3 Important Things
- Airport angst. Two years ago the NC legislature created of a 13-member commission to operate the airport that has thus far been blocked from using any of its powers. The FAA hasn’t approved transferring the airport’s operating certificate to the new commission, and a judge said the commission can’t operate until it has a certificate. However, that’s not a good enough reason for the commission to not be making things happen, according to a separate airport oversight committee. Three members of the committee wrote to Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and House Speaker Moore to complain about the seven city of Charlotte appointees to the commission gumming things up. Their solution? Change the makeup so that the City no longer appoints the majority of seats on the commission. But before you ask, as we did, whether it makes sense for us to listen to, or even have, a committee to oversee a commission that legally can do nothing, you should know there’s one major issue that the commission is deadlocked on — whether or not to direct their lawyers to fight for the commission’s very existence. The City of Charlotte is currently in charge of operating the airport.
- Looks like Cs for CMS. US News & World Report ranked the best performing high schools in the country. While Providence High is the best-performing Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) high school, it failed to crack the top 10 in North Carolina and ranked 495 overall. In terms of NC schools, only five were rated above the state average for preparing students for college- #14 Providence, #15 Ardrey Kell, #22 Butler, #27 Northwest School of the Arts and #30 Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.
- Footloose. At last Monday’s City Council meeting we learned that Charlotte (1) has dance halls (2) that there is an ordinance that regulates them (3) that the ordinance is poorly constructed and (4) it is allegedly selectively enforced against minorities. The original dance hall ordinance was passed in 2001 to address illegal drug use at raves and defined “dance halls” as places where (1) there is music (2) you are allowed to dance and (3) you have to pay some kind of admission to get in. Using this definition, Planet Fitness, the YMCA, the movie theater lobby, or Monkey Joe’s would all be considered “dance halls” and need to obtain a permit. A district court found the ordinance overly vague and unconstitutional when it was faced with a challenge from a defendant who was arrested for violating the ordinance after throwing a Sweet 16 party at his place of business. His son was shot during the party when he denied entry to some would-be attendees. Last Monday, Council amended the ordinance to define a dance hall as a place where a dance open to the public is held, that requires some sort of payment for admission, but created an exception for charities. However,the definition was only part of the problem — selective enforcement appears to be a bigger issue. As of the 2014 trial, 87% of those charged with “operating a dance hall without a permit” were African American and 93% were a racial minority. Council’s Community Safety Committee will undertake the selective enforcement problem, as well as consider whether there is a continued need for the ordinance to exist at all, at their next meeting on June 11 at the Government Center, Room 280. As Ren McCormack (played by Kevin Bacon in the legendary movie Footloose) put it: “There is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh…and a time to weep. A time to mourn…and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance.” Or maybe not. You decide.
2 Happy Things
- Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark (home of the Charlotte Knights) was named the Belle of the Ballparks — the best ballpark in the minor leagues by Baseball America!
- Thanks to an innovative program at Levine Middle College High School, kids can graduate from college before they graduate from high school, like Tori Wentz did. Tori earned her associates of arts degree from CPCC while enrolled at Levine Middle College High, which requires dual enrollment at both institutions.
1 Random Thing
- Today, Wednesday, May 20th, also known as “Meck Dec Day“, marks the 240th anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Written in the period shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, the Mecklenburg delegates met on May 19, 1775, and read the resolution they came to on the courthouse steps on May 20, 1775. Written and signed over a year before the American Declaration of Independence, it was the first declaration of independence in the colonies. This claim is of course not without controversy, but we’re on board with it being true — after all another document called the Mecklenburg Resolves was written and signed in May 1775 as well. Militia Captain James Jack, whose statue now stands on the corner of Kings Drive and 4th Street, set off for Philadelphia to deliver both documents to the Second Continental Congress. What can we say, Charlotte has always been a trendsetter. Also, that’s what the guys in the pointy hats and period costumes hanging out and “huzzahing” at Trade and Tryon are doing today.
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