Charlotte Mayor pressuring colleagues to vote his way? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte Mayor pressuring colleagues to vote his way?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

There is drama happening on Charlotte city council over the streetcar and Mayor Anthony Foxx is responding. At-Large council member Claire Fallon accused Foxx of threatening her politically if she doesn't support the $119 million streetcar project.

"He told me he wanted it," Fallon said. "And that he was not happy with me and that there would be somebody to run against me."

The mayor's office says Foxx is disappointed council members would talk to the media and not to him.

The mayor realizes at this point the street car is so divisive, he just wants a plan that seven or more council members can agree on.  He also says the plan doesn't have to include the street car project.

The drama started when Fallon said Foxx wants Council member James Mitchell to run for an at-large seat to oust her from her seat next year. Mitchell says he is considering running for an at-large seat but not to seek revenge.

"We run to serve," Mitchell said. "And offer our citizens the best way to run this city forward. If anyone would think that anyone is running to get rid of James Mitchell or David Howard or a Claire Fallon that's not true, and I don't want the citizens to buy into that."

In addition to the alleged threat, there are reports the community is being told if council members vote against the streetcar, those council members are turning their backs on the minority community.

"The stress of our budget process has pushed people's buttons," Council member Michael Barnes said. "And has caused a lot of stress. You got feelings being hurt right now."

The controversial streetcar project would raise taxes - about three percent for taxpayers, that's something Fallon can't support.

"I am not sending anybody over the edge that's on the edge," Fallon said. "And there are a lot of people in this town on the edge, alright. They are up to here with taxes."

Barnes believes Charlotte can't handle paying for the streetcar alone.  He wants other partners before moving forward on the streetcar.

"We should work collectively," Barnes said.  "With Republicans and Demo carts to secure funding to deal with paying for the streetcar."

Mitchell believes the city can't wait for that to happen.

"The challenge among this city council," Mitchell said.  "How do we accomplish things on a local level that we can control and not wait on Raleigh or Washington DC for funding."

The mayor has scheduled a meeting for all the council members against the street car project.

A vote on the streetcar takes place December 17th.

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