Doug Clark of the News & Record in Greensboro sat down for an editorial board interview with Gov. Pat McCrory last week. He came away with some thoughts about the state’s power over cities in North Carolina – and why that sets us apart even from other successful Southern states.
From Clark’s piece, which uses the HB2 controversy to explore the issue:
Many organizations want to do business in places where their employees and customers feel welcome. While a state as a whole may not embrace progressive values, individual cities often do — usually without interference from their legislature and governor.
This is exactly the case for Atlanta, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Orlando and dozens more great cities.
McCrory frequently points to Houston, as he did here last week, to show the “hypocrisy” of the NCAA. It played the men’s basketball championship there this spring even after city voters overturned an ordinance like Charlotte’s. Yet it wasn’t the Texas legislature and governor that intervened. Texas didn’t bar its own cities from enacting such ordinances — as Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Plano have done. And, in some future vote, the people of Houston might make a different decision — without interference from their legislature and governor.
Seventeen cities and counties in Florida have these ordinances. Florida is all about hospitality.
This is politically smart for governors of conservative states with progressive cities. McCrory should have paid attention.
He could have appeased conservative voters across the state by assuring them he would never impose a liberal anti-discrimination measure on them. At the same time, he could have avoided riling up city residents by staying out of their business — which also would have prevented them from losing business.
Instead, his one-size-fits-all approach unnecessarily created the HB 2 uproar.
It’s worth reading the whole piece.