Monday, September 24, 2012

The Cash Stuff for Sept. 27, 2012

###MORE NNPA STORIES -’s-fast-track-to-success-imprisonment-and-freedom-by-george-e-curry/


Presidential Proclamation -- National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, 2012:


By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            When Wake Schools Supt. Anthony Tata was fired Tuesday after 20 months by the Democrat-led Wake School Board, howling Republicans both on the board, and off, lost control in more ways than one.
            “This is a big mistake,” declared a visibly angry Republican board member Chris Malone, who is running for the state House. “It’s a political mistake, and the result - both out there and in here - it’s going to be felt for a very long time.”
            “It is an epic failure of this board,” said Republican board member John Tedesco, who is running for state superintendent.
Tata, a retired US Army Brigadier general and well-known right-wing anti-Obama pundit who was hired by the Margiotta GOP-led school board in December 2010, was the last vestige of any real control over the affairs of the school system that county Republicans had, which is why the Wake Republican Party, and right-wing leaning Wake County Taxpayers Association, in addition to the four GOP school board members, railed to high heaven once the exit deal was done.
“I grieve for our children,” cried an emotional Debra Goldman, who served as board vice chair in 2009 when the Republican-majority, led by former board member Ron Margiotta, took power and proceeded to ramrod their neighborhood schools agenda through, causing a national scandal.
            The setup was simple. The Democratic majority, led by veteran school board members Kevin Hill as chairman and Keith Sutton as vice chairman, could basically vote in any policy that they pleased, but they needed Tata as superintendent to shape that policy, and then carry it out.
            To ensure that Tata, whose right-wing politics and Tea Party sympathies were well known when he was hired by the Republican board in 2010, was left alone, the Republicans in unison loudly warned the community that the Democrats would immediately fire the retired general once they took over.
            That bought Tata time. All he needed to do was show that his school choice plan worked, and that Wake parents and business community were happy. The Democrats, he and the Republicans assumed, were now too afraid to touch him.
What the board Republicans like Deborah Pritchett, Debra Goldman, Chris Malone and John Tedesco never realized was that when Tata did veer off course numerous times with unforeseen operational failures to his school choice, school registration and school bus planning, Democratic patience, especially of the new board members like Jim Martin, Susan Evans and Christine Kushner, began to really run thin.
            That was especially after Tata, in an extraordinary move last February, publicly attacked Evans and Kushner because of their past association with the liberal group Great Schools in Wake Coalition. He was later forced to apologize for an act that many said he should have been fired for then.
            Board Republicans never dreamed that Chairman Hill had the brass to pull the trigger on Tata’s job. They saw him as weak, and an education wonk who embodied everything they wanted to replace in public education.
            Still stunned by their board minority status after last fall’s decisive Democratic five-seat sweep, the board Republicans decided early on to make life hell for Hill and his new majority, fighting and threatening him at every turn, and counting on Supt. Tata to make their cherished school choice plan - which was hurriedly passed last fall before the elections by Margiotta’s GOP majority - work.
            In turn, Tata, sources confirmed, became dictatorial behind the scene, firing those in Central Office who differed with him based on their professional experience, and bringing in new people at high salaries to maintain the firm grip he felt he needed to stay in control.
            What the GOP members didn’t realize was that Tata’s profound inexperience in education would soon not only be very evident when the poorly devised school choice process began to implode, creating more high poverty schools and eliminating promised choice for many parents, but his temperament from years of military training, served to scare career senior staffers, and school principals, into submission.
            What The Carolinian had been hearing for months from Wake School System personnel, and those close to them, was finally confirmed publicly by both Chairman Hill and Vice Chairman Sutton Wednesday in a press conference to allay community fears.
            "It was becoming increasingly clear that, while [Supt. Tata] did well at calming the waters when he arrived … he might not be the right person to lead our school system going forward," Chairman Hill said, adding that the relationship between Tata and the board was becoming “increasingly strained” and progress towards moving the school system forward were “severely hampered” as a result.
            In short, Central Office had become a basket case under Supt. Tata.
            Hill denied accusations that the firing was political, saying that if that were true, it would have happened last January immediately after the Democratic majority took over. Despite reservations, Tata was given a chance to work out the kinks of a school choice plan that many feared would result in more high poverty schools.
            When problems evolved with student registration, and projections showed that expensive racially isolated schools would result, the Democratic majority pulled the plug on school choice, directing Tata to have his staff devise a base assignment plan instead for implementation in 2014.
            The school bus debacle that saw thousands of students stranded at bus stops for weeks at the beginning of the traditional school year, along with hundreds more parents from Southeast Raleigh crowded into the central office in Cary, forced to register their children there instead of their neighborhood school, made it clear that Tata’s inexperience in leading the 16th largest school system in the nation was a major concern.
            When Tata then forced senior staff veteran Don Haydon, who was in charge of school transportation, to resign after, by Tata’s order, over 50 school buses were taken out of the fleet, causing massive problems, the board Democrats had seen enough.
            Despite the constant excuses made for Tata’s mounting problems, the Democratic majority fired Anthony Tata, freeing him up now to go back to his right-wing punditry, bashing Pres. Obama and authoring military novels with erotic passages.
Calla Wright, president of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children issued a statement in reaction to Tata’s firing saying, “Do you feel it is necessary for a school system to have a leader who does not have any educational experience? Under his leadership we have acquired Walnut Creek [Elementary School as] a high poverty school in Southeast Raleigh.  Based on recent test scores and the mission of this school, these students are suppose to be equipped to exceed in middle school.  How can this happen when we look at the [low] test scores of last year's fifth graders?”
            Also in a statement Wednesday, the NC NAACP commended the Democrat-led Wake School Board, “…for the poise and grace with which they handled the difficult issues raised by…,” Supt. Tata’s job performance.
            As is the case with the rest of the public, because this is a confidential personnel matter, we do not know all the factors that went into this decision and cannot speak for the board,” NC NACP Pres. Rev. William Barber said in a statement. “We do know leadership is important. If any school system, business or organization is not functioning at its fullest potential and carrying out the best practices towards the fulfillment of its primary mission and vision--leadership must be held accountable by the governing board.”



            With Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan set to retire Oct. 1, city leaders are giving citizens a chance to have some input into who the next police chief should be through a survey on the city’s website. Some of the questions ask what skills the next police chief should have, and what kind of leadership style they’d like to see. The deadline for survey responses is Oct. 11th. Chief Dolan has been on the job since Sept. 2007. Raleigh Deputy Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown will serve as interim chief until a permanent one is hired.

            Because more students are taking it, Scholastic Aptitude Test college entrance exam scores have dropped nationally, throughout North Carolina and in the Triangle. Statewide, the combined average for math, reading and writing scores fell six points from 2011, from 1475 to 1,469. In the Triangle, Wake schools dropped three points to 1,063. The highest scoring school system was Chapel Hill-Carrboro at 1194. The lowest, Durham Public Schools at 951. North Carolina has a higher percentage of students taking the SAT, at 68 percent, than many other states. Nationally, scores have dropped by two points.

            Raleigh police are still investigating a robbery Monday at Mechanic and Farmers bank at 13 East Hargett Street. A black man, described as about 6 foot 1 inch, wearing dark coveralls, a cap, sunglasses and work gloves, reportedly passed a note to a teller, then left the bank, with stolen money, by a waiting taxi cab. The robber was dropped off near the State Capitol. If you have information about this robbery, call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.  




            [CHARLOTTE] Despite leading by double-digits over his Democratic challenger in the race for governor, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is having difficulty with the endorsements of two lawmen. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson, a Republican, has been alleged to condone the racial profiling of Latinos by his department, according a recent report by the US Justice Dept. Sheriff Johnson coordinated security for the McCrory campaign when it came to Alamance County.

            Meanwhile, the McCrory campaign has refused a request from State Sen. Floyd McKissick [D-Durham] to remove a campaign ad featuring former Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay from the airwaves. In the ad, Gay says though he’s a Democrat, he’ll support Pat McCrory over Democrat Walter Dalton for governor.
            Sen. McKissick’s complaint was that Gay, after losing re-election in 2010 by 24 points, blamed his defeat on blacks who voted for his “unqualified” African-American opponent, who was an SBI agent.
            In his letter to the McCrory campaign, McKissick said the Wayne Gay ad, “…triggers a racial cue that has no place in this campaign.”
            A McCrory spokesman called Sen. McKissick’s complaint, ‘ just another desperate attack from the Perdue-Dalton smear machine.”

            [RALEIGH] Gov. Beverly Perdue ordered flags on state building throughout North Carolina flown at half-staff Wednesday in honor of State Capitol Police Chief W. Scott Hunter. Chief Hunter died last week reportedly of a long illness. He was 49. Hunter was funeralized Wednesday at Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, and buried in his home state of Columbia, S.C. He is survived by his wife and three children. Chief Hunter had served since 2003.


By Cash Michaels

            YE OF LITTLE FAITH - Was reading an interview with master filmmaker Michael Bay, who has given us the mega-successful Transformer movies, and is preparing “Transformer 4” now, even though after “Transformer 3,” he had promised not to do anymore.

            What folks may not remember is that back in 1995, Bay got his start doing “Bad Boys” with comedians Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two tough Miami police detectives tracking down a murderer.
            The film was a surprise smash, not only because of the over-the-top performances by Smith and Lawrence - who were still doing their respective TV shows at the time - but also the extraordinarily stylish way Bay shot and cut the film.
So during this interview, Bay was asked if, given the economy, and where major motion pictures are today, if he, as a first-time director, could get “Bad boys” even made today.
            “God, I don't know. I mean, [the studio] didn't believe in "Bad Boys." One of the reasons, because black movies didn't travel overseas. And "Bad Boys" was the first movie that made a lot of money with two black stars.”
            And Michael Bay reminds us that “Bad Boys” was made before Will Smith exploded into one of Hollywood’s top movie stars.
            “Yeah, well, he had just done "Fresh Prince" and [the episodes] weren't playing that overseas, I think,” Bay recalls. “It might have been in syndication. But I know the studio didn't believe in the movie. The way they treated it, they certainly didn't believe in the movie. I mean, I was ready to quit the business -- but I loved working with the guys. But then, bam, I was everyone's friend when the movie became a hit.”
            The rest is history. “Bad Boys II,” the sequel, was successfully made a few years later, and now a “Bad Boys III” is being talked about.
            I hope Michael Bay is onboard for that. His style of filmmaking is one of the best.
            TED AND BILL - last week on the NBC News program “Rock Center” (horrible name for a news show, by the way), Ted Koppel, who we all remember from the old ABC News program “Nightline,” did a piece on cable news television, and how it has dominated, if not changed and fueled the fiery, and some would say even broken political discourse in this nation.
            Koppel, a journalist that many of us have a profound regard and great respect for, believes that cable shows like O’Reilly, Hannity, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann (when he was on), do more to hurt politics with their extremely opinionated shows that castigate the other side of the argument.
            I guess Ted would prefer that these shows, let alone the cable channels that they’re on, didn’t exist.
            Sorry Ted. As much as I can’t stand Fox News and their constant conservative lies, they have a right to be on, as does MSNBC, their liberal counter balance.
            Koppel would prefer that the three major news networks, in addition to CNN, would handle all of the important political discussions, and that’s that.
            But that kind of monopoly is why we got Fox News in 1996 in the first place. There was a significant amount of conservative audience who felt that their side of the issues were not being expressed enough in the mainstream media. They found a willing home in Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.
            Years later, when Fox began becoming a real power in shaping political opinion, Keith Olbermann at MSNBC decided that he would lead the liberal charge with “Countdown.”
            And thus, the cable wars began.
            Yes, they got vicious at times, and one can argue that it created a toxic political atmosphere which makes it hard for Democrats and Republicans to reason with one another, but let’s not fool ourselves, it was always going to happen.
            Look at talk radio figures like divisive conservatives figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The pump had been primed for political talk TV for over a decade or more before it happened.
            Also, let’s not forget that on the most popular news television show in history - CBS’ “60 Minutes” - it used to feature “Point-Counterpoint” with conservative columnist James Kilpatrick and liberal writer Shana Alexander. It was a very popular feature, which was followed by the equally entertaining “Crossfire” on CNN.
            Now, Mr. Koppel, if you’re reading this, this is the bone I have to pick with you, respectfully, sir.
            When it is clear that someone is lying through their bloody teeth, and when I say “clear” I mean factually proven, instead of saying so, folks in non-opinionated major media would prefer act as if it isn’t happening.
            Take veteran NBC newsman Tom Brokaw. A couple of weeks ago, after MSNBC’s Chris Matthews blasted Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus to his face about GOP efforts to suppress the black vote for Pres. Obama by implementing voter ID laws in key states, in addition to various racial “dog whistle” remarks about Pres. Obama’s birth certificate and his base of voters being essentially welfare recipients, Brokaw, not wanting to seem as if he were attacking Priebus as well, disagreed with Matthews, saying that he wasn’t sure if what Chris was saying was the case.
            Brokaw was protecting his credibility, for what it was worth, at the cost of the truth, which Chris Matthews boldly championed.
            When we, as journalists, with all of the facts, can’t call a spade a spade, Mr. Koppel, then what good are we? Who are we protecting, and why?
            One more point - during his appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s program, Koppel had to put up with Billo declaring that Fox News is a superior news operation during the day, and only does original opinionated programming for three hours at night.
            If this wasn’t a family newspaper.
            If you’ve watched Fox News during the day, then you’ll agree with me that the “news” people are anything, and I mean ANYTHING, but “fair and balanced.” They are so anti-Obama they can’t contain themselves.
            So Bill O’Reilly is either fooling himself, or lying through his teeth.
            The genie is out the bottle, Mr. Koppel. Yes, we agree that the primary reason why conservative and liberal TV even exists is because they both make a lot of money. No question.
            But at the end of the day, partisan TV, just like partisan radio and newspapers, let’s the air out of the balloon so that we can continue to yell, scream and holler about our differences.
            Unfortunately it’s who we are.
            It’s not who we wish to be, but it’s who we are.
            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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( 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.

by Tazra Mitchell
Special to The Carolinian

Millions of North Carolinians continue to struggle with the lasting effects of the Great Recession, said a new report released this morning. The latest U.S. Census data show that North Carolina’s poverty remained high at 17.9 percent in 2011, statistically unchanged from 2010.

The poverty rate jumped more than 25 percent since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, according to a report from the Budget and Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Nearly 1.7 million North Carolinians were officially in poverty in 2011, and more than 737,000 lived in deep poverty, meaning they earned half or less of the annual poverty-level income for their family size. North Carolina’s poverty and deep-poverty rates are the 13th highest in the nation.

The data indicate that the modest but significant improvement in the economy hasn’t been enough to reverse the state’s job deficit, high unemployment rate, and rapid growth of low-wage work, resulting in unshared economic growth and prolonged economic security, the report said.

“Unemployment is predicted to remain high over the next several years, suggesting North Carolinians may be facing another lost decade of shrinking income growth and high poverty,” said Tazra Mitchell, public policy fellow with the BTC and author of the report. “It is important for policymakers to continue to invest in policies that bolster economic security and spur broadly shared economic growth for all North Carolinians.”

Certain geographic communities continue to be hit harder by the enduring effects of the Great Recession, the report said. Rural counties continue to have some of the highest rates of poverty compared to their urban counterparts. Nine of the 10 highest county-level poverty rates were in rural areas, with the highest county-level rate in Robeson County, where 1 in 3 residents live in poverty.

In addition, the report finds that the poverty rate for children in North Carolina was above the state rate at 25.6 percent. Communities of color also experienced higher rates of poverty, with 28 percent of African Americans, 34.9 percent of Latinos, and 27 percent of American Indians living in poverty. The racial disparity is even more pronounced among children, with the poverty rates for African American, Latino, and American Indian children soaring 2.5 to 3 times higher than the rate for white children. Women and people with lower levels of educational attainment also experience higher poverty compared to other groups.

Reversing the trends of poverty and decline in shared economic growth requires long-term investments in economic policies that can generate jobs that offer a living wage and benefits, the report said. North Carolina policymakers must be careful to not dismantle any work supports that help alleviate poverty, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, or reduce support for critical safety net programs that help provide food, housing and energy assistance for struggling families.

“Cutting important government services that people rely on in order to close budget shortfalls is not the way to turn our economy around and lift our working families and their children out of poverty,” Mitchell said. “We need to take a balanced approach that includes new revenues so we can invest in our state’s economy and provide help for those who need it most.”

Tazra Mitchell is a Public Policy Fellow with the NC Budget and Tax Center in Raleigh


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cash Stuff for Sept. 20, 2012

                                          DR. PATRICK WOODEN

By Cash Michaels

            In an effort to galvanize his support base in the black church in the midst of growing headlines that African-American pastors, angered by his personal endorsement of same-sex marriage, were telling their communities not to vote in November, President Barack Obama spoke with many black ministers from across the nation Monday evening, urging them to stick with him.
            Meanwhile a local pastor says he pulled a controversial radio ad he’s featured in that blasted Pres. Obama for several weeks. That ad was paid for by a right-wing group that has made removing Obama from office one of its top priorities.           
            Last weekend there were numerous stories about black pastors announcing that they would tell their congregations not to vote for Pres. Obama in November because of his May 9th announcement that, after much thought and consultation with friends and family, he personally supported the right of gay people to legal join in matrimony.
            The president said then that he realized there would be those who vehemently disagreed with him and he respected that.
            For the Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black Southern Baptist, the president’s respect was not enough.
            “[On Election Day], I plan to go fishin’, “ Rev. McKissic told the Associated Press.
            Many of the ministers are telling all who would listen not to vote for Republican Mitt Romney either, primarily because he is a Mormon, which is seen by some in the Christian black church as a racist cult because of it’s long history of discrimination, a history the Mormon church never apologized for as have the Southern Baptist.
            What is becoming more and more evident is that several of the black pastors most prominent in telling African-Americans to sit this presidential election out are being backed by the right-wing lobbying group known as NOM - the National Organization for Marriage.
            Earlier this year, it was reported that Mitt Romney’s PAC secretly donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008, and uncovered NOM documents by a federal court in Maine revealed, “The $20 Million Strategy for Victory”, devised in 2009, which not only focused on “defeating the pro-gay Obama agenda” during the 2010 mid-term elections, but declaring that, “a pro-marriage president must be elected in 2012.”
            NOM documents also talked about “Sideswiping Obama” by raising issues like pornography and social radicalism.
            NOM has been connected to conservative anti-Obama black ministers like Rev. William Owen, founder and president of the Memphis-based Coalition of African-American Pastors.
            Rev. Owen launched a petition drive last May to get the president to “change his views” on same-sex marriage. He openly accused Obama of “taking big money from the homosexual community,” adding the president “sold out.”
            Owens was later quoted as saying that Pres. Obama “condoned child molestation.”
            On August 27th, NOM issued a press release boasting that it was launching radio ads in North Carolina “encouraging African-Americans to say ‘no more’ to President Obama.
            “We urge all North Carolinians to join Dr. Wooden in rejecting the anti-family policies of President Obama this November,” stated Brian Brown, NOM president.
            The “Dr. Wooden” in question is Dr. Patrick L. Wooden, pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh.
            Wooden has long been known for his conservative political stances, and is credited as helping to lead the statewide passage of Amendment One, the Republican-sponsored amendment to North Carolina’s state Constitution, outlawing same-sex marriage, even though it was already codified in state statutory law.
            According to the NOM press release, the group spent $34,000 in the Raleigh media market purchasing airtime for :60 second radio spots featuring Wooden delivering the following message:
            "It was the African American community that helped [President Obama] win here in North Carolina, But President Obama has turned his back on the values of our community with his strong endorsement of the homosexual movement. We worked hard to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment this past May. With the strong support of the African American community, the amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman passed overwhelmingly. The very next day, President Obama came out for homosexual marriage. Now his campaign leaders are working to deny North Carolina's ability to define marriage, and they want to overturn our state marriage amendment altogether. Join me in saying 'no more' to President Obama."
            The ad ran during the weeks of both the Republican National Convention, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
            In an interview, Dr. Wooden said he pulled the ad after God told him that it had achieved its purpose.
            If getting people upset for two weeks as listeners tuned into their favorite FM gospel station was the goal, then Wooden certainly achieved that, as Facebook was flooded with complaints about the ad.
            Dr. Earl Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh, and president of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association in Raleigh, held a press conference just last week, blasting Wooden and any minister who would implore the black community not to vote this election.
            Wooden said he was not paid any money to voice the ads by NOM, adding that he as not pushing Republican Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
            Only that, in Wooden’s opinion, President Obama had turned his back on the black community with his same-sex marriage stance.
            NOM promised on its website that if the Raleigh campaign featuring Dr. Wooden was successful, it would replicate it across the state since North Carolina was, “a key presidential swing state.”
            Monday night’s conference call with the president was headed up by African-Americans for Obama, and People of Faith for Obama - two auxiliary groups associated with the Obama for America campaign.
            Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood, Second Vice President of the NC NAACP, joined the call, “…to ensure President Obama receives justice and the people not be misled by any particular ministers and organizations… as we approach the most important election since 1860.
            Rev. Gatewood had sent a letter to Dr. Patrick Wooden, criticizing him for voicing the Nom ads.
            Indeed the NCNAACP issued an open letter last week about, “…clergy who are trying to confuse African-American voters on [the] wedge issue of marriage equality.
            Making it clear that as a nonpartisan civil rights organization, the NAACP doe not endorse candidates, NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber told The Carolinian that the black community must be wary of those who try to suppress their vote through their faith.
             “When you look at the Scriptures, the issues that people of faith ought to be concerned about in the public square are how do we treat the poor; how do we treat children; how do we treat the sick; and how do we treat those who are on the margins of society - how do we treat the vulnerable?” Rev. Barber continued.
            “To be the paid puppets of the ultra-right …is s disservice to our community.”
            Rev. Derrick Harkins, Democratic National Committee Faith Outreach director, was on the call, and says the president talked to black clergy about the continuing the work that his administration began when he tool office, “…and the incredible importance of the faith community in all of that.”
            The president also emphasized the importance of registering voters before the early voting deadlines in some states, and getting out the vote.
            “The worst thing we can do is become complacent,” Rev. Harkin recalls Pres. Obama saying to the ministers during the conference call.
“How dare anyone say to somebody that you ought not exercise the franchise that people literally have breathed their life’s effort and life’s blood into for us to have, and especially now when we have the opportunity to continue the work that we’ve begun,” Rev. Harkins said.
“Follow the money; follow the support,” Harkins added, noting that right-wing like NOM are also part of the matrix of conservative groups that have successful pushed for voter ID laws in at least 30 states.
            Critics say these laws are really voter suppression tools to keep a certain percentage of mainly black and Hispanic voters - part of Pres. Obama’s most loyal Democratic base - from successfully going to the polls on November 6th.
            Harkins said groups like NOM are using black ministers, even though the majority of NOM’s agenda is contrary to the interests of the African-American community.
            And the DNC minister added that while some black preachers act as if Pres. Obama had betrayed their trust with his same-sex opinion, in fact, most of those preachers never were true supporters of the president to begin with.
            “They’ve been card-carrying Republicans all along,” Rev. Harkin said.
            “A lot of people say that in 2008, we changed the guard. And in 2012, we’ve got to guard that change.”


            [RALEIGH] Less than a year after it adopted a school choice plan that has proven to be to be problematic, the Wake School Board Tuesday unveiled a proposed new plan for 2013-14 that would promote diversity, stability and some choice. A key component is going back to an address-based system so that every student has a base school, unlike what is in force now that caused three weeks of school bus problems. Hearings have been delayed until more details on the new proposal can be ironed out. Yevonne Brannon, chair of Great Schools in Wake Coalition, says, “This plan is still a neighborhood [schools] plan.  Mostly based on proximity.  If you are poor or live in low performing can only get out by choosing out...the Board of Education has not put into the plan yet assigning some children out...the gutsy moral and right thing to do.”
            Meanwhile, Don Haydon, who was in charge of Wake Schools’ busing system, has resigned and been put on paid leave until Dec. 31. Haydon had been with the system since 2002.

            [WASHINGTON, DC] Thanks to a $228 million federal grant from the US Dept. of Education, historically black colleges and universities across the nation are able to improve key areas of academic and staff development. The ten HBCU’s in North Carolina shared in over $29 million of the grant, with Bennett College and Livingstone College each getting over $1.4 million; St. Augustine’s University and Johnson c. Smith University getting over $1.6 and $1.8 million respectively; Shaw University receiving over $2.4 million; Elizabeth City State University and Fayetteville State University getting over $3.4 and $3.8 million respectively; and North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University and NC A&T State University receiving over $4.0 million, $4.3 million and $5.2 million.

            [GREENSBORO] If you feel that you have been the victim of racial profiling by law enforcement in North Carolina, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union wants to hear from you. The nonprofit legal group has posted two complaint forms on its website for citizens to file their bad experiences. In turn NC ACLU attorneys will file suit on behalf of victims. A Feb. 2012 report by a UNC professor indicated that Hispanic drives 96 percent more likely to have their cars stopped and searched than white drivers. Blacks were 77 percent more likely than whites. The forms can be found at

            [BURLINGTON] The Alamance Sheriff’s Dept. “routinely” targeted Latinos for discrimination, according to a two-year investigation by the US Justice Dept. The feds charge that Hispanics were the subjects of unwarranted arrests, with the goal being to “maximize deportations.” The 11-page report charged Sheriff Terry S. Johnson and his deputies with violating the constitutional rights of US citizens and legal residents without probable cause. The sheriff says the report is political. Recommendations include negotiating a settlement, or else the feds could sue.

                         DEREK HODGE II AND HIS FATHER, DEREK SR.

By Cash Michaels

            In 2013, there will be a graduate at Southeast Raleigh High School who will choose North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro as the historically black institution of higher learning to attend.
            And there will a $1000.00 scholarship waiting for that student, thanks to another Southeast Raleigh High graduate who went on to NC A&T.
            His name was Derek E. Hodge II.
            In April 2008, Derek Hodge of Wendell, a junior at NC A&T, was fatally shot during a robbery at his off-campus apartment.
He was killed on his mother’s birthday.
His murderer was captured, tried and convicted of second-degree murder in May 2011 after pleading guilty, and is currently serving 21 years in prison.
            For Derek Sr. and Eva Hodge, it changed their world. The last time they saw Derek alive is when he came to spend that Easter with them shortly before his death.
            “[Our son’s murder] …it really took something from us,” Derek’s mother told The Carolinian. “When you send your child off to school, this is the last thing you expect to happen.”
Derek was a charming and “…incredible young man,” the proud couple fondly remembers, with dreams of making the world his oyster. Derek majored in business and marketing, with a side interest in real estate.
            “He was a very smart young man,” his father said. “There wasn’t anything Derek couldn’t do. He had a great future ahead of him, and we were very proud of him.”
            His mother says there was always one school he wanted to attend, and that was Derek’s first choice, NC A&T.
The Hodges say even though his dream was cut short, but that didn’t mean Derek’s promise couldn’t be fulfilled by other worthy students who shared the same vision and drive.
“There was just no way we could go on [allowing] our son’s legacy and the memory of him die,” Eva Hodge said. “That’s why we wanted to be able to help other young people that had those dreams and aspirations to do more.”
So last December, the Hodges setup the Derek E. Hodge II Memorial Scholarship Foundation to annually award $1,000 scholarships specifically to graduates of Southeast Raleigh High School who have been accepted to attend NC A&T University.
            Next Saturday, Sept. 29th, the foundation will present the Inaugural Black Tie Sponsorship Banquet, the first official fundraiser for the cause, at the Crabtree Valley Marriott in Raleigh at 6 p.m. NFL legend Lin Dawson is the keynote speaker.
            “This will be Derek’s voice…by creating the foundation,” Eva Hodge says.
            Derek’s father says thus far, the support has been “outstanding” since the young man’s death, though the family says they’d hoped to see more from the Aggie community. They not suggesting that Aggies don’t care, but rather that many don’t know about the foundation, and what it’s doing in Derek’s name.
            “This is the inaugural event, and I know it’s going to grow with the help of the Aggies,” Derek’s mother assured.
All donations for tickets and sponsorships are tax deductible.
            For more information about the foundation and the gala benefit, email at info@, or visit the website at


By Cash Michaels

JAKE TAPPER DOESN’T VOTE - A couple of years ago when he was still occupying the eight o’clock hour on MSNBC terrorizing conservatives, Republicans and Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann went on ABC-TV’s “The View” and told the audience that while its no secret that he is a liberal, and certainly leans Democrat (though Keith was always willing to give President Obama a piece of his mind when he felt it warranted), that surprisingly, he doesn’t vote in elections.
"It’s the only thing I can do that suggests even that I don’t have a horse in the race,” Keith told a befuddled Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg in 2008.
In a statement to a publication called “Portfolio,” Keith continued, “I know it’s very idiosyncratic, but I would feel just a little hesitation, just a little drag on the airflow, if I went to criticize somebody, especially a president, for whom I had voted. It is driven by the same thing that used to make me keep my distance from the athletes I covered. I don’t want anything, even that tiny bit of symbolic connection, to stand in between me and my responsibility to be analytical and critical." 
Now it’s no secret that I love Keith Olbermann, and I am so, so sorry he’s not on television now (and won’t be for the foreseeable future), weighing in with his incisive commentaries and insights during this most important election year (you’ll recall he got fired from Current TV last year).
But Keith is wrong, DEAD wrong, just as ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper was dead wrong last Sunday when he told viewers of ABC’s “This Week” that he doesn’t vote either.
To make sure I wasn’t wrong, I sought to confirm that nonsense, and there it was, in a 2009 interview with the conservative publication National Review, “He says he doesn’t vote in presidential elections to help preserve his objectivity.”
And this isn’t limited to just Keith and Jake.
Apparently if you make it to Washington, DC as a journalist, and get hired by some major corporation to harass the White House (regardless of which party is in control of it), then you are expected to protect that corporation (NBC, ABC, CNN, etc) by swearing off of voting.
Mind you, it’s not a “requirement,” but it sure helps your editors back at the shop sleep easier at night knowing that your name won’t be showing up as being registered to do anything but drive a car.
Listen to the point of view of Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. from a 2004 response to the question being posed to him.
“I decided to stop voting when I became the ultimate gatekeeper for what is published in the newspaper. I wanted to keep a completely open mind about everything we covered and not make a decision, even in my own mind or the privacy of the voting booth, about who should be president or mayor, for example.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Downie, as a colleague and fellow practitioner, I respectfully disagree.
Being a journalist is my job, but it cannot, and should not, define my citizenship, or the obligations thereof.
Nothing else in life that’s worthwhile commands any of us NOT to take part in the very fabric of our civic responsibilities.
If, as a reporter, I cover stories of police brutality, does that mean I should never dial 911 if I’m in trouble?
If, as a reporter, I do a story about racism in our local fire department, does that mean I should never call them if my house is in flames?
If, as a reporter, I do a story about corruption in government, does that mean I should stop paying my taxes?
Gee, this opens up all kinds of questions. Was it a mistake on my part to ever get married and have children because I didn’t properly warn my family that I will never vote for or against anything that would effect our quality of life as members of the community?
To me it makes absolutely no sense for a journalist to get on television, supposedly as a trained and experienced professional, report and advise the community about the world around them as people whose judgment and experience we should trust and respect, and then cop out and tell folks, in order to make sure you trust, I give up my rights as a citizen.
I find myself more likely to trust someone who I know is doing their job, regardless of what their personal beliefs or political leanings are. THAT, to me takes great strength and character.
Now does that mean I don’t have my own rules as a journalist? Not at all, because I certainly do.
I learned a long time ago that I can’t have membership in virtually any community organization. When I joined certain community groups, I soon found that some of their members were up to no good, and that put me in the precarious position of having to weigh the loyalty of membership, with the responsibility of my job to the community.
It also didn’t help when members of that group, knowing I was a reporter, expected me to be quiet because I was a member. That situation was untenable, so I learned never to allow that to happen again.
And I haven’t. What I’ve done instead is work WITH groups, not as a member, but as a separate entity, this way I can maintain safe distance in those events in which I have no choice but to report on that group.
I had that happen a couple of years ago when a top official of an organization I certainly support and work with, was undeniably doing something he had no business doing. Since I wasn’t a member, it was nothing for me to pick up the phone and do my job to hold him accountable.
That’s the way I want it, and need it to be.
The only group I’m a “member” of is the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project. My job is to coordinate the effort to bring about pardons of innocence from Gov. Beverly Perdue for the ten civil rights activists who were falsely convicted 40 years ago.
Why can I be a member of that, and nothing else?  Doesn’t such a controversial effort conflict with my role as a journalist?
First of all, the effort is sponsored by the press - the National Newspaper Publishers Association, of which The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal are members.
As the Black Press, we all agreed that the plight of the Wilmington Ten has gone on too long. The facts of their innocence, and their frame-up by the state, are very clear. A federal court has ruled accordingly, but for political, and perhaps racial reasons, the state of North Carolina had not for the past forty years.
Knowing these facts, it was incumbent on the Black Press to speak up and demand justice when no one else would.
That’s what the Black Press has always done, and will continue to do.
Thus the Pardon Project, and my involvement with it.
As a black journalist, my role is a bit different from the standard journalist. Yes, I report the facts as I find them, and make sure that they are reported in the appropriate context relevant for accurate understanding.
My bias is built into the job upfront - I support my community.
But that does not mean, and never will mean, I won’t hold leadership in my community accountable when they screw up, even if I’ve voted for them.
Being a black reporter also means I never tell you whom to vote for. Oh, I run my mouth about what the politicians are up to, and whether they should be trusted or not. I may even reflect the general feeling in the community, pro or con, about certain candidates.
But I’ll never say, “I’m voting for X, and you should too!”
Not my place. I expect you to consider all arguments and facts from all sides (you should be consuming more than one news source a day) to make up your own mind.
Finally, as you can imagine, even in the Black Press, there is a variety of thought about all of this.
Years ago, many black newspaper publishers were also members of various civic and community organizations, or openly backed certain political candidates. They didn’t have a choice. The community needed the leadership, and newspaper people were in the business of shaping minds and hearts to confront the oppression their readers faced every day, especially in a segregated society.
Today, many black publishers till maintain memberships in civic organizations, mostly out of tradition and deep commitment to the cause. I have no beef with any of them, as long as if the fork in the road comes, and there’s an unforeseen conflict, that the community we serve, and vowed we will always serve, gets the benefit.
So to Keith (who essentially wore out his welcome at MSNBC because - GASP - he gave money to two candidates), Jake and anyone else to holds to this high-minded ideal that in order to properly serve society, you have divorce yourself from it, good luck.
I try, in my career, to never tell folks they should be doing something that I’m not doing, or have no intention of doing. That is blasphemous and hypocritical, and quite frankly too easy to do.
If I have any credibility at all as a journalist, it’s because, by and large, I stand on what I say, and make sure that the community which I serve sees that. They don’t have to know whom I vote for, because that is my business as a citizen.
Just as long as they see me taking my citizenship seriously, then they know it’s up to them to do the same.
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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( 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.



            Beginning tonight, the League of Women voters and WakeUP Wake County are sponsoring a series of candidate forum focusing on the race for Wake County commissioner and state superintendent of Public Instruction.
            All forums are at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.
            The first four forums are for seats on the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
            Wake County is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, elected at large to serve four-year terms. Terms are staggered so that, every two years, three or four Commissioners are up for election. The Commissioners enact policies such as establishment of the property tax rate, regulation of land use and zoning outside municipal jurisdictions, and adoption of the annual budget. Commissioners meet on the first and third Mondays of each month.
            Tonight, the first forum will be held at the Garner Performing Arts Center, 742 W. Garner Rd in Garner.
            On Thursday, Sept. 27th, the second forum will be held at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh.
            On Thursday, Oct. 4th, the third forum will be held at Kirk of Kildaire Church, 200 High Meadow Drive in Cary.
            On Thursday, Oct. 11th, the fourth forum will be held at Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Road in North Raleigh.
            Candidates for the Wake Board of Commissioners include Caroline Sullivan and Dale Cooke in District 4; incumbent James West (running unopposed) in District 5; incumbent Betty Lou Ward and Paul Fitts in District 6.
            And on Monday, Oct. 15th, the forum for NC Superintendent of Public Instruction will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Avenue in Raleigh. 
The North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction is the elected head of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction , serving a four-year term, and oversees the public school systems of the state. The Superintendent is currently an elected member of the North Carolina Council of State, and also serves as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, the body which holds most of the authority over elementary and secondary education in the state.
Candidates for that race include incumbent state Supt. of Public Instruction June Atkinson, a Democrat; and Republican challenger John Tedesco, currently serving on the Wake School Board.
For more information, contact Tappan Vickery at or 919-859-2177. See video of the forums you missed at