Liberal Raleigh Mayor, Charles Meeker, has pushed his one-track agenda on taxpayers since he was first elected in 2001. After taking full control of city council four years ago, he and his band of tax and spenders have focused on rebuilding Fayetteville Street and virtually ignoring the rest of the North Carolina capital city.
The problem isn't that they merely wanted to re-open and fix up Raleigh's former "Main Street", it's that Meeker and company spent hundreds of millions of tax monies on turning a dilapidated area into the city's focal point, forcing it to become a destination spot.
Not only did the city re-open and fix up the street, but it also build an over budget convention center, a city plaza, and an expensive hotel. While the rest of Raleigh had to wait its turn for repairs and basic services, Raleigh "invested" city tax dollars into a top drawer restaurant called The Mint.
The Mint describes itself as an "adult-themed dining and entertainment, catering to sophisticated and professional adults". Raleigh simply cannot afford to be so picky about its downtown customer base, especially when the eatery was largely paid for on the backs of hard working taxpayers, most of whom cannot afford to dine there. According to a recent article in the Triangle Business Journal, the Mint is now losing business.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, also in downtown, sits an eyesore you won't hear Mayor Meeker talk about. Tarboro Street is the source of drugs, gambling, and prostitution. It's near a local college, St. Augustine's, and the North Carolina Governor's Mansion. According a Raleigh News and Observer editorial, "disturbing crime patterns on the street show that it's a world away from those historic landmarks."
Further, there have been three murders in the past three years on Tarboro Street alone. A Raleigh City police officer owned a rental house that was the subject of numerous complaints by local residents regarding domestic violence, drugs, and prostitution.
On Fayetteville Street, Raleigh and its taxpayers most certainly will lose money on every one of these projects. As for how much and when, it is too early to tell. Your blogger will be discussing this issue for some time to come, so please watch this space for updates to this story.
Editor's Note: Joey Stansbury, a lifelong Raleigh resident and fellow conservative blogger, contributed to this report.