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September 22, 2016

The Blue Mayor Problem: Bill Peduto and Blue-City Mayors Run the Police Depts Killing Black Men

Red State, Blue City North Carolina state politics have fascinated me for a few years.

North Carolina is a Red State, with a Republican governor and a Republican legislator. The biggest city is Charlotte, NC - a Blue City with a consistently Democratic body of elected officials.

In this - a Republican state with a Republican rural zone and Democratic cities - it represents a lot of American politics, and possibly provides a preview of where American local-state politics is going.

The Charlotte airport is a money-maker, a tax-collector, a source of jobs for people and contracts for businesses. It's a power center which has been operated by the City of Charlotte since 1937. The State of NC wanted to move the power center away from the City/Region and into the State's hands, so the State formed an Airport Commission to take over the airport. Charlotte said: we don't think so.

Major brouhaha. At one time, there were two separate airport commissions (City and State) each claiming Authority over the Airport. City and State looked to the Feds to choose, and the Feds wisely said: This is not my circus, y'all decide.

Then President Obama selected a new Secy. of Transportation - who happened to be the mayor of CLT. Lots of sturm and drang, ending up with: seems like CLT still runs the airport, although the State intends to keep chipping away.

It's an illustration of Red-State, Blue-City politics. Cute sidebar: The Red-State airport panel tried hard to bury a lot of poisonous coal ash under the runway and taxiway projects at the airport. Stuff like that.

Then the City passed an ordinance expanding their LGBT laws to address transgender issues and the use of bathrooms. In response, the State passed a law insisting people go poop in the bathroom consistent with their birth certificate, and also specified that no local ordinance could trump the state ordinance.

This is why the NBA, the NCAA, and a lot of people are avoiding NC. Meanwhile if you are a transgender person flying American Airlines and get diverted into CLT, figuring out where to pee is very stressful. Interestingly, all the boycott action hurts Charlotte more than the State. Funny.

The police departments killing black men are in cities.
City government is often Democratic

Now a Charlotte police officer has shot and killed a black man, who was reading a book in his car, waiting to pick up his kid at school. Doesn't get much more American than that. This is a debacle, a tragedy, both in the instance and in the great multitude of these killings.

The NC Governor has declared a state of emergency in Charlotte, and will send the National Guard and State Police into the City. You have to understand how happy the Red-State is to send armed forces into the Blue-City, for so many reasons. The Red-State was having trouble taking over the airport; now they're going to take over the whole city. #ThrowMeInThatBriarPatch

  • Taking over the city reinforces the Red-State base's opinions about Blue-City politics and government.
  • Demonstrating to the African-American community that they suffer tremendously under the leadership of Blue-City Democratic leadership is a perfect wedge issue for the Republicans.

Because if you look at it, Blue-City politics are a coalition of Black voters, educated Women voters, and young people who cluster around Universities. Demonstrating that Blue-City democrats run the police departments which kill Black Men is a legitimate wedge issue that is easily demonstrated in cities across America.

Blue-City Democrats run the police departments killing black men.
Blue-City Democrats run the cities displacing black people

Even Donald Trump has seen the rhetorical opportunity, saying to black voters: Why do you support these Democratic leaders? Look at how they're treating you! They're killing you!

When urban cops kill a black man, those cops usually report to a Democratic mayor or country executive. Those officials, and the urban Democratic party in general, will not survive or win elections without the Black vote. And yet, Black Americans are being killed by police departments that work for Democratic officials.

Consider Blue-City Pittsburgh's Racial Performance

Each of the recent Mayoral administrations has seen forced economic dislocation of Black Americans out of Pittsburgh. Police-on-Black violence is a Pittsburgh problem.

This is Pittsburgh's problem. This is Bill Peduto's problem. We notice: the Pittsburgh FOP endorsed Trump, and has expressed No-Confidence in Peduto's Chief. Bill Peduto is another Blue-City leader who is not in charge of their police department. I have to imagine Peduto falls asleep at night hoping, Please don't let it happen here.

The question is: who seizes the initiative and defines the moment? Will Blue-City leadership exert control over their police departments, or will continued police killings dissolve the Democratic base?


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