Wednesday, September 26, 2018

TH CASH JOURNAL for 9-27-18

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Before the Republican-led legislature adjourned its summer short session last June, it was forced not to eliminate Saturday one-stop early voting in the upcoming November mid-term elections. Studies showed that early voting Saturdays were most popular with African-American voters to cast early ballots.
            Stung with accusations of further trying to suppress the black vote, as federal courts had previously ruled in various redistricting and voting law decisions, GOP leadership backed off of eliminating Saturdays, giving supporters a sigh of relief.
            But now, according to a study by the progressive online publication ProPublica, the law passed by the Republican majority in June, while saving early voting Saturdays,
effectively cut the number of early voting polling places statewide by mandating that all early voting sites in a county open weekdays from 7a.m. to 7 p.m., and if open on Saturdays, must also do so for the same amount of hours.
            Republicans, like Rep. David Lewis [R-Harnett], tout the new legislative mandate as giving early voters more hours during the 17-day early voting period (Oct. 17th– Nov. 2) to cast their ballots.
            “The purpose of the uniformity is to make it easier and more convenient and more accessible for the voter to participate,” said Rep. Lewis, a sponsor of the bill during the last session. “I think that access to the polls, access to the ballots in a uniform fashion, is more important than poll worker or election worker convenience.”
But according to the ProPublica study, and story published earlier this week, the new law, while indeed mandating more uniformed hours countywide for voters, effectively cuts the number of early voting polling sites by 20 percent, compared to 2014.
            More voting hours, but less voting places.
            Thus, according to the ProPublica story, counties that could normally open various sites on a staggered basis so that voters in different areas of the their county could make it to a polling place closer to them at a time reasonable for their schedules, instead now must travel farther to find and early voting site, and deal with longer lines because there are less open.
            According to county election board officials who spoke with ProPublica, since counties, not the state, must fund how many polling sites they can afford to have during an election, they must now have fewer that are open longer because they can’t afford to have their normal number in operation.
            So if a poorer North Carolina rural county in 2014 had five early voting sites in operation then, now, because of the new law passed in June, that rural county in 2018 can only afford to have three early voting sites open for the mandated 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours of operation, because it can neither afford to have all five open during those hours.
            And to make things even more challenging, counties have to find volunteers willing to work 12-hour days during the early voting period, something that wasn’t necessary when counties previously had the luxury to staggering their polling place hours of operation.
            The new law also presents yet another challenge – wasted hours of operation. According to the county election boards Propublica spoke with, very few people choose to early vote at 7 a.m. in the morning. County boards know from experience when they get their heaviest voter traffic, and traditionally staggered their hours to capture that traffic.
            But now, with all early voting sites required to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be unused hours that still must be manned by volunteers, waiting for voters in their area to finally show up.
            “In elections administration, we have what we consider ‘non-usable hours,’” Adam Ragan, the nonpartisan director of elections in Gaston County, told ProPublica. “There are some locations where people won’t come at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. That’s why we’ve always opened our auxiliary sites at 10 a.m.”
            That can’t happen now.
            According to ProPublica, almost 50 percent of all North Carolina counties will closing early voting sites this year because they cannot afford to open them during the mandated new hours, resulting, again, in a loss of at least 20 percent across the state.
            Observers suspect that such a loss of voting sites could effectively suppress the vote in many counties, especially smaller ones.


            [RALEIGH] By mutual agreement with Gov. Roy Cooper, the NC Republican-led legislature will reconvene in yet another Special session on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd  to deal with issues surrounding emergency relief assistance to areas devastated by Hurricane Florence. Cooper originally wanted the session to commence Oct. 9th, but Republican legislative leaders insisted that it be scheduled sooner than later. The plan is to convene on Oct. 2ndto address “policy issues” surrounding the hurricane, hen adjourn, and reconvene on Oct. 9th, giving the governor time to crunch the necessary numbers for a funding request from lawmakers.
            Lawmakers say legislation is needed immediately to provide teachers in counties where the school systems have been closed due to the storm to still be paid. The school calendar in this counties will also have to be adjusted to allow for the days missed.
            Other policy matters deal with delaying small business tax deadlines, and allowing storm victims to replace vehicle titles and other important paperwork that may have been lost in the devastation.
           Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chairman of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Revival, Demanded Tuesday that Gov. Cooper and state lawmakers "...offer lasting assistance" to hurricane victims, by way of increasing access to health care, raising the state minimum wage, and increasing the education budget, among other social justice priorities.

            [WILMINGTON] Many of the smaller roads in flooded areas impacted by Hurricane Floyd two weeks ago remain closed, but major highways I-40 and I-95 have now been cleared after they, too, were deemed impassable after massive flooding blocked their use. The floodwaters receded over the weekend, Gov. Roy Cooper reported Monday, faster than expected, clearing the ay for travel, though officials still warned that motorists be careful on still flooded side roads. According to state officials, at least 400 roads in the southeastern part of the state and coast were still deemed as hazardous as of Monday afternoon.

            [CRAVEN COUNTY] As of press time Wednesday, there were 36 confirmed deaths that were directly related to Hurricane Florence and it’s aftermath. Many of those deaths range from the very young, to the elderly. Three were children – a three-month-old in Gaston County; seven-month old in New Hanover County; and a one-year-old in Union County who was washed away from his mother a flood.

Monday, September 17, 2018




by Cash Michaels
contributing writer

            Saying. “We’ve always had to fight to maintain a proper sense of self,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call to Revival, called on all elected officials, activists an people of good conscious, to stand strong for the poor and powerless, against the mounting oppression they have top face everyday.
“What we do has been baptized in blood,” the former president of the NCNAACP told hundreds gathered in Washington, D.C. Saturday for the 48thAnnual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2018 Phoenix Awards Dinner.
“So we are here, my sisters and brothers, to cry out on behalf of those who have not yet been heard…because America ha always struggled with who she is.”            
The event has gained notoriety in recent years when the keynoters were President Barack Obama, and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
Barber recounted how historically, poor white people have been given a steady diet of “Jim Crow” rhetoric by powerful whites, having them to believe that as downtrodden as they were, “at least they weren’t black.” Poor whites “fed” that to their children through the years.
The result – poor whites being exploited by the powerful, so much so that they vote against their own interests, and do not realize that they should be partnering with African-Americans and other communities of color in coalition “fusion” politics, in order to electorally seize control of the nation’s direction.
Rev. Barber warned that to “focus on [Pres.] Trump alone, is to miss what’s happening in America.”
Don’t you think that if Trump were gone, and [Vice Pres.] Pence got in, that things would be better,” Barber admonished.
The civil rights leaders also noted that systematic racism is rarely discussed or examined during election year debates, and yet it is at the root of what keeps America divided.
“Racism and white supremacy is not just about hate; it’s about power,” Rev. Barber exclaimed. “White nationalism is about policies, like voter suppression.”
And when we see US Supreme Court-nominee Brett Kavanaugh “breeze through his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, that’s racism,” Barber continued. “When we see Trump get away with doing and saying things that Obama couldn’t get away with even half of, that’s racism!”
Given the stark economic and racial disparities in the areas of health care, education, affordable housing and environmental justice, Barber said. “Our problem in America isn’t that we don’t have enough money. Our problem is we don’t have enough moral capacity.”
“Until we change the moral narrative [of America], we’re subject to get a Trump over and over again.”
Rev. Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, also criticized “religionist” ministers who have rallied around Pres. Trump, saying that he was sent by God.
“We face a challenge that is more fundamental, and more potentially transformative than either party has yet recognized,” Barber said. “This moment is not about whether a [political] party is possible. This moment is about “Is America possible?!!!”
“America needs a national moral revival. [African-Americans] are once again being called upon to be the conscience of this nation.”
Rev. Barber called for a multi-racial coalition, similar to what he created as NCNAACP president with Moral Mondays.
“It’s movement time,” Barber declared.            
            When he began his remarks, Rev. Barber told those gathered that he was coming “…fresh from the hurricane,” indicating that he drove from his home in Goldsboro, North Carolina to deliver the keynote address, as Hurricane Florence was pummeling the North Carolina coast and eastern region.
            “I ask that we keep people in your prayers who are under water, fighting to survive in North and South Carolina.”

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

            Even though it was downgraded to a Category One storm by the time it made landfall last week, the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence are certainly still being felt here in Wilmington, and throughout southeastern North Carolina.
            So in the midst of horrific destruction to thousands of homes and businesses – due to  flooding and high winds – what should you do afterwards if you’ve been directly impacted?
            Especially now if you’re just able to return home after being evacuated?
According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes [FLASH]:

-      Continue to monitor broadcast news and/or social media for the latest information and government instructions about flooding conditions, road closures affecting where you live.
-      Be as patient as possible if you have trouble. Many of your neighbors may have the same flooding and damage problems that you do. Emergency personnel will be tied up, so do what you can until they get to you, but make sure they know you’re in need.
-      Make sure you have current picture ID to be able to get through various checkpoints during an emergency.
-      If you are able to drive with your vehicle, DO NOT remove barriers in order to get through on blocked roads. Those barriers were put there because the roads beyond are deemed not safe for any travel. Even if you see others doing it, YOU DON’T! The risk to your life is NOT worth it!
-      You are NOT a looter. You are NOT a sightseer, however, you can be mistaken for both by authorities if you are on someone else’s property when you have no real business there.
-      Hopefully you collected all of your important papers and documents in something waterproof and took them with you before the storm. Make sure you hold on to them, especially your homeowners insurance policies.
-      AVOID downed power lines, even if you think there’s no current running through them.
-      AVOID touching metal fencing or other metal objects.
-      Try NOT to use matches or lighters. There may be a ruptured gas line close by, and it could cause an explosion.
-      Have a professional check your flooded home BEFORE you try to turn on the electricity, especially if it’s still flooded.
-      Take still pictures or video of your damaged property for insurance purposes.
-      Flood waters are polluted, and not safe to be in because of harmful bacteria. Make sure you thoroughly wash those areas on your body that have been exposed to it.
-      FINALLY, follow all directions of emergency personnel. They are there to make sure that you, and everyone in your area/neighborhood, are safe until normalcy returns.

·     -30-

Sunday, September 9, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Even though the Trump Administration says it will not legally require voting records from North Carolina until next year, all three of the state’s Democrat congresspersons have expressed outrage, and promise to fight the request.
            North Carolina Congressional members Alma Adams (D-NC-12), David Price (D-NC-4) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) – the only Democrats in the state’s thirteen-member congressional delegation – say they see political shenanigans in the federal subpoenas from the US Dept. of Justice [DOJ], and specifically from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Robert Higdon, demanding voting records from 44 Eastern North Carolina counties and the State Board of Elections.
            Many of those counties have significant black voter populations.
            The records would cover an eight-year period and literally millions of pieces of documented voter data, state election officials say. The federal subpoenas, reportedly part of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in association with a Wilmington grand jury probe that recently charged 19 foreign nationals with voter fraud in the 2016 elections.
            Nine of the defendants were charged with falsely claiming U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote.
            Those records were originally required to be turned over from the State Board of Elections by Sept. 25th, but after a major uproar from North Carolina officials, especially given that the Nov. 6thmidterm elections are less that 60 days away, DOJ backed off of that date, later saying that compliance with the federal subpoenas could wait until January 2019.
            DOJ added that it is not interested in who North Carolinians voted for on their ballots, and in fact, may not need completed ballots for its probe.
            Still, the federal request is not going over very well.
“These subpoenas are overly broad, request private voter information, and appear to target voters of color,” a letter last week from Congressional members Butterfield, Price, and Adams, along with other Democrat House members, to the inspector general of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, stated.  “Accordingly, we respectfully request that you undertake an investigation to examine the circumstances by which these subpoenas were issued, the scope of the subpoenas, and the seemingly political motivations behind them.”
The letter continued, “It is no surprise that the subpoenas target North Carolina’s voter rolls, as the state has a history of voter suppression.  In 2016, a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law, finding that the law “target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision” in order to lower turnout among African-Americans.  Despite this decisive ruling, Republicans in North Carolina are continuing to push a constitutional amendment that would require photo identification at the polls.”
“At a time when DOJ should be investigating voter suppression, it appears that the Department is instead supporting it,” the Congressional missive maintained. “ In the subpoenas issued here, there is again an obvious targeting of minority voters.  The 44 counties that received subpoenas account for approximately 46% of the state’s registered black voters, 39% of the state’s registered Hispanic voters, and 36% of the state’s registered white voters.[6]  This appears to be an effort designed to disproportionately target minority voters and depress voter turnout.  At a minimum, this apparent disproportionate targeting of minority voters may raise potential equal protection and due process concerns.”
“The subpoenas may have additional legal implications.  Under the National Voter Registration Act, each state must “ensure that the identity of the voter registration agency through which any particular voter is registered is not disclosed to the public.  Presumably, the massive data set requested by DOJ would reveal the agency where a voter was registered.  Moreover, the request for absentee ballots, which are potentially traceable to the specific voter who cast the ballot, is a violation of every voter’s right to cast a secret ballot.”
“Though DOJ has delayed the production deadline until after the November election, the subpoenas still raise many questions about their legality and true motivations.”
The letter concluded, “Given what we know about the scope of the subpoenas, and the counties that were targeted, we are concerned that this could be part of the Trump Administration’s dangerous and anti-democratic strategy of voter suppression and intimidation to limit equal access to the ballot box. 
“We hope that you will promptly launch an investigation to determine the legal implications of and rationale for these subpoenas.”

(courtesy of the Farmers’ Almanac)

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should: 
·       Stay informed by monitoring the storm via radio, TV, and internet.
·       Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors. Objects such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys, and even awnings can be broken and picked up by strong winds and potentially become a projectile.
·       Turn off utilities if instructed by authorities to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
·       Turn off propane tanks.
·       Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
·       Have a certain amount of cash available. If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
·       Moor your boat if time permits.
·       Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions: 
·       If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
·       If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes—no matter how well fastened to the ground.
·       If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
·       If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
·       If you feel that you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines: 
·       Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
·       Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
·       Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm—winds will pick up again.
·       Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
·       Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.  
Recovering from Disaster

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. For specific health, safety, and rebuilding guidelines regarding recovery, please see the FEMA Web site. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Two months from now, voters across North Carolina will go to the polls and cast their ballots.
            Thanks to two key court rulings Tuesday, long delayed ballots can now be printed.
            Several cases in litigation over balloting and redistricting issues had cast a pall over the state’s scheduled elections, causing considerable confusion amidst a backdrop of political rhetoric and high stakes posturing.
            But now, all six controversial NC constitutional amendments are scheduled to be on the Nov. 6thballots referendums.
            Both the NCNAACP and Gov. Roy Cooper sued the legislature over two proposed constitutional amendments they alleged were written deceitfully to fool voters as to their true intent. The amendments essentially took the power of appointment to boards and commissions, and filling judicial vacancies away from the governor, giving those powers to the legislature. A three-judge panel ruled in Cooper and the NCNAACP’s favor at first, but Republican legislative leaders called lawmakers back into yet another special session last week, rewriting the original two amendments in question.
            Cooper challenged the rewritten referendums claiming that they are just as misleading as the originals, but the same three-judge panel denied his argument. The governor appealed straight to the state Supreme Court.
            A three-judge panel denied the NCNAACP lawsuit to stop two other proposed constitutional amendments – one that would ask voters’ support for a new voter ID law; another capping the state income tax just over seven percent. The state’s High Court on Tuesday declined to take up the NCNAACP’s suit per the two proposed amendments restricting gubernatorial powers, and then ruled against Gov. Cooper’s appeal.
            So those four amendments will be on the ballot Nov. 6th, along with two that were not challenged in court.
            Meanwhile, all parties in the combined cases of NC League of Women Voters versus Rucho, and Common Cause of North Carolina versus Rucho agree that there wasn’t enough time before the November elections to redraw all thirteen Congressional  districts that now have been ruled unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering.
            A three-judge federal panel had offered the option of holding primaries in November under newly drawn maps, with elections taking place in January 2019, right before the new Congress is seated, but both plaintiffs and defendants filed briefs last week nixing that idea, saying that it would cause too much disruption and confusion this close to Election Day. 
            At press time Tuesday, that same three-judge federal panel agreed.
            “We conclude that there is insufficient time for this Court to approve a new districting plan and for the State to conduct an election using that plan prior to the seating of the new Congress in January 2019, “ the panel ruled in it’s four-page order.”And we further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina’s congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout.”
            The current congressional districts, as drawn in 2016, cannot be used past the 2018 elections, the court maintained.


By Cash Michaels

            Fresh from his much-applauded eulogy at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral tribute in Detroit last Friday, North Carolina’s Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of “the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,” is now slated to further build his growing national profile by keynoting the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) 48thAnnual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 15that the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
            That special occasion, the culmination of a five-day conference  - from Sept. 12 – 16th- of issue forums, professional development seminars, exhibits and national town halls for policymakers and emerging leaders, became popular in recent years when both President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama keynoted.
This year’s theme is “The Dream Still Demands.”
On its website, the CBCF defines its mission as “…to advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public.”
It was 1970 when black members of Congress held their first Annual Legislative Conference. A year later, the Congressional Black Caucus was established by 13 members in the 92ndCongress. In 1976, the CBC Foundation was established as a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational institute.
CBCF later began a scholarship fund for deserving college students.
Dr. Barber, the immediate former president of the NC NAACP, has been in the national spotlight ever since he led the massive “Moral Monday” demonstrations for several years , challenging what he called the “repressive” policies of the Republican-led NC General Assembly against the poor and people of color. Nearly 1,000 protesters were arrested during the first demonstration, spawning similar demonstrations across the country.
In 2016, Dr. Barber addressed the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which is where Aretha Franklin saw him, contacted barber, and invited him to come preach at a community service for her church.
The two maintained a long distance friendship until the “Queen of Soul” died a few weeks ago.
Dr. Barber was one of the many religious and celebrity luminaries invited to speak in tribute at the large public eight -hour funeral for Ms. Franklin held in Detroit last week, along with other North Carolina notables Pastor Shirley Caesar of Durham, and singer Fantasia Barrino of Winston-Salem.
The event was televised across the country and around the world.
When Dr. Barber returned to his home church of Greenleaf Christian in Goldsboro last Sunday. He quipped that his congregation should never again complain about how long their churches are, given how long the Aretha Franklin star-studded funeral service ran.


            [CARRBORO] In the wake of the controversy over the dethroning of the silent Sam statue at UNC-Chapel Hill, some residents next door in the town of Carrboro are petitioning to have that moniker dethroned too. The town is named after Julian Carr, the white supremacist who originally dedicated the Silent Sam statue in 1903, boasting that it was symbol of the white South. The Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided against changing the name, citing the costs and complications associated, but did agree to a “Truth Plaque,” acknowledging Carr’s racist history, but also committing the town to the spirit and work of social justice. The local NAACP will play a role in writing that plaque. 
            Meanwhile UNC – Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Holt said last week that she would like to see the Silent Sam statue relocated elsewhere on campus. The UNC Board of Trustees have given Folt and the UNC-Chapel Hill board until November to decide what to do with the fallen statue.

            [HILLBOROUGH] In reaction to the Nike Show company’s new “Just do it” ad campaign featuring controversial ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick – the first to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest to police brutality - sports fans across the nation are defiantly burning and destroying their Nike shoes, socks, etc. in protest. But the Hillsborough Police Dept. is asking that instead of destroying Mike shoes, why not just donate them top a worthy cause for someone else to wear. Kaepernick is currently a free agent who hasn’t played pro ball since 2016. He is currently suing the NFL.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] Tyrone Antoine Williams, who was forced to resign from the Fayetteville City Council in May under allegations of corruption, has now been charged with taking indecent liberties with minor. Williams was arrested and charged Tuesday, He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond and released. The incident allegedly occurred last December when Williams was still serving on the council. Police say he did know the victim.