Democratic Mayoral: Dan Clodfelter
Among all the choices I’ve had to make for the ballot box this year, the Democratic mayoral primary has been among the most difficult. A large slate of candidates seeking their shot at the general election combined with the presence of several ally or nearly-friendly candidates have divided my thoughts — and it’s divided our community.
As noted in my Q&As with candidates Clodfelter and Roberts, the greatest bulk of LGBT voters seem split between these two presumed frontrunners.
On Tuesday, however, I’ll be casting my ballot for Dan Clodfelter.
The incumbent mayor hasn’t been without criticism — some of it deserved. Activists and the Charlotte Observer have noted his quiet nature during the ordinance debate in March. I, too, wish he had been more outspoken and it’s something I believe Clodfelter sincerely regrets, as he noted in his Q&A.
But while Clodfelter might rightly be criticized for being timid, he cannot be criticized for his astounding character and integrity, among them his authenticity, trustworthiness and loyalty.
At a time when LGB, and much less transgender, issues were still nearly anathema in this city, Clodfelter took a positive, affirmative stand. That was nearly 25 years ago when Charlotte first considered an LGB-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. In all that time, his positions on LGBT equality and inclusion have not changed, and neither have his positions on a variety of other issues of inclusion. He was among the first to come out early and strong for municipal ID and other local reforms and measures to better serve our local immigrant community, for example.
Much the same cannot be said of Jennifer Roberts. As a person, I admire Roberts’ tenacity and willingness to engage with communities. However, her tenacity has often across, at least to me, as desperate seat-shopping, too eager to jump from one race to another and almost practically begging to be appointed mayor when Patrick Cannon resigned. Her willingness to engage with communities often comes across as inauthentic lip service — especially when you consider that willingness to be an extremely outspoken advocate of fair and equal inclusion hasn’t always matched her campaign style.
In particular, there are two moments and issues that stick out in my mind — her not-natural timidity in the face of her 2012 congressional campaign and her near-silence on Amendment One, along with her vote in favor of the harmful 287(g) program which unfairly targeted far too many immigrant people.
Roberts’ answer to me on the first issue seemed flippant. She’s also wrong — public conversation in county commission meetings does get recorded, in official minutes, in newspapers, on TV. I fear her congressional campaign in a conservative district took front seat that night, while her usual campaign outspokenness took a back seat.
On the latter issue, Roberts has had multiple opportunities to answer exactly if she still supports 287(g) or not, including once in my Q&A with her. She’s spun the answer each time. I still don’t know if she supports the program. Her responses, paraphrased, “I didn’t support the program the way it was implemented,” seems an easy out. Does she support it or does she not support it? It’s a simple question that deserves a straightforward answer and she’s refused to give one.
Each of the other Democratic candidates for mayor I never even considered. Though Howard is authentic, his position on transgender inclusion is lackluster. Michael Barnes seems nearly hostile to our community.
When push comes to shove, Dan Clodfelter will have our back. Whether he’s campaigning or not. Experience has not shown that to always be the case with Roberts. I will be voting for Dan Clodfelter on Tuesday.
Republican Mayoral: Edwin Peacock III
You might not agree with everything Edwin Peacock espouses. I certainly don’t. I disagree with his positions on transit and several other important economic development issues. But Peacock is authentic, he is committed and he is loyal to Charlotte’s people.
In 2013, he was far more progressive on issues like corporate incentives than even some Democratic candidates. His positions on these issues have remained constant, as has his general acceptance and affirmation of the LGBT community. He does not favor the originally presented ordinance and he has hang ups on transgender inclusion. This is a problem, I know. But for Charlotte voters in the Republican mayoral primary, Peacock is the obvious choice, especially in comparison to his opponent Scott Stone, endorsed by radical anti-LGBT extremists like First Baptist Charlotte Pastor Mark Harris.
If I were voting in the Republican mayoral primary, I would cast my ballot for Edwin Peacock III. If you’re a Republican or unaffiliated voter choosing a Republican ballot on Tuesday, I encourage you to vote for him.
Democratic Council endorsements
Just as with my personal endorsements in the mayoral races, I’ve relied on authenticity and loyalty to choose who I’ll vote for in the Democratic City Council At-Large races.
There’s been a great deal of discussion on these candidates. There’s been division. After much thought, I’ve only decided to vote for three. (You can pick up to four.)
The following at-large candidates combined, I feel, offer the best LGBT-inclusive vision and leadership for our city. One identifies as a member of our community, and will, thus, strengthen our voice on Council. Another has a long track-record of service in our city. The other encompasses a wider range of progressive views and brings a new, fresh perspective that I think will uplift Charlotte City Council’s deliberations and decisions.
In the at-large Democratic City Council primary, I will cast my ballot for: Bruce Clark, Billy Maddalon, James “Smuggie” Mitchell.
My personal district: Al Austin
As a resident of District 2, I’ll be seeking to return my incumbent Councilmember Al Austin to his City Council seat.