Monday, November 23, 2009

Mayor Pat on his last council meeting tonight

Tonight will be Pat McCrory's last real City Council meeting as mayor. Sure, he'll be there Dec. 7 for the new council swearing-in, but that's different. He's been Charlotte mayor longer than anyone - 14 years - and leaves a huge legacy, especially with the city's transportation and light rail system.

I caught up with him this morning to ask what he was thinking and feeling. Any big to-do planned?

No, he said. "I'm not big on goodbyes. I get too sentimental."

I asked, What are your thoughts? "A combination of sadness with being very proud. ... I'm a very sentimental guy so I don't like the last of anything." But, he said, "It's time to move on."

He talked a lot about a meeting last week in Greenville, S.C., with a coalition of mayors and academics and business people trying to raise awareness of the existence of an urban mega-region from Atlanta through Raleigh. He and retiring Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin are pushing the effort. The group hashed out a mission statement ("It was like making sausage.") They'll probably form a 501(c)3 nonprofit group.

And he raved about downtown Greenville, which has reclaimed the historic Reedy River Falls and built a public garden alongside it with a pedestrian suspension bridge over the river. "Just gorgeous!" McCrory said. "They let people swim in the river and play in the falls!" He told Greenville Mayor Knox White he was envious. But McCrory being McCrory, he added "He's envious of our light rail."

McCrory said he met with Mayor-elect Anthony Foxx last week and gave him advice about time-management, ethics, how best to spend his time with national groups, etc.

He intends to stay busy with initiatives such as the Mega-region initiative and with speeches all over the country about Charlotte's light rail line and the accompanying transit-oriented land use planning. He calls his presentation, "From Mayberry to Metropolis: Creating the Best of Both.," and says, "We're seen as a role model for how it's done."

He talked - again - about his dislike for the way the federal stimulus money is being spent, and his belief that the council's vote to pursue a planning and design study for a streetcar was misguided.

And you won't be surprised to hear that he figures he'll still be putting in a word here, a word there.

Keep an eye on McCrory. I expect he won't fade quietly into private life.


Anonymous said...

Pat is right; downtown Greenville's environment truly is "just gorgeous!" As a former resident I watched it begin with Main Street's revitalization into a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly-but-still-drivable spine, back in the mid-'80s, then in subsequent years spread down Main St. with the beautiful Peace Center for the Performing Arts that embraces the adjacent falls & river.

I hope Charlotte's leaders all become familiar with it as a role model for our urban projects, because if it wasn't simply for Charlotte's bigger population and corresponding opportunities, I'd rather live there, it's that nice.

rick b said...

One thing that Pat McCrory said recently really surprised and disturbed me. On a recent "Charlotte Talks" on WFAE ( ), at 46:20, Pat complained about the beautiful emerging cultural campus on South Tryon Street:

"...we built three arts facilities when I think we should have built them all in one building...

" a time when the arts community is dying for operating money, we're having three different directors, three different HVAC systems...electrical systems...

", it was turf that created three separate buildings...

"They're beautiful but I don't know how you're gonna pay for it".

My jaw dropped. This is the same Pat McCrory who paints himself as some sort of cultural and urban design expert?

Those three - really four buildings, including the Knight Theater - represent the single biggest cultural advance in Charlotte's history. The fact that they're separate is an essential part of the beauty and viability of the entire "arts campus". It is almost like a "mini-Linclon Center", with plazas around the buildings, outdoor art ("Firebird"), and a pedestrian scale to each building with its own unique and distinctive architectural style.

"One building"?

C'mon, Pat, we're not building a water treatmemt plant here, you know...this is a major effort to put Charlotte on the cultural map for good. A temporary dip in arts contributions is no reason to erect a single bland "arts building" on the cheap; just as with the light rail system, now is the time to do something bold, and do it right.

Each building has a different look, a different mission, different hours...and having them all interconnected by plazas and pedestrian alleys is the icing on the cake.

I walk with friends from the Hilton Hotel area on Martin Luther King Boulevard to Panthers games, and as such am fortunate to be able to contrast the ridiculous NASCAR museum (which Pat seems to love, all two hundred million taxpayer dollars of it), with the brilliant and innovative Arts Campus.

And what a contrast! The arts facilities are drawing the attention and interest of the crowds...and these are football fans, by the way...and serve as a focal point for everything.

In fact, people were lining up to take pictures of each other standing beneath the "Firebird".

Earlier in the interview, Pat (as expected) went on and on about how wonderful the downtown arena was - the downtown arena that will eventually cost $420 million in tax dollars and which "donates" all its revenue to Bob Johnson (not the city). That fiasco, coupled with the NASCAR museum, probably cost ten times what all four arts facilities cost, especially in terms of taxpayer dollars (since the museums were at least partially subsidized with private money).

And having separate buildings is pure genius.

That's OK, Pat...don't take credit for the "biggest bang for the buck" public facility cluster in Charlotte's history. Somebody else will richly deserve the credit.

Anonymous said...

Rick b, it does not surprise me.

Good riddance to Pat! I hope the new mayor can clean up your mess!

Anonymous said...

Downtown Greenville is lovely. Since I usually scorn all things in lesser Carolina, it's a big deal for me to give them props. :)

If Pat McCrory did nothing but get Charlotte's light rail launched, he deserves our thanks. I don't agree with him about a good many things but on this we agree and time will prove that he was a visionary on light rail. And all of you who disagree, just be quiet. You're wrong. So thanks, Pat McCrory.

cltindependent. said...

What's with this "Mayor Pat" nonsense? Very silly. This isn't Mayberry. Rickb, I heard that Clt talks and I'd agree with you, but you should know by now that art in Charlotte is usually expendable. I don't begrudge NASCAR that eyesore, but I don't get why people always have to get a dig in at anything related to the arts. I think "Mayor Pat" still has one eye on becoming "Governor Pat".

Anonymous said...

wish he was governor pat and not shady bev perdue. insert sad face

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to Pat! I hope the new mayor can clean up your mess!

11/23/2009 01:15:00 PM

Foxx too clean up what mess? You mean the one who got a call from bro bama on the big win?

At least McCrorys not in on the DSS mess with Jones and dosent have a wife in a big pay cush non-compete rigged job.

Who will clean up the DSS mess? Or cover it up?

Can we investigate?

Anonymous said...

"Foxx too clean up what mess? You mean the one who got a call from bro bama on the big win? " anony 2:26pm

Did you have a problem with President Bush developing a relationship with Mayor Mcrory? I would guess the answer is no. If President Obama wanted to call Mayor to be Foxx to congratulate him, I'm fine with that. I'm almost sure that Anthony Foxx is not related to the President so they are not "brothers". I wish some people didn't insist on making all of Charlotte look like dumb rednecks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:26,

I hate non-competitive position postings, it looks very shady. However, Samara Foxx has a law degree. I'm sure she is much more educated than you. Perhaps she could have actually been qualified for the job? Might you consider that?

WashuOtaku said...

Amazes me how Anonymous commented that Foxx has to clean up Pat's mess. I don't know what mess Anonymous is refering too. I know that no city is perfect, but I would say Pat did a great job during his 14 years as mayor. Keep in mind the job isn't paid fulltime nor does it have the power as some other mayors like NYC or Chicago; but he worked hard for Charlotte nonetheless with the limited powers he had.

I'm curious if the bitterness comes from the fact that Pat is Republican. I know some people just dispise people of different idology, even if they done everything right. It disturbs me how partisian some people have become.

I am sure Foxx will be a good mayor, I just wonder if he will have any luck with the games that Raleigh plays against the city.

Anonymous said...

If the rednecks that have something to say about Samara Fox’s job this will shut you up once and for all. If it was not done for you at some point in time it was done for family member or a friend of a friend. So please stop trying to act like white folks don’t do no dang wrong because you do everyday. This kind of thing has been going on for years and now others are in a position to do the same your call it foul. Well it was not foul when you were doing and its not foul now if the person is qualified. Samara Foxx is very much qualified.

Pat McCory goodbye. Good Riddance.

Anonymous said...

No Mayor should have stayed in office this long. Quite frankly, I am just so tired of him being in office I am ready for him to just go at this point. Tooo bad someone has to stay around in a job like that people have to feel that way.

Anonymous said...

Samara Foxx was unlawfully and unethically hired for a taxpayer funded job during a hiring freeze. She and DSS chief crook Mary Wilson thought they got away with it. Now it just brings more shame on the county- no matter what color you are.
You will not hear the end of this- ever.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance. Gay Charlotteans who are sick of his ignorance and insulting attitude toward us sure won't miss him.

elgbl25 said...

Good riddance to Pat!