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Things Speed Up As You Go Downhill 

World Class I: The US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Charlotte school desegregation case, thus ending mandated busing for racial balance. The school board approved Schools Superintendent Eric Smith's budget, which includes the elimination of fifth-grade band and orchestra, big cutbacks in elementary schools' foreign languages courses, and next to nothing to initiate a promised move toward equity between primarily white and black schools. Meanwhile, after having spent about a week interviewing in Portland, OR, Smith announced his intention to stay in Charlotte, commenting, "Hey, it was worth a shot -- plus, I'd heard Portland's a pretty cool place, and I got a free trip to go check it out. Sweet."

World Class II: Central Piedmont Community College administrators announced that the budget debacle in Raleigh could force them to dump a quarter of their classes, and get rid of around 750 part-time teaching positions.

World Class III: City government may have to cut up to a whopping $8.5 million out of its budget for the next fiscal year. In the meantime, City Council approved an incredible $1.7 million for increased security at government buildings, while it appears they will turn down a request for a $25,000 grant to increase citizens' security in the Optimist Park neighborhood.

World Class IV: County Manager Harry "You Can't Vote Me Out" Jones said the county government's budget shortfall was enormous and he would propose cuts which would probably include reducing services for at-risk pregnant women as well as hours of operation for the library system.

Sqwaaawkk! Good corporate citizens! Sqwaaawkk! The media gave a lot of attention to two parrots that were stolen from a pet store in South Charlotte. CL has learned that the parrots were taken by thieves working for Duke Power. Instructors hired by the utility are training the parrots to eventually take the place of Mayor Pat "What? Me Worry About Nukes So Close To the City?" McCrory.

Will the shocking news ever end? A local publication reported that the Hornets have been under-reporting attendance at the team's home games lately, ostensibly in an attempt to convince the NBA of the city's lack of support. As if actual attendance wasn't skimpy enough.

In The Land Of Reptiles: US Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina appeared before a crowd of Florida Democrats in his first big "coming out party" as a potential presidential candidate. Rather than gaining the spotlight, however, he served as warm-up act for former VP Al Gore, who was elected president in 2000 but still lost. Gore gave what, for him, was a vigorous speech, telling Democrats they should "stand up with conviction and fight. . ." Of course, if Gore had only stood up with conviction in 2000 rather than dilute his campaign by fighting Bush for a tiny slice of the center of the political pie, he'd be President now.

Made in heaven (Sort of) musician Kid Rock and Pamela "Walking Implants" Anderson announced their engagement to be married. Mr. Rock explained, "Yeah, like I saw the video of her last honeymoon on the internet, and I thought, 'You know, that looks like a pretty cool gig.' So I proposed to her." When asked about her new romance, Anderson said, "What the hell? He's the last American rocker I haven't done yet, so why not?"

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