Tuesday, September 8, 2015





By Cash Michaels

            SUMMER IS OVER! – Well, it was great while it lasted…the summer of 2015. Lord knows we had plenty of news, much of it bad. Certainly the Charleston Church shooting massacre was by far the most tragic news, while the emergence of Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president was certainly not expected, and has taken the political world by storm.
            And, of course, the coming down of the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina was a momentous occasion that must stand out as well.
            So the question is what lies ahead? We’re on the cusp of a very dynamic presidential election political season, and there are many whop are concerned about the future of this country, if not the world.
            Obviously the controversy concerning the level of police abuse in our communities lies ahead, and the Black Lives Matter movement is forcing the issue. The question is can BLM achieve its goals to quell police abuse without alienating the very people it says it’s trying to help?
            And what about black leadership? Many of the best known leaders are getting old and grey, while new, younger leadership is showing up in areas of business, science and education.
            Yep, summer is over folks. So strap yourselves in, because if the fall and winter will be anything like the summer, then we’re all in for a rough future.
            JOHN BAKER – The man was a legend, both on the professional football field, and in professional law enforcement. Wake County Sheriff John Haywood Baker Jr. was a big man with an even bigger heart for his community, and if you knew him, you could never, ever forget him.
            I recall that he always called me “Cashie” when he saw me, and to shake his huge, hard chiseled hand was an experience you could never forget. Sheriff Baker towered over everyone he knew, and yet, he was very much one of the people.
            That’s why the John Haywood Baker Jr. Scholarship Fund is sponsoring a special book titled, “The John Haywood Baker, Jr. Pictorial Biography,” with extraordinary pictures that capture the “gentle giant” who became the first African-American sheriff in North Carolina since Reconstruction.
            Contact the scholarship sponsors at 919-821-7011 for more information on how you can get a copy. All proceeds go to the John Haywood Baker Jr. Scholarship Fund.
            OLD MOVIES – One of the things I simply love doing is getting together with my youngest daughter KaLa, and introducing her to some of the best old movies that came out before she was born. It’s so much fun to relive these flicks I loved as a teenager, but watch her enjoy them for the first time.
            Last weekend, we watched Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” What I love in rewatching old flicks like this is the new perspective I can bring to it at age 59 that I didn’t have at age 19 or whenever the film was originally released. I find that I better understand many of these films now, and really appreciate the artistry that made them so good in the first place.
            I must have a halfway decent track record on showing my youngest great old flicks. She doesn’t put up much of a fight anymore at watching movies with the “old man.”
            Now I’m trying to get her to watch the first “Star Wars” movies with me before the new Star Wars flick, “The Force Awakens” comes out this January. And, of course, KaLa and I go to many of the new superhero movies together.
            Yes, it’s fun sharing this stuff with my daughter. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
            NEW TV SEASON – Starting in less than two weeks, the new fall TV season begins on the networks, bringing back many of your favorite shows, and introducing some brand new ones that promise more action, drama and special effects. Have no idea if the acting will be any better, or the stories anymore meaningful. But we’ll see, won’t we.
            My prediction is that many of these shows won’t be on the air long if they can pull at least a 4 share.
            One show I’m most concerned about coming back this season is “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox. It has moved to Thursday nights at 9 p.m., directly competing with ABC’s hit, “Scandal.” “Sleepy Hollow,” starring Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison, barely survived its second season. Here’s hoping a new audience will discover them at this new night and time.
             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.



            Starting from Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, 805 E. Davie Street in Southeast Raleigh from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the community will be walking the streets, talking and bringing awareness to take the community back and bring back the Village and empowerment. If you would like to join in, please feel free. Young people are also invited to come and help design a logo. For more information contact Min. Diana Powell at Revelation Missionary Baptist Church.

            The campus of Shaw University is still reeling over the untimely death of Keyona Verdell. Verdell, 22, was killed Saturday when she was hit by a vehicle while she was walking late at night along New Hope Church Road. She reportedly got out of a car to walk despite being urged not to.  Her classmates lauded her as bright and full of life. She was the former captain of the Shaw Cheerleading Squad.

            Saying that it least impacts existing communities and water habitats, the Democrat-led Wake Board of Commissioners this week voted to endorse the so-called “Orange Route” through Southern Wake County for the being considered for the new  I-540 extension. That route, to be built by the NC Dept. of Transportation if NCDOT indeed agrees, would take the proposed six-lane toll road between Apex and Knightdale, passing Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Garner. There are at least a dozen routes under consideration, many of which cut through existing towns and negatively impacts surrounding nature.



            [RALEIGH] With the “Journey to Justice” marchers coming through North Carolina last week on their 860-mile walk to Washington, DC, the NC NAACP welcomed them with several events, culminating with a mass rally in Raleigh’s Bicentennial Plaza last week focusing on voting rights. National NAACP Pres. Cornell Brooks joined NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber in calling for state laws restricting the right to vote to be repealed because they disproportionately suppress the voting rights of blacks. The state Republican Party countered that blacks had no problem voting in the 2014 elections.

            [ROXBORO] Things seem to be back to normal in Person County schools this week after over 1,000 students were absent from class Friday last week after 100 took ill from an unknown gastrointestinal infection. Three schools were affected by the outbreak. According to health investigators, a norovirus that spread was the culprit. Over the Labor Day holiday weekend, the facilities were scrubbed and disinfected before school reopened on Tuesday. No illnesses were reported this week. All were urged to thoroughly wash their hands to prevent reinfection.

            [CHARLOTTE] The $20 million renovation plans for the Charlotte YMCA at the NC Military Institute call for removing a monument which includes the Confederate battle flag which has greeted visitors in front of the building since 1994. That monument will be given back to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, says the Y director.


By Cash Michaels

            With all eyes looking towards the 2016 election season, there is little doubt that first-term Republican Gov. Pat McCrory faces a tough re-election campaign.
            North Carolina’s unemployment rate has risen for the past five months in a row and is currently higher than the national average.
            The latest figures on the education front show that students aren’t progressing academically statewide as many had hoped.
            And the Republican-led NC General Assembly is still nowhere near a fiscal 2016 budget agreement for a state budget that was supposed to be signed, sealed and delivered by July 1st. Normally when such a legislative impasse crops up, it is the sitting governor who acts as the referee to settle all disputes and move both House and Senate towards reasonable compromises that benefit constituents.
            Most observers agree that normally such action on the part of a governor demonstrates strong leadership and vision. But given that Republicans lead both the Legislature and the Executive Mansion, what many thought at first would be a semblance of workable relationships have instead turned into hard-to-ignore incidents of disrespect between all sides, especially towards the governor.
            Members of the state Senate have been quoted as saying that Gov. McCrory has “no” role in budget negotiations and have openly questioned his leadership.
            “The governor’s comments about the General Assembly are sophomoric and borne out of ignorance and a lack of knowledge,” quipped New Bern Republican Rep. Michael Speciale on Facebook earlier this year.
            Sen. Tom Apodaca, powerful GOP chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, told the Asheville Citizen-Times that the governor, “…doesn’t play much of a role in anything.”
            And still another prominent Republican charged that McCrory doesn’t “understand what his job is.”
            Both leaders of the House and Senate are still miffed that McCrory won a lawsuit against them months ago saying that they unconstitutionally encroached on his ability to appoint members to the various state boards and commissions.
            And the governor has openly chided the Legislature on several measures passed, like allowing magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples in contradiction to federal law based on religious objections. Indeed, McCrory vetoed the legislation, only to have it overridden.
            Pat McCrory, once the moderate longtime mayor of Charlotte, needs to sure up his conservative credentials in order to lockup the state’s right-wing base for re-election, observers say, but with members of his own party giving him a hard time and insinuating that he is a weak leader, his work is cut out for him.
             And then there is what former NC Democratic Party Chairman Randolph Voller called McCrory’s “spotty record.” While the governor has had some success from an improving economy and more jobs coming to the state, he’s had some notable failures, critics say, including cutting job benefits; not expanding Medcaid coverage to 500,000 poor North Carolinians; and hwat many say was his clumsy handling of the coal ash spills by Duke Power, the company he used to work for for 28 years.
            Also several of the governor’s appointed cabinet members consistently embarrassed McCrory and ultimately had to leave his administration under a cloud.
            Dr. Aldona Wos recently left as secretary of NC Health and Human Services after the agency botched Medicaid management, payments to hospitals and faced allegations of hiring political friends at extraordinary salaries carry out what were normally considered staff duties.
            Tony Tata abruptly left as secretary of Transportation amid controversy that he was too partisan in the job, and spent valuable time nurturing his budding writing career (Tata was in Chicago last winter promoting his book while North Carolina was suffering through a major snowstorm that crippled hundreds of roads) when he should have instead been doing his job.
            Kieran Shanahan inexplicably resigned his post as head of the NC Dept. of Public Safety within months of first taking office without explanation.
            Voller says voters will naturally want answers for the noteworthy instability of McCrory’s cabinet.
And as to why Republican legislative leaders are treating the moderate McCrory so harshly, as if to teach him who is really boss in the state, Voller says it’s simple.
            “They want to show him who’s in charge. They want to have a trained governor that responds to them, so by weakening him, and by treating him with disrespect, they’re showing him that “We make the budget, we’re in charge, and you are our trained pet.” 
            “They’re trying to put him on a leash,” Voller later added. “They don’t seem to want to give him a lot of leeway or space.”
            “I’m not trying to demean the governor, but that’s what they’re trying to do to the governor.”
            The former NCDP Chair says no matter the negative treatment, GOP leaders will “ultimately back [Gov. McCrory] to the hill to win,” however, when it comes to re-election next year.
            They may need to begin that pivot soon, analysts say.  McCrory’s poll numbers are weaker than expected. According to a poll released in August by Public Policy Polling, Gov. McCrory’s “…approval numbers continue to be some of the worst he's had during his entire time in office, with only 35% of voters approving of the job he's doing to 48% who disapprove.”
            PPP continued, “A big part of why McCrory's approval ratings have gotten so bad this summer is that even many Republican voters have soured on him- he only has a 56% approval within his own party to 28% of voters who disapprove.”
 The governor’s fundraising is in the same boat. Plus he will face either Democrat Kenneth Spaulding – a Durham attorney and former state lawmaker; or current state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has made no secret for months that he intends to challenge McCrory in 2016.
According to PPP, both Spaulding and Cooper outpoll McCrory, with Spaulding at 40 to 35v percent, and Cooper beating McCrory in the percentages for three months in a row.
            Voller says either Democrat would be “compelling and strong” come the general election a year from now.
            If they put forth a good vision for the state, they can win,” Voller says.
            PPP notes that, “One reason for McCrory's struggles is the unpopularity of the legislature, which has become more and more unpopular as the summer drags on. Only 15% of voters approve of the job it's doing to 60% who disapprove, the highest level of unhappiness with it in quite a long time. Even though McCrory and the General Assembly are often at odds, the average voter just sees one big unpopular Republican state government without differentiating too much between the legislators and the governor.”
            McCrory’s spokesman insists that  the governor has a good relationship with state lawmakers.


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