1 www.cnyvision.

com | may 16 - 22| 2013
syracuse ny vol. 4 no. 7 may 16 - 22 2013
cover story P6
Local Syracuse Activist Twiggy Billue
Dissects School Suspensions
2 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
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• Local Syracuse Activist Twiggy Billue
Dissects School Suspensions
{local P 4, 5
• Many NY Gas Leases Expire as
Moratorium Remains
• Mayor Miner Stand With Working
Families: Pickets with Local 158
• Buddy Nix Steps Down as Bills GM
• Tyrone Muse Appointed President of
Visions Credit Union
{national P 8
• New FCC Chair Continues Prison
Phone Battle
• Teacher’s Aide Accused of Spreading
HIV to Student

By Dr. Boyce Watkins
• The Alliance Between Warmongers
and The Press
By A. Peter Bailey
• At Last
By Julianne Malveaux
In This Issue:
1 www.cnyvision.com| may 16 - 22| 2013
syracuse ny vol. 4 no. 7 may 16 - 22 2013
cover story P6
Local Syracuse Activist Twiggy Billue
Dissects School Suspensions
Mother’s Day Women’s Cancer Services
Awareness Event
Time: 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m
Locaton: Spa 500
The event will focus on preventon
educaton for women. Informaton will
be provided regarding health insurance
by the area providers. We will highlight
the fnancial services available for victms
of Breast Cancer through Saint Agatha
Foundaton, for the CNY and Watertown
areas they have funds available for all
pertnent treatment costs.
F.O.C.U.S. Core Group Meetng
Time: 7:30am–8:45am
Locaton: City Hall Commons 1st foor
atrium - Sustainability Showcase, 201 E
Washington St
F.O.C.U.S. is a citzen driven organizaton
that taps citzen creatvity to impact
change in Central New York by enabling
citzens, organizatons, and government
to work together to enhance the quality
of our lives and our economic future.
F.O.C.U.S. engages in research, public
policy advocacy, public educaton, and
public outreach to promote intelligent,
inclusive, sustainable decision making.
For more informaton, please visit www.
Big Day
Time: 11:00am-3:00pm
Locaton: Burnet Park
Kids – rev up your engines and join in the
fun at Big Rig Day. Check out
some of the city’s big trucks as well as
feets from other Central New York
companies. Climb in and around city fre
trucks, honk the horns of the
big tractor-trailers, stand inside a city
snowplow, crawl inside a SWAT
truck. And much more. Free admission.
Refreshments available for
sale. Co-sponsored by Price Chopper, C&S
Companies and Lamar Ad
Pulverize Confdental Documents Paper
Shredding Event
Time: 8:00am
Locaton: NBT Bank Stadium, formerly
Alliance Bank Stadium
Residents able to protect identty and
recycle shredded materials for free
Onondaga County residents are invited
to collect their confdental documents
and bring them to OCRRA’s May 18 paper
shredding event for secure destructon.
Memorial Day Concert
Time: 2:30 pm
Locaton: Palace Theater, 2384 James St.
This special concert, by the Stan Colella
Orchestra, is a moving tribute
to our fallen heroes and a poignant
expression of grattude to our troops
and veterans for their service to our
country, and a moving tribute to our
fallen heroes. Presented, in part, by Tops
Markets and B104.7
Downtown Farmer’s Market
Locaton: Clinton Square
Open-air market with fresh, seasonal
vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs, cheese,
baked goods, fowers, plants, handcrafed
items for sale. Visit www.down
townsyracuse.com for more informaton
or call 422-8284
Time: 11:00amSat, June 8, 11pm
Locaton: Clinton Square
Bring your friends and your appettes
to the AmeriCU Credit Union Taste of
Syracuse, presented by Tops, returns to
downtown, featuring live music, fabulous
food, and of course $1 samples. For more
informaton, visit www.tasteofsyracuse.
com.. Sat, June 8, 11pm
Send us your
Check us out online!
3 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
1. Positve point
5. Rainy
8. A la ___ (with ice cream)
12. Deli order
13. Rink surface
14. Egg cell
15. Sandwich shop
16. “Ain’t ___ Sweet”
17. Bags
18. Comeback
21. Harass
24. Actress Winona
28. Narrow way
29. Gray
32. Wish undone
33. Prior to, poetcally
34. Island stringed instrument, for
35. The whole enchilada
36. Wolfed down
37. Sponsorship
38. Fencing sword
39. Humming sound
41. Unmoving
42. Begnning to fower
46. Kind of chop
49. Broadside
50. ___ refecton
54. ____ Minor
55. Gothic tme, for example
56. Shoestring
57. Broke down
58. Prize
59. Of-pitch
1. Doctor’s degree
2. Filmmaker Spike
3. Dot-com’s address
4. Evening party
5. Smoke curl
6. Sound rebound
7. Golf pegs
8. Cash
9. Eggs
10. Nickname
11. Medical emergency team, abbr.
19. Player, in tag
20. Put to the test
21. Sheep sound
22. Third planet from the sun
23. Sarcasm
25. Cover, in a way
26. Swiss mathematcian
27. Sublease
29. Summer month
30. Schuss, e.g.
31. The Pointer Sisters’ “___ So Shy”
37. Ostrich walk-alike
38. Overwhelm
40. W.W. II ship (2 words)
41. Stylish
43. Liquid sediment
44. Be brave enough for
45. Mid-east priest
46. Chater
47. Handling
48. Downturn
51. Sidekick
52. S.American tuber
53. Buterfy catcher
Upstate is an academic
medical university built
around patient care,
education and research.
It is the only one of its
kind in Central New York.
As a place dedicated to
serving the community it
is a great place to start or
continue your career.
Upstate Medical University/
Upstate University Hospital is an
AA/EEO/ADA employer engaging
excellence through diversity.
Smoke-free campus since 2005
To learn more about career
opportunities at Upstate
and apply on-line
Colleges of: Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions and Graduate Studies
Upstate University Hospital - Downtown and Community campuses
Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital I www.upstate.edu/jobs
Generic - Upstate Medical UNIVERSITY Ad
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4 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
Many NY gas leases expire as moratorium remains
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- New York’s
fve-year moratorium on shale gas
development promised to be a
blessing for many landowners eager to
end leases they signed before anyone
outside of the oil and gas industry had
heard of fracking.
But actually getng out of a lease can
be tricky. Many have clauses giving
the drilling company the right to
extend them for another fve years.
Gas companies have tried to extend
thousands of leases by claiming an
unforeseen barrier -- the moratorium
-- has prevented them from drilling.
And even when a lease has expired,
landowners ofen have to take several
legal steps to clear their land of claims.
Thousands of leases have reached the
end of their fve-year term since the
moratorium began in 2008. That gives
some landowners the chance to get
out of a lease they signed for $2 or
$3 an acre and 12.5 percent royaltes
and try to negotate a new one for
the far more favorable terms seen in
recent years -- potentally thousands
of dollars an acre and 20 percent
Other landowners simply want to end
their leases to free their farms from
fracking, which uses huge quanttes
of chemically treated water and
sand to crack shale thousands of feet
underground so trapped natural gas
can fow into horizontally drilled wells.
Ellen Harrison, of the Tompkins
County town of Caroline, started an
organizaton called Fleased to help
landowners navigate the complex
legal issues related to gas leases. She
regrets having signed a lease with
a gas company and is now frmly in
the ant-fracking camp, which raises
health and environmental concerns
about gas drilling and has been
pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make
the moratorium permanent.
Cuomo has said there’s no set
tmetable for his decision.
“In New York, your lease doesn’t
just end when the fve years are up,”
said Joe Heath, a Syracuse civil rights
lawyer who partners with Harrison
in lease-terminaton workshops and
ofers his services for free to people
trying to end gas leases. “The law
says when the lease expires, the
company must provide the landowner
a document, but they ofen don’t. The
lease stays there untl the landowner
takes acton.”
The landowner has to send leters to
the gas company and all investors that
have bought interests in the lease;
if none of them fle an afdavit to
extend the lease within 30 days, the
landowner can fle a document with
the county clerk ending the lease. One
upstate landowner had to notfy eight
companies to end his lease at the end
of its 10-year term.
“These leases are commodites
that they have to sell,” Heath said.
“Companies are desperate to extend
these cheap old leases so they can sell
them. They use every extension clause
they can.”
Heath said he has successfully goten
landowners out of a “couple hundred”
leases in the past two years.
“Hundreds of millions, if not billions,
of dollars are at stake if these
operators can hold onto these leases
which have very favorable terms for
them,” said atorney Robert Jones,
who has represented hundreds of
landowners in lawsuits challenging
eforts by Chesapeake Energy and
other companies to extend leases.
A federal judge ruled against
Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake
and Denver-based Infecton Energy
in November, saying that even though
the state doesn’t allow fracking,
nothing stopped the companies from
using conventonal drilling methods.
The companies have appealed.
In a separate case, Atorney General Eric
Schneiderman reached an agreement
with Chesapeake last June to allow
more than 4,400 landowners whose
leases were expiring to renegotate
terms with other companies, which
Chesapeake could match. The trouble
with that, Heath said, is that no
companies are interested, given New
York’s uncertain regulatory future.
Albany lawyer Tom West, who
represents Chesapeake and other
companies trying to extend leases, said
it’s only fair that companies should be
given tme to do the gas exploraton
they agreed to in their leases.
“I’m certainly sympathetc to
landowners who think their leases
shouldn’t be extended,” West said.
“But the operators’ perspectve is,
we just want the amount of tme
that we’ve been delayed tacked onto
the lease. It’s a deal they feel they
bargained for, and they should have
the opportunity to come in and test
the resource when the moratorium is
Most of the landowners who come to
lawyers like Jones and Scot Kurkoski,
who work for diferent frms in
Binghamton, hope to negotate new
leases with beter fnancial terms and
more protecton for their land and the
“Some people are happy that their
lease has expired, but unfortunately,
there really isn’t any lucratve deal out
there for them,” said Kurkoski, who
represents the 77,000-member Joint
Landowners Coaliton of New York,
which is seeking leases on nearly a
million acres of upstate New York land
that haven’t been leased before.
Two-thirds of the leases people bring
to Heath can’t be terminated because
they have clauses allowing the
company to extend them, he said.
Atorney Joe Heath, lef, and Ellen
Harrison, founder of Fleased, an
organizaton that helps landowners get
out of old gas leases, look through a fle
box of leases that landowners have asked
Heath to review, on Thursday, April 18,
2013, at Heath’s ofce in Syracuse, NY.
((AP Photo/Mary Esch))
Buddy Nix steps down as Bills GM
Buddy Nix is stepping down as the
Bufalo Bills general manager, the
team announced on Monday. Nix will
remain with the team in a new role
as special assistant, the Bills said in a
released statement.
Assistant GM Doug Whaley, entering
his fourth season in Bufalo, is expected
to take over. He was signed to a long-
term contract extension in January.
Though the Bills did not immediately
announce Nix’s replacement, the
team has spent much of the ofseason
grooming Whaley, a former executve
with the Steelers and a former player
at Pit, to take over.
The move did not come as a surprise,
and comes afer Nix oversaw the draf
in which the Bills opened by selectng
quarterback EJ Manuel. Nix and team
president Russ Brandon were set to
discuss the move later in the day.
At 73, Nix completed his third season
as the Bills general manager. “I’ve
made the decision to step away
from the general manager’s positon
because I feel it is the right tme,’’ Nix
said. “By the right tme, I think we
have a good young roster, an excellent
head coach with a good staf. And it’s
tme to let someone else handle these
5 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013

Choices today create tomorrow!
Your future is filled with many possibilities. It’s important to take care of
yourself so that you’ll be ready to take on the world. What can you do?
 Eat a healthy diet and get physically active!
 Take folic acid every day
 Don’t smoke, use street drugs, or drink to excess
 Get screened and tested for possible medical conditions like diabetes
or infections
 Get regular check-ups and talk with your health care provider to
manage your health
 Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date
 Use an effective method of contraception correctly and consistently
to prevent unplanned pregnancy
For more information on how to improve your health now, visit:


Funding provided by the NYS Dept. of Health, Div. of Family Health, and Health
Research Incorporated (HRI) through grant funds from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services,
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), First Time Motherhood/New Parents Initiative,
grant # H5MMC202770203. Contents are solely the responsibility of REACH CNY, Inc. and do not
necessarily represent the official views of NYSDOH, HRI or HRSA.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner
took to the streets Thursday morning
to stand in solidarity with the working
men and women of Upstate New York
Operatng Engineers Local 158.
The Internatonal Union of Operatng
Engineers went on strike Monday
to protest unfair wages at Milton
Caterpillar on Ainsley Drive in
Syracuse, the Operatng Engineers are
asking for equal pay for an equal day’s
work. Operatng Engineers in other
parts of upstate are making as much
as $5.00 more per hour than Syracuse
In standing with the workers today,
Mayor Miner said, “Times are
tough and in tmes like this it’s very
important to support working men
and women. They are fghtng for fair
wages and I support them.”
Mayor Miner Stands with Working Families; Pickets with Local 158
Gary Morris Drops out of Race for Common Council President
Gary Morris announced yesterday
that he is dropping out of the race for
Syracuse Common Council President.
Morris made the announcement
at a press conference he held at
the E. Washington Street campaign
headquarters of Syracuse Mayor
Stephanie Miner.
Morris says he will be supportng
Van Robinson for Common Council
President. Robinson received the
Democratc Party endorsement earlier
this month.
“…over these last 20 years, I have
supported all Democratc candidates.
I have work with and on many
Democratc campaigns. I have also
served as campaign manager on
several campaigns,” Morris said. “My
record, as a proud Democrat speaks
for itself.”
“I ran to stand up for those who have
been invisible to their city government
for four long years. Those are the
reasons, I ran for Common Council
President, and those are the reasons,
I support Van Robinson and those are
the reasons you should too.”
Gary Morris shown right
Tyrone Muse Appointed President of Visions Credit Union
Visions Federal Credit Union recently
announced the appointment of Tyrone
Muse as their President and Chief
Executve Ofcer.
Muse—taking over for Frank E. Berrish,
who retred April 30—began his term
efectve May 1, 2013.
“We are excited to have Ty join Visions.
His knowledge and experience will be
valuable in contnuing to provide our
members the world class convenience,
pricing, and service they have come
to expect,” Mark Paterson, Visions’
Chairman of the Board said.
Muse most recently served as the
Chief Financial Ofcer at Hudson Valley
Federal Credit Union (HVFCU) where he
led initatves surrounding investment
returns, fnancial performance, and
diversity. Earlier, he served as Finance
Manager at G.E. Asset Management
and as Business Assurance Manager at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP.
“It is a privilege to lead an organizaton
that has excelled in meetng members’
needs for more than 46 years,” Muse
said. “We look forward to contnuing
to place our members frst, being
a premier employer, and a valued
resource in our community.”
Tyrone Muse
responsibilites and move forward
Nix had previously said he would be
interested in stepping down once
he felt the team had a franchise
quarterback in place and was prepared
to move in the right directon.
“I feel strongly that the team is on the
right course for success,’’ Nix said.
The Bills are rebuilding from scratch
once again under new coach Doug
Marrone, who was hired in January
afer turning around a struggling
program at Syracuse. Marrone
replaced Chan Gailey, who was fred
afer a 6-10 fnish last year.
The Bills have had eight consecutve
losing seasons, and haven’t made the
playofs in 13 seasons the NFL’s longest
actve drought.
Buddy Nix
Buddy Nix...from Previous Page
Mayor Miner stood with the working men and
women of IUOE Local 158 Thursday morning
to picket for fair wages.
6 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
Twiggy Billue, a local actvist and co-
chair of the educaton commitee
of the Natonal Acton Network,
has been investgatng a data from
the Syracuse City School District,
and found that suspension rates for
minorites are sky high.
Afer analyzing a report done by the
district based on individual schools,
gender, grade level and race for the
2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school
years, at Shea Bellevue (Bellevue
Elementary School), Billue found:
“When I looked at the number of
students, African-American, Latno,
and Natve Indian and Natve
Alaskan, those three categories
have higher rates than any other
Billue said that American Indians
only made up one percent, but are
suspended at 20.6 percent of the
rate for both school years. African-
Americans make up 50 percent
and they’re being suspended at 50
percent of the rate. Latnos make
up 13 percent while they’re being
suspended at 26 percent of the rate.
Billue said she tried to fnd out if
there were single, multple or 3- or
4-day suspensions over a period of
tme. She said she also wanted to
know how many of the students
suspended had a disability. She said
the school district couldn’t answer
any of her questons.
“If you have a disability in New
York State, you can’t be suspended
without a determinaton hearing. So
they couldn’t answer any of that,”
she said.
During her investgaton Billue said
she notced that these schools
with high suspension rates are in
predominantly African-American
neighborhoods and Latno
“Four of the schools in the middle
school rate have been suspending
anywhere from 60 percent to 70
percent of all kids, all African-
American and Latno. (The analysis
shows that) six to seven percent of
all kindergarteners through second
graders, we’re talking about 5, 6, 7
year olds, were being suspended out
of school.
The report shows that male students
make up 25 percent of the rate of
students suspended in both the
2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school
year. African-Americans make up
25.7 percent of students that are
“And that’s at three tmes or twice
the rate of their white counterparts.
The school board didn’t want to
listen to us, so we had to dissect that
informaton,” Billue said.
Billue atended the Syracuse school
board meetng on Tuesday. “We
sent them 46 questons in writng,
but they haven’t goten back yet.
We frst presented the questons to
the school board at a meetng last
Saturday at Fountain of Life Church.
And we gave them some tme and
we re-presented them at the school
board meetng Tuesday so they can
be on the record ofcially. It’s almost
like a double- edged sword. They put
the data out because we asked for it,
but we exposed them. So now either
it’s going to get worse, or it’s going
to get beter. It’s like a ‘we’ll show
them’ mentality.”
Superintendent of Schools Sharon
Contreras listened to the concerns
Twiggy Billue
Local Syracuse Activist Twiggy Billue
Dissects School Suspensions
By DeLani Weaver
7 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
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If you enjoy working with children and
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To learn more, go to www.sayyessyracuse.org

of the parents and community
members about the high amount of
minority suspensions. Billue said she
believes Contreras is trying to help the
situaton but is essentally being either
ignored or blamed.
“…We have an African-American,
Latno background superintendent.
The board made an efort to hire this
woman to come in and make changes.
However, she is being bow-guarded
by this: I call it the ‘good old boys
So everything she tries to implement,
the full respect doesn’t get
implemented. So, when you force
them to create a research department
and their working for you and they
produce something like this and she’s
helping us; she’s now being accused of
helping blacks and Latnos more than
anybody else.”
“At the meetng the other night (school
board meetng), you had a group of
white parents saying they wanted her
out and us saying thank you for making
the hard decisions but you can’t keep
letng them suspend our kids like that.
We don’t want to direct this to you
(Contreras), but to the board, because
y’all set policies, she only implemented
“You have a policy you’re not following,
which is the code of conduct, because
if you’re following the code of conduct
it says progressive discipline. There’s
no way in the code of conduct that kids
should be suspended for three days
every week. That’s not progressive.”
Billue said she and other members
of the Natonal Acton Network have
been working with the Department
of Justce and the school board to fnd
out exactly what’s going on within the
schools and how to implement the
right policies and procedures to deter
the amount of suspensions within the
However, the principles have been
reluctant to meet with the network.
“Our schools here are on the botom
5,” Billue said. “That means they’re
failing schools. At this point we’re
willing to work together with the
school board. However, we have
notfed the Department of Justce. I
have sent them a copy of my fndings
along with the school districts report.”
“If you bring a knife to school you need
to go home, actually you need to go to
the police. However, if you got into a
pushing match or someone tripped
you and jumped up and started
arguing, you shouldn’t be getng
arrested for that. No one should
be suspended out of school when
you have code of conduct that says
progressive discipline. That doesn’t
mean we just throw you out. That
means we progressively work with you
to curve the behavior.”
Billue said millions and millions of
dollars have been spent on innovaton
zones and promise zones, which are
supposed be used for behavioral
issues. Even though the behavioral
clinics are allegedly in the schools,
students are stll being suspended and
not getng the help that they need.
Some people believe discipline starts
at home. Some have said, if a child is
behavioral problem at their school,
then discipline isn’t being administered
properly at home. When asked about
this Billue said this:
“With parents doing what they are
doing, what we must recognize that
if even if the parent has all the tools
in the world to do what they need to
with their child, we have no control
over the climate in the community.
“I live right in the middle of the city.
So, the other day there was a guy
murdered at the top of my street and
the kids that walk to Roberts, the kids
that walk to Corcoran had to step
over that blood-splater. They were
up all night because they had police
knocking on doors; they were in riot
gear, helicopters fying around. So, if
litle Johnny came to school the next
morning, that wasn’t his mother’s
fault that he acted out and nobody
was at the school to understand that
his next door neighbor was murdered.
“So if you don’t understand the climate
of the big gang fght, or she’s afraid of
sitng on her porch because of shots
fred, if you don’t understand that, if
you don’t live where I live, then shame
on you for saying parents aren’t doing
enough. Shame on you.
“When those things happen, I know
that our kids are not getng the
support to be able say: ‘That’s alright,
cry. I know you’re angry.’ But, we don’t
allow them to debrief afer a critcal
“A busload of kids was riding down the
street a couple years ago, stopped at
a stop sign. The kids watched one boy
run up to another boy and shoot him
in the head. Those kids didn’t have
crisis interventon.
“However, the next day afer the
murder, I seen several kids on the
block, so I walked up the street and
asked them, I said: ‘Why are y’all out?’
They said: ‘She sent me home because
I wasn’t ready for school today. I tried
to tell her my boy had died. And my
husband said: Somebody needs to go
and talk to them.”
“So, if you’re not willing to understand
that these parents and these kids are
carrying the weight that other people
and other neighborhoods don’t even
have to carry, then you’re really
misplacing the blame.
“…I don’t agree with parents needs to
do more. The economic status has to
be looked at; the lack of investment in
these kids has to be looked at before
you can blame that. Parents do as
much as they can. But if three of your
homies were just murdered and I got
a knife in my pocket, my mother can’t
tell me much of nothing.
“Ok, if they’re saying come to school
and whip your kids because they’re
bad, are you gonna call the police on
us afer? Are you gonna call CPS (Child
Protectve Services) afer?”
8 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
New FCC Chair Continues Prison Phone Battle
By Stacy M. Brown
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Mignon Clyburn, a veteran
policymaker from the Public Service Commission of
South Carolina, has been appointed actng chair of
the Federal Communicatons Commission, the frst
woman to ever hold the post.
Since joining the Federal Communicatons
Commission (FCC) in 2009, Clyburn remains a leader
in the fght to reduce telephone rates for prison
inmates throughout the country and, in her frst
interview since being appointed by President Barack
Obama to her new post, she vows to contnue that
“Tens of thousands of consumers have
writen, emailed, and telephoned the Federal
Communicatons Commission, pleading for relief
on interstate long distance rates from correctonal
facilites and I intend to keep pushing this issue,” said
Clyburn, 51.
Clyburn said that she could not discuss details
regarding her recent appointment, which was
announced on May 1.
However, the second-term FCC commissioner is
mifed that rates make it cheaper to place a cellular
telephone call from as far away as Singapore than
it is for an inmate to make an interstate collect call
from prisons in the United States.
According to data from various telephone companies,
including Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, the average
cost of a call to Singapore is 12 cents per minute,
while a call from prison includes a $3.95 connecton
fee regardless of the length of the conversaton.
“One fve-minute call from prison could be as high
as $17 with the connecton fee and the per minute
rate can be as high as 89 cents,” Clyburn said. “That
framework can be as high as your regular monthly
phone bill. We’re talking a signifcant amount of
money for those who are least likely to be able
to aford that type of engagement. All of this has
motvated me to keep this fght going,” she said.
Clyburn, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
Banking, Finance and Economics from the University
of South Carolina, served as chair of South Carolina’s
Public Service Commission from 2002 to 2004.
While Clyburn has made her mark in the public
sector, she remains proud of her background in
media – that’s where she learned to speak truth to
“It was on an African-American newspaper, the
Coastal Times, in South Carolina,” she said. Clyburn
co-owned and operated the newspaper with her
father, Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the former
House majority whip and the current Assistant
Democratc Leader.
Clyburn said she will contnue to pressure regulators
to fnd more afordable solutons and rates for
inmates and their families.
Two private companies own the service that operate
all prison phone calls in the country, Global Tel*Link
Corp. of Mobile, Ala., and Securus Technologies, Inc.
of Dallas, Texas. A spokeswoman at Global Tel*Link
and a secretary at Securus each declined comment.
Ofcials from both companies have previously said
during a conference in New York last year that the
higher rates are due to the security features their
technology provides, such as monitoring phone calls
and blocking numbers.
“But, technology is readily available and not
something that should translate to $15 for a
15-minute phone call,” said Steven Renderos,
natonal organizer for the Center for Media Justce
in Oakland, Calif.
Rates for the calls widely vary from state-to-state, but
the commissions received by the phone companies
and prisons are high, Renderos said.
“For example, in Alabama the commission rate is
61.5 percent, and this translates to families having to
pay 89 cents a minute on top of the $3.95 connecton
fee every tme a family member receives a call,” said
“Eight states, California, South Carolina, Nebraska,
New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, and
Missouri, have banned these commissions and in
those states, you see some of the lowest rates for
phone calls,” he said.
The District of Columbia prohibits any surcharge,
commission, or other fnancial impositon on
prisoners’ phone calls beyond legally established
phone rates, which are limited to the maximum
rate determined by the District’s Public Service
Commission, agency ofcials said.
Clyburn, who in 2001 began work to reduce the
rates and recruited Jesse Jackson’s Operaton Push
to assist, said the telephone is a crucial instrument
for the incarcerated, and those who care about
them, because telephone usage is ofen the only
communicatons opton available.
“Maintaining contact with family and friends during
incarceraton not only helps the inmate, but it is
benefcial to our society as a whole because there
are well over two million children with at least
one parent behind bars and regardless of their
circumstances, both children and parents gain from
regular contact with one another,” said Clyburn.
A major hurdle in the batle to reduce the call rates
is the “Almighty dollar,” ofcials at the Congressional
Black Caucus (CBC) said. Last week, representatves
from the CBC also signed on to help Clyburn fght the
exorbitant costs of prison calls.
The phone market in state prison systems is worth
more than $362 million annually. Payments to
governments in return for exclusive phone contracts
account for an estmated 42 percent natonwide, or
$152 million per year, according to a 2011 report
published by Prison Legal News.
Also, while telephone companies sometmes provide
reduced rates for evening and nightme calls, many
prisoners don’t have the luxury of scheduling phone
calls during those tme periods.
When Louisiana issued a Request for Proposal (RFP)
for prison phone services in 2001, it specifed that the
maximum points should be awarded to the bidder
who bids the highest percentage of compensaton. It
also stated a desire that the bidder’s compensaton
percentages be “as high as possible,” the study
When the Alaska Department of Correctons issued
an RFP in 2007, bidders were rated on a point system
with 60 percent of the evaluaton points assigned to
Some of America’s prisons are privately owned and
publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange
(NYSE), meaning that they are for-proft businesses
and pay dividends to shareholders. Cornell
Companies Inc. (whose NYSE symbol is CRN),
Correctons Corp. of America (CXW) and Geo Group
Inc. (GEO), are the three companies that own prisons
in the U.S.
Cornell, which operates in 15 states and the District
of Columbia, is currently trading at $29.45 a share.
Stock for Correctons Corp., the largest owner of
partnership correcton and detenton facilites and
one of the largest prison operators in the United
States, is trading at $37.07. Located in Boca Raton,
Fla., the Geo Group is trading at $37.92 a share and
the company is expected to release its frst quarter
fnancials on May 9.
“I’m optmistc on a number of fronts,” Clyburn said.
“Our ofce has constantly ensured that this process
of reducing the rates is one that is dynamic and
moving forward,” she said.
“The more people who are aware of what’s going
on, the beter because there isn’t anyone, myself
included, who hasn’t had this type of engagement.
We all know or are related to someone who has
been or is currently incarcerated and a lot of people
stll don’t realize how signifcant of an economic
impact this has on poor families.”
Mignon Clyburn Says Rates Are Unfair To
Inmates and Families
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the
Washington Informer
9 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
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10 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not
necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of MRMG or CNY Vision
Mario Hunt
is a 35-year
old teacher’s
aide who may
have done the
unthinkable to
a young man
at his school.
Hunt is being
accused criminal
s-xual assault,
a g g r a v a t e d
criminal s-xual
abuse, and transmission of HIV.
According to court documents, the
teacher commited the crimes against
a 17-year old boy on the school’s track
team between between January 1,
2011 and June 21, 2011.
The student afected has been
identfed as a senior at Cahokia Senior
High School, which is where Hunt
teaches and works with the track
In court documents, it is revealed that
Hunt is HIV positve and knew he had
the virus when he slept with the minor.
Ofcials don’t know if the student was
infected or not. School ofcials found
out what was going on afer a mother
complained to the superintendent.
She says that the coach was sending
inappropriate messages to her son on
“I’m shocked by that,” said Cahokia,
Illinois Superintendent Art Ryan. “I’m,
you know, sad to hear that that’s a
possibility. Again, I have no frsthand
knowledge of any of this stuf. Just
what you have shared with me. I’ve
not seen any reports about the charges
being fled or anything of that nature.
You know, again, with HIPA laws and
so on, you know, people who are not
compelled to share any situatons they
might have with their employers.”
Hunt has been jailed on $300,000 bond
and school ofcials say that police are
conductng individual interviews with
all the athletes on the track team.
I am not sure if Mr. Hunt is guilty of
this crime or not, but this incident
brings several things to mind. First, it
is a reminder that the abuse of minors
is rampant in our society and in the
African American community. There
are thousands of young women who’ve
been impregnated by older men, and a
slew of gay black males who had their
frst experience (and frst infecton)
from an older man. This necessitates
the importance of us taking this kind of
abuse seriously and opening the doors
of communicaton for our children to
report these incidents before it’s too
The second thing that comes to mind
with this incident is the increase in the
number of single parent households in
the black community as a result of the
mass incarceraton epidemic over the
last 40 years. This has led to a mental
health crisis in the black community,
with a large number of black men
who’ve been exposed to a physically
and mentally unhealthy environment
while incarcerated. In many cases,
single mothers are not always able to
know when men have been harming
their children, leading to devastatng
consequences. Of course, this man
(to my knowledge) has never been
incarcerated, and the boy’s mother
wasn’t datng him, but there is a
degree of trust that single mothers
put in male role models, coaches, and
The point in all of this is that there are
a long list of reasons for single mothers
to be thoughtul about who their
children interact with both inside and
outside the home. During my years
as a track coach, I was stunned by the
number of single mothers who would
trust me with their children without
even knowing me. The reality is that
you just can’t do that.
My father was once the commander
of the Crimes Against Children unit in
my home city. The stories he would
tell shocked me to to the core of my
soul. In a lot of cases, the mother
had no idea that her child was being
assaulted while she was at work, and
also, the man she loved was the one
responsible. Incidents like this one
serve as very clear reminders that we
must protect our kids and clear our
community of various forms of abuse
that occur, largely due to systemic
racism trickling down to unchecked
mental illness. This case is just the tp
of the iceberg.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the
book, “Black American Money”.
Teacher’s Aide Accused of Spreading HIV to a Student
com) - Once again
the American
press, which
loves to loudly
and consistently
boast of being
the best and
freest press in
the whole wide
world, is allowing
war monger i ng
politcians and
pundits to do
their thing
without asking a most basic queston:
How many family members of the
trash-talking chicken hawks will
actually fght in the war they insist is
absolutely necessary for U.S. natonal
security? Please notce the words,
“Fight in combat.” Just their being in
the military is not sufcient. Much too
ofen the relatves of the warmongers
who go into the military are seldom
assigned to actual combat zones.
Every day one sees or hears “chicken
hawks” such as Senator Lindsay
Graham, Senator Ted Cruz, columnist
Charles Krauthammer, propagandists
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, Bill
Kristol and his neo-con desk warriors
the Fox and Friends crew, the editorial
page writers of the Weekly Standard,
and their cohorts, rant and rave about
some kind of military involvement in
This is especially true of Senator
Graham. Yet the highly paid,
supposedly independent and truth-
seeking members of the natonal
print and broadcast press never ask
them how many of their children,
grandchildren, brothers and sisters,
nieces and nephews or frst cousins
will face the possibility of combat in
Syria or anywhere else. They are high
among the chief benefciaries of the
existng system and should be the frst
ones willing to fght for its contnuance.
All one has to do is read Faces of
the Fallen, published several tmes
annually in The Washington Post. Its
most recent listng was published May
3, 2013. The casualtes included many
military personnel from places such as
Claremore, Okla., Cabot, Ark., Tolar,
Tex. Liverpool, N.Y., Maysville, N.C.,
Houlton, Maine Sierra Vista, Ariz.,
Gillete, N.J., Gardiner, Ore., Greer,
S.C., Jordan, Minn., Sidney, Mont. and
New Carlisle, Ohio.
While these overwhelmingly small
town soldiers are being killed and
maimed in “Operaton Enduring
Freedom” in Afghanistan, family
members of the warmongers contnue
atending birthday partes, celebratng
holidays, vacatoning in the Caribbean,
graduatng from colleges and
universites, atending weddings and
jamming at pool partes with their
economically and socially elite peers.
Meanwhile, their warmongering
grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers
and cousins are insistng on U.S.
military involvement in Syria and
members of the press stll don’t ask
them the most basic queston: How
many of your immediate family will be
in combat if you are successful in your
quest for another war of choice? It’s
for sure that my godson, who was sent
to the Iraq combat zone 5 tmes wants
an answer to that queston.
The Alliance Between Warmongers And The Press
gary Morris, sr., Mba
Licensed Real Estate Broker/Owner
regina e. Morris
Offce Manager/Owner
g&r real estate 2007, llc
761 North Salina Street
Syracuse, New York 13208
email: GaryRegina5511@msn.com
offce: 315.399.5183
fax: 315.399.5191
11 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not
necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of MRMG or CNY Vision
Let your voice
be heard
Tell us what you think at:
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - When
Beyonce Knowles sang the
Eta James song “At Last” at
President Barack Obama’s 2009
inauguraton, the song could
have had several meanings.
At last we have an African-
American President? At last,
the muscle of the Black vote
has been fexed? At last, there
is some hope for our country
to come together with the
mantra “Yes We Can”.
Watching the President and First Lady Michelle
Obama slow dance to the romantc standard
reminded us that African- American families have
not ofen been positvely depicted. This atractve
image of an intact Black family had come “At Last”.
Thus, the song was symbolic of what many folks, and
especially African-Americans, believed about the
Obama Presidency.
Some of us blindly believed that with an African-
American president opportunity had come “At Last”.
Some believed it so fervently that the least critcism
of President Obama, no mater how mild and how
lovingly conveyed, could cause you to be run out of
the race. An alumnus of Morehouse College, Rev.
Kevin Johnson, the selected baccalaureate speaker
at his alma mater, wrote an opinion piece that was
mildly critcal of President Obama. As a result, former
White House and new Morehouse President John S.
Wilson, Jr. changed the format of baccalaureate to a
panel, not one speaker, as is customary.
The purpose of baccalaureate is to have one speaker
to focus on the spiritual dimensions of graduaton.
There is no way that Rev. Johnson would deliver a
politcal speech. Stll, he was essentally disinvited
from the baccalaureate because of his views.
President Obama is the President of the United
States of America, not the President of Black
America. Yet, it seems that African-Americans
have been kicked to the curb in terms of focus and
atenton. Other groups – the LGBT community, the
Latno community – have been mentoned explicitly.
However, on African-American issues, our President
has been silent.
Now, some African-American people are crooning
“At Last”. Charlote Mayor Anthony Foxx has been
nominated to serve as Secretary of Transportaton. If
confrmed, Mayor Foxx, an outstanding an eminently
qualifed candidate would join Atorney General Eric
Holder as the second African-American to serve in
the cabinet.
Similarly, the nominaton of Congressman Mel Wat
to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency is a step
forward. FHFA regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac and allows Congressman Wat the opportunity
to implement some of the Obama initatves about
homeowner recovery from the Great Recession. The
raging right has already come afer Congressman
Wat. The Daily Caller (a politcal blog) has reported
an unsubstantated claim by former Presidental
candidate Ralph Nader that the Congressman
disrespected him in a leter. Nader has never
produced the leter. Thus, the purpose of the claim
is to besmirch FHFA nominee Congressman Mel
If Wat is confrmed, this represents a step forward
for both President Obama and for African-American
people, and for the entre naton. The issue is, of
course, confrmaton. Will the White House be able
to garner the votes Wat needs to be confrmed?
What does the White House gain or lose if Wat is
not confrmed. The “At Last” segment of the African-
American community will credit the President for
making the nominaton, even if not confrmed.
The more critcal segment of the African-American
community will view the ways the White House
embraces this nominee, and queston commitment.
Ask UN Ambassador Susan Rice what it feels like
to be dropped, when Senate confrmaton seemed
During President Obama’s frst term, his inatenton
to the African-American community was
understandable, though not acceptable. He was
busy straddling lines, generatng compromise, and
leaving a legacy of health care reform. African-
Americans were patent in the hope that “at last”
African-Americans would get recogniton in his
second term. Afer all, as a lame duck President,
he has much to gain, and litle to lose in rewarding
his most loyal consttuency. At last some of us have
our disappointment confrmed. Our President’s
inaugural speech mentoned every community
except the African-American community.
President Obama and his supporters should not
be thin-skinned. Philadelphia’s Rev. Kevin Johnson
should not be “disinvited” from the Morehouse
baccalaureate. Nor should a panel dilute his
message when the traditon is to have a sole speaker.
Johnson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse
College, who deserves to be treated with respect.
His column pointed out realites – President Clinton
appointed seven African-Americans to his cabinet,
President Bush, four, and President Obama, just
one. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who leads the
Congressional Black Caucus, in a leter to President
Obama, wrote, “The people you have chosen to
appoint in this new term have hardly been refectve
of this country’s diversity.”
Are the Foxx and Wat appointments a response
to critcism? Based on their appointments, should
Black folks sing “at last” or “not yet”?
At Last
Austerity station
12 www.cnyvision.com | may 16 - 22| 2013
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