Tuesday, January 31, 2012


STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE - As Rev. William Barber and others listen, Charlette Clark, resident of Washington in Beaufort County, tells about her struggles to make ends meet, despite her poverty. Clark's testimony was one of many during the Jan. 19-20th Truth and Hope Poverty tour through NC. [Cash Michaels video still]

Because of the stunning announcement by Governor Beverly Perdue that she will not seek re-election, look for the first part of The Carolinian’s series, “Poverty in NC” in next Thursday’s edition. The multi-part series is based on research, plus the sights and sounds of the recent Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through NC.” Don’t miss this insightful series of reports, starting next week.

Gov. Perdue Appoints Judge Leon Stanback as Interim Durham DA

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue Wednesday appointed retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback to serve as interim District Attorney for Durham County.

“Judge Stanback has served North Carolina and the Durham community with distinction as a prosecutor, parole commissioner and Superior Court judge,” Gov. Perdue said. “He is the ideal person to bring strong leadership to the district attorney’s office at this challenging time.”

Judge Stanback served as a Superior Court judge for the 14th judicial district beginning in 1989 until his retirement in 2009. His distinguished legal career includes his private law practice and his service both as a member of the North Carolina Parole Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Guilford County.

Judge Stanback replaces Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline, pending a judicial hearing to remove her from office, which is scheduled for Feb. 13th.

Cline was suspended last week by a judge for “habitual intemperance and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” in her efforts to remove Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson from hearing criminal cases.
                                                                     -30 - 

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            Wanted - a Democratic candidate for North Carolina governor who can go toe-to-toe with announced Republican candidate Pat McCrory, and win in the crucial November elections.
            Needed - a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who can raise tons of money quickly, and consistently, to fuel a no-holds-barred campaign, but who could also excite the base of the party enough to ensure a strong November turnout, and help President Barack Obama win North Carolina, the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, again in his re-election bid.
            And by “the base” of Democratic Party, we mean its most loyal supporters - African-Americans.
            This is the extraordinarily tricky electoral formula state Democrats have to devise, and they don’t have much time to do it. In the aftermath of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s shocking announcement last week that she will not run for re-election to a second term, Democrats are scrambling to find an ample replacement, one who can unify the party across racial and economic status lines for what is shaping up to be one of the hardest fought gubernatorial battles in the state’s history.
            What will make it so is that, for the first time in over a century, Republicans control both houses of the NC General Assembly. That gives McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who announced his second bid for the governor’s seat this week, extra firepower to make his case that conservative government is best for North Carolina.
            So the behind the scenes wrangling is on in Democratic circles, and powerbrokers are weighing in on who could best lead the party to victory.
            The backroom movement suggests that, so far, none of the announced candidates or would-be Democratic candidates are seen as having the perfect pitch needed to lead.
            Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton wasted no time after Gov. Perdue issued her stunning noon decision, to announce that he wanted her job. And last Saturday, state House Rep. Bill Faison (D-Orange) officially confirmed the worst kept secret of the past six months - that he also wants to be the next governor.
            Faison even put $500,000 of his own money in a campaign fund several weeks ago to not only prove he was serious, whether Gov. Perdue decided to run for re-election or not, but to apparently scare off any other contenders, knowing how hard it is to raise money in a struggling economic climate.
            Thus far, however, there is scant evidence that either Faison or Dalton have caught fire with the state’s Democratic base or leadership.
            Published reports say that party insiders are asking former UNC System President Erskine Bowles, a Charlotte investment banker who also served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, to consider running for governor.
            Polling by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh suggests that of all of the many possible candidates, Bowles ranks the strongest.
            There was even an open “Dear Erskine” letter in the Charlotte Observer this week, asking the businessman to take the plunge because, “In momentous times, people of great talent step up to serve.”
            Bowles, who admits that what he lacks in charisma (he failed in two tries at winning a US Senate seat), he makes up for with hard work, ties to the business community and knowing how government works, is reportedly thinking about the offer. His national profile is high after co-chairing Pres. Obama’s Simpson-Bowles government austerity committee, which made strong recommendations on cutting the federal budget to lower the deficit.
            To many insiders, Bowles total package of experience both as a businessman and a government leader makes him anything but a typical “tax and spend liberal” that McCrory and the Republicans are sure to batter a Democratic candidate with.
            “A source close to Bowles said he would be surprised if Bowles did run this year for the governor's seat, since he "has no interest in being a politician again," reported The Hill, an online Washington, DC publication. However, Bowles has not denounced the prospect.
            But if there’s one flaw that Bowles definitely has that put a crimp in his getting the total support of the state’s Democratic base, it’s his continuing tension with African-Americans.
            That tension arose during Bowles’ bid for the US Senate over a decade ago when it was reported that he held memberships in country clubs that did allow African-Americans as members. Only when high profile opportunities like serving in the Clinton Administration came along did Bowles relinquish those memberships.
            When questioned about it then, Bowles apologized for the seeming hypocrisy, and assured that blacks that he harbored no racial prejudices.
            The issue never reared its head again since.
            Still, Erskine Bowles would need something to help improve his image with the African-American community, which will turn out in heavy numbers in November to support Pres. Obama, but not necessarily during the May primaries to support Bowles.
            The answer, some observers say, could be with another high profile politician whose name has been mentioned for governor.
            State Sen. Dan Blue.
            Blue, a veteran state lawmaker and the first (and only) African-American to ever serve as speaker of the NC House, would definitely, in the minds of many, attract strong support from black voters statewide.
            There is no question as to Sen. Blue’s decades of legislative experience, or leadership. He currently serves as chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees.
            But, as proven during his 2002 run for the US Senate, Blue would have a problem raising the tens of millions required for an adequate war chest to stave off the McCrory-Republican Party campaign machine, which ha promised to pour millions into vicious attack ads against Gov. Perdue had she not decided to bow out.
            That is why, some Democratic insiders tell The Carolinian, that the team of Erskine Bowles for governor, and Sen. Dan Blue for lieutenant governor is the best ticket imaginable.
            Both men are considered political moderates, with Bowles probably more so than Blue. Both men have good records in government, and both have been successful in the private sector - Bowles as a top Charlotte investor; Blue as partner of a prestigious Raleigh law firm.
            The tandem, even though they would have to win their respective nominations separately, would draw strong across-the-board support from the Democratic base in November, including from African-Americans, and give Pres. Obama a fighting chance to win North Carolina again.
            Blue has said that he has "gotten a few calls" and "is listening" to ideas about running for either governor or lt. governor," but made it clear that he is not "actively seeking anything."
            Translation - if you want me, make it work for me in fundraising, etc.
            Bowles, with his connections to deep pockets across the nation, will have no problem with fundraising. So his only problem will be having the will to run, and lead.
            But the question remains, can the deal be made? Can Bowles and Blue, who faced each other during the 2002 Democratic US Senate primary, come to an understanding of what Blue’s role would be in a Bowles Administration if they won?
            If even a Bowles-Blue candidacy is possible may not be answered until filing begins for the May primary on Feb. 13th. Unless one, or both men announce beforehand that they’re not interested in running, the tantalizing possibility remains the Democratic Party’s best option going into November.
            Without the black vote, Democrats might have to write off the governorship, along with the state Legislature, for at least the next four years, if not more, observers say.
            For her part, Gov. Perdue, who issued her announcement not to run for re-election, says she will now devote the rest of her term in office to traveling the state, fighting to improve education.
            On Saturday in Greensboro, Perdue called her decision not to run “ a very personal family decision.”
            “I did not want to be seen as someone who was partisan, who was trying to divide and use this as a wedge to win re-election” Perdue said. “It is much more important to me than being governor, this fight for education.''

Perdue continued, “It's time we stop the extreme unnecessary cuts to public schools, community colleges and universities in this state. Our economic future is at risk. This is not partisan. This is not about politics. I am going to go to every town, every county,” she said.
“I am going to take this on the road and get right in people's faces.”
            Everyone from President Obama, to NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber applauded Gov. Perdue for her service, and devotion to the people of North Carolina. There was no question that Perdue wanted to spare her family the onslaught of political attacks coming from the Republicans, who have fought her tooth-and-nail because she’s vetoed their cuts to education and attempts to install voter ID.
Perdue’s political adversaries, like Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, mocked her decision.
Does anyone really believe Governor Perdue's reason for deciding not to seek reelection?” Tillis asked on his Facebook page? “Leaving the office of chief executive so that she can have greater influence? I searched the Internet all the way to the end and I did not find a single example where surrender was the key to winning any war.”

SOUL TRAIN'S DON CORNELIUS FOUND DEAD - Published reports Wednesday say that Don Cornelius, producer/host of the classic black dance TV program "Soul Train," was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, California home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. A police investigation is ongoing. Cornelius, who hosted the show from 1971 to 1993, was 75.


            [DURHAM] Saying that “all eyes are on the state of North Carolina…,” National NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous says that he will take part in Feb. 11th’s Sixth Annual HK on J People’s Assembly March and Rally. Jealous, who joined NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, and about 60 other NAACP members and representatives from partnering groups, says citizens need to join the march to stand up to the repressive policies of the conservative-led NC General Assembly that erode democracy. March participants assemble at Shaw University on South Street in Raleigh at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11th.

            [RALEIGH] Former Wake School Board Vice Chair John Tedesco has announced that he will indeed be a Republican candidate for state superintendent for Public Instruction in the May primary. Tedesco is best known as the controversial mouthpiece of the former Republican majority on the Wake School Board. He says, if elected in November, he’d tackle the state’s high suspension rate and poor test scores. Tedesco would have to first get by at least two other candidates in the GOP May primary.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] An African-American judge who prosecutors tried to have removed, is now considering whether to grant the first appeal under the controversial NC Racial Justice Act. After hearing arguments, Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks must now determine whether Marcus Robinson, 38, should get the death penalty for the 1991 murder of a 17-year-old teen who was kidnapped, robbed and fatally shot in the face. Robinson claims there was racial bias in his jury selection. Prosecutors deny it. If Judge Weeks finds evidence of such, then Robinson will be sentenced to life without parole.


            Tonite, Feb. 2, the NCNAACP and Great Schools in Wake Coalition are sponsoring a community mass meeting on the new Wake student assignment plan, 6 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin Street. If you have concerns about how the new plan will affect the quality of school your child attends, then come to this meeting tonite. For more information call 1-866-NC-NAACP.

            In an effort to provide more families with advocates and to reduce the number of students who are pushed out of schools, the Push Out Prevention Project (POPP), an initiative of Advocates for Children's Services of Legal Aid of North Carolina, is starting a series of free legal clinics in Wake County. The first clinic will take place on Monday, February 20, 2012 (a teacher workday) from 4pm-7pm at Neighbor to Neighbor, 1200 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27601--two blocks south of Shaw University. Families can attend any time between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to speak with someone immediately--it's a walk-in clinic.
            POPP attorneys provide free legal advice and representation to students who are from low-income families and U.S. citizens, and who have been:
                    - denied enrollment in a public school;
                    - experiencing academic failure (ex., I's and/or II's on the EOGs
                      or EOCs);
                    - suspended or expelled;
                    - denied adequate special education services;
                    - mistreated by a school resource officer (SRO);
                    - discriminated against based on gender, race, national origin,
                       and/or religion; and/or
                    - experiencing other major problems in school.
            For more information contact attorney Jason Langberg at 919-226-0051 ext. 438, or email at JasonL@LegalAidNC.org.


By Cash Michaels

            BLACK HISTORY MONTH - Well, welcome to Black History Month, that special time of year when we’re all supposed to learn more about our history and culture. As the recent excitement over the film “Red Tails” proved, there is still interest about African-American history. And there are so many stories in our history that have as of yet to be told.
            Most importantly is that we place a premium on making sure that our children discover, and embrace our history, so that they may cultivate a sense of pride and place in this world. As a parent, it is rather fun to show my youngest that everything she sees as “new” really is quite old, but just in new packaging.
            So enjoy the discoveries, and make sure you leave yourself open to learn a few new things yourself.
            We have a proud history, and it time, not just in February, but all year round, that we take the time to discover it.
NCIS 200TH - For all of you NCIS fans (and that’s about 20 million of you every Tuesday night on CBS) and important milestone for February sweeps - the 200th episode of the crime drama.
Titled, “His Life Through His Eyes,” the episode brings back most of the important people in Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs’ life when he’s cornered during a robbery at a local diner.
As I’ve written before, NCIS stands out because after nine years on the air (it debuted as a series in Sept. 2003 after being a special episode of JAG in April of that year), the show is still growing in audience, making it the number one watched drama on television.
So congrats to series star Mark Harmon and the cast and crew. I’m sure Harmon, who is way in his sixties now, will want to call it quits sooner or later (his contract is up soon), but for now, as long as he enjoys it, we enjoy it.
GOV. PERDUE - No question many of us are still trying to digest last week’s bombshell news that Gov. Beverly Perdue will not run for a second-term. Her statement, claiming that the Republicans weren’t interested working together in the best interests of North Carolina, told only half the story.
            There is also no question that the state’s GOP, being the “warm and cuddly” public servants we all know and love, were ready to unload perhaps the most vicious anti-Perdue campaign imaginable, complete with false attacks (they’re famous for that, you know) on the governor and her family.
            The indictments against some of her campaign operatives from the 2008 election would have only made the situation even bloodier.
            I don’t blame Beverly Perdue for deciding that none of this was worth it. As a leader of history, the first woman ever to serve as governor of North Carolina wanted the office only to do one thing - make life better for all North Carolinians.
            Her passion, being a former school teacher, was education, and during her one-term in office, she strived mightily to ensure that every child in this state got the opportunity to learn, and grow. Perdue hasn’t the job yet, which is why she has pledged to travel the state, fighting for educational improvements, and the children she cares for so much.
            Were mistakes made during her term? Certainly, and the criminal indictments against some of her campaign advisers didn’t help much. And even though Perdue came into office with low poll numbers (before she did anything to earn them), she still continued to hold her head up high, and move forward to attract jobs to the Old North State.
            Indeed, the bad economy in North Carolina was the fly in the buttermilk for Gov. Perdue. As the nation, and indeed the world, was struggling to stop the economic bleeding, Perdue was working diligently to improve our picture, and attract as much opportunity for business investment as possible.
            The conservatives like to complain about the business incentives and tax breaks the state traditionally offers in order to attract more businesses here. But the righties never have a good answer for how do you attract corporations, and the high number of jobs they create, with no incentives, while other states, and even nations, are offering the store to get them in a highly competitive economic environment.
            Gee, when you have your choice of jobs, would you choose the one that offers a flat salary, or one that offers salary, bonus and benefits?
            Perdue knows the answer to that, as most sensible people do. You give a little to get a little. These companies know states like North Carolina are hungry for jobs and growing their tax-base. They aren’t stupid, but apparently the Republicans would like for them to be.
            Indeed, there were issues where the Republicans leading the state Legislature wish North Carolinians would be more stupid about, like their attempt to repeal the Racial Justice Act, or implement a voter ID law.
            Gov. Perdue stood up to them, vetoing their attempts, and warning them not to try it again.
            The state GOP cut a billion dollars from the state education budget, and the governor fought them tooth and nail again, telling them that they’ve cut too much. She is now calling for the General Assembly to pass a half-cent sales tax increase dedicated specifically to education. And though Republican leaders have already called the proposal “dead on arrival,” Gov. Perdue has promised a fight to end all fights to stop the massive cuts in local school budgets.
            There are a lot of folks who don’t like Beverly Perdue, for one reason of another. Exactly why, quite frankly, I’m not sure. While I haven’t always agreed with her, I’ve always found her to be dynamic, knowledgeable, and full of fire to get the job done, whatever the challenge.
            During the 2008 campaign, Perdue pledged to do something about the victim of NC’s forced sterilization program. Today, in the midst of a national spotlight, a task force she appointed has made recommendations for compensation, and even the Republican leadership held a forum in Charlotte Wednesday to determine what the best course would be.
            When Wake County Public Schools were in the grips of a wayward right-wing-led school board, determined to turn the civil rights clock back to separate and unequal, the governor publicly hailed the efforts of the NCNAACP to oppose the board, and never wavered until the Democrats reclaimed control.
            Perdue signed the Racial Justice Act into law in 2009, saying that while she was still strongly in favor of the death penalty, the evidence was clear that race historical determined who saw the hangman’s noose in NC, and who didn’t, and it was time that stopped.
            She defended a woman’s right to choose, and other issues important to the women of this state.
            And again, Perdue has fought for education, and vows to continue to do so in her waning months.
            So Beverly Perdue’s chapter in NC history is closing, but there’s something there we can all be proud of. Contrary to what the Republicans are saying, it was a brave deed on her part deciding to step away from the partisan politics, and instead, work for a better North Carolina.
            All people of good will wish Gov. Perdue all the best, and say “Thank you” for all that she’s done.
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment