[BRIEFS AFTER CASH IN THE APPLE BELOW]
EMBATTLED WHA CEO’S 2nd DWI
ARREST MAY SEAL FATE
By Cash Michaels
He makes $142,000 a year, directs Wilmington’s public housing authority, and answers to the city’s elected officials and his board.
But WHA CEO Michael Krause, currently on leave of absence, may now find himself out of a job before his Nov. 26th court date after his second high profile DWI arrest last Sunday. The WHA Board of Commissioners were scheduled to meet today, and at press time, it was not known what action they would take.
Mayor Bill Saffo has already sent the signal that he’s not pleased.
Given the circumstances of Krause’s second driving while impaired arrest, where he reportedly blew a .35 on a breathalyzer test – four times the 0.08 legal limit, Krause may have used up what even good graces and benefits of a doubt he garnered after his first DWI offense in 2009.
He had just taken over the embattled WHA a year earlier in 2008
Krause, 41, pleaded guilty in January 2010 after a test revealed he had a blood alcohol level of .23.
He was sentenced to 24 hours of community service, and paid a $100.00 fine with over $350.00 in court fees. At the time, the WHA Board Chair Lethia Hankins issued a statement saying that the board had “complete confidence” in Krause’s ability to lead. His punishment from the agency, however, was never made known.
It is highly doubtful that the WHA Board will repeat that sentiment after this latest alleged drunk driving incident.
Last Sunday afternoon, according to a 911 tape, Krause was seen allegedly driving erratically by another driver while heading home on Windemere Road. Police arrested Him at his home afterwards, and took him from his home barefoot.
He was charged with DWI, and operating a vehicle without a license. Krause posted a $1,000 bond for his release.
During his five-year tenure, Krause is credited with bringing in millions of dollars in funding for public and Section 8 housing. Last December, WHA officially completed the rehabilitation of the Creekwood South community on Emory Street. Solomon Towers on Castle Street was also a WHA project completed in 2012.
NC LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS
WANTS OFFICIAL PROBE OF DHHS
By Cash Michaels
Amid growing controversies involving high salaries to political cronies, high-profile terminations of experienced agency heads; and structural breakdowns in new program implementations at the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus (NCLBC) expressed concerns at a press conference Wednesday, and called on the Republican-led NC General Assembly, and Gov. Pat McCrory, to look into the matters.
“After news stories surfaced about unusual contracts at DHHS, Secretary Aldona Wos chose to communicate via email with only 17 of 170 NC legislators about the status of the Department and issues reported on in the press,” NCLBC Chairman Rep. Garland Pierce said in a press statement Wednesday.
“DHHS is a large agency with a mission that touches many North Carolinians, including our most vulnerable residents, On-going issues at the Department are linked to new lay-offs from health care providers, lengthy waits for food stamps in counties, questions about actions concerning employees and contractors, and the general health and safety of all North Carolinians,” Rep. Pierce continued.”
“We have questions and concerns to raise and ask that Governor McCrory and Secretary Wos communicate with all legislators so we can effectively represent our constituents.”
Per the NCLBC press release, the areas where issues need further scrutiny include:
Personnel and Staffing
· Double-digit salary increases for some staff at a time when most other state employees, including public school teachers, received no raise at all in the state's new two-year budget.
· Dorothea Dix Facilities were determined to not be fit for patients and do not seem to be fit for state employees in DHHS.
· Conversion of SPA employees to EPA. SPA protect employees from retaliation so within DHHS, the organizational matrix and responsibilities are such that some line functions could be adversely affected by political influence and conversion.
· Sole Source Services Contracts lacking performance standards and for roles associated with positions filled by full time staff.
· Resignation of a long term Public Health Director and firing of long time Dentist.
NC Tracks and Medicaid Reimbursements
· Lay-offs and closings among health care providers due to delays with NC Tracks, at a time when NC has the third highest unemployment in the country.
· Targets and delays of Medicaid claims. It was recently reported in the Triangle Business Journal that of the 2.4 million Medicaid claims filed for the week ending Aug. 23:
-Of 185,000 institutional claims filed, 59.3 percent were approved; the DHHS target is 65.2 percent.
-Of 1.5 million professional claims filed, 36 percent were approved; the DHHS target is 68 percent
-Of 98,000 dental claims, 54 percent were approved; the DHHS target is 87.2 percent.
-Of 581 pharmacy claims, 70.7 percent were approved; the DHHS target is 50.1 percent.
-DHHS mailed in early August, 1,100 paper checks to providers in an attempt to at least get them some money to keep the lights on.
-DHHS is looking at more than 90,000 backlog items, including 37,000 claims and 11,600 provider relations issues.
· NC Fast delays and transition errors leading to panic and delays with food stamps and food banks.
· County hires to assist with demand and food bank issues.
· Rotation of inspections within DHHS. Questions have surfaced as to whether or there have been reassignments, restatements of priorities for inspections among all institutions in DHHS.
· Accounting of Audits and Compliance by federal agencies and departments.
· Internal requests of State employees to conduct surveys with their own medical offices to test the effectiveness of (NC Tracks) and to volunteer with customer service with NC Tracks.
PEYTON GOES THE ATTACK
IN RALEIGH MAYORAL RACE
By Cash Michaels
Venita Peyton, the black Republican perrenial candidate who refuses to take the voters’ repeated “no” for an answer to her numerous electoral bids for public office, is once again running for mayor of Raleigh, and she’s not being polite about it.
During Tuesday night’s mayoral candidates forum at Martin Street Baptist Church, Peyton went after incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane and the rest of the City Council with abandon, accusing them of covering up the real reason for the recent firing of longtime Raleigh City Manager J. Russell Allen after 12 years, among other issues.
“I have lived in Raleigh almost thirty years, and I am so disappointed in the leadership that we have now, “ Peyton told the forum audience in her opening remarks.
She also balked at the selection process for Allen’s successor being held away from public view.
Peyton said she wants to determine what the city’s plans are for vacant properties in Southeast Raleigh; work to get more jobs for local residents with local businesses and large projects; and if she could get five votes on council if elected, would “fire” any new hires until she got answers about what happened with Allen.
For her part, Mayor McFarlane mostly ignored Peyton’s hard jabs, saying instead that she is running for re-election in order to ensure that opportunities are available “for everyone.”
“It’s all about jobs, it’s all about economic growth…it’s about continuing to build on all of our positives to make sure that everyone is included in Raleigh’s success,” McFarlane said.
McFarlane added that improving public transportation in the city is a key priority. She added that making city government more customer friendly is also an ongoing goal.
Of interesting note, according to a News and Observer July 19, 2013 article about the mayoral race, the story stated, “Peyton now describes herself as an unaffiliated candidate who is upset about Raleigh’s current leadership and the firing of City Manager Russell Allen.”
Peyton may indeed now “describe herself” as unaffiliated, but that’s not how her voter registration records described her as of Wednesday of this week.
Venita Peyton, of the same Raleigh street address as listed on her candidate’s listing with the Wake Board of Elections, is still registered to vote in the state of North Carolina as a Republican.
Now the race for Raleigh mayor is officially nonpartisan, but that raises the question as to why the N&O would write that “Peyton now describes herself as an unaffiliated candidate…” if that were not true.
It would not be the first time during an election campaign that the facts, and Peyton’s version of them, have differed substantially.
Besides McFarlane and Peyton, the third candidate in the race is Robert Lewis Weltzin. Weltzin, A US Army Reserve officer who moved to Raleigh in 2010, is a chiropractor who is throwing his hat into the political ring for the first time.
CASH IN THE APPLE 09-12-13
By Cash Michaels
BEN JEALOUS – This week, and old friend and good man announced that he as stepping down from the spotlight of leadership.
Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the national NAACP announced that after five years, and at the end of this year, he will be moving aside for other pursuits, and to be closer to his family.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jealous, the youngest president ever to serve the NAACP, said he may want to teach at a university (as his wife does), but definitely wanted to be closer to his family. He’s spent the past five years rebuilding the NAACP into a powerhouse of a civil rights organization, without apologies.
Has Ben made mistakes? Absolutely, and the episode with Shirley Sherrod, the US Dept. of Agriculture official who was slandered by Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart (now deceased), was a doozy. Ben was forced to personally apologize to her after publically denouncing her for something she did not do that Breitbart had falsely accused of her of.
But Ben recovered quickly, and led with distinction and courage.
He was front in center with the Trayvon Martin case, joining with others to demand that the police chief in Sanford, Fla. step down (he did) and that George Zimmerman, the man who shot the 17 year-old black child to death, be put on trial (he was).
Ben was the very first national civil rights leader to support our efforts last year when we fought to have pardons of innocence granted to the Wilmington Ten,
and allowed the resources of the national NAACP to join with Rev. William Barber and the state NAACP in advocating for their justice.
I personally will never forget that. His support meant a lot.
And Ben has come to North Carolina many times in support of the efforts of the NC NAACP.
Ben Jealous is a product of the Black Press, having worked for the Jackson Advocate in Jackson, Mississippi for several years as a reporter. He also helmed the editor’s desk at the National Newspaper Publishers Association for a while. The seventeenth president of the NAACP, Ben was also the youngest in the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
Ben is bold, well educated, and visionary, and those qualities helped him to inspire the NAACP to recruit new members, especially among young people.
So at the end of this year, Ben Jealous will leave the NACCP leadership to spend more time with his family, and lend his amazing talents elsewhere in the pursuit of changing our world for the better.
I’m proud to know Ben Jealous, and am deeply proud of the work that he has done for the cause. All of us should be!
OLBERMANN – You know, with the exception of NBA basketball, I’m not really a sports fan. I’ll watch a little football on occasion, and because my youngest daughter is now learning tennis, I paid strong attention to the US Open on Sunday to see Serena Williams win her fifth title there in grand fashion.
And please, I won’t waste my time watching a baseball game (I enjoy movies about baseball better than the game itself)
So why am I enjoying watching “Olbermann” on ESPN 2 every weeknight at 11 p.m. (replayed at midnight)? Because Keith Olbermann is one of the few brilliant seasoned journalists on television today who could make reading the phone book entertaining AND informative.
Trust me, I don’t give a whip about baseball, and yet, last week, I was thoroughly enthralled by Keith’s opening commentary about why baseball pitchers of today are lasting longer in the game than great baseball pitchers of yesteryear.
Remember, I could care less about baseball, but Keith made it something I took instant interest in.
Now Keith Olbermann is a madman, and “evil” genius. He’s been fired from more TV jobs than there are stars in the sky because his legendary ego and short fuse, despite his talent, eventually working with him intolerable. And he admits this. He was royally fired from ESPN in the late 1990’s after helping to create the sports channels signature “SportsCenter” show. Indeed his playfully snarky on-air style inspired a new generation of sports broadcaster that remains to this day.
Keith later left sports, and joined MSNBC, where he remained for eight years with his signature “Countdown” show, doing to politics and current events what he did for sports reporting, namely living it up with witty prose, dead target commentaries, and “Worst Person in the World” features.
Well we all know how the MSNBC gig ended, with a memorable firefight with the suits there all too happy to get Keith off the air in 2011.
There was that brief but disastrous stint at Current TV in 2012 that burned to the ground after eight months because Keith became disenchanted with what was a rookie operation that wasn’t up to his standard.
They fired him, Keith sued, and Current sued back. Finally, they settled earlier this year, and Keith was free to go back to ESPN and give it one more try.
So far, after two weeks back on the air (He’ll be doing baseball playoff analysis on TBS in October as well), Keith is on fire, looking fit, in full humor, and as sharp as he ever was. This is an older, but wiser Olbermann whose ego is still inflated, but that’s because he knows he’s an exclusive brand.
Keith Olbermann is back on television because his talent far exceeds his faults. I love watching him. I know what I’m getting with Keith Olbermann, and I enjoy every minute of it.
And the fact that I am NOT a sports junkie says a lot about Keith’s ability to make me a lifelong fan…of his.
I love his baseball “Keith Lights,” I just can’t stand the game.
DEAR GOV. MCCRORY – Permit me this open letter to the chief executive of our state.
Dear Gov. McCrory, I hope you’re well sir.
I see your Republican allies in the state House and Senate aren’t interested in paying you any mind, let alone any respect. You tried hard when you first took office nine months ago to make friends and build bridges, probably just as you did as mayor of Charlotte for over a decade.
But as you see, just because you are a Republican, doesn’t mean that the GOP leadership is at all interested in working with you on anything but the strong stuff. Why? Because you aren’t one of them, sir. You got elected from outside the fold. And since the GOP has supermajorities in both the state House and Senate, they really don’t have to listen with you, work with you, or even respect you. They just don’t see you as conservative enough to be trusted, and many of them are too ambitious to allow you to get in their way.
So what are you going to do, Governor? The people of North Carolina elected you to lead for them, not for party. They depend on you to be their voice against policies they deem wrong and unproductive, but instead you decided to go along to get along for most of the legislative session, and look where it got you.
It is no accident, Governor that at least three Democrats, including former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, have announced they want your job, and you haven’t even finished your first year yet.
Folks are smelling blood in the water, Governor. I know you’ve got this campaign where you say your “stepping on toes on the left and the right” to make a better North Carolina, but the people aren’t buying it, sir.
You need to change your team (they have not served you well), and you need to be seen flexing your legislative muscle more on the issues that really matter to North Carolinians, and take chances fighting for issues you normally wouldn’t. If you want to regain the support of Republicans and Democrats in this state, Governor, then you have to be seen fighting for them.
You’ve failed to do that so far, Pat. And unless you get real serious about representing the interests of ALL North Carolinians, you and the wife will be moving back to the Queen City in 2016, worst for wear from the experience.
I think your legacy deserves better than that.
You once said, “The difference is leadership!”
Oh yeah? Well then, let’s see some…before it’s too late.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 9-12-13
NCNAACP CONVENTION IN ROCKY MOUNT Oct. 10 – 12th
[ROCKY MOUNT] The 70th Annual State Convention of the NC NAACP will be held in Rocky Mount Oct. 10th through the 12th, the civil rights organization announced this week. With the theme being, “ We Shall Not Be Moved: Holding On To Past Victories As The Fight For Equality and Justice Continues,” the convention will feature Congressman G. K. Butterfield as a keynote speaker, and Rev. Barber will deliver his annual “State of Civil Rights in North Carolina” address. For more information contact Rev. Curtis Gatewood at 919-682-4700.
BE CAREFUL OF RABID ANIMALS, STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY
[FAYETTEVILLE] State health officials warn citizens to stay away from strange acting wild animals because the number of rabies-infected creatures is on the rise. Indeed, at least 17 rabid bats have been discovered across the state, according to the state Dept. of Health and Human Services. At least 155 raccoons have always tested positive for the disease. Officials say they are seeing more wild animals infected now than in the past five years. If you are bitten by a rabid animal, go to a hospital for treatment right away.
FORMER RALEIGH MAYOR CHARLES MEEKER INTERESTED IN RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR
[RALEIGH] Democrats are lining up to replace Republican Gov. Pat McCrory just nine months into his first year, the most prominent thus far being former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. Meeker, who served five terms as mayor of the Capitol City, indicated last week that he is seriously considering making a run to challenge McCrory’s re-election bid in 2016. Other Democrats who’ve announced interest include Durham attorney Ken Spaulding and Chapel Hill businessman Jim Protzman. State Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper has not announced, but has been very prominent lately in his criticisms of McCrory, sensing that the Republican governor a weak incumbent by re-election time.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 9-12-13
HONORING JOHN CHAVIS SEPT. 27TH
The community is invited to take part in the historic John Chavis Memorial Park 75th Anniversary Celebration, Friday, September 27, 2013. There will be a
5:30 – 6:15 reception honoring John Chavis, the legendary minister and educator, and the history of John Chavis Memorial Park. From 6:30 – 10:30 there will be live Music in the Park – Free! Bring your own lawn chair.
Then on Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 12pm – 4pm, the “Rediscover John Chavis Memorial Park Community Celebration – Free! Festivities will include carousel rides, inflatables, games & activities, music and more. There will also be free financial education and credit reports on their available. From 1pm – 2pm there will be a Historical Scavenger Hunt in the Park. At 3pm dancers of all ages and shapes are invited to help attempt to break the world record for the Longest Soul Train Dance Line ever! Food Trucks will be on site for food purchase.
For more information, contact the John Chavis Community Center at 919-831-6989
CAN’T RECALL SAYING DISPARAGING REMARK, BUT DURHAM POLICE CHIEF APOLOGIZES ANYWAY
Last week, embattled Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez called a press conference to “take full responsibility” for allegedly saying in a private meeting with his staff that a local defense attorney who had been shot “deserved” it. But Chief Lopez added that though he is apologizing, he personally doesn’t remember ever making the remark. Right now Lopez is the target of a racial discrimination complaint filed with the EEOC by one of his black assistant police chiefs. Lopez was cleared, however, of allegations of nepotism in the hiring of one of his wife’s relatives on the force. City officials say they could find no wrongdoing on the chief’s part.
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.