CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte City Council listened to options Monday after some community members demanded that they pull out of hosting the Republican National Convention in August 2020.
This comes after President Donald Trump’s rally in Greenville, North Carolina when the crowd chanted, “Send her back.”
Charlotte will still host the RNC after city officials looked at contract options Monday.
GOP officials are already in Charlotte preparing for the event and millions have been raised by the host committee.
The city attorney told the council the only way they can get out of hosting the convention is if a party breaches the contract or if the city intentionally breaches the contract.
“I don't believe you will be able to walk away from this contract even if you were willing to pay the financial penalties,” city attorney Patrick Baker said. “I don't believe you would be allowed to walk away.”
Even if the city went down that route, the city attorney said the RNC could get a judge to force the city to honor the contract and host the convention.
“When it came time to stand up against the hate, you chose financial opportunity,” said resident Diana Levitt, who opposes the RNC in Charlotte. “Much like a teenager foregoing their values with no regard for the consequences or impact on others.”
The Charlotte City Council voted 9-2 Monday night to condemn President Donald Trump's "racist and xenophobic social media posts and comments" and "all hate speech, bigotry, racism and discrimination wherever it may occur, especially in the highest levels of government."
Mayor Vi Lyles added the resolution to the regular meeting agenda.
It is a symbolic resolution, but it is one likely to get a lot of attention because of the convention next year.
“We are telling the White House, ‘Racism, xenophobia and hate will not be tolerated,’” Dimple Ajmera, D-At-large, said.
The resolution condemning past remarks by Trump passed along party lines. Several Democrats mentioned it is the least the council can do. Republicans said the council should be focusing on local issues.
“We can’t engage the housing and homelessness groups and the affordable housing decision-making process to something that is acceptable, yet we can sit back here for the last four days and come up with the perfect wording that a majority of people will be OK with,” Tariq Bokari, R-District 6, said.
After the resolution passed, several people in the chamber started to applaud until Lyles told them to stop, saying it was inappropriate.
It isn't the first time that the council has tried to pass a resolution against Trump. Ajmera tried to do it in 2017, but her efforts were rejected and deemed too political.
RNC would be a boost to Charlotte’s economy
Channel Nine has been looking into exactly what the city could lose if it backs out of the Republican National Convention.
We spoke to a UNC Charlotte professor who is an expert on conventions; Eric Heberlig said the RNC is expected to bring in about $200 million for the city, but that's not all.
“It's new money to Charlotte,” Heberlig said. “It’s a boost to our economy because it’s not money that was here to begin with,” said Heberlig, who is a political science professor.
He wrote the book: “American Cities and the Politics of Party Conventions.”
In addition to the money spent by delegates and fundraisers, the city is receiving millions in upgrades to the arena and airport from the host committee.
The federal government also provided $50 million to local law enforcement for security upgrades.
“Police get to keep the equipment, Heberlig said. “All the telecommunications upgrades that are done, that remains for people to take advantage of. All the paved streets. All the hotel renovations, airport renovations. Those are all permanent investments in the city.”
Heberlig said there's also the advertising power of the Queen City on a national stage.
“I think the bigger risk for Charlotte is the reputational blow. To say we are going to host this big event and then renege on it, part of the reason you're hosting a bit even like this is to advertise,” Heberlig said.
Heberlig doesn't think another city could step in to host the RNC this late in the game because there would not be enough time to prepare for the convention.
He said the RNC could host a virtual convention, but that has never been done before.
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