All posts by Lynn Wheeler

Elections are upon us again: Mecklenburg races include County Commissioner, District Attorney and Sheriff as well as a race for Congressional District 9. Candidate filing opens February 12 at noon concluding February 28 at noon.  These are partisan elections, and if there is a primary for any seat it will be held May 8 with the General Election in November.

The water cooler scuttlebutt at this day and time is this:

Running for District Attorney is  District Attorney Spencer Merriweather challenged by  Defense Attorney Toussaint Romain.

Sheriff:  Incumbent Irwin Carmichael is being challenged by Garry McFadden retired CMPD detective. Also by Antoine Ensley who has run for sheriff two other times. All three are Democrats.

State Senator:  Incumbent Joel Ford who ran for Mayor in 2017 and sitting City Council Member Lawana Mayfield are running for Ford’s State Senate seat.

County Commission:  All incumbant County Commissioners with the exception of Dumont Clark are running for re election.  That list includes Trevor Fuller. Ella Scarborough, Pat Cotham, Matthew Ridenhour, George Dunlap, Bill James, Jim Puckett and Vilma Leake.  We will see after filing closes February 28 if any have opponents.  and who else will throw their hat in the ring.

Robert Pittenger, incumbent Congressional district 9 will  be primaried for certain May 8.  He is being challenged again by former First Baptist Senior Pastor Mark Harris.  Two years ago Harris challenged Pittenger and lost by a little over a 100 votes.

Last week a letter went out with the heading  “A Personal note from friends of Robert Pittenger”, signed by 13 “friends,”                                        identifying  themselves as “former investors with  Pittenger. “This list includes Governor Jim Martin, Bob Rucho, Stuart Dickson to name a few.  The body of the letter touts each of the signers  knowing him the last “25-30 years and request support of his “mission in Congress.”.

Former Mayor Jennifer Roberts…now here’s one for you…was spotted speaking in December (after she lost her reelection as Mayor)at the Don Reid weekly breakfast AND at sitting Council Member Ed Driggs’ weekly breakfast.  Don Reid, as some may recall is an ultra right conservative who has around 20 mostly men of his ilk attending.  Ed Driggs is a Republican on the City Council. Now I ask you to ponder this: What was that all about? Is Roberts planning a run for a district that includes Republicans? What does she have her eye on?

Black Political Caucus:  On February 11 the membership of the Caucus met to elect a new Chairman to fill the unexpired term of Colette Forrest who unexpectedly resigned only ten months into her two year term. Arthur Griffin former School Board member was elected.  Arthur was on the school board when I was on the city council..  There is not finer man, but whoa….Colette’s shoes are some shoes to try to fill.

Pat McCrory: WBT radio has officially named their 9:00 to 10:00 AM daily segment  ….as of the first of January ….The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson. Wonder what he is getting paid?  He also continue to do his five minute daily segment with Bo at 7:15 . I served for fourteen years on the City Council with Pat, and I have listened to snippets of his new show.  He and Bo are a good team and it’s worth the listen.

That’s it for now, folks. Catch up with me again in a couple weeks.

~LW

Featuring Retired CMPD detective and star of the television show I am Homocide  Garry McFadden

 

Garry McFadden is a unique man.  He served as a CMPD detective for 34 years and had a 90% rate for solving the 700 murder cases he was assigned..  His most famous case was the Wallace serial killer murders in 1995. He was known for his unique approach to solving murders… developing a rapport with suspects by meeting at diners…and also for his tailored suits. Garry has his own TV show named “I am Homicide.”

  • Garry, talk about your childhood.  Where did you grow up.? What are your favorite childhood memories?I grew up in rural and I mean rural Elliott, SC (population 237). Most of my childhood and teen years were spent traveling back and forth to Sumter, SC. where I was born and where my parents lived. I visited Elliott SC often because that’s where all of my friends in addition to my grandparents and my great grandmother lived (she lived to the ripe old age of 101).The majority of my summers were spent working in tobacco fields and peach orchards with my friends; I didn’t want to work with my father and his brothers who were in the construction business.

 My father built every home that we lived in and fortunately                     enough the last home that he built (his masterpiece) was willed             to me. There was no public transportation when I was growing             up and as a result we rode and built our own bikes. My friends               and I made summer money by picking up soda bottles and                         reselling them to the store for three-five cents per bottle. One               weekend we were on a mission and we made $32.00. We spent            the entire payout at the same store. To this day I don’t believe                 that our bottles were worth that much, I believe that Mr. Frank             Scurry rewarded us because of our honest effort in making                       money.

  • You’ve lived in Charlotte since 1978.  What drew you here?

In 1972 I visited Charlotte with my Lynchburg, SC Boy Scout Troop 152. We came to Charlotte to attend an NWA wrestling event hosted by Jim Crocket Promotions. For whatever reason our Boy Scout group was denied entry to the Charlotte Coliseum. So we took the opportunity and toured the city. Later on that same year I met Rick Flair (he was known as the “Nature Boy” at the time) in Sumter, SC at Riley Baseball Park after a wrestling match. He talked about Charlotte and I decided it would be a good place to live.

  • Do you have a bucket list?  If so what is on it?

Live on the streets of Charlotte (as a homeless person) with the homeless for a week while secretly providing for them each day.

Fly Fish for a Month out WestBuild an Out Door Kitchen which would hold all of my grills & my XL Big Green Egg

Have one Glass of Beer at every Micro-Brewery in Charlotte

.Reunite with two of my best female friends, Joyce Morris and Karen Welch who were the first non- African Americans that attended my middle / high school in the 70’s. I’d like to hear their story about the experience of being the minority during that time.

  • If there was a genie in a bottle who popped out and said he would immediately grant you three wishes, what would they be?
  1. For Heaven to have a phone or an Facebook account
  2. That everyone spoke the same Language
  3. Create a Community with Restaurants where I could live with all of my best childhood friends forever… My other friends could come for short visits.
  • I have been told you played an integral part after the Keith Lamont killing as a CMPD police officer.  Would you share what that was?

The second night of the protests and riots I just walked through the streets of Charlotte dressed in a suit talking to whomever would listen. I then challenged them to do more.  I met two men in front of the police department who were accompanied by 50- 70 protesters in the process of taking down the American flag which hung in front of the department. I approached them and we argued for two hours, however, we made an agreement to get together later to discuss the protest and our concerns. After about ten more conversations, Greg Jackson and Antwan Smith created an after school program called “Heal Charlotte”. I also met a man by the name of Braxton Winston on the third night of the protest; we had an hour conversation. After challenging each other for about an hour I told him he might as well be “swept up with the broke glass” because he wasn’t going accomplish anything by shouting and his aggressive protesting. He is now a city councilman at Large Braxton Winston.

  • You have announced you are running for sheriff.There was a 27% rise in homicides in 2017.  As sheriff how would you coordinate with the Police Chief Kerr Putney to develop new initiatives to abate those numbers.  What would they be?

I am a running for Mecklenburg County Sheriff because I believe that I can make a difference. I am passionate about my city, county, community and every citizen regardless of level and status. I believe the passion I have for the community and law enforcement, has become obvious due to my involvement and my continued advocacy for both the Community and Law Enforcement. My involvement in community engagement efforts at both the local and national level offered me the opportunity to partner with other agencies in dismantling ineffective organizational designs, while creating more diverse environments, an experience that I believe will be key in creating and maintaining a successful partnership within the community, schools and the sheriff’s department.

My 33 year law enforcement experience (20 years as a homicide detective) enlightened me on what I believe is the key ingredient in creating a successful community partnership with the sheriff department. I plan to achieve this goal by personally and physically becoming part of the communities, sponsoring events that involve the active participation of both the community and law enforcement.

The city, the county, the community and law enforcement must work together by respecting the individual, respecting the community, accepting and respecting the fact that social factors are key in influencing and reducing the homicide rate.

And finally…. a very important question….do you support 287b?

(as you know the 287g program is one of ICE’s top voluntary partnership initiatives that permits state or law enforcement entities to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to be delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.  In Mecklenburg County participation in 287g remains at the sole discretion of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff.)

I DO NOT  support 287b

 Would you explain why you  don’t you support 287g?

(Several attempts by me to ascertain his answer to this question remain futile)

A few of Garry’s awards:

2017 President’s Award Charlotte Branch of NAACP

2017 Elevation Community Achievement Award,

Beauty After the Bars Foundation

2017 Martin Luther King Growing the Dream Award- Grass Roots Community Initiative 2015

Recognized by President Obama – 21 Century Policing Initiativ

2015 Citizen of Year- Harvey B Gantt Award for Community Engagement and Service

2015 National Hook-Up of Black Woman- Community Service Award

2015 Charlotte Magazine Recognized for the Cops & Barbers Community initiative

2011 Chief of Police Outstanding Service Award

2011 MoM-O (Mothers of Murder Offspring) Community Service Award

2011 Victim Service Award of Distinction by Victim Services of Homicide Families

2011 Federal Bureau Investigation Distinguish Service for Homicide Investigations

2011 Detective of the Year, Optimist International /Queen City Optimist Club

2010 Law Enforcement Commendation Medal, The National Society of the Sons of the American

2004 NAACP- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch Ashanti Award- Unsung Hero- Community Service Award

1997 Federal Bureau Investigation Distinguish Service for Homicide Investigations

1996 Medal of Valor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Charlotte Observer, Community Relation Recognition

~LW