POLITICAL WRAP: Election Preview – City Council, School Board, Sales Tax Referendum

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Tuesday voters in Charlotte will elect a Mayor and City Council. Across Mecklenburg County, three at-large school board seats are also up for grabs. And there’s a quarter-cent sales tax referendum on the ballot to support arts, parks, and schools.

Click above for more in this week’s political wrap with WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Clayton Wilcox Accusations; NC Congressional Maps; Arts Tax

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

People have been wondering for months what led to former CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox’s July suspension and later resignation from the school system. This week, the Charlotte Observer reported that there were reports of racist and sexist remarks by Wilcox that were reported to officials in the system and that the school board knew about remarks. We’ll discuss details.

Two more rulings about political maps in North Carolina came out this week, one upheld, and one thrown out—for now, and there are implications for the 2020 Election… we’ll take a look.

City Council approves spending for improvements at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, but postponed a vote about the Silver Line, the proposed rail line that would go from Matthews to Gaston County.

Senator Richard Burr is receiving a lot of attention– and it’s not positive- on Twitter for a comment he tweeted this week about whether NCAA athletes should have their scholarships taxed if they receive compensation for the use of their likeness. This comes after the announcement by the NCAA Governing Board that student athletes will be allowed to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses.

We’ll cover those stories and much more on this week’s Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE News

Nick OchsnerWBTV news reporter

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

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV Reporter

N.C. Congressional Districts, Impeachment Inquiry

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It has been a busy week in politics, both in the state and nationally.

In North Carolina, a three-judge panel of state judges said the state cannot use the current congressional districts as drawn for the 2020 elections while the lawsuit against them proceeds. This may mean the state’s March 3 congressional primaries could be moved in a competitive primary season with crucial contests up and down the ballot.

And in Washington, a decorated Army officer’s testimony drew attention and partisan attacks, while House Democrats plan a vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry.

What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

True, it was only one seat and one election, albeit one that has been going on for what seems like decades, and it was in a district Trump won by 12 points in 2016 and where Democrats have not had success since the early 1960s. So you could characterize Trump’s visit as a rescue mission. But a win is a win. On second thought, though, is it?

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Dorian Hits The Carolinas; NC Maps Unconstitutional; The Dans

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

Hurricane Dorian has been making its way up the East Coast and is now impacting the Carolinas. The storm is bringing heavier winds than normal to the Queen City, and is responsible for power outages throughout the two states. We’ll bring you the latest on Dorian’s damage to the coast with a report from WCNC’s Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich and Spectrum News’ Jonathan Lowe, and we’ll look at the impact of the hurricane on early voting near the coast.

On Tuesday, a 3-judge panel ruled that North Carolina’s House and Senate maps were drawn to give Republicans the advantage and said they were unconstitutional. The legislature now has just two weeks to draw new maps. We’ll talk about the details of the ruling and what’s next.

We are just days away from the Special Election that will decide “which Dan” will be the winner of the 9th District Congressional Election. We’ll have one final check in on this race before Election Day.

North Carolina’s state school performance grades were released this week… how did CMS schools- as well as area Charters do? We’ll take a look.

Host Mike Collins and a panel of journalists will discuss those stories and more on this week’s Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Brad Panovich, Chief Meteorologist, WCNC-TV

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

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

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Steve HarrisonWFAE’s Political Reporter

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.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: No Charges for CMPD Officer; Racist Letters to CLT Leaders

No charges will be filed for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer who shot Danquirs Franklin at a Charlotte Burger King back in March. District Attorney Spencer Merriweather announced on Wednesday that Officer Wende Kerl will not face charges in connection with Franklin’s death.

Many black elected officials in Charlotte- including the mayor- received a racist letter this week that was addressed to city council, the county commission, police, fire and CMS School Board. The letter was directed to black Democrats and said that they should be “tarred and feathered and run out of town.” We’ll talk about reaction to the letter by several local leaders.

New CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston has a 3-year contract, which was announced earlier this month. But this week, school board members clarified that Winston could be fired with 60 days’ notice without giving a reason, making his job security not quite as strong as once thought. We’ll talk about what board chair Mary McCray said about it.

And an update on the push to pass a quarter-cent sales tax vote for the arts in Mecklenburg County.

Guests:

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

Katie Peralta, reporter for Charlotte Agenda

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE 

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News 

Is a blue city in a purple state having second thoughts about hosting a red convention?

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Democratic National Convention hit town in 2012, the dancing traffic cop made headlines for his smooth moves and entertaining approach to law enforcement. The officer captured the party atmosphere of that event, leading up to the renomination of no-drama President Barack Obama for a second term.

City leaders and residents now look back at that time with nostalgia as they prepare for the Republican National Convention coming to town from Aug. 24-27 next year to renominate a president who is all drama, all the time — as chants of “Send her back” at a Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina, earlier this month have reminded everyone of exactly what’s at stake.

Anticipating the economic and related benefits for the city after it was chosen by the GOP last year, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray said, “Charlotte has the collaboration, infrastructure and hospitality that will make the 2020 RNC an unforgettable experience for its attendees.”

Now, some are worrying about just how unforgettable the experience will be.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: SCOTUS Gerrymandering Decision; New Noise Ordinance; NC Budget

After days of “wait and see”, finally a decision from the Supreme Court about North Carolina’s Gerrymandering case. We’ll go through the details.

It got noisy at City Council as they passed a new noise ordinance which some say violates freedom of speech.

The North Carolina Senate votes ‘yes’ on House Bill 370 requiring sheriffs in the state to work with ICE.  Urban sheriffs are opposed, and Governor Cooper calls it “unconstitutional.”  And the legislature has a budget compromise.

Axios uncovers documents allegedly explaining why former Governor Pat McCrory isn’t working for Donald Trump.

Mike Collins and a roundtable of reporters talks about those stories and more on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests: 

Michael Bitzer, Political Scientist, Catawba College

Gwendolyn Glenn, WFAE Reporter

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

Jonathan Lowe, reporter for Spectrum News

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV Reporter

North Carolina’s Republican Party is having an identity crisis

OPINION — All eyes with be on North Carolina next year, when the Republican Party holds its 2020 convention in Charlotte to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term. In truth, though, the state has been the center of attention for a while because of actions of party members — and the gaze has not been kind.