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Politics

Ajmera Says She'll Vote No On RNC Contract; Council Members Attack Her Reasoning

Dimple Ajmera

Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera says she'll vote against an agreement that would allow the city to host the 2020 Republican National Convention. Her reasoning then came under harsh criticism by Democratic and Republican members of council.  

"This is not a political stance, it's an economic one, because taxpayers will be on the hook for the potential liability, unknown risk and exposure," Ajmera said Friday after council members received a briefing on the proposed agreement that is scheduled for a Monday vote.

Council members Larken Egleston, Julie Eiselt, and Tariq Bokhari said in strongly-worded tweets that Ajmera has it wrong.

"I and other council members were in the same #RNC contract discussions today, and this is in no way what was said to us by the city attorneys. Facts still matter, and this is fiction," Egleston tweeted.

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Eiselt said the proposed contract has protective language and that Ajmera "is looking for an out."

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Like Ajmera, both Egleston and Eiselt are Democrats. Bokhari, one of only two Republicans on council, tweeted that Ajmera's statement is "patently false."

"Taxpayers are not on the hook. I sat in the same clean room when she reviewed the contract today and made this statement to which the city attorneys tried to correct her and she wouldn’t listen," Bokhari tweeted.

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Ajmera joins two other colleagues who have already come out against the city's bid to host the convention - Lawana Mayfield and Justin Harlow. 

Charlotte and Las Vegas are the only two cities bidding for the convention, and Charlotte is reportedly the frontrunner.  

On Friday, Harlow explained exactly what the council will be voting on Monday.

"The vote would be to authorize the city manager to essentially - I mean this contract's basically written, so it's kind of the final tweaks and negotiations with the city attorney  - to authorize them to sign the agreement and then to also accept what would be an understanding with the federal government and the RNC that we would receive a $50 million grant," he said.

That federal grant is available to host cities for convention security.

Harlow's opposition to the convention is mainly about the divisive statements and policies of President Donald Trump and Republicans.

Justin Harlow
Justin Harlow

"(They're) just being really hurtful to a lot of different communities, some of which that I represent," Harlow said. "Specifically, minority communities, but also immigrant communities, folks that are disabled, women who are victims of assault, a variety of groups. "

Six votes would be needed for the council to reject city participation in the RNC bid. The campaign is being led by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. 

The council meets Monday at 2 p.m. There will be a public hearing, followed by a vote on whether to authoritize the city manager to finalize the contract with the RNC. As of early Friday evening, 131 people had signed up to speak.