NNPA STORIES -
Members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus meet with the press after visiting Gov. McCrory's Office with a list of concerns [Photo courtesy Shawna Williams]
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 5-16-13
DURHAM SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS BALK AT SINGLE SEX SCHOOL
Just as there was controversy in Wake County two years ago over it, the Durham Board of Education is now also divided over establishing two year-round single-sex schools for at-risk children, grades 6-12. School Supt. Eric Becoats is pushing the idea, which, if approved, would enter the system in partnership with the Maureen joy Charter School. The schools would open next year, and cost $12 million to establish. Some members were concerned about the value of separating boys from girls, while others countered that now is the time to try it.
SENATE BILL CEDING WAKE SCHOOL PROPERTY TO COUNTY ADVANCES
A state Senate bill that would allow the Wake County Commission Board to take ownership and control of all Wake Board of Education school buildings and properties passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, and headed to the Senate floor, where, at presstime, it was expected to pass. Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton has called the bill a ‘power play’ by the Republican Wake Commissioners. Nine other counties would be affected if the measure passes.
NCDOT SAYS THREE LANES WILL REMAIN OPEN DURING I-40/440 BELTLINE WORK
NC DOT Secretary Anthony Tata says in order to ensure that traffic moves as smoothly as possible during the rebuilding of 11.5 miles of the I-40/440 Beltline over the next three years, at least three lanes will remain open for commuters. Tata says DOT also plans to spend $12 million on vanpools and express buses from Johnson County and Southern Wake County, to downtown Raleigh, in order to shave 30,000 cars off the road a day from the estimated 110,000 drivers who use the Beltline currently.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 5-16-13
HISTORIC EMANCIPATION DOCUMENT NOW ON DISPLAY IN RALEIGH
[RALEIGH] From now until June 16th, the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the seven-page 1862 document President Abraham Lincoln issued to justify the freeing of slaves, will be on public display at the NC Museum of History. The display, part of the new “Freedom Coming, Freedom for All” exhibit, is the original handwritten letter from Lincoln to the Confederate states warning them to put down their arms and free their slaves in 100 days, or prepare for further attacks. When the South refused, Lincoln then issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. The museum exhibit is free and open to the public.
BLACK MECKLENBURG COMMISSIONER “SURE DID” CALL COLLEAGUE A RACIST
[CHARLOTTE] She never said the word, but Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake, an African-American, replied “I sure did” when a white board colleague asked her, “You called me a racist?” during a heated county commission meeting this week. The issue in contention was the recent firing of County Manager Harry Jones. Members of the board’s Democratic majority began attacking each other. Com. Leake had voted to fire Jones. Commissioner Dumont Clarke, who is white, supported Jones. At one point, Leake, clearly angry with some of what Clarke was saying, replied, “You go back to the old time when white men sat in rooms and made decisions for poor people.” That’s when Clarke asked if he was being called a racist, and Leake confirmed.
SMOKING IN PARKS, BEACHES COULD MAKE A RETURN
[RALEIGH] If a state Senate Committee has its way, those smoking restrictions at beaches and in public parks may be a thing of the past. Republican Senate lawmakers, saying that people should have the right to smoke outdoors where they choose, passed a measure this week in committee forbidding local municipalities from passing ordinances that restrict outdoor smoking beyond what is allowed under state law. State law, however, does not restrict outdoor smoking. The measure was expected to clear the Senate, and be sent to the House.
Members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus meet with the press after visiting Gov. McCrory's Office with a list of concerns [Photo courtesy Shawna Williams]
NC BLACK CAUCUS TO
GOVERNOR: WAKE UP
By Cash Michaels
Members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, frustrated by the avalanche of what some say are “regressive” policies being passed by the GOP-led NC General Assembly, paid an unscheduled visit last week to the offices of the one Republican they hoped would listen to “reason and common ground” – Gov. Pat McCrory.
He wasn’t there, but that didn’t stop the NCLBC from making it clear that if the moderate governor is truly leading North Carolina for the benefit of all of its citizens, then McCrory is going to have to challenge his Republican colleagues in the legislature when their conservative policies have gone too far.
Meanwhile, in the third week of their “Moral Mondays” demonstrations, over 200 protestors and NCNAACP supporters again descended on the NC Legislative Building on Jones Street Monday evening.
This time forty-nine were arrested and taken to jail when they engaged in non-violent civil disobedience. That number significantly grew from the 30 and 17 protestors arrested the two previous weeks respectively.
Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP and leader of the protests, announced Wednesday that the peaceful, though defiant demonstrations will continue next Monday evening at the Legislative Building.
Rep. Garland Pierce [D-Hoke], chairman of the NCLBC, has publicly supported the NCNAACP’s peaceful protests, proclaiming that the NCLBC will also not be silent regarding new Republican policies that cut unemployment, limit Medicaid funding and raise taxes on the working poor.
Last week’s uninvited visit to the Governor’s Office was the NCLBC’s way, Rep. Pierce said, to stake out their own ground in the battle.
“The North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus seeks to find reason and common ground from this General Assembly and the Governor in the midst of the current rising tide of unrest from voices of 3.6 million North Carolinians,” Rep. Pierce said in a statement.
An aide to the governor met Chairman Pierce and several NCLBC members in McCrory’s absence as members of the media looked on. Pierce and company didn’t come empty-handed. They left a detailed list of concerns for the governor to review for when they, in fact, are able to schedule a meeting.
Titled, “How will this Legislative Session Affect Your Family?: Awful and Dangerous,” the NCLBC missive to the governor lists a number of Republican-sponsored measures – some McCrory has already signed into law – that the NCLBC says will hurt not just poor people of color, but all working class North Carolinians.
That NCLBC list for the governor included, “ Creating Barriers to Work and Unemployment [Benefits]”; “Preventing Access to Health Care”; “Reducing Investments to Our Children’s Future (eliminating 30,000 children from the state pre-kindergarten program, removing limits of class sizes and cutting funding for teacher assistants)”; “Making it Harder to Vote (photo voter ID, shortening early voting, eliminating saem-day registration and Sunday “Souls to the Polls”)’; and “Shifting the Tax Burden to Working Families (lowering the corporate and personal income tax while expanding sales taxes for the working class).”
“Our agenda is clear!,” Rep. Pierce said. “These are the major issues that adversely impact our constituents and we seek a way forward to report back to the voters that our collective interests are being met. Leadership owes all North Carolina citizens answers.”
CASH IN THE APPLE 5-16-13
By Cash Michaels
MALCOLM SHABAZZ – Three years ago, I was introduced to Malcolm Lateef Shabazz, then 25, the grandson of Malcolm X, during his trip to Raleigh. Immediately, I sensed an intensity in this young man, and also to a certain extent, a very heavy burden.
Several years ago, at the very young age of 12, Malcolm, an admittedly troubled youth, set fire to his grandmother’s apartment. Looking for him in the blaze, she sustained serious burns, and weeks later, died from her injuries.
Malcolm’s grandmother was Dr. Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X.
In the intervening years, the teenager found himself in more trouble, and incarcerated. It was a long road for him to partially put his history behind him.
I met young Malcolm during a period of his rebuilding his life, and a day after meeting him in person, I interviewed him by phone.
This was a very serious young black man, a black nationalist and devout Muslim with a politically dynamic mind. He traveled the nation and the world, speaking to other young people about leading a life of purpose. Malcolm seemed to be preparing himself for leadership in the same vain and spirit of his legendary grandfather. Indeed, young Malcolm cherished the legend of Malcolm X, and modeled himself after his famous granddad, though quickly admitting that he could never take his place ion history.
“My grandfather, to me, was the epitome of a true revolutionary,” Malcolm told me.
He also spoke lovingly about his grandmother, Dr. Shabazz, acknowledging how much she loved and cared for him.
“My grandmother was royalty,” he told me, noting how hard she worked as a human rights leader, and a college professor.
My interview by phone with Malcolm Shabazz was one of the most difficult I’ve ever conducted with any famous figure, because I wanted him to address his feelings about that tragic incident in his life that so shocked and saddened the world. He made it clear that he set the fire to gain attention, not to hurt anyone, and certainly not to hurt his grandmother.
As a child, young Malcolm, who had been passed around from relative to relative while his mother, Quibilah, dealt with legal problems, just wanted to live with her again, and was trying to cause something that would make his grandmother send him back.
During our phone interview, Malcolm passionately shared his feelings about the incident.
Shortly afterwards, we lost our connection, and I never heard from Malcolm Shabazz again.
Since then I’ve followed reports about his comings and goings with great interest. Recently there were reports about his wanting to attend a conference in Iran, but had been detained by the FBI for some unknown reason.
But I looked forward to hearing from Malcolm again, to see how he had further grown and matured. To see how he was progressing towards being the leader that he wanted to be.
And then last week came the extraordinary news – Malcolm Shabazz, 28, grandson of Malcolm X, was murdered in Mexico.
Since then there has been nothing but confusion about exactly what happened. First reports were that he had been shot and thrown off a roof. Then reports had him drinking in a bar with friends, only to be accosted, beaten and left for dead on the streets before being taken to a hospital, where he died.
At presstime, two men had been charged with homicide by Mexican authorities, and Malcolm’s body was in the process of being sent back to the United States so that his family could claim it.
So all I feel now is an incredible sadness that this young man’s life was cut so short. Whatever his path, and whatever his problems, Malcolm Shabazz didn’t deserve to die.
But at least he is at peace now. And perhaps in death, he is now able to be back with his grandmother, and is able to meet his grandfather, his hero, for the first time.
The life of Malcolm Shabazz was a tragic one. He needed more time to fix it.
You can hear part of the interview I did with Malcolm on this afternoon’s (Thursday) “Make It Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM, and www.myWAUG.com
“FREE ANGELA” – Last week I attended the Raleigh one-night showing of the acclaimed documentary, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” an extraordinary film by Shola Lynch.
I urge you to see it. Angela Davis was a major black educator and activist of the 1970’s who was the target of political recrimination because of her membership in the Communist Party. Davis became a fugitive after guns that she purchased were used in a deadly 1970 Marin County, California courthouse shootout. Davis was tried and found not guilty of conspiracy and murder, and has remained a figure of black nationalism ever since.
For those who grew up during the time of Angela Davis, this documentary does a superb job of recounting the historic events with excellent, insightful interviews, archival news clips, and great storytelling. For young people today seeing this film and learning about this dynamic black woman, this film is a treasure trove.
Kudos must go to actor Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who served as producers for the film.
Kudos must also be extended to Angelica Simmons and Carleen Brack Jameson for bringing the one-night only engagement to Raleigh last week via Tugg.com, a unique online service that allows anyone to book a movie at a theater in their community.
“Free Angela” is being seen in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC, but North Carolina is not considered a major movie market (which is weird given how many colleges and universities we have here). So the only way for you to see this film in this state is either attend one of the booked Tugg.com screenings in or near your area, or go to www.tugg.com, and book a theater yourself.
I urge folks in Wilmington to go to that website to book a date. It could be a good fundraiser for a worthy community group to host.
And as for Raleigh, Ms. Simmons and Ms. Brack Jameson are bringing “Free Angela” back to Raleigh on Monday, June 10th. Go to http://www.tugg.com/events/4027 for more information.
This is a must-see film.
INTERESTING – Isn’t it interesting how all of these major controversies are ganging up on President Obama at the same time – Benghazi, the IRS probe of the Tea Party, and now the US Justice Dept. getting phone records of Associated Press personnel? And if you’ve seen pictures or video of the president lately, all of this, including the constant battles with Congress over the sequester cuts, seems to be wearing him down.
He does not look like a happy camper.
Let’s pray for him, folks, because Lord knows, with the crazy, bloodthirsty people he’s dealing with who hate his guts, the president could use every prayer he can get.
Rest easy, Mr. President, and keep your cool. They only want to destroy you.
But GOD won’t let that happen.
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 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.
OP-ED FROM STELLA ADAMS
Has America Abandoned Homeownership?
By Stella J. Adams
Private-equity firms, hedge funds and other Wall Street investors are seeking to develop a Real Estate Owned (REO) – to- Rent Securitization Market with the blessing of the FED and FHFA. A year ago, the Federal Reserve Board issued a policy statement on rental of REO owned by the banks they supervise and allowed the banks to rent REO properties without requiring them to demonstrate continuous efforts to market the properties. Last fall, FHFA initiated a “pilot” REO bulk sale program in urban markets across the nation. This munificence by the federal regulators will change the course of America’s future and signals the abandonment of homeownership as a pathway to prosperity.
Single-family rental properties have attracted more than $10 billion from Equity Firms, Hedge Funds, REITs and Institutional investors and according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. , this market may attract a total of $2.8 trillion in capital investments in the not so distant future. The government’s encouragement of this new housing market is fraught with potential societal and economic risks to the long-term health of our neighborhoods and our nation.
As a fair housing professional, I am concerned that this allows the Wall Street predators to once again prey upon urban and inner-ring suburban communities across the country. These new investors in the rental housing market may not be aware that they are covered under Section 805 of the Federal Fair Housing Act and its implementing regulations.
As a homeowner, I am concerned that there may be homes on my block or in my community that are owned by Wall Street firms, who have shown no accountability for maintaining the properties they have acquired. A judge recently denied Deutsche Bank AG's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the city of Los Angeles accusing it of letting hundreds of foreclosed properties fall into disrepair and illegally evicting low-income tenants. According to a 2011 civil enforcement action filed by the City of Los Angeles Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries held title to more than 2,000 properties in Los Angeles.
According to news reports private equity behemoth Blackstone has acquired over 25,000 properties across the country including 1400 in Atlanta and with a $2.1 billion dollar line of credit from Deutsche Bank, is preparing to greatly expand its holdings.
This is bad news for our communities; homeowners bring stability to neighborhoods and are more engaged in local civic affairs. Homeownership and locally based landlords contribute to the social cohesion of our communities with shared values, commitment to the common good and bound by desire for economic prosperity for all.
The nomination of Representative Mel Watt (D-NC12) to lead FHFA is an opportunity for positive systemic change. In a properly regulated housing market, homeownership does not pose a risk to households or investors. I hope that this nomination signals a recommitment by this administration to homeownership. I believe strongly that the effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations coupled with the underwriting of safe, sustainable and affordable loans is a leveraged path to financial stability, and the social mobility that is the essence of the American Dream.
Stella J. Adams is a Housing Policy expert and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, DC