Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Charlotte City Council Sworn In

I had the pleasure of attending the Oath of Office Ceremony for the Mayor and Charlotte City Council members. It was a very nice event and several of our past and current council members were quite entertaining.

The highlight of the evening was the singing of our national anthem by Officer Mark Simpson from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. He has a wonderful voice and he did a beautiful job of singing a very difficult song.

City Clerk, Brenda Freeze, confirmed the election results and Mayor Pat McCrory was sworn in. He seemed a bit tongue-tied and unusually nervous. His speech was going well until he did it. I couldn't believe he did it. He fell in line behind the rest of the Republicans and had to mention illegal immigration as an issue that would be important to address in the coming year. Oh my Lord these gooper drones sure do lack the capacity for original thought. Oh well, it hasn't been a secret that Mayor Pat longs for something bigger and better than Mayor. I guess he has to line up behind Bushie for now.

The introduction of the three council members who are leaving followed the Mayor's speech. Greg Phipps, who filled the vacancy created when Malcolm Graham won a seat in the North Carolina Senate thanked the Mayor, his family and Malcolm Graham. He left the council with the message that he would continue to advocate for stronger and safer neighborhoods and encouraged them to fund growth in a manner that is fair to all.

John Tabor opened by uttering what he called the six most feared words to his colleagues. "Can we dim the lights please." This was a reference to his power point presentations. He thanked his wife and spoke of her dedication. He described just how many responsibilities she shouldered so that he could add Council duties to his career duties. He took a pause before looking into her eyes and choked up as he told her that she is the love of his life and he looked forward to spending more time with her. I'm not sure how many dry eyes there were in the room. I don't think there were many. As he received his second standing ovation, Tabor shook hands with each person behind the dais except Patsy Kinsey. He moved around the long right side of the dais, walked to Kinsey and gave her a hug. He is a lot more conservative than I am, but his sense of humor and dedication to doing what was best for this city and those of us who live here helped me get over his tilt to the far right.

Pat Cannon was the last of the three to speak. He said he never intended to run for public office and that he always preferred to work behind the scenes. He did mention the "vicious rumors" that have spread saying that they sent some media outlets on a wild goose chase. He said that what he is being accused of is an abomination unto God.

After acknowledging the three council members who are leaving, Mayor McCrory introduced the three new council members Andy Dulin, Anthony Foxx and Michael Barnes.

Michael Barnes spoke first. He represents District 4 which happens to be my district. I think Barnes will do a great job. He's intelligent and a centrist Democrat. He's also a lawyer and not only lives in the district, but works here as well.

Andy Dulin spoke briefly and thanked the constituents in District 4 who voted for him. Funny thing is that Dulin represents District 6. This brought some chuckles from a few at the dais and a couple of us in the audience. I don't think he realized his mistake. Dulin joins the other three Republicans in the minority on the Council.

The last of the newcomers to speak was Anthony Foxx. A few of us had high hopes for Foxx. We hoped he would take an early leadership role, but he didn't want to rock the boat. Foxx thanked his family and told a story about his grandfather and how he had made a difference in a young man's life. I still think Foxx has great potential and he brings many positive qualities to the group.

The mayor then recognized other members of the council. Most kept their speeches brief save for Susan Burgess. Two years ago she invoked the spirit of Elvis in her speech. This year she waxed poetic about Aurora and her brother the Sun. Burgess says, "you can always count on Aurora, the sun will always rise and the night will always end in a new day." We look forward to more gems from Mrs. Burgess through the next two years. No, really, we are.

Two other speeches of note came from Patsy Kinsey and James Mitchell who told of his pinkie promise with his girls that he would only run this one last time and a warning to neighborhood leaders that if they wanted him to attend they "must serve food." This brought laughter from the Council members and the audience. His appetite is well known and was mentioned in Richard Rubin's blog Running Mate.

Patsy Kinsey (Disclaimer - I call her Mom) thanked Greg Phipps for his service and told him that her vote to put him on the city council was the best vote she'd made. She also emphasized her commitment to voting her conscience and her constituency. Quite a few people sitting around me were nodding and applauding after this comment.

The evening ended uneventfully. Council members, friends, family and campaign workers headed out to the lobby for a very nice reception. Nicey nice is over. It's time to get down to city business.


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