Monday, October 1, 2012

THE CASH STUFF for Oct. 4, 2012

NCNAACP ANNOUNCES STATE CONVENTION, VOTING REGISTRATION EFFORT - The 69th annual State NAACP Convention will kickoff in Raleigh Oct. 11-13th, it was announced this week. Also, the Million Voters March will commence as well to deliver one million voters across North Carolina to the polls. [photo Chris Hinton]


            [RALEIGH] The NCNAACP announced this week its 69th Annual State Convention at the North Raleigh Hilton Oct. 11th-13th. Elected denominational leaders from the Baptists, AME Church, AME Zion Church and the NC Council of Churches, representing thousands of churches across the state of North Carolina, were also present to announce a new statewide voter registration effort. The NC NAACP will release an email announcement to 40,000 contacts throughout the state this week calling on individuals to register 10 others between now and October 12.
The entire State Convention will be focused on voter education, voter protection and voter mobilization. All 100 branches and chapters, youth and adults, will be engaged with this single focus. During the State of Civil Rights Address on Oct. 13th, President Barber will announce with faith and coalition partners the renewal of the Million Voters March, calling on one million black, brown progressive white, labor and people of faith to go to the polls early, beginning on October 18, and then go back and bring others.
Speakers during the state convention include Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the National NAACP Board, Benjamin Todd Jealous, president/CEO of the national NAACP, and Gov. Beverly Perdue, who will deliver remarks during the Political Action Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 12th.
There will also be petitions available via the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project for conventions attendees to sign asking Gov. Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten.


            One week after the Democratic-led Wake School Board fired Supt. Tony Tata, alleging that his leadership was becoming increasingly detrimental and partisan, members of the Republican board minority, along with the GOP head of the Wake Board of Commissioners, and several members of various local right-wing groups, ganged up on the board Democrats during Tuesday’s contentious meeting. Both GOP board members John Tedesco and Debra Goldman - who are running for other offices - used words like “despicable” and “cowardly,” as did several members of the public during public comments, to describe what Chairman Hill and the Democrats had done.
            Tedesco and Goldman, along with fellow GOP board members Chris Malone (who is also running for office) and Deborah Pritchett, did not show up for a scheduled work session last Saturday.
            Wake Commission Board Chair Paul Coble, a Republican, blasted the school board in a letter as having “no leadership” and not able to partner with the commissioners on funding issues until they can settle their issues. Coble put off a scheduled meeting with school board leaders about a bond referendum to fund needed school construction until further notice.
            School board Democrats insist that working with Tata became untenable, and that they spent more time trying to correct his mistakes, than moving forward.
            Meanwhile, Acting Supt. Dr. Stephen Gainey was sworn-in to officially guide the school system for the next two months.

            The dean of the University College at North Carolina Central University has been arrested and charged with assaulting a female colleague on campus, published reports say. Dean Ontario Wooden, 34, allegedly "unlawfully and willfully did assault Tarryn L. Simmons, a female person, by grabbing her forearm and shoving her against a cabinet, causing scratches and bruises on the forearm and upper left shoulder,” according to the arrest warrant. The victim is reportedly a speech coordinator in the Academic Affairs Dept. Wooden has posted the $2,000 bond and has been released from jail. He is scheduled for a court appearance Oct. 23rd. His employment status with NCCU remains unclear at press time.

                                         LT. GOV. WALTER DALTON


By Cash Michaels

            Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton is adamantly opposed to photo and government-issued voter identification, his gubernatorial campaign says. He sees them as attempts at voter suppression, and if elected, Dalton would veto such as his “line in the sand.
Indeed, Dalton’s campaign spokesman, Schorr Johnson, told the Daily Tar Heel newspaper on Sept. 12th, “Dalton does not support a state voter ID law due to exaggerated statistics about voter fraud.”
Voter ID laws are a solution in search of a problem,” Johnson concluded.
But if elected governor, Dalton, a moderate Democrat, admits he would be “open,” Johnson told The Carolinian this week, to a compromise measure with the Republican-led NC General Assembly, requiring some form of non-governmental voter identification in order to cast a ballot.
“He is open to supporting some form of identification (such as a utility bill and multiple other forms), similar to [the] current law for registering to vote,” Johnson wrote in an email reply for comment.
Though less restrictive than what state Republican leaders really have in mind, black leaders say they’re opposed to any unnecessary barrier between the voter, and the ballot.
“Voter ID in any form is a Trojan horse backdoor effort to voter suppression,” Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said in response to Dalton’s stated willingness to compromise. “We should be identifying a progressive vision for our future as a state rather than trying to find ways to ID voters that have already been qualified to vote.”
So why is Dalton willing to horse-trade on a sensitive issue like voter ID at the same time he’s trying to attract as many black votes as he can get?
Being at least 12 points behind Republican gubernatorial opponent Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who says he would sign a voter photo ID bill into law if elected, could be one reason.
And paying close attention to polls that have consistently shown a considerable majority of North Carolinians being for voter ID, could be another.
 The most recent WRAL-TV poll, released just this week, shows that 69 percent of those surveyed agreed that some sort of certifiable voter identification should be required at the polls when casting a ballot, with more Republicans than Democrats agreeing.
That poll flies in the face of the current official position of the NC Democratic Party (NCDP).
According to the NCDP 2012 Platform under “Fair and Open Elections and a Strong Party,” under “Voting Rights” the party’s position clearly states, “…We (the NCDP) oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote, which create discriminatory barriers to the right to vote and disenfranchise many eligible voters.”
During its state convention last summer, delegates to the state Democratic Party Convention passed Resolution #61 which stated, in part, “Voter fraud is nearly non-existent in the State of North Carolina” and “North Carolina elections have adequate safeguards against fraud, and function in a way that promotes confidence in the accuracy of their results.”           
When asked if the NCDP was “flexible” on voter ID, just as long as it did not involve photo or government identification, Walton Robinson, NCDP Communications Director replied, “The NCDP Platform position on Voter ID is the official position of the party. Our first priority is stopping any efforts to suppress or obstruct the voting rights of Americans. Period.”
“Beyond that,” Robinson continued, “…we are encouraged that the courts have, thus far, stuck these laws down in other states,” referring to recent rulings striking down or changing voter ID laws in Florida, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, and just this week, Pennsylvania.
The Carolinian checked with the Obama campaign and asked the same questions amid rumors that the president may also be “flexible” on voter ID.
Ironically, there is very little showing President Obama publicly stating any position on the topic, thought his White House is on record on August 30, 2012 as saying, “…this administration believes it should be easier for eligible citizens to vote -- to register and vote. We should not be imposing unnecessary obstacles or barriers to voter participation.”
And yet the Democratic candidate for North Carolina governor says he’s “open” to a limited form of voter ID.
Dalton has said as recently as just last month that he could “embrace” the Republican-sponsored voter ID compromise measure that was discussed during the last legislative session, but failed to ever get to the floor.
In fact, in March 2011, House Republicans offered the first of two compromises on voter ID, the first being the use of just a voter registration card or “other forms of identification.
The NC Legislative Black Caucus, however, wasn’t buying it.
“Any type of ID required to be shown each and every time can have a chilling effect,” caucus chairman, Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham) told the Charlotte Observer then. “Any obstacle to the polls we think is unjustified.”
When the GOP-led NC General Assembly did pass a voter photo ID law in 2011, saying that it was needed to ensure the “integrity” of the voting process in North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the measure, seeing it as a disguised attempt to suppress African-American and Hispanic voters, in addition to the youth vote, all prime demographics for President Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.
When House Republicans failed to override Perdue’s veto because Democrats refused to go along to make up the 72 votes needed, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg), then announced that a compromise measure would be devised in the short session to get the law in place.
The compromise measure being negotiated would allow voters to show a broad range of documents to prove identity, including bank statements, utility bills or any government documents with name and address,” The News and Observer reported in its June 5, 2012 story. “Voters without such documents would be required to show that their signature matched their voter registration form.”
Speaker Tillis was certain that a deal could be reached, and said as much.
Twenty-one days later, however, any hope of voter ID compromise this year in time for the 2012 elections was dead.
“The speaker asked me to try to strike a balance to ensure the integrity of the election system ... but I could never strike that balance,” Rep. David Lewis, the House elections committee chairman, told the N&O in its June 26th story regarding his negotiations with House Democrats. “It was going to have to be a substantially watered down version and the more I moved in that direction, the more I risked losing the members of my caucus.”
But to hear Lt. Gov. Dalton tell it, he would have found common ground with the Republicans.
“Do you favor a voter ID law?” Dalton was asked by WRAL-TV anchorman David Crabtree on the Sept. 15th broadcast of “On The Record.”
“Voter ID, not photo ID,” the Democratic candidate at first replied, then going on to immediately contradict himself in the next sentence.
“I do not favor voter ID. I have said there is a compromise bill out there that was talked about, and I think, you know, I can embrace that,” a tape of the broadcast shows Dalton saying, with him then adding in contradiction, “I really don’t think [voter fraud] is a problem though.”
Dalton’s voter ID contradiction is important because just last week his campaign kicked off an “African-Americans for Dalton” Youtube commercial suggesting that McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, didn’t understand black people or their issues.
One of the black lawmakers featured in Dalton’s ad is NC Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Sen. Floyd McKissick, who maintained in 2011 that, “Any type of ID required to be shown each and every time can have a chilling effect. Any obstacle to the polls we think is unjustified.”
In Dalton’s new ad, McKissick is seen calling Republican Pat McCrory, "a politician who doesn't understand why I'm upset about voter ID."
This week, the Dalton campaign garnered endorsements from the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, apparently with neither group realizing that Dalton was not one hundred percent against voter ID as many had assumed.
Dalton’s campaign would not say why he would be open to any compromise on voter ID given its firm statements to the contrary, apparently realizing the political downside of publicly drawing attention to the policy contradiction while currently losing in the polls to Republican opponent Pat McCrory.
Campaign spokesman Schorr Johnson would only say what  “Governor” Walter Dalton would do if elected.
“If he is elected, [Lt. Gov. Dalton] will hold any voter ID bill that came across his desk to an extremely high standard of protecting the right to vote and has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to requiring photo ID,” Johnson wrote in an email response.
Johnson continued, “I was also making you aware of the current law on the books (which Dalton supported) that requires identification to register to vote and for first-time voters at the polls when they vote (which can be utility bills, etc.). [Lt. Gov. Dalton]  is not seeking to change those laws, either. The only type of voter ID law that he might not oppose would have to be consistent with this--but he's not going to initiate it. And again, no photo ID.”
When pressed as to what that means, Johnson later added in a separate reply that Dalton would, “… not act without a lot of outreach to those who might be concerned about it.  If all parties were on board, he might consider it.”
When still pressed as to why the lieutenant governor, if elected, would consider any voter ID bill at all for any reason, Schorr Johnson replied, “He is not espousing any compromise bill. But he would only consider it if came to him as a way to prevent the photo ID bill from becoming law (through a veto override)--and would only do so after receiving lots of input from those who are concerned about the bill.”
Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis has assured that, assuming the GOP remains in control of the General Assembly this fall, a new attempt to pass a voter ID law would be made in the next long session in 2013.
If Pat McCrory is elected in November, then both he and Tillis guarantee it will become law.
But what happened if Walter Dalton is elected instead?
Depending on whether the Republicans are able to increase their majority in the House would determine if they’d be able to pass a voter photo ID law on their own without Democrats. If they’re able to deliver 72 votes without Democrats, Tillis can then override any veto a Gov. Dalton could muster, thus not needing to compromise what they really want.
But if Democrats were to increase their numbers in the state House, thus lessening the GOP majority, then, theoretically, there would be nothing to compromise because Dalton could easily veto the bill without fear of override.
So why would he be willing to compromise at all, or even telegraph that now?
His campaign either can’t, or won’t say.
“As Governor, [North Carolina] will have a strong ally in protecting the right to vote,” Johnson concluded.
Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, was not so sure.
“Voter ID in any form is a Trojan horse backdoor effort to voter suppression,” He told The Carolinian. “The NAACP does not compromise the values of the 15th amendment or the Voting Rights Act. The NAACP has fought for 103 years in every political climate for the full an unabridged right to vote.”
“This is where we continue to stand for all Americans and North Carolinians,” Rev. Barber continued, “and we call on Republicans and Democrats to stand with us on this noble principle.”
 “We endorse the current law of signature attestation with a five-year felony if you engage in fraud. The focus of this election should be jobs, addressing poverty, securing labor rights, educational equality, health care, addressing disparities in criminal justice system, and expanding and protecting voting rights.  We should be identifying a progressive vision for our future as a state, rather than trying to find ways to ID voters that have already been qualified to vote.”
Lt. Gov. Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory have been invited to address key issues during the upcoming NC NAACP State Convention in Raleigh later this month.
Thus far, only Dalton has agreed to attend.


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


By Cash Michaels

THE N&O AND THE WAKE SCHOOL BOARD - One of the reasons why folks have a problem with The News and Observer newspaper here in Raleigh is because there are times they don’t know their behinds from their box-empty brains, yet have the gall to be arrogant about it.
Take the recent firing (and deservedly so) of Wake Schools Supt. Anthony Tata.
The editorial scribes at the N&O think it is such a terrible crime, and unjust action, by Chairman Kevin Hill and the board’s Democratic majority. The parents, children and community (I might ask which “community” by the way) will suffer, the N&O assures.
The Democratic board majority must be held responsible for putting partisanship before public responsibility, the N&O opines.
Lord, please, give me a break!
Read some of this N&O garbage:
“…Hill and his colleagues have done everything possible to prove they are partisan, culminating with a party-line 5-4 vote this week to fire Superintendent Tony Tata after less than 20 months on the job.”
                                                                                                 John Drescher
 N&O Executive Editor
                                                                                                 Sept. 28, 2012
            “The five Democrats who voted to oust Tata, who was hired by a Republican-majority board 20 months ago, pinky-swear that politics had nothing to do with it. Appearances, however, can be everything.”
                                                                                                Burgetta Eplin Wheeler
                                                                                                 N&O columnist
                                                                                                  Sept. 27, 2012

            Kevin Hill, the board’s veteran chairman, is a particular disappointment for letting the firing go forward. Hill himself had said in July he hoped Tata would remain in the job. As leader of the Democratic faction, he should have impressed upon his colleagues the value of moving beyond partisan rancor.”
                                                                                                N&O Editorial
                                                                                               Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012
It’s clear the N&O editorialists haven’t been reading their own newspaper’s reporting, for if they did, they would have known that Chairman Hill has had his hands filled with trying to get the Republican minority - still angered not only by the fact that their dearly beloved chairman, Ron Margiotta, was dethroned in last year’s election, but also that their GOP neighborhood schools agenda for Wake was demonstrably rejected by the five-seat Democratic sweep - in line to forget the past, and work together to move the school system forward.
The fact that none of them showed up last weekend for a work session on a proposed new student assignment plan should tell you something.
            And doesn’t the fact that three of the four GOP’ers still on the board are running for other public offices BEFORE THEIR TERMS END confirm the notion that they have no intention of working with Chairman Hill and the Democratic board majority?
            Where was the N&O editorial demanding that they resign if they didn’t want the job anymore?
            Doesn’t the evidence of John Tedesco, Debra Goldman, Deborah Pritchett and Chris Malone’s collective disruptive behavior, and open disrespect towards the Democratic chairman, tell anyone with eyes and ears that getting their partisan way always has been their first priority, and serving ALL of the children in Wake County Public Schools somewhere else on their collective agenda?
            Where was the N&O’s editorial demanding that the GOP board minority cut the crap?
            Tedesco’s remark about, “I wouldn’t trust this school board [majority] with my lunch money,” a clear dog whistle to the Republican-led Wake County Commission Board and GOP state lawmakers to deny any funding requests from the school board’s Democratic majority. Where’s the N&O’s incisive, “You’ve gone too far” analysis of that?
            And doesn’t the well-documented erratic behavior of Supt. Tata towards the Democratic majority also prove his complicity in all that’s gone on? If he was so genuine in wanting the partisan waters calmed, then why didn’t he try to get his fellow Republicans on the board to cool it?
            Where were the N&O editorials asking the board’s Republicans to fall in line, especially after Chairman Hill repeatedly made grand gestures, despite documented sharp criticisms from the liberal base like Great Schools in Wake Coalition and the NCNAACP, to give Tata and his failed school choice plan a chance to succeed?
            We’ll give N&O editorial page editor Steve Ford a little credit for suggesting in his Sunday column that it’s hard to find any partisan fingerprints on what the Democrats did in firing Tata, given the timing and less than artful (meaning it wasn’t politically slick) way it was handled.
            Still, Ford made us gag when he wrote, “ Tata turned out…to be a good listener and someone who seemed comfortable with the educational terrain.”
            Gee, then why isn’t he still there, Steve? While Tata the politician gave all of the airs of being a good listener and comfortable with the educational setting in public, our sources behind the scenes confirm what Hill and Sutton said.
            The man was only interested in his way, and made senior staff and principals put upon for his severe lack of being collaborative, a serious flaw given that the school janitor had more experience than Tata did.
The only N&O columnist who seemed to have his head above ground for this one was Barry Saunders, who rightfully chided Susan Bryant, chair of the Wake County Republican Party, for issuing this call to arms in her emailed newsletter two weekends ago titled, “War at the School Board”:
“…the radical extremists who have taken over the Wake County School Board are preparing to fire our great Superintendent Tony Tata, and we have to do everything we can to stop them.”
“Face facts,” Saunders wrote in his Sept. 24th column, “ not only are the Democratic board members not radical by any rational definition of the term of the term, but they didn’t “take over” the school board as far as it is known. [They were] all democratically elected.”
The fact that Bryant, who is admittedly and unabashedly a right-wing zealot, is heralding “our great Superintendent Tony Tata” in a mass Republican email countywide, while bashing the “radical extremists who have taken over the Wake County School Board” is incontrovertible evidence that the “partisan rancor” the N&O editorial alluded to last week was anything but Democrat-inspired.
You’ll find no such thing from Chairman Hill, or Vice Chair Keith Sutton. Ever since the Democrats swept the board elections a year ago, they have sought to bring calm, taking flack for moving slowly and seeking compromise on issues they didn’t agree with Tata and the GOP on.
Keeping Tata on, and giving him a chance, as he requested, to carry out his flawed school choice plan, was one of those painful compromises they caught tremendous heat for.
And, as has been well documented, Tata and his plan not only failed miserably, but when he knew he was failing, he began to act erratically, all of a sudden attacking Democratic school board members publicly, issuing a public statement accusing them of affiliating with the liberal child advocacy group Great Schools in Wake Coalition.
What astounds me about the N&O editorial “thinking” (if that’s what you call it) is that it was clear from the very beginning when the Democrats took over that the Republicans had decided to make trouble. You could track their intentions like a wounded deer in the snow.
And it was also clear that Supt. Tata, once he realized that his beloved school choice plan, was screwing up royally to the point where parents, realtors, and even the mayor of Raleigh were complaining, took off the “Mr. Nice Guy” robe and began striking out at his Democratic bosses who he felt superior too (listening to Debra Goldman and John Tedesco will always get you in trouble).
Tata might have gotten way with it, except that when his school choice registration plan, and school choice school bus plan also collapsed in holy horrors, (and remember, unlike last fall’s traditional school rollout, which was already set in stone by administrators as Tata was still learning what he was supposed to be doing, he was completely in charge of this fall), it was extraordinarily clear that this retired US Army Brigadier General did not have the requisite experience to truly run a school system.
Where was the N&O editorial being honest with Wake County parents about that?
This isn’t partisan for me. I truly don’t give two taps past a farmhouse darn what party my school superintendent, or school board members are. Really don’t want to know. Do you know who taught me that?
Wake County Public Schools, who, until 2009, enjoyed true nonpartisanship on its board and in its school leadership.
Indeed, I’ve been surprised to learn after the fact exactly who belonged to what party in past years. And it can be arguably said that many of Wake’s best years academically were during that time, and contributed to the outstanding growth of our entire region.
But when Republicans were elected in 2009 to take over the board, and ramrod their neighborhood schools policy in (something they failed at), that’s when everything changed, and Democrats had no choice but to engage them to wrest power back.
Once Dems got it, they tried to calm things down, but the GOP refused, vowing to disrupt and disturb ever chance they got.
The GOP cared less that Tata’s choice plan (the one they hurriedly passed last year before the new board could take over) would create more high poverty racial identifiable schools.
Tata repeatedly promised that he would fix what was broken about the choice plan, but no fix was in sight.
For anyone, ANYONE to think that Supt. Anthony Tata - a Republican, and Tea Party sympathizer; author of erotic military novels; Fox News analyst; possible future candidate for the US Senate (GOP has been grooming him the entire time he’s been in office, which is why he’s worked so hard to get known and appreciated); and declared hater of the Democratic president of the United States - was not going to eventually show his true colors and ignorance of what it takes to be a REAL public school superintendent, I’m sorry for them and the N&O.
The man NEVER taught a class, NEVER worked under a principal or as a principal. He spent 18 months as chief operating officer of the infamous Washington, D.C. public school system, where he was in charge of ordering desks, blackboards and frozen pizzas.
Hardly the kind of leadership that 16th largest school system in nation needed, or should have wanted.
Tata was the last vestige of the dysfunctional Margiotta era. He was chosen for a political statement AGAINST what was considered the liberal doctrine of socioeconomic (SES) student diversity. No other school system in the world exemplified that doctrine like Wake County, and the Republicans wanted it brought down, no matter what!
Tata was devoted to proving that school choice trumped SES, and when he was ordered to do otherwise, he balked.
It was clear, once Chairman Hill, Vice Chair Sutton, and the rest of the Wake School Board who were being honest, realized Tata’s pattern of behavior amidst the system’s failures, that they couldn’t wait. They had protected him long enough. The public had maintained trust in Tata because they didn’t know.
But the board’s majority knew his failures, and inability to lead without rancor. They moved immediately to put a spiraling situation out of its misery, like the crippled horse that it was.
That’s the story the N&O editorialists have been ignoring, so much so that in the end, they erroneously call Hill and the Democrats “partisans” for their actions.
The editorialists at the News and Observer should be ashamed of themselves. I understand that after three tumultuous years since the GOP takeover, there has been a longing for peace and stability. I get that. The parents of this county get that.
But any intelligent person who truly paid attention had to know that as long as the Republican minority could open their mouths, and they had one of their own as superintendent, there would be no peace.
Only a struggle for power.
N&O, your jade editorials have been shameful!
The case is clear.
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.

[****Wilmington edition]
By Cash Michaels

DEBATE - Because I have to write this column a day before the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger, former Gov. Mitt Romney, I can’t evaluate what happened, or why. So that will have to wait until next week.
            I will say this, however. With the election just over a month away, every word, phrase and debate is going to count. Either Pres. Obama will build on his lead among voters over Romney, or the former governor is going to do the impossible and change people’s minds about his thus far disastrous campaign.
            The bottomline is that none of this really matters if you don’t go out and vote. Early voting in North Carolina begins on Oct. 18th. Take advantage of it now while you have it, because based on who wins the governor’s and state Legislature races here, you may not see it again.
            So don’t be stupid.
            Starting Oct. 18th, VOTE!
            EARL CALDWELL - This week, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of interviewing Prof. Earl Caldwell, one of the first black reporters ever to work at the New York Times.
            Former publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger died last week, and a publicist contacted me asking if I was interested in speaking to Caldwell, who is a professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University in Virginia.
            Prof. Caldwell, whose father was born in Asheville, NC, is a man of history.
            He was the only reporter on the scene when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
            Caldwell was also the NY Times’ first black reporter to become national correspondent.
            But the thing that all journalists owe Professor Caldwell for is his courageous stand for the protection of a reporter’s sources against government intrusion. In fact, feel free to look the landmark US Supreme Court case up.
            It’s the United States versus Earl Caldwell.
            When the Times assigned Caldwell to cover the activities of the Black Panther Party in California in the late 1960’s, the FBI contacted the black reporter and asked him to be their spy.
            You’ll recall that the Panthers were a radical group of feared black militants who sponsored food and education programs in the African-American community, but promise white America they would meet violence with violence if attacked. They were heavily armed, had firefights with police, and warned the black community that the only way to gain freedom from racism was a revolutionary war with “the oppressor.”
            Needless to say, the folks at the Times were frightened, and wanted to know more. So did the FBI, which is why they approached Times reporter Earl Caldwell about secretly working for them.
            But Caldwell emphatically refused. He says his job was to only report the news to the people, not spy for the police.
            The FBI didn’t take no for an answer. They forced Caldwell to go before a federal grand jury. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, where the High Court ruled unanimously that the First Amendment protected a reporter’s sources against government intrusion.
            Thanks to that historic ruling, various states have subsequently passed what are known as “shield” laws, protecting a reporter’s right to protect his or her sources. Many a reporter has gone to jail as a result when the government tried to get them to tatty-tail on who told them what.
            And we have Earl Caldwell to thank for that.
            It is both fun and insightful to speak to a pivotal figure of history like Prof. Caldwell. Getting his perspective on where we are as a people, how Pres. Obama is doing, and the state that journalism is in today, was fascinating.
            We will be sharing parts of our interview with Earl Caldwell during our “Make It Happen” broadcasts on Power 750 WAUG-AM starting this afternoon at 4 p.m. (those outside of Raleigh can hear the program every Thursday at 4 p.m. online at
            ANN COULTER - Why does right-wing author Ann Coulter get a pass for writing and saying the most cruel and racist things imaginable? No, I will not mention her new book about liberal whites and black people. It is very clear that Coulter is simply trying to exploit stuff for a buck. I understand the morons at Fox News booking her constantly. She’s the kind of right-wing red meat they love over there, especially if she comes baring gifts of racist barbs towards President Obama.
            But does that mean respectable shows like the “Today Show” and “The View” have to have her on? At least “View” hostess Whoopi Goldberg tore into Coulter last week when she appeared to peddle her book.
            Beyond wanting to draw a crowd, I just don’t get why respectable TV programs (at least the ones that like to pretend to be) trip all over themselves to have this witch on.
            I just don’t get it.
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment