It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. -Samuel Adams
Not intending to be overly dramatic, but that quote came to mind this morning as I listened to Warren Cooksey of Charlotte City Council explain how four Democrats were convinced to break ranks and vote down an 8% tax increase. Whether that result can hold under what must surely be intense pressure remains to be seen. However, the achievement of the surprise vote this past Monday should not go underappreciated.
Commissioners Dulin and Cooksey worked relentlessly over several weeks to educate some of the newer members of council on the alternatives. The more experienced members were certainly made aware of the political consequences of pursuing an unpopular tax increase. Activists in groups like SMART and CAUTION kept up the pressure. Regular citizens called and wrote council members to express their opposition.
All of this resulted in a board where Democrats hold a 9-2 advantage voting down a budget that was supposed to be a sure thing. In fact it was such a sure thing that Mayor Anthony Foxx apparently put in little effort ensuring that he had the votes.
In what must surely be an embarrassing ordeal leading up to the DNC, Mayor Foxx is now spending the latter half of this week attending the US Conference of Mayors. Rather than basking in the glory of being the mayor of the city hosting one of the biggest political events of the year, he is answering uncomfortable questions about who is really in charge in Charlotte.