Voters On Board in the Queen City
On election day, Charlotte, North Carolina, voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt by public transit opponents and the North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation to de-rail LYNX, the city's newly-built light rail system, the first leg of which is scheduled to open before Christmas. Sierra Club organizer Chatham Olive—pictured above at right with volunteer Heidi Dove and fellow staffer Glen Besa—led the Club's campaign opposing repeal of the half-cent sales tax supporting public transit in Charlotte.
Seventy percent of citizens who turned out voted to maintain the tax, which brings in 70 million dollars annually. The Sierra Club joined forces with the "Vote Against Repeal" campaign at its inception several months ago. In August the Central Piedmont Group sponsored Lighten UP!, a Sierra & Wine event aboard the new LYNX train (not yet in service). Club member Mark Campbell and U.S. Green Building Council Charlotte President Anne Jackson are pictured above at that event; the Sierra Club's invitation to Lighten UP! appears below.
In addition to traditional Sierra Club-style phone banks and yard signs, the campaign blitzed the "citizens against virtually everything" with humorous TV ads and a web-based video starring Olive and other pro-rail Charlotteans (scroll down to fourth video posted at this link, on growth in Mecklenburg County). Other Sierra Club volunteers who played key roles in the campaign include Brian Keech, Steve Copulsky, Jennifer Keech, Julia Batliner, Marsha McConnell and Josh Thomas.