Wilmington, NC – Both the issue and the candidate were familiar Tuesday, when former Wilmington mayor Harper Peterson chose the site of the planned convention to announce the platform for his current bid for the office.
He was joined by two city council candidates, Kevin Delahunty and Jeff Kohl.
Together they presented a number of positions in the form of a Contract with Wilmington.' The list includes opposition to both the convention center project and the planned water and sewer authority, as well as an emphasis on environmental protection and pay raises for city police and firefighters.
Peterson says he's trying to build a new majority on the city council.
"We thought this was the appropriate time to come together on these issues," Peterson said, "put aside our minor differences, and for the betterment of the community, run as a team."
Notably absent from the list was Councilwoman Pat Delair, who is running to hold onto the seat she won in a special election last fall. Peterson says he still supports Delair, and noted his block of three leaves one seat on the council unaccounted for.
Hours after Peterson's event, and only a few blocks south, representatives of local economic groups called their own press conference at the Chamber of Commerce to re-emphasize their arguments for supporting the planned convention center.
Chamber Chairman Jim Bryant says he's not surprised it's still a political issue.
"We are very concerned that misinformation will get to the public and we just want to make sure an appropriate balance is out there," Bryant said.
He was joined by the heads of Wilmington Downtown Inc. and the Downtown Business Alliance, who repeated arguments for the planned center's economic viability.