When you throw your hat in the political ring, as my colleague Mark Enloe recently has, the media come calling. A recent interview for the Raleigh Public Record, a non-profit Internet news outlet, gives a good sampling of the issues that Mark is promoting in his campaign.
It is interesting to compare Mark’s answer to the incumbent mayor’s answer to one question in particular: what brought you to Raleigh? Enloe states that N.C. State University brought him to Raleigh after growing up in Moore county, and he planted roots in the community after college. In contrast, Charles Meeker states that Raleigh is close to the beach in his RPR interview.
A mayor is a city’s ambassador, and when a mayor says he likes his city because it is close to something else, what does that say about the city? Maybe Meeker should consider running for mayor of Wilmington, Hatteras, or Kill Devil Hills.
Truthfully, Meeker has a point. Raleigh, and RTP as a whole, is a pretty boring place. The schools are pretty good here, the economy is pretty steady, and our three universities draw a wide range of cultural events to the area. And, yes, we are close to the beach. But is there anything here that is really world class? When we have guests from out of town, we are often hard-pressed to recommend anything for them to do. Certainly, there are no you-must-see-this-before-you-die attractions here, in my opinion.
Can Enloe, Meeker, or anyone else change Raleigh’s, or the Triangle’s, boring image? Maybe, maybe not. But if you start from the premise that Raleigh’s best attribute is it’s short distance to the shore, I don’t think you are the right person to really change things.
A few years ago, a group of Durham up-and-comers started the “Durham, Love Yourself” campaign. When you love your city, warts and all, that is a really good place to start from to change things. Enloe has that kind of spirit, I believe.
On a completely different note, REI staff take note: Mark is one of your best customers, so it wouldn’t hurt to pony up some campaign cash…or at least give him some new threads.