STATE WON’T HELP WIC
FAMILIES HURT BY SHUTDOWN
By Cash Michaels
Poor pregnant women, infants and young children in North Carolina, in desperate need of food and nutrition, are now officially out of luck because Gov. McCrory’s administration has ordered state agencies not supplement state funding to temporarily keep the WIC program going until the federal shutdown ends.
According to published reports, the state Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which runs the federally-funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, infants and Children (WIC), has announced that it has suspended providing benefits to the 264,000 enrolled needy participants in the state because of the federal government shutdown.
“Some of our most vulnerable citizens, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children will be affected by the interruption of WIC services due the shutdown, “ DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said in a statement.
When WIC is up and functioning in North Carolina, it is budgeted $205 million annually. WIC recipients in North Carolina spend upwards of $16 million annually on food and other nutritional purchases.
But with funding now shutdown from Washington until the fiscal crisis is over, DHHS and other state agencies are prohibited by Gov. McCrory’s budget chief, Art Pope, from supplementing any state dollars for any halted federal programs, meaning no state aid to help WIC recipients in the meantime.
That means no new food vouchers will be issued to poor families beyond what has already been issued to eighty percent of the state’s enrollees for October.
As the shutdown continues, WIC families are being encouraged to signup for food stamps, go to local food pantries, or seek help from county social services offices. Those recipients are also encouraged to use their October vouchers if they have them, and to keep their nutrition and health appointments.
The WIC crisis is yet another chapter in the continuing dysfunction, many critics say, at DHHS. Earlier this week, Secretary Wos was grilled during a daylong legislative hearing into the multitude of controversies that have befallen state government’s largest agency.
Wos faced withering questioning about why a Medicaid claims payment system to reimburse hospitals and other medical facilities has failed; why needy families on food stamps have not received them in a timely fashion; and why former McCrory campaign workers were being overpaid for state positions they weren’t qualified for.
That, in addition to personal service contracts that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to certain people close to Sec. Wos and the governor for limited work that state administrators could easily handle.
Wos response to all of the allegations was that despite the setbacks, DHHS was running more efficiently than ever before.
Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle said, however, that they saw little evidence of such.
WERE THE WAKE ELECTIONS
A BACKLASH AGAINST GOP?
By Cash Michaels
Could the Democrat-positive results from Tuesday’s election in Wake County signal that voters have had it with conservative Republicans?
From the mayor’s race in Raleigh, where two GOP’ers lost to unaffiliated incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane, to the Wake County School Board races, where with the exception of moderate Republican incumbent Bill Fletcher, every conservative Republican who ran, including incumbent Deborah Prickett, lost, Wake County voters sent a message loud and clear.
They want a return to reasonable, moderate government.
Given the high toxicity of politics not only in the state, but in the nation, and poll after poll blaming conservative Republican politicians for it, Tuesday’s dramatic results in favor of moderate Democrats was telling. Voters are tired of the incessant bickering and posturing, and have certainly had their fill of the arrogance, many say, that has been prominently on display not only at the Republican-led state Legislature on Jones Street, but also in our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. amid a troubling government shutdown.
More importantly, Tuesday’s election results in Wake County, where only 15 percent of the registered electorate bothered to cast a ballot at all, portend bad tidings for the Republican Party come 2014, and possibly 2016.
Perhaps the greatest indicator of such was the overwhelming support for the $810 million Wake school construction bond Tuesday, which passed by a healthy 57 percent of the vote.
Despite dire and vehement warnings from the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association and the Wake County Republican Party that the Democrat-led Wake School Board would waste the money; that the construction of 16 new schools and renovation of 80 current schools wasn’t needed; that official student growth projections were wildly inflated; and that everyone’s property tax bill would go up to cover the cost of the bond, the majority of Wake voters dismissed those claims, and decided it was worth the investment in the future of Wake County schools.
That translated into confidence in the current Democrat-led Wake School Board, led by Chairman Keith Sutton, who promised that in tandem with the GOP-led Wake County Commission Board, every dollar would be prudently spent to ensure the best education possible for Wake County students.
That voter confidence extended to electing more Democrats to the Wake School Board to further enhance the majority, even though the races were nonpartisan.
In District 1, incumbent Tom Benton, a Democrat and retired school principal, handily defeated Republican Party endorsed attorney Don McIntyre. In District 2, Monika Johnson-Hostler, a Democrat, defeated another Wake GOP-backed candidate Matt Scruggs, for a seat currently held by outgoing Tea Party incumbent John Tedesco. Johnson-Hostler, an African-American, is the executive director for the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
In District 7, Republican incumbent Deborah Prickett, a state education consultant, lost to Democrat Zora Felton, a retired teacher. Prickett is the last of the four Republicans who took over the majority of the Wake School Board in 2009. The resulting controversy from their ending the system’s student diversity policy resulted in Democrats reclaiming the board majority in 2011.
And in District 9, the Wake County Republican Party refused to endorse incumbent GOP school board member Bill Fletcher, a moderate, because of his support for the student diversity policy, and instead endorsed conservative businesswoman Nancy Caggia. Caggia lost.
When the new board is sworn-in in December, Democrats will have a 7-2 majority, with one moderate Republican and one unaffiliated member to round things out.
In Raleigh, though she’s unaffiliated, there’s no doubt that incumbent Mayor Nancy McFarlane is a progressive, and voters apparently had no problem with that as they overwhelmingly re-elected her to a second term Tuesday.
Raleigh voters rejected the mayoral bids of two Republicans – newcomer Robert Louis Weltzin, who was endorsed by the Wake Republican Party, and Venita Peyton, a black Republican who has now failed three times in her quest for Raleigh mayor.
Raleigh voters also backed the $75 million transportation bond referendum against the warnings of area conservatives, 70 to 30 percent. Various road improvement projects can now go forward.
On the Raleigh City Council, District C Councilman Eugene Weeks once again withstood mild opposition from two candidates to win a third term. At-large incumbents Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin also easily won re-election.
The only upset in council elections was in District A, where incumbent Randy Stagner was defeated by newcomer Wayne Maiorano. Stagner was generally seen as trying to micro-manage city government from behind the scenes.
Incumbent Republican Councilman John Odom of District B defeated two challengers for re-election.
Depending on how the winds blow, Tuesday’s election results might be a strong predictor for the 2014 elections, when seats on the Republican-led Wake County commissioners will be up for grabs. It will also be interesting to see how a new Wake School Board district map, which the NC General Assembly recently passed to give more of an advantage to Republicans, will play out next year.
If Wake voters become even more disenchanted with Republican-inspired government shutdowns nationally, and controversial policies locally by GOP state lawmakers, then local Democrats may find themselves back in the driver’s seat leading up to 2016, and the governor’s race.
CASH IN THE APPLE 10-10-13
By Cash Michaels
SO FAR, ONLY TWO - We are well into the third week of the new television broadcast season, and so far, only two new TV shows have definitely caught my fancy.
On Fox, “Sleepy Hollow,” which is filmed in Wilmington, starring Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, is a modern-day take on the old Washington Irving story about a 200 year-old supernatural force that comes to life in 2013.
Thus far the limited series (fewer episodes, no reruns) has held firm with an audience of at least 9 million viewers per week, thanks to spooky episodes that give both Beharie and Mison a lot to work with. The plots have been strong, the special effects decent, and the acting enough to satisfy. True, the show takes a page from the old “X-Files” TV show, but it works.
What’s also impressive is that for a weekly action-adventure, it has two black actors prominently featured – Beharie as Lt. Abbie Mills, and actor Orlando Jones as her captain. Mind you, both roles could have easily gone to white actors, but the producers, who are white (Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci of the newly revamped “Star Trek” film franchise), decided to go with the best performers for the roles, and they’re making it work.
If anything, “Sleepy Hollow” is exactly what folks have been crying out loud for for years – a good story with roles that are not racial defined, depending only on what skills each actor brings to the role.
Gee, maybe that electing-Barack-Obama-to-the-presidency thing had a positive impact after all.
The second new TV series that offers great promise is Robin Williams’ “The Crazy Ones” on CBS, Thursday nights.
Produced by David E. Kelley, who brought us “The Practice”, “Boston Public” and “Boston Legal”, ‘The Crazy Ones” is the perfect vehicle to bring Robin Williams back to network television 30 years after his now classic sitcom, “Mork and Mindy.”
Here Williams portrays an advertising executive whose creativity and eccentric ways drives everyone crazy.
Thus far the series is averaging over 10 million viewers a week, folks tuning in to see what Williams will do next. As long as he stays inventive, I think the show will be on for a while.
Other than those two, the new TV season has been a disappointment. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is really nothing more that silly slock, geared mostly to the teen audience. And many of the other new series are BS we’ve all seen before.
ABC has already canceled a show about lottery winners called “Lucky 7” after just two episodes. OUCH! That 10 p.m. Tuesday night slot will be filled with reruns of the popular series “Scandal”. I am certain, given the poor crop of shows out there now, that there are more to follow.
And on the topic of “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington, I’ll give the show credit, it’s season premiere last week came out of the box swinging, causing much talk, I’m sure, in many a beauty shop.
NAACP DEAL WITH TV ONE - The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization and home of the prestigious NAACP Image Awards, has partnered with the TV One network in a new multi-media five year agreement.
Under the five-year contract, TV One becomes the television home for the association’s awards show, beginning with the live airing of the “45th NAACP Image Awards” in February 2014. The multimedia partnership was jointly announced this week by NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and TV One Chairman and CEO / President of Radio One Alfred Liggins.
“Our new multi-faceted long-term partnership with TV One will bring expanded visibility and awareness of the NAACP and its important programs, such as the NAACP Image Awards,” said NAACP’s Brock. “TV One offers the resources and capabilities to reach audiences in today’s broad media universe, therefore advancing the message of promoting and protecting human and civil rights.”
The NAACP Image Awards is the nation’s premier event celebrating the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
TV One will air live broadcasts of the Image Awards and red carpet arrivals in 2014. In addition, the network will provide promotional support on TV One, Radio One and Reach Media, Interactive One, and via a multi-platform marketing campaign. In addition, to elevate the historic organization’s initiatives, there will be dedicated coverage on News One Now, TV One’s new daily news and information program.
“We are truly honored to be partnering with the NAACP and becoming the new home for the Image Awards,” said Liggins of TV One. “Today’s announcement is a game changer for TV One and our loyal viewers across the country. As we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of TV One’s 2004 launch, I can think of no greater opportunity to thank this audience than by providing them with access to the preeminent awards show that showcases the incredible achievements of Black Americans and by creating an ongoing opportunity for dialogue around social justice issues on TV One.”
There are many well-deserving actors, authors, directors, writers, performing artists, as well as television, motion picture, recording, and literary projects that are recognized during the NAACP Image Awards. Submissions are now being accepted until Friday, November 15, 2013 – information is available at www.naacpimageawards.net
Nominations for the “45th NAACP Image Awards” will be announced next January.
WASHINGTON CRISIS – The current standoff between Congress and the White House, and more specifically House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama, is what cable news networks were made for. We’re already two weeks into a federal government shutdown, and the country is headed towards a larger debt ceiling crisis – all because the Tea Party wing of the Republican majority in Congress refuses to support a “CR” (continuing resolution) to properly fund the government for the next two weeks so that it can pay its bills.
Needless to say both sides of the argument are getting an abundance of facetime on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, all in the effort to convince the American people that their side is correct in the dispute.
Personally, it’s clear to me that the Tea Party is holding the Republican Party hostage, and thus, the GOP is holding the nation hostage by already shutting down the government, and threatening on allowing the nation to default on its debt, something that responsible officials assure us will be catastrophic to not only the nation’s economy, but the global economy.
Cable TV loves this stuff because it helps to fill-in the voracious need for tension-filled 24/7 programming.
But after all of this turmoil is over, in what condition is the country left in? Will we feel like a United States of America, or just a place that is doomed to constant war with one another, based on race, politics, and the thirst for power?
The old saying is, “Elections have consequences.”
Well, as we now see, not voting in elections clearly has consequences as well, because in the end, you get the government you may or may not have wanted.
This may turn out to be very sad for all of us.
I pray not!
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.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 10-10-13
RALEIGH CHOOSES CHARLOTTE’S RUFFIN HALL AS NEW CITY MANAGER
Charlotte’s current assistant city manager has now been hired as Raleigh’s new city manager. Ruffin Hall was introduced last week to Raleigh residents as the successor to manager J. Russell Allen, who was terminated in June. Hall, 43, is a Fayetteville native who has spent the past 18 years working in Wilmington, Chapel Hill, Durham, and in Charlotte since 2001. Hall’s expertise is in city finance and transit. He will be paid $215,000 annually, plus expenses. Hall is expected to begin on November 18th.
STATE SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW RACIAL JUSTICE ACT DECISIONS
Three convicted murderers who had their death sentences commuted to life sentences under the now defunct Racial Justice Act last December, will now have those decisions reviewed by the NC Supreme Court. The state Attorney General’s Office petitioned the high court to review the cases after Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks ruled last year that race was a factor in the death sentences of Christina Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine. Augustine killed a Fayetteville police officer in 2001; Golphin and his younger brother murdered a state trooper and Cumberland sheriff’s deputy in 1997; and Walters was convicted of gang murders in 1998.
FORTY –SIX UNC STUDENTS WHO TOOK BOGUS COURSES WON’T GRADUATE
Unless they take free makeup classes, forty-six UNC –Chapel Hill students who enrolled in bogus classes in the African and Afro-American Studies Dept. may not graduate, school officials say. Thus far, only one student has signed up for the makeups. In all, 384 students took the false courses between 1997 and 2009 at UNC. Athletes made up the lion’s share of students enrolled during that period. Alumni will not be required to come back for the makeups since their academic transcripts were sealed after they graduated.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 10-10-13
RALEIGH POLICE SPIED ON MORAL MONDAY MOVEMENT
[RALEIGH] An undercover Raleigh Police officer attended Moral Monday meetings at Davie Street Presbyterian Church last May to gather intelligence on the movement, according to Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown. State Capital Police Chief Jeff Weaver, in testimony Monday during the first of hundreds of trials of Moral Monday protestors which began in Wake County District Court last week, testified that based on the RPD spying, his department was able to develop enough intelligence to identify so-called “anarchists…against government” that officers would keep their eyes on in subsequent demonstrations. NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, convener of the Moral Monday movement, said there was no reason for police to spy, since all of their meetings were open to the press and public.
AFTER SAYING SHE WILL, REP. ELMERS SAYS NOW SHE WON’T ACCEPT PAYCHECK DURING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
[WASH. D.C.] Stung by severe criticism after telling a local TV station that “I need my paycheck” when asked if she will forego her salary during the federal government shutdown, Republican Second District Congresswoman Renee’ Elmers did a 180 degrees two days later, saying that she will now forego her $174,000 salary until the government reopens. The Dunn congresswoman outraged many with her earlier remarks after she sided with her colleagues in shutting down the federal government, thus furloughing over 800,000 federal employees. Last Saturday, Elmers joined the unanimous vote in the House to pay those workers for lost time once the government reopens.
OBAMACARE LIMPS INTO NORTH CAROLINA
[CHARLOTTE] Thanks to Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led General Assembly refusing to setup state exchanges, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known “Obamacare,” went into effect Oct. 1st, North Carolinians didn’t get much of a deal on their healthcare insurances as other states were getting. The state insurance commissioner was legally prohibited from helping residents who needed assistance, instead referring them to the federal government, which is running the exchange in North Carolina. Unlike other states where at least eight companies are vying for business, thus driving the cost of healthcare down, North Carolina only has two companies, and one of them only covers 39 counties, thus keeping the cost of health insurance here high. And to add insult to injury, the ACA website was dysfunctional during the initial signup days.