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City Council

Charlotte’s Very Own Authoritarians

A push is underway in the Queen City to advance a kinder, hipper slate of GOP candidates for municipal office. But underneath self-consciously cool, mostly millennial packaging lurks a tolerance for the authoritarianism that defines today’s Republican Party. The contenders themselves told us so. When candidate filing opened in March at the Mecklenburg County Board […]

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City Council

“Never Trump” and the Politics of Integrity

While darkness has enveloped much of American politics since Donald Trump descended his escalator to announce a bid for the presidency, one bright spot has offered some hope that decency would yet prevail in politics and the public square: the work of so-called “never Trump” Republicans. Faced with a candidate and president plainly unfit for […]

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City Council

Charlotte’s Municipal Bungling Hurts Women

When hundreds of anti-choice zealots marched outside a health clinic last month, Charlotte’s noise ordinance limited the harassment and heckling they could heap on women seeking care. The city’s code prevented protesters from using amplified sound too close to the facility and cordoned off certain areas in front of the doctor’s office to create room […]

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City Council

Charlotte Freedom Fighter Violating the First Amendment

The 2021 platform of the North Carolina Republican Party puts liberty first. “We are the party that stands strong against tyranny and will fight at home and abroad to protect the lives and fundamental liberties of all people,” it proclaims. “The fundamental role of government is to protect those inherent rights as recognized in our […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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City Council

Whiteness, Wealth, and Bureaucracy Conspired to Kill Charlotte’s BLM Plaza

The injection of Black lives into white, wealthy space proved too much. So Charlotte City Council voted last week to allow cars and trucks to grind our Black Lives Matter mural into oblivion. On South Tryon Street between 3rd and 4th Streets, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we had made a promise to […]

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City Council

Voter Suppression Comes to Charlotte

City Council silenced the voices of nearly 63,000 Charlotteans this week. The setting was a day-long meeting at which the city’s elected officials and top administrators discussed a wide range of issues, including the city budget, COVID relief, potential changes to the city’s form of government, and reform of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. As a […]

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City Council

City Attorney Hires Outside Counsel to Investigate Corrupt Councilman

Charlotte’s city attorney has referred an ethics complaint against Councilman Tariq Bokhari to outside investigators. The complaint alleges that Bokhari has engaged in a years-long pattern and practice of using his public office to further his private financial and business interests. This violates the city’s policy prohibiting elected officials from “us[ing] their official position for […]