Ken Lewis for US Senate: Wanted more solid responses. I be damn all I have to say. It does not matter how smart a black man is, certain folks will always say the black man needs to do more. This confirms the saying the black man has to be 2 or 3 times better than the white man. But we always talking about being equal. And then we don’t understand why little black boys do what they do.
Senator Don Davis: I can’t believe Senator Don Davis would do that. What was he thinking about? The thing to have done would be to take the ticket and deal with it at a later time. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher
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Welcome to this week`s edition of SPINCycle.
Welcome to this week’s edition of SPINCycle. Be sure to tune into this week’s show when we will air the conclusion of our 600th show celebration interview with UNC President Emeritus Bill Friday. Tom Campbell conducted the interview.
Tom Campbell`s Spin
The current rash of parties does have one point worth making. Check out this week’s column, A Tea Party we should all attend.
Heard on the Street
We watched the debate last night between six Democrats wanting to be nominated to run against Richard Burr. Simply put, it wasn`t a great exercise in Democracy and, at the end of the evening we didn`t see a clear victor, even though Cal Cunningham`s campaign put out an e-mail claiming victory before the klieg lights in the NBC17 studios had dimmed.
One of the dangers in allowing viewers to pose questions in these debates is that they are not always well stated and such was the case last night. If questions aren`t good, it is hard to expect answers to be good. The format was a bit unusual, designed, we are sure, to spark some fireworks among participants. It didn`t and seemed lame as a result. But that might also have been the result of the lackluster performances of the candidates. The candidates had to know that the economy, health care, offshore drilling, the war in Afghanistan and job creation were going to be questions and should have rehearsed better answers in response. You could tell most had not been under the fire of debate before because they would start talking without thinking and get hopelessly lost in their responses. This will appear bush league in the big dance this fall. There were no knockouts or even knock-downs in this head-to-head battle, nor were there many major mistakes made.
Elaine Marshall didn`t do anything to hurt her status as frontrunner. There were several responses where she appeared knowledgeable, articulate and didn`t get caught in lengthy answers. I would like to have Cunningham`s answers submitted in writing. He has this extremely irritating habit with gestures and his voice is overly polished. I must admit both distracted me from hearing some of what he said. He did stub his toe regarding offshore drilling, saying that swimmers in the Gulf of Mexico come out covered with oil. But otherwise he certainly ranked in the top two or three. Ken Lewis has a very pleasing style of talking but we wanted more solid content from his responses. It is obvious that he sees his biggest obstacle to a runoff as Cunningham because Lewis challenged him directly twice. We didn`t know Marcus Williams well prior to the debate, but he was impressive and we found ourselves liking him, even as he tried too hard to impress us with his vocabulary. He was likeable, genuine and while he won`t likely make a runoff this time he might be someone worth watching for future races. Ann Worthy seems like a very fine woman but she was clearly out of her league here.
So we head to the final two weeks of this campaign. Burr is on TV with some pretty good ads. Cunningham has some TV up but even as his message seems a bit off target this gives him some momentum going into May 4th. Marshall is counting on making the runoff but is going to need some good ads and Cunningham is likely to see some national money coming in to help him. One signal of how things will shake out in the primary comes from Down East. We hear several of the minority caucuses have endorsed Marshall, a blow to Lewis.
Nobody cares. This race has yet to generate any significant interest among voters and you can count on turnout being dismal. The judges races won`t help and in only a few instances are their sheriff`s contests of legislative elections sparking interest. Early voting begins today. In 2008 we saw large numbers turn out, a precursor of the extremely high vote count in the election. We will be watching to see whether this early vote yields many participants. Predictions are that few will show up.
Poole on trial May 4th
Former Easley aide Ruffin Poole goes on trial May 4th. US District Judge Terrence Boyle refused to allow further delay. Speculation is that this proceeding will last two to three weeks. Insiders tell us Poole still hasn`t given the feds anything that would cause them to ask for reduced sentences and that he might get 15 years or more in prison. US Attorneys will wait until after the Poole trial before seeking indictments against former Governor Easley, most likely by mid-June. Sometime during this period we will also see indictments against former US Senator John Edwards.
The reason why this timetable has relevance is that we understand US Attorney George Holding will step down from his post as soon as the Easley and Edwards indictments are issued. This will be a natural breaking point for Holding to allow his replacement to get started. The problem with this scenario is that the Senate has yet to hold hearings on Holding`s replacement. The Health Care debate tied up the Senate and hearings are not even scheduled at this time.
Is Don Davis serious?
Senator Don Davis from Snow Hill was stopped for speeding 84 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone. Incensed that he, a State Senator, was stopped, he became irked because he claims he thought legislators were exempt from speed limits. Surely he misspoke himself. Just ask former Alamance legislator Carey Allred. Unwilling to take his medicine like a man, take his ticket and go on, Davis then asked to speak to the law enforcement officer`s supervisor…like he was going to understand how important Davis really is and waive the ticket.
Sometimes you have to wonder about the people making decisions on our behalf.
Tea Party movement spreading
The conservative based Tea Party movement is spreading across the nation. We personally don`t like the tone or the pointed partisan flavor of the tea being served, but the movement does make one point worth considering: the erosion of state and individual rights over the past half century. Read more about this in My Spin, “A Tea Party we should all attend.”
Cansler`s survival being questioned
When you are in the crosshairs of both Republicans and Democrats it is hard to survive. Secretary Lanier Cansler of the Department of Health and Human Services, the largest agency of state government, is under fire from Republicans for no-bid contracts to vendors that formerly did business with Cansler`s old consulting firm. Cansler is receiving a payout from his former firm of some 3,000 dollars per month. No amount of denials from Cansler about not participating in the no-bid contracts will prevent reasonable people from questioning the wisdom of the transactions. When he sold his interests in his former firm it is also standard for payouts to be made over a period of months. But couple all these things together and it doesn`t quite pass the smell test Governor Perdue is fond of mentioning.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are upset with the Secretary for his management of the agency and for not correcting the shoddy treatment of mentally ill and other patients. They are upset that Easley and Perdue have retained a Republican, a former legislator and former lobbyist to head DHHS. They don`t like the cuts he has made to mental health and we hear a growing number of legislators are whispering to Perdue that it might be wise to make a fresh start with a new Secretary. They are not quite so worried about the rants of former House Co-Speaker Richard Morgan and Carter Wrenn, but the chorus is warming up.
Rand back in the news
Former Senator Tony Rand made headlines again this week after the News and Observer revealed that the founder and chief executive of Monitech revealed that Rand tried to use his influence to convince him to sell the company to Rand, head of LEA. Monitech won a no-bid contract from the Department of Motor Vehicles (another questionable move) to provide devices that would prohibit people convicted of DWI from starting their vehicles if they had been drinking. Read the story for yourself.
Public employees on the line
UNC President Erskine Bowles says that as many as 1,000 employees of the university system might lose their jobs if an anticipated additional 5 percent budget cut is enacted. Public employees across the state are increasingly concerned. So far they have escaped the major blunt of the recession. Now it appears they might see jobs disappear.
Walking the talk
Bev Perdue came to office at perhaps the worst moment in North Carolina history, except for the Great Depression. The economy would have been bad enough but the state was also in the throes of major scandals involving high ranking state officials. It is these scandals that might be her undoing. Perdue came late to the party in zero tolerance for unethical actions among public officials. She made bold statements on the night of her election but failed to follow through with action in most of her first year in office. Recent speeches about ethics policies are being met by some skepticism by critics asking why her actions don`t match her rhetoric. A sample of the hits she is taking appeared in a recent Creative Loafing article by Charlotte columnist Tara Servatius titled “Is Gov. Perdue `Sleazley`?
No doubt the Governor is asking what it will take to put this behind her. The obvious answer is that people are waiting to see more action than rhetoric.
Is Bill Gates responsible?
Former state employees who use the Apple Mac are confused and confounded about the ORBIT computer system for the NC Retirement System. Those using macs who try to register are told that ORBIT only recognizes Microsoft. How can they get on the system? The answer being given some is to go to a public library and use the computers there….highly problematic for folks who worry about privacy issues and what kind of footprints might be left in using public computers. Talk about discrimination?
On to more pleasant things. Readers of this newsletter know the special place we have in our hearts for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Our grandson, Hart, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when 9 years old.
Our good friend Rufus Edmisten has also adopted this worthy cause and is using his third annual Derby Day event as a fundraiser to benefit JDRF. We are excited about the great food, liquid pleasure and great company that will gather Saturday, May 1 from 3 to 7 p.m. at MacNair`s Country Acres in Raleigh to enjoy the fun and cheer on their favorites in the annual running of the Kentucky Derby. There will be great barbecue and the fixin`s, a silent auction and a large Derby hat contest, along with a big screen TV for the viewing of the race. Everyone is encouraged to wear Derby attire.
Talk about doing good while doing well! Come make this a swell event by registering now. Registration is $40 per person or $70 per couple. If you can`t attend you can still contribute. For more info or to register call 919-829-1988.
This week NC SPIN will celebrate our 600th edition with part two of our wonderful interview with former UNC President Emeritus Bill Friday. Be sure to watch this week as Bill tells about the trials of his first few years that included a major sports scandal, legislative battle, racial troubles and a fight with Governor Bob Scott. The stories and memories are a real treasure and more than a few have already asked for copies of this entire interview. DVD copies are available for $20, which includes shipping and handling and also a $5 contribution to the Ida Friday Faculty Development Fund at Meredith College.
You will want to have your own copy of this DVD for a keepsake and to remember this special time in North Carolina history. Be sure to order today by calling 919-832-1416 or e-mail: email@example.com. Checks can be mailed to: NC SPIN 851 Washington Street Raleigh, NC 27605.
Become a fan on NC SPIN’s Facebook page, check out some pictures from our Evening with Bill Friday and join the discussion.
Until next week, watch out for the SPIN!
Claire Cox-Woodlief, Editor
Tom Campbell, Publisher