News & Opinion

5 Things to Know: Local Candidate Filing Ends, Races Take Shape

...and four more stories from July 16-22, 2023

A sign at an early voting site in Charlotte, candidate filing
Early voting for the upcoming local election primaries begins on Aug. 24. (AdobeStock)

Local Candidate Filing Ends, Races Take Shape

The period for candidates to file for the upcoming elections ended on Friday, giving a final look at what the local races for mayor, Charlotte City Council, CMS Board of Education and other local seats will look like.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the candidate filing period came on Wednesday, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board Chair Elyse Dashew told the Charlotte Observer that she will not seek a third term on the Board of Education. Dashew’s announcement means the Board will see at least two new at-large reps following November’s election, as Dashew’s colleague Jennifer De La Jara has already announced she won’t run.

By the end of the candidate filing period, 13 candidates had filed to run for the three seats: incumbent at-large rep Lenora Shipp and newcomers Peggy Capehart, Claire Covington, Bill Fountain, Juanrique Hall, Omar Harris, Shamaiye Haynes, Brian Kasher, Michael Johnson, Liz Monterrey (whom De La Jara has endorsed), Tigress McDaniel, Monty Witerspoon and Clara Kennedy Witherspoon.

Though she stood unopposed going into Friday, Mayor Vi Lyles will now face three challengers after one from each major party filed just as the candidate filing period ended. Democrat Lucille Puckett, Libertarian Rob Yates and Republican Misun Kim all filed to run for mayor on Friday.

No Republicans will run for an at-large seat on the Charlotte City Council, with four spots up for grabs and one empty seat thanks to Braxton Winston’s departure as he campaigns for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor. While at-large incumbents Dimple Ajmera, James “Smuggie” Mitchell and LaWana Slack-Mayfield are running for reelection, District 3 rep Victoria Watlington has also joined the at-large race along with Democrats Ben Copeland, Charlene Henderson El and John X Henny as well as Libertarian Steven J. DiFiore II.

Stay tuned for Queen City Nerve’s full Election Guide, set to hit the streets of Charlotte on Aug. 23, with early voting for local primaries kicking off on Aug. 24.

Developer Makes Major Changes to Huntersville Project

Developer Jake Palilo has unveiled a new name for the long-planned Lagoona Bay project in Huntersville, posting about his new plan for what will now be called Waterside Village in a private Facebook group, as reported by WSOC’s Joe Bruno on Sunday.

In a post on the Huntersville Politics page earlier this month, Palilo said he has pulled his original plan for Lagoona Bay and will nix the plans for a hotel, convention center and more than 200 condos, though he will keep the Lagoon Beach Club, bringing it from 10 acres to eight.

Lagoona Bay rendering
A rendering of the original Lagoona Bay plans, which have changed. (Courtesy of Bi-Part Development)

The proposed development, which Palilo plans to put in front of Huntersville Town Council in September, will include 692 residential units (down from 1,182), including 227 single-family homes, along with other mixed-use developments.

Neither the project’s website nor its social media accounts have been updated since the spring.

County Employee Accused of Sexual Assault, Impersonating Doctor

CMPD on Tuesday announced the arrest of a Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD) employee who they allege sexually assaulted a woman in her east Charlotte home while pretending to work as a physician for the agency.

According to a July 18 CMPD release, the victim called police on July 11 to tell them she had received an illegitimate medical exam at her residence from a suspect impersonating a medical professional. Detectives conducted an investigation and determined that the suspect was not a medical professional and did not have reason to examine the victim.

Police later arrested 41-year-old Daniel Pitti-Casazola, who was working as a Spanish-language interpreter for MCHD at the time of the assault. His charges had not yet been announced at the time of this writing.

Busy Uptown Parking Deck to Undergo Changes

One of Uptown’s busiest parking decks for sporting events will undergo major changes in coming months, according to a release from Charlotte Center City Partners on Thursday. The release states that Preferred Parking will oversee more than $6 million in renovations for the six-level parking deck at 410 S. Mint St., located between Bank of America Stadium and Truist Field in Uptown.

The parking garage at 401 S. Mint St. (Photo courtesy of CCCP)

Upgrades to be carried out over the next nine months include a complete overhaul of the existing parking system with new control gates, ticket dispensers, advanced pedestrian and vehicular wayfinding systems, restriping of existing parking spaces, improved directional signage, and real-time space counting screens.

“We are dedicated to breathing new life into this facility,” said Preferred Parking owner Roger Stacks in the release. “Once these improvements are complete, we believe the Mint Street Parking Deck will be the most efficient, technologically advanced and user-friendly parking deck in the state of North Carolina.”

Woman Killed in Apparent Crime of Passion

Two people were killed in acts of gun violence in Charlotte this week, though one has been ruled a case of manslaughter, angering the victim’s family.

Shortly after 9:40 p.m. on Monday, police responded to a shooting call on Paces Glen Avenue in the Heatherwood Trace Apartments complex in east Charlotte, where they found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. One of the men, 40-year-old Reynaldo Rivera, was pronounced dead at the scene. Medic transported the other to the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries. Rivera was the city’s 49th homicide victim thus far in 2023.

At around 5:21 a.m. on Tuesday, a woman called 911 to say she had arrived home to find an unknown woman in her house, whom she shot. Police and Medic responded to the scene and pronounced the subject, 25-year-old Tyra Crosby, dead. Later in the week, police announced that they had charged the resident, a 51-year-old woman, with voluntary manslaughter. Crosby’s family told WBTV that the suspect’s husband invited Crosby into the home, which is where the suspect later found them both before shooting and killing Crosby.

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