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David Moore

A mayor for all people?
Visionary 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 mayor.

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 marriage.

“ 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 do.

“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 setting.

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.

David Moore

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