Friday, December 7, 2012

Replacing Sen. Jim DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) stunned the political world by announcing his intent to resign from the U.S. Senate in January to accept a job as president of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC.  His division to walk away from the Senate comes four years before his second term was to expire and, apparently, two years earlier than most political watchers expected.  DeMint had indicated that he did not plan to run for a third term leaving most observers expecting a 2014 early departure if he did not intend to complete the term.

South Carolina law dictates that the governor shall appoint a replacement.  That means the task falls to Gov. Nikki Haley.  She posted the following on her Facebook page about how she will approach making her choice:

Nothing about that statement should be surprising to anyone.  She's the governor, she's Republican and to think she would appoint someone who was not Republican or of like mind would be naive.  Here's what stands out: "I will appoint a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share."  First, if Jim DeMint wants to ensure someone who shares his philosophy is in the seat, he should stay.  I am not a fan of DeMint's politics but he was elected by a majority of South Carolina voters.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Election 2012 Debacle: The Plot Thickens

It seems the effort to get answers about what went wrong in Richland County on Election Day has turned into a civil war, of sorts, between some members of the Richland County legislative delegation.  For weeks now, Rep. Mia Garrick has been looking for answers and it seems her insistance on getting answers for her constituents, and others, is not sitting well well with the "old guard/good ole boys & gals club," as Garrick describes in her latest message.


Representative Howard’s comments in the Free Times today, paint the perfect picture of what’s wrong with government at every level.  The old guard is alive and well and has long since assimilated to the “protection of the status quo at all costs” mantra of the good ole boys & gals.  If you think about it, the similarities are striking.  They all:

1.     Get elected
2.     Stay way too long, and
3.     Forget about the people who sent them

In the case of Rep. Howard and so many others, 19 years is an awfully long time.  And that old guard/good ole boys & gals club is bipartisan, biracial and undoubtedly the strongest coalition ever to occupy both chambers of the State House.

In fact, most elected leaders who have overstayed their welcomes actually entered government “on fire” and eager to represent the people who sent them.  But somewhere along the way, that passion and zeal gradually yields to self-inflation, self-promotion and an undeniable sense of entitlement.    

But beware, because when their stronghold is threatened, they fight hard and play dirty.  Very few stand up to them and survive.  In fact, their “messengers” have already notified me that they’re aggressively looking for my replacement.

Whether through intimidation, threats or negative attacks like the one Rep. Howard hurled today, accusing me of “trashing" Director McBride "without evidence" and expressing disappointment that I would do that to another African American woman, they’ll stop at nothing to unleash their wrath on anyone who crosses them.   

And although it’s unfortunate that Rep. Howard and his old guard crew have chosen to focus on Director McBride, this isn’t about her (personally).  And it’s not about  race.  But it is about her qualifications and competence to responsibly and effectively do the job that she was hired to do.  

As a former state Director, I was responsible for my own actions and accountable for the actions of every manager and staffer that I supervised.  Why would I hold this Director (or any other) to a lesser standard?   

Now here we are a month later, still “finding” voting machines and uncounted ballots, after assurances, apologies and a “certified” election.  The Director has admitted that she and her staff broke the law by not deploying enough machines on Nov. 6.  Countless voters were disenfranchised. How much more "evidence" do we need?

To suggest that I "trashed" the Director by simply asking the questions that needed to be asked to  try to get to the facts during our "so-called" legislative fact-finding hearing, is a lie. And quite frankly, I find his comments and the spirit in which they were made, despicable. The reason my questions were directed to Ms. McBride is because she is the County Elections Director.  The fact that she also happens to be African-American is irrelevant.

Obviously, Rep. Howard is okay with the disenfranchisement of Richland County voters.  Perhaps he wouldn’t be so apathetic if he had taken the time to visit precincts like I did on that extremely cold, windy day as our constituents stood outside for hours just to cast their ballots, only to wonder now if they were even counted.

And since he insists upon playing the “race ”card, although race has no place in this equation, I’ll share something else with you that I’m amazed a former SC Legislative Black Caucus Chairman, current standing committee Chairman and active NAACP leader like Rep. Howard is obviously willing to overlook.  The majority of disenfranchised voters I encountered on November 6th were  also African American.

But maybe there’s a disclaimer somewhere, to which I’m obviously not privy, that makes exceptions for the disenfranchisement of African American voters if the one who’s responsible for their disenfranchisement also happens to be African American. 

Only Rep. Howard knows his reasons for publicly attacking and attempting to “trash” me.  Clearly, the fact that we’re both African American doesn’t afford me the same deference that I’ve been asked to give. 

But if I’m not mistaken, I was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2012 to represent all of the people of District 79 regardless of race, ethnicity or party affiliation.  I wasn’t elected to protect and defend the County Elections Director.  But then, neither was he.  Perhaps after almost 2 decades, he has simply forgotten.   

If only the old guard would stop taking political shots at me and put the focus back where it belongs…on the voters of Richland County and protecting the integrity of the electoral process, all of our constituents would be better served.  As I continue to hear from voters across the county, I’m encouraged to stay the course and keep fighting for what’s right.   And I will.

So with all due respect, Rep. Howard, you may wanna rethink your old guard tactics…you know, the ones that have been used to bully other elected officials into submission for years…well, they’re not working for you anymore.

It’s a new day in South Carolina!  And I’m proud to belong to a new generation of leaders who happen to be progressive, independent thinkers and doers.  I think Richland County and the state of South Carolina are ready for a change. 

Don’t you? 

To fully understand the depth of this situation, you really must read the Free Times article referenced in Rep. Garrick's message.  It is truly mind boggling that some members of the Richland County delegation appear reluctant to allow other members get real answers from those who should be providing them-- namely, Richland County Elections Director Lillian McBride and anyone else with knowledge of what went wrong.  Go figure.

Thank you, Rep. Garrick, for keeping your constituents updated.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Election 2012 Debacle: Still Looking for Answers in Richland County

State Rep. Mia Garrick (D-Dist. 79) finds herself completely dissatisfied following a lengthy hearing on why the Richland County aspect of the recent 2012 election was such a disaster.  Rep. Garrick released the following on Tuesday afternoon:

After yesterday’s “legislative fact-finding,” the public can now add a plethora of excuses to this real-life “reality TV” drama.  From the nameless subordinate who screwed everything up to the mysterious numbers in red that just magically appeared, we can blame this debacle on broken voting machine batteries and phantom PEBs…but alas, there we were 20 days and a grueling 3.5 hours later, and very few new facts, if any, were revealed.

Here’s what we knew before Monday’s meeting:

  • The Richland County Election Commission broke the law on Election day, by deploying an inadequate number of machines at most Richland County precincts.
  • No one, including the Director, can tell us why.
  • Many Richland County voters stood in line for 3-6 hours or more, braving cold, harsh conditions regardless of age, physical conditions or disabilities
  • Many Richland County voters were not able to cast their ballots because of the extensive waits and were effectively disenfranchised.
  • Although these Ivotronic machines have been in use across SC for 8 years now, only Richland County had the types of issues we faced on Nov. 6.  The other 45 counties executed their elections without significant incident.

Here’s what Monday’s 3.5 hour fact-finding hearing revealed:

  • The Richland County Election Commission broke the law on Election day, by deploying an inadequate number of machines at most Richland County precincts.
  • No one, including the Director, can tell us why.
  • Many Richland County voters stood in line for 3-6 hours or more, braving cold, harsh conditions regardless of age, physical conditions or disabilities.
  • Many Richland County voters were not able to cast their ballots because of the extensive waits and were effectively disenfranchised.
  • Although these Ivotronic machines have been in use across SC for 8 years now, only Richland County had the types of issues we faced on Nov. 6.  The other 45 counties executed their elections without significant incident.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Disney to buy Lucasfilm, Ltd for $4.05B

Star Wars creator George Lucas to sell his entertainment empire to Disney
led by Chairman/CEO Robert Iger. (Photo: The Walt Disney Company)

Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Music Lover's Delight!!!

If you love soul-stirring organ music, then you must support the "Killer B3" project! I received a message from my friend and college classmate, Murv Seymour, asking me to check out the trailer on Kickstarter.  (Kickstarter is a fantastic site that is helping creative people and entrepreneurs raise money to fund their projects.)  I took that look and was immediately in love with the project because I love music played on a Hammond organ. Whether it's in a church, a jazz club or on one of the remixes of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman," there's just something about a Hammond!  Take a moment and play the trailer.

Murv and I used to work on ambitious projects like this when we were in college at Southern University in Baton Rouge.  It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since Murv and I worked on creating a public affairs show called "Campus Perspectives" at Southern.  We both did our time in television news and are now working on establishing the next big things in our lives and careers.  I wholeheartedly support the "Killer B3" project and hope that you will, too!

Please visit the "Killer B3" Kickstarter page and contribute to the completion of the project.  Any donation, large or small, will be greatly appreciated and will help bring the wonderfully inspiring story of an often ignored music genre to the masses.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Shuckin’ Good Time Expected As Growing Home Southeast Plans Annual Oyster Roast Benefit


With the arrival of autumn comes the return of a South Carolina tradition:  Oyster roast season! Growing Home Southeast—a non-profit family service agency—will host its 3rd Annual Oyster Roast fundraiser on Friday, November 2, 2012 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the Carolina Haven near Williams Brice Stadium.

The event benefits Leaphart Place, built by Growing Home Southeast as a supportive housing complex for young adults who are aging out of foster care or other state-assisted living arrangements and are at risk for homelessness.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Media Coverage of "Famously Hot Jobs" Launch

WIS News 10
Reporter: Jennifer Emert - Columbia, South Carolina |

WLTX News 19
Reporter: Jennifer Bellamy

The City of Columbia Launches “Famously Hot Jobs”

Innovative Job Matching Platform Powered by TweetMyJobs to Boost Local Employment and Enhance Economic Development

Columbia, SC – Mayor Steve Benjamin, on Thursday, launched “Famously Hot Jobs,”  a new online jobs platform powered by TweetMyJobs that revolutionizes recruitment by incorporating mobile and social media.  “Famously Hot Jobs” will assist local job seekers in the Columbia metro area by offering an easy and user-friendly online tool to facilitate their search for employment.

Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin
announces the launch of "Famously
Hot Jobs" website on Thursday, Sept.
27, 2012. (Photo: Mike Woolfolk)
Mayor Benjamin unveiled “Famously Hot Jobs” at a press conference on Main Street, where a recent Facade Grant program leveraged $425,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to create over $6 million in private investment.  Mayor Benjamin was joined by representatives of several local businesses including Time Warner Cable, Palmetto Health, the University of South Carolina, AFLAC and Avantech, which all have joined “Famously Hot Jobs.”

“Famously Hot Jobs” provides job seekers with information on thousands of jobs in multiple industries at all levels of employment. Even more remarkable is that, thanks to the partnership between the City of Columbia and TweetMyJobs, residents and businesses alike can use “Famously Hot Jobs” for free which is welcome news to the roughly 31,000 unemployed and estimated 45,000 underemployed men and women living throughout Metro Columbia.

Monday, September 24, 2012

L.O.V.E.-- Let One Voice Emerge

A friend and colleague brought this video to my attention.  It's a great effort to encourage people to register to vote and participate in the upcoming elections.  "Let One Voice Emerge" is reminiscent of the USA for Africa "We Are The World" video in 1985 to help raise money for famine relief.

Check out the video and visit the L.O.V.E. website.  No matter what your political leanings are, the important message here is REGISTER TO VOTE and PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Statement by President/CEO Mike Woolfolk on the Death of Ted Holtzclaw

Ted Holtzclaw
Photo by: Marc Willis
I am deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing this morning of Ted Holtzclaw.  Ted was a dedicated broadcast news manager and strong supporter of the National Association of Black Journalists Multi-Media Short Course at North Carolina A&T State University for many years.

Ted was a fabulous mentor, not only to those interested in video journalism and other news operations support staff positions, but to anyone seeking his advice, training and help.  When I served as NABJ Vice President-Broadcast with oversight of the A&T Short Course, I greatly valued Ted's assistance and participation which continued through the most recent program held this past March.  He made a lasting impression on the careers of many young and veteran journalists, alike.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and pray that God will grant them strength during their time of bereavement and beyond.


Ted Holtzclaw was the News Operations Manager at WABC-TV in New York City.  Prior to joining WABC, Holtzclaw worked at WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durahm, North Carolina.  He died suddenly on Monday, August 13, 2012.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TWG Client Brandi Cummings receives South Carolina Legislative Honor

Brandi Cummings receives
resolution from SC Sen. John
COLUMBIA— State lawmakers welcomed former WIS-TV news anchor and reporter Brandi Cummings back to South Carolina on Tuesday, May 8 presenting her with joint resolution recognizing her work to keep Columbia area viewers well informed and her service to the local community.  Cummings—now at WTOC-TV in Savannah, Georgia—worked at WIS from 2007 until her departure in September 2011.

During her time in Columbia, Cummings served as anchor of WIS News 10 Saturday Morning and host of the community and public affairs program Awareness.  She also filed reports for WIS News 10 Sunrise and the station’s various evening newscasts.

In addition to her work as a broadcast journalist, Cummings fulfilled a lifelong dream to help young girls build strong self-esteem.  In 2010, she published her first book of poetry, Straight to the Heart: Life & Love and created the Loving Me series of seminars.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

GUEST COLUMN: The Trayvon Martin Case

By: Brian Green

Some of my friends and associates have asked me, why have I been so silent about the Trayvon Martin case?  The honest to goodness truth is that I am embarrassed.  I am embarrassed that I live in a society where a 17-year old black kid cannot walk to the store and buy his little brother candy.  I am embarrassed that an alleged killer is not charged or even arrested or held for questioning, and that evidence is not harvested but instead, he is sent home with a proverbial pat on his back for killing someone wearing a hoodie.

So yes, I've been pretty silent about this the whole time. There has been a lot of talk about the hoodie and that there is no such thing as clothes that can get you killed; a lot of talk about the rights of people to wear what they wish and even talk about cities that cite and charge young men a fine for wearing saggy pants (Albany, GA).

I have been silent because I have lots of friends of every color-- and I do not think this is an indictment on white people, it isn't-- but it is an indictment on racism and how it is alive and well in our country.

Friday, March 16, 2012

NABJ Honors CNN's Janet Rollé with Annual Media Professional Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2012) - The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announces the selection of Janet Rollé, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for CNN Worldwide, as its 2012 Pat Tobin Media Professional Award Recipient. The award recognizes a public relations, advertising, or marketing professional that has had a distinctive impact in the media realm, which has resulted in positive media coverage of the black community, thus improving the media landscape.

"NABJ is proud to honor Janet Rollé. She represents the very essence of this award; the behind the scenes force helping to create on-air successes," NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. said. "Rollé is one of our industry's brightest stars. We are delighted that we have the opportunity to recognize her contributions."

Rollé oversees the positioning and promotion of CNN's multiple networks and services, including CNN,, CNN International, HLN,, CNN Mobile and all other CNN services.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Willie Jolley: "Make 2012 your best year ever!"

I had the chance to attend an event featuring best-selling author and award-winning motivational speaker Willie Jolley on Monday night.  When a friend invited me to the event, I wasn't sure that I would get more than the experience of hearing a guy perform his routine to collect a check.  Oh, how wrong I was.

Willie Jolley speaks at Greater
Columbia Chamber of Commerce,
January 23, 2012.
Photo: The Woolfolk Group LLC
Speaking to a group at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Jolley shared some of his experiences in life that helped him achieve multi-national success out of an initial setback and offered sincere inspiration on how his audience can do the same to make 2012 their best year ever.

Throughout the presentation, sponsored by the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council, Jolley referenced what has become his trademark mantra-- "A setback is a setup for a comeback!"  Using his own setbacks as examples, Jolley outlined how those experiences helped him develop a strategy-- based on vision, decision, action and desire-- that continues to lead him to achieve his dreams and he emphasized that his VDAD strategy can help everyone do the same.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Race to be First: Social Media's Slippery News Slope

There are lessons we all can learn from the handling of information concerning the death of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.  Coach Paterno died on Sunday morning following a two-month battle with lung cancer.  Unfortunately, several news organizations prematurely reported Paterno's passing on Saturday night based, ultimately, on unconfirmed information first posted by a student media website on the Penn State campus.

Onward State claimed it had multiple sources who confirmed Coach Paterno's death and posted the news online around 8:45 pm Saturday.  CBS Sports gave the story viral life by posting a Paterno obituary on its website, seemingly based on information from the Onward State post.

Many organizations and individuals followed suit, tweeting and re-tweeting links to the CBS story on Twitter and posting on Facebook.  (I'm guilty of both.)  Here in Columbia, the mis-information found its way into coverage of the GOP primary as news anchors paused to announce the "breaking news" that Joe Paterno had died.  In all cases, ti would seem that everyone trusted (assumed) that CBS had vetted the information and that it was accurate.  We learned how wrong that we were when Paterno's sons took to Twitter to let everyone know the rumors of their father's death were premature.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tre’ Tailor announces “Relax, It's Ok 2b Single" Valentine's Day Gala

Media personality Tre’ Tailor and Relax, It’s Ok 2b Single are busy planning a weekend of events designed to give local singles reasons to come together over Valentine’s Day weekend.

The group will host its first Singles Gala on Saturday, February 11 from 7:00pm until midnight at the Brookland Baptist Banquet and Conference Center in West Columbia, South Carolina.  The event will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, a panel discussion and live music by The Reggie Sullivan Project.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Alex English joins Sacramento Kings coaching staff

Friday the 13th proved to be very lucky for Columbia native, former Gamecocks star and Basketball Hall of Fame member Alex English.  English is joining the coaching staff of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.

In announcing the hiring, recently appointed head coach Keith Smart described English as a great addition to the staff and someone who will be good for everyone on the team, especially the Kings' younger players.  "He was an elite player in this league for a long time and is a very good coach. When he talks, they'll listen," said Smart.  "We're trying to surround ourselves with the right people that fit our basketball team who have the ability to teach our guys and also have a firm hand to get them walking in the right direction as young men."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Farewell to a Family Friend

James B. Fritz
The Woolfolk Group was saddened to learn of the death of Mr. James B. "Jimmy" Fritz of Southfield, Michigan on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.  Mr. Fritz was a retired funeral director and long time friend of TWG President and CEO Mike Woolfolk's family.

Fritz was born in 1927 in Washington, Pennsylvania and his family moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was six months old.  Except for a tour of duty in the U.S. Army after World War II, Fritz worked in the funeral business founded by his father in 1937.

"Mr. Fritz was good friend to my father and I got to know him and his daughter, Christina, when Dad called upon the Fritz Funeral Home to handle my grandparents' final arrangements," said Woolfolk.  "I'll always remember Mr. Fritz for his kind, warm and caring demeanor as he helped us all deal with our grief.  Years later, he helped us with arrangements for my mother's father."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Protecting Homeownership

COLUMBIA, SC-- Author and financial empowerment coach Karen R. Jenkins is among several local experts promoting the upcoming Rally for Homeownership in Columbia, South Carolina.  The rally is scheduled for Thursday, January 12 at 12:30pm on the North Steps of the State Capitol.  The National Association of Home Builders, the Homebuilders Association of South Carolina and the Homebuilders Association of Greater Columbia are among several sponsors behind the rally.