Charlotte is a long-time advocate for her Green Hills neighborhood, so she is attuned to local politics and offers a simultaneously significant and troubling point-of-view:
I was in attendance, in the council chamber. One thing I did not see in your "live blog" was how the red shirt [opponents of Mayor's plan] speakers were treated. The yellow shirts [supporters of Mayor's plan] were allowed to line up their speakers in any fashion they wanted. When it was time for the opponents (red shirts) to speak [Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors] announced a change in lining up - starting with the back row of the chamber.
It was pointed out neighbors of the Fairgrounds were lined up in the hall to speak, but VM Neighbors said no, security had requested they start with the back row and work their way up. So who runs the public hearing - VM or security? By the time we got half way up the rows, Save My Fairgrounds leadership knew we had the votes to win with the [Jason] Holleman amendment [to remove Mayor's prohibition against racing], so they asked that we close down the public hearing and get on with the voting. Most of the individuals who did speak were racers, but rest assured there were many others (including a number of neighbors) who had perspectives for saving all of the Fairgrounds other than just the racing perspective. I really hate that the members and public did not get to hear us, but if the public hearing had gone on for another hour or two, we ran the risk that one or two council members might have left before the vote, taking their vote with them.
Photo credit: CM Jamie Hollin
I just wanted you to have the facts; I expect there will be spin about the number of "red shirt" speakers versus "yellow shirt" speakers.
Regardless of how the results of this public hearing are spun into dominant narratives by the Mayor's supporters or by the Dean-friendly local media, contrasting perspectives like Charlotte's still need to be publicized and passed on for the sake of fact-checking the narrative. There were a significant number of Davidson County neighborhood leaders attending to speak against the Mayor's plan, despite the spin that the Mayor is supporting the neighborhoods with his Fairgrounds plan.