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Let the Games Begin! District 7 Primary Now Underway

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Looks like Charlotte will be seeing some new faces on the City Council by the end of the year…including replacements for each of the current sitting Republicans.

District Six Republican Andy Dulin announced months ago that he would not be seeking a new term.  That has set the stage for a wild primary battle currently hosting at least four candidates… Ken Lindholm, Kate Payerle, James Peterson, and Kenny Smith.

Earlier today, District Seven Republican Warren Cooksey announced that he too would not be seeking re-election.

Already in the race was Jay Privette, who lost to Cooksey by 184 votes in the 2011 Primary.  Joining the race following the Cooksey announcement was Ed Driggs, who also ran a close but ultimately unsuccessful race to unseat Bill James from his County Commission District Six seat last year.

Both Privette and Driggs sent out email blasts today outlining a race that will largely focus on the fiscal future of Charlotte.

Both are printed below.

From Jay Privette: 

The campaign website (www.electjayprivette.com) is up.  Please look at the boondoggles page as it relates to the sobering statics in this newsletter.

The greatest net gain in population for Mecklenburg County was in 2006, and then the trend reversed. In 2010 fewer people moved into Mecklenburg than moved out. Just as disturbing is the average income moving out of Mecklenburg.  It is substantially higher than that moving in.  The average income moving out of Mecklenburg to other counties in NC is approximately $10,000 higher than the income coming in from those counties. In the case of Union County, the largest NC destination for the exodus from Mecklenburg, that difference exceeds $20,000.

A policy of aggressive annexation is written into Charlotte’s Planning Board statement. The General Assembly recently made it more difficult for cities to annex by requiring consent of the people to be annexed. With the loss of annexation to expand its tax base and dwindling wealth within its borders, Charlotte must curb its spending appetite.  If it does not, Charlotte for the foreseeable future will continue to raise taxes.  A spiral of tax increases will result in a death spiral for Charlotte like it has with countless other cities.

You will be told by those wanting to take more of your money that government spending is an investment in the future. How often have we heard that? Taking money out of your pocket and giving it to someone else is not a formula for economic growth. Charlotte needs to leave risky investments to venture capitalists and focus on purchasing essentials with your taxes.

Demographic maps (recently taken down from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce website) show the greatest areas of wealth growth in Mecklenburg have been north and southwest of Charlotte’s borders. The greatest areas of poverty growth have been north, west and east Charlotte surrounding downtown. The affluent southern region of Charlotte represents the largest area of shrinking population. Saved PDF copies of these maps are available for anyone that is interested.

From Ed Driggs:

Monday July 8th, Ed Driggs, a retired businessman and financial analyst, announced his intention to file for the District 7 City Council seat as a Republican. Driggs plans to focus his campaign on reducing taxes, improving government effectiveness, and ensuring that District 7 gets fair treatment in City decisions.

Driggs, who ran a closely contested race for a County Commission seat last year, said that his decision to pursue a City Council seat was motivated by many of the same considerations that led him to enter that race. “Over the past years, the citizens of Charlotte have seen their taxes go up over and over, including the effects of the disastrous County property tax revaluation in 2011 and the latest hikes in tax rates by the City and the County,” said Driggs. “These high taxes make it hard for us to compete economically and create badly needed jobs. They are also increasingly unfair to those who bear most of the tax burden and see little of the benefit.”

The candidate also voiced his concern over the City’s imprudent decision to fund the Gold Line streetcar as well as the poor relationship it has had with Raleigh over the last legislative session. “It is important that we demonstrate to state legislators that we are fiscally responsible and will work with them to do what is best for Charlotte,” he said.

Driggs continued, “Charlotte is a great city to work and live, with great opportunities for the future. To take advantage of these opportunities, we need to make smart, informed decisions and not saddle ourselves with government bloat and bureaucracy. We have to bring fairness and common sense back. In particular, the citizens of District 7 need a strong advocate to combat higher taxes and ensure that the needs of the District are given a priority that is in line with our share of the tax bill. My goal is to be that advocate.”

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