July Jamboree and Sports Festival slated for East Spencer/Page 6B
VOLUME 21 NO. 44
JULY 18 1996
Congressional redistricting brings heartburn
Rulings hinder black representation, some say
By Paul Shepard
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
On Beatties Ford Road, not far from the glim
mering skyscrapers that loom over this Southern
boom town, rests McDonald’s Cafeteria. There,
black movers and shakers gather to chew on spicy
stewed turkey, tangy side dishes and the news of
But of late, pickled peppers aren’t the only things
causing heartburn - especially when the discus
sion turns to the impending congressional redis
tricting in North Carohna.
“It’s like those folks in Washington are telling all
us black folks down here to go to hell. Why do they
need to take away our congressman?” asked
patron Roland White, a rndhtary contractor. “If we
need some help on the federal level, who are we
supposed to turn to - Jesse Helms?”
Forget scholarly debates of constitutional inter
pretations and theories about majority block vot
ing on Beatties Ford Road. Here, the issue is a lot
less abstract and quite a bit more personal.
It looks to blacks that they are losing, as the
result of court decisions, something valuable and
newly won - representation in the nation’s capital
by people who know what it is to grow up black in
North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District is
among eight mostly minority districts in Florida,
Louisiana, Georgia and Texas that have been dis
banded by the Supreme Court or federal district
courts since 1993.
Seven of the eight seats are held by blacks. The
eighth - Texas’ 29th which is 60 percent Hispanic
- is held by Rep. Gene Green, who is white.
At least four other districts, aU currently held by
minorities, are threatened by federad judges who
have ruled that race played too strong a factor in
drawing up the district boundairies.
See BLACK on page 6A
Putting things together
services in black areas
By John Minter
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Leroy Hill, ovraer of a firm which sells mid-range computer sys
tems, lives in Brantley Woods, where homes begin at about $250,000.
Most of the other African Americans in the community are profes
sionals: doctors, lawyers and the like.
Economically, they have more in common with their white neigh
bors than with many residents of west and northwest Charlotte,
where most African Americans live.
And with that comes a different set of priorities when discussing
consohdation of Charlotte and Mecklenburg Coimty governments.
“I think it is .senseless to have two governments,” Hill smd. “One
government can save a lot of taxpayers’ dollars. It makes more sense
tc ."'ne set of people and one management group that will be
responsible for all city and county employees.”
Charlotte City Council will vote Monday on a consolidation plan.
Coimty commissioners approved a plaii two weeks ago which would
set up a 13-member council, with eight district seats and five at-large
seats. Three of the districts would have African American majorities.
However, some African Americans say they will oppose consolida
tion, no matter which of several plans put forth by a charter commis
sion is finally accepted by the two bodies.
If council approves, a referendum could be added to the November
ballot. Sept. 3 is the deadline.
Those opponents, most from among the traditional westside com
munities, say consohdation, even with three majority black districts,
would not be fair to African Americans.
“I plan to campaign against it,” said Bob Davis, chairman of the
Black Pohtical Caucus. “If the caucus goes with me, fine. If not, I plan
to do it individually. I will stand up and say this is wrong.”
Davis said the county commissioners’ vote to add a third black dis
trict was done to appease African Americans.
“In my district there are a lot of Asians, Mexican
Americans...there’s no guarantee in this current plan that black folks
will have an3dhing other than lost seats,” Davis said.
“Just as black folks begin to learn how to govern, they want to
change the rules. It’s the same thing that happened to us 100 years
ago. I beheve this is part of a larger design by the Republican Party to
reduce government and eliminate black representation.
“I notice they are not saying anything about how much money they
are going to save. There is no evidence they are going to save a lot of
money with the new consolidated government.”
But outside the westside and northwest corridor, there fives a grow
ing number of African Americans not as tied to the decades old com
petition upon which much of toda/s black-white politics in Charlotte
'These African Americans - upwardly mobile middle- and upper-
middle class professionals - favor the efficiencies some say will be
the product of merging governments.
While they too value having African Americans on the new govern
ing body, their concerns are different frnm westside interests.
Ike Heard Jr., former member of the joint city-coimty planning com
mission and director of the Northwest Corridor Community
See CONSOLIDATION on page 3A
If Mecklenburg voters
approve the consolidation
plan, three majority-black
districts (color shading)
would be created.
Consolidation aiso must be
approved by the General
Assembly to allow a united
government to assume debts
GRAPHIC/MECKLENBURG BOARD OF ELECTIONS
1' If (
L *- - - --
Leroy Hili supports consoiidation of Chariotte and Mecklenburg County governments.
‘Good work’ at Fairview in ashes
By John .Minter
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Shamone Black, 8, (left) and Jessica Barrett, 11, (right) play in
front of the charred remains of Fairview Homes’ amphitheater.
No one has been apprehended in connection with the biaze.
It was just a wall, a stand of
wood about 6 feet high and 15
But it was a special wall, part
of a play area built last winter
for the children of Fairview
Homes by members of
Leadership Charlotte’s Class
XVII and XJNC Charlotte archi
The wall was severely dam
aged by a fire last month, a fire
which destroyed the climbing
wall. Only blackened ashes,
enclosed in an area defined by
wood beams, remain.
Other parts of the play area
remain, including wooden
benches, gazebo/school bus stop,
a picnic area, landscaping.
“It was a lot of good work,”
said Cynthia Smith, director of
the Anita Stroud center in
She said the wall burned on
the v/eekend of June 20.
‘They caught the fellows that
did it,” Smith said. “They were
just some young boys from the
Smith said parents and chil
dren in the Fairview Homes
area helped police find the
She said many of the young
people in the community had
joined in to help erect the play
“It was just a prank or some
thing,” Smith said. “A lot of par
ents and residents were very
upset and very hurt by this.”
Former Leadership Charlotte
president and, current Anita
Stroud Foundation board mem-
Grant to help
By Jeri Young
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Residents and businesses
along Freedom Drive ha\('
banded togetliei- to change the
image of their much maligned
The westside community’s
image is one of economic stag
nation fueled by a loss of busi-
nesse.s to more affluent neigh
borhoods and crime. Now a
noup oi commu;ii„y
le ., I, hs taking ' ‘ ■ ps t;;
cho’ that >' r-::i on.
“Our neighb-).-uiM)d ha ;
negative image,” say.s Wynne
Parker, founder and residen
tial chair of the Freedi'in
Drive Task Force. “We want t-e
give the area a iv-orc pnsii.-'/e
The task force, wlu.'h ler.' •
in an effort to ijuTeai- ■ i.-ie “■ ■
ibility of the Freedam i)rl :
area, recently wa.s awarnr ;i a
$15,000 grant that win ho
used to lure businesses and
residents to the area. 'J"io
drive will be led by (.i-arloti:
public relations spccuaii '
“Mary is helping us t- deal
with getting the (Freedom
Drive) name out,” Parker said.
“We want people to h ; aware
of us. Mary wi’.i ,.ni ■ iin a
newsletter tli -t .-hi Ir.'-.- m
people of meetings i.-ui :
Already on tap for the area
is a new park as well as a new
free standing satellite of
Central Piedmont Community
College located at the corner
of Allegheny and Ashley
“The park will be really good
for people who live and work
in the area,” Parker said.
“There are a couple of commu
nity centers, but nothing like
The park, which will have a
covered shelter, is slated to
open in the fall.
ber Anthony Fox said he was
disappointed and angered that
part of the play area was
“I am just finding out about
it,” Fox said. “I’ll probably bring
it up to both boards. That
(Leader.--:hip Charlotte) class
may be willing to go back out
and repair some of the facility.”
The projected was organized
by Deb Ryan, a UNCC architec
ture faculty member and mem
ber of Leadership Charlotte’s
Fox joined other Leadership
Charlotte members, UNCC stu
dents and Fairview Homes resi
dents in building the play area
late last year-. Materials were
donated or paid for with a
$23,000 grant from City of
See FAIRVIEW on 2A
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