Tuesday, November 1, 2011


By Cash Michaels

            Will the US Justice Dept.-approved North Carolina redistricting maps be in force in time for the 2012 presidential elections?
            Not if the NCNAACP, the NC Democratic Party and other groups have anything to do with it. Even before the pre-clearance notice came down late Tuesday, to the great delight of leaders in the Republican-led NC General Assembly, a coalition of opposition groups, led by the NCNAACP, were preparing to file suit in Wake Superior Court this Friday at 10 a.m. in Raleigh, alleging that the latest redistricting plan is unconstitutional.
             “We are honored to be co-plaintiffs with the League of Women Voters, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Democracy, NC -- organizations that have had their hands on the Plow of Democracy for a long time -- as we file a lawsuit asking our North Carolina courts to stop this cleverly disguised race-based scheme,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, late Wednesday.
  “We shall sue the leaders of the NC House and Senate, Thom Tillis and Phil Berger.  They paid good taxpayer money to outside consultants to develop a scheme to resegregate minority voters and dilute our voting power.”
  Rev. Barber continued, “These consultants know that blatant Jim Crow acts are illegal, so they came up with their James Crow schemes instead. Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow uses surgical tools to cut out the heart of black political power. James Crow uses high-tech, clever consultants to pick apart black communities block by block and increase the prosperity of a few Americans by trying to divide, segregate, and fool the rest of us.”
  “We also name the State of North Carolina and the State Board of Elections as defendants in our lawsuit,” Barber added,” since they are charged with carrying out this race-based plan.”
           State Democrats agree.
           "The review by the Department of Justice (USDOJ) focused on one narrow aspect of the plan and preclearance was not unexpected,” House Minority Leader Joe Hackney [D-Orange] said in a statement. “We continue to believe this redistricting proposal is divisive, highly partisan and legally deficient.”
            “We will pursue whatever remedies are available to mitigate these shortcomings.”
            State Republican leaders don’t see it that way.
            “The Obama Justice Department’s stamp of approval on our redistricting plans confirms what we’ve said all along: these are fair and legal maps that give a strong voice to all voters. It also should silence the racially-charged rhetoric and put to rest the baseless claim that these maps were somehow discriminatory," legislative Redistricting chairmen Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) said in a joint statement.
            They also noted that this was the first time in 30 years that North Carolina’s redistricting plans have been approved on the first round without being sent back for adjustments.
            “Today’s historic decision by the Obama Justice Department, after thorough review by Attorney General Holder, proves that we followed the letter and intent of the law in protecting the voting rights of minorities." 
            Attorney Irving Joyner, chairman of the NCNAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, and law professor at North Carolina Central University, disagrees.
            We are concerned that these proposed districts are being developed in a manner that have the intent, purpose and effect of segregating minority voters in non-cohesive and competing communities of interest and illegally pack and stack minorities into a few 'set-aside' districts which will weaken the minority voice and political influence across the State," Joyner said in a statement.
            The NCNAACP had submitted “comment letter” to the USDOJ prior to its preclearance, urging that NC’s maps not be approved.
            “The NAACP Comment Letter declared the State's submissions demonstrate that each redistricting plan was racially motivated and in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” read a statement from the civil rights group. “Based upon the public records from hearings and committee meetings, it will be impossible for the State to disprove the unlawful racial motivation and animus or that the plans will not negatively and unlawfully impact minority communities.”
            The NCNAACP continued, “These maps show extreme racial motivation. The race-based maps that were rammed through the State legislature this summer by right-wing extremists pack 48% of all North Carolina African American voters into just three U.S. House Districts. They try to pack 52% of all Black voters into just 27 of the 120 State House Districts. Their aim is to pack 47% of all African American voters into just 10 State Senate Districts. Their maps intentionally split voting districts to bleach out African Americans and other minorities from some, and reassign Black voters to others that already have high minority representation. Their intent is self-evident: to undermine the ability of minorities to elect candidates of their choice and have influence across the state. Their maps snatched Black voters from counties covered by Section 5 in the First Congressional District, where they only recently won the ability to elect a representative of their choice.”
            "We will carefully watch and vigorously defend the principles and intent of the Voting Rights Act, our rights under the 15th Amendment of the US Constitution, and our rights under the North Carolina Constitution to make sure the clock on civil rights is not turned back and our state pursues a course that provides justice for all,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP.
            Every ten years, states are required by law to redistrict or redraw their state and congressional voting districts, primarily because it is assumed that respective voting populations may either increase or decrease during that period.
            In keeping with the constitutional standard of “One man, one vote,” lawmakers are mandated to draw new plans for voting districts that are equal in population, plus or minus 5 percent. In states like North Carolina that have counties that fall under the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), those plans are then submitted to the US Dept. of Justice for review to ensure that the voting rights of African-Americans and other communities of color are not violated.
            North Carolina has forty counties that fall under the 1965 VRA, thus the issue of whether the Republican plan protects or violates “the voting rights of minorities.”
            What has added insult to injury for progressive groups is that just before the USDOJ’s preclearance notice came down, it was revealed that because of errors from a software problem, thousands of voters were accidentally left off the NC redistricting maps that had been submitted. Two percent, over 5700 voting blocks on the state House maps (52 House districts) were missing, and over 3,200 (22 Senate districts) on the NC Senate maps, were not recorded.
            There were the same problems with the NC congressional maps - specifically in Harnett County - thus throwing the counts off for many voting districts there.
            Anticipating that the critical mistakes would derail any chance of USDOJ pre-clearance, the Democrats blasted the Republicans.]
            "In their rush to re-segregate communities and pull apart neighborhoods with their redistricting plans, we have now learned that they neglected to account for thousands of people,” wrote Rep. Hackney and Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt in a joint statement Tuesday.  “[The Republican plan to split voting precincts proved too complicated even for their outside experts and sophisticated software to handle properly."
            Even state Democratic Party Chairman David Parker went after the GOP.
            “These maps were designed to target women legislators, divide long-standing community ties and ultimately, to re-segregate North Carolina altogether,” Parker said in a statement. “Time and again, Republicans have shown that they simply cannot be trusted to put the best interests of North Carolinians before their own partisan ambitions. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for pushing this partisan boondoggle.”
            Al McSurely, a veteran civil rights attorney from Chapel Hill, said it was clear to him what the GOP leadership in the NC Legislature are up to.
            "Extreme right wing ideologues have temporarily, we hope, seized the once proud Republican Party of North Carolina,” McSurely said. “Their aim is clear: to dilute and suppress black and brown voters. They have a fist full of bills and redistricting schemes emailed to Raleigh from Americans For Prosperity and other national fountainheads of right-wing policies. Their boiler-plate bills are cleverly designed to divide and distract the 99% of God's Human Family, so we spend all our time fighting among ourselves for crumbs, while the remaining one percent of millionaires continue to multiply their money and laugh all the way to their banks.”
“These bills have been introduced in many poor southern states as a frontal attack on human and voting rights,” McSurely continued. “Their collective aim is to disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and racial minorities. They want the least of these to wait in line to get a photo voter ID. They rammed through local bills to undermine African American voting strength. They want to reduce early voting periods, eliminate same-day registration, and do away with straight ticket voting."

            This coming Tuesday, Nov. 8th, is Election Day here in Wilmington/New Hanover County. Citizens who are registered voters, once again, have the privilege to electing new leadership for our local government.
            The polls on Election Day open at 6:30 a.m., and close at 7:30 p.m. Voters should bring their voter registration cards, and cast their ballots at the precinct where they are properly registered. If you do have a problem, just speak to a poll worker, and they will graciously assist you.
            If they don’t, then call us, and let them know you’re calling the Journal.
            We think they’ll find it in themselves then to be more professional than not.

            Every four years, the citizens of Wilmington elect the mayor and City Council members.
            This year, the Journal recommends two incumbent candidates who have demonstrated their forthright commitment to Wilmington’s entire community, and should continue to lead on the issues that affect us all.
            We hope you will seriously consider them deserving of re-election.

                                     WILMINGTON MAYOR - BILL SAFFO
            He is man of energy and vision who has fought to make the quality of life for all Wilmingtonians better by far. The Journal believes that Mayor Bill Saffo deserves another four years in office to continue the job.
A native of Wilmington, Saffo graduated from Hoggard High School in 1978 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC-Wilmington.  He is the owner/broker-in-charge of Hanover Realty, Inc. in Wilmington.  Bill's civic involvement includes the Community Boys and Girls Club and the Rotary West Club in Wilmington.  He is a member of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
            Mayor Saffo has served one term as a city council member from 2003-2006, and two terms as mayor from 2006 to the present.
            Saffo says his main issues are job creation and developing greater economic opportunities. Some of the challenges that Wilmington still faces, mayor Saffo says, include public and neighborhood safety, improvements to parks and green space, and transportation.
            “In explaining my position above we have to work in partnership with the private section to create a welcoming climate for business growth and expansion. Without a safe city nobody will want to move here,” Mayor Saffo says. “We must continue to adequately friend for a strong public safety presence in Wilmington, citizens like our efforts to expand city bike trails and improvement to our parks like Maides and Archie Blue.”
            Currently, Saffo serves on the Appointments to Boards and Commissions Committee; the Film Commission; the Transportation Advisory Commission; and the Wilmington Industrial Development Committee.
            He also serves on the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority; the UNCW Advisory Board; the
New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority Board; and the
Blue Ribbon Commission
10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Commission. 
            The Wilmington Journal endorses Mayor Bill Saffo for re-election

            He is an educated and accomplished man, and an inspirational leader, who gives voice at the City Council table for those least likely to have it.
            City Councilman Ronald Sparks has impressed us during his first term with his advocacy and eye for detail.
            The Journal believes he deserves to be re-elected to continue his service.
            Sparks, a native Wilmingtonian, is a professional engineer, physicist and cyberneticist.  He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina - Wilmington with a B.S. in Physics. Elected in 2007, he has served one-term on the Wilmington City Council.
            He says his main concerns are continue to improve the availability of affordable housing; infrastructure; public safety; roads; storm drainage and parks. Sparks says more attention must be paid to these key areas now, or else the port city could face bigger problems in the future.
            He is also a strong advocate for bringing more low-tech and high tech jobs to the city, and reducing water rates for Wilmington’s senior citizens.
            Councilman Sparks chairs the Evaluation Committee, and is a member of the Appointments to Boards and Commissions Committee, Naming Facilities Committee, and the New Hanover County Solid Waste Committee.
            Sparks is also a member of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Board; the National League of Cities; Information Technology and Communications Policy and Advocacy Committee; Region “O” Council for the Advancement of Minorities in Engineering and Science; the National Black Caucus; board chairman of the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross; and is board co-chair at the Ephesus Jr. Academy.
            The Wilmington Journal wholeheartedly endorses Councilman Ronald Sparks for a second term on the Wilmington City Council.


            [RALEIGH] Though the economy is hurting his re-election chances, President Obama is still in a virtual tie with Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney. According to the latest Public Policy Polling, the former Massachusetts governor is leading Obama 46-45 percent, but that’s with a plus or minus 4% margin or error. In October, it was Obama who was leading Romney, 46-45, with the same margin of error. North Carolina is seen by the Obama campaign, to be a key swing state in his 2012 re-election campaign. African-Americans, who support President Obama 89-8, are seen as vital to his re-election chances in North Carolina.

            [CHARLOTTE] Charlotte-based Bank of America did an about-face, this week, rescinding its plan to charge a $5.00 monthly fee for debit card usage, thanks to customer outrage across the nation. So strong was the negative feedback, that other major banks also canned their planned debit card fee upgrades, and credit unions saw an enormous boost in bank customers switching their accounts to them. There is a movement for customers to transfer their accounts this Saturday to credit unions and community banks.

            [DURHAM] Some good news on the jobs front in North Carolina. Unemployment in 92 of 100 counties, and in the state’s 14 major metropolitan areas dropped, according to the NC Employment Security Commission. In the Raleigh-Cary area, the jobless rate dropped from 8.8 in September to 8.4 in October. In Durham-Chapel Hill, a better 7.7 percent last month, down from 8.2 in September.


            As the number of victims of the dreaded E. coli  infections has risen statewide to 27, three out of four hospitalized children suffering from resulting kidney dysfunction are improving, state health officials say. Those 27 are all confirmed as to attending the NC State Fair recently, and that’s the source of the infection, investigators surmise, though they haven’t pinpointed where at the fair yet. Nine E. coli cases have been confirmed in Wake County. E. coli, which comes from animal defecation, can be deadly to humans.

            The family of the late state Sen. Vernon Malone will present a check in the sum of $89,680.45 to Shaw University Friday, Nov. 4, to establish the Vernon and Susan Malone Endowed Scholarship within Shaw’s Dept. of Education. Sen. Malone, who died in April 2009, also served on the Wake County School Board and Wake County Commissioners, chairing both bodies during his career. Interim Shaw University President Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy will the accept the gift at 5 p.m. in the third floor of Estey Hall on Shaw’s campus.

            Wake County Public Schools and William Peace University have partnered in establishing two single -gender public school academies on the Peace downtown campus. Per a memorandum of understanding, both schools could be open by next fall. Only ninth graders will be required to enter Junior ROTC Training. When opened, the academies will be named the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy, principaled by Ian Soloman;  and the Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy, led by Principal Teresa Pierrie.

                                                               KEVIN HILL

By Cash Michaels

            For veteran Wake School Board member Kevin L. Hill, “fighting” to retain his seat does not include saying nasty things about his District 3 runoff opponent, Heather Losurdo - who is certainly saying a lot of bad things about him - or trumpeting the cause of the Democratic Party either, even though it’s pouring lots of man-hours and money into getting him re-elected.
             In fact, in his latest campaign mailer to the voters of District 3, Hill does only two things - contrast the length and breath of his over three decades of work experience as an educator and school board member; to that of Losurdo's "education and community experience" as a three-year resident of Wake, president of the Northern Wake Republican Club, and training as an "Air Force mechanic."
            The closest Hill even gets to being political is reminder people who see his mailer that "A vote for Losurdo = a vote for John Tedesco for Chair," referring the brash Republican Tea Party vice chair on the board.
            Given some of the broadside attacks Tedesco has leveled against Hill lately, it's understandable that the District 3 Democrat may want voters to add Tedesco's possible elevation to their equations.
            "I've always been taught not to judge others,” Hill, a Democrat, told WTVD-11 this week. “So, I'm going to stick to what we have to offer the voters.”
            It’s also why Hill believes and adheres to Wake Board of Education Policy 1005, “Responsibilities of a School Board Member”:
            A Board member shall endeavor to attend all meetings, discuss items presented on the agenda, and vote upon motions and resolutions presented. It is important that a Board member is nonpartisan in dealing with school matters and that he/she not subordinate the education of children and youth to any partisan principle, group, interest, or personal ambition.
            For Hill, representing District 3, and, as he says, fighting for “all schools, all children” in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), means getting teachers and administrators the vital resources they need to reach every child academically; developing system policy in a careful, consistent and concise manner to make certain that tax dollars are spent wisely; and whatever is ultimately implemented, moves WCPSS forward towards greater academic achievement.
            “Final decisions must be data-driven, transparent, and with the needs of the school system in mind,” Hill says on his website. “Making decisions based on facts and evidence increase the likelihood that our schools are efficiently run and ultimately create financial benefits for everyone in Wake County, as a result of a greater return on our investment in education.”
            “Wake County School Board member Kevin Hill has courageously stood up for our children's right to top-quality public education that is free to them regardless of socioeconomic or geographic status,” said Kimberly Yaman, who formerly worked in the WCPSS Central Office for over a decade. “Mr. Hill has not only my support for reelection, but my utmost respect and admiration.”
            Yaman, and other Hill supporters hope that next Tuesday, voters in District 3 - North Raleigh, will agree, and turnout to re-elect Kevin Hill to a second term on the Wake School Board. Hill was just 51 votes shy of winning 50 percent of the Oct. 11th District 3 vote in a four-candidate race.
            Because Republican-Tea Party candidate Heather Losurdo came in second with 40 percent, those two will square off on Nov. 8th.
            The race is extraordinarily important because whoever wins decides the balance of power on the Wake County School Board, where currently, Republicans hold the majority 5-4.
            But with Democrats impressively taking 4 of 5 seats during the Oct. 11th elections, thus crushing any hopes of a GOP super-majority, there is a 4-4 split until the District 3 runoff is decided.
            Decide the balance, decide the board’s policy direction, observers say.
            For her part, Losurdo has been running hard, raising a record $82,000-plus, running television commercials, appearing on conservative talk radio programs, and sending out partisan mailers throughout the North Raleigh district, in what’s supposed to be a nonpartisan race.
            Her message - vote for Kevin Hill, and he’ll bring back “forced busing” and student diversity, and end neighborhood schools.”
            Not only do Hill’s supporters dismiss Losurdo’s charges as scare tactics, but ask if she’s even qualified to serve on the school board, given that she’s only lived in Wake County for three years, has no college degree, and apparently, per published reports, allegedly padded her employment resume’ to seem more accomplished than she is.
            Losurdo denies those charges.
            Admittedly embracing the controversial Tea Party movement, and her agreeing with her husband’s Facebook portrayal of President Obama as a skunk, “…being black, white and everything it does stinks,” has Hill’s supporters adamant that Losurdo is too partisan, and not suited to serve as an elected official.
             “If elected, she would be a rubber stamp for John Tedesco and his extreme Tea Party agenda,” Wake Democratic Party Chairman Mack Paul, who once again is directing a full-throated, well-funded voter strategy to again assure Democratic victory Nov. 8th, said in a statement. Later adding, “ Tedesco and Losurdo would lead to further division, name calling and disarray on the board."
            The politics give Hill a headache, he says. But so do school policies and plans that don’t fully address the needs of all of the system’s children.
            It’s one of the reasons why Hill, a retired teacher and principal with over 30 years experience in Wake public education and planning, has problems with Wake Schools Supt. Anthony Tata’s “blue” student assignment Choice Plan, which Hill voted against two weeks ago.
            Though he supports the plan’s ultimate goal, namely to promote stability by giving parents the choice of sending their child to the best school possible within their proximity, Hill has serious questions about the very real possibility of more high-needs/high poverty schools being created. Schools where a majority of the students are free-and reduced-lunch, low achievers, and crowded beyond capacity like at the newly opened Walnut Creek Elementary School in Southeast Raleigh, which is already costing over $1 million more to operate than comparable Wake elementary schools, and is over 100 students beyond its 800-student capacity.
            Hill asks where is the money coming from to operate more high poverty schools if the system has fiscally been cut beyond the bone already? Without adequate resources for the special programming and teachers needed for high poverty schools, Hill adds, those children will unfairly suffer.
Kevin has a keen understanding of the ripple effect student assignment has not only on facility utilization, but to funding the classroom itself,” said Anne Sherron, a registered Republican, and former ten-year veteran of the school board’s now-defunct Student Assignment Committee. “Kevin's experience led him to the Choice Plan's unanswered questions that ultimately affect the allocation of resources.”
              Sherron continued, “How we as a community educate our most vulnerable determines our overall strength. Kevin realized connecting dots were missing, and said so.”  
            Hill, who is currently an instructor at NCSU, has also noticed “dots missing” in the proposed Advanced Algebra I policy, designed to get more African-American students into the advanced classes in the 8th grade.
            Both Hill and District 4’s Keith Sutton support the policy’s intent - namely to get more black students into college-track math courses - but are concerned, based on feedback from both teachers and principals, that despite the EVASS computer programming determining which students qualify, some of those students on the far edges of those chosen who currently are passing with just D grades, will flunk out if they aren’t given supplementary pre-algebra courses earlier, as in the sixth and seventh grades,  in order to provide them with the proper foundation to proceed to Advanced Algebra in the eighth.
            Hill says parents, teachers and principals should be involved in that determination process, not just a computer program.
            “Having been a former principal, Kevin Hill's insight and knowledge, are invaluable to us as a Board of Education,” Sutton told The Carolinian. “He is thoughtful and conscientious, and is always prepared.  He is a great asset to the board and works hard at keeping us on task.  It would be wise for the voters to keep him on the Wake County School Board.”   
            Susan Evans, the Democrat who stunned the state when she handily defeated two-term incumbent Republican Ron Margiotta for the District 8 seat, agrees that Hill’s leadership and experience on these issues are sorely needed.
            “I’ve observed Kevin Hill’s leadership at many school board meetings,” Evans told The Carolinian.  “His experience and knowledge of our school system is always apparent.  He is always prepared, consistent and level-headed and brings a true concern for the students.  He has remained a calm voice of reason, even in the most tumultuous circumstances.” 
             Christine Kushner, the District 6 Democrat who, along with Evans and District 6's Jim Martin, will be sworn-in to the board, also looks to Hill for leadership.
             "It is important for our community  to have Kevin and his experience serving on the Board," Kushner told The Carolinian.  "When reelected, he will be only one of nine Board members who will have served as a Chair." 
             If Kevin Hill has had his fill of the Ron Margiotta-led, controversy-laden Wake School Board per these past two years, it’s understandable. The political partisanship that ruled the school board’s agenda was stifling at times, Hill agrees, and the Republican majority moved steadily to dismantle the school system’s successful socioeconomic student diversity policy, and codify its neighborhood schools goal.
            He adds that the morale of teachers and principals in the system is low as a result, because, they’ve told him, they don’t feel respected or valued by the board.
            Indeed, at times, they’ve been scapegoated.
            Hill was the first to fall victim of what some say was the GOP’s “ruthlessness” in December 2009 after newly elected board members John Tedesco, Chris Malone, Debra Goldman and Deborah Prickett were sworn in.
            Hill was then board chairman, and by tradition, was supposed to have held that position until June 2010.
            Former WCPSS Communications Director and spokesman Michael Evans, who was forced to resign from the system last August by Wake Supt. Tata, told The Carolinian recently that when Chairman Hill and board member Ron Margiotta were walking out to the meeting table to prepare for the 2009 swearing-in ceremony, Margiotta, who now had a five-member majority, assured Hill that “Nothing was going to happen. You have nothing to worry about.”
            But as soon as the new members were sworn-in and all nine board members sat down to business, Margiotta executed a stunning procedural power-play that resulted in Hill being immediately removed as chair, with the District 8 Republican taking his place, and quickly implementing an agenda that none of the Democratic board members had even seen.
            “Yes, basically 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting,” Hill confirmed to The Carolinian, regarding what Margiotta told him then. “He told me afterward that  "He could not stop them [other four GOP board member]," which I think is bunk!”
            Since that time, Margiotta, who has since been voted out of office as of next month, and his Republican board majority, have delighted in not only ignoring Hill’s recommendations for properly planning for community-based schools and the costs involved, but also openly mocked him because of his considerable educational experience.
            "If they bring [Hill] back, what he'd like to institute is a new busing system for student assignment based on busing for test scores and quotas at every one of the schools and restrict choice for our families," Wake School Board Vice Chairman John Tedesco recently told the Voice America internet radio program, “Free Markets with Dr. Mike Beitle,” adding that Hill has, “ been part of the problem for 35 years, not part of the solution.”
"That's just not what we're about so it's going to be a battleground here the next couple of weeks in Wake County,” Tedesco said, referring to the Nov. 8th District 3 runoff.  “We'll see how that plays out."
Apparently one Wake County parent and Kevin Hill supporter, Amy Lee, didn’t take kindly to Tedesco’s apparent attack on his board colleague, in open violation of board policy 1005.
“Showing support for a candidate is one thing,” Lee, in part, wrote Tedesco in a curt Oct. 28th email exchange last week. “But trying to discredit a fellow board member to further your own personal agenda shows complete disrespect for your position on the Board of Education and to your fellow board members.  Such behavior would not be tolerated from students or staff, and it should not be tolerated from our Board of Education either.  I am extremely disappointed in the example you are setting!”
In an Oct. 29th email, Tedesco sarcastically replied,” [Great School in Wake] activist, campaign worker for Mr. Hill, vocal critic of the new board since our swearing in, and one who has spoken out against us publicly at almost every single meeting for 2 years, and specifically called me out personally in almost every comment. You are "extremely disappointed" in me?? I am just shocked. I can't believe I've disappointed you. I am so sorry.”
            If Hill loses his runoff next week, Tedesco, with a five-member Republican majority, could become the next board chairman. Even fellow Republican Venita Peyton, who lost to District 4 board representative Keith Sutton earlier this month, has said that she prefers someone else be chair, not wanting, “No ego, no dance, no unwritten lyrics.”
When Hill initially ran for a second term in the Oct. 11th District 3 race facing three opponents, he was endorsed by the News & Observer and the Independent Weekly newspapers.
In Wake’s African-American community, Hill is also endorsed by the Wake County Voters Coalition - a prominent African-American nonpartisan community organization; former Wake Supt. Robert Bridges; Dr. Dudley Flood, former executive director of the NC Association of School Administrators and former Associate State Supt. in the NC Dept. Of Public Instruction
            This week, Hill adds The Carolinian Newspaper to his endorsement list, which is significant because only twice before in its seventy-year history has the twice-weekly African-American newspaper ever endorsed a candidate for public office - the first two being President Barack Obama and Congressman Bobby Etheridge.
            “Kevin Hill has fought, and continues to fight hard for all children in WCPSS, especially since the Republican takeover of our school board two years ago,” the front page Carolinian editorial states. “We need measured, experienced, reasoned and seasoned leadership on our school board now to set a new course that brings the total community together, not further divide us with partisan politics.”
            Community leaders agree.
“Kevin Hill typifies the commitment to educational excellence we see throughout our school system,” says former Wake County Commissioner Yevonne Brannon.  “Kevin brings classroom and administrative experience to the board table and uses his instructional knowledge to ensure that best practices are considered in every board decision.  Kevin has only one goal: do what is in the best interest of children.”

                           THE WAKE SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 3 SEAT

            As many of our longtime readers know, The Carolinian Newspaper, throughout our over 70-year history, traditionally does not endorse political candidates for office. We pride ourselves with serving this city and state with hard-hitting, fact-based reporting, providing our readers, especially in the African-American community, with enough information and perspective to make up their own minds on Election Day.
            When it comes to specific candidates, we traditionally prefer to tell you what we know, rather than what we think. There are only two occasions when we’ve determined that telling you both was of primary importance - the election of Barack Obama, and former Congressman Bobby Etheridge of the Second District. In both cases, we felt that their elections to office was so essential to the welfare of our nation and state, that we just had to do more than just report.
            For only the third time in the history of this community newspaper, we feel the need to do so again.
            The Carolinian Newspaper is endorsing educator Kevin Hill, the incumbent District 3 representative on the Wake County Public School Board, in the crucial Nov. 8th runoff race.
            Mr. Hill has served on the school board since 2007, when he was first elected. He is a veteran educator, having spent over 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the Wake County Public School System. During the past four years, Hill has displayed a keen knowledge and insight into how to improve WCPSS, give teachers what they need to get the job done, and spend our tax dollars wisely to ensure that our students get maximum benefit from the programs the system adopts.
            There are two things that we particularly like about Kevin Hill: he has an unquestionable devotion to seeing that all children learn; and no matter how hard those around him try, Hill has no interest in being a politician.
            After our own Rosa Gill left the board as chairman in 2009 to serve out the remaining term of then NC House District 33 Rep. Dan Blue, Hill was elected the new chairman, and led until Republicans took over the majority in the school board elections later that year.
            As The Carolinian has dutifully reported, the divisiveness and partisan politics that has been in evidence since the Republicans took over the school board has made what was once a leading school system in the nation in terms of academic achievement through student diversity, now a punchline on Comedy Central, and an example of racially resegregating our public schools.
            On Oct. 11th, the voters in Wake County said, “Enough” after two years of partisan politics over sound public policy. Democrats took four of five open seats.
            Kevin Hill was 51 votes shy in his District 3 North Raleigh race from claiming victory. Thus the Nov. 8th runoff with Republican challenger Heather Losurdo, a former member of the US Air Force who has only been living in Wake County for three years with her husband; led the Wake County Republican Club; says that she supports the ultra-right-wing Tea Party; and disturbingly, agrees with her husband that a skunk and the president of the United States have a lot in common - “they’re both black and white, and everything they do stinks.”
            In short, whatever Ms. Losurdo’s qualifying credentials for the school board are, beyond her politics, we frankly don’t see them.
            Before 2009, we wouldn’t have worried about this questionable caliber of partisan candidacy even having a prayer of being elected to our school board. But Ms. Losurdo has the backing of powerful Republican and Tea Party forces behind her, hoping to unseat Hill so that the GOP can retain their 5-4 majority, and bring about the racially identifiable high poverty, low-performing schools that their neighborhood schools policy will create.
            Schools that will be jammed with our promising young people, while the suburbs get all of the attention.
            To be clear, Wake County Public Schools were never perfect in the past. There were constant problems, issues with fair treatment when it came to suspensions, and more.
            And yes, from 2006 to 2009, the achievement rate for black students in the system dropped, and many were found struggling on standardized tests. Part of the reason was administrators admittedly took their eye off the academic prize - namely doing what initially had 91.5 percent of Wake students grades 3-8, achieve academic success at or above grade level (81 percent of black students were rated this high as well) from 2000 to 2005.
            Wake’s tremendous growth issues distracted the system’s leaders, and academic excellence suffered.
            They got back on track by 2007, the same year that Hill came on the Wake School Board, and the improvements and corrections put in place then, are baring fruit now with an over 80 percent graduation rate for 2011, the highest its been since 2006.
            Kevin Hill has fought, and continues to fight hard for all children in WCPSS, especially since the Republican takeover of our school board two years ago. We need measured, experienced, reasoned and seasoned leadership on our school board now to set a new course that brings the total community together, not further divide us with partisan politics.
            It is for that reason that The Carolinian Newspaper endorses Kevin Hill in the District 3 Nov. 8th runoff race, and urges all voters in that district to come out, and be heard next Tuesday at the polls.

By Cash Michaels

NOV. 8TH - If your area has an election or runoff slated for Tuesday, Nov. 8th, believe me, your vote matters. It determines future leadership that speaks to the quality of life for not only your area, but for the entire community.
So make sure you vote on Nov. 8th. Please!
CONGRATULATIONS - Big props are in order for the St. Louis Cardinals and their manager Tony LaRussa. Their come-from-behind battle with the Texas Rangers provided for one of the most exciting World Series we’ve even seen, especially Game 6.
            LaRussa announced that after 33 years and age 67, he’s retiring from baseball. He deserves it. What else is there to accomplish for this all-star leader?
            LaRussa has certainly earned his place in Cooperstown.
            Now, after all I’ve just said, it surprise you to know that I am not a baseball fan. Don’t follow the game at all during the season.
            But I’ve always loved the World Series because that’s when everything, the entire season, is on the line for two of the best teams. That means we’re in store for some of the greatest plays imaginable, as each player goes all out.
            So congrats, once again, to Tony and the Cards, for an extraordinary season, World Series and championship.
            THANK YOU - To the Wendell-Wake NAACP Youth Council for allowing me to be part of their annual Youth Council Banquet last Saturday evening at the Carver Center of Eternal Hope in Wendell. I had the honor of being the master of ceremonies, and it was a great, great evening featuring some of our most talented youth, like Evan Haynes, a Southeast Raleigh High sophomore, who delivered a stirring special presentation that delighted the audience.
            The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Eric Watson, vice president, Office of  Diversity & Inclusion for Delhaize America, which includes the Food Lion Corp. It was a thoughtful piece, full of wisdom and inspiration that I may replay on my radio show, “Make It Happen” within the next two weeks.
            Special guests at the function included US Rep. David Price [D-NC-4], US Congressman Brad Miller [D-NC-13], and state Rep. Darren Jackson [D-39].
            All in all, the music was great, the food was great, and the message to our young people tremendous. Thank you, Ms. Mary E. Perry, adviser to the Youth Council and legendary past president of the Wendell-Wake NAACP, for inviting me to play a role. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
            WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES, MR. CAIN - Well, well, well…seems like Republican presidential frontrunner (but not for long) Herman Cain really stepped into it this week.
            We don’t know the truth behind allegations that Cain, during his tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association, allegedly sexually harassed two female employees, forcing the organization to come to financial settlements for each when they left.
            Politico.com broke the story this week, and other news organizations jumped in as well, confirming a good deal of it.
            So how did Herman Cain and his “different” campaign for president handle the situation? Not well at all, thank you, and they had the benefit of knowing that the story was coming for at least 10 days before it broke.
            Neither Cain, nor his campaign manager, nor his spokesperson, could get their stories straight as to whether there were financial settlements or not, whether there were allegations or not, and if Cain knew about the settlements or not.
            Needless to say, the clumsy, unprofessional manner in which the Cain campaign tried to control the crisis was an embarrassment, raising the question, “ If Herman Cain can’t answer a simple question, or handle a simple thing like assess a crisis, develop a uniformed response, and then stick to the script, then he’ll never be a good president (not that he’ll ever live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, mind you).
            Cain dropped the ball so badly on this, it will be hard for anyone who has wasted their time in supporting him, to have complete faith in him again.
            More importantly, the poorly handled episode proves that Cain and his campaign are very capable of lying at will to protect his brand.
            You know, I have a REAL problem with someone who feels free calling his own community “brainwashed” just because they have just reason for not supporting the Republican - Tea Party, and then denies that “white people”  (Cain’s words said Monday at the National Press Club) who believe in his hopeless candidacy aren’t a little deranged themselves.
            Herman Cain is playing a very dangerous game, right now. He thinks he’s smarter than the rest of the world, and believes he can slide by on his own rules. Fact of the matter is he’s only going to float for as long as his Republican opponents allow him to swim at all. The GOP establishment is dead serious about taking back the White House, and unless Herman Cain drops by to sing every now and then, he will not be the one they will be supporting.
            And you can go back  to the bank with that, Jack!
            THE RACIST MINDSET - I don’t care if Jimmie “JJ” Walker from “Good Times” is one of her best friends, Ann Coulter is nuts when it comes to race and racial issues.
            In 2007 the conservative author and pundit told CNBC that her version of America is was that all citizens were Christian, and she wanted “Jews to be perfected, s they say.”
            In 2010, Coulter called a 17-year-old Muslim student in Ontario, Canada “ignorant” and told her to “take a camel.”
            The woman is a right-wing firebrand who simply adores stirring the pot. So it should surprise no one that on Sean Hannity’s Fox show Monday night, in response to the Herman Cain controversy, Coulter told Hannity, “Our blacks are so much better than their blacks.”
            Coulter meant that black Republicans are superior to Democratic Party blacks. Apparently, as much as Republicans claim that Democrats have black on the “plantation,” the GOP secretly has a plantation itself.
            Couple that with Herman Cain bragging about how he’s more of a “real black man” than President Obama, and you have silliness supreme coming from the Republicans.
            Meanwhile, we have an economy that is weakening by the hour, jobless numbers that could surpass 10 percent nationally, and a European debt crisis that threatens the stability of the world economy.
            Folks fiddling while the nation burns, talking about “our blacks” and “their blacks.”
            Lord, help us if we don’t destroy ourselves before you get here!
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. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.


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