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      WARNING!   07/26/16

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Miesian Corners

The City Committee

26 posts in this topic

Back in late November, I was invited to a "brainstorming" session for the Charlotte "City Committee" at the Charlotte Chamber. I went, knowing nothing of the history of the group. Upon entering the room, I was immediately taken back by the extreme WASPY feel of the group. There was no color in the room beyond the three people with dark hair. The City Committe has been using Richard Florida's book "Rise of the Creative Class" as its mantra for making Charlotte hip, cool and trendy. Problem is, it appears they didn't read the whole book. Florida maintains that hip cities need a good dose of multiculturalism for them to succeed. They also need a substantial gay prescence. I saw neither at the Charlotte Chamber meeting.

I am curious if anyone on UP is involved? I am having mixed feelings about being a part of the group. Methinks they don't practice what they preach.

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Back in late November, I was invited to a "brainstorming" session for the Charlotte "City Committee" at the Charlotte Chamber. I went, knowing nothing of the history of the group. Upon entering the room, I was immediately taken back by the extreme WASPY feel of the group. There was no color in the room beyond the three people with dark hair. The City Committe has been using Richard Florida's book "Rise of the Creative Class" as its mantra for making Charlotte hip, cool and trendy. Problem is, it appears they didn't read the whole book. Florida maintains that hip cities need a good dose of multiculturalism for them to succeed. They also need a substantial gay prescence. I saw neither at the Charlotte Chamber meeting.

I am curious if anyone on UP is involved? I am having mixed feelings about being a part of the group. Methinks they don't practice what they preach.

They pretty much take all volunteers with open arms, but they don't seem to get many multi-cultural volunteers. I'm sure they'd be happy to have someone volunteer to help with a recruiting effort to increase diversity...

:)

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hmmm... sounds like the illuminati. i have heard nothing of the group or meetings in which you speak. do you think that their influence could really be felt in the city? if so, i hope that despite the groop's lack of diversity - you will continue to participate. sounds as if you might be one of the few voices of reason. however, if they start passing out robes - for gods sake, run, miesian.

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^My question is how hard have they tried to recruit? I spoke with someone from the Afro-Am Center who had never heard of the group. She said she was sure that she knew of people who would be interested. If the Afro-Am Center hasn't heard about the Committe, has the Urban League or the Gay and Lesbian Center?

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hmmm... sounds like the illuminati. i have heard nothing of the group or meetings in which you speak. do you think that their influence could really be felt in the city? if so, i hope that despite the groop's lack of diversity - you will continue to participate. sounds as if you might be one of the few voices of reason. however, if they start passing out robes - for gods sake, run, miesian.

Well, Cinco, I am also a quater Jewish. Maybe my 1/4 pulls the Illuminati into the fold, while at the same time, bringing down the WASP quotient by a small margin. ;)

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That post makes me think UptownGrrl might work with them. Maybe she has some dirt.

:lol: Ha - sorry to disappoint, but no dirt to speak of. It's not a secret society or anything! I have worked with the City Committee for awhile and am happy to offer my perspective. First, the purpose and history of the group is broader than just courting the creative class, making Charlotte hip, trendy and cool and other related discussions (though that seems to be what the media focuses on when City Committee is mentioned). Developing, supporting and growing a strong economic/employment base for the future of the region is just one of the major focus areas in which the group is taking an active role.

From what I understand, the group started several years ago with the idea of creating opportunities for Charlotte's next generation of leadership. Sometimes if you look around at who runs the major institutions around here, you see a lot of (stereo)typical 'old Charlotte', without much opportunity for younger people to get involved (unless its through a young leaders auxilliary of an established organization). So, one group decided to be independent, show some initiative and get stuff done. I got involved when I read a profile article on one of the founders where he mentioned some of the group's projects. I hadn't heard of the City Committee, but I liked what they were doing, so I found the guy's email address and told him I was interested. Like so many other things, you can't just wait for a polite invitation, you show some initiative and plug yourself into the process.

The City Committee isn't a traditional membership organization in the sense of recruiting members and holding monthly meetings. It's much more project-based. The projects are staffed with volunteers and there are no restrictions on volunteering other than an interest in the mission and the ability to make a contribution of your time and talents. Often, the City Committee acts as more of a clearinghouse to match civic-oriented projects and willing volunteers. We use our budget for our projects and don't do a lot of self-serving marketing; so it can be a challenge to get the word out about involvement opportunities. Its often just done on a personal basis when you meet someone who shares the same interest in Charlotte's future. Personally, I've invited several folks to get involved on the basis of their ideas and enthusiasm and have met people from all sorts of backgrounds at City Committee events. It's less about one's demographic category and more about a common interest in Charlotte.

The bottom line is that its open to anyone who shows the initiative for active participation. And, being that it was founded on the idea of bringing new perspectives to some of the more traditional ways of doing business in Charlotte, I've found the group to be very welcoming of alternative, diverse and inclusive viewpoints.

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^Glad to hear it Grrl. But the question remains, why is it overwhelmingly white? If the college weekend things actually happens (inviting college kids to Charlotte for a weekend in March to see how "cool" we are), who will go to Morehouse or Howard to celebrate living in the Queen City?

I'm all for what the Committee is trying to accomplish, but I just wish they'd reach out a little more. I happen to think living in a city with more than straight white folks is a little more interesting than one that's Wonder Bread central. This is a real opportunity to help change what is often considered one of the negatives of living here...namely, lack of diversity.

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^The City Committe has been using Richard Florida's book "Rise of the Creative Class" as its mantra for making Charlotte hip, cool and trendy.

I really hope they get beyond this book. Florida's theories that were put forth were later deemed to be complete failures when put to the test. Unfortunately the press picked up on it and in their typical poor reporting these days, proclaimed that cities had to be full of artists, drag queens and starbucks in order to be successfull (OK I am being dramatic but you get the point) So we got rankings of "creative cities" that listed the good places but never mind they were losing people and jobs. It's absolutely flabberghasting how many "leaders" bought into this without doing a little checking around.

This idea of Florida's that for a place to be successful it must be multi-cultural is also a pile of c**p. Multi-culturalism in its essence is a failure of society to let people who are different assimilate into the general society. Assimilation does two things. It gives everyone a sense of general belonging and the greater society is enriched by the variety. Multi-culturalism is really defacto discrimination because of the labels it places on people. I am not saying that it would not be great to have a Chinatown, but as long as the majority refers to people as being in the Chinese community, then you have exclusion.

In its extreme form multi-culturalism can tear a society apart as the French are discovering these days with the Muslim community in France. It is a failure of the majority to accept the minorities.

The same argument can be made for Gay & Lesbians in Charlotte. Gays & Lesbians don't want to be included in whatever simply because they happen to be Gay and Lesbian. They want to be included because they are members of the community. However as long as we listen to people like Florida, and segregate people by their demographics, you are never going to get wide participation in commitiees such as this. People don't feel they belong and instead prefer to devote their time towards organizations that make more of a difference in their lives. In my case this means that I have always volunteered on Gay and Lesbian related projects in CLT because we have to take care of ourselves.

That is why you have WASPy committee. I always find it interesting to see the so called lemming "civic leaders" interviewed on TV about this subject. They always focus on what a great thing they are doing in the CBD, i.e. yuppites sipping on Frappacinos, yet somehow they always miss the point this area represents about 1% of the city's population.

MC you are probably right they are not practicing what they preach. However if you choose to remain with this group, my recommendation is to throw out Florida's book, forget what you read in it, and instead to work to remove the labels. There probably won't be much stomach for that however.

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I went to a couple of there meetings and was apparently on their email list for a while. I do have blonde hair and blue eyes so perhaps a conspiracy is afoot! I always felt a little young to be there though. As much as they talk about making Charlotte a cool place for college students the place didn't seem too welcoming for those under 25 but that's no big deal I guess. On one note though, during the initial brain storming sessions with the "Creative consultant" they hired she remarked that Charlotte was the only city she had been to in which every small group had expressed a desire to have a more visible gay and lesbian group and an environment that is more gay friendly, which apparently impressed her. So that kind of goes against the traditional WASP attitude. However, I don't believe racial diversity was discussed.

All in all, I got hit on by a couple of girls while I was there which was cool. I think some of those people consider it somewhat of a dating service. When those girls found out I was still in school though things went south. It also seems as if they were always doing golf fundraisers of some sort, I don't play golf so I never bothered attending those. They had an intranet which could be accessed with a pin number but I don't recall it ever having anything informative up there.

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^My question is how hard have they tried to recruit? I spoke with someone from the Afro-Am Center who had never heard of the group. She said she was sure that she knew of people who would be interested. If the Afro-Am Center hasn't heard about the Committe, has the Urban League or the Gay and Lesbian Center?

Well, I am a member of the Young Professionals Auxiliary of the National Urban League of the Central Carolinas, and I learned about City Committee by way of an article on the organization in the Charlotte Observer a few months back. Don't really know anything about the organization beyond that though.

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^Glad to hear it Grrl. But the question remains, why is it overwhelmingly white? If the college weekend things actually happens (inviting college kids to Charlotte for a weekend in March to see how "cool" we are), who will go to Morehouse or Howard to celebrate living in the Queen City?

I'm all for what the Committee is trying to accomplish, but I just wish they'd reach out a little more. I happen to think living in a city with more than straight white folks is a little more interesting than one that's Wonder Bread central. This is a real opportunity to help change what is often considered one of the negatives of living here...namely, lack of diversity.

But, and I don't want to sound like a Scrooge here around Christmas, at what point are people expected to show a little initiative of their own and actually start actively seeking out opportunities and volunteering for things? Somewhere along the line our civic duty of participating and being responsible (regardless of background or race) has been shifted to the organizations themselves not engaging us. It isn't like the City Committee hasn't been in the papers, and on the television, a half dozen times and can be Googled quite easily.

I'm in several volunteer organizations and we're constantly pressing to get better multi-cultural representation but very few people ever seem to respond. In fact, those people that are not recruited but come of their own initiative are the ones that seem to show up regularly and get stuff done. I think it is all fine and dandy to advocate "reaching out" from the armchair with good intentions. However, it is very, very difficult in practice to generate enthusiasm out of apathy. It is all very frustrating.

I'm challenging (double dog dare) anyone who thinks an organization needs more diversity to join that organization and promote the change.

:)

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^The City Committe has been using Richard Florida's book "Rise of the Creative Class" as its mantra for making Charlotte hip, cool and trendy.

The city committee is a bit conrtived to me. Its seems to me that hip, cool, and trendy are naturally occuring. Can a committee make it happen? I'm not too sure. To an extent it is already happening, ie: NoDa and South End. While i appreciate the efforts of the group, i feel its an uphill battle.

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I'm challenging (double dog dare) anyone who thinks an organization needs more diversity to join that organization and promote the change.

:)

This is exactly the wrong attitude. When a group thinks it is so important that it places fault on the potential volunteers because they are not joining, I would argue the organization deserves to die. Volunteers are rare, valuable and the only asset that makes most organizations work. Successful organizations figure out how to attract them. Remember the complaining here is being done by an organization that is too lilly white even for its own tastes. And the problem is that nobody else cares.

There are many successful organizations in town that do attract from a wide range of backgrounds. I am a member of several of them.

Successful and relevant organizations do several things to make it work properly.

  • They right off adopt a set of policies & traditions that define the organization. These should be kept simple, put into writing and made available to anyone. They are never changed unless the group as a whole decides to make the change.

  • The group or organization needs to stay focused on their primary goal, once that is defined, and don't stray off on other endeavers, stay out of politics, and stay out of religious discussion. These last two items are good for killing many organizations.

  • They have to learn to quit labeling people which, as I said above, leads to judgements that drive people off. I would never bother to join group in Charlotte that was looking for token Gays.

  • There has to be some common ground that everyone can identify with regardless of their background.

  • The best groups have no leadership positions, but if leaders have to be chosen for tax reasons, their roles should be limited to administering the tax incorporation and there should be a limit to how long they can hold these positions.

  • Don't run it like a business. It isn't a business and the people doing the work are not paid.

  • Everyone has to be given the feeling they can come in and speak their mind and not be looked down because of it. Along with this people have to also leave their prejudices and expectations at the door. That is why the first bullet here is so important.

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We've all heard of them and they got a lot of attention in the media, but it mostly seemed like a booster club out to stroke the egos of young management types who feel self conscious for not living in San Francisco.

What does the City Committee do that would make me want to split the time I spend at my other volunteer activities? I don't want to exchange business cards or play golf or watch dudes compare their 3 series BMWs or whatever it is that "young professionals" do with each other when they get into groups. How is their money spent? What have the done so far to improve the community? What do they plan to do? Why don't they have a webpage?

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We've all heard of them and they got a lot of attention in the media, but it mostly seemed like a booster club out to stroke the egos of young management types who feel self conscious for not living in San Francisco.

What does the City Committee do that would make me want to split the time I spend at my other volunteer activities? I don't want to exchange business cards or play golf or watch dudes compare their 3 series BMWs or whatever it is that "young professionals" do with each other when they get into groups. How is their money spent? What have the done so far to improve the community? What do they plan to do? Why don't they have a webpage?

I agree with most if not all of the "anti" city committee comments, especially having a committee to make us cool. That's so uncool. I'd go on a primal rant, but we have ahouse full of kids and dogs for the holidays and I'm so busy I don't have time to watch city/county council re-runs.

Anyway, they have a site which is run by the Chamber, registered with Network Solutions and is not compatible with Firefox. Ironically or expectedly, that is so NOT cool. Seems this sort of activity would drive cool people away.

http://www.charlottecitycommittee.com/Home...77/Default.aspx

Check out the leadership link and you'll see why we could never be cool with these preppies driving the agenda.

I have no holiday cheer for these so self-proclaimed leaders.

I feel better now. Thanks UP.

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We've all heard of them and they got a lot of attention in the media, but it mostly seemed like a booster club out to stroke the egos of young management types who feel self conscious for not living in San Francisco.

What does the City Committee do that would make me want to split the time I spend at my other volunteer activities? I don't want to exchange business cards or play golf or watch dudes compare their 3 series BMWs or whatever it is that "young professionals" do with each other when they get into groups. How is their money spent? What have the done so far to improve the community? What do they plan to do? Why don't they have a webpage?

Geeze, you guys jump to a lot of conclusions about peoples' personality traits based on a few stray comments. Take it easy.

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The City Committee may sincerely be trying to make Charlotte more open to progressive ideals and that is to be encouraged. But, they can talk about that for all eternity and nothing will improve because the political system in Charlotte is so conservatively ingrained and reactionary. The cities that are making great strides in attracting younger educated people have progessive or at least moderate Mayors and administrations that make diverse groups feel welcome: San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and our archrival Atlanta. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is a disgusting homophobe who refused to sign a standard welcome letter For The Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Dinner even when the event was co-sponsored by Bank of America and Wachovia! You can say that the Mayor has very little practical power but Mayors set the tone of the cities they oversee and because of McCrory, Charlotte is seen as anti-gay and regressive.The Mayor is deeply entrenched along with his bigoted ideology, not to mention Bill James...I don't see how the City Committee can overcome this orthodoxy.

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Geeze, you guys jump to a lot of conclusions about peoples' personality traits based on a few stray comments. Take it easy.

They can't be all bad since they have a link to UrbanPlanet so I will give them the benefit of the doubt except the only event they have listed for 2006 is on about "Living Large". (maybe they missed the movie) :shades:

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^Glad to hear it Grrl. But the question remains, why is it overwhelmingly white? If the college weekend things actually happens (inviting college kids to Charlotte for a weekend in March to see how "cool" we are), who will go to Morehouse or Howard to celebrate living in the Queen City?

I'm all for what the Committee is trying to accomplish, but I just wish they'd reach out a little more. I happen to think living in a city with more than straight white folks is a little more interesting than one that's Wonder Bread central. This is a real opportunity to help change what is often considered one of the negatives of living here...namely, lack of diversity.

I go to Morehouse...and I celebrate life in the QUEEN CITY everyday...lol!

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Just curious, does anyone know what happened to the City Committee? The website's still up, but hasn't been updated since 2006. Are we now a committee-less city?

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I don't think it's functioning in name anymore but The Knight Foundation and Fund for Carolinas is doing similar work these days. It fell apart over concerns that trying to be "cool" is not "cool" and having a "committee" is really not "cool". Cool? They are trying to make it more organic and encompassing of people outside of the suit and tie crowd.

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I don't think it's functioning in name anymore but The Knight Foundation and Fund for Carolinas is doing similar work these days. It fell apart over concerns that trying to be "cool" is not "cool" and having a "committee" is really not "cool". Cool? They are trying to make it more organic and encompassing of people outside of the suit and tie crowd.

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Well maybe that's the new strategy! Don't do anything. Tried everything else maybe this will work. We have dicussed this before but maybe Charlotte's uniqueness is it's lack of "cool". Austin has UT and and a raging music scene, Portland has green living down and awesome walkability. Charlotte has...uh a committee...? Not too cool I guess. Oh I forgot our new branding " Charlotte's got a lot!" :rofl: yeah lots of surface lots! Come visit them!

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Well maybe that's the new strategy! Don't do anything. Tried everything else maybe this will work. We have dicussed this before but maybe Charlotte's uniqueness is it's lack of "cool". Austin has UT and and a raging music scene, Portland has green living down and awesome walkability. Charlotte has...uh a committee...? Not too cool I guess. Oh I forgot our new branding " Charlotte's got a lot!" :rofl: yeah lots of surface lots! Come visit them!

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