the "other side".

Good day.

IamHereTheThird said...

Jeff, while I would love to comply with your request to compare and contrast, you know, as well as I, that the information is already out there and it does not need to be regurgitated here.

See you at the polls in 2014 and 2016.

Good day, Sir.

CharlotteObserver said...

Like the rest of us, he must have heard the observer's death rattle and realized that the end is neigh.