I remember a number of years ago when the last phase of Independence started. They said that they were working at a rate of converting about a mile of the road every ten years. That's pretty slow, even for the government. Whether that is completely accurate or not, I don't know, but what I do know is that they are going about it all wrong.

When they completed the first phase of the project - roughly from the edges of Uptown Charlotte to around Briar Creek Road - the area surrounding Independence Boulevard was cut off completely. There was none of this limited access that has become the mantra of the next few miles.

I understand that there are businesses there that they want to preserve, but what no one seems to understand is that those businesses are doing nothing but failing and leaving a scorched wasteland behind.

Shortly after I moved to Charlotte, it was decided that a half-cent would be added to the local sales tax to finance an ambitious plan to build several corridors of public transit. One would be built to the South, towards Pineville. One to the North, towards Davidson. Another to the Northeast, towards University City and UNCC. One to the West, towards the airport. And a final leg to the East/Southeast, towards Matthews.

This ambitious plan, for just a half-cent of each additional purchase, and perhaps a billion dollars total? Sounds enticing, yes? Where can we sign? As generally expected, the plan passed fairly easily. The problem is that, as with most plans, it didn't work out quite so easily.

Sure, I understand that bringing the Tim Tebow Show to Charlotte may not be the best idea, but the Charlotte Panthers need something, and while I think their first draft under Dave Gettleman seems like a good start, it doesn't mean that they should sit still.

First off, the Panthers need an upstanding guy. There is little doubt that Tebow can fill this roll. Perhaps more than any other he can handle this one. There is always the possibility that he'll end up like Jim Bakker, but chances are good that he's on the up-and-up, and the team can use some good press, so let's call this one a good move.

Unfortunately, that may be the biggest reason, but it doesn't mean it's the only one.

There are those who think that it's a good idea for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to be removed from the authority of the City of Charlotte and handed over to what is known as a Regional Airport Authority. What is that, you may ask? It's a really good question, for starters.

In this particular case, it is proposed that the authority is made up of thirteen members - two representatives appointed by the City of Charlotte, one each from the six counties in the region, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, the President ProTempore of the North Carolina Senate, the Governor of North Carolina, and two at-large members appointed by the other eleven members.

His airness has decided that at the end of the current season, everyone in the organization will be evaluated and changes will likely be forthcoming. No word on whether or not this includes himself, but my guess at the moment would be that it does not. Or perhaps he has decided that his investment isn't doing so well, and it's time to move on (though it would be odd, being that he just recently purchased a home in the area).

Currently the team sports a record of 15 and 52 - only marginally better than the shortened season of 7 and 59 from last year. While the team in its current incarnation hasn't ever been particularly good and any team from last year could be excused a record of any sort due to the lockout (and any records will surely have an asterisk attached), you have to wonder at the motivation.

The other day, I talked about the politics of sports and stadiums and whatnot. Whatnot being what it is (or what it is not), I figured I would offer a more concrete example. Enter the Carolina Panthers.

By no stretch of the imagination are the Panthers are marquee club of this or any other decade. They have not even been in existence for twenty years at this writing. Teams like the Bears and the Packers have a long history, and while perhaps not glorious, there is plenty to draw upon. Teams such as the Cowboys and the Redskins can look upon a slightly shorter, but still impressive history. Even former the former laughingstock Patriots have built an impressive machine.

But the Panthers? Not so much.

Back in April, Big Bad Bob declared that businesses in Charlotte had failed the team. Or him. Or something. Frankly I don't get it. The man gets a brand new arena, effectively for free, and he wants more? Give me a break. Someone should have slapped him when he decided to name the team after himself. The Carolina Cougars would have been a much better name. It would have brought back nostalgic days of the ABA and made more sense with the Panthers, and it doesn't matter if they weren't any good. The Bobcats? Might as well have named them the Housecats.

But then he complains that, after being jilted by the Hornets, the businesses don't support him, when he hasn't done anything for us? He still lives in Washington - or wherever it is, because it certainly isn't Charlotte. That's just stupid. Now I'm not saying that the man is stupid, because obviously he's done a few things well in his life. But surely he has some ideas of how to get things going. But he doesn't seem to have a clue how to do business in Charlotte.

I have often wondered why people live in tall buildings. In a prior job, I had to travel to larger cities than Charlotte, and when I did, I would end up staying in hotels that would look out at other hotels. The view just wasn't that great. I mean every once in a while you might get a nice show of someone making dinner across the way, or maybe watching television. But it was never anything interesting, like the naked guy in Friends, or even an attractive naked person or someone getting ready to jump out of a window (not that I want that, just saying - that would be interesting).

While I get that the idea of living in a more vertical manner is more friendly than sprawl, especially if you consider the green we are consuming, from the perspective of living in one of those places, you would always want to live in the tallest building possible, so you could look over the top of everyone else. I guess that's why the penthouses are worth the most money - because you get to do so. But then you have to look at air conditioning units and such.

It seems that the City of Charlotte cannot figure out why businesses along the Independence corridor cannot do well, so they plan to hire a consultant to do so for them. At a cost of $250-350 thousand dollars.

You heard that right. They are actually going to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars to have someone tell them why businesses have shuttered along the area of Independence that has seen work done. I just want to know how I can get in on this.

Just over a month ago, the current owners of Eastland Mall - Ohio-based Glimcher Realty Trust - decided that it wasn't even worth paying the mortgage any longer. That's probably not a good sign.

The trust owes some $42 million, and has had a "For Sale" sign out front for the last three years or so. So why walk away? Just like a standard homeowner, they found themselves in a property that was well underwater - worth far less than they owed - and feel that they are better served cutting their losses.

According to a study recently released by UNCC, Mecklenburg County has lost more than 100 acres daily to development from 1976 through 2006. That is roughly 75 football fields each day. Now I haven't read the study itself - only the summary in the paper - but it is disturbing, to say the least. By the year 2030, Mecklenburg County will have just 3% of green area left.

It mentions a comparison to New York City, and asks what the city would be like without Central Park. Now if you overlaid Central Park on Charlotte, the city would virtually disappear. At the same time, if you carved out green space from Charlotte in a similar ratio to Central Park in New York, it would have to be fairly large - and make a lot of people very mad. So the point is certainly well taken on that front.