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Monday, June 25, 2012

Charlotte City Budget Woes

There’s no point to try to write something better about the City Council vote tonight than what Pundit House already compiled.  Check out several in-depth articles at, especially City Budget Bunglers from June 15th,
Foxx and Walton have previously argued a tax hike is needed to fund projects that would stimulate investment in low-income neighborhoods and bolster property values there, reversing what Walton has called an “unsustainable” trend that leeches about half of the city’s property tax base from its northern and southern suburbs.

Also, so many people enjoyed the Muppets Mashup in last week’s post of Tom Waits’ “God’s Away on Business” that citynewswatch offers another fitting distraction to consider in the midst of the Charlotte Budget Battle via Brainpickings:  Can you imagine a more perfect illustration of “JETTISON” at a better time?

"The project is part Radiolab Homage To Words, part Johnny Carrera’s Visual Dictionary Of Curiosities, and altogether wonderful." -- Maria Popova of

Friday, June 15, 2012


Mayor Foxx’s temper was on display when his nearly $1 Billion CIP that would have resulted in a tax increase was voted down by a 6 to 5 count at Monday’s City Council meeting.  If you missed the action live or live feed, you can watch the video here.
There is also a document to the right which has some agenda details. 
Time will tell whether this vote was purely political or if the Council is serious about forcing City Manager Curt Walton to make sensible cuts.   

Mark Pellin of has an astute analysis and comments from City Council here.   He included an explanation that this proposed budget included "$119 million to extend the streetcar project line by 2.5 miles.  The initial 1.5 mile leg of the streetcar is scheduled to open in 2015.  The whole 10-mile streetcar line would cost upward of $450 million to build and an estimated $1.5 million a year to operate."     

You can see here that the City Clerk has not updated the City Council Meeting Minutes since February 20th, 2012.  This is completely unacceptable when the minutes are supposed to be available promptly to the public.  What excuse is there that they are four months behind
This issue has been brought up before by, who received no response from the City Clerk when asking about the delay back on March 26th.  At that point, minutes were merely 16 weeks behind in the bloated City Manager’s department.  After Cedar’s inquiry to City Clerk Stephanie Kelly and a plea for assistance to City Councilman Andy Dulin, nothing happened. 
Several months have passed and the Clerk is… still 16 weeks behind.
You can search for any video or agendas, by date or keywords herebut having the written documents available is important.

After you have enjoyed Mayor Foxx saying the Charlotte City Council has “just become Washington” and is “disgusting,” enjoy something else…
Take a break with this video.  Maria Popova curates a great site called  Here’s a warning:  If you enjoy creative exploration of science, history, music, design, art, technology, and innovation of all types, you’ll have a hard time turning this site off.  Meanwhile, enjoy the dark side of the Muppets.

She introduces the video this way:

Remix culture is a frequent fixation around here and a central premise of my beliefs about combinatorial creativity. But while intellectual, academic, and legal debates about the role of remix in creative culture certainly have their place, the best way to appreciate the art of remix is through a brilliant manifestation. Case in point: Cookie Monster sings Tom Waits’ “God’s Away on Business” in the best mashup I’ve seen in ages.

“Who are the ones that we kept in charge?”

 “There's always free cheddar in
a mousetrap, baby
It's a deal, it's a deal”
Trolleys, streetcars, more to come.