Monday, September 28, 2015



By Cash Michaels

            POPE FRANCIS – It seemed as if someone opened a national window for fresh air last week when His Holiness Pope Francis made his first visit ever to the United States, spreading love and good faith not only among his Catholic flock, but to anyone with eyes, ears and a heart.
            Now I’m not Catholic (though I did attend Catholic school as a child and high school student back in Brooklyn), but my manner of faith in GOD didn’t matter last week as I watched this good and humble man come with a simple message – “Let’s all do better than we’ve been doing.”
            That message especially resonates here in America, where clearly we’ve lost our way. We’ve become the most cynical of nations, caring little about what happens to our brothers and sisters in poverty; allowing some public servants with badges, who are supposed to protect us, instead abuse us in hopes that no one with a video smartphone is watching; allowing rich people who haven’t a tinker’s clue as to how to govern to behave badly while running for the most powerful office in the world; allowing avowed racists to make our laws and determine public policy; and allow warmongers to use our brave men and women on our military like an ATM machine to stir up trouble all across the globe.
            To have a man of peace and good sense to finally come to our shores last week embracing the poor and sick; telling us that GOD wants all of us to love one another; reaching out across religious boundaries to embrace and respect other faiths and customs; and calling for an end to all war, was truly a refreshing experience.
            But what was even more refreshing, and indeed gratifying, was to see the people drawn to Pope Francis and his message of peace and love. If you watched any of it on television, there was no mistaking the spiritual hunger there was as hundreds of thousands of people came from across the world just to get a glimpse of a man who takes no shame in washing the feet of the poor and dispossessed. A man of GOD who says above all, the church should be a place of forgiveness and compassion. A safe place where all are welcomed to come, her the Word of GOD, and feel at peace with themselves and the world.
            I was struck by the tears of joy, the respect and reverence that everyone from the very old, to the very young, had for Pope Francis and hope he represented.
            And all this old man asked for in return was for the world to love GOD, and to pray for him.
            Now, you have to admire a 78-year-old man who had hip surgery for the kind of exhausting six-day schedule he maintained on his trip to Cuba, Washington, D.C., New York, and finally Philadelphia. As much as the rich and powerful wanted to hangout with Pope Francis, he instead wanted to spend time with the children and the poor. Touching them, praying with them, and blessing them was his main mission, and Pope Francis would not be deterred.
            I will admit that I dreaded something going horribly wrong, that the hate and madness that we all know resides in our country would somehow mar what was otherwise a fairy tale visit full of magic and love. So I do thank GOD that nothing evil transpired, for not only would have that been tragic, but certainly embarrassing before the world that we couldn’t even host a world leader of GOD without things going wrong.
            So the historic visit of Pope Francis is now history, but the warmth of the man is still with us as he has made his way safely back home to the Vatican in Italy. We see already evidence that the pope’s visit touched the hardened heart of Republican US House Speaker John Boehner, resulting in Boehner shocking the political world by announcing that he was stepping down at the end of this month, and leaving Congress altogether.
            Too bad the power of the pope couldn’t touch the darkened hearts of some of those Tea Party characters threatening to shutdown the government. But you what, I’ll take what little good I can get from Pope Francis’ visit.
            What a good man. I do pray for him, and wish him well in his service for GOD to humanity.
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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           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.

by Cash Michaels

            Thus far the 2015 Raleigh municipal elections have been quiet with little controversy. What that means in terms of voter turnout next Tuesday, October 6th is unclear, and yet, as always, the future of Raleigh over the next two years will be in the hands of those candidates that voters ultimately elect.
            Recently, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Common Cause of North Carolina asked all candidates for Raleigh City Council various questions on issues currently facing the city, and published the answers online at These are just some of those issue questions, and a summary of the answers each candidate gave per the office they’re vying for.
                                   CANDIDATES FOR RALEIGH MAYOR
Nancy McFarlane – eight years on the Raleigh City Council (incumbent mayor since 2011; District A city councilor four years prior).
Bob Weltzin – chiropractor, Army reservist and Team Leader
On the importance of affordable housing to Raleigh future, while both Mayor McFarlane and Dr. Weltzin agree that more affordable housing is “critical,” McFarlane says “all” citizens in the city must have access, while Weltzin sees attracting, “…talented young people entering the workforce…” as a priority, but also adding that the city must ensure ,”…that longtime Raleigh residents aren’t legislated out of their homes. Weltzin also believes that the unified development ordinance (UDO), which has rezoned various areas of the city (including in Southeast Raleigh) for more mixed-use growth, “…must be stopped immediately.” Mayor McFarlane  is a proponent of the UDO, of Affordable Housing Bonds, of “partnering” with nonprofit groups such as DHIC, Inc. to produce more affordable housing units, and with using the proceeds from the sale of city-owned properties towards helping to fund more affordable housing.
On bringing more jobs for young people to Raleigh, Mayor McFarlane touts the city’s summer work program for providing “more opportunities for experience,” as well as working closely with local businesses to provide job training and entry-level positions. Dr. Weltzin says the city should promote policies, “…that encourage businesses  to open or expand, and encourage citizens to spend their money in those underserved areas” to help those “traditionally underserved by Raleigh’s job market.” Weltzin also opposed policies, “…that hurt businesses, like sidewalk and patio curfews and ending free parking.”
On the need for a civilian complaint police review board, both McFarlane and Weltzin agree that thus far in recent history, the Raleigh Police Dept. has enjoyed a healthy relationship with citizens. Mayor McFarlane says outstanding training and community policing are the reasons. Weltzin says, “policies more urgent to concerned communities must be addressed first.”
On “providing access to efficient, reliable public transportation for all citizens,” both Mayor McFarlane and Dr. Weltzin agree that it is needed, but differ on what to focus on to make it happen. While McFarlane believes improving and expanding public transportation is key to meet the needs of growth across the city, Weltzin believes that supporting private services like Uber, Lyft and others would expand transportation choices at competitive prices, and provide more “streams of income.”
Finally, on what the city can do “to promote more grocery store and healthy food options” in low-income areas, Mayor McFarlane says beyond staying in contact, “…with food providers in fragile areas to stay informed of their needs and concerns and address them where we can,” the city should also improve transportation in those areas. Dr. Weltzin suggests “smart zoning and intelligent, business-friendly regulatory policies” as key to help grocery and healthy food stores to better locate in underserved communities.
Common Cause of NC asked candidates in the Raleigh City Council District C race questions about the same issues on developing affordable housing, more jobs for young people, the need for a civilian complaint police review board, more reliable public transportation, and promoting more grocery and healthy food stores in underserved areas.
District C is home to Southeast Raleigh, the city’s traditionally predominantly black sector that has seen some dramatic redevelopment in the past decade to the point where many of its longtime residents are concerned that they are slowly but surely being move out.
 So who is elected to represent District C on the council is vitally important.

                                    CANDIDATES FOR DISTRICT C

Eugene Weeks – an incumbent representing the district for the past five years. He’s also a retired US Air Force officer and Wake educator; and former chair of the Raleigh Human Relations Commission.
Corey Branch – a Raleigh native with 15 years of corporate experience.  He has also served on the Raleigh Transit Authority since 2011.
On the need for affordable housing in Raleigh, both Weeks and Branch agree that more is needed for those who work in the Capital City. Weeks believes the city, “…can work with developers and realtors through private partnerships to produce more affordable housing. Branch says the city, “…must work to find finance programs while also establishing public-private partnerships.”
On the need for creating more jobs for young people in the city, Branch believes there must be private sector internships for high school students and college students, especially those attending HBCUs. Weeks says “the city should work with businesses that are here and planning to move here to [ensure] that a percentage of African-Americans are considered in their hiring process.” Weeks added that community colleges, “…should offer a reduced and financial assistance to help African-Americans get a skill…” for today’s market.
When asked if Raleigh should establish a civilian police complaint review board, Branch says an independent  panel is needed to address complaints against all city employees. Weeks says the city should at least consider establishing a review board, and monitor how those boards are operating in other cities.
What should be Raleigh be doing to provide more reliable public transportation to all citizens? Councilman Weeks wants buses to arrive and depart every fifteen minutes, and all transit stops have a bus shelter. He’d also like to see more rail transportation. Corey Branch says once the Wake County Transit Plan is completed, at least 60 percent of it will impact the Raleigh Transit system. Branch was an assessment of that impact to ensure efficiency.
And finally, addressing the need for Southeast Raleigh to attract more grocery and healthy food stores for its residents, Corey Branch believes the city should, “work with developers to build mixed-income communities, because they aid in main neighborhoods more viable in the eyes of grocery store chains.” Branch adds the need for, “…establishing development zones to promote placement of grocery stores and public-private partnerships for farmers markets bring healthy food options as well.”
Councilman Weeks says, “The city should give some incentives for grocery stores to build in the areas that are considered to be “Food Desert Areas.” Weeks added that the city should ensure that, “…all citizens have healthy food options.”
In the race for City Councilor at-large, voters will choose two from among the four candidates – incumbent at-large councilors Mary Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson face challenges from Matt Tomasulo and Craig S. Ralph.
In District A, a three-way race between J. B. Buxton, Dickie Thompson and Edwin Woodhouse. Incumbent John Odom faces off against challenger David Cox. District D sees incumbent Kay C. Crowder meeting challenger Ashton Mae Smith. And in District E, incumbent Bonner Gaylord vies for another term against challenges from newcomers DeAntony Collins and Edie Jeffreys.
            Early voting and same-day registration extends to Oct. 3rd.  Tuesday, October 6th is Election Day. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

By Cash Michaels

            With just over a year to go before North Carolina voters head back to the polls to determine who will occupy the Governor’s Mansion for the next term, the last thing the incumbent Republican governor needs is another scandal.
            And yet, once again, the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory is once again rocked by allegations of impropriety, this time from a federal grand jury reportedly looking into no-bid big-ticket contracts at the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services given to people close to then DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos.
            Wos resigned her office in August in the midst of constant controversy during her tenure, saying that she needed to spend more time with her family. Gov. McCrory literally teared up during her press conference announcing her departure.
            Published reports indicate federal subpoenas have been issued to DHHS since last July requesting records “pursuant to a criminal investigation.”
            The US Attorney’s office is reportedly gathering evidence about high-priced contracts paid to former state Auditor Les Merritt; former DHHS chief of staff Thomas L. Adams; and Joe Hauck, who was a senior advisor to Sec. Wos, and had worked for her husband’s company.
            Also targeted is Angeline Sligh, who reportedly managed the state Medicaid program, but is accused of hiring friends and allegedly wasting money.
            Gov. McCrory originally appointed Wos as secretary based on their close friendship, and that fact that she was one of his major fundraisers during in campaign.
            The DHHS investigation news came on the heels of the sudden resignation of Secretary Tony Tata of the NC Dept. of Transportation in August. Tata told the media in July that he was leaving to have more time with his family and more fully pursue his writing career. But within weeks of Tata’s departure came reports that during his time serving in the military, Tata was investigated for at least two incidents of adultery when he was married, and also for a document in his child support case that was later determined to be a forgery.
            In all since taking office in January 2013, Gov. McCrory has had four Cabinet secretaries to leave under a cloud during his first term in office. And it doesn't help that Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly, which finally concluded its extended long legislative session this week after months of haggling over the budget, have done their best to belittle McCrory, showing that he has no sway over even over those of his own party.
             And then there are the alleged scandals that involved the governor himself.
            Last January, Gerrick Brenner, executive director for Progress North Carolina Action, a progressive nonprofit advocacy group, filed a complaint alleging “unethical conduct and potential statutory violations” against Gov. McCrory with the State Ethics Commission, the body that ensures that public and elected state officials comply with the State Government Ethics Act.
            In his 54-page complaint, Brenner alleged that Gov. McCrory failed to disclose all of his financial and personal interests as required by law on his Statement of Economic Interest form, starting when he vied for governor in 2008.
            Brenner alleged that McCrory failed to disclose that he held over $10,000 in Duke Energy stock, and that any action McCrory took (or didn’t take) when Duke Energy spilled coal ash into the Dan River in February 2014 immediately provided a conflict of interest for the governor.
            Indeed McCrory’s attorney conceded that the governor sold his stock after bad publicity surrounding the coal ash spill.
            Brenner also alleged that almost a month after being sworn into office in January 2013, the governor “…continued serving as Director of a publicly traded corporation,, a mortgage brokerage company regulated by the State of North Carolina. When McCrory did resign, the board gifted him his remaining unvested stock, valued at over $171,000, the first time the company ever did that.
            Legal experts who have worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission told the press that the gifting to McCrory, “…raises some significant ethical questions,” Brenner’s complaint notes. McCrory’s later SEI filing failed to note the proceeds from the gift. The governor said that’s because he found the form “confusing,” but did report the income on other parts of the form.
            Brenner also alleged that the governor was a partner in his brother’s company, even though he has denied such. SEC filings for McCrory & Company LLC indeed list the governor as a partner with his brother Phillip, and McCrory failed to list income from that partnership on his ethics filings.
            No doubt when the race for governor is officially declared and Gov. McCrory faces his Democratic opponent, charges about his administrations alleged ethical challenges will become a prime part of the campaign.
            The governor’s office says McCrory didn’t do anything wrong, and any missed filings were the result of confusion. His political enemies on the left are to blame for the controversies.



            [CHARLOTTE] A regional bank found to have discriminated against black and Latino customers by allegedly overcharging them on auto loan interest, will now pay $18 million in penalties, according to published reports. Fifth Third Bank, which has its headquarters in Cincinnati but maintains a branch in Charlotte, reached agreement with the US Dept. of Justice to repay affected customers of color, some of whom were reportedly overcharged at least $200.00 in interest payments between January 2010 and September 2015. The bank was also ordered to pay an additional $3 million to customers who were deceptively sold  “debt protection” products without ever agreeing to purchase them.

            [RALEIGH] A Wake Superior Court judge has ruled that despite recent modifications by state lawmakers to North Carolina’s voter ID law, there are still outstanding issues surrounding the statute, and therefore a lawsuit against the state can proceed to trial. However Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan added that the case cannot be litigated until after the 2016 presidential elections. Lawmakers wanted the lawsuit dismissed, but Judge Morgan disagreed, saying that though some of the restrictions had been eased, a photo ID was ultimately still required to vote, meaning that the core issue remained. Judge Morgan wants an assessment of how the voter ID either works, or fails to do so, which is why he ruled for the case to go to court after its implementation.

            [GREENSBORO] If you constantly work in your garden, or enjoy walking through the wooded areas near your home, be forewarned that you’re not alone. It is mating season for snakes for at least the next month, and while most experts the overwhelming majority of snake species in North Carolina are nonpoisonous, copperhead snakes can generally be found across the state, and will bite. Most snakes do not like being in populated areas, and will generally slither off when humans approach, but if you step on one or accidently get bitten to you hand or leg, experts say got immediately to the emergency room for treatment.  There were at least 107 snake bites in Mecklenburg County alone last year.


           After a two-week administrative suspension, St. Augustine's University announced Wednesday that it has fired Head Falcons Football Coach Michael Morand. Athletics Director George Williams said in a statement that after a review, "...the university has found it necessary to proceed in a different direction." It was never disclosed why Morand was placed on leave, or what issues were involved. Running backs Coach Tim Chavous has now been selected to run the team.

            Now that the Republican-led state Legislature has passed its $21.7 billion state budget, Wake County Public Schools will now resume the drivers’ education course for students that the system had to discontinue in August because it had run out of funding. Those classes will begin again in November, while the “Behind the Wheel” lessons, conducted by Jordan Driving School, will resume on Monday.

            James H. Speed, Jr., president/CEO of Durham-based NC Mutual Life Insurance Co., has announced that he will step down from that post by the end of the year, but will remain on the company’s board of directors. The 116-year-old NC Mutual is the nation’s oldest and largest black-owned insurance company. Speed, who has led the company since 2003, will be succeeded by current Senior Vice President Michael L. Lawrence, who joined the company in 2012. Lawrence also serves as chief financial officer and treasurer.