Categories
The American Way

N.C. Chief Justice Casts Suspicion on Black Men With Their Hands Up

Bryan Xavier Johnson immediately put his hands up when the cops pulled him over. Johnson, a Black man, was driving down Central Avenue in East Charlotte in the late-night hours of January 14, 2017, when the police pulled him over because his license plate didn’t match the vehicle he was operating. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer […]

Categories
COVID-19

COVID, Science, and Democracy

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a tension animating the work of self-government in our technologically complex society. We fancy ourselves believers in democracy — for present purposes, rule by lay people — but safely, successfully navigating the world in which we live requires no small amount of specialized, technical know-how. In such a world, how […]

Categories
City Council

In Charlotte, Democracy Struggles Against Bureaucracy

The mayor pleaded powerlessness. With the delta variant of COVID-19 tearing through our community, several reporters asked at a recent press conference if Mayor Vi Lyles intended to impose a new municipal mask mandate in Charlotte. “I’ve been really, really consistent that we should follow the science,” she responded without answering the question. The science, […]

Categories
City Council

Charlotte Embraces Cheap, Performative Progress With Gay Rights Push

Gay rights are coming to Charlotte, and to my own surprise, the prospect fills me with near-perfect ambivalence. City Council will soon enact a prohibition banning discrimination in employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation — with virtual unanimity among Council members as to the appropriateness of such a regulation, though with […]

Categories
COVID-19

Atrium Health to Workers: Drop Dead

Businesses showered symbolic gratitude on front-line workers during the worst days of the pandemic while simultaneously campaigning to deny wage and medical benefits to those who got sick or died while working. That’s the take-away from a recent article in the Charlotte Observer describing the difficulty employees face getting workers’ compensation benefits if they contract […]

Categories
Corruption

Billionaire Launches Latest Salvo in Campaign of Civic Extortion

Billionaire David Tepper threatened Charlotte last week in his latest play to extort hundreds of millions of public dollars from the city. The setting was a seemingly eleemosynary one: Tepper, who owns the Carolina Panthers, and his wife, Nicole, were in Rock Hill to announce a $500,000 donation to Miracle Park, a fifteen-acre playground for […]

Categories
The Charlotte Way

Inside Job: Top City Official Seeks to Gut Charlotte’s Equity Efforts

Developers and realtors seeking to derail Charlotte’s promotion of equitable, inclusionary growth and development have found a helpful ally: one of their own who was installed several years ago atop the city’s bureaucracy. Tracy Dodson, who serves as assistant city manager and director of economic development, recently wrote a three-page memo to Taiwo Jaiyeoba, who […]

Categories
The American Way

The Hypocrite’s Refrain: Violence Isn’t the Answer to Deadly Racism

Andrew Brown, Jr.’s killers — lethal bullies hiding behind badges, groomed under America’s toxic regime of law enforcement — will go unpunished, and protests will again fill the streets. In addition to the militarized police officers charged with the duty of maintaining the racial order, protesters will be accompanied by a familiar refrain from those […]

Categories
The Charlotte Way

Developers Lament Too Much Democracy in Charlotte

The public has had too much say in crafting Charlotte’s future, developers will tell Mayor Vi Lyles this week, and they are asking elected officials to postpone finalization of a suite of policies to guide the city’s growth in coming decades. The delay, developers hope, will give them more time to pressure City Council into […]

Categories
City Council

City Ethics Report Fails to Examine Corrupt Councilman’s Ethics Violations

Independent investigators have scolded Charlotte City Councilman Tariq Bokhari for his actions trying to steer municipal COVID relief money to a program to be run by a non-profit he oversees, but they failed entirely to engage a broader ethics complaint that documented Bokhari’s years-long entanglement of his public duties with his private financial interests in […]