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NCDP CHAIR SAYS PARTY
GEARING UP FOR 2016
By Cash Michaels
One year from this week, North Carolina will elect a new governor and US senator, while the nation will elect a new president.
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever has been gearing up for those battles, in addition to electing more Democrats statewide to the NC General Assembly to at least weaken the Republican stranglehold there of both houses. Thanks to redistricting, being able to reclaim the majority may be a stretch in the conceivable future, but replacing several seats with Democrats seems doable as long as fundraising remains steady, and party loyalists of varying factions come together to focus on winning, as opposed to fighting each other.
“From my purview, I’m very excited,” Keever told The Carolinian several weeks ago when asked how the 2016 election year was shaping up. “I think we’re going to have excellent candidates. The thing that will change our lives here in North Carolina more than anything else is if we can elect a governor, and then elect either four more members in the [state] House, or five more members in the [NC] Senate so that it would give the [Democratic] governor a veto-proof number.”
“We still won’t have the majority, still may not be able to pass all of the laws we would like to, but at least we can stop the egregious legislation that’s coming out of Raleigh now,” the NCDP chairwoman continued.
Part of Keever’s excitement stems from the improving financial picture. Under previous NCDP Chairman Randy Voller, donations virtually dried up when moderate Democrats who traditionally contributed to the state party coffers stopped writing checks to protest Voller more progressive direction. The contribution checkoff on state tax returns was also ended by the GOP legislature,. Cutting off another traditional source of revenues. It wasn’t long before there was talk of the party actually selling off its historic Hillsborough Street headquarters just to make ends meet.
Keever, then party vice chair, promised when she ran to succeed Voller that she would attract her more moderate followers back to the fold, and aggressively rebuild the party’s war chest in preparation for the pivotal 2016 elections.
Apparently that’s happening.
“Many of our donors are coming back onboard, and the atmosphere is very positive,” Keever says. “And I’m very please.”
Indeed her election as chair quieted some of the party infighting, but certainly not all. The African-American Caucus, an autominous auxiliary of the NCDP, has had raging infighting for the past several months, and may see more after its current leader, Willie Fleming of Charlotte, steps down Nov. 14th, and a new head is elected.
In addition, with African-Americans comprising upwards of fifty percent of the Democratic base in North Carolina, there are many that accuse the party of traditionally taking the black vote for granted, and not giving black candidates for major or statewide offices the same kind of support that white candidates get. That particular complaint was recently made by attoeny
Still, Chairwoman Keever says with the primary election date now moved up from May to March, fielding the best team to challenge Republicans’ Governor Pat McCrory’s and US Sen. Richard Burr, and making sure that a Democrat takes the reins of the White House from outgoing President Barack Obama, is everyone’s priority in the party, whether they get along with each other or not.
“People realize that we all have to be in this together,” Chairwoman Keever says, “and we can’t afford the internal conflicts.”
“This is about relationship building, this is about raising money, having good candidates, ensuring that our rural counties have the same support our urban counties do. It’s a togetherness thing, and everybody realizes that it’s going to take all of us,” Keever added, “And that’s what we’re working on.”
GROUNDBREAKING OF KING GARDENS EXPANSION NOV. 18
Special to The Carolinian
The City of Raleigh Park, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department invites the public to join in the groundbreaking for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens expansion project on Nov. 18 at 10 a.m.
The Raleigh City Council awarded the construction contract for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens expansion project to Riggs-Harrod Builders, Inc. on Oct. 20. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens was originally constructed in 990. The park includes a memorial wall of 2,500 bricks inscribed with the names of local and national supporters of the facility. The wall surrounds a life-sized bronze statue of Dr. King and a 12-ton granite water monument serves as a memorial to the area's notable pioneers of the civil rights movement.
In 2012, the City established a Public Leadership Group of representatives from several local organizations. The group held public meetings to solicit ideas and suggestions on the expansion of the memorial gardens. The City incorporated that feedback into a master plan and subsequently a schematic design and contract documents.
One highlight of the expanded gardens will be a Civil Rights Path with future educational stations offering visitors an opportunity to learn key details and history about the struggle for racial equality in the United States. Other new features will include a masonry screen wall with a memorial to local civil rights leaders, a comfort station with drinking fountains, an expansive covered patio with grills, improved signage and lighting, additional parking, and additional seating.
Construction is anticipated to be completed next summer.
For more information, contact Lora Greco, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, 919-996-4771
FORMER JCSU TRUSTEE LAUNCHES “NO-CONFIDENCE” VOTE CAMPAIGN
[CHARLOTTE] An alumnus of Johnson C. Smith University has launched a “Vote of No – Confidence Petition Campaign” against the HBCU’s trustee board chairman and the school’s president. Talmadge Fair, who identifies himself as a current member of the JCSU Trustee Board, says he seeks to remove Chairman Monroe Miller and President Ronald Carter, “…and others from their administrative/fiduciary responsibilities.” Fair alleges that both leaders have failed to “…detail [JCSU’s] financial and academic state. Chairman Miller ha issued a statement in response saying, “We regret that Talmadge Fair, a former member of the Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees, has chosen to start this petition. Johnson C. Smith University has made significant progress over the past seven years. Our work is paying dividends as we attract the attention and funding of major foundations and corporations.”
FORMER CONGRESSMAN HOWARD COBLE DIES, 84
[GREENSBORO] Former NC Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC-6), died late Tuesday in Greensboro, according to his family. Coble, 84, had been hospitalized in September having complications with skin cancer treatment. Coble spent 30 years in in office, having been elected to Congress in 1984. He retired last January. Gov. McCrory order all flags flown at half-mast in Rep. Coble’s honor.
EUGENICS VICTIMS RECEIVE SECOND STATE COMPENSATION PAYMENTS
[RALEIGH] Over 200 eugenics victims have been sent a second $15,000 payment from the state from the $10 million fund the NC Legislature established in 2013. Those victims were forcibly sterilized by the state during the 1930’s through the 1970’s after they were falsely labeled as mentally ill. North Carolina sterilized approximately 7,600 poor blacks and whites during that period. Former Gov. Mike Easley apologized to the survivors in 2002, and former Gov. Beverly Perdue pushed the NC General Assembly to compensate them.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 11-5-15
COUNCIL MOVES FORWARD WITH COLLEGE PARK REVITALIZATION
Despite expressed concerns from neighborhood residents of College Park about being allegedly left out of discussions, and DHIC forming an LLC to purchase property in the area, the Raleigh City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area plan for College Park, which would purportedly allow for mixed-use business and affordable housing construction. Many residents believe that the NRSA, which now goes to the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development for approval, is a ploy to gentrify the community to move longtime residents off their properties for higher-income clientele.
ALUMNI GROUP SUE SHAW CHAIRMAN, FORMER CHAIR
Shaw Alumnus and Friends, Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit against current Shaw University Board of Trustees Chairman Joseph Bell, and his predecessor, former Chairman Willie Gary, alleging that the pair steered school contracts to their relatives, mishandled selection of presidents, and essentially put the HBCU in a perilous financial situation. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages. Neither Bell or Gary have responded to the suits by press time.
THOMPSON DEFEATS WOODHOUSE IN RUNOFF
When the next Raleigh City Council is sworn-in in December, there will be no Republicans impaneled, thanks to Dickie Thompson crushing Eddie Woodhouse in Tuesday’s District A runoff by 58 percent. Woodhouse, a Republican, tried to cast Thompson as someone who would “welcome” illegal immigrants. Mayor McFarlane supported Thompson’s campaign, one of five she and her husband successfully backed this election cycle.
CASH IN THE APPLE FOR NOV. 5, 2015
By Cash Michaels
NEW “STAR TREK” IN JANUARY 2017 – Reports this week say in honor of the franchise’s fiftieth anniversary, a new “Star Trek” series will premiere on CBS, which own the rights to all of the old series. The new show will premiere in January 2017, but here’s the catch – only the first episode will air on CBS, and the subsequent episodes will stream on CBS All-Access, the online subscription service that screens many old TV series like “MacGyvyer” and the old “Hawaii Five-O,” as well as many of current series like “The Good Wife.” Is this where television is going, being used to promote pay TV services? We’ll see.
ARROGANCE! – Last week, the big political news on the presidential wannabe stage was the firestorm of criticism aimed towards cable business channel CNBC following the Republican presidential debate. Apparently the top-rung candidates like Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz felt disrespected and manhandled by the three CNBC moderators’ cute-by-half questions the candidates felt were designed to mock them, instead of bring out the best in them.
Now I’ve never moderated a presidential debate, and doubt that I ever will. But I have moderated political debate and forums in the past, so I know the job pretty well. And while I can honestly say that the bunch of GOP candidates currently running for the White House in 2016 are a bunch of crybabies looking for every advantage they can get to appear like they are truly great Americans deserving of our trust to lead, I can also add that CNBC screwed up that debate royally.
Let’s first establish a simple historical fact – the Republican Party has always had a tense relationship with the mainstream media, primarily because the GOP has a hard time controlling the media, with an exception of Fox News, papers like The Washington Times, and numerous right-wing radio talk shows across the country. They want their message to go out unfettered, and Republicans don’t like a lot of questions about what they did, or what they’re doing afterwards.
To be fair, Democrats can be prickly about media scrutiny too, but they’re a lot less anal retentive about it. Some say that’s because most of the media are liberal Democrats. That indeed may be true, but just ask Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton if they’ve gotten much of an easy media ride.
Still, Republicans have to do business with the mainstream media because that’s where the majority of Americans are. So it’s a shotgun wedding of sorts. And that’s why all members of the media who engage ANY political candidates, let alone any political parties, have to know that they instantly have a target on their backs.
Politics 101 when dealing with the media – always be ready to blame the media for any and all problems when caught in a lie, or just being plain dumb. Any reporter who covers politics should know that they will be an instant scapegoat in case on controversy, but politicians have a survival instinct like known other, plus they could have a multitude of supporters, colleagues and a political party to back them up if things really get tight.
Like I said, all of the above is Politics 101, and I pity the poor political journalist who doesn’t know this, or worse yet, understand it.
Apparently CNBC debate moderators John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla didn’t understand it. During the two-hour debate spectacle, which got clearly out of hand last week, all three dressed perfectly legitimate questions in very snarky tones and words that seem to indicate a profound disrespect for the presidential candidates.
Rule #1 – NEVER, but never exhibit a disrespect for the very process you’re actually in control of, because that can only get you into trouble. As a moderator, you represent your news organization and the rules. You’re expected to be professional and aboveboard. The candidates and their answers to tough questions are the reason and purpose for being there. Never forget that.
Rule #2 – PROTECT YOURSELF from any undue scrutiny by structuring and delivering your questions during the debate in a way that shifts the weight of the engagement on the candidate to answer.
“Gov. Christie, during your presidential campaign, you have said that if elected, you would run the most fiscally responsible administration in history. But currently in New Jersey where you are governor, critics there point to programs you initiated that are under investigation for tens of millions of wasted taxpayer dollars, according to state government reports. How do you square what’s happening in the state that you currently govern, with what you have promised the American people?”
And then you shut up, allowing the viewer to immediately say to themselves, “Yeah governor, just how do you square your record of waste with what you promise if elected president? I want to hear this answer?
Now the only thing left for the candidate to do is either answer the question, or try to deny the premise of your question. But the candidate can’t legitimately attack you since you asked a perfectly legitimate fact-based, but tough question.
That’s the way it’s done professionally, and the audience knows it. Always treat the candidate respectfully, always treat the process respectfully, even if the candidates are a bunch of thunderheads. Let the professionalism of your conduct and questions reveal just how idiot they are by not getting in the way of that assessment. Folks should be talking about how bad the answer is, not how bad the question was.
That didn’t happen last week during the CNBC debate, and now that news network is paying for it with enough bad press to last a lifetime.
Politics 101 how has a poster child – the CNBC debate.
''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.