Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do 'uptown leaders' still rule the roost?

Vacation over. No more outerbelt opinions -- at least for a while. Onward to other things.

Is the Saturday Observer so slightly read that a huge package on the future of Charlotte -- one suggesting that the city's "business leaders" weren't the leaders anymore -- got only two comments? Maybe everyone was busy dying Easter eggs or playing in the sunshine. Even a column from UNC Charlotte's Jeff Michael attracted little reader attention online. He writes that based on planning textbook factors, Charlotte shouldn't have been an urban success at all.

So take a look. Do you agree that the local oligarchy of business leaders is gone? If so, who should take their place, and how should that process happen?

I wrote, "I keep hearing people asking who Charlotte's next leaders will be – as though some king-maker somewhere gets out the royal staff and taps a few CEOs, who become The New Leaders. I think Charlotte is too big and too diverse for that old pattern of oligarchy to work, even if we wanted it to."

Put your comments here, or on the article, if you care to comment. Reactions (those that are civil and have some thought informing them) will help shape comments at a series of forums around the region next week, with 2008 Citistates Report writers Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson and local elected officials, business leaders, environmentalists and others.

The forums are free and open to all. To Register: www.ui.uncc.edu.
They'll be:
Tuesday, April 21, Gaston County: 2-4:30 p.m. at Gaston Citizen's Resource Center, U.S. 321 North, Dallas.
Wednesday, April 22, York County: 1-3:30 p.m. at Rock Hill City Hall, 155 Johnston St., Rock Hill.
Thursday, April 23, Cabarrus County: 1-3:30 p.m., Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, 4751 N.C. 49 North, Concord.

I'm moderating the panels on Tuesday and Wednesday. I hope I'll see some of you there.


Anonymous said...

No 485 whining? Thankk goodness.

As for business oligarchs, perhaps this change in leadership patterns is another milestone in the city's transition from a fiefdom or the few to a wider involvement of decisions. The same thing happened in Dallas and Phoenix, once ruled by a country club clique, but now by the concensus of the masses. Individual aprts of the city will now make individual decisions.

Anonymous said...

Mary, nobody paid attention to your article because the public too uses the "have some thought informing them" filter.

cltindependent said...

I think people are not really interested because there are more pressing issues on our minds. I can't think of one name I view as a Charlotte "leader". Back in the day I would say Hugh Mccoll. The banks no longer have the clout since they ran their business in the ground. The two guys we may get the chance to elect as mayors don't stand out to me either. Foxx and Lassiter? I think Charlotte can do better than that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe everyone one was reading about all the awards the CO got on how evil chicken is. I can not imagine what people paid less attention to the Chicken Factory articles or articles about the Chicken Factory Articles. Imagine if the CO reported with that tenacity on local issues like they do on South Carolina Chicken Plants. People would read the paper - To bad there are no big awards for good local journalism.

Rick said...

Mary, I believe the March LYNX ridership numbers became available this morning. Why don't you break a story and give us the good news?

Anonymous said...


stephen said...

Maybe we can bring down the scam called "Center City Partners"? Who's with me?

Anonymous said...

Stephen good idea. Center City Partners is a JOKE!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps no one commented because Saturday was a vacation time for all, Easter and Passover.
Or, perhaps we are all hunkered down awaiting our questionable financial future.
Or perhaps, there are yet no dynamic leaders in politics or business to choose.
Don't give up on the topic becuase we the public have no answers. Keep up the great local work you do.

Anonymous said...

I think whoever emerges as "leaders" should not focus so much on the South Perimeter and downtown (I still refuse to call it "uptown") and start focusing on the rest of the city. Otherwise, the rot approaching from the eastside (which used to be a wonderful place to live; I grew up there) and westside will infect the city as a whole, and we'll turn into another Detroit.

I read the article on Saturday (after egg-dyeing, heh) and had no observations to make. It was a solid piece.

coachbro said...

If anyone doubts that CENTER CITY PARTNERS is running this entire city, you are kidding yourself. There are ZERO tax dollars spent without the consent of this group, and if you carefully read through all the denials, remember the "me thinks thou dothst protest too much."

Anonymous said...

Lucifer, Lord of Darkness, would make a great candidate for Charlotte’s next leader. He certainly couldn’t screw things up any worse than the bankers and their running dog allies the brokerage and mortgage people.

And while I agree that Center City Partners holds way too much sway over Charlotte, let’s think about that. Maybe we can turn that into a good thing. What if we were able to transform them into Center Citistate Partners?

Let’s face it, they certainly have a knack for getting things done, at least as far as relocating sports attractions to center city. So, why not put them in charge of the entire 14-county Charlotte Citistate Region and give them some really challenging work? Instead of a small geographical area getting all the attention, the whole region would be on the same team. With the CCP concentrating on attracting new business to the region instead of trying to duplicate every possible sports attraction in a one-square-mile core, maybe those infused dollars will make their way to more of us.

Re UNCC’s Jeff Michael: I have to chuckle at his figures when he periodically claims that the benefit of such-and-such an event in center city is 10 million dollars or so, infused into the “local economy”. I’ve lived in this local economy 37 years, and have yet to realize one penny from any center city event or attraction. Must be a mighty few developers, hotel owners, barkeeps, restaurateurs, and loan-making bankers getting infused. I guess that even though I live in Charlotte, I'm just not local enough.

Anonymous said...

Only thing "infused" at my house is the vodka when I read my tax bills.

Anonymous said...

Taxation is SLAVERY!!!!!