Monday, October 22, 2012


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                                    W-ed - COUNCIL OF STATE ELECTIONS

            One Stop Early Voting/Same Day Registration is underway in North Carolina now until Nov. 3rd. That means unless you plan to cast your ballots on Election Day, Nov. 6th, you’ll have just over a week to cast your ballot.
            Contact your county Board of Elections to determine the days and times of operation.
            As always, this newspaper will make recommendations about the candidates we endorse for public office. Of course, we hope that our readers and community are closely following all of the candidates on the ballot, and make their ultimate choices based on competence and record, not party.
            This is a pivotal election in so many ways, not just for the state, but also for our nation, and ultimately our children. Our community made history in 2008 with the election of the first African-American president.
            Now, in 2012, we must secure our future.
            Make sure that you, your friends and family vote. It means that much.

            Let’s be blunt - the only real hope that Lt. Gov. Walton Dalton has in his race for governor against Republican Pat McCrory is an overwhelming Democratic turnout for him at the polls that pollsters just haven’t picked up on yet.
            Dalton is not the most exciting candidate ever to run for governor. Neither is McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte. But at least with Dalton is closer to our community’s issues and way of thinking than is McCrory.
            Republican McCrory has made it no secret that he can’t wait to to get in bed with the GOP leaders of the NC General Assembly to make voter ID law, make fracking legal, and cut education even further than Republicans have already.
            We’ve seen what hell can be produced by a Republican-led General Assembly. If it wasn’t for the courageous actions of Gov. Beverly Perdue in using her veto pen, we’d all be lining up with our driver’s licenses just to prove our citizenship now.
            McCrory’s advantage in this race is that he started early in building a campaign war chest way back in 2008 when he lost his first attempt at the governor’s office, so there was no way Dalton, or any other Democrat for that matter, could have met the challenge dollar for dollar.
            But make no mistake, North Carolina will sink to the level of Mississippi with a Gov. McCrory and Republican Legislature at the helm.
            A Gov. Dalton wouldn’t be perfect - he’s a little to moderate for us, and is too willing to make deals where his veto pen should suffice. But he is a good man, an experienced legislator, and we believe that if GOP leaders try to run all over him like they tried to do with Gov. Perdue, Dalton, like Perdue, will give them a taste of his veto pen.
            Let’s shock the experts. Tell your friends to join you at the polls to vote Walton Dalton, Democrat for governor.

                                    NC COUNCIL OF STATE INCUMBENTS

            Many people are unaware of exactly who the NC Council of State are, and what is it that they do.
            Simply put, the Council of State is made up of the Lt. Gov. and the eight elected heads of the major North Carolina state agencies - Dept. of Public Instruction; state Treasurer’s Office; Attorney General’s Office; Secretary of State’s Office; Commissioner of Labor; Commissioner of Agriculture; Commissioner of Insurance; and state Auditor’s Office.
            Beyond running their own state agencies, the council members collectively decide issues dealing with the sale of public properties and capital punishment.
            It is our considered opinion that all of the incumbent members of the NC Council of State have served the citizens on North Carolina well, and deserve re-election.
            The only member of the council who is a current exception is Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who is running to become the state’s next governor.
            Given that, this paper wholeheartedly endorses Linda Coleman,  who has served as a state representative; director of the State Office of Personnel; Wake County commissioner, and even a teacher, among other roles. There is no question about her dedication to the people of North Carolina, or ability to navigate state government.
            Coleman would make an excellent  lieutenant governor.
            What we like about the list of other NC Council of State incumbents is that it is a mix of Democrats and Republicans.
            We see no reason why Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, a Republican, couldn’t be returned to office. We see her smiling face on every elevator in the state, and thus far she’s done a good job.
            Steve Troxler, another Republican, can be credited for a smoothly run Agriculture Dept. and 2012 NC State Fair. As long as he continues to do a good job for the people of NC, and particularly our farmers, we’re OK with him serving another four years.
            The rest of the Council of State members are Democrats, and to various degrees, they’ve all served well.
            State Attorney General Roy Cooper must be doing a good job because he’s running unopposed.
            State Auditor Beth Wood is responsible for exposing waste and inefficiencies in state government, and she’s done that. Her Republican challenger, Debra Goldman, is a Wake County Board member who is currently involved in an embarrassing sex scandal with another Wake School Board member. Ms. Goldman has no experience as a certified public accountant, and admittedly keeps $130,000 in cash in jewelry in her home because found it difficult to get money from banks after 9/11 to pay her bills.
            Ms. Goldman has problems, suffice it to say. State Auditor Beth Wood deserves re-election.
            Another Republican Wake School Board member who also has considerable problems is John Tedesco. The Tea Party-backed candidate for superintendent of NC Public Instruction believes in racially-identifiable neighborhood schools, which means if Tedesco has his way, high poverty schools in communities of color would be the law of the land here in NC.
            Also, it doesn’t help Tedesco that he once wrote that he knows how to educate black children because he’s had a few African-American “ex-girlfriends.”
            Tedesco has so much baggage, there can be no doubt that incumbent state Supt. June Atkinson, who is touting dramatic improvements in North Carolina’s graduation rate at over 80 percent under her leadership, deserves to continue her work for the people of North Carolina.
            Add to that re-election list Treasurer Janet Cowell; Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin; and Sec. of State Elaine Marshall, and we believe that North Carolina will remain in good hands for the next four years.
            In all, make sure you vote by Nov. 6th.

GET OUT AND VOTE - Community organizer Grady Bussey, seen here with his two sons - Jakobe, 11 (left) and Isaiah, 9 (center) - poses at Chavis Community Center after leading a march and rally of "Souls to the Polls" early voters there Sunday. Over 500 people cast ballots there that day, Bussey says.  Early Voting ends Nov. 3rd [photo courtesy of Grady Bussey]

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            Normally the race for NC superintendent of Public Instruction is uneventful, given Democrat June Atkinson’s record of re-election.
            But this year Atkinson, who is vying for her third term, is faced with a Republican opponent who is arguably more politician than educator, and isn’t ashamed to say it. In fact, John Tedesco, the unabashed Tea Party candidate seeking to unseat Atkinson, says the main problem with the state’s public school system is that experienced educators like Atkinson have had a monopoly over it, and the results are nowhere near what they should be.
            That may be true, but if Tedesco’s own controversial record on the Wake Board of Education is any indication, his ability to lead the state to educational heights are also in question.
            Indeed, many political observers say Tedesco, who came to power with the rest of the Republican Wake School Board majority in Dec. 2009, is just using his statewide run while he’s still serving his first term as a stepping stone to higher office, like governor.
            The politically ambitious Tedesco has never denied it.
            Supt. Atkinson has been in office since 2005. With 35 years of educational experience, Atkinson has served in virtually every capacity, from teacher to principal to a developer of curriculums.
As the state superintendent of Public Instruction, Atkinson’s job is to lead statewide initiatives in improving teaching and learning for 1.5 million students across North Carolina; setting curriculum standards; establish accountability measures for local public school systems, and ensure that the state’s graduation rate improved every year.
She has a bachelor's degree in Business Education from Radford University, a master's degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University.
Tedesco, on the other hand, has very little by way of educational accomplishment beyond being elected to the Wake School Board in 2009, and being elected it’s vice chair for a short period before Wake voters ushered in a Republican majority.
In debate after debate with Atkinson, Tedesco, a conservative Republican, maintains his support for race-based neighborhood schools. It was the goal he sought when elected to the Wake Board.
Tedesco touts that he heads up a nonprofit educational group, but since its inception over a year ago, it has done very little beyond setting up a website and asking for contributions.
In Wake County, Tedesco is seen as a divisive figure. So divisive, in fact, that during the Wake School Board election runoff of 2011, the fact that he would become the chair of the school board if Republicans maintained a majority became a potent campaign issue.
In his personal bio, Tedesco maintains that after graduating college, he became “city manager” in New Jersey from 2000 to 2002. But a Carolinian Newspaper investigation determined that in fact, Tedesco was the Borough Administrator of the small town of Highlands, NJ, which had a 2000 US Census population of just 5,097 when Tedesco served there.
In Sept. 2002, according to the Asbury Park Press, Tedesco was fired by the five-member Highlands Borough Council “immediately” because he didn’t provide the leadership the council sought, and “the council has had an issue with the timeliness of Tedesco’s performance.”
In a statement, Tedesco blamed his termination on politics.
During his years on the Wake School Board, Tedesco has attacked the NCNAACP for protesting his drive for racially identifiable neighborhood schools; has spoken before numerous Tea Party groups across North Carolina; and has publicly attacked fellow Wake Board member Debra Goldman, calling her a “prom queen” and “Ms. Pinky Hairdo” during a televised board session.
Tedesco has been skewered by satirist Stephen Colbert on Colbert’s Comedy Central show for his neighborhood schools stance.
“Luckily, Tedesco is a part of a group of Tea Party-backed Republican school board members who recently voted for Wake County schools to go back to the old system of separate neighborhood schools to better teach the kids the three R’s - readin’, ritlin’, and resegregatin’,” Colbert deadpanned.
And US Education Secretary Arne Duncan blasted called the Tedesco-backed policy “troubling” in a Washington Post letter to the editor.
In one of his most outrageous acts, Tedesco wrote in an open letter that he knew more about educating black children because he had “a few ex-girlfriends who were African-American and Latino.”
Tedesco accuses Supt. Atkinson of being part of the “education establishment.”
Supt. Atkinson says Tedesco is “inexperienced” and has caused “chaos,” neither of which North Carolina needs right now. She touts the most recent figures of 80.4 percent of North Carolina seniors graduating as the kind of upward improvement her administration is responsible for. When she first took office in 2006, the graduation rate was just 68.3 percent.

By Cash Michaels

            As they did during the early days of One Stop-Early Voting in 2008, black Democratic female voters are once again leading the early voting charge in North Carolina.
            According to the latest figures available at presstime Wednesday from the NC Board of Elections (NCBOE), of the 816,015 absentee ballots cast thus far since Oct. 18th, 51.3 percent are by Democrats; 30.2 percent are Republican, and a significant 18.4% are from unaffiliated voters, who are considered the decisive key if Democrats and Republicans dead heat at the polls on Election Day Nov. 6th.
            Of all registered voters, 4,702,559 are white, while 1,473,221 are black. There are 411,912 that are categorized as “other”.
            On the first day of One Stop - Early voting alone across the state surpassed the 117,277 on first day of the 2008 early voting, with about 120,000.
            Per One Stop -Early voters, NCBOE records as of Oct. 24th show 138,546 ballots cast by African-American female Democrats, compared to just 89,472 white female Democrats; 64,361 white male Democrats, and 81,276 black male Democrats.
            Contrast that to One-Stop Early Voters on the GOP side.
            Black females - 1,439; white female - 95,433; black males - 1,397; and white males - 91,954.
            The strong early voting turnout has resulted in long lines at early voting sites across the state, prompting Gary Bartlett, elections supervisor with the NC Board of Elections to write county BOE’s, asking them to consider implementing longer early voting hours and more days.
            "The wait time at some sites is as long as 2 hours. County Boards should take immediate steps to alleviate these delays and facilitate a more efficient voting process for North Carolina voters," Bartlett wrote to all 100 county BOE’s.
            So far, no indication that any will comply.
            Leaders with state Democratic Party and Obama campaign are delighted with the turnout numbers thus far.
            We are pleased with the turnout so far but we have a long way to go,” said Walton Robinson, communications director with the NC Democratic Party. “This will be a close election so the success of these efforts gives us confidence that President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket will be victorious in November but we intend to continue calling and knocking doors to get as many voters to the polls early as we can.”
            Robinson pointed to several indicators showing strong Democratic response:
                    - Youth (18-24) turnout is up 20 percent from 2008
                          - African-American turnout is up 30 percent from 2008
  - Democratic turnout is up 15 percent from 2008
Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina told reporters this week that the Tar Heel State is still “absolutely in play,” despite widespread reports that have already placed North Carolina in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s win column.
Campaign advisor David Axelrod echoed Messina.
“We are doubling down, we are not pulling back at all,” Axelrod told reporters this week. “Anybody who thinks [North Carolina is] in the bag (for Republican challenger Mitt Romney) are half in the bag themselves.”
The campaign still touts its ground game, fueled by 54 field offices across the state, compared to just 22 for the Romney campaign, to ensure voter turnout. That strategy, coupled with a strong voter registration drive, was credited with Obama winning North Carolina by just 14,000 votes in 2008.
 The president has not come to campaign to North Carolina since the Democratic National Convention during the first week in September. However, both First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice Pres. Joe Biden have campaigned in the state twice since then.


            [PILOT MOUNTAIN] The Republican state senator, who defiantly stood up against any payments to victims of state sponsored forced sterilizations, has died. Sen. Don East of Surry County died Monday after being hospitalized with back problems, published reports say. Sen. East served seven terms in the state Senate. He was previously a Surry county commissioner and a police officer in Winston Salem. Last June, Sen. East helped to block a vote on compensation for eugenics victims when he said, “You just can’t rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country. I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away. It still happened.”

            [CHARLOTTE] Published reports say Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory solid double -digit lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Walton Dalton has given the Democratic Governors Association so much consternation that it has backed off purchasing any more ads for Dalton’s campaign less than two weeks before Election Day, Nov. 6th. The DGA has so far spent only $2.6 million of the original $5 million it had promised Dalton.  In contrast, the Republican Governors Association has spent approximately $4.7 million for McCrory. The Dalton campaign can only count on a strong voter turnout now for it to have any chance of defeating McCrory.

            [RALEIGH] According to state officials, 965,297 people attended the 2012 NC State Fair over its eleven-day period, making it the third largest in North Carolina history. Bad weather and a tight economy may account for the depressed turnout. The top attendance ever was in 2010 with 1,091,887, and in 2011 with 1,007,173.

Friday night, Broughton High School will celebrate the life of Corporal Darrion Hicks, who was killed in Afghanistan in July. Darrion was a 2009 graduate of Broughton High. There will be a ceremony starting at 6:40pm on the football field prior to the Broughton and Sanderson football game. Hicks’ family will be there. Any active duty military in uniform or veterans who would like to participate are asked to assemble at the field by 6:15. They will join the Broughton JROTC on the field as the NC National Guard honor guard presents a flag to the family.
         Reports of an alleged illicit sexual affair in 2010 between Republican Wake School Board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone have cast a looming shadow over both of their statewide campaigns for higher office.  Both were married with children at the time. The News and Observer reported Sunday that the alleged affair was uncovered when Goldman, who is running for state auditor, told Cary Police in 2010 that she suspected Malone of stealing $130,000 in cash and jewelry from her home. Reportedly, GOP leaders were aware of the allegations, and have now distanced themselves from Goldman. Both Malone, who is running for the NC House from Wake Forest, and Goldman say they will stay in their races.
         Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane formally endorsed President Barack Obama Tuesday. Mayor McFarlane said the president is commitment to investing in America’s infrastructure for growth, in addition to education and technological innovation. Many polls have already given North Carolina to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, but the Obama campaign says its ground game in North Carolina will win the state on Nov. 6th.
By Cash Michaels
               I VOTED - I early-voted last Friday. So I can run my mouth now all I want. Your turn! Get to it!

            GOOD MEDIA, BAD LIARS - During this election season we’re seeing a lot of garbage, trash, and just plain lying on our television sets and in major market newspapers.
            Clearly after last week’s second debate between Pres. Obama and Republican Mitt Romney - a debate that Pres. Obama clearly won in style and factual points - the right-wing media like Fox News tried to muddy up the water by claiming that Romney was correct in falsely alleging that the president did not call the Bengazi. Libya attacks that killed four Americans an “act of terror,” which he did twice immediately after, video shows.
            After this week’s third presidential debate on foreign policy, the president clearly dominated, but of course, Fox News and the conservative media wouldn’t hear of it, and gave points to Romney for just showing up.
            But standouts in making the case for truth have been the crew at MSNBC, and specifically Chris Matthews of “Hardball”; Rev. Al Sharpton of “PoliticsNation”; Ed Schultz of “The Ed Show”; Lawrence O’Donnell of “The Last Word’; and definitely, absolutely my girl Rachel Maddow of the “Rachel Maddow Show.” The MSNBC team has been nailing Fox and the other pretenders to the wall, and rightfully so.
            But I would be amiss if I also didn’t note CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on her daily “Starting Point” program. When Republican spinmeisters like John Sununu and Rudy Guiliani come on and try to lie their way through, O’Brien puts up a definite roadblock and straightens them out.
            That takes guts, and we applaud O’Brien for standing up to these clowns.
            We want to see more of that type of journalism, even when Democrats get out of hand.
            Spin at your own risks.
THIRTEEN DAYS TO GO - With thirteen days left before the Nov. 6th  elections, I have to start this column by asking this question - if you’re not going to vote, for whatever the reason, do you realize how you’re playing yourself.
            You see, most people don’t want to vote because they don’t want to give power to someone else they perceive as not deserving it.
            Problem is, when you don’t vote, that’s exactly what you’re doing anyway.
            Think about it. There are powerful interests here in North Carolina, and across the nation, who are working feverishly, and spending tens of millions of dollars, to deny you your right to vote.
            Because they’ve seen what your vote can do when you come together with other ordinary citizens to make a difference.
            They are literally afraid that you will do that again, so in every state in this nation, they’ve come up with ways suppress your vote. If not voter ID, then it’s cutting the early voting days and hours. If it’s not that, then it’s sending pollwatchers to each state to challenge black voters at their voting precincts.
            And if all else fails, then they try to get your pastor to tell you to sit this election out just because he (or she) has a biblical disagreement with one of the candidates.
            So many people just lining up to stop you from casting your vote. Shouldn’t that tell you something? Shouldn’t that tell you just how powerful you are, and your vote is?
            And wouldn’t it be so very, very stupid if you just gave up that power, and didn’t vote?
            Guess what? If there is a leak in your house, a small problem compared to everything that could go wrong, you don’t just stop living there. You fix the leak, right?
            If there is somebody in your family that you have a disagreement with, you don’t just never talk to them again. You deal with the problem, even pray for them. Yes, you may yell, scream and holler, but at the end of the day, you’re still family, and you still love each other, agree to disagree, and continue to love each other.
            So if you don’t make rash decisions in those circumstances, why are you so quick
to demand that a certain candidate had better agree with you on everything, or else you refuse to support him?
            Folks we are not voting fo perfect people here. If you agree with a candidate on eight out of ten things, guess what, that’s not a bad record. Six out of ten is decent. But the fact of the matter is someone is going to occupy that office, and it’s better that they basically be for you than against you.
            If you take yourself completely out of the process, you have nothing tp say when the pain comes. Yes, in many cases, the pain is already here, but why make it worse, especially for your children?
            In Nov. 201o we did not go to the polls. Other people did, and look what happened? We have more divided government than ever before.
            If you want that to change, you don’t do it by allowing the troublemakers to stay in office. You vote in more good people to help the ones who are outnumbered.
            One more thing…do you feel in your heart that GOD wants you to stay home and not vote? Do you really, because if you do, you’re wrong. GOD gave you choice to do something, not to sit still and count yourself out.
            Look at the issues, look at the candidates, then vote for who, and what is important to you.
            You are needed, and your vote, and opinion, is valuable.
            Be heard. Tens of thousands of others in our community are stepping up.
            I stepped up last Friday.
            Now it’s your turn.
            Do 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.

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