Local News Roundup: A local graduate among those killed at UVA, Tepper and Rock Hill come to an agreement, Juneteenth officially a holiday in Charlotte

The shooting at the University of Virginia hits the Charlotte area as one of the victims, Devin Chandler, was a graduate of Hough High School in Cornelius. Chandler was a member of the UVA football team, and his former high school team plans to wear decals on their helmets for the rest of the season.

The Carolina Panthers and Rock Hill have settled a legal dispute over a proposed headquarters and practice facility. Rock Hill will receive $20 million in the bankruptcy settlement. GT Real Estate Holdings, David Tepper’s real estate company, was set to build an $800 million facility. York County also filed a lawsuit but is not named in the settlement deal.

The city of Charlotte has adopted Juneteenth as a holiday. It commemorates the dates in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Texas were informed that they were free. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

And after being benched earlier this season, Baker Mayfield is back as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers with P.J. Walker injured. The team is 3-7, two games out of the lead in the NFC South, and travels to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters dive into those and other topics this week on the local news roundup.

GUESTS:

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter

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

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

Reporters’ Roundtable

We have a lot to talk about at the Reporters’ Roundtable as we examine the top stories of the week. We have another building explosion in Montgomery County. Former President Trump runs again. Democrats keep control of The Senate… but Republicans have control of The House. The University of Virginia mourns the deadly shooting of members of its football team. HBCU bomb threats and the juvenile suspect and a Black man beaten by sheriff’s deputies in a Georgia jail.

Which party has a game plan for the future? We’re about to find out

Democrats get way too giddy about immediate gains and take their eyes off the ball, while Republicans excel at playing the long game. Overused sports metaphors aside, that has been the conventional wisdom because there’s a lot of truth in it.

Want proof? After Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential win, it was Republicans who ignored predictions of a “blue” future. They went to work. While Sen. Mitch McConnell did not ultimately succeed in his wish to make Obama a “one-term president” in 2012, he and his party delivered a 2010 midterm “shellacking” — to use Obama’s own word — that won control of the House and gained seats in the Senate.

In 2014, the GOP won that Senate majority McConnell craved, and the country still lives with the result — a solid conservative block on the Supreme Court, one that overturned Roe v. Wade and seems intent on rolling back voting rights and other signature issues claimed by today’s Democrats.

Few who watched McConnell’s block-and-delay strategy, one that shaped that court, would argue with his coaching skill and foresight. But after last week’s anemic midterm GOP showing, the wisdom of Republican guile and “Democrats in disarray” is looking a lot less conventional.

It’s Democrats who are being credited with thinking ahead.

So, was the blue team taking notes, or did Republicans get a little too cocky? Why did some of those best-laid plans backfire?

BLACK ISSUES FORUM: Commentary on Election 2022

Winners in most races in the midterm elections have been congratulated, but hand-wringing by both parties continues as races in a few key states remain too close to call. Panelists Mary C. Curtis of the Equal Time podcast, political analyst Steve Rao, UNC student Greear Webb and Forsyth County GOP leader Harold Eustache discuss the election outcomes with host Deborah Holt Noel.

Who gets credit, and blame, after Election Day?

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp was rewarded Tuesday night with a win by voters, who approved of his policies and appreciated his stand against former President Donald Trump, who tried and failed to get Kemp to toss out ballots that contributed to Trump’s narrow 2020 defeat in the state.

But it always bothered me that Kemp and the similarly Trump-resistant secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, earned kudos and votes for simply doing their jobs, and that both, flush in the praise for standing up to Trump, went on to support more restrictive voting rules that were not needed in the first place, rules that disadvantaged voters like Jennifer Jones.

The Guardian recounted the arduous odyssey of Jones, a Ph.D. student at Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia, who, like any good American citizen, showed up to cast her early vote in her Fulton County precinct for the midterm elections.

She hit a roadblock.

Despite dotting every “i” and crossing every “t,” she was told she could not cast a ballot for the candidates of her choice — Stacey Abrams for governor and incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. Why? Someone she didn’t know and had never met had challenged her right to do the right thing.

The culprit was her state’s ironically named Election Integrity Act, supported by Kemp and Raffensperger, which allowed such a scenario and, in fact, invited it. Those who denied the results of the 2020 election of President Joe Biden, who were none too happy about the close election of two Democratic senators, Warnock and Jon Ossoff, enthusiastically used the law to cast doubt on the kinds of voters who made those results a reality.

Her mystery challenger might not have known her but probably knew a few things about her by following the clues and determining that Jones, a Black woman, was not quite “right” in some way.

It’s annoying, but not surprising, considering the history of Georgia and the country — white men of privilege taking two steps back for every step forward, when others doing the hard work don’t get much credit.

Remember, Georgia is the state where Black poll workers in that 2020 election were falsely accused of election mischief by Trump and friends, and hounded from their homes and patriotic duty. Mother and daughter Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss were still clearly shaken when they testified about their ordeal before the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

They were the true heroes of democracy in Georgia.

The results of Tuesday’s 2022 midterm elections are still uncertain. While the “red wave” predicted by Republicans, prognosticators and pollsters whose profession is becoming increasingly suspect did not emerge, control of the House and Senate is still up in the air.

One thing is certain, though. When results are this close, there will inevitably be rumblings about how Black voters could have done more to help Democrats, especially Black candidates who fell short. That was clear in preview stories that wondered if Democrats were doing enough, if Black voters expected too much, and whether or not Abrams was doing enough to appeal to Black men, in particular.

When will Republicans reject fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear?

Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine initially thought her GOP colleague Sen. Joe McCarthy might be onto something with his crusade to root out subversives in the State Department. After all, post-World War II, concern was high on issues of national security. But when she examined his questionable “evidence,” Smith instead worried that his bully-boy act would be the true subversion of American values.

Though her June 1950 “Declaration of Conscience,” delivered on the Senate floor and supported by six other Republican senators, never mentioned McCarthy by name, it was clear Smith meant the Wisconsin senator when she said: “Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism.”

And though Smith certainly wanted Republicans to win, she said, “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.”

While Democratic President Harry S. Truman praised her words, retaliation was swift from McCarthy, who dismissed the effort from “Snow White and the Six Dwarfs” — proving inane name-calling did not originate with Donald Trump.

Smith was removed as a member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, replaced by an ambitious senator from California, Richard M. Nixon. But four years later, she got to cast a vote for McCarthy’s censure after the beginning of his end, the moment U.S. Army lawyer Joseph Welch asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Cut to today, and the opportunity for members of today’s GOP to take a stand.

Celebrating, reflecting and looking to the future after National Hispanic Heritage Month

When America started officially honoring Hispanic heritage in 1968, it was a one-week celebration. Though the country now marks National Hispanic Heritage Month, acknowledging how generations of Hispanic Americans have influenced and contributed to our nation, it doesn’t have to end when that month is over. This episode of Equal Time reflects on the issues and challenges facing the community and the country now and into the future.

Equal Time host Mary C. Curtis speaks with Larry Gonzalez, an experienced participant in policy-making at the federal and state levels and a founder and principal of the communications firm The Raben Group, and Teresa Puente, an assistant professor who teaches journalism at California State University Long Beach and has spent her career reporting on immigration and Latino issues in the U.S., with extensive reporting from Mexico.

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

A depressing return to a well-worn election playbook — because it works

It’s no surprise that fear of the other — of what they want and what they might do to you and yours — is on the ballot in November.

Former President George H.W. Bush’s success in making Willie Horton the figurative running mate of his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis, has nothing on race-baiting, the 2022 edition. In a close midterm election cycle, attack ads and accusations aimed at Black candidates, or any candidate that might be interested in restorative justice, are front and center, as Republicans running for office have returned to the playbook, one that unfortunately has worked time and again.

To many, Black people are viewed with suspicion straight out of the womb, and I’m only slightly exaggerating. Data backs me up. Just look at the greater percentage of Black boys and girls suspended or arrested for school infractions that earn white peers a lecture or visit to the principal’s office. Take note of the litany of unarmed Black people shot or choked by trained police officers who “feared for their lives,” with no benefit of the doubt to save them.

Even when the Black person under the microscope is educated and accomplished and has reached the highest of heights, the “othering” doesn’t go away. If the person can’t be tagged a criminal, he or she must be sympathetic to criminals. Guilt by historical association, you might say, because the tactic can be traced back hundreds of years, when dehumanizing Black people, connecting them to violence and crime, was the best way to justify murder, rape and lynching.

As Margaret A. Burnham, a law professor who founded the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University, points out in her book “By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners,” throughout American history it was whites — bus drivers, store owners, ordinary people — who perpetrated random terror against Black people without consequence.

For the best example of predominantly white mob violence in the past few years, you need look no further than the videos and other evidence of windows and doors smashed, American institutions defiled and law enforcement beaten and attacked on Jan. 6, 2021. The goal was lawlessness, the overturning of a free and fair election.

I might add that it was left to mostly minority government employees to clean up the literal mess.

But stubborn facts won’t get in the way when there is political hay to be made.

Five Years of #MeToo

Five years after exposés in the New Yorker and New York Times, Harvey Weinstein is in jail—but a major rallying point of #MeToo was just how widespread this sexual harassment, abuse, and violence really is in workplaces across industries. Looking back, from the top of media to blue- and pink-collar work, how much has the #MeToo movement changed?

Guest: Christina Cauterucci, senior writer at Slate.