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Rolling Peanuts Up Hill

by Dennis Marsoun

November 2,2003

Election Day, our chance to speak, some spoke during the primaries, not many, but enough to drop a peanut.

I guess I had better explain that. I once had a discussion with my boss about how to continue moving a concept along. He likened it to rolling a bunch of peanuts up hill with his nose. You had to keep all of them moving in the right direction at the same time. You had to know when one was starting to slide back and attend to that one immediately. If you don’t catch it, you can’t worry about it – you still have a lot of other peanuts that have to get to the top.

Lynn Wheeler’s loss surprised me. It surprised her. It probably surprised the people who voted against her. The truth is she rolled down hill. We need to move on to other peanuts.

So where are we going? What is the vision?

Charlotte is on course to become a great city. It can’t be stopped, but it can be slowed. The great cities have museums, galleries, universities, medical centers and arenas that made them great. Charlotte is on its way. Cities that have subways and light rail would not be as great without them. Charlotte is faced with spending billions of dollars for mass transit. It is a seemingly prohibitive expense, but if you look at it as an investment over a 50-year period, it makes perfect sense.

Great sporting venues such as Madison Square Garden, Camden Yards and Jacobs Field help define the center city. They continue to provide activities and revenue for those communities, making those cities stronger. The decision by our City Council to build an uptown arena will give our center city definition. It only takes a trip up Caldwell Street to see the change and feel the excitement of disappearing parking lots.

Luring new businesses to Charlotte depends in large part on transit and quality of life. As our region continues to lose textiles, we need to recognize that the manufacturing wave has crested. We need to ride the next wave to survive.

As the votes were counted on November 4th, we rolled the peanuts a bit farther up hill.

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