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Hardy L. Brown

Commending Dr. Judy White for Investigating the High Drop Out Rate In Moreno Valley

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It was reported on MSNBC today that “every 11 seconds a child drops out of school somewhere in the nation.”

With the drop-out rate at 24.1% and the graduation rate at 64.8% for the Moreno Valley Unified School District, Dr. Judy White, the new superintendent of schools, is going to tackle these issues at the board’s September meeting. This is a good thing for many reasons. For starters, during the academic year 2009-10, 677 will contribute to the area already double-digit unemployment rate. A high percentage of these youth will commit crimes and contribute to an overcrowded legal prison system. They are more likely to cause all kind of mayhem in the community because of idle time on their hands.

We know the only kind of employment they might happen to get are jobs that require low skill and minimum pay with no chance for upward mobility unless they return to school. This group usually enters parenthood earlier than those who finish high school and enter college, creating another barrier for success.

Another reason I was happy to read that Dr. White is meeting this problem head on is because of some of the development that is slated for the valley region. It has been in the news that soon and very soon March Life Care, one of the nation’s largest health care developments, will need thousands of employees. Located next to Moreno Valley, all of these health care positions will require a minimum of a high school diploma even to work in housekeeping.

I just read an article that AMRO Fabrication is holding a job fair for 100 jobs in the March area and those jobs as well are requiring training and education beyond high school. The Black Voice News is also assisting with job fairs for positions needed in construction for the various building projects that are taking place on the Riverside Community College campus’, one of those colleges is in Moreno Valley.

So what Dr. White is doing is trying to correct a future problem for many of our young people before they know they are in trouble. As a matter of fact the entire county school system should tackle this problem. The county drop-out rate is 16.7%with a hard number of 5,662 students not receiving a diploma in the 2009-10 school year. These will be the very young people standing in line for employment and complaining when they are not hired.

Let me suggest to the schools, if you have not done so already, reach out to area employers and ask them to help address this issue. They can tell you what they are looking for in an employee and the necessary job qualification for employment.

Cheryl Brown for Assembly 2012?

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My wife Cheryl is considering running for the new assembly district after being asked repeatedly by constituents if she would. The next question is usually, “If you run, what about Hardy? What would he think? Most of you know, if I could run I would, but the truth is Cheryl is better qualified than I would be for the assembly especially during these trying times for local government. Her education, training, service to the community and experience with local government are all much more extensive than mine.

Our Assembly District is in need of an “Educated and Trained Fighter” like Cheryl Brown. She is not a newcomer to the community but has been a resident for over 50 years, grew up in this community, graduated from San Bernardino High School, San Bernardino Valley College and Cal State University San Bernardino with a degree in Geography, Urban Planning.

This has led her to be employed as a planner with the county of San Bernardino and to serve as a Planning Commissioner with the city and county, eventually serving on the state of California’s Planning Commissioners Association. Cheryl knows what type of businesses need to come to the Inland Area and what type of incentives will attract them. She knows how to work in a collaborative way with elected officials in order to get things done.

With our district unemployment rate exceeding the state average of 12% we are in need of someone who “knows how to create jobs” not someone running because they need a job. For over 30 years Cheryl has created jobs as a small business owner and worked with developers to ensure their projects successful approval in order to bring jobs to our community.

Long before redevelopment became a statewide issue, Cheryl was elected by the public to the 6th Ward Northwest Redevelopment Project Area Committee and she not only understands, but appreciates the value of local citizens having input into business development in their area.

Cheryl understands the role of teachers and parents in the education of our young children. She was a teacher of physically and mentally challenged children at the School Of Hope as well as being a substitute teacher in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. She guided four children and three of her eight grand children through the public education system. To increase parental involvement, she served as chair of the district parent advisor council and trained parents on their community responsibilities and political accountability. She even had the parents withhold their support, in one particular situation, until the district would agree to their demand. That is one reason I can say unequivocally that she is an educated trained fighter.

When there were no preschool centers serving the low income population in our community, Cheryl joined with Donna Uhl of the YWCA and created a preschool at the old Kellogg Library on Baseline and Medical Center Drive. When the library on Medical Center Drive closed and was headed to becoming another unsightly building in our community, she approached the city to give her the building, which she then turned over to Rev. Elijah Singletary who now has his church located there. She is a fighter and sharer of good fortune.

When Graciano Gomez retired from the San Bernardino school board and wanted to start his own newspaper, he and his wife Trina called Cheryl for advice on what was involved in operating a weekly newspaper. Cheryl, who had been running her own weekly newspaper – The Black Voice News - for several years, met with them and shared all she knew about operating a weekly newspaper, including the satisfaction of being your own boss and advocating on behalf of the voiceless, thus was born the Inland Empire Hispanic News.

When the senior citizens of St. Paul AME Church were being ignored she created the Wednesday Senior Gleaners Club. When racial tension was in the air of the city she spearheaded the National Counsel of Negro Women (NCNW) section to work with the Inland Area Urban League and the YWCA to hold sensitivity sessions called “Let’s Work Together.” When he saw a need for Girl Scouts, she helped form troupes along with Estella Lopez in the Latino and African American communities.

Recently a situation came before the city council in San Bernardino and Cheryl advocated on behalf of all weekly publications even though they were not present nor did they ask her to do so. That is the kind of fighter and person she is; you do not have to be in the room for her to fight for you. She would the same for you in Sacramento as your assembly member.

Continuing to fight, Cheryl is currently the president of the local NAACP branch.

So why don’t you contact her and encourage her to run since right now there seems to be a desperate need for good government.

Welcome Robert Jenkins to the City Council

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We want to join with the family and friends of Robert Jenkins and welcome him to the city council representing the people of the second ward. We join him in his desire to bring jobs with business opportunities to the city and keeping public safety as a priority. We also wish him well in an attempt to bring civility and remove a personality-political driven atmosphere from the council meeting.

Again welcome Council Member Jenkins.


It’s “Just My Imagination Running Away With Me” on Penman and McCammack

Just My Imagination running away with me was a song made popular by The Temptations of Motown. It came into my mind while viewing the latest San Bernardino City Council Meeting, as Council Member Wendy McCammack, said I have to abstain from voting on this agenda item because this is a client of mine. My imagination went into overdrive because McCammack had been abstaining from voting a lot of agenda items because they are seeking contracts with the city.


I recall a matter that came before the council by he San Bernardino Unified School District and she had to abstain because they were a client of her company. Then the Imagination made a leap that McCammack is a very close friend of City Attorney Jim Penman whose wife, Judi Penman is a school board member and is also the Executive Director of the Camber of Commerce. Then my imagination went into rocket blast off by wondering how many of those clients that she cannot vote on, became her clients after she became a council member. How were they recruited by her or how were they directed to her and by whom? How did these clients get contracts with the city? What was the process and who else made bids on these city contracts? Like the Temptation said in their song it is just my imagination running away with me.

Have you let your imagination run away with you? Then I thought of the last two meetings where McCammack brought up the county grand jury report with the same points that you guessed it, Jim Penman expounded on for 15 minutes accusing the mayor and some council member of corruption, even thought the report was explaining another county agency governing body. The other meeting involved an agenda item of relocating the In and Out Burger Enterprise from 2nd to 5th Street because of the expansion of the 215 Freeway. Other council members wanted to know when was the ribbon cutting ceremony, how many employees would they have and the cost of this redevelopment project. The mayor explained this is what redevelopment is suppose to do, remove blight of two hotels that was in the business of renting rooms by the hour. Let your imagination take you to what happens at a one hour motel.

Then along came McCammack and said I don’t want to rain on your parade but I don’t think we, taxpayers, got a good deal. Our kids and grandkids will be paying for this all of their life, even though I am going to vote for it. Immediately up pop’s Penman hand as though there was a legal issue on what was being proposed: your honor, I think what you guys just did was a waste of taxpayers money by giving money to a hamburger joint, to paraphrase Penman statement. I thought to myself this is what he calls a joint, an establishment that will employee 75 to 100 local employees, pay taxes that will pay his salary, and he referrers t it as a hamburger joint. This was in my opinion, the city attorney’s concept of “legal advice” to the council. My imagination said to me this is a political statement with disparaging remarks against a legitimate thriving business in the city and is a poor representation from our city’s legal office. The mayor and council had another meeting (workshop) last Thursday evening to work on policies and procedures on how they will conduct their meetings and treat one another. One would think that it would involve only council members and the mayor, wrong; here you had Jim Penman sitting next to his favorite council member McCammack so they could exchange thoughts and allow Penman to operate as the eight councilmember. Now I don’t blame Penman for pushing his way into the meeting but I do blame the mayor and council members for allowing him to interject his personal thoughts into how they ought to run their council meeting. Once again, maybe it is my imagination running away with me on how I think the council members and mayor should conduct business.

Then I thought what if there is something to what my imagination is thinking. What if, McCammack and Penman do meet before the meetings and to plan what they are to say? What if, McCammack is being steered clients because of her position as a council member? What if she is helping those clients get contracts with the city and acting like she is innocent by not voting on the agenda item? What would an investigation reveal to us if that information was released to the public about her clients? How did she get them? When did she get them? How did they get city contracts? I don’t know; it is just my imagination running away with me.

My Position on the Debt Ceiling If I were President

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Everyone has an opinion on this issue of raising the debt ceiling because it sounds as though every citizen alive and unborn for a couple of generations might be affected by it.

My opinion is President Obama should issue an Executive Order and raise the ceiling on Sunday night and let congress try and over turn it if they can. I would say “as the president of this great nation I cannot afford to allow our debts to go unpaid and ruin our reputation around the world. I cannot take the chance of our military and their families fighting to protect us go unpaid. I cannot take the chance to have our seniors on whose shoulders we stand not have their checks paid. I cannot take the chance of having our working employee population lose another dime from their 401k because Congressman Eric Cantor and the Tea Party members are acting like ‘suicide bombers’.”

SEE ALSO: Blacks, Latinos Must Seek Solutions to Section 186, Employment in San Bernardino

“I issue this Executive Order even if it means I will only serve one term. I issue this Executive Order today to protect our credit rating and to prevent every citizen from having to pay higher interest rates when borrowing money. I issue this Executive Order to protect the most vulnerable of our society, the ones who have made the greatest sacrifice for our freedom. I issue this Executive Order in the spirit of the story told in Luke 21 of the woman who gave two coins as compared to the gifts of the wealthy.”

We have some wealthy people who are eager and willing to give more but the Tea Party people are against them as well.

However, if I were president I would issue the Executive Order and let congress take me to court. In the meantime the country would move on solving other problems like creating jobs for the millions out of work.

Blacks, Latinos Must Seek Solutions to Section 186, Employment in San Bernardino

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There is a growing concern from taxpayers around the nation, states, counties and cities that pay for government employees is out of line with the private sector salaries and something must be done to correct this imbalance. While I am an advocate for public labor unions to get as much as the market or employer can bear, I am not an advocate of automatic salary increases that are out of the control of elected officials to openly negotiate such as San Bernardino City Charter Section 186, which states:

“There is hereby established for the city of San Bernardino a basic standard for fixing salaries, classification and working conditions of the employees of the police and fire department of the city of San Bernardino, and the mayor and common council in exercising the responsibility over these departments vested in them by this charter shall hereafter be guided by and limited by these provisions:” of Classification, Basic Salary Schedule and Special Provisions.”

These are items normally found in “collective bargaining agreements” and open for negotiations by the mayor and council at the end of a contract. What has happened in San Bernardino is the voters have given away the right of their elected officials to control and effectively manage these departments when it comes to cost.

When the voters passed this charter change most of the public safety employees lived in the city and their neighbors wanted them to be adequately compensated for the position they held.

When the Police Officers Association was first organized they had benevolence and social issues for the citizens they swore to protect and serve with integrity as their focus. Contrast now with their main mission or focus is to protect Section 186 of the City Charter, according to their mission statement. It is not about the people but about their pay and retirement into upscale communities.

Just like they have made money, so should the community. We have enough good reasons, for another example; the Pew Research Center just released a report Tuesday that said “Wealth gaps rise to record highs between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.” The median net worth of households for Whites in 2005 was $134,992 compared to Hispanics at $18,359 and Blacks at $12,124. Since then there has been a drop for everyone with Whites falling to $113,149, a 16% drop, Hispanics $6,325 a 66% drop and Blacks $5,667 a 53% drop per household. The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer.

The only thing left for the voters to do is change the charter section 186, stop paying sales tax or shopping in neighboring communities for the things they need or want. I am reminded of the California Eagle Newspaper in Los Angeles, published by Charlotta Spears Bass, when she ran a weekly ad telling Blacks “Do not shop where you can’t work”. So my question to the Black and Latino community, why pay sales tax to a city that does not want you to work in the police or fire department and the majority of staff live in other communities. I am aware of what the city is trying to do in diversifying its public safety departments, but it has not been done and some in the department do not want it to happen. I am also aware that some people have a way of sabotaging the well intentions of good people and then say we tried. The city has known for years that Blacks and Latinos have not been welcome in these departments, yet the have been slow to respond. I am sure some will say now that part of the reason to not move fast will be the economy.

So the Latino and Black communities needs to keep and apply the pressure until the numbers change and people have security in their jobs. Let us take a look at the city manager position. He is African American and every chance Jim Penman, Wendy McCammack or Chas Kelly get they take a stab to demean, embarrass, and challenge his competence or authority. They are trying to get him to leave, I know because I’ve seen these tactics before.

There are a lot of things going on in the city and Blacks and Hispanics cannot lose sight of the things that will improve their pursuit of happiness and employment is one of them.

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