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.

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Charlotte’s NBC affiliate has failed to properly disclose information on political ads.  This is the claim being made by two national watchdog groups.  And they’ve asked the Federal Communications Commission to take action. 

Hey North Carolina, it’s time to get branded. Don’t worry, no hot implements will be used. But branding was big news at a recent meeting of the state’s Economic Development Board.

They want to spend $1.5 million on a new slogan to attract tourists and businesses to our fair state.  So WFAE's Tom Bullock decided to peel back the onion on this attempt at sloganeering.

Full disclosure: I just moved here a few months ago.  But even I know North Carolina has a state slogan, “First in Flight.”  It’s even on our licenses plates.  And license plates don’t lie right?

Courtesy of Charlotte Aviation Department

Officials at Charlotte Douglas International are examining if they should continue to allow just three taxi companies sole rights to pick up passengers at the airport. This after renewed charges a pay-to-play scheme determined those slots. But the airport may have no choice but to extend the controversial contract.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Monday we brought you the story of an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving Charlotte Douglas International Airport and taxi companies.  In 2011 the City Council slashed the number of companies that could pick-up at the airport from 12 to 3. The allegations were that only companies that paid $5,000 to join The Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, or HTA, were given the coveted slots. Those who did not were cut out of the most lucrative market in the city for cabs.

In our earlier report, Diamond Cab owner Obaid Khan said, "We feel like you shouldn’t have to pay to play. That’s exactly what took place at the airport."

Last night, Khan addressed the Charlotte City Council about another side of the controversy. 

Charlotte Observer

There’s a phrase that now hovers over the Charlotte city government:

Pay-to-play. An arrangement where political influence is for sale. Mohamed Moustafa says he was offered the chance at pay-to-play.

"The way they did this process was 100 percent pay to play scheme."

What’s interesting about his quote is it’s from July of 2011 - 2.5 years before Patrick Cannon was arrested and resigned. That was Moustafa then. This is him now:

"What I said then in 2011, it is proved itself now in 2014. It is proved."

Tom Bullock / WFAE News

Wednesday, Dan Clodfelter was sworn in as Mayor of Charlotte. 

There was the pledge of allegiance, an oath of office and prayer…more or less the standard affair.  Of course how Clodfelter became mayor was anything but. WFAE's Tom Bullock sat down with Charlotte's new mayor just after the ceremony.


David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com / Charlotte Observer

Later today, Democratic State Senator Dan Clodfelter will resign the seat he’s held for 8 terms so he can become the next Mayor of Charlotte. Last night, Clodfelter was appointed by the City Council to serve what remains of Patrick Cannon’s term.


Bytemarks/Flickr

Later today, the US Senate is expected to vote on extending long term unemployment benefits.  If passed, the bill will move to the House of Representatives. And if it becomes law, it would affect North Carolina more than any other state. 


Tom Bullock steps in for Ben Bradford on this week's show. Greg, Lisa and Tom discuss the race for Charlotte mayor and Patrick Cannon's recognition on the The Daily Show. Plus, the production assist that some candidates are giving third-party interest groups, and a charter school in Charlotte that shuts down before the school year ends.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Many of the political ads you see and hear are produced by independent third-party interest groups. They are called “independent” because it’s illegal for these groups and candidates to coordinate their campaigns.

But this year it’s harder to distinguish between these groups and some candidates in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate Race.

This year the campaigns of Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan are pushing the boundaries of election law.


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