Charlotte City Council Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon spent a lot of time in the past year running council meetings while former Mayor Anthony Foxx lined up his bid for a job in Washington, D.C. Now, Cannon has a chance to claim the mayor’s seat for his own.
Cannon, a Democrat, is running against former council member Edwin Peacock in the Nov. 5 election. He’s been on council since 1993, and has served as mayor pro tem for four terms. Cannon, now in his eighth term on council, is a Ballantyne-area resident.
Both Cannon and Peacock were recently asked questions by South Charlotte Weekly regarding taxes, public safety and other issues. Cannon’s complete answers are included below. Peacock’s answers ran in the Oct. 11 issue of South Charlotte Weekly and can be found online at www.thecharlotteweekly.com.
Do you feel a competition between Ballantyne and Uptown for new business is healthy for the city, and what do you believe a mayor can do to invite new businesses and business expansion in Charlotte?
Yes, a little competition is always healthy and what typically drives the best outcome. It’s been my experience as a small business owner for 15 years and a governing official for longer that savings for clients and taxpayers can be realized through a combination of competition and some privatization. As mayor, I will rely on my rapport with ambassadors of other countries and well-established relationships with the Charlotte Chamber, Asian and Latin-American Chambers and the Charlotte Regional Partnership to attract business development opportunities to all areas of Charlotte, not just Uptown and Ballantyne.
Some argue south Charlotte sees an uneven distribution of tax money on local projects, while others say south Charlotte is in good shape with infrastructure and doesn’t need new projects as much as other parts of the city. Do you feel south Charlotte residents should be satisfied with how their tax dollars are currently spent?
As a resident of south Charlotte, I know we have seen significant improvements but still need more. That can be said for many areas of the Queen City. As a city council member for eight terms now, I have always voted for and supported issues that boded well for south Charlotte. Specifically, I am talking about the Rea Road widening, Community House Road improvements, Ballantyne Commons Parkway/Elm Lane or Mckee Road/Providence Road. The same can be said for the South Corridor Infrastructure and sidewalks in District 6 I have supported, as well as bond packages for south Charlotte over the years. As mayor, I will not be silent about making sure all areas have access to the city services they need and see tax dollars hard at work throughout Charlotte, not just pockets.
Do you feel the city should consider a moratorium on new residential development in south Charlotte due to traffic congestion, or are there other means you support to help traffic congestion in the area?
No, a moratorium on residential development could hurt the tax base of any generated revenues that could help south Charlotte. There are other ways to alleviate traffic congestion. For example, I worked with the Bissell Companies for a connector at Interstate 485 going toward Community House Road that’s currently under construction. As mayor, I would continue to seek creative solutions without halting development.
Are you satisfied with the amount of police officers currently assigned to south Charlotte, and if not, what would you suggest doing to increase the amount of officers assigned to the southern divisions?
With property crimes and burglaries being the primary concerns of those of us that reside in south Charlotte, I believe we should be doing more. Where we can assign more officers for the area, I’m in support of that. As chairman of the Community Safety Committee, I’m proud that the overall crime rate is at historic lows, but there’s always room for improvement. Priorities include making sure we identify a new location for the South Division police office and continuing to support the Capital Improvement Plan that allows patrol districts to come online. As mayor, I will work to see increased patrolling in problem areas where burglaries and property crimes are higher and have trends analyzed to help prevent future crimes.