[Note: Rob Watson is the founder of various grassroots activism groups including #breakupMeck noted in the article and Open Our Lane, which was created in January 2015 to advocate for the opening of the unused lane on I-485 for general purpose use. This is part of our First Person series, submit your views here.]
Nearly two weeks ago on WNBC’s show Flashpoint, Charlotte City Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera said Trump supporters “Should have no place on city council whatsoever or in the mayor’s race.”
Republicans and Democrats alike have made her comments the rallying cry of the day. There was a protest this past Monday at the City Council meeting and Ms. Ajmera even held a press conference (well, she made a statement then refused questions).
What’s been missing in the conversation, however, is that many at the butt of her comments have had no fair representation on our City Council since Pat McCrory left the mayor’s office in 2009.
Our City Council has eleven seats with seven coming from segmented districts and four at-large seats. Adding the mayor in brings twelve members. Since the 2009 election, Charlotte City Council has been made up of ten Democrats and only two Republicans (from districts 6 and 7 in South Charlotte).
A 10-2 majority can generally push forward whatever agenda they want with or without “Trump supporters.” Prior to 2009, we saw greater balance with a 7-5 Democratic majority.
Which brings back an idea sparked a few years ago during the property tax revaluation. Maybe South Charlotte should secede.
Back in 2012, a group called SMART, South Mecklenburg Alliance of Responsible Taxpayers, pushed for the establishment of a separate town in Charlotte to be called Providence, based on a concern that South Charlotte pays “way too much” of Charlotte’s budget with little to show for it in their community.
South Charlotte is not alone. Toll lanes along I-77 have led residents in North Mecklenburg to call for a new county as well, calling it Lake Norman County with a detailed analysis performed asking if it was “time for #Meckxit” .
We also saw calls in the past year for breaking up the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system with the mayor of the town of Matthews calling a special group to discuss the possibility and Facebook groups forming to keep up with the issue, including the group I formed, #breakupMeck.
So now, when a member of Charlotte’s City Council candidly states her belief that Trump supporters don’t belong on an already lop-sided, monopoly of a governing board, it begs the question whether it is time to look at alternatives. With the vast majority of Trump votes in Mecklenburg County coming from North Mecklenburg and South Charlotte, it is surely a question to consider.