by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond’

Peaceful rally turns ugly

A rally sparked by membership policies of the YMCA turned ugly after a construction worker displayed an offensive sign outside the lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem on May 27.

Mary Jamis, an openly gay woman and organizer of the rally, said about 20 people were demonstrating in front of the coliseum, the site of the YMCA board of directors meeting, to protest a policy by the nonprofit to require samesex couples to pay a higher membership rate than traditional couples.

Around noon, a contractor who was working across the street at the site of a Wilco-Hess gas station, drove his flatbed truck by the demonstrators. The contractor, identified as Buddy Callahan, displayed a sign that read, “All Queers Need is Jesus.” Callahan parked his truck in full view of the demonstrators.

Tara Orris, a rally participant, crossed the street to take a photo of Callahan’s truck so the group could contact Callahan’s employer and complain. Orris and Jamis both said they heard Callahan call an African-American employee from the adjacent Flow Motors dealership a nigger during the incident.

On May 28, Jamis said she had learned that Callahan had been fired.

Curt Hazelbaker, president and CeO of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, said in a formal statement that the nonprofit is currently reviewing its membership policy after the issue regarding same-sex couples came to light in a March 11 article published in the Winston-Salem Chronicle. More than 300 volunteers are participating in the review, and the YMCA’s board of directors will vote on whether or not to revise its membership policy during its July meeting, Hazelbaker said. — KTB

Randall admits campaign plagiarized Scott Brown

Bill Randall, who faces Bernie Reeves in the Republican runoff election for the party’s nomination to challenge Democrat Brad Miller for North Carolina’s 13 th Congressional District seat, admitted last week that his campaign pla giarized platform statements by scott Brown, the new senator from Massachusetts.

An investigation by YES! Weekly found that position statements on Randall’s campaign website were also copies verbatim from previously published statements by the Republican National Committee and Indiana congressman Dan Burton.

The plagiarized material has been removed from Randall’s website. The candidate said the offending passages were posted on his website by an unidentified former volunteer, that he had assumed an earlier set of self-authored position statements, and that he had never read the plagiarized statements on his own website.

Earlier, the Reeves campaign had noted that a 2004 “Charter of Principles” first released by Randall in 2004 and then reissued in 2009, uses strikingly similar language as The Sharon Statement, a manifesto written at the home of the late conservative columnist William F. Buckley Jr. in 1960. After being called out on the similarities, the Randall campaign appended a footnote to the “Charter of Principles” claiming that the 2004 version had credited the American Conservative Union, an organization that embraced The Sharon Statement at its founding in 1964.

Carter Wrenn, a campaign consultant for Reeves who also worked on campaigns for the late arch-conservative senator Jesse Helms, expressed scorn for Randall’s response in an interview with YES! Weekly.

“He posted a plagiarized statement Monday, was caught and tried to cover it up by putting a footnote on the statement and claiming that explained everything,” Wrenn said. “We pointed out the footnote wasn’t there for the last six months, and gave 10 more examples of plagiarism. He said he said he didn’t know anything about it, that a campaign aide had done it, and it wasn’t his fault. The information has been on his website for months and he didn’t know about it?” The Reeves campaign notched an additional advantage last week, when it received a joint endorsement from Dan Huffman and Frank Hurley, the two candidates eliminated in the May 4 primary. — JG