Raleigh NC – Annexation bill a solid compromise

Some annexations opponents fight was about not receiving the service that the city suppose to offer them. The bill suppose to take care of that problem however there will still be some who will not like it. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

It might not have been the change forced-annexation opponents had hoped for, but the bill recommended last week by a judiciary committee in the N.C. House would make broad changes to the state’s 50-year-old annexation laws. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Nashville NC – School system downsizes central office staff

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools has downsized its central office administrators by reassigning staff to positions throughout the district — a move approved during a Monday board of education meeting.

It’s another change in a series of many as funds are cut, state budget uncertainties loom and the district attempts to keep in line with its mission of educating every child. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Greensboro NC – City boards lack diversity

What tickles the hell out of me is how some folks jumped on the article because the reporter stated that

An analysis of six of the city’s most important council-appointed boards found that:

* Seventy-six percent of the members are men.

* Sixty-seven percent are Caucasian and the rest are African American. There are no members of any other race.

Damn so this is not a lack of diversity?

C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

They help rewrite or interpret city laws.

They decide whether developers can build a new project or the city should annex land.

They are the members of Greensboro’s boards and commissions — people appointed to represent city residents on issues that affect quality of life.

But they aren’t exactly representative of the community. (News & Record)

Pinetops NC – MORE CHANGE

I believe the Pinetops/Macclesfield coverage has been great because I have not heard any complaints. I have not had to use the services however they are set up right across from my house when they are in the Wiggins Crossroads area. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

Just as emergency medical services changed significantly in parts of Edgecombe County last year, more change is coming within the next 12 months.

With the Edgecombe County Rescue Squad wrapping up its first year of coverage in the Pinetops and Macclesfield area this week, the construction process of two new emergency transport stations in the southern and northern parts of the county has begun. (The Daily Southerner)

Princeville NC – In Princeville, water-sewer expensive

Some cities like Rocky Mount and others are complaining about high utilities (electricity). C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

Princeville charges its residents a basic fee of $21.45 for 3,000 gallons of water per month and $43.33 per month for 3,000 gallons of sewage. Or, $64.78 for both per month. (The Daily Southerner)

Tarboro NC – Edgecombe unemployment up to 15.7%

After two months of decline, Edgecombe County’s unemployment rate increased in May from 15.2 to 15.7 percent, according to statistics released Friday by the state’s Employment Security Commission.

Eighty-two of North Carolina’s 100 counties experienced an unemployment increase in May. (The Daily Southerner)

Speaking Truth to Power – (Press Release) When Will Obama Stand and Fight? Dr. Ron Daniels

I can accept this opinion because Dr. Daniels spoke of something that can be measured. This is what I call holding one accountable and not just going after the President just because one didn’t vote for him. Dr. Daniels didn’t mention whether he voted for him or not. Actually at this point it is not important if one voted for him but will one hold him accountable. It appears that Dr. Daniels is doing just that. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

Carolyn McClair Public Relations
Press Release

Vantage Point
Articles and Essays by Dr. Ron Daniels
When Will Obama Stand and Fight?
(For publication the week beginning June 29, 2009)

When President Barack Obama took office after a brilliant and historic election campaign, there Ron Danielswere great hopes that he would utilize his margin of victory and enormous popularity to usher in an era of "change you can believe in." Though it is far too early to predict the ultimate legacy of his presidency, there are troubling signs that rather than boldly and robustly articulating and fighting for his policy proposals, Obama is emerging as a cautious pragmatist who is more obsessed with "bi-partisanship" than seizing the moment to create substantial change in this country. Time and time again, President Obama has advocated or settled for less than the power of his mandate, popularity and majority in the Congress suggests was possible. I am beginning to ask when Obama will decide to stand and fight for what he promised.

The first sign of concern came when President Obama appointed an economic team led by seasoned Wall Street insiders, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, who some analysts argue were key players in financial institutions whose reckless practices precipitated the disastrous free fall of the U.S. and global economies. It is difficult to imagine how they can think outside the box when they have been inside the box for so long. As a consequence, the economic recovery plans proposed by the Administration lacked the vision and scope to shape a more socially responsible economy. From the outset, Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist, contended that the economic stimulus package needed to be at least 1 trillion dollars to have significant impact. But instead of putting forth and fighting for a budget of 1.2 – 1.5 trillion so that he would have leverage in the negotiations, Obama offered up a package of only 800 billion. Eager to have "bi-partisan support for his plan, he meekly watched the budget get trimmed to 785 billion in a compromise that only three Republican Senators signed off on.

In the mortgage rescue plan which, was supposed to bring relief to those on "Main Street," Obama quickly bowed to the conservative mantra that home buyers who bought homes they couldn’t afford" should not be eligible for relief. Instead of standing firm and educating the American people about the deception and malicious, greed oriented intent of mortgage brokers and lenders, Obama essentially disqualified a category of people who have been most seriously victimized by the sub-prime mortgage debacle. When the revised Toxic Assets Recovery Program (TARP) was unveiled, it was a sweet deal full of incentives and rewards for the bankers and financers who created the crisis and billions of dollars of risk for the taxpayers if the program fails. And, while the focus has been placed on saving existing private financial institutions, Obama failed to lay out a plan to strengthen and expand community-based financial institutions like credit unions and community banks or even a public/federal bank, a people’s bank, to compete with the Barracudas on Wall Street.

The so called bail-out of the auto industry followed a similar pattern. Indeed, the industry was allowed to dangle in the breeze, while huge concessions were forced on the union and its retired workers. The Administration’s proposed regulation of the financial industry and the new energy bill have some decent features but fall far short of the bold changes required to permanently check the greed of the moneyed interests.

But, Obama’s most critical lack of leadership thus far has been the failure to stand up and fight for his signature pledge to deliver health care to the 47-50 million people who are currently uninsured. As a State Senator in Illinois, he embraced a Single Payer system as the most cost effective and efficient way to deliver health care for all. And, though I have consistently argued that progressives must build a movement strong enough to create the political space for Obama to operate, the converse is also true. President Obama could use his position to educate the public on the merits of particular policy prescriptions and aggressively mobilize grassroots support for the proposals he’s advocating.

This is certainly true when it comes to the issue of universal health care. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll revealed that "Americans overwhelming support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government run insurance plan to compete with private insurers." This is the "public option" feature in the bills being advanced by committees in the House and the Senate. Obviously many progressives prefer HR 676, the Single Payer bill sponsored by Congressman John Conyers which has more than 70 sponsors. Moreover, there is a vibrant movement called Health Care Now which is mobilizing significant public support for HR 676 around the country. Given Obama’s stated views on Single Payer, these factors would seem to offer an ideal opportunity for him to educate and lead on this issue.

Instead of choosing to support Single Payer, he has settled on a hybrid formulation which includes a "public option" within a system that will include plans offered by the insurance industry. Frankly, having a meaningful public option as the single-payer component of the final bill would be an acceptable fall back position. But, there is a danger that the public option will be shelved. The Republicans and the insurance companies hate Single Payer and see the public option as a Trojan Horse, which will ultimately evolve into a Single Payer system.

What has President Obama’s strategy been as the debate rages in the Congress? On occasion he has hinted that Single Payer has merits but has been unwilling to stand up and fight for it. His initial posture was to take what seemed like an uncompromising position in favor of a public option. In his most recent press conference, however, he refused to draw a line in the sand in favor of a public option as a component of the legislation he would be willing to sign. When the strategy should be to fight first and compromise when necessary, Obama has apparently capitulated before putting up a fight. Therefore, the outcome is predictable; the insurance companies will carry the day. There will be no public option in the "bi-partisan" plan which is adopted. Millions of Americans will secure health care coverage. Unfortunately, it will be within a system that is ultimately doomed to crash from spiraling cost to the government and taxpayers because the program will be tailored to meet the pecuniary needs of the insurance industry rather than the health care needs of the people. This outcome could be avoided if President Obama were willing to stand and fight!

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer at York College City University of New York. He is the host of Night Talk, Wednesday evenings on WBAI 99.5 FM, Pacifica New York. His articles and essays also appear on the IBW website www.ibw21.org and www.northstarnews.com . He can be reached via email at info@ibw21.org

# # #

Contact: (888) 774-2921

Announcement – (Rocky Mount NC) New Grace Bible College

Applications Accepted: New Grace Bible College of Rocky Mount is accepting applications for the 2009-10 school year.  Work toward your own degree, gain a deeper knowledge of God’s Word and learn valuable tools to benefit your church ministries. We offer quality Bible education at an affordable cost. Fall registration August 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm. For information, call 937-7313.

Washington DCN – Butterfield calls for Speedier Veterans’ claims

U.S. House of Representative SealU.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield

1st District of North Carolina


For Release:  Immediate

Date:  June 26, 2009

Contact:  Ken Willis
Phone:  (202) 225-3101


Butterfield Calls for Speedier Veterans’ Claims

Washington, D.C. – Seeking to reduce the enormous backlog of veterans’ benefits claims, Congressman G.K. Butterfield has introduced legislation that pushes for timely decisions.

“Backlogs are at the point where veterans must wait an average of six months for a decision on benefits claims and some veterans are waiting as long as four years,” Butterfield said. “Veterans deserve better than this.”

Butterfield has offered legislation that would automatically approve veterans’ benefits claims if the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) fails to make a decision within 18 months. The bill also directs the VA Inspector General to establish a task force that would monitor the process to ensure claims are timely and not arbitrarily being denied when approaching the time limit.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of unprocessed veterans’ disability claims has grown by nearly 100,000 and now totals more than 915,000. According to the VA, the average amount of time to resolve disability claims is 162 days, compared with 179 the previous year. And, about 20 percent of the cases have been pending for more than six months.

“These decision should be made within 180 days,” Butterfield said. “Providing a deadline gives the VA an added incentive to make a timely decision, and provides our veterans with an assurance against claims languishing for years.”

Butterfield also pointed out that while the VA has hired nearly 4,200 additional employees since January 2007, the backlog continues to grow. He said that the VA budget has grown steadily in recent years, which reflects the impacts of the needs of an aging veteran population and veterans returning from Iran and Iraq.

Speaking Truth to Power – Quenesha McNair: What’s the price of popping pills?

I spent an afternoon with five extremely talented and intelligent young men at a local high school to gain a better understanding of what they are interested in and how beGlobal can assist them in realizing their dreams.

These guys were so cool; they were all college-bound, realized the hard work necessary to succeed and were interesting in associating with the right crowd in order to see their goals actualized. However, . . . (Source: Rocky Mount Telegram)

Nashville NC – School district to recognize outgoing board member

This is quite interesting. I can remember going to the board meetings from time to time and Horner was a character. He also attended atleast one NAACP forum. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

Nash-Rocky Mount school board member Rick Horner is moving from Bailey to Wilson, and consequently ending his 14-year tenure serving the district.

Horner, who will be 52 on Thursday, will be recognized for his service during tonight’s board meeting. Horner said he ran for the seat because he felt he needed to stand up for people. (Source: Rocky Mount Telegram)

 

Speaking Truth to Power – The truth about black fathers

This is goood!!! C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

To paraphrase Caesar, as he stood over the gallant Marc Antony, I come not to bury our Fathers, but to praise them, on this "Father’s Day." Now, more than ever before, it is time to tell the truth about African American fathers.

I think of my own my father, who in my worst moments always made me feel as if I were the best thing that ever happened to him. He said it. I felt it. (The GRIO)

Louisiana – The Jena 6 are free — how we made it possible

Dear Curmilus,

Yesterday, nearly two years after more than 320,000 of you stood up to protect them from Jim Crow justice, the Jena 6–Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Bryant Purvis and Mychal Bell–are all now free to move ahead with their lives. We should all be proud.

The five remaining Jena 6 cases were brought to conclusion on Friday1 when Jesse Ray, Carwin, Robert, Theo, and Bryant pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor simple battery charges.2 They will spend no time in jail, serve seven days of probation, and pay relatively minor fines and court fees.

It’s an incredible outcome given that the young men were originally charged with attempted murder in small-town Louisiana and had neither the funds nor the connections to get high-quality representation or attention for their cases.

Luckily for the Jena 6, hundreds of thousands of you got involved, and the power of your participation changed the game. An amazing team of lawyers worked tirelessly to achieve Friday’s outcome. Our staff helped recruit them, and your financial contributions–over $275,000–provided the bulk of the funds for their work. Jim Boren, the coordinating attorney, said this about ColorOfChange members’ contribution: "None of this would have happened without you."

But it wasn’t just lawyers and money. Over 300,000 of you wrote to Governor Blanco and District Attorney Reed Walters. On September 20th, 2007, more than 10,000 of you went to Jena. Members who couldn’t make it to Jena held more than 150 rallies and vigils across the country, and made more than 6,000 phone calls to elected officials in Louisiana. And a few weeks later, ColorOfChange members sent almost 4,000 complaints demanding an inquiry into the DA’s actions.

Your actions offline and online helped put Jena on the map and resulted in critical coverage in every mainstream news outlet. You started a movement that made it impossible for Louisiana officials to support the status quo.

Today we offer congratulations to these young men and their families, and we say thank you to the entire ColorOfChange.org community. We’re also so thankful to the attorneys who took these cases but chose to stay out of the limelight. They and several others3 are the unsung heroes of this story.

As the young men of the Jena 6 close this chapter of their lives, we wanted to give you an opportunity to wish them well. Click the link below to leave a personal statement for the young men of the Jena 6, or to listen to the voicemail from Jim Boren thanking the ColorOfChange community for our work:

http://www.colorofchange.org/jenaresolution/?id=2395-545775

While this is a great moment, it’s important to remember that if it were not for the extreme nature of this case, most of us wouldn’t have known about it or gotten involved. The reality is that there are countless Jena 6’s: young people–often Black and male–who are overcharged or unduly criminalized, and whose plight is unknown to most of the outside world.

It’s the reason our work cannot just be about identifying and fighting for individuals railroaded by the system, but about creating systemic change in criminal justice in America. We are truly grateful to have the chance to do this work with you, and we’re hoping for your continued engagement and support.

Thanks and Peace,

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   June 27, 2009

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

https://secure.colorofchange.org/contribute/?id=2395-545775

References:

1. "Plea Bargain Wraps Up ‘Jena 6’ Case," 9-26-09
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/26/national/main5116800.shtml

2. The sixth teenager charged, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty to battery in juvenile court on December 3rd, 2007.

3. Thanks are due to Alan Bean, Tory Pegram, and King Downing, who dedicated months to working with the families and getting the story out, and to our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center who played a central role in putting together and supporting the legal teams. Without any one of them, our work would have been hampered, or in some cases not possible at all.