Kinsey cites ‘Charlotte Way’ in farewell mayoral speech

sharrison@charlotteobserver.comNovember 25, 2013 

In her farewell address as mayor, Patsy Kinsey said the “Charlotte Way” means that all residents feel “at home,” and she cited her outreach to the local gay and immigrant communities to make that happen.

After serving for five months, Kinsey said her legacy would in large part focus on her decision to issue a “Charlotte Pride” proclamation and her participation in the city’s first gay pride parade in 19 years. Both were firsts for a Charlotte mayor.

Kinsey was appointed by the City Council to finish Anthony Foxx’s term after he became U.S. secretary of transportation in July. Foxx was known as a friend of the city’s gay and lesbian community, but Kinsey embraced the issue more closely than Foxx or any other mayor.

She also cited her decision to join the “Mayors for Freedom to Marry” movement and holding a meeting with local gay leaders and the State Department over anti-gay violence in Voronezh, Russia, one of Charlotte’s sister cities. Kinsey’s position was to keep Charlotte’s relationship with Voronezh, saying nothing would be accomplished if the city cut its ties.

Council members approved Monday the creation of a task force to study the best ways to integrate immigrants into the community. Kinsey and council member David Howard pushed to create the group.

“Ensuring that all of Charlotte’s residents feel at home in our city is the Charlotte way,” said Kinsey, who called herself in her speech a “lifelong” Charlottean.

At next week’s council meeting, Patrick Cannon will be sworn in as the new mayor. Kinsey will return to her District 1 seat.

She said she hopes council members will work to expand the region’s transit system and “exhaust every legal option available” to keep Charlotte Douglas International Airport under city control.

After her speech, Kinsey gave a high-five to council member James Mitchell, one of her closest allies on council. The crowd in the council chamber gave her a lengthy applause.

• In other action, council members approved by a 9-1 vote giving a $700,000 grant to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to help develop its Brightwalk community. The money will be used for infrastructure improvements to the site, which is revitalizing the Double Oaks community north of uptown.

The development includes 214 affordable multifamily housing units and 77 market-rate units.

The money comes from the unspent Community Development Block Grants received from the federal government.

•  Unanimously approved spending $1 million from the Housing Trust Fund to expand Moore Place, which is run by the Urban Ministry Center.

Moore Place, which opened in the summer of 2012 in the Druid Hills neighborhood, is for chronically homeless adults. The expansion will add 35 new units, 10 of which will be set aside for chronically homeless veterans.

“This puts us that much closer to our goal of ending homelessness,” District 3 council member LaWana Mayfield said.

District 1 council member Billy Maddalon said the $1 million is a “small down payment” towards ending homelessness.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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