The mayor’s race as suddenly gotten a bit feisty. One example is Edwin Peacock’s statement that he’s against the existing $87.5 million in money for the Panthers in exchange for their promise to play in the stadium they own for another six years. Let’s consider both the policy and politics of the issue:
The policy: Charlotte’s existing exist approach to the Panther’s stadium needs is remarkably inept. The city apparently doesn’t think it’s NFL worth, as it sees the need to throw money at the Panthers to keep the team here in the short-term. The need to not offend the Panthers is apparently so great that votes to raise taxes to fund improvements at Bank of America Stadium must be taken in secret without prior public debate. Local pols are so scared that they were even promising state money to the Panthers — without apparently checking with the county’s legislative delegation to see whether the idea would fly in Raleigh. The only way to restore some sort of sanity to these negotiations is for someone new to come in who can credibly take a hard line. So in that sense what Peacock is saying makes a lot of sense.
The politics: The problem for Peacock in taking a harder stance is that a lot of the Uptown crowd is just as frightened that the Panthers might leave town as those running city government. And as Peacock is a moderate, the harder stance could scare off some key backers.
Bonus observation: Peacock has raised more money than Patrick Cannon. That doesn’t come by scaring the Uptown crowd.
Update: The Charlotte Business Journal reports that Jerry Richardson is making significant donations to candidates that favor giving money to the Panthers. He gave $1,000 to Patrick Cannon. Edwin Peacock got nothing from Richardson.