CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Some controversy as Charlotte City Council approved a $50 million grant to fund security for the Republican National Convention.
Some council members say the city needs to re-think plans to host the convention, given the coronavirus pandemic.
The approval passed narrowly, by a 6-5 vote on Monday night, during a virtual meeting.
“We need to stop this charade right now,” council member Braxton Winston told fellow council members before the vote.
He voted against accepting the grant.
“We should not tell our city staff, or CMPD to use our resources to plan for something that we know, we know, is not going to happen,” Winston said.
Other council members agreed.
“We know we’re in a new world here. A new paradigm. We don’t want to be the epicenter of the next outbreak, we don’t want to offer up our city as a petri dish,” said council member Matt Newton.
A slight majority of council members ended up agreeing to accept the money, arguing if the convention did happen, the city might end up stuck with a $50 million security bill.
“I do understand a lot of the controversy and emotion around the convention and so on, but the suggestion that we might contemplate not accepting this grant, is just beyond reason,” said council member Ed Driggs.
“I think there is a fiduciary responsibility to move forward with supplying the necessary means and methods to make sure that it is a success,” said council member Malcolm Graham.
The city and CMPD are moving forward.
“Absolutely. That is the primary priority in the planning right now, is for a genuine convention that would be full scale,” CMPD Chief Kerr Putney told council members.