Local News Roundup: Charlotte weighs housing initiatives; COVID cases could rise again

A local expert says that cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina will increase in the next few weeks. We talk about the prediction and what doctors are saying.

The Charlotte City Council is working on plans to provide more affordable housing in the city. We take a look at several projects on the table, and what kind of dent they’d make in Charlotte’s affordable housing deficit.

The stalled construction of the Rock Hill, South Carolina, headquarters for the Carolina Panthers drew heated criticism from South Carolina state Sen. Wes Climer this week. We discuss what was said and have an update on the plans in Rock Hill.

And the Hornets’ positioning for the NBA playoffs has been on a rollercoaster the last couple of weeks. We look at how the next couple of games could define their season.

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:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

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

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter

But what will the ‘optics’ be?

After the votes are counted, probably this week, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice. But members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who wanted to use her confirmation hearings for everything but the thing they were designed for are also walking away satisfied.

Republican senators like Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas used their time to either talk down to Jackson or talk past her to make political points.

During the hearings, questions that criticized her sentencing philosophy as well as “empathy” were tailor-made for the African American Supreme Court candidate and a slew of negative ads to accuse her and every Democrat of being soft on crime in general and pornographers in particular.

In that, they were merely following the playbook that has become routine and is unfortunate for any American who wants to get anything done, especially, in this instance, for advocates of criminal justice reform. That Jackson had the support of major law enforcement groups and could boast of relatives with more time on the front lines of fighting crime than all those senators combined were facts to be ignored by those looking to set a narrative. That her sentencing record resembled that of Republican judges favored by the disagreeing and disagreeable senators were details to be brushed aside. Cotton, in fact, has ramped up his attacks, saying, to the disgust of the Anti-Defamation League, that she would represent “Nazis.”

After listening to and watching the show along with the rest of us, three Republican senators have explained their reasoning for backing the eminently qualified jurist while decrying the partisan grandstanding that has accompanied modern Supreme Court justice hearings. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, who actually voted against her last time around, had met with Jackson. They apparently have seen her as she truly is, not the ridiculous caricature constructed by her interrogators.

What did that get the three? The label of “pro-pedophile” from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Along with that slander, she also tweeted the proof was, “They just voted for #KBJ,” when the vote had not yet happened. But when has being wrong on fact or intention ever stopped the Georgia Republican?

It all fits in with the spectacle of Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee continuing their snarling and baseless accusations against Jackson this past Monday — the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The symbolism speaks for itself and points to a larger problem.

Say goodbye to reality-based reasoned discussion, with give-and-take from every side, and hello to filtering every issue through fear, feelings and optics.

Get used to terms such as “woke,” “socialism,” “critical race theory” and now “pedophile” in outraged statements and already surfacing alarmist election ads.

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

“We can’t give in to Jan. 6”

In a fiery and no-holds-barred conversation, Mary C. Curtis speaks with former RNC chair Michael Steele on the future of the GOP, why he cannot defend the current Republican party to Black voters and why he believes the country can and should do better.

Jaime Harrison says Democrats won’t cede South to GOP

Jaime Harrison, the former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, generated excitement among Democrats and shattered fundraising records in his 2020 campaign for Republican Lindsey Graham’s Senate seat.

In the end, Graham defeated Harrison by more than 10 points, but Democrats liked what they saw and in January elected Harrison to lead the Democratic National Committee. He’s now tasked with defending Democrats’ slim House and Senate majorities in 2022.

Harrison recently joined CQ Roll Call’s Equal Time podcast. An edited transcript follows.

POLITICAL WRAP: Liz Cheney Likely to be Ousted from GOP Leadership

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Representative Liz Cheney is likely to lose her position as the number three House Republican.

Cheney is among the few members of the GOP to vote for the second impeachment of then-President Donald Trump.

Our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis, gives us her take in the video above.

Local News Roundup: COVID-19 Numbers Up In NC; Vance High Gets New Name; Early Voting; Remembering Judy Williams

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

North Carolina’s coronavirus numbers are creeping back up under Phase 3, and state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen urges residents to remain vigilant, stating that she’s no longer able to pinpoint a specific location or cause, and that “this virus is everywhere.”

CMS begins its first round of in-person classes this week as Pre-K students return to school. We’ll get an update on how that went as well as other CMS news, including the week’s COVID-19 numbers and the renaming of Vance High School.

Early voting started this week in North Carolina, and candidates are descending on Charlotte and other locations around the state. We’ll give an update on all things “election,” including how potential voters are responding to news of the scandal in Cal Cunningham’s campaign, and record money raised by South Carolina candidate for U.S. Senate Jaime Harrison.

And we remember Judy Williams, the co-founder of Mothers of Murdered Offspring and anti-violence advocate in Charlotte who supported countless families of murder victims. She died last week after a battle with lung cancer.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters bring the week’s top news in the local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal.

Glenn Burkins, founder and publisher of qcitymetro.com.

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE’s Education Reporter.

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

From Clinton to Trump, how U.S. lawmakers have changed their tune on impeachment

When Bill Clinton faced impeachment more than two decades ago, commentary from the Republican side of the aisle was very different than today’s trial against U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We see with this impeachment, when you compare it to the Clinton impeachment, that it seems to depend if it’s your guy in the hot seat,” said Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Roll Call, a website covering U.S. politics.

POLITICAL WRAP: Impeachment Trial; Voter Rights; UK Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After this week’s impeachment vote, debate will continue over a possible Senate trial. Majority leader Mitch McConnell says he’d like it to go quickly. But President Trump has talked about calling witnesses, ranging from Hunter Biden, to the whistleblower, to Congressman Adam Schiff.

Also, this week voting rights are back in the spotlight after a ruling by a circuit court judge in Wisconsin. 234,000 voters, flagged as having possibly moved, will be taken off the registry. The ruling is expected to hurt Democrats in a state President Trump won in 2016.

And in the UK, a landslide victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party. Johnson is promising to “Get Brexit Done,” while President Trump calls the election result a possible “harbinger of what’s to come” in the 202o U.S. election.

With ‘lynching’ comment, Trump retreats to his racist comfort zone

OPINION — When Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley sent her 14-year-old son, Emmett, to visit relatives in Mississippi, she never thought he would return in a casket, a victim of a mother’s nightmare and America’s shame. A group of white men kidnapped, tortured, mutilated and murdered him that summer in 1955 for the “crime” of flirting with a white woman, who years later admitted to lying about their supposed interaction.

Mr. President, that’s a lynching.