Jon Talton, of The Seattle Times, offered his view on how the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce's recent inter-city visit went in his column last week.
Talton used to live here and work for The Charlotte Observer, so he knows a thing or two about what the Queen City is really like, which makes his commentary all the more interesting, I think.
Here are a few of his comments:
I was business editor and columnist at the Charlotte Observer for nearly five years, ending in 2000. When I got there, it seemed like Hooterville with a couple of giant skyscrapers. By the time I left, it was the nation's second-largest banking center with a gleaming, Oz-like skyline.
Two cities could not be more different. Although Charlotte is more populous (731,524 vs. 608,660), Seattle seems like the bigger city, partly because Seattle is denser and Charlotte is sprawled out and car-dependent. So lessons for Charlotte? Continuous reinvention and economic diversity (don't be dependent on the banks), stewardship and nonprofit strength, seek global business and love your downtown. The Queen City, as Charlotte styles itself (ironic, given our former monicker), is not going to get Bill Gates or Bill Boeing or world-class software, bio-tech and world health clusters. It won't get a port. The suburban University of North Carolina at Charlotteis no UW.
It's also worthy of noting that The Seattle Times is independent and locally owned, whereas The Charlotte Observer is owned by the McClatchy corporation.