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Charlotte’s mayors on issues facing the region

Managing center city-suburban tensions

Foxx: “I have a lot of confidence in the voting public both at the local and state level to resolve any philosophical differences. In the meantime, we all have to do our best to work together.”

McCrory: “There have always been tensions, but the way you break through them is you develop relationships, you get to know people.”

Vinroot: “People in the suburbs need to understand that Charlotte will not continue to be the goose that lays golden eggs in terms of jobs and development if our center city doesn’t remain healthy.”

Myrick: “Managing tension between different groups takes teamwork and listening to the concerns of each side, then forging a plan to move ahead.”

Gantt: “I think the larger majority of people want to see Charlotte do well on all ends. I can’t imagine someone not wanting to see Central Avenue become a better place with the possibilities that a streetcar would bring, or Beatties Ford Road.”

Knox: “I don’t think it will be an insurmountable problem. Most people who came here didn’t come here for Ballantyne, they came for Charlotte, and they’re going to stay.”

Rebuilding regional alliances

Foxx: “Regionalism is critical. As Lincoln said, ‘A house divided cannot stand.’ ”

McCrory: “The leadership all across Charlotte has to spend more time talking to each other.”

Vinroot: “That’s going to be really important ... we need to work together and lobby together for better roads and other things that make life better for the people who live and work here.”

Myrick: “Try not to get too far out front on an issue before getting the necessary input from all the players.”

Gantt: “The relationships will be strained for a while. But ultimately people will come back and recognize we don’t want to do things to damage the region’s economic growth.”

Knox: “I don’t think (the airport fight) is going to separate Charlotte from the local communities around here.”

The fight to control the airport

Foxx: (A spokesman said the mayor did not want to comment on transportation issues ahead of Senate hearings on his nomination to be U.S. Transportation Secretary.)

McCrory: “This (fight to control the airport) isn’t a debate between Charlotte and Raleigh; it’s a debate within Charlotte about how to proceed. Let’s do it the Charlotte way. Let’s have the public and private sector getting together.”

Vinroot: “The city doesn’t deserve to lose control of (the airport). But I can’t argue against the logic ... Most big airports in America are governed by authorities.”

Myrick: “The airport’s future should be decided based on what is best for the region – whether an independent authority would be the most effective or the current structure should be kept in place. I believe an independent authority would be best.”

Gantt: “It’s a major heist ... I saw nothing wrong with the way the city was running it.”

Knox: “I personally hope (the city) sues to put a stop to it. And I think they can. It was our bond credit that built that airport.”

Growing the tax base in a ‘post-annexation’ era

Foxx: “For years, we could grow Charlotte by annexing more land, but now we have no alternative but to grow our city from within. That starts by finding ways to revitalize our struggling neighborhoods.”

McCrory: “All of us knew that line would be crossed (when the city would run out of annexable land) and we would need to deal with infill development.”

Vinroot: “It’s going to be a big issue for a new mayor and a new council – how to figure more creative ways to expand our tax base while the tax base geographically is not going to be expandable. That’s a conundrum.”

Myrick: “Redeveloping the east side and west side should be decided with the input of the interested parties and the communities affected.”

Gantt: “We have to get citizens to realize that if the environment is right and investments are made even in the poorest parts of our city, that they reap long-term benefits.”

Knox: “We have a mentality now of building every project that comes down the pike ... You have to be concerned about the bonds. You have to be concerned about the liquidity of the tax base.”

Developing affordable housing and helping the homeless

Foxx: “We have done more in recent years than ever, but the problems have been running faster than we have.”

McCrory: “You have to get out of the office and see it first-hand. It will ... let you see what’s happening directly on the street.”

Vinroot: “When I was mayor the problem area was Belmont. We spent a lot of time and effort ... making that better. I’m proud to ride through there today to see what’s happened.”

Myrick: “I understand that the homeless service agencies have pulled together and established a good working relationship to solve the problems – without overlap between the agencies. This should be continued.”

Gantt: “The public sector has got to be involved in that, whether we use a portion of the property tax allocated, or find ways to leverage our ability to get more dollars from other governments.”

Knox: “That’s been an issue as long as I’ve been around. I worked on it. We went out and fixed up homes ... but I don’t know if you’ll ever break that cycle.”

Compiled by Eric Frazier

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