Incumbent LaWana Mayfield, who was first elected in 2011, is defending her Charlotte City Council District 3 seat against two opponents – Libertarian C. Travis Wheat and Republican Eric Netter.
District 3 covers west and southwest Charlotte, including Charlotte Douglas International Airport and fast-growing areas along South Tryon Street.
Mayfield, who has worked as a community organizer, said during a WTVI/League of Women voters debate that taped Tuesday and will air Sunday that she has “kept her promises” to District 3 residents.
During her first term, she was an ally of former Mayor Anthony Foxx. She supports the streetcar and the Capital Investment Plan and also backed city efforts to give financial help to the Charlotte Knights and Carolina Panthers for their stadiums.
Wheat, who works in financial services, ran for City Council at-large in 2005 and the state Senate in 2007. He said he would be a “voice for transparency in local government” and a “voice for sanity in fiscal and social issues.”
Netter has been in prison four times, according to records. He has not mounted an extensive campaign. He did not attend the debate Tuesday.
Democrats have a 9-2 council majority.
When asked about Charlotte Douglas, Mayfield said an important issue is securing federal funding for a new control tower. The location of today’s control tower – located north of the terminal building – makes it difficult for controllers to see the entire airfield after the third parallel runway was built.
Mayfield also supports Mayor Patsy Kinsey and City Council efforts to keep Charlotte Douglas run by the city, not a commission.
Wheat said the city needs to ensure the airport remains a low-cost facility.
“It’s most important that the airport be run as a business,” he said.
Visitors to Charlotte often travel to uptown on either Wilkinson or West boulevards, two corridors that suffer from blight. Mayfield said that the two boulevards are “gateways” to the city and that they need to be re-branded like South End and NoDa.
“We need a Wilkinson Boulevard redevelopment plan,” she said.
Both candidates were asked about a recent decision by the city and Mecklenburg County to give the corporate owner of Carowinds $922,000 in property tax breaks. Carowinds said it plans to make several improvements to the theme park, including a new roller coaster taller than the Intimidator.
Wheat said he “absolutely” would not have given Carowinds the tax break.
“We don’t need to take the people’s money and give it to private business,” he said.
Mayfield said she supported the tax breaks because Carowinds would provide new jobs.
Wheat is also opposed to building the streetcar extension.
“The costs almost always far exceed the initial costs,” he said.
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