Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Foxx's 3 C's - including consolidation

Mayor Anthony Foxx made a series of proposals, some of them sure to be controversial, in his State of the City speech this morning – his first since being sworn in as mayor last December. Among them:

• He reiterated his belief that city and county governments should ultimately consolidate. "It will never happen if we don't start now," he said.

• He'll convene a regional group early next year to develop a plan for bringing the region's fractured transportation planning organizations. Most metro regions have one regional transportation planning body. The Charlotte region has six, or if you count Hickory, seven. "The time has come," Foxx said, and said he wanted the regional group to come away with "concrete steps." He said: "The time has come."

• He wants to create a board of experts who'll take a comprehensive look at after-school programs and create a competitive grant-making process, akin to the federal Race to the Top for state school systems. The city still funds some after-school programs, but has cut its funding to others.

• Charlotte City Council, he said, should be prepared to support state legislative agendas of fellow elected bodies such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He endorsed raising the cap (now at 100) on the number of charter schools the state allows. And with CMS facing "staggering cuts," he said, the City Council shouldn't have reduced its funding for school resource officers and school crossing guards. (Here's reporter Steve Harrison's article on that.)

The city in the coming year should focus on what he called the 3 C's: Consolidation, Collaboration (i.e. regionally) and Children.

It was obviously not the sort of speech you'd have heard from former Mayor Pat McCrory, the seven-term Republican who shied away from speechifying about public schools in general and CMS in particular. (That may have made him the wiser politician, of course. CMS in general is a topic that gets many people's blood boiling, from both ends of the political spectrum.)

I saw no one in the crowd I recognized as a Republican, and plenty I recognized as Democrats, but of course people don't have to wear badges. So while Foxx offered congratulations to incoming N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius, and incoming Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, both Republicans, and even threw them a political bone with the recommendation to lift the charter school cap, I wonder if that will do much for bipartisanship. "We look forward to working with you," Foxx said. Then he quipped, "And we desperately hope you (the legislature) won't take any of our money."

But Tillis wasn't there. Nor were any Republican elected officials.

Foxx ended his talk with a nice little vignette, asking the crowd to recall the cathedral builders of old. Some workers, he said, spent their whole lives just moving stones from one place to another, and never lived to see the cathedral they were building. As a city, he said, "If we don't move those stones to the proper place the cathedral will never get built."


Anonymous said...

"And we desperately hope you (the legislature) won't take any of our money."

And there it is. The creed of Charlotte's "liberals" as they like to think of themselves. Other parts of this state are hurting far worse than Charlotte, but we have new stuff and need more.

JAT said...

He forgot a C -- contracting out. Without that, we'll need yet another C -- crap.

Anonymous said...

If Foxx can streamline city/county govt, hell have my vote next election. Lower taxes, less govt.

Anonymous said...

The State has promised to match the County as the combined local match to secure Federal New Starts funding for the Blue Line Extension. Now that the City is committed to filling the gap on a 20% cheaper project, the State better still come through on 25% of the reduced cost.

Robert Kornegay said...

"The city in the coming year should focus on what he called the 3 C's: Consolidation,Collaboration (i.e. regionally) and Children."

Thank you Mayor Foxx for creating a clear vision and "strategy" for streamlining the dysfunctional regional governments (Consolidation), which will allow people to use (collaboration) tools that allow work to take place anytime anywhere. Collaboration make good business sense. Groups can accomplish more than individuals.

Thank you Mayor Foxx for including our children in your "strategy" by allowing discussions to take place that will allow alternatives such as Charter Schools to improve the education of our children.

In the 21st Century we need leadership that will adapt to the changing environment. YES WE CAN.

LAC said...

Its scary to think of comparing government to a cathedral? A Cathedral is an over priced highly ornamented "palace" built for a Bishop as his place to over see the people.

It is probably a pretty good comparison.

Anonymous said...


Indeed - Foxx's worldview is that of the masses laboring for the glory of government.

The more appropriate image would have been a train station rather than a cathedral.

Anonymous said...


Any other use of "C" is CONFUSING!

Anonymous said...

"Other parts of this state are hurting far worse than Charlotte, but we have new stuff and need more."

Wow, so it's ok to take tax revenues that the State collects *on behalf* of Charlotte because the State has mis-managed its own budget? Charlotte is one of the very few cities in the U.S. that has an AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies. That's the equivalent of having an 850 FICO credit score. It's because the City manages its expenses well relative to its revenue. To take rightful revenue away from a well-managed city to give to a poorly managed State government seems to border on theft to me. It's like my credit card company taking any surplus I paid to pay the credit card expenses of their deadbeats instead of sending it back.

Anonymous said...

Then thank a Republican! Charlotte's one of the few urban areas to has had a Republican mayor for an extended period of time. As you would of course know, credit scores and municipal ratings primarily look backwards. On the other hand, the state had been under Democratic control for something like, oh, a hundred years or so.

Larry said...

Yes let's do what we did to the Schools and Police to our total government, consolidate.

We only have to look at our track record to the service we get from these two to see the future we will get from this new consolidated government.

Anonymous said...

"If Foxx can streamline city/county govt, hell have my vote next election. Lower taxes, less govt."

I completely agree. Let's have all Republicans volunteer double duty to work in the police and fire departments. Then let's have the Tea Party folks work Xmas eve on the sanitation trucks.

I will be there to take pictures of the whole things.

Bréanainn Séaghdha said...

We probably have a good credit rating because of the mandatory balanced budgets. Not because of a political party.