Tuesday, May 17, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            Wake School Board member Keith Sutton wants to see the Democrats retake the majority on the controversial nine-member Republican-led board during this fall’s October elections, and he wants to be one of them.
            That means board Chairman Ron Margiotta, the only Republican on the ballot, would have to lose his second-term bid for re-election in his Apex District 7 area, which would be tough indeed.
            “I would like to see the Democrats retake the majority,” Sutton told The Carolinian Wednesday, assuring that unlike in the past, when Democrats were accused of not listening to citizens and being arrogant - something the Republicans in charge now are repeatedly accused of - a Democratic majority would now bend over backwards to listen, and be responsive so that civility could return to the school board.
            On the other side, Margiotta, who ushered in the board’s neighborhood schools policy when four other conservative Republicans joined him on the board in 2009, has said they are targeting at least two of the four Democrats who are up for re-election in 
            The goal - to claim an overwhelming GOP majority on the board to push through more of the political policies they believe their constituencies want.
            Even if it ultimately means the racial resegregation of Wake’s public schools.
            Sutton, who has already begun fundraising for his election campaign, says given the mounting issues facing the school board, more research must be done before policies are adopted, something that the current Republican majority doesn’t like to do.
            If Margiotta were to lose in District 7, and the board’s four Democratic seats - including Sutton’s - remained unchanged, then Sutton believes more positive changes, minus the well publicized acrimony that has negatively characterized the Wake School Board since the GOP 2009 takeover, would be evident.
            Wanting to see that happen means Sutton proving to his District 4 constituents that he deserves four more years representing them, he says.
            “I’m a proven leader, and experienced leader. I know the issues, particularly as they relate to our community,” Sutton told The Carolinian.
            He also said he also has little problem with the new Wake School Board redistricting map, which will govern school elections in the county for the next ten years.
            Each of the nine school board districts had to be redrawn to compensate for the population growth in Wake since 2000. With an approximate 900,000 people living in the county now, each voting district is required to have at least 100,000 people living in them, based on the most recent US Census figures, plus or minus 5 percent.
            Despite vigorous calls by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and the advocacy group Great Schools in Wake Coalition for the redistricting map developed by conservative attorney Kieran Shanahan’s law firm to be redrawn because of alleged “errors,” the school board approved it Tuesday by a 5-3 vote.
            Sutton is satisfied with how District 4 was redrawn, allowing him to keep the basic profile of his Southeast Raleigh district. He was critical, however, of the process, feeling that Shanahan should have at least given the board two redistricting maps so that comparisons, and possible informed changes could be made, and greater public input considered.
            Regarding next week’s release by Wake Supt. Anthony Tata of two proposed long-term student assignment plans for the system for public comment, Sutton says he prefers the one that depends on home addresses and base schools, over the other which is more of a school controlled-choice model.
            Sutton says student achievement is a key factor in both plans, noting that the days of considering a student’s free-and-reduced lunch poverty status could be over in school assignments. If true, that won’t affect Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh, however, which opens in August with a student population of 81 percent F&R, and over 50 percent classified as “low-achieving.” Sutton says because the long-term plan won’t go into effect until 2012-2013, Walnut Creek won’t be affected now.
            Sutton says he wouldn’t be surprised if he has a Republican challenger in District 4 this fall, saying that he doesn’t expect to be allowed to walk back into the seat.
            “At the least, they would want to tie [my] resources up, and keep me from campaigning for some [other Democrat on the board],” Sutton said.
            Filing for candidates is late July.



By Cash Michaels

            The NCNAACP and the HK onJ Coalition is calling on all activists across the state to come to the NC General Assembly Legislative Auditorium at the Legislative Building on Jones Street next Tuesday at 4 p.m. to “protest and pray” against what some are calling “Draconian” policies about to be passed by the Republican-led General Assembly.
            “Tea Party extremists seized the Republican Party and declared war on African-Americans, poor people and other minorities,” Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, said in a statement this week, later declaring North Carolina to be a “state in emergency.”
            Based on the state House budget which cuts hundreds of millions from K-12 public education statewide and the UNC System, and proposed laws repealing the 2009 NC Racial Justice Act, limiting the state’s One Stop/Early Voting period, eliminating same day registration and “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting, and requiring picture voter ID at the polls, Rev. Barber claims that “jobs, voting rights, schools, health care, racial justice and public services are under attack.”
            “Ultra-conservative legislators continue their frontal attack on civil rights,” Rev. Barber alleged regarding House GOP efforts to repeal the Racial Justice Act through House Bill 615. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee B held a hearing and vote on the measure to ultimately send it to the House floor.
            The Racial Justice Act allows a felon convicted of a capital crime to challenge the prosecution if he believes that race played a role in his prosecution.
            Rev. Barber released an email from Republican Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Greene County to a constituent:
            “I am proud that I had the opportunity to co-sponsor HB-615 which I hope will effectively and literally repeal the so-called "Racial Justice Act"...One problem we have is that we don't execute the convicted murderers quick enough...”
            The LaRoque  email outraged Barber, especially since at least three black inmates on North Carolina’s death row have been released from prison in the past few years because DNA proved that they didn’t commit the crime, and were the victims of biased prosecutions.
            “While most North Carolinians are committed to ending Racial Injustice in our state, the Tea Party-backed leadership in the NC Legislature wants to dismantle a law that only begins to address racism in our court system,” Rev. Barber said.
            The state civil rights leader urged Gov. Perdue to veto the repeal if it gets to her desk for her signature.
            The NCNAACP, in a joint statement with Democracy NC, a nonprofit public policy group, is also calling what the state GOP is doing in requiring voter IDs  and crippling the One Stop/Early Voting law as “Unbelievable.”
            “A bill filed by Republicans in Raleigh would make Sunday voting ("Souls to the Polls") illegal in North Carolina,” wrote Rev. Barber and Bob Hall of Democracy NC.              “Conservative state legislators also plan to reduce the length of the Early Voting period, end Same-Day Registration, and make everyone show a government-issued photo ID when they vote,” the joint letter continued.
            “Make no mistake about it: these voter suppression proposals are a direct response to the historic turnout of empowered, informed and motivated African-American and young voters in 2008.”
            Both groups are urging citizens to involve their churches in protests, and call their state lawmakers to voice their concerns.


As Blacks Languish, Whither Go Civil Rights Groups?

STORY HERE - http://www.nnpa.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=5512&Itemid=82




STORY HERE - http://www.nnpa.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=5493&Itemid=82

President Barack Obama meets with the Congressional Black Caucus in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



            In the wake of news that the US Postal Service plans to close the 134-year-old Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh due to low mail volume, Mayor Charles Meeker is leading the fight to keep it open. Meeker has enlisted the aid of several federal judges and area congresspeople, in addition to the downtown business community. The postal service says a smaller post office a mile away can handle the volume, but Meeker rejects that claim, saying it doesn’t make sense.

            In an effort to save $5.4 million, the Wake School Board Tuesday voted 6-2 to slash 174 clerical positions in the school system, including 19 secretarial positions in the central office, and at least one secretary at each school. Seventy-nine open positions throughout the system have also been eliminated. The move is preliminary, based on whether the NC General Assembly passes an 8.8 percent cut in public education funding. Additional personnel cuts, this time in custodial services, may be next, school officials say.
            One of the nation’s top African-American banks has thus far started the year in the black. Mechanics and Farmers Bancorp, the parent company of the Durham-based Mechanics and Farmers Bank, has posted a $306,000 first quarter profit. That’s dramatically up from a year ago when the first quarter profit was just $76,000. Officials credit lower payments to the US Treasury Department on stimulus money loaned.



            [BURLINGTON]  An Alamance County commissioner accuses the African-American community of turning its back on neighborhood violent crime in the wake of the fatal shooting death of a 13-year-old girl in Durham last week. Commissioner Tim Sutton told WBAG radio Monday that blacks “are afraid to confront” people who engage in crime in their backyard.
            “Do you think for a moment — I’ll just be blunt about it — do you think for a moment whites would let people do that without saying you’re going to face me or you’re not going to be able to do it,” The Times News newspaper reports Sutton saying during the “Talkline” show. “We are going to take you or you’re going to take us. I don’t think we’d let it happen.”
            When told that color should have nothing to do with the issue, Sutton is quoted as responding, ““I think the black community turns their back on stuff. They’re afraid to confront the people that are doing it, and it’s socioeconomic. If you don’t have a man in the house, if you have — you know — divorce rates or no-married rates that are what they are I guess maybe you don’t have anybody to confront these people that are doing it.”
Sutton was challenged to apologize for his statements by Michael Graves, the head of Concerned Citizens of Alamance County.
“Mr. Sutton is the representative of all people in this county, including the ones he degraded in his racist, insensitive and false remarks, regardless if he got their vote and regardless of their race,” Graves wrote in the email to the chair of the Alamance County Commission Board. “We the Concerned Citizens demand an immediate apology from him and a condemnation of Commissioner Sutton by this board.”
Sutton has refused, accusing Graves of being biased because the commissioner is a conservative. Graves wanted the county commission to censure Sutton, but because his remarks were nit said during a board meeting, that can’t happen. Graves will attend the June 6th board meeting to challenge Sutton.
Commissioner Sutton maintains his remarks were not racist.

            [CARY] Amid all of the controversy surrounding the Wake County Public School System, there is good news. Farmington Woods Elementary School in Cary has been named the Number One magnet school in the nation by Magnet Schools in America. The school was awarded $2500.00 and the Elementary School of Excellence Award.


By Cash Michaels

            “COMMON” SENSE - The story is simple. Fox News doesn’t get high ratings praising President Barack Obama. The Republican Party needed something to throw water on Obama’s stunning victory in the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden.
            So Fox and the GOP cook up that phony “Common” poetry slam non-controversy.
            The claim? That Common, one of the cleanest and most creative rappers around, hardly gangsta, was supportive of two black cop killers in his music, and thus, didn’t deserve an invitation by the First Lady to perform at last week’s White House poetry slam.
            Given that the Obamas already had “two strikes” against them with their prior relationships with Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former 60’s radical William Ayers, the fact that they would invite Common to the White House was, in words of Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly “outrageous.”
            Boy were they hoping to stir up a white hornets’ nest with this one.
            But it didn’t work.
            Common never said he supported cop killers. He said he felt the two in question did not get fair trials.
            Bottomline is despite their great, yet ignorant efforts, Fox and the GOP failed to get any traction, and the Obamas wisely ignored the whole thing, and went on with their poetry slam without a problem.
            I’m sure the right-wing will try to find something else to hang around the president in time for the 2012 election.
            Just as long as common sense triumphs, let them try on.
“FREEDOM RIDERS” - If you saw the extraordinary two-hour PBS documentary “Freedom Riders” Monday night, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of black and white civil rights leaders risking their lives challenging the segregation of interstate bus travel in the South, then you’ll fully understand the following - these were REAL Americans.
            Young people, again black and white, willing to put their very lives on the line during the early 1960’s for the cause of nonviolence, allowing white racists to pull them off buses and beat them bloody, in order to make the moral point that America must live up to the true meaning of its creed that all men (and women) are created equal.
            In this day and age, we rarely see this kind of courage and devotion. I mean no offense to our brave military men and women, but to knowingly go into harm’s way WITHOUT a weapon, for the expressed purpose of ensuring that someone different from you can enjoy the same constitutional rights that you do, is an extraordinary sacrifice.
            I wonder where that is today. I wonder who is willing to step forward and challenge America to be better than it has been to the poor and communities of color?
            And where are the real young leaders of today? Who is willing to stand up strong, and give real voice to the issues that matter?
            I don’t know. But I do feel some comfort that once upon a time, fifty years ago, we had such leaders.
            And I’m so proud, as an American, that we did.
            If you haven’t seen “Freedom Riders,” go to the PBS website and order the DVD.
            You’ll be proud too.
RUNNING RIGHT-WING INTERFERENCE - The other day I heard some moron radio host say that it’s going to be hard for Republicans to criticize President Obama going into the 2012 presidential elections because everything they say about him will be interpreted as being racist.
            Case in point - arch-conservative Newt Gingrich calling Obama a “food stamp president.” Gingrich denies that what he said was racist, noting that because of the bad economy that Pres. Obama has yet to fix, million of out of work Americans are now on food stamps.
            One just might be temped to give the Republican former House speaker a pass, except when you come across this other Newt ditty about the first black US president from last September:
            “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
            Now the pretense has been shot to hell. For Gingrich to misuse Obama’s African father’s Kenyan heritage to foment some kind of “Mau Mau” terrorist fear in white America, can’t be anything BUT racist AND stupid.
            And yet, people like Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly swear that “all the left is trying to do it make it harder for the right to criticize Obama.” O’Reilly then uses Donald Trump’s asinine rant that if Obama stopped playing so much basketball, maybe the country would be in better shape.
            And don’t forget the ten ton hint from Trump that the president wasn’t smart enough to write his own books, nor get into Harvard University without affirmative action.
            The right-wing wants the license to say stupid, cruel and yes RACIST stuff like this, without drawing fire, without being called on it for what it is.
            Well that’s not going to happen. The president has had to endure the kind of insults and degradations that no other president in history has had to.
            We need to continue to stand up for our president, be aware of the games and code words that are being used to portray the president racially, and expose it all for what it is.
            Can’t do it alone here. Our community has to be fully engaged to combat this madness.
            PAY ATTENTION, NOW - I really, REALLY hope you and yours are keeping tabs with all of these issues affecting our state and nation (if not our cities and counties). The Republican Party is so busy trying to turn the clock of progress back to the stone age, literally, it’s hard to keep up with all the crazy stuff they’re trying to pass under the cover of law.
            And make no mistake about it, the GOP are trying to do it all on the backs of poor people and the elderly. Imagine trying to pass a deficit cutting bill in Congress that will give seniors government vouchers so that they will buy their own health insurance, WHEN NO INSURANCE COMPANY WANTS TO SELL THEM ANY!
            This, my friends, is the Republican Party’s solution to Medicare. Even other crazy Republicans are running away from this nonsense like a bad smell. But don’t think some of them won’t still try to shove it down our throats.
            This is why you must support the Black Press. We are your vital source of news and perspective and enables you to arm yourself with the facts to make critical with. Our community is being targeted. The operative question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
            This is our children’s future that’s at stake here. What we do, or don’t do, to combat the nonsense that’s going on determines what quality of life they’ll have.
            So thank you for supporting this black newspaper, and please, urge others to do so as well. It’s our one vehicle towards finding out not only what the issues are, but what African-Americans all of the state, nation and world are talking about and dealing.
            In these very trying and pressing times, we need each, in order to work with one another.
            Stay connected with the Black Press.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.Power750.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.”
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.

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