Thursday, April 19, 2012


                  AMENDMENT ONE - THE TRUTH

            All of us have buttons.
            Some are hot, others turn us dead cold. Someone wants to get us good and mad, they know to press the hot one.
            Someone wants to turn us off to an issue or situation, not care about it, they hit that cold button that makes us ignore anything else that’s being said about the subject.
            In politics, there are paid experts who are always scheming and conniving about how to hit certain buttons in a certain portion of the electorate, to motivate those folks to vote, or NOT vote for a particular issue. That’s why we get so many mean and hateful political campaign commercials.
            And you know, given that this is an election year, and President Obama is running for re-election, we’re going to see some doozies on our TV screens accusing the president of, "...being a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country who will totally destroy this nation if he’s re-elected."
            Now anyone with any decent common sense doesn’t believe that, because it isn't true, but the conservative Tea Party folks pushing those ads are going to get a lot of support, because it pushes certain can’t-lose hot buttons that certain people in the country instantly respond to.
            Race and religion.
            Betcha shaking your head in agreement.
            But betcha you’re falling for the same thing.
            There are conservative Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly who have put forth a completely bogus voters’ referendum on the May 8th Primary Day ballot to determine whether or not a proposed state amendment to the NC Constitution is approved.
            Hint: The Republicans want you to approve it!
            You’ve heard of it, it’s called “Amendment One,” and its purpose, say conservative Republican lawmakers, is to legally define marriage in North Carolina as exclusively between a man and a woman, thus effectively prohibiting and outlawing same-sex marriages in North Carolina.
            Many African-Americans, who normally wouldn’t trust conservative Republicans with last week’s garbage, are automatically all for this, because our Christian faith teaches us that homosexuality is a sin, and, as "good" Christians, we certainly don’t want to allow same-sex marriage to become not only legal, but accepted in North Carolina.
            So as far as many African-Americans are concerned, it’s A-OK for the GOP to press that particular hot button - religion - if it keeps North Carolina free of same-sex marriages.
            The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and that’s all good Christians need to know, right?
            But there’s just one problem. Regardless of whether you believe in, or even agree with that teaching, in the state of North Carolina, marriage is ALREADY defined as being exclusively between a man and a woman.
            NC General Statute 51-1 - A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly expressed by each in the presence of the other…”
            So North Carolina law, written and adopted many, many years ago, already defines a “valid and sufficient marriage” as being between “a male and female person.”
            But just in case you’re still not convinced, please flip over to NC General Statute 51-1-2, which clearly states, “Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.”
            So if those two laws have been on the books for some time, then why is the Republican Party wasting so much time and money trying to get good Christian, GOD-loving folks like YOU to vote for a referendum to stop same-sex marriage in North Carolina, if it’s ALREADY stopped, and ALREADY illegal?
            Why are conservatives literally lying to the black community about the need to vote to stop something in NC that has  already been stopped...FOR DECADES? Same-sex marriage is ALREADY against NC law!
            Because the GOP knows that this is a hot button issue for North Carolina’s African-American Christian community, and just like certain white Christians who are convinced that they must vote against that “Muslim, anti-Christian, black socialist who is corrupting the country,” namely Obama, there are black Christians here in NC who devoutly believe that voting for Amendment One will forever ban same-sex marriages.
            So why is the GOP going hog wild over something that simply isn't needed, and why are they trying to convince African-Americans that it is? 
            Because they know that the issue of homosexuality is the way to fracture President Obama’s base of support of both African-Americans and gay people.
            And if they can successfully do that, not only does the president lose North Carolina for sure, but Democrats will also lose because of deep divisions the GOP is pouring gasoline on.
            President Obama has already spoken out, telling all North Carolinians to vote AGAINST Amendment One on May 8th.
            Regardless about how you feel about homosexuality from your religious perspective, the Republicans are trying to use that to hurt the president, not "protect" North Carolina, especially when there are already laws on the books.
             The NCNAACP has joined the president, warning that Amendment One is dangerous because it allows the state to codify legal discrimination against a certain group of citizens.
            So gay people today, another group...maybe some of US... tomorrow, observers say.
            The GOP wants that power under the guise of enacting good Christian dogma, when it fact, there is no legitimate legal reason for it.
            And 2009 documents also prove that NOM wanted Pres. Obama removed from office, and saw splitting his voting base as the best way to do it.
            State House Rep. Earline Parmon, a black Democrat of Forsyth County, has already found herself being, “…targeted by Republican dollars” just because she refused to co-sponsor Amendment One.
            Ask yourself this question: How can conservative Republicans who are trying to suppress the black vote through voter ID; who are trying to reduce the early voting period from two weeks down to one before an election starting next fall; and have cut $1 billion from the state education budget, making things harder for our public schools across the state, all of a sudden be people you can trust on Amendment One or anything else?
            Don’t allow the GOP to divide the Democratic base, and make sure that President Obama loses re-election.
            It is imperative that you know, and spread the word that our community must collectively vote NO on Amendment One. Voting yes does not make the anti-same sex laws already on North Carolina’s books any better or any stronger.
            Don’t allow the GOP to fool you by pushing your religious hot button like they’re doing with the “Obama is a Muslim” crowd.
            This is politics, of the worst kind. Our community MUST stay strong and united in these challenging days ahead leading up to the 2012 presidential elections.
            Again, don’t let the GOP fool you, and divide us.
            Spread the word - vote NO against the worthless Amendment One.


Democracy North Carolina

1821 Green St., Durham NC 27705  ·  919-286-6000 or 489-1931   ·
 Hotline and Website Set Up for NC Primary to
Help Address Confusion from New Districts

     With early voting now underway in NC, a trio of nonpartisan organizations have announced the launch of a special hotline to answer questions from voters throughout the primary election period.

      The toll-free hotline is 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). It will be operated by a public service program at the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill, the voting-rights group Democracy North Carolina, and the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, headquartered in Washington , DC .  The Spanish-language hotline is 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682).

     Hotline organizers are especially concerned that the large number of changes in district lines can create confusion for voters in 2012. Many voters have been placed in new districts, and about two million live in hundreds of precincts that are divided between two different state House, state Senate or Congressional districts. That means they will receive a different ballot from some of their neighbors who vote at the same precinct.

     Among the counties most affected by the split precincts are Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Cumberland, Buncombe, Union, Johnston, Pitt, Nash, Craven, Wilson, Wayne, Lenoir, Robeson, Hoke, Richmond, Scotland, Greene, Granville, Lee, and Pasquotank counties. Voters should be vigilant and ensure they are getting the correct ballot with their correct candidates, hotline organizers said.

     “We recommend that voters look up their ballot before going to vote,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina. “That will help them become familiar with their candidate choices and also alert them if they receive a different ballot at the polling place.”

     In addition to co-sponsoring the hotline, Democracy North Carolina has launched a new website that answers a wide variety of questions and shows voters how to review their ballot and find Early Voting sites in their county.

     The website is The organization will also answer questions it receives on its year-round hotline, which is 888-OUR-VOTE.

     “With so many changes in districts, precincts and candidate choices, we encourage voters to prepare themselves,” said Hall. “We hope everything goes smoothly, but we also want to know if there are problems and help get them resolved.”

For more, see this press release from national Election Protection at:

Sunday, April 15, 2012


By Cash Michaels

                                                       KEITH SUTTON

            The vice chairman of the Wake County Board of Education says “there will be an effort by this board…” to revisit Policy 6200, the long held school board policy that established socioeconomic student diversity as an important tool in the school system, before the previous conservative-led Wake school board gutted it in favor of neighborhood schools.

            Vice Chair Keith Sutton, the board’s only African-American, who also represents predominately black District 4, made his remarks Monday evening during a community engagement meeting at Martin Street Baptist Church, sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children.

            The two-hour session allowed parents and community leaders to ask questions of Sutton about the direction of Wake County schools, and express their concerns about the new student assignment plan, school discipline policies, and other matters.

            It was in answering a question from a Carnage GT Magnet Middle School parent, concerned about the changing student demographics there with the new student assignment plan, that Sutton addressed the former diversity policy.

            “Long-term, there will be an effort by this board to go back and look at Policy 6200…,” Sutton told approximately 35 people in attendance, adding, “…and see how we can address not just issues of diversity, but looking at how we can balance and strengthen the policy by looking at specific targets with regard to not only the magnet populations, but also racial compositions and student achievement as well, and see how we  can balance that.”

            “I firmly believe that there is a way, and if it can be done it would be in Wake County, where we can look at stability - which is important to a lot of families - proximity, and student achievement/diversity as well,” Sutton continued.

            “If it can be done, it can be done here in Wake County. Over the next few weeks, and into the future, we’ll be taking a look at that…to begin looking at how we can do that.”

            There is no question that if the Democrat-majority Wake School Board were to revisit changing Policy 6200 again so that it once again reflected diversity as an equal standard with stability, proximity and academic achievement, that the Republican-minority, led by former board Vice Chair Debra Goldman, would howl.

            It was 2009, after almost a decade of socio-economic student diversity in Wake Public Schools, that a Republican-majority took over the school board with a mandate to end the policy that many experts said was a key to Wake’s academic success.

            Led by Chairman Ron Margiotta, the conservative board removed diversity from Policy 6200, saying that parents wanted proximity and stability, and blamed the diversity policy for not having it.

            In fact, it was the county’s explosive growth - as a result of the diversity policy which saw inner city children attending suburban schools, and suburban kids being bused to inner city magnet schools - that forced constant assignment changes, and the implementation of year-round schools.

            In Feb. 2010, then Wake Supt. Del Burns, resolute that he could not be a part of the board’s plan to implement what many believed to be a racially biased neighborhood schools plan, resigned. It would not be until current Wake Supt. Anthony Tata took over in Jan 2011, and later led the effort for the board to adopt a controversial school choice plan, was there any clarity on student assignment.

            But now that many parents are realizing that, despite assurances to the contrary, they are not getting their first choice of schools for their children, in addition to growing concerns that many of the under-chosen schools will become predominately black and Hispanic high poverty schools, there are mounting questions about the wisdom of Tata’s school choice construct.

            The toughest of those questions have come from local realtors, who say the plan doesn’t allow them to sell homes near schools with certainty, and on Wednesday from Wake County mayors, some of whom complained that businesses are having second thoughts about moving to area because of the lack of clarity in Supt. Tata’s plan.

            “With us trying to recruit businesses to come here, we are trying to compete with municipalities all around the globe,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “The big thing is, ‘Where are my kids going to go to school?’ And there’s no answer. That’s a deal breaker.”
An apparently stunned Tata took McFarlane’s comments to heart, vowing to make necessary changes, including increasing capacity at various schools, to at least address the negative perceptions.
The controversy only feeds criticism from Supt. Tata’s primary adversary, Great Schools in Wake Coalition, a liberal nonprofit group that has been critical of Tata’s plan from Day One.
The group, which pleaded with the new Democrat-led Wake School Board to jettison Tata’s plan and use the next year to craft a better one, to no avail, unveiled their new “Let’s find a better way” campaign this week.
“[We] believe that it is time to pause, reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of the new plan and its predecessor, and develop an alternative that combines the best of all assignment methodologies while considering what our community values in public education,” said GSIWC Chairwoman Yevonne Brannon.  “The choice student assignment plan is taking a toll on our community.”