Public Conversations

Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics.  Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas.  By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue.  Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

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Local News
10:09 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Charlotte's $2.1 Billion Budget, Made Possible Through Big Sales Tax Collections

Several council members didn't make the meeting in which the city adopted a new budget.
Credit Michael Tomsic

The Charlotte City Council on Monday night adopted a budget that increases the city’s spending about 7 percent without raising property taxes.

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WFAE Talks
3:13 am
Mon April 28, 2014

WFAE Talks Common Core, Water Pollution, And More Water Pollution

North Carolina lawmakers move to take Common Core education standards off the books. Greg, Lisa and Ben also discuss WFAE's latest Public Conversations forum, What's In Our Water? Plus, the reason environmentalists are so upset with Governor McCrory's coal ash proposal.

WFAE Talks, recorded April 25.

Public Conversations
7:00 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

What's In Our Water?

Mt. Island Lake, the source of Charlotte's drinking water.
Mark Rumsey

At WFAE's Public Conversation on "What's In Our Water," reporter Ben Bradford opened the community forum by presenting an overview of the Catawba River Basin including the lakes that provide Charlotte's drinking water supply, threats to the regions water quality, and the water treatment process.

Listen to the overview.

View slide presentation to accompany introduction. (Attached as PDF.)

This Public Conversation offered perspectives from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County water quality and water treatment officials, the local Riverkeeper organization, and the real estate and building industry. The discussion covered topics from water quality monitoring and government regulations, to concerts about the pollution from coal ash stored near North Carolina rivers and lakes. 

Listen to the full event audio.

Moderator:
Lisa Miller,
WFAE reporter

Panelists:
Richard Gaskins, executive director at Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Barry Gullet, director at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities
Joe Padilla, Executive Director; Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition
Rusty Rozzelle, Water Quality Program Manager; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services

 

Local News
6:40 am
Thu April 3, 2014

A Rundown Of Who Could Be Charlotte's Next Mayor

City council will vote on Monday to fill the empty mayor's chair.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

The race for the next Mayor of Charlotte will be decided by 11 votes. No the fix is not in for our next election. Only members of the city council will be able to vote for the person who will fill out Patrick Cannon’s term. That vote is expected on Monday.


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Local News
6:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Charlotte's Next Mayor On Tonight's Council Agenda

Tonight, Charlotte City Council may have an answer to this question – who is the next mayor of Charlotte?

But no matter what happens at tonight's meeting, Council will undoubtedly try to reassure the public the city is moving on from former mayor Patrick Cannon.


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Politics
9:57 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Carlee: Charges Against Cannon Don't Represent How City Runs

City manager Ron Carlee announced on Thursday afternoon that city council members will hold a special meeting on Monday evening to plan out how they will replace former Mayor Patrick Cannon.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Charlotte city government officials are now dealing with the aftermath of former mayor Patrick Cannon’s arrest and resignation. Charlotte could have a new mayor as soon as Monday.

Charlotte city council will meet on Monday evening to layout a timeline, possibly consider candidates and vote. City manager Ron Carlee held a press conference Thursday afternoon, in which he said the charges against Cannon don’t represent the way the city operates. 

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Local News
12:49 am
Thu March 27, 2014

How The FBI's Case Against Cannon Went Down

FBI agents loaded a CPU and boxes from Patrick Cannon's home in Ballantyne before driving off.
Credit Michael Tomsic

On Wednesday morning, Patrick Cannon was Mayor of Charlotte and a rising political figure in the state. Less than 24 hours later he’s out on bond, no longer in government, and facing a host of federal charges. The story of his fall is one of undercover cops, multi-million dollar investments, bugged apartments, and feminine hygiene products. WFAE’s Ben Bradford and Tom Bullock bring us this report.


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Breaking
2:12 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Mayor Cannon Resigns After Arrest On Federal Bribery Charges

Mayor Patrick Cannon at his first press conference at Romare Bearden Park the day after he was elected.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. Thursday

Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon has resigned after the FBI arrested him Wednesday on federal corruption charges.

The federal criminal complaint says the FBI received a tip in August 2010 from local law enforcement that Cannon was potentially involved in illegal activities and public corruption. The FBI began an undercover investigation posing as commercial real estate developers and investors looking to do business in Charlotte. 

Morning Edition Host Kevin Kniestedt and WFAE's Tom Bullock discuss the latest developments and the charges Patrick Cannon is facing.

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Local News
10:12 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

City Council Considers $300 Million In New Spending

Credit Tom Bullock/WFAE News

Charlotte is considering nearly $300 million of new spending on projects for the next fiscal year. City council members met Wednesday night to hear the proposals. 

Capital projects are physical things like runways, city parks and desk chairs. Charlotte currently has $25 million of available funding for such projects, basically wiggle room for the 2015 budget. 

Which means in order to pay for some or all of these requests, the city would likely have to raise taxes or fees or take on debt.   

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Local News
6:00 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Trying To Make Charlotte Google's Next "Fiber-Hood"

Credit Google

The city of Charlotte was recently given a bit of homework. How the city answers a series of questions will determine if neighborhoods like South Park, Uptown and Dilworth will be Google’s next fiber-hoods. So what could Google Fiber in Charlotte mean for consumers and businesses alike?  

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