So Bronson When Is Enough Enough? Rocky Mount NC Utilities War

In response to: Bronson Williams, Nehemiah Smith Jr. vs Rev. Andre Knight and The Rocky Mount City Council A Utilities War

I agree when is enough enough?

I have been listening to The Truth Hurts Broadcast for several weeks and I have found it to be quite interesting and many times comical. Since Bronson works the boards for Connections Talk Show that comes on immediately after his talk show, George Fisher host and myself the co-host find ourselves discussing the Rocky Mount Utilities almost daily as well.

I am trying to figure out what is really going on here because discussions have gone from utilities to getting rid of the city council members (recall) and folks calling in just simply talking about people. I have no problem with folks talking about people but when one know it is lies and it is being allowed to spread across the airwaves that is not good.

It is clear that the light bills are high in Rocky Mount NC. So why are they high? Is it something that the city council members are doing? If so, spell it out along with what you want them do. And then we all can see if it is workable.

Black white issue. I hear some folks say they do not see any whites going down to the city hall complaining about their utility bills. I have heard some say the white council members say they don’t have people complaining to them about their utilities.

I have said that people who are complaining should reach out to their council members especially the black ones who they should feel comfortable talking to to tell them about their concerns. I said many black folks didn’t feel that they had access to the previous council which used to be predominately white.

”There are those in city government and the general public who would paint this issue in terms of Black and White; but this is an issue of fairness, affordability, and fiscal responsibility. However, I am not so naïve as to believe that, for the most part, the poor minority communities of the city are not carrying the heavier load that these burdensome utility rates have brought about.” Well the letter went from saying it is not about black and white but the last sentence says otherwise. This is so damn contradictory. It is my opinion that Nehemiah is trying to win the white support in his conversation about the utilities.

I have heard many say that this council (black majority) has inherited what the previous council done before them. Over the years they have made some changes and are working on more and I do know this as a fact.

Bronson Williams one of the stalwart voices in this struggle, continues to address the issue on his daily call-in show and I agree. However I question his motives. As it relates to his personal incident, I have heard him say several things about how it happened. He said he forgot to pay his bill and that he paid it late purposely. Well I believe he should have gotten another bill that would have told him that he was behind from last month. But his lights got turned off at the radio station anyway. So why in the hell didn’t he just pay his bill?

Bronson is a voice for the voiceless and is galvanizing the community behind the common cause of lowering high utilities. I have no problem with that however what I do have a problem with is all the ignorant conversations that are taking place.

I know that Bronson have allowed atleast one person to call in and say some things when he knew it was not truth. This is in regards to a caller calling in talking about an agenda item at last weeks NAACP meeting. The caller did not attend the meeting but called in about something that somebody told them. I didn’t hear what the caller said but I have received several phone calls about the conversation. I tried calling the person to have a conversation with them about the issue but they wanted to talk about why they do not like Andre and Reuben. I told them I didn’t want to talk about that and that I wanted to share with them about why not only is Andre talking about Bronson joining up with the tea partiers but George Fisher and myself have had a conversation with Bronson during  one of our TV talk shows (Connections) about him meeting with the annexation organization and certain white persons who have other agendas.

As it relates to a scare tactic about black folks who join the tea partiers, I don’t get it. I just fine it strange as hell that Bronson would make it known on our TV Talk Show that he was going to meet with these folks who are fighting the council on other issues hoping to gain their support for his mission about the utilities. I say this is crazy as hell.

I say if Bronson and anyone would like to do the recall thing, I say go for it. I have no problem with that.

Bronson has done and is doing something that local churches and other organizations like the local chapter of the NAACP have yet to do. I say bull manure because there has been some individuals such as Carol Batchelor, Lewis Turner, Dorothy Cook, Jessie Fraiser,  George Fisher, Black  Workers For Justice, myself and the list goes on that has been dealing with the utilities issue dating back to the late 90’s.

One day I heard Jessie Fraiser and another lady talking about they were going to have a meeting at Braswell Library to see just how many folks were interested in trying to form a committee to address Rocky Mount utilities. I called George Fisher and told him that we needed to go to the meeting since we have been dealing with the utilities issue.

George and I attended the meeting and out of the initial meeting we decided to meet weekly at the OIC. Mind you I do not live in Rocky Mount. I don’t remember Bronson along with many folks who have called in to Truth Hurts Broadcast coming to a meeting.

George and I attended the meetings until we could not take anymore. We had thought it would be best to work on something that would be doable and results could be seen soon. Well new people kept coming to the meetings and they wanted to talk about their experiences and we were not accomplishing anything. The things the initial group had agreed upon was to deal with the following:

1. How customer service deal with people. 

2. Seek to get the policy changed for folks who had life support equipment in their homes.

3. Making sure people meters were read.

During many conversations I hear folks say that when they found out their meters had not been read, they had them read and their utility bills went down drastically. I understand this is what happened with Nehemiah and this is why he got involved. I was told that he said the meter reader did not read his parent’s meter so he seen Councilman Andre Knight across the street from his home. He called Knight and told him and Knight called down to the city and the meter reader came back out within 30 minutes and read the meter. I understand the bill went down a little more than 50%. Nehemiah said the meter reader said he thought the fence was locked so he guestimated. I also heard that Nehemiah Jr. confronted Knight because Knight supposedly told or had someone to tell Nehemiah not to come to the council meeting because his issue had been addressed. I understand Nehemiah and Knight got into a verbal confrontation after a city council meeting.

When I heard Nehemiah tell the story on The Truth Hurts Broadcast I don’t recall him telling the whole story especially mentioning that he had complained to Knight and the meter reader came back. Nehemiah says he is concerned about other folks with high utilities and I agree. I am concerned also and do not live in Rocky Mount but the bull manure that is being said on The Truth Hurts Broadcast is just crazy. I agree Nehemiah and others ought to be concerned about other folks utilities but the best thing they and those concerned can do is to reach out to all the citizens to make sure their meters are being read.

Folks kept asking me do I listen to The Truth Hurts Talk Show so I began to tune in. I had been listening to the broadcast for several days before I called in. One day Bronson made a comment and I called in and responded because he made a statement about what some folks have said and I told him I have said the very same so I am calling in to say why I said it and I stand behind what I said and will say in the future.

I will let the churches speak for themselves since I am not a member of a church in Rocky Mount NC. Since Nehemiah just moved back here, I am sure his family members are a member of a church here so what have they done? Bronson is a member of a church here so what have they done?

I am  a life fully paid member of the NAACP and a member of the Rocky Mount Branch where Andre Knight is the president I am going to address this as a member and not speaking for the branch where I have served as 1st, 2nd and 3rd vice president and on the executive committee since the early 90’s dating back to when Rev. Elbert Lee was the president. As it relates to the mission of the NAACP you can read it here.

I am unaware of anyone who have brought a discriminatory complaint to the NAACP as it relates to their utilities. I say file a complaint with the local NAACP and then you can say that they have not done anything. If it is something that they can do and they do not do it, I will address that issue myself.

There have been others who have tried to organize around the utilities issue however Bronson is able to reach out to a broader level because he is on the radio. What tickles the hell out of me is he sit back and allow folks to say there has not been anyone before him that has organized around the utilities issue when he knows that that is not “truth.”

You see I am for truth no matter who it is for or against and I will not allow untruth to be told and and not say anything. I don’t care if I don’t deal with the person who the untruth is being told on, I will speak up for them on certain things and that we disagree on I will speak to that as well.

So who am I? I am a grassroots effective community activist and I hold all folks accountable and ask others to hold me accountable. I have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies only permanent interest.

See related:

Bronson Williams, Nehemiah Smith Jr. vs Rev. Andre Knight and The Rocky Mount City Council A Utilities War

ElectriCities

Rocky Mount Utilities

Bronson Williams, Nehemiah Smith Jr. vs Rev. Andre Knight and The Rocky Mount City Council A Utilities War

Note: The following article was written by: Nehemiah Smith Jr. per Bronson Williams on his talk show Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inside Edition

When is enough enough? Mayor and council shrink from the service for which they were elected

Apathetic city council leaves citizens to their own devices over utilities (Read more @ The Promise FM 107.3)

From The DCN Publisher: I will respond to this later because I have been actively engaged in the Utilities saga in Rocky Mount NC since the 90’s. I am a life member of the NAACP so therefore I will respond as The DCN Publisher and as a member of the Rocky Mount Branch NAACP.

Crossing at 64 to add restaurant

A mixed-use project in Edgecombe County that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade has signed its first tenant.

Last month, Tands Inc. finalized an agreement with Rocky Mount/Edgecombe Community Development Corp. to build a new Bojangles restaurant at the Crossing at 64 project on property where Business U.S. 64 crosses the U.S. 64 bypass. Business U.S. 64 also is known as Raleigh Street. (Read more @ The Rocky Mount Telegram)

See related:

Rocky Mount NC – Two businesses slated to locate in Crossing at 64

Crossing at 64

I Attended The Local NAACP Meeting on Thursday And Friday I Received A Call About The President Talking About Someone

I attended the NAACP meeting on Thursday evening and I thought it went well. This was the 1st meeting that I have attended since last year because several folks keep mess stirred up. The last time I attended a meeting the State NAACP President Rev. William J. Barber II and Carl White District Director were present.

On yesterday I received a phone call that Ms. Mattie called to “The Truth Hurts Talk Show” and said that Rocky Mount NAACP President Andre Knight had talked about Bronson Williams the owner of FM 107.3 The Promise and host of The Truth Hurts Talk Show. Bronson’s name didn’t come up during the time I was at the meeting.

Bronson Williams formed the “The Truth Hurts Talk Show” to talk about the Rocky Mount City Council and the Utility Bills. Williams has been trying to pull some folks together to deal with the issue of “high utilities” in Rocky Mount NC.

I do not believe the President would have talked about Bronson in the negative at the meeting knowing that a mother and daughter who are members would put it out there.

I called the President on yesterday but he was in a banquet so I am waiting to hear back from him so that I can ask him what was said at the meeting before I arrived.

What did happen at the meeting is a female whom is a new member, I believe is the publicity chair, asked a member to pass me a copy of the agenda. The female member said to her, “I am not passing that to him,” however I couldn’t hear the rest of what she said. This person is the treasurer and do not like me because of the President. She also sent me a Christmas Card a couple of years ago and I returned it to sender. Why in the hell would she send me a Christmas Card when she do not like me? You see this is why I do not attend the meetings because I don’t have time for her and her mother’s drama.

As soon as I hear from the President I am going to post my findings. I may ask for some contacts for some others who attended the meeting to ask them what was said.

Stay tuned.

Curmilus Dancy II
Life Fully Paid Member NAACP

Originally posted: 6.26.10 8:40 AM

Note: Spoke to the President and he said that it came up about the utilities and he said that Bronson was lining up with some folks who are with the Tea Party who have other agendas.

He said it was said that the NAACP need to reach out to Bronson because he was a mouthpiece and his broadcast is heard as far as up to Virginia.

Utilities was an agenda item for Thursday’s meeting because it  was discussed at the May meeting. The President didn’t attend the May meeting because he was out of town attending the National NAACP Leadership 500 Summit in Florida.

I have said it over and over again we can have our differences however when there is something that we can do to help make a difference for all folks then we need to lay our differences aside. Sometimes some folks just need to go home, sit down and shut the hell up. Rev. Al Sharpton said it best in this video, “If You Are Scared, Say It.”

Why I Don’t Support Decriminalization of Marijuana

Decriminalization (as opposed to "Legalization") refers to simply removing criminal penalties for marijuana or any other drug.  It usually means that possession of personal amounts becomes a civil penalty (like a parking ticket), but some people also take it to mean the complete removal of cannabis laws from the books. A civil penalty bill (HB-541) was attempted in the 2009 Montana legislature, but it did not pass.

Here’s why I think decrim is not worth fighting for.

First, let’s dispense with the "remove all cannabis laws from the books" proposal. As an intoxicant, treating marijuana like spinach or dandelions will simply never happen, at least not this century.

There is decent public support for the idea of civil-penalty-style decrim. People generally don’t think you can or should go to jail for possessing marijuana, but Montana law specifies a jail term of up to six months for just a single joint. Even if you don’t go to jail, when you’re convicted of a crime, you consequently acquire a permanent criminal record that will show up in background checks, you may be drug tested, lose your job or housing, be barred from professional associations, education, grants, public assistance, gun ownership, and so forth. So, the idea of decrim, protecting the end user from these consequences, seems sound.

My three main problems with decrim are:

  1. Decrim leaves the criminal black market intact.
  2. There’s little reason for people who do not use marijuana to support decrim.
  3. Decrim supports the lie that there’s something wrong about marijuana use.
Decrim and the Black Market

So, imagine that decrim has passed and now marijuana enthusiasts face only a $50 parking-ticket-style fine if they get caught with a personal bag of weed. That’s helpful to the tens of thousands of Montana adults who carry a bag of weed from time to time, no doubt.

But where did they get the bag? From Debbie the Dealer, who A) imported in bulk from Oregon or California or Canada or Mexico, or B) grew it in a closet or spare room or warehouse or garden.

There’s little public support for Debbie’s activities. Her business is "illegitimate"; she commits a felony to engage in it.  Big law enforcement budgets are justified by her activities. She risks losing her house and car and everything due to civil asset forfeiture laws. She pays no taxes on her profits. Anyone she hires to help out likewise engages in a felony, pays no taxes, has no workers comp, etc. Her product is not regulated for purity or potency or adulterants. She probably has to deal in cash, and is hence a target for robbery; she may arm herself to prepare for every transaction, which must take place in out-of-the-way locations.

So, decrim, as generally proposed, leaves most of the apparatus of prohibition in place. It would protect a lot of people from arrest, which is a big benefit, but I argue that’s not good enough, especially when you consider my next two problems with decrim.

Decrim and Public Support

You can motivate a lot of people with altruistic arguments about justice and compassion. Lots of people agree that jail time is not an appropriate penalty for pot possession. Nearly all regular users of marijuana (something like 12% of adults) will agree with you. Add in some libertarians and those who smoked pot "back in the day" or know someone who enjoys the occasional "special brownie", and you may indeed get a majority to endorse your decrim proposal.

If we can assuage their concerns though, we should be able to generate even stronger support for a taxed, regulated model for marijuana from:

  • Parents who want to keep pot away from their kids and consequently demand that marijuana sales require age verification.
  • Pot-haters who want to "tax those people who aren’t paying their fair share".
  • Businesspeople who see marijuana as an opportunity for legitimate entrepreneurial endeavors and economic growth.
  • Local cops and prosecutors and judges who want to spend more time dealing with real criminals that threaten life and property.
  • Politicians and criminal justice advocates who want to disrupt the criminal gangs currently in control of much of the marijuana industry.
  • Civic leaders who see the potential for a new income stream for government to support education and health care and other public services.
  • Economic developers and chambers of commerce and other business associations that see the opportunity for the rise of a whole new class of agricultural producers, processors, and retailers.

If we can do a good enough job describing these benefits to these audiences, we will eventually pass a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill in Montana and nationwide.

Decrim Supports The Lie

My third problem with decrim is that it continues to support the lie that there’s something wrong, something blameworthy, about using marijuana.

By continuing to maintain penalties for merely possessing or growing a plant, we support the absurd contention that there’s something evil about the plant itself, and that those who dare to partake of it are themselves somehow morally tainted. Inherent in such a policy is a denial of our fundamental right as adults to decide what to put in our bodies.

We need to be clear with the public that we do not support driving under the influence, or any other irresponsible behavior with marijuana. But we must object vigorously to the baseless claim that my vaporizer is somehow a sin, while my neighbor’s glass of wine is not.

Decrim isn’t good enough. It preserves the black market, fails to draw support from important groups, and supports the lie that there’s something morally wrong about marijuana use.

Instead, we need to fully legitimize marijuana in a responsible system of taxation and regulation similar to alcohol, being sure to include the right to produce your own at home (as we do with beer and wine).

Anything less just isn’t worth fighting for.

Efficacy
PO Box 1234
860 657 8438
Hartford, CT 06143
efficacy@msn.com
www.Efficacy-online.org
"THE DRUG WAR IS MEANT TO BE WAGED NOT WON"

Working to end race and class drug war injustice, Efficacy is a non profit
501 (c) 3 organization founded in 1997. Your gifts and donations are tax
deductible

See related:

Drug War

REGIONAL PUBLIC HEARING ON POLICE MISCONDUCT, RACIAL PROFILING IN GREENVILLE

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

25 June 2010

Contact:  Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, State President, 919-394-8137

                 Mrs. Amina J. Turner, State Executive Director, 919-682-4700

                 Atty.  Irv Joyner, Legal Redress Chair, 919-682-4700

     Atty. Al McSurely, State Communications Chair, 919-389-2905

                 Mr. Calvin Henderson, President, Pitt County NAACP, 252-758-7645

NAACP TO HOLD REGIONAL PUBLIC HEARING ON

POLICE MISCONDUCT, RACIAL PROFILING IN GREENVILLE

The NC State Conference of the NAACP along with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the UNC Center for Civil Rights will conduct a public hearing for Eastern North Carolina to receive public comment on police misconduct, excessive force and racial profiling.  It will be held on Monday, June 28 at 7:00pm at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center located at 1100 Ward Street in West Greenville.  Persons or youth who are 18 years and younger and have experienced an incident of excessive force or police misconduct must present with an adult. All speakers must sign in before speaking. 

Through its Law Enforcement Accountability project, the NAACP has developed a “smart and safe” framework in which to advocate for equal justice and safer communities.  This hearing is an effort to receive live reports of incidents and allegations and to collect statistical data from the region.

NAACP strongly believes that all communities seek a fair and just administration and enforcement of the law, and that all communities, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or religion have a right to be safe.  A report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The Rights Working Group indicated that, “racial and ethnic profiling by members of law enforcement at federal, state and local levels is one of today’s most significant challenges to equality.”

State NAACP President, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, remarked, “Our goal in advocating for justice in the criminal justice system is to eliminate disparate treatment of African-Americans and other minorities in all aspects of law enforcement and criminal justice.  As the oldest civil rights organization in the nation, we are mandated to stay informed of issues that occur in our communities, and investigate and then working with key stakeholders such as civic leadership the faith community, and other organizations to ensure that law enforcement is just and fair in both administration of justice and the enforcement of the law.”

Mr. Calvin Henderson, Pitt County Branch of the NAACP can be contacted at 252-758-7645 or the State Office at 1-866-NC-NAACP. ###


Amina Josey Turner
Exec Dir
NC NAACP
P O Box 335
Durham, NC  27702
919-682-4700 V  919-682-4711 F
1-866-NC-NAACP



See related:

Greenville City Councilwoman Kandie Smith Arrested

Job Vacancy – Wake Education Advocates Network Coordinator of “Great Schools Initiative”

1. JOB VACANCY

Wake Education Advocates Network

Coordinator of “Great Schools Initiative”

July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010

Contract Position

Wake Education Advocates (WEA), a network of organizations and individuals working for

educational equity in Wake County, seeks a six-month contract-based coordinator of the Great

Schools Initiative (GSI). This is an initiative to promote civic engagement and community

advocacy related to issues of diversity, equity and adequacy in education in Wake County

public schools. The goal of GSI is to empower those most impacted by school assignment

changes—low-income students and students of color and their families—to advocate for diversity

and equity in education. We expect the coordinating activities for GIS to be time intensive and

require an average of 40 hours a week. Compensation is $26,000 plus no more than $1,000 in

travel and expenses.

The YWCA of the Greater Triangle serves as the fiscal agent for GSI and will manage the

contracting process, fiscal management and grants administration. The Coordinator will work

closely with and be supervised by the YWCA. The Coordinator will be expected to work from

the YWCA 3-4 days a week.

Job responsibilities of the Coordinator:

1. Responsible for coordination, planning, communication, oversight and evaluation of all

activities and services relating to GSI from July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

2. Make weekly reports to GSI steering committee.

3. Work closely with the YWCA Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives to manage

and implement grant requirements.

4. Work with GSI work groups and steering committee to develop short-term work plans,

benchmarks and budgets.

5. Regularly communicate with GSI workgroups and ensure workgroup tasks are completed.

6. Write and maintain all meeting minutes, grant reports, project reports and other relevant

documentation related to the project.

7. Manage the day-to-day operations involved in WEA efforts.

8. Participate in staff development meetings, and other appropriate training as designated.

9. Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

1. Minimum of two years relevant professional experience in community advocacy and

organizing

2. Strong facilitation, diplomacy and organizational skills

3. Well-organized, extremely detail oriented, able to meet deadlines and work independently

4. Strong written, verbal, and computer skills

2

5. Experience with anti-oppression work and concepts (a power analysis related to race,

age, gender, class and other significant social themes) and a demonstrated commitment

to social and economic justice

6. Knowledge of Wake County community and education issues

Please submit cover letter, resume or CV and two references via email to

bburge@ywcatriangle.org.

Equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. People of color are encouraged to apply.

2. Request for Proposals

NORTH CAROLINA ENERGY OFFICE

NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

TRAINING FOR N.C. ENERGY CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS (RECOVERY FUNDS)

The North Carolina Energy Office issues this request for proposals from contractors to develop, implement, and execute a program to train North Carolina Code Enforcement Officers on the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. Funds for this program come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and are intended to result in significant and sustained job creation and energy efficiency. The selected contractor will work with the Energy Office and the N.C. Department of Insurance to approve training materials and instructors. Proposals should include the following: 1) develop training content and material for the 2009 N.C. Energy Conservation Code; 2) delivery of training to code enforcement officers in all jurisdictions of the state; 3) develop an online training program; 4) create, develop and write a tutorial on the 2012 N.C. Energy Conservation Code; 5) develop a method to verify code enforcement compliance with the 2009 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code. The focus of these efforts shall be to build long-term understanding of the code requirements and lasting capabilities to meet or exceed all required Energy Code standards and promote energy conservation.  Sealed proposals subject to the conditions of this RFP will be received until 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010.  A copy of the RFP can be found online at: https://www.ips.state.nc.us/IPS/AGENCY/PDF/07521900.pdf.  Questions must be submitted in writing or by e-mail to: Allison Tart, Purchasing & Contracts Officer, N.C. Dept. of Commerce, 30` N. Wilmington St., Room 586; Raleigh, N.C. 27601 or atart@nccommerce.com no later than Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. 

Raleigh mayor seeks experts, leaders to analyze school board – Source: News & Observer

RALEIGH — With an eye toward a potential lawsuit, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is recruiting Raleigh community leaders and legal experts to scrutinize how students get assigned to schools now that the Wake County school board has eliminated assignments based on socioeconomic diversity. (Read more @ News & Observer)

See related:

Wake County Public Schools

ATTENTION: Gospel Singers, Choirs, Quartets, Dancers, Comedians, Rappers

* * ATTENTION * *

Gospel Singers, Choirs, Quartets, Dancers, Comedians, Rappers

AUDITIONS IN DURHAM 

SATURDAY 10AM – 2PM

Joyful Noise Audition Flyer front

Joyful Noise Audition Flyer - front

Spectacular Magazine

P. O. Box 361

Durham, North Carolina 27702

919-680-0465  www.spectacularmag.com

SPINCycle for June 24, 2010

If you are having trouble reading this email, you may view the online version

Welcome to this week`s edition of SPINCycle.

On this week’s show we will give you our analysis of Tuesday’s runoff elections, whether we will have a new state budget July 1, discuss whether or not we are in a war for school resegregation and get our panel’s opinions about whether universities get preferential funding treatment.

This week’s panel includes: former legislator, Gene Arnold; Rufus Edmisten, former Attorney General and Secretary of State; Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch and John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation.  The show will be moderated by Tom Campbell.

Tom Campbell`s Spin
If legislators want to restore the breach of trust, they must get serious about ethics and campaign reform.  Check out this week’s column, “
Restoring public trust”.

Heard on the Street

The scorching heat and time of year brings to mind a similar scenario that took place in Philadelphia in 1776. Then, as now, the Continental Congress was stalled in debate. Delegates were about to declare their independence from England. Our lawmakers are also seeking freedom…from dealing with continuing budget deficits, on-again, off-again federal funding on Medicaid, but mostly they want freedom from Raleigh. Our legislators are past eager in their desire to go home.

But many won’t find freedom when they return home, as most have re-election challenges and will find an unhappy electorate awaiting them. These are not good times to be a state legislator.

We heard late yesterday that a budget compromise is close but few details are being shared. Some are saying it is very possible lawmakers will have a plan to present and vote on before the beginning of the new fiscal year, however that seems a stretch, especially if they expect rank and file legislators to read the documents and have any meaningful discussion about the budget before a vote. But stranger things have happened.

There are two main hang ups, as we understand it. The first concerns the big differences in the education budget. More specifically, the discussion focuses on whether the Senate will prevail in giving Universities more money or whether the House can hold out with more funding for public schools.

A schism is developing in the education community. In years past, k-12 public schools, community colleges and the university system have maintained at least a public front of unity for education. But insiders know that both public schools and community colleges have privately chafed at an obvious bias toward universities, especially within our state Senate. That public front was shattered recently when the president of the NCAE fired a shot over the university system’s bow, accusing the system of “questionable spending.” Advocates for k-12 and community colleges are upset about teacher cuts while the university gets $9 million in in-state tuition grants for out-of-state students. They are weary of the predictable “gloom and doom” press conference and full court pressure from a swarm of lobbyists any time university funding is threatened.

North Carolina spends more than 56 percent, about 10.6 billion dollars, of our state budget on education. NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon reported this week that about 2.6 billion of that is allocated to our university system. North Carolina needs to have a frank discussion about what are our top priorities in education. We are asking our NC SPIN panel to talk about this very subject this week on our show.

Most folks we’ve asked say the priorities should be k-12 primary education first, community colleges second and universities third, since fewer than one-third of our citizens attain a college degree. But when we ask their perceptions of how we actually prioritize education many admit that our university system appears to get top priority. Is it because they have more lobbyists, have more “good ole boys” who attended university or spend more in contributions to top legislators? This will be an interesting debate…and perhaps the start for future discussion on the topic.

Back to the budget. The other big hangup is the six month extension of the federal Medicaid assistance (FMAP) funds originally provided in the federal stimulus relief to states. North Carolina’s share of those funds will be about $480 million. As of this week, the Senate didn’t have the votes to approve that extension. To pass, all 59 Democrats and at least one Republican must vote favorably. A few moderate Democrats and all Republicans are holding out.

What to do? If the legislature has to cut another $480 million in the budget there will surely be jobs lost. Some discussion has focused on employee furloughs. A one day furlough of state employees will save about $35 million, we have heard. It would be tough to make up the entire FMAP amount that way. With 56 percent of the budget in education and another 20 percent allocated to Health and Human Services, it is only reasonable to expect further cuts in both budgets.

What we’ve got is the proverbial crap shoot. Lawmakers had hoped this would have been resolved in Washington before they had to finalize a budget but that doesn’t appear likely. We’re told the House wants to pass a budget without the FMAP money, endure the pain and have clear plans for what can be restored if the federal funds become available. The Senate prefers to pass it with the federal funds included, as some 30 other states have already done. If the funds don’t come through, the plan we hear is for Governor Perdue to have to deal with the problem in January, after the elections. If the Senate approach is adopted, the problems could be exacerbated. If lawmakers, for instance, approve a $19.5 billion dollar spending plan, then learn three or four months into that budget that the federal funds are not coming, they then have to cut the budget by the $480 million over an 8 or 9 month period instead of the entire 12 months of the budget.

Governor Perdue’s team is hoping lawmakers will do their job to resolve the issue so she doesn’t have to be the hatchet person again. Perdue has already taken the knife to last year’s budget and helped ensure this fiscal year would end without major deficits. Give her credit for being fiscally responsible in administering the budget when it became obvious that revenues weren’t matching spending. It doesn’t seem fair for legislators to knowingly pass a budget with a $480 million question mark. It is unconstitutional, for one thing. It will also be considered irresponsible.

Either way, Democrats are going to face criticism in November. But you can bet discussions are being held about which plan would make them look more or less fiscally responsible.

Elections shape up
Few were surprised that Secretary of State Elaine Marshall defeated Cal Cunningham for the nomination to run against Republican Senator Richard Burr in November. If there was any surprise it was in the 60 percent margin Marshall received. Following the defeat, Cunningham immediately threw his support to Marshall and Democrats tried to heal rifts in order to beat the incumbent, who already has more than 8 million in the bank. That might well be the determining factor in the US Senate race. Who can raise the most money? Marshall has not been a big money magnet in times past. If she cannot take her case to the public on TV while Burr is all over the tube, it might be the nail in the coffin.

Over on the Republican side, former WSOC sportscaster Harold Johnson handily defeated Tim D’Annunzio, the loose canon candidate, in the controversial 8th Congressional District. Political insiders are predicting that Johnson will defeat one-term incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell, especially since the State Employees are on the warpath trying to field a third-party candidate.

In the 13th, longtime Raleigh fixture Bernie Reeves suffered a big defeat against a newcomer, Bill Marshall. Republicans believe they can take the seat and may be willing to put money and muscle behind the effort. Marshall, while outspent, demonstrated he understands grass roots, retail politics.

The sides are set. The players are in place. Let’s see what transpires over the summer. If the elections were held today, most all insiders believe the GOP will take control of the State Senate, stand a fighting chance of doing the same in the House and will likely retain the US Senate seat. They may pick up one or two Congressional seats in North Carolina.

Our NC SPIN panel will give you their views on the runoffs on this week’s show and will keep you posted on events throughout the campaign.

“The days of pay-to-play are over”…or are they?
The State Senate’s ethics and campaign reform was trotted out Monday night with bold proclamations from Senate Majority Leader Martin Nesbitt. "The days of pay-to-play are over," Nesbitt boldly proclaimed. "This is all about good government and transparency. We think government works better when the public can see what’s going on."

This statement was humorous because the legislation that was proposed was all drafted behind closed doors with no public input. The public couldn’t see what was going on in this legislation. Perhaps if they had, Nesbitt wouldn’t have so much egg on his face this morning.

There is speculation that Senate Democrats wanted to include the public financing extension for Council of State elections because they knew Republicans would never vote for this provision. Democrats could then make a campaign issue about Republicans voting against ethics reforms. But the plan backfired for many reasons. It didn’t go far enough in the opinion of most to reform ethics and campaign laws. The public financing part of the bill was way off the page with Republicans. From Monday night until Wednesday afternoon, the GOP (through Americans for Prosperity) went to work through a campaign of robocalls in closely contested Senate districts, urging voters to call their Senator in protest of a further “tax” to pay for elections. Nesbit and Senate Democrats panicked and pulled the bill before it went to the floor for debate and a vote. That dog won’t hunt.

Senator Nesbitt has just re-learned a basic lesson in politics. You can call a pig a horse but it doesn’t make it so. The Senate’s ethics and campaign reform bill didn’t come close to ending pay-to-play and there was such tepid support for the “reforms” that Democrats had to withdraw the bill.

Legislators have had long enough to get serious about ethics and campaign reform. The Senate bill didn’t do the job. Are they going to leave town without addressing the issue?

If ever there was further evidence needed why people don’t trust elected officials, this latest under the cover of darkness move by the Senate is proof. Be sure to read my “My Spin” column this week, “Restoring Public Trust.”

Video Sweepstakes
The Senate has passed a bill that would extend the video poker ban to video sweepstakes parlors across the state. The House appears ready to follow suit.

The media has been pointing to ads run on NC SPIN by the Entertainment Group of North Carolina that touts the possibility of $500 million in tax revenues if the state would license and tax the games instead of banning them. The ads are gaining traction with the public, but not politicians, so about 500 people marched on the legislature this week to encourage the legislature to make video gaming (aka video poker) legal and get the cash revenues for the state.

We’re told the cards are stacked. For some months there has been speculation that the state lottery is involved in scuttling video sweepstakes. Some believe there is a method to their madness that calls for reintroducing the subject in 2011 with the lottery running the games.

Swipe fees hurting small businesses
Much is said about helping small businesses, but when truth is told, little is done to help this essential sector of our economy. More than 7 out of every 10 jobs is created by small, closely held businesses in our state, but our economic development policies and most laws benefit larger corporations.

Fran Preston is the longtime head of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, an organization that works for 25,000 retail merchants in our state, from the largest chain to the smallest mom ‘n pop store. Yesterday she had an interesting op ed column in The Charlotte Observer about a problem retailers are encountering that customers don’t know about. Every time you or I give a store a debit card, the card provider charges that retailer a “swipe fee.” Preston says those fees have quadrupled in recent months, primarily because Visa and Mastercard own most of the debit card market and can get away with the fees.

Retailers either swallow the costs, thereby reducing their profits, or pass them along to customers, through increased costs. Preston is encouraging us all to urge our Congressional delegation to pass legislation that will keep these swipe fees “reasonable and proportional.” Read Fran’s op ed piece.

Public Private Partnerships
Two years ago the Emerging Institute’s Forum dealt with our nation’s and our state’s growing need to replace and repair our infrastructure. The Forum didn’t end with the presentations. For over a year, a high level business committee on infrastructure has been meeting, with a goal of addressing how to repair and expand public infrastructure. Traditional ways of funding and project management will not help in what has been projected to be more than $30 billion in needed repairs and expansions.

This week that committee released the results of their report, urging our legislature to initiate a study commission that will investigate expanded public private partnerships in our state. Senator Clark Jenkins and Representative Deborah Ross were on hand for the press conference. Read the committee’s report and stay tuned to NC SPIN for more discussion on this important topic.

Until next week, watch out for the SPIN!

Claire Cox-Woodlief, Editor
Tom Campbell, Publisher
contactus@ncspin.com
www.ncblogger.com
www.ncspin.com

NC SPIN’s facebook page

Correction:

In our Heard on the Street column we mistakenly used the wrong name for Republican Bill Randall, who won in the 13th Congressional District.

We ask Mr. Randall’s and your forgiveness.

Thank you

Tom Campbell

Kesha Rogers: Black Democrat Wants to Impeach Obama – Source: Black Voices

When I first heard about Kesha Rogers, the Democratic Nominee for Congress out of the 22nd District of Texas, I could hardly believe my ears and eyes. Rogers, a black woman, wants to impeach the first black president of the United States. I took a visit to Rogers’ website, seeking to determine the precise nature of her platforms and to determine if she was another Alvin Greene, an apparent "negro for hire," whom I believe was used to undermine African American causes, and to my surprise, she actually makes a little bit of sense. (Read more @ Black Voices)

See related:

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Note: She is just simply ignant.

Robert Draper Who Wrote The GQ Magazine Article “The Lost Girls Of Rocky Mount” Interview On Local Radio Station

This dude started out crazy as hell to me when he talked about he learned about the murdered and missing women from a friend from Rocky Mount NC. He thought this would be a good story because of the voter turnout during the President Barack Obama Election.

I am trying to figure out what in the hell does President Barack Obama election has to do with these women since Draper repeated it several times about the election and nothing was done as it relates to the women. He stressed this because our President is black.

I found Draper’s conversation to be quite interesting because he felt that the Edgecombe County Sheriff Department was uncooperative with him. He stated that he was not given information but later came back and said that he did have all of the public information that was public record. And he also said that he understood since it was an ongoing case that law enforcement normally don’t share information.

Chief Police John Manley was on the show last week and spoke to the interview. Draper spoke to that as well.

Dave Perkins has stated several times that he felt Draper did a good job of telling who the women really were, the human side of them. I say not!!

I am trying to figure out how in the hell do Draper think that just because Pittman was a sex offender that he should have been automatically checked out.

I am still trying to figure out what was behind Draper’s comment of these women record was much longer than Pittman’s record.

After reading the GQ Magazine and listening to this interview, I wonder what was his real motive.

Listen to the interview, “The Best of Robert Draper” on FM 99.3.

George Fisher Connections Talk Show Host on WNCR TV was in the studio during the show and you can hear his comments as well.

C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

See related:

I Co-Hosted Jammin’ 99.3 This Morning: Robert Draper Called-in to Respond to Criticism Over GQ Article and Manley Comments. Snap Shot: Draper Dug A Deep Hole!

So Whose Fault Is It The Girls Of Rocky Mount Were Lost?

Murdered and Missing Women

The truth about H6 – Wake County Public School System

At the first reading regarding the purchase of land in Rolesville for a new high-school, several speakers suggested we keep politics out of the site selection process, i.e. out of the Forest Ridge site. But consider the "road" to Rolesville.

  • 2008 – Republicans in the NCGA introduce bills that would dilute the voting power of inner city residents for the BOE. Of course, that had nothing to do about politics!!
  • 2009 – Setting a new precedent the Republican Party takes an active role in supporting the new majority on the BOE. Of course, that had nothing to do about politics!!
  • Nov. 2009 Art Pope sends Margiotta  a congratulatory email and thanks him for using Pope’s suggested strategy in the election campaign . Of course that had nothing to do with politics !!
  • The major donors to the party include Art Pope and Bob Luddy, both of whom promote the end of public education.
  • Based on selective and misleading data, Ron Margiotta, Kent Misegades (Luddy’s headmaster for his private school) publish a white paper promoting the success of re-segregated public schools in Charlotte-Mecklenbu rg. CMS was offered as the model for WCPSS. Of course that was not politics!!
  • Luddy is building a chain of private schools ( Thales Academy ) and is an advocate for the public paying for his schools through vouchers. Ron Margiotta sits on Thales Academy ’s board. Of course!! That has nothing to do with politics!!
  • Upon taking office the new majority on the BOE began spending tens-of-thousands of dollars on a stream of ideological compatible lawyers. They used a highly dubious cover story of an audit that would show the way to save legal fees. Surprise! The audit proved to be a dud..easily seen from day #1. Of course, that’s not politics!!
  • The new majority, counter to staffs advice, initiates a poll to affirm their view of year-round schools. When the results were counter to their views, they ignored the costly poll and went ahead with eliminating some YRS…coincidently schools where their supporters had been most vocal and active. Along the way they committed hundreds of millions of school construction bond capacity. Never was a plan, a financial analysis or a strategy mentioned…of course! That’s not politics!.
  • The new majority on the BOE made “diversity” a dirty word within WCPSS. Chair of the Assignment Committee John Tedesco claims the previous diversity policy was counter to Brown vs. the Board of Education. But that’s not politics!!
  • The new board majority chooses to be the only school system in NC that is not a member of the NC School Board Association. Their cover story is that they are saving $40,000. Closer to the truth is that the national Council of Urban School Boards (CUBE) supports diversity and opposes vouchers…but of course that’s not politics!!
  • Out of meanness and spite Margiotta and Tedesco propose to change the name of Enloe High School – home base for many protestors. Obviously that has nothing to do with politics!!
  • The new board majority has abandoned a data-driven process for site selection; denied relief to the worst over-crowding in the County, i.e. Wakefield. Wakefield is in a BOE minority nember’s district; and selected a site (Rolesville) in a district represented by one of the majority…but of course!! That’s not politics!!!
  • The new board majority , with only skimpy explanation,  rejected the findings of a non-partisan task force of stakeholders that the original (Forest Ridge) site was the best of several investigated…but of course!! That’s not politics!!

Denying Rolesville as the site for H6 high school is NOT only about locating a school two miles outside the growth target area. It is NOT only about building a 2200 seat high-school in a town with 212 high-school age kids. Its NOT just about the low population density in the area and the excessive busing that will be required.

It IS about stopping the death of WCPSS by a “thousand cuts”. If the line in the sand is not drawn here, future cuts will be harder and harder to stop.

The H6 vote is the first opportunity for the Board of Commissioners to take action to stop the madness, the meanness and the eventual death of diversified public education in Wake County .

The vote on the siting of H6 will be on Tuesday, July 6th in the 7th floor board room of the courthouse. You can email the County Commissioners at commissioners@ co.wake.nc. us

Stan Norwalk

Wake County Commissioner

H (919) 363-4685

See related:

Wake County Public Schools

THE EXODUS by William Reed Columnist

Once again, Western countries are succeeding in cutting another African country down to size.  Sudan, a country in northeastern Africa, is the largest country in Africa and in the Arab World, and the tenth largest in the world by area.

Sudan is rich with abundant resources represented in vast areas of land and varying climates.  Sudan was made special with fertile agricultural lands, large amounts of fresh water, and a variety in animal resources.   But, the crown jewel of Sudan’s current economy is oil production.  And, that’s the base of the Sudan story.

Sudan produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day and has reserves estimated at six billion barrels.  But that may go away.  With just months until the referendum to determine whether the South remains part of a united Sudan, coupled with the conflict in Darfur, the country remains volatile and its future uncertain.  The future of North and South Sudan is rooted in implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which requires the January 2011 referendum.  For American advocates, it’s important to ensure a smooth referendum process and beyond.  For the political movements in Sudan it’s important to keep a hand on the tiller.  Under the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) coalition government, Sudan’s economy is currently the 5th largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world.  The per capita Gross National Product (GNP) in 2009 was $2,300.  Sudan has 42 million people and a labor force of 12 million.  But, the booming economy and vast array of products exported may soon experience drastic changes.

About 70 percent of oil pumped in Sudan comes from the South.  Separation of Sudan will deny the North billions of dollars in revenue from the South’s vast oilfields. Currently the North and the South split proceeds from crude in accordance with CPA requirements. In what is likely Sudan’s last unified government ahead of January’s secession referendum, President Omar al-Bashir appointed Southerner Lual Acuek Deng to a new cabinet post with an “Oil Minister” portfolio.    American political activists still see Sudan in terms of the decades of civil war between the mostly Muslim North and the South, which follows Traditional and Christian beliefs.

Sudan is divided into 25 states which are subdivided into 87 districts; the 10 states in Southern Sudan comprise 84 counties.  The country’s oil reserves are in the South but the pipeline that carries the oil to export terminals and refineries runs through the North.  The South needs Khartoum’s co-operation to sell its oil. and the North needs revenues from the South’s resources. Government of South Sudan (GoSS) officials already say they’ll continue sharing oil revenues for a time.

Sudan’s ruling political parties are the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).  In the April races for the National Assembly the NCP won 73% of seats, while the SPLM won 22%.  The NCP is headed by Omar al-Bashir and follows ideologies such as Islamism, Arabism, nationalism and conservatism.  However, Western human rights groups and governments claim it attempts to create a totalitarian state through extreme Islamic and dictatorial practices. The SPLM is a predominantly Christian rebel movement turned political party.  The SPLM has been the US favorite in the fight.  Based in Southern Sudan, SPLM fought against the Sudanese government from 1983 to 2005.  Since signing the CPA in 2005, the SPLM has had representatives in the North’s government, as well as the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).  Salva Kiir is First Vice President of Sudan and the SPLM Chairman.

Beyond politics, opportunities abound in the vast lands that make up Sudan.  For example, Juba, the capital of the South, has just three paved roads.  The region’s lack of infrastructure is an opportunity for investors and donors from banking to agriculture to construction and telecommunications.  While much of Southern Sudan’s development is likely to be undertaken by local companies and individuals, the U.S. government provides important encouragement and opportunities for American companies and donors to contribute to help build Southern Sudan.

(William Reed is available for speaking engagements via BaileyGroup.org)

See related:

William Reed

CAN YOU SAY NOT IN MY NAME? by William Reed Columnist

Were he alive today, a number of people would be throwing shoes at Dr. Ralph H. Bunche.  Most African Americans know little of the role Dr. Bunche played in today’s Mille-East debacles.  Ralph Bunche, not Barack Obama, was the first African American awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.  But, among African Americans that know of Bunche many are critics that saying he was “a useful idiot” that enabled Western Powers’ plans to establish the State of Israel.

Bunche was given the 1950 Peace Prize for “successful mediation of a series of armistice agreements between Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria” that brought about the ability to make Israel a nation.  Bunche thought he was making a peace that has never come.  The deal Bunche made created a situation that has left 4 million Palestinian refugees spread across the Middle East.

Willing tool as he was, Bunche believed that “no problem of human relations is ever insoluble”.  But, results count and Bunche foolishly thought he was setting the course for “two states living side-by-side”.  Bunche never foresaw the wantonness with which the Jewish State would evict the Arabs and expropriate their lands.  Sixty years after the fact, the Palestinians are landless and Bunche’s dream of a peaceful Middle East wanes.  Mainstream Blacks celebrate Bunche, but African-Americans like Malcolm X, in the 1960s, criticized Ralph Bunche’s role saying: “the agreements started a process that created millions of Palestinian refugees and Jewish taking of Palestinian property as their ‘historical homeland’”.

Will the African American population ever experience an epiphany and figure out the injustices occurring in the settlement activities on Palestinians’ land?   Few African American leaders have challenged these patterns.  Before he was beaten into submission, Rev. Andrew Young gave an effort to righting the wrong.  After serving with Martin Luther King, Young was elected to Congress in 1972.  In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Young the first African-American Ambassador to the United Nations.   During his brief and stormy career at the UN Young emerged as a leading spokesman for relations with African and Third World nations.  A storm of protest from Israeli and American Jewish leaders following Young’s violation of the US’s prohibition against meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), forced his resignation in 1979.

Since Young little is being done in aiding the people Bunche though he was helping: “people whose normal place of residence was Palestine, who lost their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict".   In obedience to tradition, our first Black President continues America’s past treatment of Palestinian people.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have a “go along to get along” posture of compliance on the issue and regularly vote Israel $3 billion in aid each year.

Thousands of Black American preachers and pundits have had sponsored trips to the “Hoy Land”.  They comprise a cadre that sees no evil in the ongoing treatment of the Palestinians.  Many Blacks fear expressing dissent when issues about Israel are raised. If you don’t agree that Israel is a moral exemplar and light to the world, "the only democracy in the Middle East" that is just attending reasonably to its security needs against a world that is (for no good reason) hostile to it, you can be hounded, harassed, intimidated, discredited, denied tenure or fired.

A movement like that the one that combated apartheid in South Africa, is needed to increase awareness of the depth of Israel’s practices toward Palestinians.  Surely Bunche would “call a spade a spade and endorse a global movement advocating on behalf of equity for the Palestinian people.  Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was forced from her seat for being evenhanded on Middle East issues.

Israel’s right to exist does not confer a right to abuse and oppress the Palestine population.  It’s time to respect the right of Palestine to exist as much as we insist that the Palestinian peoples respect Israel’s right to exist.  When Palestinians can go home maybe then, Ralph Bunche will rest in peace.

(William Reed is available via the Lakeland, Florida-based BaileyGroup.org)

See related:

William Reed

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