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Former Queen City Councilmember Launches Effort To Sack Panthers Money Grab

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As the Charlotte City Council once again proves its unbridled and bipartisan enthusiasm for spending other people’s money, trying their best to throw even more loot at the Carolina Panthers, it’s left to former councilmember Don Reid to play pulling guard for taxpayers.

Reid, a Republican, has launched a grassroots campaign that’s encouraging folks to flood the email boxes of newspaper editors around the state, asking them to take a stand against the Panthers money grab. In turn, the strategy goes, it’s hoped the outcome will pressure legislators from Murphy to Manteo to quash the Panthers deal and nip Charlotte’s taxpayer-funded largess in the bud.

“If you want to stop the Panther give-a-way, consider this: There are 99 counties in NC where most folks do not like Charlotte/Mecklenburg,” Reid writes in a missive distributed this week to his extensive email list. “A great many of these counties have infrastructure needs and people out of work at a time when the legislature is reducing funding to these counties. Make a big issue of this by appealing to the state legislators who represent these 99 counties.

“Most people in our state may understand the need to cut back on unemployment benefits, but they will never understand cutting these benefits while giving state money to a wealthy Panther organization!” Reid continues. “If someone will compile a list of every town newspaper in NC, I will send a letter to these editors outlining what is happening here!!”

Reid didn’t have to wait long for a reply, with one email recipient providing a spreadsheet containing contact information for hundreds of reporters, editors, and publishers of newspapers across the state; another recipient sent Reid a link to more.

“This is a populist issue — a gut issue that can defeat many of the Republican legislators around our state,” Reid writes of the Panthers pitch for taxpayer subsidy. “McCrory, Rucho, Tillis and Berger know this. When the email list of every newspaper in the state is compiled, if each of you will write a letter to the editors of these papers, we can defeat this irresponsible expenditure of tax money.”

And closes with:

Trust me, folks! 95 percent of all editors in the state oppose giving money to the Panthers. They will do the work for us if only we will flood them with the facts about what’s going on!

Most folks in town did not believe we could defeat a referendum to build the arena, but we did! Do you think McCrory, Tillis, Rucho and Berger want every newspaper in the state talking about this and asking their own representatives about the state’s priorities?

It’s an interesting strategy and Reid, no stranger to lobbying efforts and still packing a wicked punch of political acumen, is a good candidate to pull it off. The question remains, of course, are enough Republican legislators in Raleigh concerned about their allegedly conservative bona fides for it to make a difference?

While Reid should be applauded for his efforts, it’s wholly discouraging that such a campaign even needs to be waged with the GOP in firm control of the General Assembly and occupying the Governor’s Mansion.

But there you have it. Along with an uptown arena rejected by voters but championed by

oops.

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