Archives for October 2018

If Protesting Is Wrong, America Doesn’t Want to Be Right

OPINION — This week marks the 50th anniversary of that electrifying moment at the summer Olympics in Mexico City when Tommie Smith and John Carlos, accepting their gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter dash, each raised a black-gloved fist in a protest of racism and equality in the year of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights.”

They are now immortalized in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and by a sculpture at their alma mater San Jose State University — their bravery noted, their impact on society acknowledged.

But in 1968 — the year of unrest, war and the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy — the two athletes were vilified, kicked out of the Olympic village and banished from their sport, returning home to cold shoulders and death threats.

Taking a stand on ideas that buck the status quo is seldom appreciated in its time — especially when practiced by certain U.S. citizens. Those who tell Colin Kaepernick to be more like King forget that when he was murdered, King’s disapproval numbers approached 75 percent. The years have burnished the reputation of the civil rights icon with a federal holiday in his name and current 90-plus percent approval.

That is par for the course of history.

It is something to remember as Republicans try to brand dissent as mob violence, a message led by a president who found “fine people” in an actual mob of white supremacists and Nazis who killed a woman, someone who whips his own rally crowds into frenzied bliss with calls for retribution against dissenters (answered by his fans with an occasional cowardly sucker punch to the face).

Early Voting Starts in North Carolina, with a Lot at Stake

CHARLOTTE, NC — Though the general election is not until Nov. 6, early voting sites open today in Mecklenburg County. 19 sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The final day for early voting will be Sat., Nov. 3, with all 19 sites open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What’s at stake? A lot, nationally and at the state level, with six controversial amendments to the state constitution causing additional electoral drama.

Is enthusiasm high? Voter registration numbers are up, with more people, especially younger voters, registered unaffiliated.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Hurricane Michael; Nikki Haley Resigns; Land Deals by Council

On this edition of the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

Just weeks after the Carolinas were pounded by Hurricane Florence, another major Hurricane—Michael—hit the region again. How did North and South Carolina brave the storm this time around? We’ll discuss.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has resigned her post as Ambassador to the UN after less than two years in that position. In a joint press conference, the President praised her work and Haley said she’s not running against him in 2020.

There was plenty of action taken by the City Council this week, in approving land deals to help with Charlotte’s Affordable Housing goals, and disagreement among members of council about a contract to clean CATS facilities and whether the contractor will pay its workers a living wage. We’ll talk about those items as well as reaction to the discussion of whether council members should move to four year terms.

Speaking of pay, CMS bus drivers have gotten a raise, in an effort to draw more drivers to jobs with CMS, and to stop the bus driver shortage that the system is currently struggling to fix.

Former Charlotte Mayor and former Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has a new job in the transportation industry- he’s joined Lyft as their new Chief Policy Officer.

Mike Collins will go over those stories and much more with our roundtable of reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, senior staff writer for the Charlotte Business Journal

Kirstin Garriss, government reporter for Spectrum News 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE

In North Carolina, the Midterms Are Not Just About 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When President Donald Trump last visited the Carolinas, it was a relatively nonpartisan stop to offer sympathy and aide to those affected by Hurricane Florence. But now the big names heading South are placing politics front and center.

It’s a sign of the high stakes of November’s midterm elections, particularly in North Carolina, a state that mirrors the turbulent national political scene. At issue in the state and across the country is not only getting out the vote, but also who gets to vote, and how gerrymandering affects the fairness of the vote.

That is the message of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, whose chairman, former Attorney General Eric Holder, called North Carolina “ground zero for gerrymandering on both a partisan basis and on a racial basis” during a visit this week. It’s one of 12 states the organization is targeting in its quest to help Democrats earn seats at the next redistricting table.

What’s Next for Nikki Haley?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Nikki Haley Resigns at UN Ambassador. Why Now and What’s Next for Her?

Nikki Haley rose quickly in politics, from governor of South Carolina to a player on the international stage as ambassador to the United Nations. She became a standout in the Trump administration, one of few high-profile women serving. She says she is stepping down at the end of the year because it’s time for a break, though many are speculating on the timing and what her future political plans may be. At a White House appearance with Trump on Tuesday, both expressed admiration for one another — and she denied plans for a 2020 run for office. (Mary C. Curtis)

Kavanaugh Fight Goes Full On Knute Rockne

OPINION — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week lamented that Democrats would never be satisfied with a one-week FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying he expects “soon enough the goal posts will be on the move once again.” McConnell, going full Knute Rockne, also has said of the Kavanaugh nomination and investigation: “We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win.”

Thankfully, the Kentucky senator did not channel another Republican, Ronald Reagan, with an exhortation that the win would be for “The Gipper.”

Still, McConnell sure knows his way around a sports metaphor. “So, my friends, keep the faith, don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job,” McConnell said to religious conservatives at a recent Value Voters Summit, sounding like coach sending his star running back out to crash through the opponent’s defense.

How Will Charlotte Stay Above the Partisan Fray for RNC 2020?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte was out in front, and almost alone, in vying to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, set – for now – to nominate President Trump for a second term. The city won, and now we have more details.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel made the announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center this week alongside Mayor Vi Lyles and White House Senior Advisor (and presidential daughter-in-law and North Carolina native) Lara Trump: The convention will take place at the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte from August 24, 2020 through August 27, 2020.

So, as planning seriously starts, how will the Queen City pull it off, peacefully and professionally?