People filing into the Charlotte Convention Center make their way around a small commotion. A woman robed as Lady Justice, glowing with gold paint, points her sword at a few chunks of coal on the sidewalk. Other protesters with signs and a megaphone denounce “the Hypocrite of the Year” about to be honored inside. The target of their ire: Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy Corp., the Charlotte-based utility that is expanding a power plant an hour’s drive away in Cliffside.
While the builders of Daytona and Atlanta made significant gambles to see their projects come to fruition and experienced their share of delays and shortfalls, these paled in comparison with the outlandish risks and the obstacles faced by Curtis Turner and Bruton Smith in constructing Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With the hyperventilation over health care having abated a bit — which is to say, now that we all understand civilization has neither been saved nor destroyed, that angels didn’t sing nor did evil triumph — let’s ponder how North Carolina’s capitalist pie might get resliced as a result.