Editorial: New Orleans parties thanks to NC legislature's HB2 folly
Posted 5:00 a.m. Friday
Updated 5:40 a.m. Friday
A CBC Editorial: Friday, Feb. 17, 2017; Editorial# 8126
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Need a hotel room in Charlotte this weekend? No problem. There are vacancies galore and deals to be had.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way.
This weekend Charlotte was supposed to shine – hotels booked solid, restaurants packed and streets teeming with big-spending out-of-towners and locals taking part in the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities. Charlotte and North Carolina should have been basking in the glow of the national media spotlight showing how to roll out a warm and welcoming red carpet.
But, thanks to North Carolina’s former governor and the hard-headed Republican leaders of the state legislature, all the NBA talk this weekend is about New Orleans. We’re reading and hearing reports of a carnival atmosphere that’s not just generating excitement for the city now hosting the NBA festivities but also paving the way for one of the biggest Mardi Gras seasons the city has ever seen.
Adding insult to injury, we’ll then be reading time and again WHY all this great stuff is going on in New Orleans. It is because our former governor and the legislature passed an ill-conceived law – inaccurately nicknamed a “bathroom bill” that is, in its essence and intent, much more. HB2 legalized discrimination, including in employment, limited the authority of local governments and even restricts the minimum wage. It makes it legal to treat LGBT individuals as second-class citizens.
Charlotte and North Carolina’s red carpet of welcome was gone. It was more than the NBA would tolerate and, after the state refused to repeal HB2, it moved the event out of Charlotte to New Orleans.
Instead of a $100 million infusion into Charlotte and North Carolina’s economy, New Orleans and Louisiana will be enjoying a $114 million economic boost – including $8.2 million in state and local taxes. Every one of the city’s 24,000 downtown hotel rooms is booked.
New Orleans owes a huge thank you to ex-Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republicans Phil Berger and Tim Moore, for cooking up House Bill 2 and its license to discriminate. And as many other organizations have followed the NBA’s lead, it is blind partisanship and dictatorial stubbornness that continue to prompt the legislative leaders to permit the discrimination and economic terrorism that has so dearly cost our state’s hard-earned reputation.
Berger, Moore and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, HB2’s biggest boosters, know that the issue isn’t about bathroom safety. It’s an ideological and political wedge issue that has back-fired terribly.
But rather than face that reality, they’re doubling down. They’ve spurned Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s overtures for compromise and dismissed pleas for repeal from business, marketing and economic development executives.
In the midst of the hotly competitive ACC basketball season, the only thing you can hear UNC Coach Roy Williams, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and N.C. State Coach Mark Gottfried agree on is that HB2 is “stupid,” hurts North Carolina and its athletic programs and needs to be repealed.
So, as we’re watching, listening and reading about the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in New Orleans, we don’t want anyone to lament what might have been. Make your statement loud and clear.
To the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians who oppose HB2, who cringe when our state is portrayed as the epitome of discrimination and intolerance, pick up the phone, send a letter, write an email or make a post to social media and let the legislative leadership know that HB2 needs to be repealed now. Below are some links to help you do that.
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham: 16 W. Jones St. Room 2007, Raleigh, NC 27601-2808; (919) 733-5708; EMAIL -- Phil.Berger@ncleg.net; and FACEBOOK
House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland: 16 W. Jones St. Room 2304,
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096; (919) 733-3451; EMAIL -- Tim.Moore@ncleg.net; FACEBOOK