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Differences emerge in Charlotte mayoral forum

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/03/13/23/1ogBCT.Em.138.jpeg|320
    T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
    Candidate James Mitchell,right, jokes with Mayor pro tem, Patrick Cannon during a segment of the breakfast forum. Democratic mayoral candidates met with West Charlotte community residents at a breakfast forum, Tuesday, September 3,2013 at West Charlotte recreation center.The forum provided an opportunity for all in attendance to learn information of the importance to the African-American community in particular, and the rest of Charlotte in general, just before the primary. T.Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/03/13/25/tIvDO.Em.138.jpeg|242
    T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
    Candidate Gary Dunn addressed westside residents at a breakfast forum, while candidates, Lucille Puckett,left, James Mitchell, and Patrick Cannon await their turn at the mic. Democratic mayoral candidates met with West Charlotte community residents at a breakfast forum, Tuesday, September 3,2013 at West Charlotte recreation center.The forum provided an opportunity for all in attendance to learn information of the importance to the African-American community in particular, and the rest of Charlotte in general, just before the primary. T.Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/03/13/25/YoNJT.Em.138.jpeg|210
    T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
    Anna Hood a concerned westside resident, questioned the candidates on their behavior and tactics leading up to the primary election. Democratic mayoral candidates met with West Charlotte community residents at a breakfast forum, Tuesday, September 3,2013 at West Charlotte recreation center.The forum provided an opportunity for all in attendance to learn information of the importance to the African-American community in particular, and the rest of Charlotte in general, just before the primary. T.Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/03/13/25/9NWuL.Em.138.jpeg|196
    T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
    Democratic mayoral candidates met with West Charlotte community residents at a breakfast forum, Tuesday, September 3,2013 at West Charlotte recreation center.The forum provided an opportunity for all in attendance to learn information of the importance to the African-American community in particular, and the rest of Charlotte in general, just before the primary. T.Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/03/13/25/eaOnY.Em.138.jpeg|224
    T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
    Blanche Penn, a concern west Charlotte resident addressed the candidates' future plans. Democratic mayoral candidates met with West Charlotte community residents at a breakfast forum, Tuesday, September 3,2013 at West Charlotte recreation center.The forum provided an opportunity for all in attendance to learn information of the importance to the African-American community in particular, and the rest of Charlotte in general, just before the primary. T.Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

More Information

  • Mayoral candidate breakfast forum
  • How Mitchell, Cannon voted on key city issues
  • Voter guide: 2013 election
  • GOP barbecue lets voters meet the candidates
  • Mayor, council candidates answer questionnaire
  • Wednesday’s debate to air on TV

    Charlotte’s four Democratic mayoral candidates will meet Wednesday in an hourlong debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters and WTVI.

    The station will air the debate at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

    News 14 will rebradcast it at 11 a.m. Sunday.

    The League and station also are taping a series of City Council debates.

    The at-large debate will air at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WTVI. Telecasts of district candidate debates will follow. Jim Morrill


  • More information

    Early voting expands

    The number of early voting locations in Mecklenburg County expanded from one to nine on Tuesday.

    • Hal Marshall Annex, 618 N. College St.: Through Friday it’s open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday it’s open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The following sites are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

    • Beatties Ford Road Library, 2412 Beatties Ford Road.

    • Independence Regional Library, 6000 Conference Drive.

    • Main Branch Library (Downtown), 310 N. Tryon St.

    • Morrison Regional Library, 7015 Morrison Blvd.

    • South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road.

    • Steele Creek Library, 13620 Steele Creek Road.

    • University City Regional Library, 301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.

    • West Boulevard Library, 2157 West Blvd.



Before a divided audience, Charlotte’s two leading Democratic mayoral candidates – and their allies – made their cases at a candidate forum Tuesday morning.

City Council members Patrick Cannon and James Mitchell joined challengers Gary Dunn and Lucille Puckett at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, a mostly African-American group that meets in west Charlotte.

The four are in the last week of a campaign for the Sept. 10 primary.

Anna Hood, wearing a Cannon campaign T-shirt, told Mitchell she was “disappointed” by mailers that portray Cannon as a frequent opponent of former Mayor Anthony Foxx. Mitchell has cast himself as Foxx’s political heir.

“Let me apologize to you if I have offended you,” Mitchell said. “It was sharing a contrast between my voting record and my opponent’s voting record.”

“I don’t see where I opposed (Foxx) per se,” replies Cannon, who did acknowledge differences with Foxx in approach. The only example he cited was a 2011 vote where he opposed an effort led by Foxx to withhold $7.5 million in tourism funds to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

That was seen as a way to pressure the CRVA board to fire then-director Tim Newman.

In a 7-4 vote, with Mitchell in the majority and Cannon in the minority, council members voted to withhold the money.

Cannon took opposite positions from Foxx on other issues, including the proposed streetcar.

A Mitchell supporter, meanwhile, cited the Observer editorial endorsing Mitchell as a consensus builder. Mitchell said he would continue to build bridges as mayor.

Cannon cited what he called a long list of accomplishments that show he’s also a consensus builder.

Puckett suggested the endorsement could mean the editorial board sees Mitchell as a “weaker candidate,” in hopes of electing Republican Edwin Peacock in November.

Turning to Puckett, Cannon said, “The tea leaves may be being read correctly.”

On other issues, Cannon suggested he was open to studying political consolidation of city and county governments if the county’s six small towns agree.

Puckett also said she’d consider it.

Mitchell said while he favors functional consolidation, he doesn’t support a political merger.

“Political consolidation is not good for the African-American community where we could lose representation,” he said.

Dunn said consolidation isn’t needed.

Former TV journalist Ken Koontz asked Mitchell and Cannon about closed council meetings.

He and three other broadcasters filed suit last month claiming the City Council violated the state open meetings law by voting in closed session on a plan to pay for renovations for Bank of America Stadium.

Koontz called Mitchell “the poster boy for closed sessions.”

Mitchell said closed sessions were to discuss the “parameters” on any deal, which would be voted on in open session. Cannon said the council should be careful about going into closed sessions.

Despite their differences, and the stakes in their costly campaign, Cannon and Mitchell were generally collegial.

At one point, in answer to a question about how neighborhoods could get curbs and sidewalks, Cannon leaned into Mitchell, who represents District 2, and said, “You can lean on your district representative.

“And if that can’t get it done, you can call me as mayor.”

Laughing, Mitchell returned the lean.

Morrill: 704-358-5049
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