Local News Roundup: redistricting continues, another high school lockdown, new nondiscrimination ordinance for Mecklenburg

On the Local News Roundup, the redistricting process continues for state and local elections. Legislators get into the nitty-gritty of drawing state Senate and House districts while Mecklenburg County Commission reviews three possible maps for local districts.

A local Charlotte high school goes on lockdown after a gun is found on campus. One student is arrested and charged following a shooting near the school.

Volleyball players at Olympic High are benched for participating in a protest over sexual assault.

And, Mecklenburg County passes its own LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter

Local News Roundup: COVID-19 Cases Rise In Schools, 3-Year-Old Killed By Gun Violence, Redistricting Begins In Charlotte

On the Local News Roundup: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community and area schools. Where this is happening and what are officials doing about it?

In Union County, not much. Their school board votes to keep mask-wearing optional for students and teachers — one of only three systems in the state to reach that decision.

Mecklenburg County releases data on its employees’ vaccination rates as organizations representing police and fire prepare to push back on possible vaccine mandates.

And a Charlotte City Council committee starts drawing new election maps based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE Education Reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Hunter Saenz, WCNC Reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s Executive Producer for Investigations & Chief Investigative Reporter

Reporters’ Roundtable

We’re at the Reporters’ Roundtable with a look at the top stories of the week.  As always… there’s a lot to talk about.  Hurricane Ida, back to school in the DMV, recapping the March On Washington, and gun violence in our communities.  We start with the end of the war in Afghanistan.

‘The flag would still be flying today’

Six years ago, Malcolm Graham lost his big sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, in the Charleston shooting that took nine Black churchgoers’ lives. Now a city councilman in Charlotte, N.C., Graham reflects on the work he did to remove the Confederate flag from its prominent place on the South Carolina statehouse grounds, the future of racial matters in our country and his sister’s legacy.

Pandemics and gun violence are real life, not ‘theater’

Perhaps Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky needs a refresher course on the meaning of the word “theater.” His GOP colleague Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could listen in.

The former recently initiated a verbal brawl with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease specialist who has been providing information and advice to guide Americans dealing, along with the rest of the world, with a deadly pandemic. The latter accused anyone proposing the consideration of gun restrictions, in light of two horrific mass shootings in the space of a week, of “ridiculous theater.”

Now, I realize the term “theatrical” can be used as an insult hurled at someone accused of exaggeration, but what is happening in America is a fact. So let me offer my own definition: “Theater” is the thrill of escaping from it all in a darkened hall with a group of strangers, to see and hear professionals act or sing or dance, and to be uplifted by the experience, if only for an hour or two.

And it’s something we’ve been deprived of during this past, very long year amid the pain of COVID-19, with deadly gun violence that has not abated as a backdrop, and so much more.

 

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.

New Talks on Gun Control Policy in America

CHARLOTTE, NC — The push for new gun legislation is growing in the United States following numerous mass shootings over the past month.  Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the gun debate.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Proposed City Budget; CMPD Updates Body Cam Policy; 9th District

On this edition of the Charlotte Talks local news roundup-

The proposed budget for the City of Charlotte was presented this week by City Manager Marcus Jones. The budget features a revenue neutral property tax rate but even so, with the county’s revaluation, many homeowners could see an increase in their property taxes. The budget also raises pay for some city workers, raising the minimum hourly pay to $16/ hour and offers raises for police. We’ll talk about that and the other major items in the budget.

Early voting ends Friday for the 9th Congressional district special election, and the primary is coming up May 14th. We discuss the final debate this week and where the candidates stand now.

CMPD has updated its policy about body cam video and how it is accessed after an incident. This comes weeks after the Danquirs Franklin shooting and the controversy that followed over the department only releasing short clips of video. We’ll provide an update.

The bill that would incentivize the Carolina Panthers to move across the border into South Carolina passed on Thursday, but not before lawmakers went down to the wire with a vote. We’ll discuss what the Panthers will get for moving, and what team owner David Tepper said about the vote earlier this week.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters will go through those stories and much more on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal 

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

Katie Peralta, reporter for the Charlotte Observer 

Steve HarrisonWFAE’s Political Reporter

After gun massacre, Charlotte is now ‘one of those cities’

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Now we’re one of those schools.” That’s what a  University of North Carolina student, in more sadness than anger, told a local radio station after a gunman killed two and wounded four others on her campus on Tuesday. And now Charlotte, a city already experiencing a spike in homicides, is “one of those cities.”

In the city and state, there is shock, plus questions. A suspect is in custody, but that doesn’t provide answers about why it happened and what can be done to keep it from happening again.

That this latest incident did not make it to the top spot in many national news outlets speaks to how commonplace such incidents have become and how frustrated many citizens are. Is the answer more mental health resources, more “good guys with guns,” more regulations and background checks, or something else?

Finding the Solution to Growing Gun Violence in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC — The country has been talking about the murder of Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles, shot outside a store he owned. The young Grammy-nominated rapper was making a difference in his community, stressing education and entrepreneurship among young people, even as he moved on from former membership in a gang to business and personal success.

Gun violence is a problem beyond Los Angeles, reaching many communities, including Charlotte. There have been more than 300 shootings in Charlotte this year, more than 30 of which were homicides. Members of the community – students, community leaders, citizens – gathered Tuesday night in a vigil to confront the problem and talk about ways to turn around the dangerous trend and turn toward a safer city. (Mary C. Curtis)

Rev. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte NAACP said: “All the talking we’re doing has to stop, we need some real concrete changes, some tangible changes.”