Local Politics

Raleigh mayor: 'We are doing something right'

Posted March 3

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— Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane highlighted the city's progress in her annual State of the City address Friday night.

“We have always been and will always be a welcoming community to everyone who comes here,” McFarlane said.

She said things are looking up for Raleigh, with more people moving to the city. It's now listed among the best in the nation to live and work.

In 2016 there was more than $800 million in business investment.

But the mayor also discussed the setbacks she said the city has faced.

“We had some unexpected challenges this year,” McFarlane said. “It took the form of House Bill 2.”

House Bill 2 requires people in the state to use public restrooms that match their birth gender listed on their birth certificate. It also excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections. Citing the bill, some organizations have kept events and jobs from North Carolina.

“This is not us, and this is not Raleigh,” McFarlane said.

Sources told WRAL, an un-named business has plans to bring up to 1,500 more jobs with salaries averaging $100,000 to Wake County. But the investment is contingent on the repeal of HB2. State lawmakers have yet to reach a compromise on the bill.

Mayor McFarlane said she can't comment on that report. But she said the full economic effect of HB2 on the city is difficult to measure.

“It’s difficult because we don’t know who to talk to,” McFarlane said.

In terms of moving forward, McFarlane said she wants to focus on affordable housing and improving police relations.

“Raleigh, I led a series of community conversations,” McFarlane said. “And together, we can make sure that Raleigh continues to be the city that we love.”

McFarlane also mentioned a a citizen survey, which was given last year. Ninety-one percent of people called Raleigh a "good" or "excellent" place to live.

The most popular complaint was traffic. McFarlane said there is work on a transit plan that aims to fix that.

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  • John Paul Bertke Mar 3, 11:26 p.m.
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    Mayor McFarlane is right: we all have a problem here: it is the 2016 Republican general assembly bill, HB2. And worse, these Republicans remain clueless about the financial and reputational damage they have caused to our city and state. Astoundingly, they are still talking about a "compromise". There is no "compromise". We need a complete repeal of HB2, this most damaging piece of legislation in state history. Only a complete repeal will show the outside business world that we regret and have corrected this mistake, and deserve their re-consideration. I would also like to see Phil Berger come out of hiding in the shadows and make a public apology to North Carolina residents for his leadership role in this epic disaster!