Monday, February 29, 2016


                                                OUR ENDORSEMENTS [wilmington journal]

            Early voting is underway from now through Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m. for the Tuesday, March 15th primaries. Hours of early voting are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 5 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, March 6 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Government Center – 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 34.  Please check for additional locations and their hours, or call 910-798-7330.
            If you are not registered to vote during this early voting period, you may do so the same day that you cast your ballot. Please bring an official document like your utility bill for proof of address for identification. You can only do same-day registration until March 12. You will not be allowed to register to vote on March 15th, Primary Day.
            You must also show a photo identification in order to vote, but if you don’t have one, you will b e required to fill out a form explaining why, and then be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.
            There will be a second primary for just congressional candidates on Tuesday, June 7th because the prior 13-district congressional map was ruled unconstitutional, and the NC General Assembly redrew the map and pushed back the date pending approval of a federal court.

                                                GOVERNOR – KEN SPAULDING

            In the Democratic primary race on March 15th, the newspaper wholehearted endorses the candidacy of Durham attorney and former state lawmaker Kenneth  Spaulding. To put it bluntly, we like Ken because he has a fire in his belly for serving not just the black community, but all communities regardless of color. Spaulding has an abhorrence for injustice, and has been traveling the length and breath of this state for the past two years talking with, and listening to North Carolinians as they cry out for economic and social justice. For over 30 years, Spaulding has been an attorney, and has helped to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in business development and jobs to the state so that many can feed their families and build productive lives for themselves. As a state lawmaker, he was right there sponsoring laws to bring about a greater justice and equality for all.
            After the unmitigated disaster that has been the Pat McCrory years, North Carolina needs a fighter for the common man who knows in his bones what real justice and fairness for all is all about.
            In the March 15 Democratic primary, vote Ken Spaulding for governor.

                                                LT. GOV.  LINDA COLEMAN

            Four years ago, Linda Coleman fell just a handful of votes short of being elected lt. governor of North Carolina. Courageously, and facing even more primary challengers, Coleman is vying for the office again, promising to be that strong, forceful yet positive voice for North Carolina families when it comes to the critical issues that affect them the most.
            Coleman is a former educator, county commissioner, state lawmaker and state personnel director, so she is uniquely experienced to represent everyday people on the issues of improving public education, economic development, greater access to affordable health care and expanding job opportunities. Coleman has raised and educated her own children here in North Carolina, so she knows firsthand the struggles of parents who only want the best for their children, and need that voice to fight for them.
            Linda Coleman is the complete package, and would be the perfect team member to a Governor Ken Spaulding.
            In the March 15 Democratic primary, vote Linda Coleman for lt. governor.

               We must admit, we are quite impressed with the energy and vision of Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey. This three-term public servant is about positive action for the people, and his record of accomplishments from getting body cameras for his police officers to having “ban the box” as an official city policy, are proof that this young man is both progressive and visionary. And that’s why Mayor Rey wants to be elected as North Carolina’s next US senator, replacing one-term Republican incumbent Richard Burr. Chris Rey believes the families of North Carolina deserve a voice that knows their struggles, hopes and dreams. He wants them to know that if no one else is listening in Washington, D.C., that he will be, and that they can count on Chris Rey to both sponsor, and support the kind of common sense legislation that speaks to improving their collective quality of life.
               Mayor Rey has proudly served his country in the military, is a strong believer in national security, but is an even stronger believer family security – people being able to support their families by bringing home bigger paychecks, and he promises to fight to make that happen if elected.
               In the March 15th Democratic primary, vote Chris Rey for US Senate.


By Cash Michaels

            MELISSA HARRIS PERRY – Last weekend, MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris Perry refused to do her weekend morning show on the network, protesting the fact that she felt her bosses had been disrespectful to her and her program. In effect, MHP drew a line in the sand and said “Enough.” Two days later, MSNBC, obviously stung by the public rebuke of one of its brightest, young stars, made it known that the relationship was irreparable, and that it was indeed parting ways with her.
            There are several ways to look at this, and quite frankly, if MHP wasn’t an informative television commentator whose show could always be counted on to deal honestly with black community issues I wouldn’t be dealing with it all. But first, here are some excerpts from MHP to her staff. Her show had been preempted for the two weekends prior because of the primaries, so MHP was not pleased with her on-air situation. Again, she was scheduled to go on, but was now refusing to:
            Some unknown decision-maker, presumably [NBC News Pres.] Andy Lack or [MSNBC Pres.] Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage… However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.
            Here is the reality: our show was taken—without comment or discussion or notice—in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.
            The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.
            Undoubtedly, television nurtures the egos of those of us who find ourselves in front of bright lights and big cameras. I am sure ego is informing my own pain in this moment, but there is a level of professional decency, respect, and communication that has been denied this show for years. And the utter insulting absurdity of the past few weeks exceeds anything I can countenance.
             I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage. I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars. I have hosted a weekly program on this network for four years and contributed to election coverage on this network for nearly eight years, but no one on the third floor has even returned an email, called me, or initiated or responded to any communication of any kind from me for nearly a month. It is profoundly hurtful to realize that I work for people who find my considerable expertise and editorial judgment valueless to the coverage they are creating.
            While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return—not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.
            My thoughts? First of all, this email clearly indicates that there has been a steady diet of either miscommunication, or no communication at all between MHP and the brass at MSNBC for some time, and the recent change of direction at the liberal-leaning cable network only made it worse.
            Some facts you may not like – the MHP show on MSNBC was owned by MSNBC, not MHP. She did not produce it under a separate production company. It was produced under the auspices of MSNBC/NBC News, so while she hosted it and apparently had editorial control, MHP did not own it.
            I don’t present that to excuse MSNBC’s behavior, but rather shed light on it. As far as they were concerned, MHP gave them four hours of programming on Saturday and Sunday mornings targeted specifically, but not exclusively, to its African-American audience. They were four hours they could spare, as far as MSNBC was concerned, until they needed them back for something they considered more important.
            The presidential election was considered more important.
            Now, beyond the tone of MHP’s email, I have no idea what the true gist of her relationship with MSNBC brass was. I suspect it was not bad – bad, but wasn’t all that healthy either. That tells me that when it came to important decisions, MHP was really not seen as part of the team. Her show, beyond whatever cursory value it apparently had to the network given its weekend status, really wasn’t seen as something MSNBC considered important.
            That’s not a message you want to send to someone like MHP. She is an extraordinarily gifted black intellectual. She is an accomplished professor of political science at Wake Forest University, a published author and in-demand lecturer.  Indeed, she is considered part of black leadership, and respected as such.
            So MHP isn’t just another weekend TV personality. She IS somebody who used her weekend show to help inform and enlighten her audience, giving them important perspectives they really couldn’t get elsewhere.
            MHP is a professional, and expected to be treated as such. Television is a business of egos, so this should not have been anything new for the suits at MSNBC to deal with. But apparently, in their quest to improve ratings at any cost, the suits there saw MHP as a lower priority than some of their stars like Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews or Chris Hayes.
            Part of this is natural in the TV business, but it’s also quite stupid. Recognizing your network’s talent, and giving them opportunities to shine and contribute, should be basic common sense.
            Now MSNBC has egg on its face. MHP is gone and MSNBC is hard-pressed to explain it. It is a loss, and we so hope that MHP is able to find another weekly avenue to share her unique black perspective. Lord knows that she will be missed.
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.

                                                                   AKIEL DENKINS

By Cash Michaels

            Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown’s internal report to the city manager and City Council is due no later than Monday.
            There is no word on when the State Bureau of Investigation will render the findings of its independent criminal investigation to Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, or if those findings will be immediately made public.
            And yet, the questions in the aftermath of the fatal Raleigh police shooting Monday in Southeast Raleigh continue to grow, leaving a community shaken that compared to a Chicago, New York, or even Ferguson, Mo., such a thing could happen in Raleigh.
            What is known is that shortly after 12 noon on Monday, Feb. 29th, Raleigh Senior Police Officer D. C. Twiddy, 29, shot and killed Akiel Rakim Lakeith Denkins, 24, during a foot chase at Bragg and East streets while attempting to serve a felony arrest warrant. Several witnesses say they saw the chase, saw Denkins run behind P.J.’s Grill and Groceries, climb over a chain-linked fence and was attempting to climb another, when Officer Twiddy, who had fallen after climbing the first fence, drew his weapon and fired repeatedly, fatally striking Denkins.
            Some eyewitnesses say they heard as many as six to seven shots, and that Denkins was struck in the back.
            Several have alleged that Denkins was unarmed, even though Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown later told reporters that a gun was found near Denkins’ body.
            Assuming the events as described by some witnesses are true, it will only be until after an autopsy and forensic evidence are released that it will be known exactly how many times Denkins was struck, and exactly where.
            Long before conclusive evidence is known, however, the community and its leaders have peacefully, but forcefully taken to the streets, demanding the truth, demanding justice, and claiming their right to the painful declaration that has been uttered in numerous other American cities since the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. in August 2014.
            “Black Lives Matter.”
            Again, until a final public accounting is made by either the Raleigh Police Department, or the Wake County District Attorney’s Office based on the SBI independent criminal investigation, based on what little about the fatal shooting has been reported, there are mounting questions.
            THE GUN – In her statement to the media Monday afternoon post incident, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said, “Initially it is known that a firearm was located in close proximity to the deceased suspect. That weapon, along with all other elements available at the scene will be processed.”
            Are Akiel Denkins’ fingerprints on that gun? Who does the gun legally belong to? Was the gun fired on that day, and was it fired by Denkins? Is the officer alleging that Denkins brandished the weapon towards him during the pursuit? If the officer fired his weapon six – seven times, why do so towards someone running away from him, instead of towards him in a threatening manner? Why didn’t any of the witnesses who spoke to the media say anything about seeing Denkins with a weapon, or pointing the weapon towards the officer?
            Was Akiel Denkins known to have carried a firearm? If so, was he ever arrested and charged with a firearms violation before? If he was ever charged with carrying an illegal weapon, then was only one officer sent to find him to serve a felony drug warrant, and if so, why only one? If there were other officers, what were their actions before, during and after Denkins allegedly ran.
            THE OFFICER – Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy has been employed with the Raleigh Police Department since November 2009 and is assigned to the Field Operations Division. He is currently on administrative duty pending completion of the SBI criminal investigation.
            What is his history while serving on the RPD? Has he ever had any prior incidents of citizen complaints, firing his weapon on the job, or have been accused of using undue force while on duty? Did Officer Twiddy come to the RPD from either service in the military or from another law enforcement agency?
            How long has Officer Twiddy been patrolling that Southeast Raleigh neighborhood since he’s been on the force? What was his reputation in that neighborhood? Did he and Akiel Denkins ever have contact before, and if so, what was the nature of that contact?
 According to published reports, Akiel Denkins was well-known and liked in the Bragg Street community. He was the father of two young children, and even though he had a criminal record (arrested 16 times over the past five years reportedly) dealing mainly with illegal drugs, Denkins was studying to improve himself and become a carpenter.
            He was a father's son and a mother's son! I heard that his daughter was asking for him the night he was killed! He was a father who turned 24 on February 8th! I heard he was loved by people on Bragg Street and he did what he could to help them in any way! That was his home! He wanted to be a carpenter!,” stated Southeast Raleigh activist Aaliyah Blaylock on her Facebook page tribute to Denkins.
            Hundreds of people have held a vigil at the site of the shooting, marched through the streets of Raleigh blocking traffic downtown, and speaking out demanding justice. Ministers of churches in the community have called for calm and patience for the truth to come out, but have also called for justice if the facts determine that the officer was in the wrong.
            Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, along with Chief Deck-Brown and other city leaders, has expressed condolences to Denkins’ family, and also asked for calm, hoping not to see a repeat of violent street clashes that have marred cities like Baltimore in the aftermath of previous alleged police abuse cases.
            The Raleigh Police Protective Association has come out in full support of Officer Twiddy and his actions.
            The NCNAACP has also urged community calm while demanding honest answers. NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, during a Tuesday press conference with Akiel Denkins’ mother onhand, said the community “can handle the truth.”
            “Just be honest and forthright,” Rev. Barber insisted.
            Tonight during a community town hall meeting at Martin Street Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. sponsored by State Sen. Dan Blue, and House representatives Rosa Gill and Yvonne Holley, all three Southeast Raleigh leaders are expected to address the events of this week with the community.

                                          US ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH

By Cash Michaels
            When Pres. Obama, Republican Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell [Ky.] and others briefly met at the White House Tuesday to discuss the political logjam casting a shadow on the president nominating a replacement for the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one thing was made very clear – Obama intends to carry out his constitutional duty to nominate a qualified candidate before he leaves office next January, whether McConnell and the Senate take up that nomination or not.
            The Republicans present reaffirmed their vow not to even consider it before the next president takes office, hoping that it will be a Republican.
            If the president nominated either a moderate or progressive to fill the ultra-conservative Scalia’s shoes, it would tip the ideological balance of the SCOTUS to the left, thus breaking the current four-four liberal to conservative tie, something that Republicans do not want. Justice Scalia’s right-wing leanings assured conservatives that they had at least one solid champion on the court. In the wake of his death several weeks ago, they do not want to hand Obama any advantages.
            Among black leadership, though, the growing consensus of who the president should nominate to the High Court is clear – US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
            “I would love to see him appoint Loretta Lynch,” US. Rep. Elijah Cummings [D-MD], senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told The Hill Newspaper. “She’s already been vetted. She meets the criteria that he’s laid out. She would certainly be my recommendation.”
            Even North Carolina’s black leadership agrees.
            She would be a powerful nominee,” says NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber. “Her credentials are phenomenal. She is from the South, a black woman, and someone who has already been confirmed.”
            The Greensboro native, 56, endured a prolonged five-month confirmation battle in 2015 before McConnell and his Republican US Senate majority finally confirmed her last April. Observers say in the likelihood that Senate Republicans stick to their promise to not even give Pres. Obama’s nominee a hearing, they would run a tremendous political risk of not only besmirching Atty. Gen. Lynch two years in a row, but also angering the black Democratic voting base during a presidential election year.
            Indeed black female Democrats, the party’s most active base, would certainly be fired up about supporting one of their own to again make history.
            Given how business tycoon Donald Trump is emerging as the likely GOP presidential nominee, observers say McConnell and Senate Republicans would not only run the risk of a black voter backlash when they would least afford it, but could also cripple their goal of holding onto their Senate majority in November, putting vulnerable GOP senators at risk in states where Obama won in 2008.
            Even veteran SCOTUS watchers, like Tom Goldstein, who writes the widely read, actually changed his earlier prediction of another likely Obama High Court candidate, and recently ruminated on the considerable political benefit a Loretta Lynch nomination would bring.
            The stakes could not be higher:  the appointment could flip the Supreme Court’s ideological balance for decades,” Goldstein wrote recently.  “Second, gain as much political benefit as possible and exact as heavy a political toll as possible on Republicans, particularly in the presidential election.  Precisely because of the seat’s importance, this is the rare time that a material number of voters may seriously think about the Court in deciding whether to vote at all and who to vote for.”
            Other observers believe that while Lynch would certainly be the best known SCOTUS nominee Pres. Obama could forward to the US Senate, there are other black female judicial candidates whose stellar records of accomplishment would also produce an outstanding and history-making first African-American female associate justice of the US Supreme Court.
            But given her exemplary record as US attorney general thus far, observers say Loretta Lynch would be the president’s most powerful choice.
            “The United States Supreme Court and our nation would be well served with a nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch to replace Justice Scalia on that court,” says attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham. “Her credentials are outstanding and she has been an outstanding attorney general during the time that she has been in that position.”
            Born in Greensboro, Lynch was raised in Durham by retired pastor Rev. Lorenzo Lynch Sr. and his wife during the height of the civil rights movement. Lynch graduated Harvard Law School, and successfully served as US attorney for the Eastern District of New York for several years before being nominated to succeed US Attorney General Eric Holder in 2014.
            Given her past outstanding service, her demonstrated knowledge of the law and excellent judicial temperament, she will make an outstanding Justice on the Supreme Court and be a intellectual force similar to the late Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall,” continued Professor Joyner. “I would strongly urge President Obama to nominate this outstanding African American for service on the U.S. Supreme Court.”


            A Community Town Hall meeting, hosted by State Sen. Dan Blue [Dist. 14], and state House representatives Rosa Gill [Dist. 33] and Yvonne Holley [Dist. 38] will b e held tonight. 6:30 p.m – 8 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church Family Enrichment Center, 1001 E. Martin Street in Southeast Raleigh. The community is invited to come, ask questions and share its views.

            Workers for the town of Chapel Hill removed a recently installed granite marker that honored over 350 deceased, nameless slaves and “free people of color” that are buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. Mayor Pam Hemminger said while marker was a “fabulous idea,” it did not go through the normal “community process” of approval, and as a result, the inscription offended some in the community. The marker will be stored until the inscription is changed.

            In 1996, the remains of Shaw University student LaCoy McQueen were found in the woods near Kittrell after she was missing for several weeks. Police immediately suspected her boyfriend, Edwin Christopher Lawing, an NC State student, for her murder, but couldn’t prove it. But this week, A Wake County jury convicted Lawing of first-degree murder in the crime, and he was sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors say Lawing strangled McQueen to death after she told him she was pregnant. He then dumped the body in the woods off US 1 in Vance County. Lawing couldn’t be prosecuted because there was no way to prove that the murder took place in Wake. Finally, after many years, it was determined that small rocks found in his shoes matched ones found at the crime.


            [RALEIGH] For the next two weeks, early voting for the March 15th primaries are underway in North Carolina for all slated races except congressional, which have been postponed until June 7 pending federal court approval of NC’s redrawn redistricting maps. Same-day registration is allowed during the early voting period. If you’re not registered on Tuesday, March 15th, you will not be allowed to cast a ballot. To find where to early vote, go to
Voter photo ID is required, but if you don’t have any, you’ll be required to fill out a form and then be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

            [CHAPEL HILL] If new UNC System Pres. Margaret Spellings thought her first day on the job March 1st was going to be uneventful, she was in for a rude awakening. Students and faculty members came together on the UNC – Chapel Hill campus Tuesday loudly protesting against Spellings, saying that she was wrong for the post. Spellings, who was selected by the all-Republican UNC Board last year, previously served as US Secretary of Education under Pres. George Bush. Protesters say they are concerned, based on Spellings past history and how she was chosen, about what new restrictive policies she might impose on the 17-campus system.

            [RALEIGH]  Saying that plaintiffs failed to prove that new redistricting maps governing Wake School Board and County Commission elections “failed” to prove a violation of the constitutionally protected “one-person, one vote requirement, US District Court Judge James C. Dever III dismissed a lawsuit seeking to throw the new maps out. The judge also ruled that the Republican –led NC General Assembly did not racially gerrymander the district lines for Southeast Raleigh. Plaintiffs say they may appeal the ruling.