Tuesday, June 28, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            To his credit, Wake Supt. Anthony Tata is on a mission. He wants the best teachers available for Wake County Public Schools, but he wants as many as possible to look like the highly diverse 143,000 student population he is responsible for educating.
            "First of all, for me it is about the talent," Tata told conservative WPTF-AM Tuesday. "And if we have shunted the applicant pool of minority pipelines then by definition we're not getting the best applicants across the spectrum.”
            “To me it's important to have proper role models throughout the district,” Tata continued. “I think a white teacher can teach an African-American child or an African-American teacher can teach a white child equally as well. When you look at a 50.5 percent minority student population and a 14 percent minority or 15 percent minority teacher population, I don't know if we're really thinking about it and having an honest conversation.”
            His fellow conservatives balk at the idea of recruiting talented teachers of color to the system, politically spinning that Tata runs the risk of instituting a quota system of some sort. The Wake superintendent rejects that argument, insisting that for a public school system that is now 51 percent nonwhite, and where closing the racial achievement gap is now also a priority, recruiting skilled, experienced educators of color to help lift the load is essential.
But as Tata is discovering, and Wake school superintendents have discovered before him, that’s better said than done. While there are bountiful numbers of black college graduates with the requisite degrees to go into teaching, far too many, experts agree, are taking those highly sought after degrees to private industry where they can earned tens, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands more compared to even the best classroom instructor.
            The problem isn’t that Wake Public Schools hasn’t tried to recruit black teachers, and especially black male educators (in 2007, The Carolinian Newspaper, in a series of reports, documented that out of over 9,000 Wake Public School System teachers then, only a paltry 196 were black males).
            The problem is here in North Carolina, and especially nationally, there are precious few black educators of both genders in the pipeline at all, and many say that is a key factor in the high dropout rate among black youth from public schools.
            Diversity in the ranks is something Tata told a Southeast Raleigh audience at St. Matthew A.M.E Church last January that he “values” when recounting his childhood in Virginia, and  28-year tenure in the US Army.
            “What I’m trying to lay out for everyone here is that what you have with me is someone who absolutely values diversity,” Tata, 51, assured the St. Matthews A.M.E Church audience, many of whom were retired educators. “Diversity is a strength. Diversity for Tony Tata is one of the most important things about how I operate.”
            Sources tell The Carolinian that as Tata went from school to school in the system when he first came onboard earlier this year, he was struck by the extraordinary lack of black and Hispanic teachers in the classroom, and placed recruiting more on his agenda then.
            If there is a mistake the retired US Army Brigadier general is making now, it is his strong implications that neither the school system, nor Wake’s African-American community, have ever directly addressed this situation before.
         In September 2007 in a story titled, “Wake Schools Audit Cites Gap; Lack of Black Teachers,” The Carolinian reported, “A special audit commissioned by the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) notes that the system’s racial achievement gaps ‘…will never be closed at the current rate of progress,” and recommends that the system “develop incentives to attract minority and male teachers” to “eliminate the achievement gap between ethnic and socioeconomic student groups.”
            That 2007 story, as portions reprinted here will show, illustrated clearly that not only did Wake County have a problem, but so did the state:
            “We wanted to see where we had gaps in our processes and alignment so we can move this school system and our children to the next level academically,” Wake Supt. Del Burns said in a statement.
“We wanted and we received the hard look we asked for and will work with the Board of Education in processing and aligning these recommendations into our system.”
In the report, both the Wake School Board and Supt, Burns’ administration were tasked with specific recommendations on how to address key issues impacting the education of students of color.
            While the administration was directed to reduce the achievement gap, reduce the high school dropout rate and hire more teachers of color, the school board was challenged to develop the policies that would enable administrative change.
Those recommended policies include a “commitment to end the achievement gap,” authorization of the administration to “change and practice that impedes elimination of the achievement gap,” ‘commitment to reduce the high school failure/dropout rate,” and directing the superintendent “to develop recruiting plan – male and minority teachers.”
The audit also urged the school system to “support stability in the teaching force in schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students” with merit bonuses and/or career path programs, and develop strategies to reduce high school failure and dropouts.
Those findings and recommendations buttress what African-American leaders and educators have long indicated was needed to improve the education of black children overall. There is a correlation, many education experts suggest, between the high racial achievement gap between black and white students, the disproportionate number of African-American high school students who fail and dropout, and the severe lack of black teachers - particularly black male teachers - in the classroom.
As first reported by The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal newspapers last April, from the 2005-06 school year, the latest figures available from NC Dept. of Public Instruction show that of the 94,129 full-time teachers employed in North Carolina then, 78,089 were white, while only 13,750 were Black.
Of that number, while white female teachers statewide in elementary (K-5), secondary (6-12) and other levels of instruction totaled 63,188; and white male teachers in those same categories numbered 16,000; the total for African-American female teachers was just 11,189.
And what about the total number of Black male full-time teachers in North Carolina last year?
A paltry 2,561.
As a comparison, of that 22,173 high school dropouts last year, 4,776, or 21.5 percent were Black males (white males - 29.8%; Black females – 12.9% and white females – 21.2%)
So there were well over 2,000 more Black male high school students who dropped out of school in 2005-06, than there were Black male instructors teaching in all of North Carolina to reach them.
“It is a cause for concern,” said Maurice Boswell, assistant superintendent in charge of Human Resources for Wake County Public Schools. “We want our workforce to reflect the community we serve.”
With less than 200 Black male teachers in the entire 9,000 teacher system, it is most likely, Boswell agrees, that a Black student could go through his or her entire academic career in Wake County Public Schools, and never once see or speak to an African-American male teacher.
Private industry is offering more money and benefits to the best and brightest Black teaching candidates, and those students are taking the offers, leaving a severe vacuum behind.
Boswell says the system recruits at historically Black colleges and universities in 38 states, and is working to build better relationships with schools like St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University so that the system can assist their teacher education programs in putting more qualified African-Americans in the pipeline.
The problem is generating the needed numbers.
So what happened with that recruitment effort of four years ago in 2007, and is it ongoing with historically black colleges and universities today?
And what are public schools systems like Wake doing to actually interest young black students in teaching, long before they get to college?
Those answers are part of Wake Supt. Anthony Tata’s challenge today.

By Cash Michaels

            There were tears, anger and heartache.
            And a question. “Why?”
            That’s what several victims, and representatives of aging victims of North Carolina’s nearly 50-year forced sterilization program still wanted to know as they poured out their hearts in dramatic, and oft times gripping testimony June 22 before the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force in Raleigh.
            Elaine Riddick, 57, was 14 years-old when she was sterilized after being raped and giving birth to her only child in rural Perquimans County in 1968. She was classified as “feeble-minded” and “promiscuous.”
            “[The state of North Carolina] slandered me, ridiculed and harassed me, they cut me open as if I were a hog,” a tearful Riddick, being comforted by her son, Tony, told the task force. Riddick, like many other victims, had no idea what had been done to her until later in life when she married at 18, and wanted to have more children, only to find out that never again could she conceive.
            “My body was too young for what they did me,” she cried.
            Lela Dunston was born in Wilmington. At age 13, a social worker told her mother that Lela was mentally disturbed because she had had a child, and required that the young girl be sterilized. Even though Lela’s aunt tried to stop the procedure, the mother went through with it.
            “The state needs to award us…” Dunston demanded,” …‘cause we’ve got to carry on.”
            Another victim, Willis C. Lynch, 77, an elderly white male from Littleton, told how he could not father his own children when he married because he had been sterilized as a youth in 1948 at the age of 14.
            “I hope they hurry and do something [about victims compensation] …because I’m 77 years-old and I don’t have long to live,” Lynch told the task force.
            Sponsored by the recently created NC Justice for Sterilization Victim’s Foundation, the panel’s public “listening session” attracted media attention not just from across the state, but also the nation, as news outlets like CBS were present to chronicle what all agreed was a dark chapter in North Carolina’s history.
            “We’re the only state in this nation, and possible in the world, right here in North Carolina, that’s trying to do something to address this ugly chapter in North Carolina’s history,” state Rep. Larry Womble (D-Forsyth), who has championed the compensation cause for the sterilization victims for nine years, said.
            What the packed session heard were stories of how poor children barely in their teens, were classified by local health officials as being slow or troublesome, and were institutionalized after their parents, in many cases, were coerced into authorizing corrective measures.
            The most prominent of those measures was the practice of eugenics, a worldwide accepted method of “purifying the race” by weeded out the proliferation of “undesirables” from the general population through forced sterilization.
            After World War II, the practice waned internationally after it became associated with the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. But in North Carolina and over 30 other states, particularly after the US Supreme Court upheld compulsory sterilization in 1927, the practice continued unabated for decades after.
            According to the foundation, the state’s documented sterilizations started in 1929. Four years later, the NC General Assembly created the state Eugenics Board, which officially signed off on cases submitted to it by local county health departments.
            Between 1933 and 1977 when the Eugenics Board was disbanded, at least 7600 forced sterilizations on poor white and black victims, eighty-five percent of whom were female and young, were performed.
            Approximately 3000 victims are believed to be still alive today, though many are dying off every year.
            Seventy percent of those procedures took place between 1946 and the mid-1960s, foundation Executive Director Charmaine Fuller Cooper says. Most of the victims lived in rural areas, and were as young at 10 years-old.
Of the 53 counties where state records show forced sterilizations performed between July 1946 and June 1968, Mecklenburg tops the list at 485 procedures done. Wake ranks #9 with 114, Cumberland #14 with 89 and Durham #16 with 82 cases.
            Near the coast, Bladen County ranked #23 with 73, and New Hanover County ranks 25th on the list with 72 recorded.
It was 2002 when the Winston-Salem Journal broke the story in a series of articles, forcing then-Gov. Mike Easley to be the first governor in the nation to formally apologize to the surviving victims and their families.
            The following year, the NC General Assembly formally repealed the 1933 law that originally authorized forced sterilizations. But despite several sponsored bills by victims’ advocate Rep. Larry Womble, state lawmakers have done little else to truly address the need for compensation.
            After Gov. Beverly Perdue was elected in 2008, she followed through on a promise to establish a foundation for the eugenics victims under the state Dept. of Administration, and had $250,000 appropriated to get it started.
            The foundation is officially tasked with being a clearinghouse to both identify and assist certified eugenics victims until the compensation issued is settled by the General Assembly.
             Perdue made an informal visit to the task force listening session, sitting in the back listening to the victims’ stories. She said that what the state did to them is wrong, and that she is committed to seeing that they are compensated.
            The question is, if past Democratic-controlled General Assemblies ducked even a recommended $20,000 in compensation per victim, then what will a belt-tightening, budget-cutting Republican-led Legislature do if it’s still in power in 2012?
According to the foundation, per Gov. Perdue’s Executive Order #83, “…the Eugenics Task Force will recommend possible methods or forms of compensation to persons forcibly sterilized by the state’s eugenics program and will evaluate the recommendations of previous commissions. The Task Force is required to issue a preliminary report to the Governor by Aug. 1 and a final report by Feb. 1, 2012.”
            For more information on the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force, contact the NC Justice for Sterilization Victim’s Foundation toll-free at 1-877-55--6013, or go to www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov.
            If you missed the June 22 public hearing and would like to share your concerns with the task force, leave a recorded message on the Public Feedback line at 919-807-4273. That line will remain active until July 7, 2011.






By Cash Michaels

            PROUD DADDY - I hope my youngest daughter, KaLa, is reading this years from now, perhaps after I’m long gone.
            This week, KaLa is graduating second grade as a top student (she attends year-round). Last Sunday, she went to say goodbye, and “thank you” to her kindergarten teacher, who is leaving the school system. That woman got KaLa on an impressive path to learning that has stayed with my daughter, and I pray always will.
            Then last Sunday at Watts Missionary Baptist Church in Raleigh, KaLa was one of many very talented students to perform during Mrs. Gilbretta Ashton-Jones’ Treasure Chest of Music Piano Recital.
            Out of thirteen performing students, KaLa was one of only three who performed ALL of her selections WITHOUT any sheet music.
            And she knocked it out of the park.
            Lately, this little lady has been singing her heart out around the house, the car, the bathroom…anywhere she feels the spirit. And she’s sounding mighty good too!
            Combine all of this with KaLa’s other successes at ballet, tap dancing, reading, writing…you name it, and all I can say is I am sooooo very proud of my eight-year-old, and all of her accomplishments in her young life. This child is going to be a leader. I don’t know when or where, but she is being raised by my wife and I to make a positive contribution to the world. KaLa has all of the raw material now to do that in later life.
            Isn’t that what we wasn’t from all of our children? Isn’t that what we’re all working for?
            I don’t know what the future holds, but I thank GOD for now, and the experience of being KaLa’s Dad.
            Years ago I had the honor of saying how proud I was of my oldest daughter, Tiffany, after she graduated from college, and later earned her Masters in Business Administration degree.
            I’m very proud of you, KaLa. Whenever you’re reading this, keep up the good work. Remember, Daddy loves you!
            NEW ‘SVU’ DETECTIVES - If you’re a fan, by now you know that there will be major changes to NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” this season. Chris Meloni, who portrayed Det. Elliot Stabler for the show’s twelve years, has left after failing to come to contract terms with NBC.
            Then costar Mariska Hartigay, who has played Stabler’s partner, Det. Oliva Benson for the full 12, is cutting back her work hours because she has just adopted a child, and wants too spend more time at home. Good for her. So her character will become a police administrator on the show.
            That means that “SVU” needed two new lead detectives to take over the helm, and this week NBC announced they found them in actors Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish.
            If you watched CBS’ “Cold Case” for the seven year that it was on, then you’ll remember Pino as the Hispanic Detective Scott Valens. Solid actor, good looking. He’ll have to transform his California style to New York for SVU, but obviously NBC believes he can do it.
            Giddish starred in last season’s failed NBC series “Chase” as the head of a team of US Marshals who tracked down escape suspects. It had lots of action, but apparently no audience. Hopefully Giddish will have better luck with SVU.
            It’s hard to imagine, but “Law & Order: SVU” is now the only “Law & Order” show left in production. The original “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” and “Law & Order: Los Angeles” have all bitten the dust.
            So “Law & Order: SVU” is all that’s left after 20 years, and I doubt that producer Dick Wolf will give us any more “Law & Order” series. Let’s see how this new team works.
            WHO WILL REPLACE LAWRENCE FISHBURNE ON “CSI”? - The reason why replacements on TV series is an issue now is because most of the series begin shooting episodes for their new September seasons in July. So by the time you see the first episode around the third week in September, the show has already produced at least five episodes.
            So now the question is, who will replace actor Lawrence Fishburne as the lead forensics investigator in the hit CBS show, “CSI?” You’ll recall it was just two-and-a-half years ago that Fishburne replaced actor William Petersen, who played the role of Gill Grissom. Petersen, who is also a producer on the show, isn’t likely to come back, despite being a fan favorite.
            So who do I think would be ideal? Edward James Olmos, who recently starred in Syfy Network’s “Battlestar Galactica,” and oldtimers recall from the hit 1985 series “Miami Vice.” He would bring some definite gravitas to the table at “CSI.”
            Here’s the problem though - the show has been on the air for 12 years, and all of its stars are extremely long in the tooth. So it needs an infusion of fresh, young talent to keep the advertisers happy.
            We should be hearing an announcement shortly.
FLAKY JOURNALISM - I was watching when Chris Wallace, anchor for Fox News Sunday, asked Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, “Are you a flake?,” referring to some of the doofy gaffes that have come out of this Tea Party-lovin woman’s mouth in recent years.
            Yes, it was appropriate to broach the question about Bachmann’s mental and emotional stability, after all, she is now officially a candidate for president of the United States (GOD help us all).
            But Wallace, who has previously worked at NBC and ABC News, and is the son of legendary “60 Minutes” journalist Mike Wallace, should know better than to ever insult someone directly to their face, and expect a decent reaction.
            After a deluge of negative reaction from viewers (and later liberal pundits), Wallace issued a video apology online, admitting what he did was disrespectful, though he didn’t mean it to be.
            Bachmann, who certainly took offense (I don’t blame her - the truth hurts), refused to accept Wallace’s apology. That’s a political stunt on her part, exploiting a crude media mistake towards her to show that she has enemies.
            Even Keith Olbermann (glad to have you back, Keith) who can’t stand Michelle Bachmann, would have found a biting, yet professional way to have asked her the same question.
            So how should have it been asked?
            First of all, Wallace, with a smile on his face, asked a professional woman on national television, “Are you a flake?”
            He was trapped the moment the words left his dumb mouth.
            In our business, when reporting (as opposed to just giving opinion), when you want to say something harsh about someone who deserves it, but you can’t say it, you simply find somebody else who has actually said it.
            For example, it would have served Chris Wallace well to ask Bachmann, “Liberal pundit Keith Olbermann says you are a, quote, “ flake?” How do you respond to that.”
            Because an actual slur was involved, it would have been wise for Wallace to attribute it to someone who has actually used it. He didn’t do that, making it seem as if he was the one coming up with the assessment. He would have been better quoting someone else so that Bachman wouldn’t have taken it personally.
            The late Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” would have never pulled such a dumb stunt. Wallace was trying to be cute, and he got snagged big time.
            I think he has now learned his lesson, don’t you?
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.


            Friends and fans remember him as making the “dunk heard ‘round the world” to win the 1983 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship for Coach Jim Valvano’s NC State Wolfpack. Lorenzo Charles, the championship hero, tragically died Monday when a tour bus he was driving on I-40 went out of control coming off an exit, and careened into the trees. Charles, 47, was the only one onboard. Charles drove buses for Elite Coach in Apex, and enjoyed transporting Duke and UNC fans to games. He is remembered as fun-loving and likable. At press time, funeral arrangements were incomplete.

            A former official with North Carolina Central University in Durham alleged skimmed $1 million in government grants for a program she oversaw, diverting the funds to her own bank account, according to a state audit released this week. Nan Coleman, the former director of the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium, was fired in August 2009. Several others associated with the program are alleged to have gotten monies from the fund illegally. "The whole scheme ... is pretty egregious, and it went on right in front of a lot of people's eyes that should have been aware of it," State Auditor Beth Wood said. "The dollar value is bad enough, but just the fact that this thing fell apart on so many levels is very disconcerting." Chancellor Charlie Nelms agreed with the findings, and vowed to work with prosecutors to determine charges.

            Hailey Best, a 20-year-old Meredith College student from Durham, was crowned Miss North Carolina 2011 last Saturday at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Best won out over thirty-three other contestants from across the state. This in the fourth consecutive year that a contestant from the Triangle has won the state title. Best will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant.


            [RALEIGH] A man who was falsely convicted and imprisoned for 17 years for a murder he did not commit, has filed suit in federal court against five former SBI agents and their supervisors for withholding exculpatory evidence proving his innocence. Greg Taylor, 49, was falsely convicted in 1993. His lawsuit accuses former agent Duane Deaver, among others, with falsifying the results of a blood test in order to insure Taylor’s conviction. Taylor was released from prison after the NC Innocence Commission reviewed the evidence and found that he had been framed.

            [RALEIGH] Even with low poll numbers, Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue is not allowing the Republican-led NC General Assembly to push her around. Perdue has vetoed several key bills GOP lawmakers have ratified, including the controversial voter ID law which would have required a photo identification to be shown at the polls on Election Day. Groups like the NCNAACP and Democracy NC called the bill an attempt to suppress the black and Hispanic vote, which generally leans Democrat. Perdue also vetoed the GOP’s Woman’s Right to Know Act, which would have forced women seeking an abortion to wait a period and be counseled before going through with the procedure. The governor also nixed Republican medical liability reforms and no dues check off laws. Republican leaders say they will try to override Perdue’s veto when the General Assembly reconvenes later in July.

            [RALEIGH] Now that the General Assembly has released its Voting Rights Act Districts Redistricting maps, and have gotten an earful on how the GOP have gerrymandered the lines to create enough majority-minority districts to ensure Republicans will remain in control for the next decade, the congressional redistricting maps will be released on Friday, July 1st. On July 7th there will be a public hearing on those maps. On July 11th, the state House and Senate legislative maps will be released, followed with a public hearing on those on July 18. When the Legislature reconvenes, there will be Redistricting Committee meetings from July 21-23rd.  The first reading of the Congressional and Legislative maps will take place on July 24th. Floor debate and votes on the maps is scheduled for July 25-28.

Monday, June 20, 2011


By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            It’s the change that no one who embraced the heralded and productive socioeconomic student diversity policy even wanted to see - Wake County Public Schools, moving as far away as possible from the old mission - making sure that no child was trapped in an unhealthy school.
            The changes have steadily come in a blur after a period where it seemed the Republican majority on the contentious school board couldn’t do anything right. And even though the US Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has yet to weigh-in on the NCNAACP’s federal complaint alleging racial bias against the Wake School Board, it is clear that the board isn’t waiting around for the results - good or bad.
This week, rookie Wake Supt. Anthony Tata unveiled a “community-based” school choice student assignment plan that allows parents the ability, he says, to choose their child’s school from a host of options. Based on online testing with parents, Tata says, proximity to the closest school seems to be the clear priority. However, for Southeast Raleigh and eastern Wake parents, allowances will have to be made for their children to attend schools that will not result in high poverty.
Tata hopes the board will sign off on the plan by the fall so that implementation can begin for the 2012-2013 school year.
            Can that happen, especially, as is known to happen with school choice plans elsewhere, there will schools that are not chosen because they will not be high performing?
            Southeast Raleigh District 4 school board representative Keith Sutton, who favored a more addressed-based approach to student assignment similar to the prior student assignment plan, isn’t so sure if the plan doesn’t help to enhance student achievement, and ensure against a proliferation of high poverty schools.
            The question is, is this choice plan, and the many other changes that the board, and Tata, are ushering in, good or bad for African-American students?
            Add to that Tata’s assertion this week that contrary to internal administration reports, Wake’s racial achievement gap since 2006 has not narrowed at all. Tata contends that a Harvard University study, commissioned by the Broad Academy - the group that trained Tata less than five years ago to become a superintendent after he left his US Army career - shows that, based on raw data, while all of Wake’s student subgroups have incrementally improved academically over the past four years, the wide gap between black and white students persists.
            What Tata intends to do about this, and how his student assignment plan plays into his remedy, remains to be seen.
            With the October Wake School Board elections looming, and the prospect that the Republican majority might add to their numbers on the nine-member panel, the only way to put the brakes on what seems to be a clear direction towards possibly leaving low-achieving students behind is the elections.
            All four Democratic seats, including that of Sutton’s, are up for grabs, along with Republican Chairman Ron Margiotta’s, who formally announced for re-election this week.
            No Democrat has announced a challenge to Margiotta in his District 8 Apex area thus far, and two of the Democratic incumbents - District 5’s Dr. Anne McLaurin and District 6’s Dr. Carolyn Morrison - have announced that they are no running this fall, leaving their seats wide open for well-funded Republican candidates to pickup.
            Unless Democrats are able to sweep all five open seats in October, school board Republicans will have more than enough of a majority margin to further change the school system.
            Tuesday night, Chairman Margiotta was reelected chair by his majority, but can only serve as such until this December when the new board is sworn in. In a long, drawn out process, Margiotta’s chief lieutenant on the board, District 2’s John Tedesco, was voted in as board vice chair, replacing fellow Republican Debra Goldman, who fell out of favor with her fellow GOP’ers when she supported the Democratic minority last fall on several measures.
            Tedesco, who has emerged in the almost two years that the Republicans have held the majority as their most prominent spokesperson, has also finally found a job.
            Last week the conservative District 2 Garner representative announced that he has been hired as president and chief executive of the nonprofit North Carolina Center for Education Reform, which will be headquartered in Raleigh.
            The purpose of the organization, Tedesco says, is to reform public education across the state. But beyond Tedesco, there is very little information about who or what he’s supposed to be leading.
            But sources researching what little is known, say there are definite right-wing connections, connections that come as no surprise given not only Tedesco’s Republican politics, but penchant to travel statewide promoting the ultra right-wing Tea Party.
            According to sources, the attorney listed on the incorporation papers for Tedesco’s new group is Austin M. Chestnut, a lawyer with the Shanahan Law Group, the law firm run by Republican Wake School Board special counsel, attorney Kieran Shanahan. That firm was recently commissioned by Chairman Margiotta to redraw the redistricting map.
            In his bio, among other things, Chestnut once served as “an officer with the Campbell University Chapter of the Federalist Society.”
            According to it’s own website, “…the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
            Both Chestnut and Shanahan are closely affiliated with the “Liberty and Law Institute,” a “non-profit, non-partisan educational dedicated to teaching successive generations of young Americans the text of our Founding Documents — the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution…”
            The conservative connections to Tedesco’s new organization don’t stop there.
            Even the group’s website designer is Stephen Cannon of “Right Foot Forward,” “Cannon Vending” and “Beyond Political Consulting.”
            A visit to Beyond Political Consulting’s website reveals a long list of Republican clients throughout the South which include the North Carolina Republican Party, a number of Republican and Tea party candidates for Congress, and Heather Losurdo, Republican Wake School Board candidate for District 3, currently Democratic incumbent Kevin Hill’s seat.
            In fact, one of BPC’s managing partners is Betsy McCorkle, the campaign treasurer for Losurdo’s school board bid.
            Tedesco has told local media that there are no major donors thus far, so funding is coming from “small level contributions from local donors and supporters.” He vows that there is no conflict of interest with his position on the school board, and says that a list of the center’s board of directors thus far will be on its website by this Friday.
            Meanwhile NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who has been lamenting the Wake School Board’s changes and right-wing political influence, has agreed to meet with Supt. Tata about his student assignment recommendations. But Tata has also challenged Barber to prove that the NAACP has worked to recruit black teachers and principals, and has helped with school system community outreach.
            Ironically, and apparently Supt. Tata is unaware, but the NCNAACP was rebuffed several times by Chairman Margiotta when it offered over a year ago to work with the conservative majority when it took over, discuss key issues, and fashion a comprise to the Republican-led board’s goal of neighborhood schools.
            The educational efforts of the NAACP, the NCNAACP’s parent organization, are well known, consisting of it ACT-SO program promoting student achievement; Sadie Bates national conference which was last held in Raleigh in December to assist teachers, principals and school officials nationally deal with barriers to education; and its legal battles nationally to ensure equal educational access for all students.
            Here in North Carolina, NCNAACP has partnered groups like the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Students and Great Schools in Wake Coalition, which have both sponsored community outreach with the school system.
            Tata’s job, observers say, is not to worry about what the NCNAACP is, or is not doing, but making sure that his new student assignment plan doesn’t create more high poverty schools that the Wake School System can’t afford to adequately support.

By Cash Michaels

            According to the Republican chairs of the Joint House and Senate Redistricting Committee, “…North Carolina remains obligated by federal and state law to create majority African-American districts,” per the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act (VRA).
            Voting Rights Act districts are defined as having African-Americans or Hispanics comprise at least 50 percent plus one of the total district population to assure legislative representation.
            “During our public hearings, members of the public requested that current majority African-American districts be retained, where possible, and that additional majority black districts be created, where possible,” wrote chairmen Senator Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) in a June 17 joint statement, the day that the maps detailing the VRA districts were released.
            “Based upon this testimony,” they continued, “along with input we have received from at least one black incumbent House member, the Chairs recommend, where possible, that each plan include a sufficient number of majority African-American districts to provide North Carolina’s African-American citizens with a substantially proportional and equal opportunity to elect their preferred candidates of choice.”
            To some African-Americans, particularly those in areas of the state that do not have black representation at the legislative table on Jones Street, that’s good news.
            But other observers say “Not so fast.” They question how a Republican-led General Assembly that passed a voter photo ID bill, slashed a week off of One Stop/Early Voting, and was committed to stopping same day voter registration and “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting, all designed, critics say, to suppress the black vote during the crucial 2012 presidential and gubernatorial elections next year, could all of a sudden be so generous and committed in creating as many majority-minority voting districts as possible?
            The answer, those observers say, is by “stacking and packing” black voters in those districts where they can’t help white Democrats against Republican challengers, it ultimately helps the GOP goal of holding on to their majorities in the state Legislature.
            “They’re following federal law by first drawing districts that comply with the Voting Rights Act, which is good,” writes Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, a nonprofit, non-partisan issue advocacy group. “But it appears they are going well beyond that mandate to use the VRA to create several additional majority-minority districts with heavy concentrations of Democratic or non-Republican voters.”
            “What’s the impact of this strategy?” Hall continued. “Minority and Democratic voters are apparently being packed into a smaller number of total districts statewide, rather than have their influence spread across more areas; conversely, the lines are drawn to keep Republicans at a minimum in the VRA districts and put them in other districts that will favor GOP candidates.”
             “It’s a cynical use of the VRA to help Republicans win more seats in Raleigh and Washington. Sen. Eric Mansfield (D-Cumberland) says the maps seem to endorse a return to segregation; they will promote racial tension and polarization rather than centrist politics,” Hall contends.
            The question is, can the Republicans legally justify their stacking and packing of black voters when their redistricting plans are reviewed for VRA compliance by federal authorities?
            State Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake), a veteran of drawing redistricting lines in the 1990 to help bring more African-Americans into the General Assembly, suspects not.
            “I think they unnecessarily and probably illegally pack minority voters into districts,” Sen. Blue told State Government Radio. “I need to analyze them a little bit further, but my initial impression is they’re engaged in packing in non-Section 5 Voting Rights Act districts.”
            And why are the Republicans preferring to submit their plans, required every ten years by law after every new US Census count because of population shifts, to federal judges in the District of Columbia’s federal circuit court, as opposed to the Obama Administration’s Justice Dept.?
            Could it be because the GOP is more likely to find a like-minded three -Republican judge panel, since at least 60 percent of the federal judiciary is Republican?
            Even before the VRA redistricting maps were released last weekend, there were concerns about what degree of political machinations to keep control of the General Assembly would the Republican plans reveal.
            Atty. Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, and professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, says the civil rights group is already monitoring the GOP redistricting process. While stacking and packing by political affiliation is perfectly legal, according to the US Supreme Court, doing so by race is not.
            That is why the GOP wants to submit their plans to the DC Circuit Court, and wants their own attorney, not Democrat state Attorney General Roy Cooper, to argue their case, Joyner said. He thinks the strategy could backfire, however.
Submitting to the federal courts could take longer than to the US Justice Dept. for pre-clearance,” Joyner says. The same rules and standards would apply, but because many other states with Republican legislatures will also be submitting to the courts, that will definitely slow the process down.
            And them of course, the NCNAACP and other groups will be legally challenging the GOP redistricting plans, further slowing down the process of pre-clearance, similar to what the Republicans did ten years ago in North Carolina, stalling the Democrats’ plan for at least two years.
            The Republican redistricting plans for the remaining state House and Senate seats, and congressional districts, will be released on July 1. Republicans are already saying that they will be redrawing all thirteen congressional districts in a manner that assures a “slam-dunk” of at least three more Republican seats won come 2012.
            And they are expected to shift black voters to make that happen.
Both the state House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene for a special redistricting session on July 13 to pass their redistricting plans.
            Unlike standard and budget bills, the governor has no say in the process, nor can she veto any redistricting plan the GOP-led Legislature passes.




            Residents of the Capital City will not see a property tax increase, thanks to a new budget adopted by the Raleigh City Council Tuesday. The $660 million budget saves money by cutting vacant positions, cutting the city’s contribution to the supplemental retirement fund from 3 to 2 percent, and dipping into Raleigh’s capital reserve fund to help the arts and needy nonprofit social service organizations. The budget for 2011-2012 is 6.6 percent higher than this fiscal year’s.

            For the first time in over three months, members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association were called to a regular monthly meeting by embattled President Danny Coleman. However, many of the members, angered by what they felt has been Coleman’s misrepresentation of the 79-year-old black civic organization, wanted to remove him from office immediately. Reportedly, members were reminded that constitutionally, elections could only be scheduled for November in odd-numbered years, meaning they would have to wait until this fall. When members insisted on moving forward, the meeting was reportedly adjourned. It is not clear if or when the RWCA will meet next month.

            Three people who were allegedly part of a group of two dozen masked intruders who blocked elevators, broke furniture and smashed windows at a Chapel Hill condominium Saturday, have been charged with felony rioting and misdemeanor damages. Published reports say Karolina Knable of Durham, Brian Dingledine of Chapel Hill and Kyle Whisenant of Greensboro have been charged in the alleged attack at the Greenbridge condo complex. Damages are estimated at over $3,000. Authorities suspect the intruders were angry because the complex was constructed in an older Chapel Hill neighborhood, displacing some of the modest homes there.



            [GASTONIA] An unemployed man is behind bars, police ay, because he walked into a Gastonia bank, and handed a teller a note announcing that he was committing an unarmed robbery for $1.00. He then laid down on a bank couch and waited patiently for the police to come and arrest him. When a local television station interviewed James Verone, the alleged robber, and asked him why he committed the crime, he said he needed the free health acre that was provided in prison. Verone reportedly has a bad back, bad foot, and an undiagnosed growth on his chest.

            [RALEIGH] Dana Cope, the head of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, has filed for Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, published reports say. In his bankruptcy papers, Cope is listed to owe $241,468 in debts, even though he earns over $97,000 annually as SEANC director. His wife, an attorney, earns over $87,000 annually. Cope says his debts are attributed to bad real estate investments and over $50,000 in credit card bills. Cope says his financial troubles should not impair his leadership of the state employee association.

            [RALEIGH] While most people curl up with a good book at the beach during the summer, Gov. Beverly Perdue will be busily reviewing over 200 bills passed by the Republican-led General Assembly over the next week. State lawmakers wrapped up this year’s long session last weekend with a flurry of legislation to send to the governor for her signature. Observers say some of those measures, like the voter photo ID bill, are likely to get the red “VETO” stamp from Perdue, who has thus far rejected at least seven bills sent her way this year. Perdue made history when she vetoed the $19.7 billion budget the General Assembly ratified. GOP lawmakers, with the help of five conservative Democrats, overrode the governor’s veto to make the budget law.


By Cash Michaels

FATHER’S DAY - I know last week must have been gut-busting busy if I forgot to say one word about Father’s Day. I failed to wish all of our readers a happy one, so the best that I can do now is at least hope that all of you had a great Father’s Day weekend. I know I did with family, and am eternally grateful for it.
Being a Dad in this day and age is not particularly easy. That’s not to suggest that it ever was, but given how technology today has made it easier for the least child-friendly things to reach one’s children before you even know it, even the best parent has to struggle to stay forever vigilant.
Still, fatherhood is rewarding, especially when you kids “get it” as to why you’re there to love them, protect them and provide for them. You know you’re doing s good job when they not only trust your opinion and direction, but ask for it.
And when you lovingly acknowledge the good job that they’re doing, there is nothing more rewarding in life than that heartfelt smile of pride that beams across their faces.
So to all of the dedicated fathers out there, here’s to keepin’ on keepin’ on in raising great children who will one day become fine, productive, GODfearing and GODloving citizens.
Happy belated Father’s Day to all.
WEINER RESIGNS - I agree with comedian Jon Stewart. Last week’s coverage of the Rep. Anthony Weiner sex scandal was atrocious. All of the cable channels were wall-to-wall with it, so much so that when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a press conference, but said that she would be talking about jobs and the economy instead of Weiner’s sex-apades with his Twitter pictures exposing himself (sicko), all of the networks dropped her presser like a rock.
That is a shame!
There was no doubt, despite the NY Democrat’s spirited assurances to the contrary, that he had to step down. Many pundits say the Democrats had no business forcing him out. One of my favorites, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, was beyond livid is saying that Democrats should have left Weiner alone because Republicans like senators John Ensign and David Vitter - both of whom had their own torrential sex scandals - were never called upon to leave. Vitter is still there, and Ensign left only after an Ethics panel report nailed him a year later.
So yes, there is a double standard, but if the Republicans don’t see fit to hold their members to a higher standard, that’s their problem. Democrats shouldn’t be ham sandwich anxious to copy them.
Besides, no Democrats in Congress ever called for Vitter or Ensign’s resignation.
Folks also said that the voters back in Weiner’s district in Brooklyn and Queens are the ones he’s most accountable to since they’ve elected and reelected him.
True to a point.
Ex-Rep. Weiner was voted in as a Democrat. He took Democratic Party money, spoke out representing Democratic positions, and held a Democratic leadership position in Congress, a position his leadership threatened to strip Weiner of if he resign.
So the Democrats had an absolute right to tell an outspoken and prominent member of the team that he was hurting the cause he signed on to.
And then there’s the worst of it all.
Anthony Weiner didn’t just lie to the news media, the public, his constituents, and worst of all, to his pregnant wife.
He also lied to his Democratic leadership.
When the people who count on you to do your job can no longer trust you, it’s been my experience that they have every right to say, “See ya!”
So Weiner had to go. The question now is …where?
Given how corrupt our culture is today, even the most loathsome  criminal qualifies to be a commentator or host of his own show.
Just ask former NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who has his own show on CNN weeknights. Spitzer, you’ll recall, was exposed for getting involved with a call girl ring and fell hard from grace.
Just not too hard, apparently.
KEITH ON CURRENT TV - Good to see, and hear, Keith Olbermann back on weeknight TV with “Countdown.”  The energy, sharp focus, sharper wit and great commentary is definitely back with him, so we can expect Keith to go after Republicans, Democrats, and more Republicans every night. Check him out weeknights at 8, with repeats at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Welcome back, Keith.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM - Today is my late mom’s birthday. She was well into her 80’s when she died in January 2009. Though her suffering has now stopped, and I miss her very, very much, Mom is in a better place now.
Love you Mom.
JUST A DOLLAR - In this tight economy, you have to try and save a dollar where you can, and believe me it’s not easy. So I find myself waiting a while for movies that I want to see to hit the $5.00 bin at Wal-Mart.
But sometimes, if Santa hits me up with an extra buck or two, I might buy a new DVD, or even new Blu-ray DVD movie. But what if, despite the exciting coming attractions, when you pay the $19.99 or $24.95 for the flick, you take it home, pop it in, and it sucks to high heaven?
The solution? Those $1.00 DVD machines at the supermarket. They carry the latest flicks released on DVD, and it only runs you a buck (or a buck-and-a-half for Blu-ray). All you have to do is rent the movie you want, watch it, and if you like it, then you know what you’re buying if you decide the movie is worth having for good.
That is exactly what happened last weekend.
For the first time ever, I went to one of these supermarket machines and rented “The Green Hornet” starring Seth Rogen. Unbeknownst to me, my wife, Markita, actually purchased a Blu-ray copy of the film for me as a Father’s Day present.
So imagine her shock when I brought home the $1.00 rental Saturday, and began watching it.
It was one of the worst movies I had ever seen in my life ( and I loved the 60’s Green Hornet as a TV show with Bruce Lee and Van Williams). But it didn’t bother me that much because all I spent was $1.00.
The following day, Father’s Day, is when Markita told me, and in fact gave me the copy of the Green Hornet that she had purchased. It was at that point that I said, “Thanks, I love you…now take this back and get your money.”
She happily did.
So let our experience be a lesson for you. Save your money. Rent for a buck, and if you like, then wait until the price is slashed down to $5.00.
You don’t have to thank me. Just enjoy!
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.


                                           W-ed - OH, SUSI, PLEASE!

            Say what you want to about our Republican Legislature on Jones Street in Raleigh (and believe us, we’ve said and reported volumes, and then some), but in their zeal to make sure that white Democrats are permanently (at least for the next ten years anyway) relegated to minority status in the NC General Assembly, and majority status in the NC Museum of History, the Grand Old Party may have done blacks folks here a favor.
            You see the new Republican-drawn redistricting maps were released late last week for the state House and Senate (the Congressional maps will be released on July 1 we’re told). As you know, these are the new voting districts that the Legislature - whichever political party is in office at the time - is required to draw ever ten years to take into account population growth and shifts as determined by the latest US Census count.
            Those new districts must be, by law, as close to even as possible within plus or minus five percent in order to guarantee the constitutional mandate of “one person - one vote.”
            So what’s that have to do with black folks here in New Hanover County?
            Well back on 1990, the then Democratic-ld General Assembly redrew the district lines so that House District 18 would be a majority-minority district, thus allowing African-Americans to elect their own to the state House, and have a voice at the table.
Thomas Wright got our votes, and served there for many years representing District 18.
However, in the intervening years, D-18 became diluted, and was no longer a majority-minority district. Given that since 1990, we once had not only a black representative for House 18 until two years ago, and even a black state senator in the late Luther Jordan before he passed and his district was eliminated, we now have no African-American representation for our district (indeed our region) on Jones Street now.
That’s how we got Susi Hamilton, a white female conservative Democrat that is anything but representing us in the NC House.
But with the new proposed redistricting maps unveiled by the Republicans last week, that could soon change.
District 18, which takes in parts of New Hanover County, has now been redrawn into District 20. Based on information provided by the NC House, District 20, with a total population of 82,667, is comprised of parts of Bladen County (32 percent); Brunswick County (15 percent); Columbus County (22 percent); and of course New Hanover (31 percent).
But that’s not all.
The demographic breakdown of the newly proposed District 20, based on the 201o US Census, is single race white at over 40 percent, and single race black is over 51 percent. Add in those who are multi-race/any part black, and the number is at least three percent higher.
And, per the same information, Democrats - black and white - outnumber Republicans.
Some folks like it this newly proposed District 20, some folks don’t.
One of those who don’t is …you guessed it, District 18 Rep. Susi Hamilton.
We got wind of her saying that she didn’t appreciate the Republicans redrawing much of the rural counties with her metropolitan area (Wilmington).
Translation - why did the GOP put all of those country black folks in with my mostly white Wilmington? That makes it tougher for me to win?
Maybe, SUSI, it’s because when House 18 was originally drawn twenty years ago, that’s the way it was - part rural, part metropolitan. That assured that African-Americans across the district and region had a voice in our state Legislature. It meant that we were being heard on the important issues as education and job creation, taxes and health care. It meant that we could trust the person we elected.
In public hearing after public hearing earlier this year about the redistricting maps, our community came out, and made it clear that we deserved, once again, the right to elect someone who represented our needs and concerns. And for whatever the reason, it seems that we have been heard.
Our community will now do all it can to fight to keep this new District 20, and have the Legislature pass it. We also hope that it passes whatever legal test with federal authorities that is required.
The bottom-line is African-Americans will not stand by and allows others who do not represent us, nor speak to our most pressing issues, to assume that they can speak for us, when they don’t.
So like it or not, Susi, if the African-American community has anything to do with it, District 20 is here to stay!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            When she vetoed the Republican-led Legislature’s $19.7 billion budget last Sunday, Gov. Beverly Perdue charged it moved North Carolina “backwards;” “ tears at the very fibers that make North Carolina strong:” and would result in “generational damage” because it substantially cut education, health care services and law enforcement.
            While GOP leaders vehemently disagreed with Perdue’s doomsday assessment of their lawmaking this General Assembly session, they made no bones, as they overrode her veto this week, that they were forcing the state to finally “live within its means.”
            But beyond the dramatic fiscal reforms the Republicans have now imposed, they’ve also overhauled North Carolina’s election laws, weakened medical and business liability, and increased the tax burden on low-income families by eliminating the earned income tax credit.
            All of this, and the GOP haven’t even unveiled their redistricting plans or amendments to North Carolina’s Constitution.
            After less than six months in office, Republican lawmakers have radically changed what many prided as a moderate Democratic legacy of progress, into an evolving Republican model of conservative austerity - both fiscally and politically.
            The budget a frontal attack on civil rights, economic justice and education,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP in a statement Tuesday. “The people of North Carolina do not support this budget. Yesterday a Public Policy Polling poll found that only 23% of North Carolinians support the budget while 41% oppose the budget. The opposition to this budget crosses party lines, with independents and moderate voters holding negative opinions of the budget.
            30,000 jobs across the state could be lost as a result, Rev. Barber continued.
            “We can't claim to want to help people change their lives for the better when we remove all the support systems. That is why we continue to state: This budget is bad. This budget is immoral. This budget is wrong. This budget is not good for North Carolina,” Rev. Barber said.
“It’s a sad day for North Carolina,” opined Jeff Shaw, director of Communications for the NC Justice Center, a progressive nonpartisan, nonprofit issues advocacy group.
            “We’ve had a long tradition of investing in the vital public structures that have made our state prosperous now, and in its future. This budget now turns its back on that,” Shaw continued. “This sets our state back decades.”
            Adding that “it’s going to take a long time to win back what we’ve lost today,” Shaw said the state’s ability to adequately and appropriately look after the poor and elderly, and its children, has now been seriously hampered.
            Shaw says people should be “humbled and shamed” by what’s just occurred. In education, where hundreds of teachers and teaching assistants across the state are already being pink slipped because of state budget cuts, per pupil spending has been sliced so much, North Carolina will be 49th out of 50 states, below Mississippi and South Carolina.
            And it’s not just money. The GOP has also now eliminated the Personal Education Plan statute, which had previously mandated that educators develop a personal plan for academic achievement for children at risk of failing school. The “PEP” as it was called, didn’t cost any money, yet the Republicans eliminated it.
            Shaw says as a result, many at risk students of color will not get the extra help they need to succeed in class.
            “They got rid of it for apparently no reason,” Shaw said.
            In health and human services, rural and inner city communities will see vital cuts to medical services. Republicans also weakened safety and liability regulations for businesses, and emergency room doctors, cut funding to law enforcement agencies, and eliminate much-needed drug treatment courts.
            In the criminal justice system, where the repeal of the NC Racial Justice Act would allow prosecutors, once again, to exploit race in capital murder cases in order to guarantee convictions when the victims are white, and the defendant are black.
            And then there are the measures to require voter ID, shorten One Stop Early Voting, eliminate same day voter registration and Sunday “Souls to the Polls” voting, create partisan judicial elections, stop public funding of elections, and allowing corporations to give money directly to party headquarters that could end up in their political operations.
            All of that, in addition to the Republican redrawing of the state’s voting districts map, due to be unveiled by the end of the month, that could pack black voters into majority-minority districts, thus making it easier for white Republicans to pick off white Democrats. The US Supreme Court has outlawed the practice, but the GOP plans to submit their plan to federal District Court in Washington, D.C., where they hope a Republican federal judge will see things their way.
            Changes to North Carolina’s otherwise successful elections process that critics say are designed not only to suppress black and Hispanic voter turnout in 2012 when President Barack Obama runs for re-election, but also make it harder for Democrats to take back state and Congressional seats lost during the November 2010 midterm elections.
            “Based purely on their actions on the laws that they’ve passed, you’d have to say that they want fewer people voting; fewer people working; they want those people who are working to have low, menial labor low-wage jobs or be extremely wealthy, and have no room for the middle-class; they want fewer state services to help the sick, the poor and those who have been historically disadvantaged; and they want to be able to do this without having to answer to the public,” said Shaw. “It’s a vision that I don’t think any reasonable North Carolinian should get on board with.”

By Cash Michaels

With the July candidates filing period looming, and the need for immediate campaign cash growing, the slate of candidates vying for five open Wake School Board seats this October is steadily taking shape.
 But thus far, there is every indication that even if Democrats retain all four current seats, it’s that fifth seat, the one occupied by Republican School Board Chair Ron Margiotta, that seems unlikely to change unless Democrats find a strong, well-funded opponent for the one-term incumbent.
Two Democratic incumbents - Dr. Ann McLaurin of District 6, and District 5’s Dr. Carolyn Morrison - have already announced that they will not be returning, leaving their respective districts wide open for new blood, Democrat or Republican.
            If Democrats fail to even retain their current four minority seats, the board’s five-member Republican majority could lay claim to a super-majority with at least one or two seats, making them virtually unstoppable in their drive to bury student socioeconomic diversity in the grave once and for all.
            With Supt. Anthony Tata pushing adoption (though he denies it) of the controversial “blue” controlled school choice plan which he will formally present to the board next week; the recommendation that the school system’s administrative hierarchy be restructured; and with Chief Academic Officer and former interim Supt. Donna Hargens leaving to take over as superintendent of the Jefferson County School system in Kentucky, the next school board will be dealing with dramatic changes that may or may not enhance Wake’s academic reputation, which has taken a serious hit since the Republicans took over in 2009.
            The candidates, thus far, all promise to fight for progress.
            Keith Sutton, the board’s District 4 representative from predominately-black Southeast Raleigh who was appointed in 2009, formally announced this week that he is a candidate to serve again for the next four years.
            “Since earning the privilege of filling an unexpired term nearly two years ago, I have had a front row seat as a full participant in the inner workings of developing and maintaining the policies and procedures needed to administer and continually build a quality educational system,” Sutton, a Democrat, said in his announcement.
            The incumbent joins fellow Democrat, District 3’s Kevin Hill, the former school board chair, who also announced for re-election two weeks ago. Hill’s opponents are conservative Republican Heather Losurdo, and independent Jennifer Mansfield - both neighborhood school advocates.
            In the short time that he’s been on the board, Sutton counts among his accomplishments helping to maintain a school-based assignment system; reform of the school system’s disciplinary policies to allow more flexibility for administrators; helping to develop partnerships with the business community; and fighting not only to ensure a “sound, basic education” for every child in the system, but supporting a budget “that protects the classroom.”
            Sutton, who also serves as a Victims Advocate Liaison for the NC Governor’s Crime Commission, says if elected, his top priority would be pushing to close the academic achievement gap; ensuring that per pupil spending provides the requisite resources for good learning; and recruiting and retaining quality teachers for the classroom.
            Thus far, there are rumors, but no official word that Sutton will face an opponent - Democrat or Republican - for his seat.
Christine Kushner, long-time schools advocate, writer and policy analyst has announced that she will run for the Wake School Board District 6 seat currently held by Dr. Carolyn Morrison. “My goal is to bring thoughtful and practical leadership to the Board of Education,” Kushner said. She has served in numerous policy and volunteer leadership positions with Wake Public Schools for the past 11 years, including working to lower the achievement gap.
Prof. James Martin, an instructor at NC State University, has also announced that he is a candidate for the District 5 seat being vacated by Dr. Anne McLaurin.
“I bring extensive educational experience, having taught students of all levels at NC State for seventeen years,” Martin says on his website. “I have served in multiple elected leadership positions in faculty governance. My leadership and educational experience will be invaluable to ensure we effectively educate our students, equip excellent teachers and administrators, and effectively obtain and responsibly utilize resources.”
At press time Wednesday, no Republican candidates had announced for Districts 4, 5 and 6.
District 4’s Keith Sutton said he expected a Republican challenge, if for no other reason, to keep him from substantially campaigning for any of the other three Democrats in the race thus far.
Also at press time, no Democratic candidates had announced to try and unseat District 8 Republican Ron Margiotta in Apex.


                                 TRAUMA, PTSD ESPECIALLY HIGH FOR BLACK VETS

            WON'T REST - President Obama, seen here meeting with Memphis, Tenn. officials recently about their floods, came to Durham Monday saying he would not rest until every American "had a good job." The president visited Cree, Inc., a light manufacturing company that used federal stimulus funding to expand and hire more workers [White House photo]

           OFF TO SOUTH AFRICA - First Lady Michelle Obama, seen here promoting physical fitness with children at the White House, flies to South Africa next week to help improve the quality of life there  for that nation's young people. She will talk about education, among other issues. [White House photo]


            [CHARLOTTE]  It’s not as fast as many are accustomed to, but economists at Wells Fargo say North Carolina’s economic picture is slowly but surely recovering. Historically, the rebound is faster after an economic downturn, they add, but not this time because manufacturing companies have found ways to increase productivity without necessarily hiring more people.  The Triangle area, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, seems to be recovering the fastest of all of the state’s metropolitan areas, experts add. The state jobless rate is 9.7, while the national rate is 9.1.

            [OXFORD] Veteran civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, one of the original Wilmington Ten, says he may move back to Granville County to challenge conservative Democrat Rep. Jim Crawford if he voted for the $19.7 billion Republican budget override Tuesday night. Crawford, along with four other “blue dog” Democrats, did vote for the measure that many say cuts funding to schools and social services. Gov. Perdue vetoed the budget last Sunday, saying that it would take the state backwards, and hurt education. The state Senate voted Wednesday to override Perdue’s veto, thus making it law.

            [DURHAM] Assuring that America’s economy is steadily improving, President Barack Obama flew to Durham’s Cree, Inc. Monday to meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council, and announce a plan to train 10,000 engineers a year. Obama said Cree, a lighting manufacturer, is a prime example of American small businesses innovating and hiring more workers. Obama added that he won’t rest until every American “has a good job.”



            Anger over possibly contracting the Herpes virus allegedly resulted in Brinton Marcell Millsap taking his gun, shooting three women in a car along Durham’s NC 54 in RTP, and then killing himself, published reports say. Millsap, 23, reportedly had relations with one of the women the weekend before. Relatives say when he heard the rumors, the otherwise mild-mannered former athlete was enraged. Reportedly one of the other women in the car had started the false rumor.

            This week, the Jefferson County School Board in Kentucky selected Wake County Schools Chief Academic Officer Donna Hargens as its new superintendent. But according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, last week the Louisville NAACP interviewed Hargens and found her “very weak” and “tap-danced around the entire issue of desegregation…never answering questions.” The civil rights groups call to start the search over again was rejected by the school board chairman. Even the Courier-Journal, in a June 9 editorial, called Hargens and another finalist “woefully inadequate.” Hargens, who also served as Wake’s interim superintendent last year, starts in Louisville Aug. 1.

            Home sales in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Orange counties in May dropped 27 percent from the same time last year, reports say, reflecting a struggling economy that is woefully slow to recover. Just over 1500 homes found buyers, according to the Triangle Multiple Listing Services. Prices have dropped too, down 9 percent from 2008 to an average of $233,500.


By Cash Michaels

MORE SLEAZY FOX NEWS RACISM - With the 2012 presidential election just 17 months away (true, true…count them on your fingers) there is no question that all of President Obama’s enemies will start pumping up the personal and racial attacks in hopes that enough people will be motivated to go to the polls hating the man.
We could always automatically count on Limbaugh on radio, and Hannity and Beck (who is leaving at the end of this month) for this on Fox News.
But now we have a new, lesser-known player in the fold, and if disgusting is the low-level he’s been shooting for, he made it there in spades.
His name is Eric Bolling, and he stars in a right-wing rant show nightly on Fox Business Network, the sister cable network to Fox News, called, “Follow the Money.”
Here’s the setup - Fox Business was launched a few years ago to compete against the highly successful CNBC business cable channel. So far, the two dogs in the alley and the cat hiding from them are the only viewers Fox Biz actually has.
The channel even put toilet mouth Don Imus back on TV after he paid for his sins with those racist remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team so that the cabler could get some attention.
So far, no luck.
Fox Biz has scheduled some of the “stars” from Fox News, like Juan Williams, to slide over every now and then for a chat, but that really hasn’t moved the audience meter.
So when all else fails, restore to racism, and that’s what Eric Bolling has been doing.
Bolling’s convenient black target as aforementioned, President Barack Obama, and here are some of the unfortunate slurs Bolling has thrown at the Commander-in-chief: “chuggin 40’s” while on his trip to Ireland last month; calling the Obama White House “Hizzouse,” “Hizzy" and “The Big Crib”; and guests of the president to the White House “hoods.”
And apparently Bolling didn’t like it when the president of the African nation of Gabon, Ali Bongo, visited Obama at the White House recently.
"So what's with all the hoods in the Hizzy?" Bolling complained last week on his show. "A month after the White House hosted the rapper Common, who glorifies violence on cops, the president opened his doors to one of Africa's most evil dictators.”
The chyron under video of Obama chatting with the black African president read, “Hoods in the House.”
When members of the press howled racism at this, Bolling jumped on Twitter with the response, “The Bongo family has extorted billions in oil money from his nation … meanwhile 1/3 of Gabon lives on $2 per day," Bolling wrote on Twitter. "And I'm a racist?"
Look, Bolling, a conservative loudmouth, can’t stand Obama. I get that, and that’s, quite frankly, his right. He doesn’t like the president’s policies. Understood.
And apparently there are credible reports of widespread corruption on the part of President Bongo and his family, so much so that when ABC News tried to interview the man on his recent visit here, his aides were vehemently against it and pushed the cameras out. Apparently when an African president’s family lives lavishly, while the people of his nation struggle to earn $2 a day, it’s not something Pres. Bongo wants to talk about.
And by the way, at Bongo’s meeting with President Obama, he was told he needs to clean up his act on corruption.
But even with all of that, there’s no reason for Eric Bolling or anyone else to act like a racist thug on TV just because he has a problem with two black leaders.
Is Bongo allegedly corrupt because he’s black?
Is President Obama, in the eyes of some, a bad president because he’s black?
Of course not.
So why bring their ethnicity into your criticism, unless, of course, what you’re really saying is that you have a problem with black people period, unless they are black people you tolerate? That clearly is the truth in Bolling’s case, and I suspect in Limbaugh’s (who is close to Justice Clarence Thomas) and Hannity (who loves negroes, but hates “Black” people).
In short, Mr. Bolling clearly has a white supremacy problem. Why else incorporate black stereotypes in his commentary? Barack Obama is a dignified, highly educated and accomplished man. Neither he nor First Lady Michelle Obama do anything to shame the office, so why shackle either one with black stereotypes if you’re going to criticize them?
Answer, because people like Bolling et al are so racist, they simply can’t help themselves.
My problem is apparently Fox News, which owns and runs Fox Business, has no problem with Bolling displaying his ignorance on the air. You would think that after the soon-departing Glen Beck got on Fox News and called President Obama a racist, literally, that the suits over there wouldn’t tolerate that nonsense again.
Apparently I was wrong. Apparently racism towards Obama is good for ratings, or at least building ratings. And that’s what Eric Bolling needs, a bigger audience by contriving a controversy to satisfy his bosses at Fox.
This is the epitome of disgusting because it lays it all out very clearly not only the attitude of many of these right-wingers in the media, but right-wingers in the nation PERIOD! Oh yeah, liberals watch these shows too, but they’re not approving of these racial stereotypes.
And the bad, if not sad part of all of this is that neither Bolling, nor his bosses, nor anyone else on his side of the political tracks, sees anything wrong with this. I’d have great respect for Republicans if a few prominent leaders came out and condemned Bolling, Limbaugh, Hannity and others, but they won’t.
Those clowns are doing the GOP’s work for them, keeping the fire and hatred of Obama and black people hot so they can get away with implementing policies that us struggling. They see the election of Barack Obama to be something they should have, notice what I’m about to say now, NEVER allowed, and the GOP intends to use it to strengthen their grip on this nation.
They’re already doing it. In Congress, and in state legislature after state legislature, including our own. Severe cutbacks on education, social services, Medicare/Medicaid funding, you name it. Yes the country is financially broke, but that’s because the Republicans and Wall Street broke it, and then are working hard against the president in his efforts to fix it.
Don’t believe me?
The only way we can steadily come out of the economic hole we’re in is to infuse more financial stimulus into the nation’s economy. The first stimulus two years ago was too small, with a third of it going to tax cuts. A larger one is needed now.
Don’t believe that?
Look at the auto industry. When Obama took over two years ago, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were going belly up fast. Millions of jobs were about to be lost.
Despite the opposition and criticisms of the Republicans, Obama gave the Big Three automakers loans after they restructured their companies.
Today, not only is the auto industry flourishing, but they’ve paid back those government loans ahead of schedule.
Millions of jobs saved. Proof that stimulus works.
And that’s the reason why the Republicans will not allow it to work again. Screw the nation, they are focused like laser beams at stopping and defeating President Obama.
Thus, all of the racial hysteria of Eric Bolling, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and others. They know a fair fight won’t do it, so they resort to what works, racist scare tactics. “A black militant terrorist criminal is destroying our nation an we have to stop it!” the righties are saying.
If President Obama were Italian or Irish, do you thing Bolling would be using ethnic slurs to criticize him? Of course not!
Wake up, community. The worst hasn’t gotten here yet, but thanks to Eric Bolling, a sad replica of a human being, indeed, we know it’s well on its way.
BOLLING UPDATE - As we went to press, apparently the heat got too hot for Mr. Bolling. On Monday evening of this week, Bolling said the following:
“On Friday, we did a story about the president meeting with the president of Gabon," Bolling said. "We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far."
Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, Glen Beck “apologized after calling Pres. Obama a racist. In both cases, Fox got pressure from enough folks to realize that there is no justifying…that is until the next time!
MIRIAM THOMAS - For those of you who remember Miriam Thomas, who got to the Raleigh-Durham market at the same time I did in the early 1980’s, there is no question that she made us proud at the anchor of WTVD-TV news for many years. Miriam was, and is, the epitome of class and professionalism.
About ten years ago she left WTVD, and moved back to her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama with her husband and children. There she did consulting work, and also served as a tour guide at the Dexter Avenue Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once pastored.
Two weeks ago we learned that Miriam suffered a stroke, and had been hospitalized. News account indicated that it was a minor one, and that she was starting to recover her short-term memory.
All of her friends and colleagues here wish Miriam and her family well. May she make a speedy, but complete recovery.
LEBRON - The Miami Heat - Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals series was a good one, and congratulations to the Mavs for winning the championship in six.
One of the things that disturbed me, besides Miami’s inability at times to do what they did so well in the playoffs leading up to the finals, was the way the sports press pounced on LeBron James.
No, I don’t know why LeBron was never Superman again after game two of the finals. He’s been accused of not being able to handle the fourth quarter pressure.
But I do know this - LeBron is only 26 years old. He’ll learn from this, and be a better player. He’ll develop a stronger game, and learn how to be more of a team player.
Miami will win championships with LeBron James.
It will just take time, time he has to give himself.
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.