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Welcome, Mr. President. And while you’re here…

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I’m really torn about President Obama’s visit to Charlotte.

On one hand, it’s exciting to host the President of the United States in your home town, no matter what bumper sticker you’ve got on your car. Just as it should be.

(On the other hand, I’m resigned to the fact that this will be just another political trip, not a state visit.)

My hope is that, while the President is here, he will take a few moments to directly and honestly address the most important issue facing us in Mecklenburg County: JOBS.

(What are you drinking, Wayne?)

As with the rate of inflation and most official government figures, it seems that unemployment statistics are increasingly massaged, timed and tortured into the most positive presentation possible before being released to an increasingly skeptical and weary public.

(But the official “smiley face” creates not one job and does little more than just mask the reality of a painful public grimace).

So please permit me circumvent all the number-spinners and address you directly in this public forum, Mr. President:

Let’s work together to reverse Washington’s growing “credibility gap.” You campaigned in 2008 on “Hope and Change.” I’m hoping that you’ve come today, Sir, to change course from the usual political rhetoric further bolstering the fantasy — to actually addressing the reality of Mecklenburg County joblessness. We want, need and deserve that level of frankness from our President.

(May I help you with the accurate employment picture around here? A little over a year ago, after your “Recovery Summer,” the December 2010 Mecklenburg County numbers looked like this:
 410,931 jobs, 45,251 unemployed. One year later, in December 2011 (the last month of available numbers), we saw 410,169 people employed in our county and 45,209 Unemployed.


NOT ONLY DOES THAT REPRESENT NO RECOVERY OF THE 32,000 JOBS LOST IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY FROM THIS RECESSION. IN FACT, IT REPRESENTS NO DISCERNABLE CHANGE AT ALL DURING THE LAST FULL YEAR — NONE.)

I really appreciate your expressions of optimism, Mr. President. After all, I’m a “glass-half-full” kind of guy…

(…but please don’t ask me to be an ostrich. We require the truth and some real solutions here. Not more baseless cheerleading.)

Okay. I guess I shouldn’t bother the leader of the free world with my personal conflicts, so let’s just leave it at this…

Welcome, Mr. President. Glad you’re here. We hope you enjoy your visit.

(Truly! And be sure to tell everyone you know, just how terrific we are!)

And while you’re here, we’ll be listening closely to what you say. We’ll even be listening closely for what you don’t say. But we wonder — will you also be listening to us?

(After all, listening to those you represent IS part of your job. Sir — and, right now, far too many of us in Mecklenburg County find ourselves WITHOUT a job. So, please, lend us your ear. What could it hurt? I mean you’re here anyway, right?)

Right.

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Powers is a Republican at-large candidate for the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners

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