Friday, October 7, 2011


                                                          "MISS V"

        Normally I wouldn't write this kind of column on a local candidate for office right before the election they're in is decided. Folks would think, and understandably so, that I'm trying to throw the election against her.

       But I'm making an exception here because a cardinal rule has been broken, something I don't, and WON'T  accept.

       When you criticize someone publicly, leave their children out of it! Since this trifling person can't follow that common rule of decency, I don't care what anybody thinks, I'm having my say!

      On the News and Observer's Wake Ed blog this afternoon, I'm reading the comments by Miss V" (aka District 4 candidate Venita Peyton) pertaining to some controversy involving Supt. Tata and District 5 school board candidate Jim Martin, when all of a sudden, I see The Carolinian (the newspaper I work for) mentioned for some unrelated reason. Then I see my name, and read further.


        The Carolinian Newspaper's editor Cash Michael has been emphasizing that I was 45 min. late for a Martin Street forum 2 weeks ago. I had left a message with the presider that I had to doubleback to Nashville, because my client's closing was rescheduled. The audience knew this, yet Cash conveniently didn't mention it in his article. He thinks neighborhood schools are bad for Southeast Raleigh, although it appears his daughter attends one in Cary.
        Now my opponent, Keith Sutton, has some of his people saying that HE is for neighborhood schools - evidence of his ability to flip/flop. 
        I informed WakeUP Wake County that I wouldn't participate in their forum. They had approved everyone else before checking with my schedule, which I still feel should have been scheduled for a weekend so that more young parents could have participated.
        So, I'm glad Superintendent Tata is speaking out. It's the last minute dirty tricks that we candidates have learned to expect. Venita Peyton, Wake School Board Candidate, Dist. 4

          Now normally, I wouldn't mind a desperate candidate for office, seeking all the free attention in the world she could get because she has no money, nor any well-thought out positions other than "Somebody, please elect me to something...this is my fifth time running for office," spewing out with the lip. That's all the power and control she really has.

           And I don't mind it because getting attacked by sorry no-nothings comes with the territory I'm in.

           But when that same person decides to put my family in ANYTHING they say or do, beyond complimentary, that's where I, and every decent person I know, has a BIG problem.

           Yes, my family lives in Cary, no secret there. And yes, my youngest attends a nearby school. She can't walk to it, but it's within ten minutes of where we live. ALSO no secret. When I interviewed with Bob Geary of the Independent Weekly last spring, I said then that when i drop my daughter off at school every morning, I watch the buses come in from Southeast    Raleigh, and the children come off those buses being greeted warmly by the teachers, and feel good knowing that they were getting a good education from a caring staff, just like my daughter.

           I expressed that sentiment because THAT's what I want for all children - a solid, outstanding education. And, of course, I don't have a problem with neighborhood schools - so long as children of color get the same quality education. Thus, THAT's the problem i have with neighborhood schools as practiced across this nation, and even here in North Carolina. Neighborhood public schools in predominately black and Hispanic communities end up being underfunded high poverty factories with second-rate staffs, third-rate principals, crumbling campuses and buildings, and bare-to-the-bones resources.

              And because the school board representatives for these schools are usually in the minority on any school board in a predominately white school system, they can hardly muster up the political power and influence to ensure that these schools are funded and staffed equitably. Thus, good teachers don't stay at these schools long, and the children there suffer, as a result.

              So in my opinion, Wake County did the right thing many years ago when it decided not to have unhealthy high poverty schools, and instead, implement a student socioeconomic diversity policy that ensured that EVERY child in the system sat in a well-resourced classroom, with good teacher, in a good school, getting the same quality instruction that every other child in the system was getting.

             There was only one way to sidestep the politics that would deprive inner city schools of their equity, and that was two-way busing. Busing black students out to suburban schools, and white kids into to magnet schools in the inner city.

            Of course it was controversial, and of course it called for sacrifice on everybody's part. But the choices were, either maintain a public school system with an excellent education for white kids, and a substandard education for blacks and Hispanics, or create a diverse school system where all kids get the same outstanding education, and have the same opportunities to learn and grow, no matter which school they attended.

             Obviously, there was no other choice.

             From 2000 to 2006, it was documented that that student diversity plan worked, with Wake County students, especially black and Hispanic, hitting new heights academically. Our school system then actually narrowed the achievement gap considerably, and our success resulted in extraordinary growth in student population faster than we imagined. 

             So fast that school leaders couldn't keep up with it, and soon took their eyes off the academic prize. The result? By 2006-07,  Black and Hispanic kids began to drop academically, and the re-norming of the state standardized tests didn't help matters. It wasn't long before conservative buzzards, who always whined about neighborhood schools primarily because they didn't want black kids sitting in seats they believed belonged to their kids in their neighborhoods, took advantage of the old adage, "What goes up, must come down," and started accusing the school system of trying to "hide" black underachievers through diversity, what ultimately amounted to damn lies.

              So "Miss V" need to get clear - I'm not living in Cary satisfied that my child has a good school and good education nearby, so everybody else will just have to get theirs. No, I'm living in Cary AND working in Southeast Raleigh,  FIGHTING, have been fighting, and will CONTINUE to fight, for EVERY child to get the same quality of education no matter where they are.

              If Southeast Raleigh were availed some of the same economic advantages that Cary has, this wouldn't be a discussion. But it's not, which means after Supt. Tata and the board finish with their "Look how much we care about Southeast Raleigh" show, a year or two years from now they'll start pointing towards their built-in excuse of, "Gee, federal dollars have dried up, the state dollars have dried up, and the Wake County Commissioners say they aren't giving us a dime more. So we can't afford to fully fund all of the extra high poverty schools we've created!"

                THAT's what we've always avoided in this county with diversity. Yes, we had, and have high poverty schools, primarily  because the growth was happening so fast, it couldn't be averted. But Wake's high poverty schools were NOT dungeons of delinquency. The system made sure the resources flowed, along with top principals and educators. Special programs in these schools made sure that the student population learned and performed well.

              Unlike Charlotte, which a Wake Superior Court judge charged with committing "academic genocide" on black children, Wake County had absolutely NO low performing schools, and NEVER has!

              And the evergrowing student achievement success your Republican friends on the Wake School Board keep claiming as their own, actually began BEFORE they took office in 2009 (well fancy that)! 

             Now for "Miss V's" to reference my daughter in her criticism of me, just so she can make points with her GOP "friends" Ron Margiotta and John Tedesco, is low and disgusting, in my book. I fight for Southeast Raleigh and the black community EVERY week. And beyond the newspaper, work for which I am paid and rightfully so to support my family, I devote EVERY week towards working for my people and community WITHOUT pay in some varied capacity, because they have been so good to me for so many, many years.

             If this were a church, I believe I'd have more than too many witnesses to confirm that fact!

             So when you shamefully and pathetically use my eight-year-old daughter to demonstrate some kind of faux hypocrisy on my part, Miss V, you are showing me that you have no principles. Listening to you slander other people whom I know and work with, just because of your overheated longstanding hatred of Democrats who, in their infinite wisdom over a decade ago, refused to elect you Raleigh mayor (which is when your inflated ego had you turn your back on your community and endorse Jesse Helm's nephew, Paul Coble, for mayor, remember?), tells me that anything you can do to "hurt" the other side, even if it means joining forces with people who are actively trying to take the right to vote away from your community, you will.

             And for the record, based on the people I spoke with at that candidates forum at Martin Street Baptist Church, both before you arrived, once the school board candidates were seated, and after it was all over, NO ONE KNEW you were coming at all, and were DEFINITELY surprised when you showed up.

            The audience was never told by any of the organizers, and since the organizers NEVER told me, the moderator,  or any of the candidates (since no chair was left open for you), I have to assume that they didn't know either.

            And from what I could tell from the audience response to you, few, if any, were pleased that you even bothered to show up, since you chickened out from the previous Wake Up forums (the only candidate to do so).

          And please, stop hiding behind that, "the parents and old folks couldn't make it" routine. The night you did show, there were plenty of parents and old folks there, or didn't you notice?

           So cut the proverbial CRAP, Miss.V. Once you arrived, I did everything I could to treat you respectfully, giving you more time to answer and introduce yourself. In life, everybody has a reason why they're late when they are, so unless your dog died after he set fire to your home, late is late when you're asking voters to make a decision who is best to serve them. And given your selfish, egotistical pussy cat excuse for dodging the previous forum, the fact that folks cared that you showed up at all is a headliner in itself.

          So if you want to come after me, fine, I've taken on bigger and much, much better.

          But when you drag my young daughter into your political bullcrap, when she hasn't said or done ANYTHING against you (doesn't even know who your sorry butt is), then you've gone far beyond just lying about me.

         Is THIS the kind of person the voters of District 4 should elect for the next four years?

         That's their decision on Oct. 11th, but if I lived in the district (I do work and contribute there), you damn sure know what my answer would be!

         Don't you!

         UPDATE: Apparently Miss V has done this before. She noted in one of her b logs that Keith Sutton, who she is trying to unseat from District 4, also drives one of his daughters to school. Why is it necessary to use other people's children to score political points? Does she require that if you feed the hungry, you have to be hungry yourself? This is the nastiest brand of politics that is beneath what our community has come to expect!



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