Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican leadership that is most responsible for House Bill 2 tossed that football — well, hand grenade might be a more apt metaphor — back to the Charlotte City Council last week, but on Monday the Queen City’s mayor said they have no interest in playing.
With the General Election 48 days away and McCrory locked in a race against Attorney General Roy Cooper that is now a coin flip, the governor is looking for a face-saving out on the legislation that is causing North Carolina national embarrassment as well as costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue through lost jobs, canceled entertainment and the departure of high-profile college and professional sporting events.
There are more shoes that will drop so the losses will only continue to mount.
And it’s all because of a city ordinance that was not needed and a legislative overreaction that wasn’t either.
McCrory on Friday cracked open the door for a negotiated compromise, saying that if the Charlotte City Council would repeal its local ordinance, that he would call for a special session of the General Assembly during which he would push to have House Bill 2 rescinded.
But on Monday, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts quickly doused the state’s collective hopes for a solution.
“We urge the state to take action as soon as possible and encourage continued dialogue with the broader community,” Roberts said in a statement.
While HB2 has been blasted as a solution to a problem that didn’t exist, so is the Charlotte ordinance that was the first domino that triggered the “bathroom bill” and one gut shot after another to the state’s economy. Why did the Charlotte City Council insist on acting when it knew full well what the state’s response would be? Where are these transgender people who were being denied access to the bathroom of their choosing?
We are disappointed Charlotte didn’t respond to McCrory’s offer by saying it was at least a starting point for a conversation. The city has lost the NBA all-star game for 2017, the ACC championship football game for this year, hundreds of jobs, and would benefit greatly if there could be a compromise that would satisfy everyone.
But this staring contest is now about egos, with neither side willing to be seen as the weaker of the two adversaries.
Both sides would be wise to listen to the people they serve. An Elon University poll released this week found that half of North Carolinians oppose House Bill 2 and a higher percentage, 60 percent, believe it is hurting the state’s economy. The other 40 percent apparently don’t read or listen to the news.
McCrory, his fellow Republicans who call the shots in Raleigh, and the Charlotte City Council could all declare themselves winners if a path could be found that rids this state of of this legislation that is hurtful in multiple ways. They have given us separate solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist.
How about finding a solution to a problem that obviously does exist?