Charlotte Talks Friday News Roundup: Charlotte’s New Mayor, A Young City Council, Bonds Pass, More

On this edition of the local news roundup….

Local Elections wrapped up Tuesday evening, giving Charlotte its first female African American Mayor, in Vi Lyles.

The new Charlotte City Council is sporting several younger council members and keeps a Democratic majority.

Area towns elected new mayors and town boards.

The School Bonds passed, and a few new faces will be seen on the CMS School Board. We’ll talk through the results and the “what’s next” from this year’s election.

And now that this election is the books, Pat McCrory is making headlines, laying blame for his gubernatorial election loss last year and he hasn’t closed the door on a future run for office. We’ll talk about what he said, including his wife’s reaction to his chilly reception now that he’s back in the Queen City.

In the wake of the shooting at a Texas church last Sunday, houses of worship here in the Queen City are evaluating their security and safety. We’ll discuss that.

Those stories and much more with Mike Collins and a panel of Charlotte reporters on the Charlotte Talks Friday News Roundup.

Guests:

Tom BullockWFAE Reporter.

Ann Doss Helms, Reporter for The Charlotte Observer.

Kirstin Garriss, government reporter for Spectrum News.

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

“Charlotte Talks”: Friday News Round Up

This week, the Charlotte City Council and County Commission both considered spending on a Major League Soccer stadium- with very different results.  Former Governor Pat McCrory is heckled in Washington D.C. and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley is headed to New York.  Host Mike Collins and our panel of reporters tackle those stories and more on the Charlotte Talks local news round up.

President Obama may hit political turbulence in North Carolina visit

When President Obama visits North Carolina in a planned stop in the Research Triangle on Wednesday, it won’t be the first time a trip to the state coincided with his State of the Union address. Last year, a visit to the Asheville area followed the event; Wednesday, the president is expected to preview economic policy at N.C. State University in Raleigh before his Jan. 28 speech. Are there politics involved? The answer, as always, would be yes.

Choosing Mel Watt’s successor — on North Carolina’s agenda


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Charlotte, N.C.- Former Congressman Mel Watt is now heading the Federal Housing Finance Agency, but his promotion leaves voters in the 12th Congressional District with no one to speak on their behalf. Mary Curtis joined Rising today to talk about the politics of choosing Watt’s successor.

GOP launches minority outreach in N.C., defends voter law in court

CHARLOTTE — Republicans were busy in North Carolina and Washington on Monday. Did the activity in the courts and on a conservative stage have the effect of muddying the welcome mat the GOP rolled out for minority voters in the state?

Earlier in the day, Republican state officials filed to urge a federal court to dismiss two lawsuits challenging changes in North Carolina’s voting laws, changes opponents contend disproportionately harm African American voters. A third challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice is waiting in the wings.

Monday evening in Charlotte, at the opening of the Republican National Committee’s African American engagement office in North Carolina, Earl Philip, North Carolina African American state director, said he believed in the message he has been taking to churches, schools and community groups.

North Carolina attorney general dislikes laws he must defend

Roy Cooper wants everyone to know how he really feels. That must be why he wrote a column lamenting why and how he thinks his home state of North Carolina is moving in the wrong direction – that, and perhaps he’s trying out for a gubernatorial run in 2016.

Familiar lines drawn as Justice sues N.C. over voting law

You really could see this one coming. When Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced that the Justice Department would sue North Carolina over a controversial new voting law Holder says discriminates on the basis of race, no one was surprised. Those on both sides were ready – some cheering and others defensive — as North Carolina continues to be a puzzle for those who tagged it as that moderate Southern state that voted for Barack Obama in 2008. It’s now making headlines for conservative legislation and the resulting vehement pushback from groups inside – and now outside – its borders.

From rodeo clowns to voting rights, understanding race and history

Have the folks who jeered the President Obama stand-in at that Missouri rodeo ever heard of Bill Pickett?

Pickett was an African American cowboy, inventor of the gutsy bulldogging technique, grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries,

Pickett starred in rodeos and movies, traveled the West and in the 1970s was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. He’s depicted as a legend of the West on a U.S. stamp. Pickett was a founder of the same rodeo tradition that allowed the Missouri state fair crowd to whoop and holler, encouraging a bull to run down the “president” while an accomplice jiggled the broad lips on the mask of the clown dressed as Obama and an announcer teased violence that recalled the worst of the ways this country has treated its black citizens.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory gives protesters cookies – seriously

North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory hand carried chocolate-chip cookies to abortion bill protesters outside the Raleigh governor’s mansion in a let’s-make-up gesture. The surprised recipient said he told her, “‘These are for you. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you.’”  The cookies were returned, and it wasn’t because he forgot the milk. The note on the untouched plate read: “We want women’s health care, not cookies.”

The Tuesday scene, described by The News & Observer, was fallout from McCrory’s Monday night signing of legislation that, among other provisions, will make clinics adopt some of the regulations that apply to ambulatory surgery centers, and allow health-care providers to opt out of performing abortions if they object. Opponents say the new law will limit access to abortion by forcing clinics to close, while McCrory and the bill’s supporters say the health and safety of the state’s citizens, not politics, are what’s at stake.

McCrory’s sincerity is not the issue. After state health officials sanctioned an Asheville, N.C., clinic on Wednesday for “egregious violations … that revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients,” it was either evidence of the need for greater vigilance or proof that current laws are working, depending on which side you support. But it certainly means the subject of clinic safety will and should remain center stage.

However, McCrory’s name on the bill was a cue for endless televised replays of his 2012 pledge during a gubernatorial debate that, if elected, he would not sign any further abortion restrictions into law. In recent Public Policy Polling, the abortion bill was supported by only 34 percent of voters, with 47 percent opposing it. By a similar 48 to 33 margin, voters preferred that McCrory veto the bill (and that number included 25 percent of Republicans).

The cookies treat for angry dissenters was a clumsy move (they chanted:  ”Hey Pat, that was rude. You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude.”) and also in keeping with some of the troubles that have plagued McCrory since he made the leap from Charlotte mayor to the most prominent political job in the state. Engaging protesters about the issue of clinic safety would have been a better move.

Though presiding over Republican super-majorities in the state House and Senate, he has seemed more follower than leader, swept along by a conservative wave of proposals that has signaled North Carolina’s change in political direction, at a loss when talking with many who must have voted for him.

North Carolina protesters look forward and reach back to faith

If the scene looks familiar, well, it is.

A minister leading the way as a multi-hued crowd of demonstrators speaks of justice and equality, even while being peacefully led away by police. Speeches laced with words of scripture on caring for “the least of these.” A governor who calls a growing numbers of protesters “outsiders.”

It’s the South, in 2013, not 1963. But surprisingly to some, it’s North Carolina, long hailed as a moderate to progressive Southern state that is now making national headlines for Moral Mondays, named that by those who object to a stream of conservative proposals put forth by a Republican-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.