Monday, November 05, 2007

Newcomers: How do you decide how to vote?

Does the length of time you’ve lived in this area influence how you’ll vote on local issues? Should it?

I pondered this while working on today’s article reporting the fact that more than half of Mecklenburg County’s voters – 51 percent – are people who registered after 1998. The bulk of them moved here from other counties or states.

That’s significant because 1998 is the year Mecklenburg voters first approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for mass transit, and one result of that tax – the south Charlotte light-rail line – is set to open in November.

Tomorrow’s ballot includes a measure to repeal that half-cent sales tax, which could potentially force city leaders to radically alter transportation policy. I found it interesting that, depending on turnout, the vote could rest entirely in the hands of relative newcomers who have no memories of the initial debate that led to Charlotte’s light-rail transit plan.

In my article, experts say there’s no telling how these transplants will lean. Some moved from cities where they’re accustomed to light rail. But newcomers in general are less likely to vote on local issues.

Tomorrow’s ballot includes several other key local issues, including a school bond and races for mayor and city council.

So, I’m interested in hearing from newcomers in particular – if you plan to vote tomorrow, or you’ve early-voted, what factors do you use to evaluate your vote when you’re new to the community?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been here almost exactly two years. I think that is ample time to understand the two main issues in this election - light rail and school bonds.

Coming from the Northeast, I have a familiarity with light rail and believe it is vital to reduce congestion and offer affordable and fast transportation to the masses. I've used it. Can you imagine Boston or NYC without it? Therefore I will be voting for it tomorrow.

As for schools, again, I come from an environment that has invested far more in schools and teachers and has seen a higher success rate in performance (Massachusetts). My daughter now attends first grade here in Charlotte. Overall we've been reasonably satisfied. However, I cannot imagine the environment these students are in everyday in some schools. Also, the pay these teachers receive for their efforts is abysmal. In order to maintain a high quality city and to do right by our kids, we need to keep investing in the schools. Naturally, I support the bonds. As for the school board -- I see a lot of them trying hard but I don't have the history that some folks do. The answer is simple. Vote them out. But don't hold it against the kids.

Will this lead to more taxes? Probably. But it's money well spent. Compared to where I've been, Charlotte is a bargain and will remain so despite the increased investments in our community.

To answer your question, Leigh, simple observation and comparison is helping us decide how to vote. If anything, I think some newcomers might have the advantage of being able to compare (in both good and bad ways) but also to have some optimism which seems to be lacking with the natives.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newcomers we are running out opf water down here anyone have a suggestion

7:57 PM  
Blogger unicorn1824 said...

Do your research and ask your friends/coworkers who have been around longer what they think. There's nothing worse than an uninformed voter.

Remember... vote early, vote often.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh the water issue. i'm hoping we dont run out of water....there are still a lot of ppl who are watering their lawns!

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We read the Charlotte Observer, and vote accordingly.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listen to Jeff Katz, and do whatever he tells me to.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repeal the Tax folks,

All of us told you so. We told you that your narrow minded conservative views were prehistoric and well in the minority.
Now please, please SHUT UP, move away, crawl in a hole, step out of the way and let this city move forward.
We are sick to death of you already.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Another liberal practicing tolerance of others' viewpoints.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the conservative "thug" comments all the time ? I see just as much crazy crap going on in the outlying counties.

You conservs are really a bunch of scardy cats aren't ya.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uptown? Awesome. Towering Inferno's my favorite movie.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The transit tax doesn't pay for light rail. Did you guys not misunderstand?

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

65% to buses

The rest future rail.


9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing down South Blvd. and check out the folks waiting on the bus. That's who'll be riding the train. It's gonna be hilarious when the yuppies have to intermingle with the urban poor.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Towering Inferno....Good One !

More like total concrete, glass and steel constuction, no gas lines, highest anti fire rated drywall, a fireescape stairwell right outside my door and 10 sprinkler heads in my unit alone.

So aside from a jet crashing into it I don't think I'm going anywhere Mr. House Built Entirely Of Wood.

Oh, by the way, it was just a movie............

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess everybody agreed with me.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally Chris !

Thanks for moving down here and helping us fight this ultra conservative agenda. We are finally stopping them out. Within a few more years they will be nothing more than a myth.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Leigh said...

If you guys don't like your immature name-calling comments being deleted, I invite you to move on to another blog. Really. --Blog administrator

12:38 PM  

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