Thursday, November 5, 2009

Foxx win came from 'the rest of Charlotte'

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Mayor-elect Anthony Foxx ran strongly in all areas of the city other than the heavily Republican south and southeast. Why is that? Well, besides the usual reasons for winning a mayoral race — solid financial backing, strong grassroots organizing, a fairly dull opponent — I get the sense that Foxx’s victory reflected a deep, underlying concern with the way the city has been run.

John Lassiter is part of the Uptown/Chamber/development crowd that has run the city for so long, and it hurt him. Simply put, many Charlotteans are tired of seeing their part of town being neglected in favor of Uptown and southeast Charlotte; or even if their part of town is fine, many don’t like the fact that formerly vibrant parts of Charlotte have been allowed to seriously deteriorate. This may be hard to imagine if you haven’t been in Charlotte long, but back before all the money started flowing Uptown and toward the southern 'burbs, the east side of town, North Tryon St., and the Independence Blvd. corridor were all solid, lively areas with strong businesses and safe, well-maintained neighborhoods. The Wilkinson Blvd. and Freedom Drive corridors, although less-populated and perhaps a little grittier, were also thriving areas.

The kind of deterioration that has taken hold in these formerly vital parts of Charlotte didn’t have to happen; it was the result of lousy planning and a thoughtless rush toward sprawl. It’s time to pay attention to the rest of Charlotte, and voters saw Foxx as the more likely candidate to do that. In this economy, there’s no way to predict whether the new mayor will be able to help revitalize the neglected parts of Charlotte, but no one can deny that it was “the rest of Charlotte,” which is, of course, most of the city, that voted to put Anthony Foxx in office.

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