Tom Bullock

Reporter

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR.  Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit.  Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others.  Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.

Ways To Connect

Public Domain

North Carolina state lawmakers have given themselves yet more time to pass the state’s budget. Wednesday, the House and Senate passed another continuing resolution which keeps the state funded through September 18.

Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety

It started with cigarettes and cell phones. It ended when an FBI hostage rescue team freed the father of a Wake County assistant district attorney and with two former North Carolina prison guards facing federal charges. Just how the guards helped make the kidnapping, which took place last year, possible were laid out in federal charges this week.

It’s been a week since Governor Pat McCrory announced a number, a big one actually, $21.74 billion. That is how big North Carolina’s budget will be when it’s finalized. This was billed as a major breakthrough in negotiations between the House and Senate, who have very different spending plans for the state. So are they ready to sing in harmony yet?

A budget deal requires the House and Senate to sing a kind of fiscal duet with an agreed upon framework as their guide. In that spirit, Republican Representative Chuck McGrady serves as my partner as I talk through a couple numbers.

Belk, Inc.

After more than a century as a family-owned department store chain, Belk has agreed to sell to a New York-based private equity firm later this year for about $3 billion.

Started as a single store in Monroe in 1888, Belk now has 296 stores in 16 states.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

Some did take to the streets of uptown last night to protest the mistrial. We sent WFAE’s Tom Bullock to report on what happened.

Warning: The audio in this report contains an offensive word.

These protesters were younger and more aggressive than the marchers who snarled traffic earlier in the day.  And it was easy to tell they felt they were in charge as they walked down the middle of streets weaving in between cars yelling things like "No justice – no peace. No justice – no peace."

And this:

"F--- the police."

Via YouTube

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has joined a number of Republican lawmakers opposing a proposal to move some or all detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the state.

Courtesy of the candidates

The last Republican mayor of Charlotte once told a crowd, "If my dog doesn’t like the mansion we might be spending a lot more time here in Charlotte."

For the record, Pat McCrory’s dog seems to like the governor’s mansion just fine.

Charlotte is a heavily Democratic city, but one with a history of Republican mayors. McCrory served in the post for 14 years. His immediate predecessors, Richard Vinroot and Sue Myrick were also Republicans.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

The next mayor of Charlotte will get an annual salary of $23,000, an expense account worth up to $14,800 and an office atop the Government Center with truly spectacular views of the city. Obviously these are nice perks, but hardly the reason eight candidates are running to be mayor of the city.

So, ahead of the elections this fall (primaries are September 15 and the general election is on November 3), we invited all declared candidates to sit down for a one-on-one interview about why they want to be mayor and what they would do if elected. Six of the eight candidates said yes.

We asked each some stock questions - think streetcar, toll lanes, city budget and the like in order to give you a fair comparison on their views of likely campaign issues. And we sprinkled in some questions specific to each candidate. You can listen to all of them below.

NC General Assembly

The North Carolina Senate has rolled out what they call a compromise sales tax and job incentives bill. This comes a day after the provisions were removed from the senate’s proposed budget.

The senate’s plans to redistribute sales tax by population and their frugal take on economic development funds were never greeted warmly by either the House or the Governor. They were removed from the budget in hopes that would help jumpstart budget negotiations which have been plodding along now for weeks.

North Carolina General Assembly

Hoping it will help jump start negotiations on North Carolina’s budget, state senators are offering major concessions to the House. But they want something in return. 

For weeks now senior budget writers from both the House and Senate have been talking, just not about the numbers in their budgets.

"We have had discussion on the economic development proposals and the Medicaid proposals," said Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger.

  "I think we are....," Berger then took a long pause before finishing,"closer than we have ever been in getting those things worked out."

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