leadership. Proven results. That’s what Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory’s
campaign slogan was during his last run for office.
Pardon me for being a little bit confused, but when you get elected mayor
of a town or city, aren’t you supposed to be a “visionary leader” for
all of your citizens? Pat McCrory apparently only wants to associate with
or represent those that share his same partisan and philosophical beliefs.
I’d say that’s a good reason to disqualify McCrory as an effective
Strangely enough — back in May, 2001— McCrory signed off on
a letter welcoming attendants to Charlotte’s Gay and Lesbian Pride
Festival. Vociferously anti-gay County Commissioner Bill James seized on
the opportunity to slam McCrory:
“The mayor used poor judgment in issuing a letter welcoming individuals
to come, in essence endorsing the lifestyles, the goals and aspirations
of the group,” said James.
In the summer of 2003, MeckPAC, Charlotte’s LGBT political action
group, submitted a proposal to McCrory and the city council, asking them
to provide domestic partnership benefits for the city’s gay and lesbian
employees. Although members of MeckPAC provided several examples of other
Carolina cities that had successfully inacted just such a program, McCrory
opposed the idea, siding with city manager Pam Syfert and offering the
lame excuse that such an undertaking would be too expensive for the city.
According to two recent stories in the Charlotte Observer, McCrory is continuing
to look upon the city’s LGBT constituency with disdain.
When organizers for the HRC Carolinas Dinner sent a request to McCrory
for a letter of welcome for the 1,300-plus individuals that would attend
the event, they received no response whatsoever.
McCrory said he didn’t send the letter because he disagrees with
the Human Rights Campaign’s political agenda, which includes same-sex
They have every right to be here, but I also have the right as mayor not
to show any visible support for the political perspective of the cause
they support,” he said.
McCrory said he sends welcome letters to convention attendees “every
week,” but said this is not the first time he’s refused a group’s
request to write a letter.
Some groups would possibly promote my [letter] as a validation of my support,” he
said. “In this case I do not agree with almost all the political
agendas they’re supporting. … I welcome all groups to Charlotte,
but I’m not going to be used as a political pawn.”
Sounds like Commissioner James taught Mayor Pat a valuable lesson, huh?
Give a cold shoulder to the queers, lest somebody think you might like ’em!
No doubt McCrory’s motivations for taking potshots at anything less-than-conservative
run a little deeper than just a fear of more rhetoric from James. Considering
his close association with the national Republican Party and his friendship
with the current president (Dubya refers to McCrory as a “good friend”),
there’s no doubt in my mind that McCrory is setting his sights on
a higher government position. In the past he’s expressed interest
in the Governor’s office and congress. According to Charlotte Mayor
Pro-tem Patrick Cannon, McCrory was a Democrat when the two were young
friends — prior to either of them holding an elected office.
Interestingly enough, McCrory had this to say about John Kerry and John
Edwards during the Democratic Presidential campaign last year: “The
citizens of my city do not need inconsistent leadership. They need to remain
with the same strong, decisive leadership that gives us reassurance. …”
Given the fact that Charlotte and Mecklenburg County overwhelmingly supported
the Kerry-Edwards campaign ticket, McCrory is apparently a little out of
step with what the rest of the city thinks it needs.
In fact, it sounds like McCrory is a lot more inconsistent than Kerry or
Edwards ever were.
First he’s a Democrat, then he’s a Republican. One day you
welcome gays to your city, another day you turn your back on them.
One thing’s for sure — a good career politician like McCrory
knows what to kick overboard on the way up, where the big bucks are and
who he has to suck up to to get them.
In the latest McCrory gaffe, Pat proves once again that Charlotte’s
LGBT community better reach for a life jacket as he sides with the lunatic
fringe group Operation Save America about the city’s upcoming ’05
gay pride event.
McCrory told Observer writer Christina Breen he believes Charlotte Pride
isn’t appropriate for a public place. He also said he had talked
to lawyers about the legality of the festival and was told that it would
be unconstitutional to deny organizers a permit based on what they might
“I do not want that festival in a park setting,” McCrory said. “If
they need to do it, I think it belongs in a hotel” or other private
Regardless of McCrory’s thoughts on Charlotte Gay Pride, the city
did issue a license for this year’s event.
Nevertheless, McCrory has once again symbolically slapped the LGBT community
in the face by insinuating our culture is unsuitable for the viewing eyes
of the public and — in effect — given an okay for Operation
Save America to rear their ugly heads at Charlotte Pride ’05.
Visionary leadership? Proven results? Nothing of the sort. Clearly it’s
time for McCrory to look for a new career — outside of politics.
In this majority Democrat city, we must vote for new leadership that is
supportive of all of its citizens — not just the religious right
wing or the ones with deep pockets.