Here's what happens when you try to contact a politician running for office on a topic they don't want to talk about. They dodge you. Of course, you knew that already.
We began requesting comment from Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx on the Occupy Charlotte movement last week. We called, we emailed. Nothing. Finally, we got a callback from his campaign headquarters. Our bad: We were calling his official office since we were looking for a comment from Mayor Foxx, not Candidate Foxx. But it seems Mayor Foxx was busy being Candidate Foxx.
His campaign said he probably wouldn't be available for an in-person or phone interview and asked us to e-mail our questions. (This, dear readers, is not ideal. It makes it difficult to immediately follow up with another question. That's why public officials like e-mail interviews.) We agreed — some access is better than no access.
We sent the mayor a list of reasonable questions. Stuff like this: "Has Mayor Foxx visited Occupy Charlotte yet?" "Does Mayor Foxx have any plans to visit Occupy Charlotte?" "How involved was Mayor Foxx in the drafting of the proposed ordinance that would limit or end camping at Old City Hall during the Democratic National Convention?" We asked how the ordinance jives with the DNC's oft-quoted slogan, "the people's convention." Guess what? Even after all that, the mayor, or at least his handlers, refused to answer any of the questions or to comment at all on Occupy Charlotte.
The excuse? It's a busy time for his campaign.
The fact that Mayor Foxx is running for re-election is, we think, all the more reason for him to be asked tough questions and to answer them.
On the other hand, at least his campaign got back with us. We've also reached out to mayoral hopeful Scott Stone and former mayor and (unofficial) gubernatorial hopeful Pat McCrory six times — each — in the past two weeks and neither bothered to return calls. We thought they might like the chance to explain how they would do things differently, were they in charge — especially since that's the sort of thing those two usually like to mouth off about. But, no. Seems they don't want to answer our tough questions on Occupy Charlotte, just like Mayor Foxx doesn't want to answer them.
Politicians are infamous for saying what they think we want to hear on the campaign trail, and then doing whatever the hell they — and their funders — want them to do once they're in office. But we're going to keep asking these city leaders about Occupy Charlotte; we're going to keep nudging them, keep dogging them. And we think you should, too. These people work for us, after all. Sometimes they forget that.
In good news, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is responding to our long list of questions about Occupy Charlotte. More on that in next week's print edition.