TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
WAKE COMMISSION BOARD APPROVES OLD YMCA PURCHASE FOR WCPSS
In a 4-3 vote with a member of the Republican majority joining the Democrats, Wake County commissioners Monday approved the $1 million purchase of the old Hargett Street YMCA building for the Wake Public School Building. School system leaders indicated they wanted to use the Southeast Raleigh facility to open a new elementary school, citing seat shortage in the area. Republican board member Joe Bryan sided with the board Democrats in voting for the purchase. The Hargett Street YMCA closed earlier this year and filed for bankruptcy amid financial difficulties.
COBLE SAYS NO SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND UNTIL 2015
Still angry that the Democratic leadership of the Wake School Board fired Supt. Tony Tata, Republican Wake County Commission Board Chairman Paul Coble says he won’t back a school construction referendum being on the 2013 ballot until a new superintendent is hired and student assignment plan is underway. School board leaders say the system is already experiencing capacity issues, with the 150,000 pupil population expected to grow by at least 2,000 students a year. The construction bond cannot go forward unless the Republican majority on the county commission board agrees.
RETIRING ASST. RALEIGH CITY MANAGER TO BECOME PART-TIMER
Assistant Raleigh City Manager Julian Prosser has announced that he will officially retire on Dec. 31st after 32 years working for Raleigh city government. He has held his post since 2004. But retirement apparently doesn’t mean goodbye to Prosser. He has agreed to work as an adviser to the city manager’s office part-time starting in February. Prosser is credited with helping to turn Raleigh into a redeveloped modern mid-size city, thanks to the tremendous growth of downtown. During his retirement, Prosser says he wants to do some traveling with his family.
SURPRISED REACTION TO
KROGER STORE CLOSINGS
By Cash Michaels
Residents and nonresidents of Southeast Raleigh reacted on Facebook with surprise and dismay with news that two Kroger supermarkets – one at 1610 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and the other at 4111 New Bern Avenue – will be closing in January because of inadequate sales.
“I do find it hard to believe they are losing money because you can't go by there without the parking lot always being full,” said Diann Freeman, whose parents she says shop there. “I think they are just trying to move out of the Black community. I would like to contact the company and ask them some questions about this. They carry very few name brand items, so I don't get it.
Former Southeast Raleigh City Councilman Brad Thompson, who said he and his family shops the MLK Blvd. Kroger and always found it “highly patronized,” also had questions about the Kroger closings.
“I think Kroger should examine its business model to determine why this store is not successful. Are the hours too long? Is the rent too high? Is the space too big? Are the items being bought the ones with the lowest margins? Have their been inordinate losses? Is there a reluctance to use self-service causing sales per employee to be lower than normal?”
Thompson continued, “ Surely we are owed more than an announcement of the closing. Having food available in our community is one thing that makes it attractive. While Food Lion still continues to serve us (and for that we should be thankful) we must investigate other options (including co-ops) that will leave us less vulnerable to decisions from afar that affect the health and well being of communities we care about.”
The MLK Blvd. store in the heart of Southeast Raleigh opened in 2002, while the New Bern Ave location opened in 1993. In 2011, Kroger also closed its Wake Commons store in North Raleigh because of lackluster sales.
“Due to lowering financial returns, the difficult decision was made to close the locations in an effort to maintain the grocer’s commitment to low prices and quality food products for customers across North Carolina,” a statement from the Cincinnati-based company, which has 16 stores in the Triangle area, said.
“Although Kroger has continued to use its resources to improve each location, both have been unprofitable for the company,” the statement ended.
It was suggested that now is the time for the African-American community to seize this opportunity to create food co-ops, where farmers can come to sell their produce, and black small businesses can help fill in the gap.
Some on Facebook found that hard to believe, however, and even thought that the Kroger move was actually political.
“[This] is an example of disinvestment of Southeast Raleigh,” wrote Carmen Cauthen. “I live in Oberlin, but shop at both the MLK and Six Forks Kroger, and very occasionally the New Bern Avenue store. I have been under the impression that the MLK store has been losing money for quite a while. It is very often that I shop there and find a lot of items on clearance because they aren't selling and that includes dairy products, which is a very rare thing. I have also had problems with them taking coupons that are not out of the newspaper (i.e., internet prints). That is a problem that I had with the Food Lion on Raleigh Blvd. as well. It is not a problem that I have with stores in predominantly white neighborhoods and I have complained to Food Lion organization officials (but worked it out with the Kroger store manager).”
Facebook’er Abdulkarim Talib was more blunt.
“In today's political climate I can't help but think it's a message, 'this is what you get for reelecting that black guy', especially since they're been open for almost a decade and it's just now you've discovered they're losing money? Yea, riiiigghht!
NAACP MOUNTS NATIONAL
WILMINGTON TEN PETITION
By Cash Michaels
The national NAACP has once again joined its North Carolina conference of chapters in supporting pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten.
Meanwhile a distinguished UNC – Chapel Hill law professor who worked on the Wilmington Ten case as a young law student, has agreed to write Gov. Beverly Perdue, urging her to grant individual pardons of actual innocence to the ten civil rights activists who were falsely tried, convicted and sentenced to 282 years in prison for crimes forty years they did not commit.
And sources say there is opposition to the proposed pardons, primarily from former law enforcement and state officials who still believe – despite no evidence proving that the Wilmington Ten had anything to do with the 1971 firebombing of a White-owned grocery store, or sniper shots at responding firemen – that they are guilty.
This week, the national NAACP tweeted out to its hundreds of thousands of members across the country an appeal for them to sign a brand new petition in support of the Wilmington Ten pardons effort.
“Wrongfully framed by the courts, we ask that North Carolina clear the names of these ten innocent people - four of whom are now deceased - who deserve their justice forty years later,” the NAACP petition states.
“Forty years later we stand together in the name of justice for the Wilmington Ten and their families. Let us put such issues to rest and move forward from the days of racial tensions and injustices,” the NAACP petition statement continues.
“Pardon the Wilmington Ten and declare them their warranted innocence. They deserve nothing less than to get an opportunity to put this experience behind them, and have their names cleared for history, once and for all.”
The NAACP petition can be found at http://www.naacp.org/pages/naacp-petitions. It should be signed by Nov. 28th.
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous agreed to make the national appeal when he visited North Carolina two weeks ago to join NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber for a pre-election press conference.
In concert with Rev. Barber. Jealous was supportive of the cause months before it was made public last spring.
“There are still too many black activists who are still being mistreated in this country, who carry badges of shame, if you will, for spending time in prison, who at the end of the day their only crime was standing up for the people,” Jealous told The Carolinian last March. “In the case of the Wilmington Ten, we will push [for pardons] and support our state conference in their push to ensure that finally, their names are cleared.”
Two days after the pardons of innocence effort was made public last May, NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Barber, along with civil rights attorney Al McSurely, and NAACP Board Executive Committee member Carolyn Coleman, pushed through a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the national NAACP Board of Directors.
Rev. Barber also facilitated having the Pardon Project’s hard copy petitions setup during the national convention in Houston, Texas last summer, and was the keynote speaker during the June 26th prayer rally at St. Stephen’s Church in Wilmington.
Support from the nation’s oldest civil rights organization and its leaders hasn’t stopped there.
On Tuesday, Nov. 27th, the state NAACP will hold a press conference at the state Capital to speak out about the newly discovered Stroud files, the handwritten notes of Wilmington Ten prosecutor from the 1972 trials.
The prosecutor’s notes document how he not only attempted to gerrymander a “KKK” and “Uncle Tom” type jury to assure convictions of the Wilmington Ten, but deliberately calculated a mistrial in the first trial because a jury of ten blacks and two whites had been selected.
When the second trial commenced in September 1972, Stroud was able to engineer a jury of ten whites and two blacks, in addition to three witnesses he coerced into committing perjury.
The Wilmington Ten were ultimately convicted.
The prosecutor’s notes are clear and convincing evidence that race was not just a factor in his selection of the 10 Whites and two Blacks on the Pender jury that convicted the Wilmington Ten,” veteran civil rights attorney Al McSurely says. “Race was the only factor. Forty years later, we know his real motives. I believe when the governor studies this evidence, she will do the right thing and sign the pardons.”
While the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions in Dec. 1980, the state of North Carolina never did. The Wilmington Ten have remained convicted felons in the state ever since.
With Gov. Beverly Perdue leaving office on Dec. 31st, the push is on deliver all petitions and support letters to her by the first week in December.
UNC – Chapel Hill School of Law Professor Richard Rosen, considered an expert in criminal law, has agreed to join the other legal scholars, elected officials and members of Congress is formally asking Gov. Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten.
For Rosen, this case is more than just what he has read in a law book.
“I actually attended a few days of the trial, and when I was a law student I worked with [Wilmington ten lead defense attorney] James Ferguson on the appeals,” Prof. Rosen told The Carolinian. “I also was involved in some of the post-trial organizing. So I'm willing to do whatever I can to help.”
(To sign the Change.Org online petition asking Gov. Beverly Perdue to grant pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, please go to https://www.change.org/petitions/nc-governor-bev-perdue-pardon-the-wilmington-ten Those who would like to write a letter to Gov. Perdue before Dec. 1, asking her to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten, should send them to:
Hon. Beverly Eaves Perdue
Governor of North Carolina
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301)
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
COLEMAN CONCEDES; FOREST WINS LT. GOV-ELECT
[RALEIGH] Even though aggressive canvassing of outstanding provisional ballots from the Nov. 6th elections cut the margin of votes between Lt. Governor candidates Republican Dan Forest and Democrat Linda Coleman from 11,200 to just 7,000, Coleman conceded the race Monday. She could have called for recount, but decided it was likely that she wouldn’t prevail. Forest said he was relieved that the race could now be certified on Nov. 27th. He will be only the second Republican Lt. Governor in NC history to serve under a Republican governor, Pat McCrory. The two will be sworn-in in January.
GOP HOUSE SPEAKER TILLIS CHOSEN FOR SECOND TERM
[RALEIGH] Despite grumblings among the rank-and-file House Republicans that he was too moderate, GOP House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County was re-elected to his post for a second two-year term last Saturday. Tillis should have no problem governing. Thanks to the Nov. 6th election, he’ll have a super-majority of 77 out of 120 that he can override any gubernatorial veto with, plus he’ll have Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and state Senate leader Sen. Phil Berger, also a Republican, to work with. Tillis is expected to push for a new voter ID bill when the General Assembly gavels back into session in January.
NCNAACP TO GOV.-ELECT MCCRORY: “LET’S TALK”
[DURHAM] Looking to start off with some sense of mutual understanding with Gov.-elect Pat McCrory, the NCNAACP has called for a meeting with him before he takes office in January. Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, says that Republicans and the NAACP have worked together in the past to advance racial equality, and there’s no reason to believe it can’t happen again with McCrory once he takes office. At presstime Monday, there had been no response from McCrory. The last time the former mayor of Charlotte was invited to appear with the NCNAACP was in October during a candidates’ forum with Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. McCrory chose not to appear, going to the NC State Fair instead to campaign.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
HAPPY THANKSGIVING – I hope, after all of the madness and turmoil, that you and your family are about to take time out this Thanksgiving season to take stock in who you are, and what you have, and indeed, thank GOD, however you worship him, for all that you do have.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TIFFANY – A special Happy Birthday shout out to my oldest daughter, Tiffany, who turns 30 this weekend. Boy, am I feeling like an old man. It was just yesterday that Tiff was attending high school, getting great grades and doing high school musicals like “Annie” and “Brighton Beach.”
She has graduated college, earned her MBA, and gone on to be a successful sales executive and media personality in the Washington, D.C. area. So I’m immensely proud of her and all that she’s accomplished.
So welcome to the “old folks” crowd, Tiff. Your mother, Felicia, would be very proud of you.
I know I am.
THE WILMINGTON TEN PARDON EFFORT - As you may know, besides being editor/chief reporter for The Carolinian Newspaper in Raleigh, and a staff writer at The Wilmington Journal in Wilmington, I am also coordinator for The Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project - sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (of which The Carolinian and Wilmington Journal are member newspapers) working to have Gov. Beverly Perdue grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten before she leaves office on Dec. 31st.
The Wilmington Ten, as you know, were nine black males and one white female who, forty years ago, were falsely convicted and sentenced to 282 years in prison - some of which they all served - for crimes they did not commit in connection to racial violence in Wilmington in 1971.
History shows that the three witnesses who testified against the Ten later admitted they committed perjury. In Dec. 1980, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals overturned the Ten’s convictions based on prosecutorial misconduct. But the state of North Carolina never followed suit.
Since then, four of the Wilmington Ten have died, never seeing the day when their names could be cleared.
We have been working hard since January of this year to change that.
Dec. 1st is our deadline for getting in all of our petition signatures for the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, so we're trying to get as many signatures as possible before then.
Please, go to our Change.Org petition link at https://www.change.org/petitions/nc-governor-bev-perdue-pardon-the-wilmington-ten, sign it, and then send out the link via your own email tree, asking everyone you contact to also sign it, and then share the link with their contacts BEFORE Dec. 1st.
The governor will be making her decision in December, and we want to have at least 1,000 online signatures. Currently we have over 730, so you see we're hustling for the goal.
We are also asking, for those individuals, churches or institutions who wish to beyond just signing the petition, to send letters to Gov. Perdue asking her to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten by Dec. 1st.
Here is that address:
Hon. Beverly Eaves Perdue
Governor of North Carolina
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
If you want more information about the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, you can go to www.wilmingtonjournal.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheWilmingtonTenPardonOfInnocenceProject
Please, as we enter this holy season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let us deliver peace and justice to those who have been forty years denied.
As a black journalist, and a proud member of the community, after forty long years, I’d like to see justice done for the Wilmington Ten.
I sincerely hope that you do too.
DIRECTORS OF COLOR – Two great holiday movies that opened on Nov. 21st by two great directors of color.
The first, “Rise of the Guardians,” I went to see with my youngest daughter KaLa and wife, Markita last weekend. The 3D animated feature about how Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other classic characters come together to fight the Boogey Man stars the voices of Chris Pine (the new Capt. Kirk in the new “Star Trek” movies), Alec Baldwin, Jude Law and Hugh Jackman.
It was great fun, and was directed by Peter Ramsey, the first African-American ever to direct a major animated motion picture.
But I promised KaLa that she could write a review of the film, so here it is, “KaLa’s Kolomn”:
I think that “Rise of the Guardians” was a 100,000 out of 10! It was magnificent. Good effects, a heartwarming story, wonderful characters and n awful villain.
I recommend this to anyone that likes a good fright!!!
The second great holiday film that KaLa and I went to see (and she’ll also review for next week’s column) is “Life of Pi,” the story of an Indian boy who is trapped on a small boat on the sea with a Bengal tiger. The trailer look awesome, and the special effects folks did a bang-up job creating the tiger.
Distinguished Academy Award winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee of “Crouching tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame, helmed this film, and the Oscar buzz is out for it already.
KaLa loves to read a lot, so taking her to this kind of film is great. Most importantly though, the big holiday films no longer belong exclusively to the likes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas exclusively, and that’s a good thing!
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.