Pat McCrory sent a tweet at the state GOP convention that drew little attention: "Proud to support @NCGOP's resolution against Agenda 21."
With his statement, the moderate Republican mayor staked his flag with the most conservative members of his party and the tea partiers who believe the United Nations endorsement of sustainable growth, public transportation and open space policies is part of an international conspiracy.
McCrory endorsed a resolution calling Agenda 21 "a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control."
But it seems to contradict his tenure as mayor. "(Our critics) are saying that smart growth is bad," McCrory said at a Charlotte planning retreat in 2004, according to The Charlotte Observer. He was referring to a policy that emphasizes pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and redevelopment of older areas. "But what they don't understand is without smart growth, we have no growth in the future, because we won't be able to get permits," McCrory continued.
McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz said McCrory is "firmly opposed to the United Nation's Agenda 21 and proudly supported the North Carolina Republican Party's resolution against it."
Asked if it contradicts his record, Diaz added: "Clearly the Agenda 21 goals are wildly different from actions Pat promoted as mayor. For instance, the light rail funding was decided by a ballot initiative that was voted on by the people of Charlotte, versus some sort of government edict."
What Diaz didn't say is that McCrory was a cheerleader for mass transit, pushing sales tax referendum to fund the project.
Dalton's campaign called the Agenda 21 fears an "extreme conspiracy theory."
"Walter Dalton believes that smart growth is a good thing," his spokesman Schorr Johnson said. "It seems that Pat McCrory is trying to reinvent himself to cater to the fringe elements of his party and is running away from policies he supported as Charlotte mayor."