Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Optimistic about Charlotte pessimism

(Note: Reworked as of 1:58 p.m. to more clearly reflect Peres' remarks.)

This has to be a quick post, as I'm buried in other matters today.

I caught up with Mark Peres yesterday. Peres is the founder/editor/publisher of Charlotte Viewpoint, a nonprofit online magazine that aims to offer intellectual discourse about Charlotte, especially center city.

"I'm optimistic about the current pessimism," Peres said. (Or words to that effect. I wasn't taking notes.) Um, why? Because, said Peres, maybe the current pessimistic scenarios -- including but not limited to Wachovia's problems, although like most of us he doesn't wish more harm to befall one of the city's two Big Banks -- might tamp down on speculation and "get us back to more sound management principles."

Interesting point. But is there really any pessimism around here? Charlotte's relentless optimism, or some might say boosterism, is as deeply rooted and unquenchable as kudzu.

So feel free to start commenting on optimism/pessimism/boosterism or even kudzu. (I remember reading about one farmer who kept his cattle alive during a horrible drought when he learned they'd eat kudzu.)

Finally, feel free to keep jawing to one another about NoDa, as the comments are fun. But warning: I'm deleting comments that insult others or use words I decide are outside the bounds of polite discourse.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

JS Reed has a great quote that goes something along the lines of ...Charlotte has a particularly virulant strain of civic boosterim.. that compares us and Atlanta. Wish I could dig it up.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like censorship....the news media really whine when anyone tries to censor them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's worse sometimes, the folks who blindly boost everything Charlotte yet ignore the harsh realities that are hitting this city, or the chronic naysayers who seem to thrive off gloom and doom. I have never lived in a city that is as self chest thumping as this one. Who else would brag about being "THREE HOURS from the beach and mountains"? when coastal and mountain towns blow them out of the water there? If we could, like other cities, finally concentrate on making this place better for those who do live here such as clean up the CMS buracracy, have more playground accessible to kids in ALL neighborhoods, keep housing affordable so the working class can enjoy the area too, show tolerance for all races, incomes, preferences, etc. and embrace more artistic endeavors, this city would be thousands of times better and anything around it. Unfortuanely, too many people are stuck in their ways or trying to impress the enxt shallow yuppie out there.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's relentless optimism, or some might say boosterism, is as deeply rooted and unquenchable as kudzu.

Pravda and Granma, the official newspapers of the Soviet Union and Communist-run Cuba, are two more examples of "relentless optimism" that you should mention.

It's one thing to be optimistic. It's quite another to be in complete denial that anything might be wrong or could go wrong, as is often the case here in Charlotte. The idea that Wachovia might leave town if another bank takes them over is apparently of no concern to the local powers that be. And it apparently never occurred to anyone in local government that property taxes might not reach the high end of the estimates when it comes to using them to finance public projects (TIF). It's always happy, happy, happy, joy, joy, joy when it comes to that crowd of politicians. They always assume the best and never plan for the worst.

Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where things do not always follow your carefully laid-out plans. Our local politicians would do well to remember this.

Anonymous said...

In the near term, I see 2 reasons for pessimism and 1 reason for optimisim about the local businesses and their problems.

1) Wachovia is so weakened by bad loans in California (Golden West) that this could force a sale to a stronger bank, thus costing Charlotte the HQ and about 5,000 to 10,000 high paying jobs.

2) US Airways is likely to file for it's 3rd bankruptcy in 7 year. In the current environment with oil so high and credit so tight, there is a high chance of liquidation, thus costing Charlotte 5,000 jobs and loss of the airline hub.

3) On the more optimistic side, McClatchy stock is now down 90% in the past 2 years (trading down from $50 to now $5) and is looking like bankruptcy by 2010. This could lead to a much needed shakeup in the liberal halls of the Charlotte Observer. Perhaps new ownership by Rupert Murdoch could lead to something positive. Murdoch seems to be the only one who can make money with newspapers lately.

Anonymous said...

I am pessimistic about the $1 billion in new debt from COPs and bonds on the ballot. We are already straining the debt limits and out politicians are digging an even deeper hole.

And get ready for another $500 million school bond in 2009 on that ballot.

Our property taxes are going to have to rise another 15% to 20% to cover this mess that our politicians are spending us into.

Native Son said...

I’m pessimistic that the SouthPark branch of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce will succeed in marketing that part of town as Charlotte’s Buckhead.

Sure, in the long run it would certainly increase already-inflated property values. But many of the ‘hoods there are dead set against more skyscrapers, traffic and change in general. I understand the SP Chamber recently heard from a Buckhead leader who told them they’d need to change several things in order to succeed, including :

1. The name “SouthPark” as an area name would have to go, thanks to the irreverent TV series of similar name. Mary, that would make an interesting topic. Just what names could readers suggest that would Buckheadize SouthPark? I propose “QuailSharon”.

2. The area to be included must be defined and jealousy guarded to include only the elite. For example, those condos on Park Road between Selwyn and Seneca – touted as “SouthPark’s Best-Kept Secret” – would have to find a different slogan. Look for some very creative gerrymandering.

I’m even more pessimistic that the Observer, Center City Partners, and the uptown crowd in general will allow another part of the city to steal the glory of the area bounded by or abutting the innerbelt. Those groups apparently think the City of Charlotte is strictly that area, while the rest of our widespread metropolis is just …well…unworthy suburbs!

Anonymous said...

With Wachovia and Bank Of America awash in red ink along with America in general thanks to Bush and his Republicans it may be Back To The Future sooner than later.

Those who forget their past are always destined to repeat it ..
Same for America. Rome fell. Looks like this city and Americas time may be at hand too.

Anonymous said...

Stock up on the canned goods, load up the AK-47, and keep the radio on WBT for further instruction. If the pessimists on this board ruled the city, what a hellhole we'd be. Now more than ever, us resilient, forward thinking people need to step it up and keep moving this city forward, and away from these crackpots.

John said...

"But warning: I'm deleting comments that insult others or use words I decide are outside the bounds of polite discourse."

YOU decide? Where is all that liberal concern for free speech now? I think I understand your intention Mary, but when anyone tries to do it to newspapers you (the media) challenge and condemn them no matter what their intentions.

Typical do as I say, not as I do liberal mentality. Like the "tolerant" liberals who tell us how intolerant conservatives are and then shout them down and heckle them when they try to speak or schedule sit-in protests when they are invited to speak.

Anonymous said...

^ Whatever happened to property rights? You are on Mary's private blog. If you want to be rude and obscene, go start your own.

Funny how you can be a hypocrite in calling someone else a hypocrite!

Anonymous said...

Let's quit talking about the virtues of "growth." It is, in fact, destroying our landscape. We have no connection with nature anymore. What good is another 1-2 million people added to any city?

Anonymous said...

The last thing Charlotte needs is more 'connectivity'.

The more 'connectivity, the more crime. The more folks can get to you and your family (and get away) the more likely you will be a victim.

Not particularly 'PC' I know but it is reality.

Nothing like a good 'cul-de-sac' and a walled one way entrance to your neighborhood to lower crime.

Connectivity might work in Mayberry but where crime is king.

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