Local News Roundup: Union County bans fluoride in their water; the Leandro saga continues; Charlotte FC kicks off season

Union County commissioners vote to ban fluoride in the county water supply. According to the CDC, putting fluoride in water is vital to keep teeth healthy, especially in young children. The practice has been done across the country for decades. Detractors claim the issue is about consent, personal freedom, and whether the board has the authority to add fluoride to the water.

Elsewhere, more signage is coming to uptown Charlotte as a display bearing the company’s name will be added to the Wells Fargo building. City Council noted this follows a precedent after signage was approved for the Truist building in 2020.

The saga of the Leandro lawsuit continues. This week, the North Carolina Supreme Court considers whether the state needs to pay around $700 million to fund education improvements as ordered by a trial court.

And coming off a playoff appearance last fall, Charlotte FC returns to the pitch this Saturday to kick off its third season. Will a new coach mean more success for the team?

Those stories and more on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

GUESTS:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Ann Doss Helms, WFAE education reporter
Alexandria Sands, reporter with Axios Charlotte

What E. Jean Carroll could teach ‘tough’ Republicans about calling out a bully

E. Jean Carroll is a brave woman. And her courage calls out the cowardice of many who could learn a thing or two from the writer who just won a judgment of $83.3 million — a sum set by a jury of Americans doing their duty — against the man who defamed her.

Considering all she has gone through, I’m sure if Carroll could trade that money for the life and the reputation she built before she learned the truth about the character of that character Donald Trump, she would.

But the findings in her civil cases did seem to bring a sort of justice, and a sense of liberation. In an interview this week on MSNBC, she told host Rachel Maddow how she felt about the prospect of facing Trump in the courtroom: “I lost my ability to speak, I lost my words, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t go on. That’s how frightened I was.”

But after she entered the courtroom and took the witness stand, Carroll said: “Amazingly, I looked out, and he was nothing. He was nothing. He was a phantom.”

That she fought and she won at 80, an age when women in our culture aren’t especially valued, made her elation lovely to behold.

Carroll’s triumph and her joy made me think of all the big, strong men Trump has insulted and worse, who nevertheless have lined up to support him and debase themselves in the process. I’d love to ask them, as they grin and bear it through clenched teeth, if it’s worth it, the “it” being a Senate seat, a Cabinet appointment or a future with the MAGA base Trump wields like an ax.

Do leaders realize Americans who don’t vote for them are still Americans?

Was it a figment of our imagination? I’m talking about the 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention by Barack Obama, then a little-known state senator from Illinois. In his uplifting speech, he had a warning for “the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.”

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a Black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.

“We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.”

And enough Americans believed it, believed in the promise of unity, that U.S. Sen. Obama was rewarded with two terms as president of the United States, the first Black man to be elected to that office.

Even then, though, there were hints that not all Americans were celebrating the milestone, not everyone bought the lofty words.

In the background hovered Donald Trump, the same guy whose family’s real estate business had settled with the federal government after excluding folks who looked like Obama from renting a Trump property.

Trump tapped into the wariness and hostility that some felt about this Black man and his beautiful family moving into the White House and becoming the face of America to the world. Trump’s absurd “birther” lies doubting Obama’s American-ness, his bleating the president’s middle name, Hussein, on cue, all of that was lapped up by Americans insecure about their place in a changing country.

The backlash fighting progress that my historian son has told me turns up like clockwork in our country helped give us President Donald Trump. And now, with a New Hampshire primary victory and what looks like a clear path to the Republican presidential nomination, Trump is back — though, as his racist attacks on Republican challenger Nikki Haley and disparaging comments about Black and brown migrants prove, his act has hardly changed.

For history-challenged candidates, Civil War source material is nearby

Who would have thought so many of those competing to be president of the United States would have slept through American History 101? And I wonder why, if a working-class student at a modest Catholic school in Baltimore managed bus trips to museums in that city and neighboring Washington, D.C., folks who grew up with far more resources than I ever dreamed of never found the time to learn from the treasures such institutions contain?

Welcome to campaign 2024, when it seems each day’s headlines include at least one fractured history lesson, revealing just how much our leaders don’t know or don’t want to know about America’s past, and why that matters for our present and future.

Local News Roundup: Tepper fined; Pornhub blocked in NC; NYE violence Uptown; Charlotte banking magnate dies at 82

Carolina Panther’s owner David Tepper is fined $300,000 and issues a non-apology statement for throwing a drink on fans during last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The adult website Pornhub has shut down access in North Carolina in response to a new age-verification law that went into effect on January 1.

A mass shooting in Romare Bearden Park on New Year’s Eve left five people injured. It’s the latest subject in the ongoing conversation about safety in Charlotte.

And the man who grew Charlotte’s First Union into one of the largest banks in the country has died. Ed Crutchfield was 82.

Those stories and more on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

GUESTS:

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter
Nick Carboni, WCNC sports director
Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Nick Ochsner, WBTV chief investigative reporter
Ely Portillo, senior editor at WFAE News

Local News Roundup: CMS complies with NC Parents’ Bill of Rights; Fentanyl overdoses are up; Mark Robinson speaks in Charlotte; Panthers prepare to host Detroit

This week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools became one of the first North Carolina school systems to comply with the new North Carolina Parents’ Bill of Rights. We’ll hear parent reactions and get an update on “back to school” since CMS starts classes on Monday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says overdose deaths in Mecklenburg County have gone up 20% so far this year, and the fentanyl crisis continues to grow.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican candidate for governor, visited Charlotte this week to speak to the Charlotte Rotary.

Might Charlotte finally be home to a social district? Smaller cities around the area have already made the move to social districts, but none have happened yet in Charlotte — but that soon could change. We’ll discuss Plaza Midwood’s efforts to form a social district and when the city might decide on approval.

Amid the vetoes, overrides, the lack of an approved budget and other issues, North Carolina Republicans are currently divided as lawmakers consider allowing casinos in the state.

The Carolina Panthers play the Detroit Lions in the preseason finale at Bank of America Stadium on Friday. Will we see a different outcome?

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and more.

GUESTS:

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

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE education reporter

Ely Portillo, WFAE senior editor

Is Nikki Haley the GOP’s Future?

Former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley announced that she is running to be president in 2024—challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. How will she define herself in contrast to the former president—her former boss—without losing his base?

Guest: Ed Kilgore, political columnist for New York magazine.

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

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)

U.S. Reaction to Syria Chemical Attacks

CHARLOTTE, NC — Russia has vetoed a U.S. draft resolution at the UN Security Council Tuesday that would have established an independent investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons, much to the anger of Ambassador Nikki Haley, and the U.S. President Trump has blasted the Russia involvement and is vowing to take action