Archives for December 2023

Local News Roundup: City Council chamber cleared after protests; bodycam footage released in controversial arrest; Tricia Cotham has a Democratic opponent

Mayor Vi Lyles had to order the emptying of the council chamber during Monday night’s City Council meeting, as pro-Palestinian audience members shouted at a speaker defending Israel.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police released the body camera video from the controversial arrest at a Charlotte bus stop last month. The video, released on Tuesday, led to an announcement by Chief Johnny Jennings that disciplinary action will be taken against one of the officers involved in the incident.

Two local Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring to run against Tricia Cotham for the North Carolina House in 2024. Nicole Sidman works at Temple Beth El in Charlotte. She filed to run Thursday, joining Yolanda Holmes as the two Democrats running in the March primary. Holmes previously ran against Cotham in 2022 when they were both Democrats in a primary election.

Van Brett Watkins, the convicted hitman who shot Ray Carruth’s pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams back in 1999 has died in a North Carolina prison. We’ll talk about reaction to his death.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and more, on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.


· Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal
· Mary C. Curtis, columnist for, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
· Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

When leaders reveal themselves, the next step is ours

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Even if you’ve never read any of Maya Angelou’s books, even if you have no idea who the late author is, you know that quote. It’s the go-to “told you so” to admonish anyone surprised by terrible behavior from someone with a record of behaving terribly.

It’s the phrase women use to comfort the girlfriend who swore she could succeed in reforming her “bad boy” boyfriend when the relationship predictably crashes and burns.

And, in the time of Donald Trump and his march to the Republican presidential nomination and maybe back to the White House, it has been repeated so often, it’s cliché.

So why is the not-so-shocking realization that Trump means what he says about retribution and a coming dictatorship greeted with a shrug?

OK, that’s not strictly true.

A few saw the endgame from the time Trump morphed from reality TV star to politician. And now, a rash of articles and books are warning that he means exactly what he has been saying all along.

But for those just now seeing the malevolence behind the bluster, it sure took a long time and a genuine insurrection for the amusement to turn into disgust.

After Angelou’s words have proven true time and again, no sensible person should doubt her wisdom. Yet, many continue to make excuses, insisting that anyone who takes Trump’s words and record seriously is being ridiculous and that American voters need not take a closer look at the phony wizard behind the curtain.

Will an empowered President Trump yank the country out of NATO, blowing up longtime global alliances? Will he weaponize a Justice Department newly staffed with cronies like Jeffrey Clark, the attorney general-in-waiting whose desperate promotion as a means to keep Trump in office after his 2020 defeat was foiled only by threats of mass resignations? Will Trump obliterate the Constitution by imposing religious tests and demanding loyalty oaths to determine who is and is not truly “American”?

Kash Patel, a former Trump administration adviser who is likely to return if Trump does, was giddy when he announced plans to go after perceived enemies in the media with criminal and civil prosecutions. His friendly podcast interviewer was pardoned-but-hardly-chastened Steve Bannon.

Imagine what disgraced and pardoned former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn unleashed would do. Might he reactivate his plan to send the military to run elections again — after voting machines that delivered the “wrong” result have been seized?

Jaw-dropping? Maybe only to some.

That’s the scary part.

Local News Roundup: County Commission approves $10 million for Discovery Place Nature; Dante Anderson is new mayor pro tem; Patrick McHenry not seeking re-election; CMS approves budget

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

More plans are ahead to replace Charlotte’s Discovery Place Nature Museum in Freedom Park — with a hefty price tag. We’ll hear about the contentious debate that led to county commissioners agreeing to pay $10 million more towards the museum, and why that still may not be enough.

Dante Anderson is the new mayor pro tem after a contentious debate at City Council this week. We’ll talk about the vote.

We learned this week that North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry will not run for re-election. We’ll discuss what this might do to the political picture in the state.

We’re near the end of the second academic quarter for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, but the school board this week approved the budget for the current school year. We’ll discuss the reasons for the delay.

Most North Carolina Democrats voted in favor of an antisemitism resolution this week. We’ll talk about what the resolution says and who voted.

And former North Carolina Senator Fountain Odom has died. We’ll have a remembrance.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and more, on this week’s Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.


Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter
Mary C. Curtis, columnist for, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter
Ann Doss Helms, WFAE education reporter

Local News Roundup: Panthers owner fires another coach; DA drops charges in viral CMPD punching incident, and judge rules body cam footage released; CMS teacher accused of sex with a student

David Tepper fires another coach this fall — this time it’s Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich after just 11 games and a 1-10 record. The move sparked criticism from many, including Charlotte Observer reporter Scott Fowler. We’ll talk to him about the latest in a disappointing Panthers season.

Charges have been dropped against a Charlotte woman who was punched by CMPD officers in a viral arrest video, the Mecklenburg DA’s office announced on Tuesday. And on Thursday a judge ruled that the body camera footage from the incident be released.

A CMS high school teacher has been arrested and accused of sexual activity with an 18-year-old high school student.

Charlotte-based Bank of America is closing more than 100 branches across the country by the end of the year. We find out why.

And a major donation this week for people in Charlotte’s North End.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories, an update on City Council and more, on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.


Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal
Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for Investigations & chief investigative reporter
Mary C. Curtis, columnist for, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
David Boraks, WFAE climate reporter
Scott Fowler, sports columnist for the Charlotte Observer