Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Airport bill creates turbulence between colleagues

It didn't take long for Mecklenburg County's newest senator to get into a virtual shouting match with its senior senator.

It started when Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, publicly criticized a bill involving Charlotte's airport earlier this month. He called the bill, which came as a surprise to city officials as well as most lawmakers, a "sneak attack." That didn't sit well with Sen. Bob Rucho, a Matthews Republican and a chief sponsor of the bill.

Neither did Jackson's subsequent fundraising appeal.

"Moments ago, Senator Rucho and the Republican majority slammed a bill through session that could strip Charlotte of its airport," he wrote in an email to supporters. "Right now the court is settling the matter. Apparently Senator Rucho has run out of patience. We all know this isn't about policy -- it's about control."

That prompted the following exchange between the two senators.

-- "Senator Jackson, we need leaders to tell the truth," he emailed back. "The court and the FAA are at an impasse and need clarification of the law. Shame on you for politicizing this most important economic issue for our community. The people of Mecklenburg county deserve better."

-- "Sen. Rucho, Our concerns about this bill were completely appropriate. 1) There was zero consultation with any of the stakeholders. 2) The bill was plainly substantive and not technical. 
3) The whole thing just smelled awful. I’m genuinely ready to work with you on this and any piece of legislation that impacts our county.  I think you’d find that I’m a flexible and reasonable person.  If there’s ever anything you’d like to collaborate on, my door is always open."
-- "Your political exploitation of an important economic issue and your fund raising letter is what smells," Rucho responded this week. "You apparently speak before you know the facts especially since you were not engaged in the original debate. You can't ignore the pay to play actions of the former mayor and the on going investigation by the FBI. There is already a pay to play connection with the airport taxi service and there is no telling who else will be implicated.
"It is all about insulating the airport from pay to play politics and cronyism but maybe that does not concern you."


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

And it has nothing to do with who all has been buying up the land around the airport and the Rucho contributors. This effort has smelled from the beginning. If they knew of pay to play why did they not report it to the FBI versus it coming from local law enforcement?

We will steal the airport so there will be no corruption. Great plan.

Meg Sawicki said...

apparently no one was involved in the original debate, mr. rucho!

Anonymous said...

Why do you continue to ignore the possibility that pay-to-play was a real danger with the airport given that such allegations have surfaced for other municipal airports around the country. Atlanta has had two mayors associated with pay to play accusations around its airport. The current mayor of Atlanta even had his brother employed at the airport to administer vendor contracts.
This does not mean Charlotte's leaders were trying to engage in corruption around the airport but there is nothing to say future elected officials might not. (And, Cannon was alleged to have had a hand in awarding cab contracts to companies that donated to his campaign.) the presence of oersons from surrounding
counties on the commission would help to ensure that such potential corruption did not go unreported.
What is the city afraid of? A diverse commission helps shield them from distrust,

Anonymous said...

Right on, Bobby Rucho!

Stick it right back in that jerk's ear.

Way to go, baby!

Right on, right on, right on!

Anonymous said...

Colleagueship in Raleigh? Not hardly. All grace and decorum went out the window the minute the radical GOP gained their majorities, and we've had nothing but vitriol and steamrolled, non-debated, defective legislation since. Whenever this poor old north state comes to its senses, the GOP will be put out to the curb for another century.

Selrahc Nosredna said...

Senator Jackson is to be commended for plainly speaking on this matter. What can one say about Bob Rucho following is bizarre, incoherent rant on the ACA, comparing President Obama to Hitler, other than the obvious fact that he is a mindless tool for the political right acting out of self interest, as he and his cronies on this issue. This radical legislature is obviously attempting to seize the airport from Charlotte without any legitimate reasons, while offering nothing credible in the way of an explanation.