Local News Roundup: Early voting starts, McCaffrey trade, Mecklenburg leaders look at how to end violence and new toll lanes discussed for I-77

Early voting is underway in Mecklenburg county. How are the numbers?

Mecklenburg County leaders talked about a long-term approach to stopping violence in the region this week. The plan, “The Way Forward,” approaches violence as a public health issue.

The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization met with North Carolina DOT officials this week to talk about a plan to add new toll lanes to I-77 south of uptown. Are the lanes on the horizon?

Mayor Vi Lyles says the city will learn from mistakes that allowed a talent coach without certification to get over $400,000 in work over other qualified businesses. What she said about what happened and how city staff will handle the situation.

Mecklenburg County Health officials are concerned about the BQ.1 subvariant of omicron, now that a case has been found in Mecklenburg county. Dr. Raynard Washington, county health director, is encouraging county residents to get the latest booster shot.

And trouble already for the Hornets despite a win on the road for their first game, as they start the season without key players for a variety of reasons.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top local and regional news on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.

GUESTS:

Shamarria Morrison, WCNC reporter

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

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

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

Ex-Charlotte mayors McCrory and Cannon lose comeback bids: An analysis of the NC primary

In this episode Inside Politics: Election 2022, we discuss the results of the May 17 primary in North Carolina and look ahead to the general election.

Election night in the U.S. Senate race came to a predictable outcome. Former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley cruised to victory in the Democratic primary. And U.S. Rep. Ted Budd easily defeated former Gov. Pat McCrory in the GOP primary.

Budd was complimentary of McCrory on election night. But McCrory did not return the favor — he refused to endorse Budd and questioned the direction of the Republican Party.

Another big story from May 17: Controversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn was ousted in the primary by a fellow Republican.

We’ll also talk about the upcoming July election for Charlotte City Council.

Voters winnowed down candidates for mayor and council last week. Former Mayor Patrick Cannon, who served prison time after being arrested for corruption while in office, lost his bid to return to public office with an at-large seat on council. Meanwhile, incumbent District 1’s Larken Egleston will exit from council after losing in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat, and some districts will have new representatives. Incumbent Mayor Vi Lyles cruised to an easy victory in her Democratic primary.

Our guests for this week are retiring Charlotte City Council member Julie Eiselt and journalist Mary C. Curtis of Roll Call.

Local News Roundup: NC, SC Senators question Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, CMS reading scores continue to fall

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee spent much of the week questioning Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had their chance to engage the nominee, and in the case of Graham, it got quite heated. We’ll hear what both had to say.

Third grade reading scores are getting worse in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, even after students have returned to in-person classes. Preliminary testing indicates that less than 15% of all third graders are expected to hit the mark for academic success in reading this year.

That and other academic challenges serve as a backdrop for Superintendent Earnest Winston’s budget proposal this week. How the school system and board plan to approach spending strategies for meeting academic goals.

In the ongoing funding dispute between the city of Rock Hill and the Carolina Panthers, leaders in York County approved a plan for providing economic incentives for the headquarters project. What they’re offering, and what happens next.

Those stories and more with our roundtable of reporters.

Guests

Joe Bruno, reporter for WSOC-TV

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

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

Ann Doss Helms, education reporter for WFAE

Clyburn: Pass voting bills or Democrats will lose majorities

As a young civil rights activist, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn was involved in protests that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act. Now, the 81-year-old Democrat from South Carolina, whose endorsement is widely credited with helping Joe Biden turn around his bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, says Congress needs to act to stop a new assault on voting.

The House has passed one sweeping bill — dubbed HR 1, or the For the People Act — that sets standards for voting and overhauls campaign finance and ethics law. But an attempt to bring it up was defeated in the Senate. Another measure — dubbed HR 4, or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — is being drafted in the House and getting attention in the Senate. Clyburn joined CQ Roll Call’s Equal Time podcast last month to discuss what’s at stake and how he expects it to play out. An edited transcript:

‘This is about whether or not we will have a democracy or an autocracy,’ Clyburn says on voting rights

Voter nullification, authoritarianism and the end of democracy — that’s what Rep. James E. Clyburn says are the very real consequences of not passing legislation to protect voting rights. The South Carolina Democrat emphasized that voter suppression is not just an issue of access to the ballot box, but includes who gets to overturn elections.

“I want you to call it what it is. Use the word. Nullification,” said Clyburn“It is voter nullification.”

There are currently two bills on the issue, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, before Congress. Senate Democrats are meeting to hash out a revised bill that could be released next week.

Mary C. Curtis sits down with the House majority whip to discuss voting rights, and to understand what are the very high stakes and what can be done with dwindling time on the clock.

Mary C. Curtis: Donald Trump Jumps Into 2022 NC Senate Race, Endorses Rep. Ted Budd

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Three-term Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s plans to retire from the Senate has left an opening that several North Carolina Republicans hope to fill. During his weekend speech at the state GOP convention, Donald Trump made clear that he is still the party’s leader and intends to play a part in the primary process. Now that his daughter-in-law, North Carolina’s own Lara Trump has said she is not running – for now — Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.

While others running aren’t that happy, count former Gov. Pat McCrory among them, others in the GOP establishment wonder if Trump is a help or hindrance as he continues to focus not on the future but on the past. That past is the 2020 presidential contest and Trump’s continued false insistence that he won and that there was widespread fraud.

POLITICAL WRAP: Former President Trump Returns to Political Stage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former President Donald Trump is back on the political stage.

He was the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Republican State Convention on Saturday.

When an insurrection is seen as just another day in America

Is America getting a thirst for blood?

It’s a question I ask after hearing too many Republicans dismiss the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob trying to halt the counting of American citizens’ votes as a “normal tourist visit,” in the words of Georgia Rep. Andrew S. Clyde, the same Clyde seen — mouth open and terrified — helping to barricade the besieged doors that day.

When I was a Baltimore schoolgirl, we often visited Washington, D.C., to tour the monuments. It was an easy and informative field trip, barely an hour away by bus. Now kids can occasionally be unruly, and the nuns had to raise their voices once or twice. But I don’t recall ever erecting gallows on the Capitol lawn, breaking windows or pummeling police officers with batons and their own shields. In fact, I’m sure it would have made the front pages if a bunch of Black grade schoolers from St. Pius V Elementary ventured a foot beyond the velvet ropes, let alone desecrated the beautiful marble floors of a government building by using them as a toilet.

Have things changed that much for Clyde and all the others asking Americans and the world not to believe their lying eyes?

Local News Roundup: Pat McCrory Runs For Senate; Barringer Gets A New Name; Update On COVID-19 Vaccinations

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

The list of candidates for Richard Burr’s U.S. Senate seat is growing, now including former mayor and local radio talk show host Pat McCrory. We’ll talk about the field of candidates that has assembled.

This week, City Council provided details about how it plans to fund the arts in Charlotte after it announced earlier this year that it would no longer send money to the Arts & Science Council.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is spending nearly $900,0000 on air quality improvements for several schools in the district. That news came in the same week that it was announced that commencement ceremonies would be in person this year. Also, a new name for Barringer Academic Center, and no more taking temperatures upon entry at CMS schools.

And we’ll have an update on COVID-19 vaccinations in Mecklenburg County.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for RollCall.com, host of the RollCall podcast “Equal Time” and contributor at WCCB-TV

Jonathan Lowe, anchor/ reporter for Spectrum News

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter

Back to the Future: The ERA

The Equal Rights Amendment known as ERA — yes that ERA — is back.

The House passed a bill last week that would extend the deadline to ratify the amendment to the Constitution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.

But is this five-decade-old amendment up to this moment? A moment that includes #MeToo, rising hate crimes against women of color and a pandemic that has battered women more than men? We turn to professor Julie Suk, who published “We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment,” to discuss.