Tuesday, May 1, 2012


                                     W-ed - MAY 8 PRIMARY ENDORSEMENTS
            Next Tuesday, May 8th, is Primary Day for both Democratic and Republican candidates. Voters will choose who will represent their parties in the crucial November 6th General Election.
            Here’s a recap of our previous political endorsements:

                                    AMENDMENT ONE - VOTE NO, VOTE AGAINST
            There seems to be some confusion about this in our community, so let's clear it up now. Same-sex marriage is already against the law in North Carolina. No so-called "activist" judge can overturn that law by himself. It would take the state Appeals Court, and ultimately the state Supreme Court. To  be truthful, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage will definitely be challenged in court if passed because of how it may change domestic violence laws and who is, and is not protected. But more importantly, the evidence is clear that the people pushing this unneeded amendment are doing solely to split the black and progressive white support that would re-elect President Obama in North Carolina. It is a political ploy. Most black ministers who support Amendment One either don't realize it, or don't want to. But know this, if we allow it to pass, we will have allowed discrimination to become part of our state Constitution.
             Those we don't like today; we who others don't like tomorrow.
             Tell your friends and family - VOTE AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE

             Other May 8th primary endorsements include:

                                    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
                                    JONATHAN BARFIELD FOR NHC COMMISSIONER
                                    KAREN CLAY BEATTY FOR NHC SCHOOL BOARD
                                    ELIZABETH REDENBAUGH FOR NHC SCHOOL BOARD
                                    EMMA SAUNDERS FOR NHC SCHOOL BOARD

To say that we have no black representation from our area in the NC General Assembly is not only an understatement, but the absolute truth. Gone are the days of state Sen. Luther Jordan, or Rep. Thomas Wright - leaders who would be a voice at the table, representing our interests, fighting for our interests.
For the past two years, we had Rep. Suzi Hamilton.
Need we say more?
Now that the Republicans have redraw what is now House District 18, we think it’s imperative that the African-American community puts a voice that represents the interest of the entire district back at the table.
So Suzi Hamilton, thank you for keeping the seat warm, but for the May 8th Democratic primary, we recommend putting a proven leader in the District 18 seat.
James A. Knox, who served as mayor of Northwest in Brunswick County for 17 years.
Mayor Knox has a long experience with dealing comprehensively with growth and development. He knows the value of attracting jobs to an area so that all of its citizens have a equal shot at a better quality of life.
A devoted husband and father of five children, James Knox has a sensible, experienced approach to solving the most daunting issues of the day.
James A. Knox can win in November, but he has to first win next Tuesday, and he will if you vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.
Vote Knox for House District 38.

With Gov. Beverly Perdue announcing that she will not be a candidate for re-election this fall, the Democratic Party found itself looking for who could fill her shoes.
Three candidates emerged - LT. Gov. Walton Dalton; former US Rep. Bob Etheridge, and Orange County Rep. Bill Faison.
In the weeks since, Dalton has risen to dominate the field, in the most recent polls, by as many as 10 points. He has strong support in the African-American community across the state, harkening back to his days as a state senator. He is measured, moderate, and seems to have the stuff to go toe-to-toe with the Republican flamethrower also vying for governor, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.
Don’t get us wrong…Bob Etheridge is also a good man, and was a fine congressman in the Second District. He, too, has strong ties with the black community, having assisted Shaw University a few years ago restructure its $30 million debt. Etheridge, also a political moderate, voted for Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, providing healthcare for millions who didn’t have it before.
If Etheridge has a problem, it’s that he’s not as well known in these parts as Walton Dalton.
So on Tuesday, we recommend you vote for Walter Dalton for governor. He can bring the fight to GOP’er Pat McCrory in the fall.

                               LINDA COLEMAN FOR LT. GOVERNOR 
There are two excellent Democratic candidates running for lieutenant governor, and both are African-American - State Personnel Director Linda Coleman, and state Senator Eric Mansfield.
But Coleman is our choice.
She has worked in, and served state government for many years, having been elected to the state House, and previously serving on the Wake Board of Commissioners. She brings a lot of experience to the table, and if Coleman wins the primary on Tuesday, we think she’ll do well.
Though he’s a relative newcomer to politics, Mansfield has impressed many with his energy and forthrightness. And his history is impressive. But we need experienced leadership now, more than ever.
Linda Coleman for lieutenant governor on May 8th.

                             JANET COWELL FOR STATE TREASURER
Talking about steering a steady ship through troubled waters, state Treasurer Janet Cowell has done a superb job of managing North Carolina's investment portfolio so that our sound investments drawn maximum dividends, and the state's credit rating remains AAA. There was talk early on of Cowell possibly running for governor, but we're glad she decided to run for re-election instead. Vote Janet Cowell for state Treasurer in the May 8th primary.

It's time for our state labor commissioner to be a more active, and effective leader in attracting, and maintaining good jobs for the people of North Carolina. That's what Ty Richardson says he will do if elected. Richardson says he'll work to establish a stronger workers' bill of rights. He'll push for jobless workers to be retrained to take advantage of new opportunities coming to the state. Richardson says he'll be tougher on business safety and accountability standards, and do everything he can to make North Carolina an even better global market partner to get new jobs here.
Strong talk from a tough man. Let's give him a chance.
Vote for Ty Richardson for state labor commissioner on May 8th.

            Remember, One Stop/Early Voting continues at satellite locations in and around New Hanover County, and c at the County Board of Elections Office (BOE) until Saturday, May 5th.
            There are four One Stop Voting sites:
            Government Center Suite 39 (on College Rd. side of the complex) - Mon. thru Friday…9 a.m. to 5 p.m./Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
            New Hanover County Senior Resource Center  - 2222 S. College Road - Mon thru Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
            Main Library (downtown) 201 Chestnut Street - Mon. thru Sat….9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
            Northeast Regional Library -1241 Military Cutoff Road…Mon. thru Sat. 9 a.m. to
3 p.m.
            May 5th early voting ends.
            May 7th all voted absentee ballots by mail must be in the BOE Office by 5 p.m. for counting on Primary Day.
On May 8th, all polls open at 6:30 a.m., and close at 7:30 p.m. that evening.

Polling place changes include CF06 is moving from Trask Middle School to Northside Baptist Church, 2501 North College Road, Wilmington, 28405.
            FP07 is moving from Ashley High School to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 6650 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington 28412.
            H09 is moving from Porters Neck Fire Station to Lutheran Church of the Reconciliation, 7500 Market Street, Wilmington, 28411.
And W18 is moving frm Muni Golf Course Fire Station to First Assembly of God Church, 4927 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, 28403.


TO BE POOR WITHOUT SHELTER - The Rev. William Barber (center with a cane) is brought to tears after visiting an encampment in the Catawba County woods near Hickory where many of the homeless live. The visit was part of Truth and Hope Poverty Tour through western NC Monday and Tuesday. A summit to address North Carolina's failure to help its poor is being planned for June.[photo courtesy of the Hickory Daily News]

By Cash Michaels

            In January through northeastern counties like Halifax, Beaufort and Pasquotank, there were heartrending stories of no jobs; high utility bills; government cuts to vital social programs; and the steady decline of crumbling neighborhoods.
            In March, traveling through southeastern counties like Brunswick, New Hanover and Robeson, impoverished citizens spoke of living amidst contaminated soil; a lack of decent housing; and an increasingly aging rural population in need of vital services. As
            So on Monday and Tuesday of this week, it was no surprise to hear much of the same as the third leg of the NCNAACP’s Truth and Hope Poverty Tour continued on through the Western North Carolina counties of Guilford, Rockingham, Surry and Rowan on Monday. Then Catawba, Henderson and Mecklenburg on Tuesday.
            And yet, while there was the continuing narrative of lack of jobs due to industries shutting down and moving out, there were also new challenges revealed by the struggling poor, this time in urban inner cities, not only by African-Americans, but significantly by more Latinos, and whites as well.
            Stories by former members of the US military, now homeless, being denied services and housing. One young man sleeping in a sewer line. Once gainfully employed professionals, suddenly terminated and finding that the marketplace not only doesn’t need them anymore, but puts roadblocks up to prevent their return to the workforce.
            People losing their homes and their health insurance, finding themselves without permanent shelter and adequate healthcare.
            People living out in the woods of Catawba County, bringing Truth and Hope Poverty Tour leader Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, to tears when he saw the blankets on the ground, clothing hanging from branches, and rationed food being stowed away from the elements.
            There were visits to homeless shelters in Guilford County, and town hall meetings in churches in Rowan, Henderson and Mecklenburg counties where attendees were encouraged by the audience to “Tell the story” of struggle, and hope.
            In all of these counties, just as on the northeastern and southeastern legs, the poverty rate is at lest 20 percent, if not significantly more, among the African-American and Hispanic populations. Many are desperately dependent on social services, but are running into persistent roadblocks when it comes to qualifying, let alone accessing those services.
            At Union Grove Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Green Meadows residents shared the frightening March 8th story of how police, chasing a suspected unarmed robber, fired more than fifty shots through that black neighborhood where the church is, sending bullets through people’s homes. Much of that artillery ended up peppering one side of the church for a number of yards. The suspect was wounded and charged. Residents, angry that the police felt free to shoot up their neighborhood because it is poor, are now starting an NAACP chapter.
            In Mecklenburg County at Little Rock AME Zion Church, there were those who identified themselves as the “working poor,” families who are overcome by ever-rising costs, with no end in sight, to maintain a decent standard of living.
            In the predominately black town of East Spencer in Rowan County, the water bills are very high, abandoned property litters the area, and the closest supermarket is five miles away in the predominately white town of Spencer.
            Considering that the corporate headquarters of the Food Lion grocery chain is in nearby Salisbury, East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett says the town’s 1500 residents are being deprived of both basic services and opportunities.
            And there were those in Mecklenburg County who were subject to being sued by major hospitals there, which placed liens on their homes, just because they’re not able to pay their hospital bills.
            Joined by the tour’s co-sponsors - the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity; the NC Justice Center; AARP of North Carolina and the NCCU Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change, NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber says the next step is a statewide summit that allows representatives of government, business, and the church, as well as those who are in poverty, to sit down and strategize how the state can tackle what is proving to be a multi-faceted problem, that may require a likewise solution.
            “No region of our state is free from the dehumanizing realities of poverty," Rev. Barber said in a statement. “"North Carolina must turn her eyes towards the plight of the least of these, to the living conditions of its marginalized people, black, white and brown, young and old, and realize that we cannot continue to ignore them if we intend to fulfill our constitutional and moral obligations.”

By Cash Michaels

            The former acting campaign manager for 12th District congressional candidate Matt Newton alleges that the wife of State Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R- Forsyth) was overheard by poll workers for other candidates at a Winston-Salem early voting site telling voters, “…that her husband sponsored legislation to put the marriage amendment [against same-sex marriage] on the primary ballot ‘to protect the Caucasian race,’” reports The Yes! Weekly Blog, a Triad area alternative online weekly.
            Chad Nance, that campaign manager and area freelance journalist, says he later caught up with Jodie Brunstetter, Sen. Brunsletter’s wife, and got her to confirm on video that, “ …she used the term ‘Caucasian’ in a discussion about the [Amendment One] marriage amendment, but insisted that otherwise her comments had been taken out of context by other poll workers,” Yes! Weekly added.
            “During the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of Amendment One, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this protects the Constitution from activist judges,” the report continued.
            “Nance said he recruited a friend, who works for the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, to witness his interview with Jodie Brunstetter,” Yes! Weekly added. “He said Brunstetter reluctantly acknowledged that she had used the term “Caucasian” and then repeated the statement previously attributed to her, but substituted the pronoun “we” for “Caucasian. Nance said Brunstetter insisted there was nothing racial about her remarks, but could not explain why she used the term ‘Caucasian.’”
            A transcript of the video interview quotes Mrs. Brunstetter saying, when pressed, that it would be “ a little hard” to explain why she used the term, though she insisted it wasn’t racial.
            Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, was disturbed by the story.
            “If true, this is just another example of the cynical rationale behind this amendment, Rev. Barber said in a statement. [Amendment One]  is backed by groups, like the  Family Research Council, identified as hate groups. The National Organizatiion for Marriage’s secret plans have been revealed that their entire intent is to split black and progressive community in order to defeat the Democratic Party.”
“The amendment undermines the fundamentals of equal protection under the law and sets a dangerous precedent of putting constitutional rights up for a vote,” Rev. Barber continued. “Its sponsors have fought the civil rights community on voting rights, educational rights, and economic justice at every turn. And now this-- the allegation of a blatant reference to a twisted race-based rational for it being written in the first place.”
 “North Carolinians must reject the ultra-conservative, mean-spirited regressive agenda. We must be better than this as a state and as a people who make glowing claims to our belief in justice and fairness,” Rev. Barber concluded.
            Blogger Pam Spaulding of “Pam’s House Blend” wrote, “I hope all the black folks here in the state who haven’t yet gone to the polls take note of the Brunstetter’s worldview.”
            But the story doesn’t end there. On his Facebook page, Nance writes that he resigned from the Matt Newton campaign after the candidate objected to his revealing to the news media what Jodie Brunstetter allegedly said.
            “With much regret I must announce that I, Chad Nance, will no longer be acting campaign manager for the Matt Newton for Congress campaign,” Nance wrote.
“Today, May 1st, it came to my attention that a member of the North Carolina Senate’s spouse has been at the polls telling voters that her husband pushed Amendment 1 in order to ensure what she described as a “Caucasian majority.” When I told Mr. Newton that I had given my information to local press he became irate and screamed that it would ruin his campaign if the African-American vote were to be galvanized and increased because of this incident. This was personally disappointing to me.”
Newton, a “Charlotte attorney with connections to the Occupy Charlotte movement, [who] left the movement in January to establish the People’s Coalition of the Carolinas,” according to The Charlotte Observer, is a white Democrat challenging incumbent 12th District Congressman Mel Watt, an African-American, in the May 8th primary.            
              Thus, Newton's alleged concern about the black vote being "galvanized."
              “While I have been a paid employee of the Newton campaign,” Nance continued,  “I am not a mercenary who would even consider suppressing this information in an attempt to ensure a low African-American turnout at the polls. If this means I am not fit to play in the political game then so be it. I will not work for just another politician...which sadly, Mr. Newton is."
             The Carolinian emailed the Newton campaign for comment. Timothy Smith, of the campaign, replied with the following statement:
              Mr. Nance was a volunteer for the campaign.  The title of campaign manager was an affectation given to Mr. Nance for the purpose of scheduling appointments for, and making occasional appearances on behalf of, Mr. Newton.  In essence...an unpaid staff position.  We don't know why he chose to "resign" a position that was more or less and honorary one, nor was Mr. Newton present for anything Mrs. Jodie Brunstetter allegedly said.  
             An extensive vetting on Mr. Nance was never done (as he was a volunteer for a campaign of limited means) but his rather colorful past--and sudden demands for money he claimed he was owed by the campaign--made it impossible for us to continue with him in any role, volunteer or otherwise.  Despite his repeated assurances he had "been around" several campaigns, we have yet to find any campaigns he has actually been employed by.
             As to whether or not his resignation had to do with Mr. Newton's supposed reaction to comments Mrs. Jodie Brunstetter allegedly made,  Mr. Nance seemed to indicate in his resignation letter that his publicly-stated reason (on his Facebook page) for resigning would be dependent upon the campaign reimbursing him for expenses he claims to have incurred, but has been unable to verify or produce proof of. 
                 As Mr. Nance put it, the afternoon we received his letter, "I expect my full expenses of  $775.43 by 5:00pm. That is when I will be sending out a press release and announcing that I have left.  I will explain this situation in detail or I will just make a lame 'family' excuse".
                 The Matt Newton for Congress campaign would like it to be made perfectly clear that at no time was Mr. Newton concerned about any "political  implications" of Mrs. Jodie Brunstetter alleged comments.  Mr. Newton was upset that Mr. Nance, who is apparently now a self-described "freelance journalist', was demanding payment for being present at a polling location when he was, in fact, preoccupied with what he called,  "a conspiracy between white supremacists, pro Amendment One advocates, and state lawmakers which went all the way to the top".
                  This campaign's focus continues to be about bringing generational change to the NC 12th.  We would like to apologize for any unnecessary confusion which has been caused by our former volunteer.  Matt Newton will continue to urge all citizens in the NC 12th to vote...and to vote their conscience on May 8th. 
At presstime, Chad Nance said he was working with a local television station to air the video.

                                         GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE
$10.3 Million for Eugenics Compensation
Perdue to ask N.C. lawmakers to OK funds
by Herbert L. White
Special to the NNPA from the Charlotte Post
Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposed budget will include $10.3 million for people involuntarily sterilized by the state.
Perdue, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election, said the money would be used for $50,000 payments to verified victims of the former N.C. Eugenics Board program, which sterilized more than 7,000 residents for nearly 50 years. Some of the money would fund operations of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, an outreach and clearinghouse agency.
“We cannot change the terrible things that happened to so many of our most vulnerable citizens, but we can take responsibility for our state’s mistakes and show that we do not tolerate violations of basic human rights,” Perdue said in a statement. “We must provide meaningful assistance to victims, so I am including this funding in my budget.”
The request is based upon the recommendations of the Eugenics Compensation Task Force, which called for a tax-free, lump sum payment to living eugenics patients and those who were alive when their cases were verified. Future appropriations may be required if additional victims are identified and verified.
“I highly commend the governor for taking the experiences of victims to heart while developing a package that can produce bipartisan support,” said Rep. Larry Womble (D-Winston-Salem), an early advocate of eugenics reparations. “This has dragged on too long. It is essential that the General Assembly heed the governor’s call for compensation this session.”
The N.C. Eugenics Board recommended and carried out involuntary sterilizations in all 100 counties from 1929-74. The number of victims matched to state program records stands at 132 people in 51 counties.
Lenoir County has the most verifications with 19, followed by Mecklenburg with 12 and Wake with 11. Mecklenburg had the highest number of sterilizations in the state with 495, followed by Guilford with 167 and Gaston at 161. Two counties ranked in the Top 10 for number of procedures – Scotland and Buncombe – have no matches to date.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly must approve eugenics funding, but lawmakers from both parties have voiced support for compensation.
“Gov. Perdue’s budget includes a thoughtful and fiscally smart approach to righting the legacy of this shameful stain on North Carolina’s history,” said Rep. Earline Parmon, a Winston-Salem Democrat. “A recurring appropriation spread over several years will allow citizens time to come forward while the state sets up processes to adequately search for victims.”
Said Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham): “Compensation is long overdue. We will work with the leadership of both houses to get this passed before the end of this fiscal year.”
If you believe you have been affected by the N.C. eugenics program or know someone who has, call 877-550-6013 or (919) 807-4270 for information.



            Wake Supt. Anthony Tata apologized to angry parents for the latest in a series of errors involving his new school choice student assignment plan, which has shown clear signs of not working as promised. A computer glitch last week prevented many parents from going online to determine their child’s school assignment for the fall. Tata says despite some recent fumbles, most of the school system’s families are satisfied with their choices. Meanwhile, the Wake School Board Tuesday passed a new fiscal budget that depends on the Wake Commission Board giving the school an extra $8.8 million.


            Bull City police made it clear last week that the “world’s oldest profession” would not be tolerated in the Bulls’ Eye neighborhood of Northeast Central Durham. That’s where 21 suspects were arrested during a police prostitution sting. During the course of the arrests on the neighborhood’s street corners, drugs and a handgun were also confiscated.



            The North Carolina Central University family said goodbye to former NCCU Chancellor and Coach Dr. LeRoy Walker this week. Dr. Walker, 93, was funeralized on Tuesday at Duke University Chapel. He died last week after a long illness. Walker was the first African-American to head the US Olympic Committee, and coached at NCCU for over forty years. Walker was remembered as being a kind, humble but effective leader.


EEOC Issues Job Guidelines that Limit Background Checks
By George E. Curry
NNPA Editor-in-Chief

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued updated recommendations that urge employers not to misuse criminal background checks in filling job openings.
By a vote of 4-1 last week, the commissioners noted that African-Americans and Latinos may find it more difficult to find employment because of the widespread use of background checks.
“Arrest and incarceration rates are particularly high for African American and Hispanic men,” the EEOC report stated. “African Americans and Hispanics are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. Assuming that current incarnation rates remain unchanged, about 1 in 17 White men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime; by contrast, this rate climbs to 1 in 6 for Hispanic men; and 1 in 3 for African American men.”
Those numbers have increased as the proportion of Americans who have had contact with the criminal justice system has risen over the past two decades.
According to the EEOC report, only 1.8 percent of the adult U.S. population in 1991 had served time in prison. By 2001, that figure had risen to 2.7 percent and to 3.2 percent (1 in every 31) by the end of 2007. If that trend continues, 6.6 percent of all persons in the United States born in 2001 will serve time in a state or federal prison during their lifetimes.
Using background checks to screen job applicants – especially for jobs that are not in such sensitive areas such as banking or law enforcement – could have an intended effect of discriminating against people of color.
“An employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, as amended,” the EEOC report states.
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
“A covered employer is liable for violating Title VII when the plaintiff demonstrates that the employer’s neutral policy or practice has the effect of disproportionately screening out a Title VII-protected group and the employer fails to demonstrate that the policy or practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity,” the report observed.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which has ongoing projects aimed at eliminating the overuse of criminal background and credit checks in employment, praised the EEOC’s new guidances.
“The use of arrest records, including arrests that occurred decades earlier or had not resulted in convictions, to screen people applying for jobs contributes significantly to the unemployment of African American, Latinos and Native Americans,” said Executive Director Barbara R. Arwine.
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said, “The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission’s decision will help balance the playing field for job applicants with a criminal history. Our criminal justice system is deeply biased against people of color, and that disparity can carry over to the job search. These guidelines will discourage employers from discriminating against applicants who have paid their debt to society.”
Arwine said the EEOC needs to take additional action to level the jobs playing field.
She said, “We will also continue to urge the EEOC to issue long awaited guidance on the misuse of credit history to deny employment, a practice which falls most heavily on minorities and the unemployed.”
The EEOC noted that 92 percent of companies run criminal background checks on some or all job applicants. Such information is easily attainable either from third-party suppliers or a check of the Internet.
“Information about federal crimes such as interstate drug trafficking, financial fraud, bank robbery, and crimes against the government may be found online in federal court records by searching the federal courts’ Public Access to Court Electronic Records or Case Management/Electronic Case Files,” the report said.
The FBI’s extensive record system can be accessed for employment purposes by those seeking jobs in banking, nursing homes, securities, nuclear energy, security guards, transportation,  federal agencies and other sensitive areas.
A major problem with these records, according to EEOC, is that half of the entries do not contain final disposition of cases. Therefore, a person could have been charged with a crime and acquitted, yet that wouldn’t be reflected in the data bases. A similar problem exists with state records.
Even if a person has committed a crime in the past, the EEOC noted, employers should look at the nature of the crime, the time elapsed and the nature of the job held or being sought.
“We salute the EEOC’s bipartisan effort to update its guidelines to ensure that employers are not unfairly excluding otherwise qualified applicants from the job market,” said Debo Adegbile, Acting President and Director-Counsel NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “No one should be penalized for the rest of their life for mistakes that they made in the past.  Our whole nation benefits when we open up opportunities for people who are willing and able to become contributing members of our society.”


            [GREENSBORO] Fueled by the controversy surrounding the Amendment One same sex marriage ballot referendum, the early voting for the May 8th primary has soared, particularly during the first week, state Board of Elections officials say. As of noon, April 27th, over 114,000 ballots had been cast statewide. Durham County has led the way, with 9,000 votes, followed by Buncombe County with 6600, and Orange County with 4400. Wake County was sixth with 3,000 as of last Friday.

            [RALEIGH] Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has reportedly opened up a 10-point lead in the most recent polling as the Democratic primary race for governor heats up. According top Public Policy Polling, Dalton leads closest rival former Congressman Bob Etheridge 36 to 26 percent, a 10-point surge that saw Etheridge actually lose support. Dalton is doing well with black voters statewide, the polling suggests. State Rep. Bill Faison (D- Orange) is holding the rear with just five percent of the vote. If Dalton gets at least 51 percent of the May 8th primary vote, he goes on to face presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory in November.

            [CHARLOTTE] Charles Thomas, the chief of staff to NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R- Mecklenburg), resigned last week when confronted by a newspaper with evidence of an alleged sexual affair with a lobbyist of the NC Homebuilders Association. A day later, that lobbyist, Jessica B. Hayes, also tendered her resignation. The two reportedly had been “romantic” since January, even though they both were married. Tillis said Thomas lied to him about the affair. This week, Speaker Tillis accepted the resignation of yet another staffer in his office who also allegedly had a tryst with a lobbyist. State records are being reviewed to see if there any considerations given to the involved lobbyists' clients.

By Cash Michaels

            ON THE ROAD - This week’s column will be a little shorter than normal because we’re on the third leg of the NCNAACP’s Truth and Hope Poverty Tour, this time through Western NC. Once again, we’re visiting counties and communities that have historically been hard hit, regardless of the economic times.
            We’re hearing stories of struggle and survival and faith. Some of the testimony we’re hearing (from black AND white AND Latino) is heart rendering, especially when children are involved.
            In June, there will be a large summit that will bring together all of the information gathered from all three legs of this tour, and solutions will be discussed. This is something our elected officials, business community and church families should be joining forces to solve. In some cases, there is precious little of that. But overall, the poor in our state are being ignored.
            And the most tragic thing is that more are joining the ranks of the poor every week, as businesses and government continue to downsize, and lay people off.
            Look for our reports in future editions.
THE AVENGERS - In the midst of all I have to do (and I do have projects coming out the ying-yang here), I’m going to take time off to grab my youngest, KaLa, and go to the movies to see “The Avengers.”
            “Why or why are you going to take a 9-year-old little girl to see a bunch of comic book super-heroes just tear up the place? Isn’t that kind of father-child movie outing reserved for Dad and his son?
            Well, first of all, I took KaLa last year to see “Captain America,” which she thought was so-so. I can understand that given how the movie was mostly about World War II and the Nazis.
            But based on the early reviews I’m hearing, “The Avengers” is super low on time period stuff (if any), and super high with action and humor.
            Make my daughter laugh, and you have her for life. So I’m counting on “The Avengers” to do just that.
            Now last week, the film opened in Europe to the tune of over 178 million dollars at the box office. There’s no question that this opening weekend here, “The Avengers” will body slam “Think Like A Man” out of first place, and probably have the best opening weekend box office in history.
            We’ll see, and KaLa and I will also be there.
            I VOTED - I have this thing about me that I don’t like telling other people to do something I haven’t done yet (except in special circumstances).
            That’s why I dragged my tire tail to the polls on Sunday (first time I ever voted on the Sabbath… what say ye pastor?). I was number 934 at this particular satellite polling location, and it felt good.
            So now I can ay the following with authority - there is an important constitutional question on the ballot, in addition several worthy candidates running in the primaries.
            Don’t fool yourself into believing that the only important election is the presidential one on November.
            Having a say on which local candidates who should represent you in the state Legislature, in statewide office, and in Congress, is even more important than who sits in the White House. So make sure you take advantage of One Stop Early Voting from now until May 5.
            Voting should not be a popularity contest. It should be about protecting the quality of life you seek for yourself and your family.
            So make sure you vote, because GOD knows, there are people out there trying to take THAT away from you!
            BOBBY SAYS “NOT ME” - You knew this would happen sooner or later, especially when he got in trouble with the law again. Talking about Bobby Brown, the former husband of singer Whitney Houston who I personally believe bares some responsibility for her untimely death, based on how he allegedly treated her when they were together.
            But Bobby told “The Today Show’s” Matt Lauer a different version this week, being adamant that what Whitney did to herself by way of cocaine is not his fault, despite their many tumultuous years as a couple, and as parents to only daughter Bobbi Kristina.
            Bobby told Lauer that he’s been off drugs for the past seven years. He was “hurt,” he says, to discover that Whitney was still on them.
            Brown insisted that Whitney was on hard drugs long before they met in 1991.
            “I’m not the reason why she’s gone,” he maintains.
            Like I said, I tend to disagree. Brown was recently, once again, arrested and charged in Los Angeles with drunk driving and driving with a suspended license. He says he’s not guilty.
            Want to try that line about stuff not being Bobby Brown’s fault again?
            MOST BEAUTIFUL - Ordinarily, I’d find fault with anything People Magazine said, but on this occasion, I’ll make an exception. People has crowned singer Beyonce’ Knowles “the Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” and I can’t argue with that. The new mom and wife to rap superstar Jay Z is just stunning to look at, no matter what she’s wearing, and Beyonce’ has clearly risen to a place in the music business where what she thinks and does matters.
            IS BLACK RADIO UNDER ATTACK? - All of black New York is still in shock after getting the announcement that one of their favorite radio stations, 98.7 Kiss FM (WRKS-FM), was effectively going out of business, and merging with longtime rival 107.5 WBLS-FM.
            Now if you’re not in New York, that doesn’t seem like big news, but it at least seems weird. We’re all used to radio stations, because of poor ratings, changing formats and coming back as something else. But I’ve never heard of two competing stations deciding to merge their on-air talent. In effect, announcers from Kiss FM are now working alongside announcers at WBLS-FM.
            That has to be tripping a lot of listeners out.
            And as for the 98.7 FM dial position, now that Kiss FM won’t be needing that anymore? That now belongs to ESPN Radio, which should do well.
            So it just goes to show that the weirdest stuff of all can, and does happen. But the long and short of this is we’ve just lost another voice, another source of news, information and entertainment in our community.
            Now, when we need it the most.
            That can’t be good news!
             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.myWAUG.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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