TRICE WIRE STORIES -
CASH IN THE APPLE - 1-8-15
By Cash Michaels
“A GENERATION OF CHANGE” – One of the projects I was very proud to be part of last year was the production of a new UNC-TV documentary titled, “ A Generation of Change: Bill Friday, Terry Sanford and North Carolina from 1920 – 1972.” The one-hour program, produced by Steve Channing and Rebecca Cerese, tells the story of North Carolina’s political history during that critical period, and is a must see.
Yours truly is the narrator.
The program airs tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. on your local UNC Public Television station. I think you’ll find it worth watching.
STUART SCOTT – Last Sunday, a sports broadcasting legend passed away, Stuart Scott of ESPN. The news hurt, because I knew Stuart during the early days of his remarkable career, and he had grown into a professional, and a man I was very proud of.
Scott was 49.
It was April 1987, when a young man in a suit carrying an attache' case, came to the old WLLE-AM radio station on East Martin Street in Raleigh where I was the program director, seeking his first radio job. He was graduating from UNC - Chapel Hill the following month, and wanted his first break in broadcasting.
The young man was Stuart Scott.
I remember the day well because we had just had Mrs. Coretta Scott King visit our station to say her first words of thanks to North Carolina for passing the state paid holiday honoring her late husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and I had forgotten that I had made the appointment to see Stuart . I had no job for the young man, but I figured the least I could after I met him was listen to his audition tape, critique it, and give him some advice for his career.
Stuart and I spent at least an hour talking about his future, and how he could get into the business. I remember Stuart being a very eager listener, and I wished him well when he left.
A few years later, I saw Stuart on the air at WRAL-TV as a reporter. The news director at the time was a black woman named Connie Howard, and she had hired a number of black males for the news team.
The next time we saw each other was a few years after that was in Atlanta, June 1990. South African leader Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, and had come to the US on a speaking tour. I went to cover it from Raleigh, traveling with a bus to Dowd Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech. I was surprised to see Stuart there, working for a local Atlanta TV station. We talked, and he told me that he was up for a job at ESPN2, which was just being created. Stuart was excited because he wanted to leave straight news to finally do what he really loved, sportscasting. I wished him luck.
Sure enough when I did tune in to ESPN2, which was a bit laid back from it’s bigger brother, ESPN, there was Stuart, leading the charge with style and ease. I couldn’t believe this young man once came to my radio station, looking for a job.
In the intervening years, Stuart graduated to the big show on ESPN. He had honed his unique style into an art, and was getting major play during all of the major broadcasts.
It was October 1997 when Stuart Scott and I last saw and spoke to one another. After 36 years, UNC Tar Heel Coach Dean Smith was announcing his retirement from coaching at UNC, and the entire sports world descended on campus for the historic announcement. It was huge national news, and because Coach Smith was a man of integrity who ran a clean, championship program which produced such greats such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins.
When I walked into the gym, I was surprised to see Stuart was there, surrounded by local sports reporters, giving them advice and telling stories. When he saw me, he smiled, pointed and said, "There's Cash Michaels. He's the one that gave me advice on how to get into this business.”
Stuart and I embraced, spoke, and I told him how proud I was of him. For the rest of that time, I watched many of Coach Smith’s former players, now top NBA stars, go to Stuart to shake his hand and take pictures.
I had to shake my head. Talk about a star.
Over the years, Stuart has been back to the Triangle area many times to take part in various activities, including the Jimmy V Classic charity golf tournament, which raised thousands of dollars for cancer research in memory of the late NC State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano.
I never did speak with Stuart again, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t cover any more sports related stories. I wish I did, just to be able to say hello again.
That pride of mine burst broadly when I saw Stuart take the top spot at ESPN, and truly revolutionize sports reporting with his unique hip-hop style. But the pride was multiplied in recent years when I witnessed Stuart's tremendous courage in fighting cancer, and then the love he had for his daughters and family.
This week, when I heard during the many tributes how Stuart would make time for young people, mentor up-and-coming broadcasters to be themselves, and display the kind of courage needed in the face of a deadly disease, I was awestruck. Stuart Scott had risen to the very top of his profession, having met just about every major sports star, having interviewed two sitting presidents (Clinton and Obama), and creating trademarked sayings like “booyah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow.”
Stuart gave sports reporting soul and art, but he did so with tremendous writing skills and a unique sense of style. He informed us, but also made us laugh and enjoy.
I wish I could have stayed in touch with Stuart during all of those years. I wish I could have spoken with him at least once during his bout with cancer. But I am proud of the times I did have with him, and tremendously proud of the fine young professional he grew into being.
Thank you, Stuart. It was an honor to meet …a legend.
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.waug-network.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).
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 1-8-15
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 1-8-15
RWCA HOSTS RECEPTION FOR NEWLY-ELECTED OFFICIALS
The Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association is inviting Raleigh and Wake County residents to a community reception to recognize newly elected officials and community leaders on Monday, Jan. 12, 6 p.m. at the Martin Street Baptist Church Family Life Center on the corner of East Martin Street and Rock Quarry Road. The public is invited and admission is free.
WAKE SCHOOL BOARD SEEKS 95% GRADUATION RATE IN NEW PLAN
A proposed five-year plan by the Wake County Public School System would seek a 95% graduation rate of students “prepared for a complex and changing world.” A draft of the plan, discussed Tuesday during the school board’s work session, is the result of various focus groups and town hall meetings, in addition to an online survey. This is not the first attempt on the part of WCPSS to achieve a 95% proficiency rate. In 2003, the system fell short at 91.7 percent vying for the number of students at or above state reading and math test results per grade level.
UNC-CHAPEL HILL MOURNS PASSING OF ALUM STUART SCOTT
This week, the sports and broadcasting worlds mourned the passing of ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott, who did Sunday of cancer at age 49. Scott’s alma mater, UNC – Chapel Hill, honored Scott for his pioneering television journalism, and contributions to the school. President Obama, LeBron James, and even UNC-Chapel Hill alum Michael Jordan, all issued statements of condolences in memory of Scott. Scott attended high school in Winston-Salem, and graduated UNC- Chapel Hill in 1987 before starting his broadcast career. He joined ESPN2 in 1993.
LOCAL CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST TURNS 103 FRIDAY
by Pauline Goza
Special to The Carolinian
Mrs. Pauline Holden Latta, a native Raleigh-ite, will celebrate her 103rd birthday on Friday, January 9, 2015. She was born at 813 South Blount Street where her birth and that of her siblings was documented in the family Bible by her father, Charles Holden. “In those days we didn’t get birth certificates.” Mrs. Latta said as she reminisced about her early life.
“We heard stories of slavery from our great-Aunt Lena Thomas who moved North after Emancipation. Back then, South Blount Street was still integrated. I used to throw the ball to the little white girl who lived across the street and we would play at a distance until the little girl's mother would catch her and make her come inside.” She continued.
“White children went to the elementary school that was located where Raleigh Memorial Auditorium is now, while we had to walk to Crosby Garfield Elementary School on Lenoir Street. You see, while the neighborhood was mixed, we were still segregated.” Mrs. Latta explained.
“On some Sundays, my father took us to the Governor’s Mansion and we would walk all around the grounds. It wasn’t fenced in back then.”
She remembers when the street cars were replaced by city buses. “You could ride all over Raleigh for five cents.” She said and then laughed. “Of course, there wasn’t as much to see in those days and Hargett Street was the hub of Black-owned businesses.”
She marched in the Civil Rights protests on Fayetteville Street in the 60s and is looking forward to revisiting those years as she and her 90-year old sister, Mrs. Mary Holden Poole, view the movie, Selma, this week.
Butterfield Takes Helm of the Congressional Black Caucus
Special to The Carolinian Newspaper
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) was sworn in as the 24th Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) during a ceremony hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) at the U.S. Capitol. The historic ceremony marked the induction of the largest class in the CBC’s 44-year history, which includes five new members of which 20 are women.
During the event, Chairman Butterfield recognized Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, who were all in attendance, and welcomed Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Mia Love (UT-04), and Stacey Plaskett (USVI) to the Caucus.
Over the next two years, Chairman Butterfield will lead the Caucus, also known as the “Conscience of the Congress” in carrying out its mission of empowering the African American community and addressing its legislative concerns.
In his remarks, Butterfield outlined the CBC’s focus for the 114th Congress to include:
· Criminal justice reform;
· Reducing poverty;
· Safeguarding social safety net programs;
· Creating educational opportunities;
· Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
· Restoring section 5 of the Voting Rights Act; and
· Ensuring corporate diversity.
Butterfield said, “We are ready for these fights. The fight for the future is not a black fight, a Democratic or Republican fight; it is a fight that all fair minded Americans should promote. We need to use political means, policy and legal means, to reduce racial disparities and move closer to the day when all African Americans will benefit from fairness and justice and realize the American dream.”
FUNERAL FOR ESPN'S STUART SCOTT IN RALEIGH - Funeral services for Stuart Scott, the pioneering ESPN sports broadcaster who helped changed the craft, will be held this weekend in Raleigh. The wake for Scott will be held Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Providence Baptist Church on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. His funeral will be held Saturday morning at the church at 11 a.m., with burial at Raleigh Memorial Park. Scott, who worked for WRAL-TV as a reporter before going to ESPN in the mid-1990's, died after a seven-year battle with cancer on Jan. 4th. He as 49. He leaves behind two teenage daughters.
STONE'S WAREHOUSE ON EAST DAVIE STREET
CONCERN ABOUT STONE’S
By Cash Michaels
The likely high-end redevelopment of the vacant Stone’s Warehouse property at East Davie, East streets and Chavis Way in Southeast Raleigh promises exciting new businesses for the chic millennial downtown crowd, which has moved into area condos and home rehabs, but does precious little to reflect the history and character of the traditional black community there, say concerned Southeast Raleigh leaders.
Indeed, with the prospect of much-needed affordable housing off the table there, and the threat of forcing the adjacent Rex Senior Health Center to move, leaders say they don’t see anything to cheer about this latest gentrification of their community, and everything to fear.
City officials counter that the Stone’s redevelopment proposal, once finalized, offers at least $2 million in funding that could be reinvested into building affordable housing elsewhere in predominately black Southeast Raleigh. But critics say the deal ensures that black businesses and residents will be further moved out of downtown Raleigh, an area once known as the center of African-American civic, cultural and economic activity.
The city currently owns the historic 2.02-acre property, which it purchased through imminent domain in 2001 for the purpose of “community development.” Built in 1936, the warehouse used to be the Carolina Coach Garage and Shops – a regional inter-city bus company - and was later a storage facility for repossessed vehicles.
According to its 2014 Request for Proposal to redevelop the Stone’s Warehouse site, the city's community Development Dept. notes that its “…original intent for this redevelopment project was to benefit low and moderate-income households.” The city went on to say that the federal Community Development Block Grant funds secured to purchase the property included “…restrictions for residential and commercial development on-site.
That’s the path the city was originally taking.
In January 2013, the Raleigh City Council approved a 99-year lease with the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, assuring that the site would be dedicated to 49 units of affordable housing. The plan was to have developers Vann Jones and Landmark Asset Services turn the warehouse into affordable housing for area artists primarily, though legally, it could not be restricted to just that group.
Rex Senior Health Center, adjacent to the Stone’s property, would have remained untouched.
However, the developers were unable to get the 30-year federal affordable housing credits needed to finalize the deal, so it fell apart. Subsequently, the city issued its Request for Proposals, and other developers who submitted bids could not, or would not, make affordable housing part of their plans, forcing the city ultimately to reconsider its position, and ultimately, according to its own documents, “…remove the CDBG requirements” and restrictions.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council accepted it’s Budget and Economic Development Committee’s recommendation to accept city staff’s direction to select Transfer Company, LLC “…for the redevelopment of the Stone’s Warehouse site, authorizing Community Development to coordinate preparation of a purchase agreement, and authorizing staff to amend zoning application Z-25-14 to include split zoning, with conditions to accommodate the proposed uses as proposed by Transfer Company, LLC.
And exactly what are those “proposed uses” by Transfer Company, LLC?
According to an October 8, 2014 RFP response from Transfer to the city, the developers see the need for “Olde East Raleigh” to re-establish a “community anchor and gathering place…using food as a new vehicle to unite residents of the neighborhood and reconnect the City and Downtown to Olde East Raleigh.”
Problem is, critics say, the “residents of the neighborhood” Transfer is referring to are high-income occupiers of nearby expensive condominiums and owners of chic businesses, not the black low-income residents whose families have traditionally lived in that Southeast Raleigh community for generations.
Indeed, in the city’s own Request for Proposals for redeveloping that area last year, it stated that “The poverty and unemployment rates in these neighborhoods…remain higher than Citywide averages.”
A Dec. 12, 2014 News and Observer article reported that Transfer was planning “…a neighborhood grocery store and café, a community hall and space for a handful of small food producers”…among which would be Videri Chocolate Factory, Locals Seafood, Jubala Coffee, Boulted Bread and an “incubator kitchen” run by HQ Raleigh.
No affordable housing.
In its Oct. 8 RFP response, Transfer Co., LLC addressed the affordable housing issue, stating, “DHIC Inc., our development partner and regional affordable housing expert, has determined that the revised appraisal in combination with the other development restrictions placed on the property precludes an affordable housing option. Based on the current project parameters, we are proposing 16 townhouses. The three-story designs with ground floor garages and flex space will provide for a variety of anticipated family structures and lifestyle needs, with the flex space serving as an additional bedroom for growing families, an in-law suite for multigenerational families, or a home office for urban entrepreneurs.”
In otherwise, Transfer wants to maximize its space for maximum dollars, according to their response, and allowing space for several low-income affordable housing units would require too much space, and too much loss in revenues.
Danny Coleman, chairman of the South Central Raleigh Citizens Advisory Committee, says Southeast Raleigh is being gentrified because there is no community leadership to strongly advocate for community inclusion and consideration when these proposals are brought forward and discussed.
Indeed, some leaders have told The Carolinian they aren't up on the details of the Stone Warehouse controversy, or haven’t responded at all when asked.
The result – lost opportunities for black families and businesses.
The city sees abandoned or underused properties as new sources of tax revenues. Developers from outside of Southeast Raleigh see golden opportunities to obtain cheap properties from the city, turning them into cash cows that attract more outsiders to live and work in Southeast Raleigh, cutting black residents and business owners who have been asking the city and state for years for neighborhood upgrades out of the mix, with no opportunity for investment in the new improvements.
It is the classic case of wealth in the African-American community being owned and developed by others once again, and Coleman says without vigilant and aggressive black community leadership to challenge the process, and insist that there be opportunities for community input, if not investment, Southeast Raleigh residents may find themselves moved completely out of their communities because they will be priced far beyond their means.
There’s currency to Coleman’s view of black community input and investment. In the City’s 2014 RFP to potential developers, it states, “In addition to providing goods and services to the nearby neighborhood, the City has outlined a number of goals for the development of this site. Successful developers will present proposals that preserve the Stone’s Warehouse structure and include a mixed use site with a housing element as well as promoting minority participation, helping to build economic capacity of the residents and the minority business enterprises of the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Its not clear why the “minority participation” and “minority business enterprises” aspects are seemingly not included in the Transfer Co., LLC proposal, even though city staff, and now the council has signed off on it..
Frances L. Williams, chair of the Central Citizens Advisory Council in Southeast Raleigh says the city has not yet “officially” notified her about the status of Stone’s Warehouse, and what she’s hearing “is a far cry” from the redevelopment she and other concerned citizens in the area were expecting.
As virtual proof that the reported redevelopment of Stone’s is not geared towards the area’s traditional residents, Williams said there would be no mixed income housing, but rather market rate rentals, priced well beyond what working families could afford.
“I’m very concerned about the lack of housing in the downtown area now,” Williams, a resident of South Park, said. “ [Based on the prices]…I know now that African-Americans will not be my neighbors.”
Williams also raised grave concern about the future of the Rex Senior Health Center at 400 Chavis Way. According to city’s RFP, the Rex facility is part of the three-parcel, 2.02 acre proposed sale, and thus far, there is no indication as to where it can move.
In the Transfer Co., LLC proposal it states, “At a minimum, we will assist Rex Senior Center in relocating.”
At least one prominent Southeast Raleigh resident told The Carolinian in an email, “I am a patient of Dr. [Leroy] Darkes [at the Rex Center] and have been real satisfied with the care and convenience. I would hate to lose that. I believe this is a critical location and it could be an important development if we want to maintain the character of the neighborhood and not turn it over entirely to the new vision of East Raleigh.”
Central CAC Chair Williams says city policies and practices regarding the redevelopment of low-income areas must be reviewed in order to gauge how they “impact” the people in those communities.
So what does Southeast Raleigh’s elected City Council representative have to say about all of this?
In a response to The Carolinian’s request for a statement, District C Councilman Eugene Weeks said, “The “Transfer Company, LLC) RFP that was selected by city staff only had 20 townhouses in the proposal with no affordable houses. I made a suggestion that the sale of the property funds be allocated to building affordable housing in SE Raleigh. This suggestion was accepted by the Mayor and the City Manager. The amount of the sale of this land to this company could increase the building of affordable houses tremendously in SE Raleigh. Remember, this RFP was approved by the Business and Economic Development Committee and has not been presented to the City Council yet because I put a hold on the vote for 2 weeks for this company to provide additional information on another issue I had with this RFP.”
Councilman Weeks continued, “We will have additional affordable housing, but not at the Stones Warehouse, but in the surrounding area where the city already owns some of the vacant lots. I am for affordable housing and will make sure that this item continue to be a priority for the City of Raleigh.”
A Dec. 30, 2014 article in the North Raleigh News titled. “Look Ahead to 2015: Growth, Transit Will Likely Be Among Top Issues in Raleigh” states, “Downtown’s development boom has meant less affordable housing,” with “rents at many new apartment complexes …out of reach for families with low or moderate incomes, and older buildings are being demolished to make way for the latest and greatest”
The article goes on to state that “Mayor Nancy McFarlane has said affordable housing throughout the city will be an issue elected officials will consider in the new year (2015).” But, regarding Stone’s Warehouse, affordable housing there, according to city officials “…now looks less feasible.”