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Hardy L. Brown

Happy New Year 2011

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The year 2010 is coming to a close while 2011 is fast approaching. As is our custom of reflection and setting new goals I hope everyone did most of the things they wanted to do this past year. It is also my hope that the New Year will become another chance to reach your dreams and goals.

Whatever you do to celebrate in bringing in the New Year, I pray that you do it in a safe and sane way so you will be able to see your goals and dreams come true. If you must drink please do not drive. If you feel the need to shoot your gun, blow into a paper bag and burst it for the noise. If you have a house party keep the noise level down in respect of your neighbors.

2011 has a bleak outlook in our community as we will be facing double digit unemployment while our governments face staggering budget problems and corporations hold on to extra cash they got from the government. We must find ways to reduce the unemployment rate especially for African Americans.

The rich will become richer from the tax break extension of the Bush tax cuts for the next two years and the poor will grow poorer. This is the new law signed into law by President Obama. The way the congress worked out this law is the way union contracts are negotiated by company leaders. If you agree that unions would get a 10% raise then the negotiator would get no less. The president and staff plus most congressional members will benefit from this tax extension. If they cared about the federal budget deficit they would all donate the extra money to fix it or give it to non-profit organizations to help the poor?

Our educational system will remain stagnant in California while the Black students lag behind unless we in the Black community raise the issue of their suffering. We must tell our story to Jerry Brown the new governor and Tom Torlarkson, Superintendent of Public Instruction. We must seek their support and cooperation for policies that will address our children’s needs in the classroom and in the community. We cannot let them hide behind the issue of not having any money. Our children suffered when money was flowing like milk and honey.

We must also demand of these children’s parents to become engaged with their children’s education by making education a top priority in our home and community. We have to set the height of the educational bar while pointing the child in that direction. We must also learn that not every child learns the same way and at the same speed. We should not give up on one kid because too many are going to prison or being killed by gangs.

Our prison facilities are overcrowded and the current financial crisis usually sends more to prison. This is an issue we all have to address in one way or another. Maybe newly elected Attorney General Kamala Harris, will address some of these issues with better crime intervention and prevention policies during her administration.

I know she did not receive the endorsements or support from the law enforcement community but now that she is the “top cop” in the state maybe they will help her as our attorney general.

With the Republicans seeking to dismantle the new Health Care Insurance Law maybe some of the current provisions that some people do not like will be corrected for the betterment of all of us. I read and hear more doctors speaking out on how medical care cost is out of control and something must be done.

Yes, last year was some year and 2011 will be better if you try and do your part.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year celebration and may God bless you all year long.

Just Because You Don't Believe It, Does Not Make It Not True Merry Christmas

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We have many people in our society that do not believe in Christ or that He ever existed. We have many who believe in Him but do not believe or celebrate Christmas. We have many who celebrate Christmas but not Christ. In America and around the world we have a mixture of beliefs in and celebration of this human being that walked the earth named Jesus Christ.

Have you ever experienced something in your life that you know happened to you and when you tell others you begin with... “you are not going to believe this but. Then you begin to share your experience with them. It really makes no difference whether they believe you or not because you know it is the truth because it happened to you or you were an eye witness.

A story is told of a young virgin girl named Mary, who was informed by an angel that she was going to be visited by the Holy Spirit and she will give birth to a child and his name would be Jesus. “You have found favor from God to receive this high honor. All of this will happen to you while remaining a virgin.”

By the way Mary the young man, Joseph, you are dating will marry you and act as his earthly father. I know this is a little strange way for God to do things but believe me because it true, as the angel reassures Mary. “Then after you conceive I want you to visit your cousin Elizabeth for confirmation of the baby you will carry because she is also with child who will bare witness of Him. Then when it is time for your delivery date you will return home and give birth in a livestock stable with animals to keep you warm, while the baby is laying in the manger.”

I know this is hard to believe because Mary did not want to believe it and certainly for Joseph it was even harder to digest. You know how men react when it comes to the words “I am pregnant or I am with child” and you are not married. It brings on one of those “What you talking about” moments. But this was the plan. Isaiah even wrote about the birth many hundred years before it happened.

So here we are thousands of years later celebrating this glorious birth whether you believe it or not. As a believer(s) in His entire existence and everything concerning Him, Christmas is that much more Joyous to me. The sharing of gifts represents the gift God gave to us. The gathering of close family is represented of Joseph and Mary together with close friends: the wise men. Christmas with its glowing lights represent the light of Jesus in our world and the carols represent the angels singing Joy to the World the night Jesus was born.

Yes I know some people have taken the celebration up a notch or two with all the drinking, buying gifts they cannot afford, and arguing with family members over things that do not matter, but it is still Christmas. We still have believers who attend worship service on Christmas morning. We still have families that come together in his name on Christmas day. We still have strangers giving to strangers during this time of year while others do it year round in Jesus name.

Yes while you might not believe it is about Jesus, I am here to tell you it is true. Have A Merry Christmas from me and the Black Voice News Family.

Flowers Gone from Earth's Garden to the Lord's Table

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During the past two years and recent months, God has been pruning his flower garden at St. Paul AME Church. Lillian Taylor a retired employee at Kaiser Permanente, Chart Room Department Fontana; Alveria Taylor my political consultant on the Delman Heights community; Ruth Kelley a student of mine when I was teaching the adult Sunday School class and the most recent is Joshua (J.R.) Humphrey a singer. Bro. Humphrey was in the male choir with me over a decade ago. Now there are others that have been plucked from the St. Paul garden over the past few years but these were planted close to me so when they left, it was noticed plus we all had a special relationship that went beyond the church walls.

SIS. ALVERIA TAYLOR was connected with me in serving the community of San Bernardino in Delman Heights for over thirty years. She knew and understood that community better than anyone living there and would not hesitate to tell you. This is the forgotten community she would often say to me.

SIS. LILLIAN TAYLOR worked with me at Kaiser and from time to time she would give me advice on employee issues. She never sought the spotlight but would not hesitate to share her thoughts with me in confidence. She was the kind of person that made me look good when I acted on her advice.

SIS. RUTH KELLEY was a supporter and was always encouraging me to reach higher than I thought I could go. She would read my editorials and send words of encouragement to me through her daughter Betty Taylor. She was also a good singer and program organizer of special events.

BRO. JOSHUA HUMPHREY was the kind of man that would not let you quit. When we started the male choir and would only have a few members show up for practice, Josh would say let the show go on. We sung on the fourth Sunday and would meet at my house Sunday morning to practice for that morning’s service. Regina Manning of Riverside, was our musical director with other members such as Rev. Art Forbes and his three sons, Rev. John Woods and his sons, Rev. Alex Powell and others. But we would come together and JR would always take the lead if need be. Bro. Humphrey was also the guy that kept the group laughing with his humor.

Not a member of the St. Paul family but a friend of every pastor that served in the pulpit was Bob Holcomb, former Mayor of San Bernardino. We could count on him to visit, add to the collection plate and provide city services as needed or requested. When Rev. Jacks was president of the ministerial alliance, Holcomb would lead other elected officials to give at all special services if they wanted to speak. When Holcomb took office he took action and removed shotguns from the city fire trucks put there by the previous mayor. When the community refused to seat the Black History Queen on the Rose Bowl Float in Pasadena, it was Holcomb that helped to get Gannett News to pressure the Sun Newspaper editor to soften their position. The queen did get to ride on the float with a lot of help from the community and Black Voice News. Holcomb was a very progressive and controversial man, so when Jesse Jackson ran for president in the eighties it was Mayor Bob Holcomb who gave Jackson his endorsement at New Hope Baptist Church. Many people told Holcomb this would cost him his own election but he was convinced Jackson was the best candidate at the time. When I ran for office, Holcomb was right there as a supporter.

Like I said earlier, there are others that have been plucked from the garden in the Inland Empire and now grace the Lord’s Table but these people had a special place in my life.

Tribute To My Big Brother Floyd On His 75th Birthday

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On December 1st my big brother, Floyd Wesley Brown turned 75 and his wife Carolyn and four sons invited us all to celebrate with a party/tribute for him. Of course this was a time to travel down memory lane of one’s life. Of course being younger you can only reflect on that portion of which you know or what someone older has shared with you.

Things I remember about us is following him to the barn to feed the livestock and milk the cows. He taught me how to milk the cows and portion the feed for the mules. Of course you would have to wash the cows utter bag before milking so no dirt would fall into the milk. In the winter, he would build a small fire to warm our hands plus cows do not like cold hands on their utters.

During the brief time our father was in the logging business, Floyd was a truck driver hauling the cut up trees to the mill and he would take me with him sometimes. That was a lot of fun plus I learned a lot about the making of paper and other things out of wood used in our society. I also learned how you need to drive a truck on unpaved roads, thanks to my big brother.

My younger brother, Donnie, loves to tell the story of Floyd surprising the family by coming home one cold winter night when he was in the Army. Donnie and I were camping outside in the yard in our pup tent. It was around two in the morning when I heard the car pull up in the yard and there Floyd was standing in the car light wearing his uniform. It was a sight to see him and left an unforgettable imprint on us as younger sibling to this man in an Uncle Sam uniform.

It was fifty years ago that I came to California with him. He was stationed at George Air Force Base in Victorville and I stayed in Los Angeles. I remember traveling on highway 70 as it wound through the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee before we came to the fast Oklahoma Turnpike. All of that was a breeze when you think of the blinding evening sun on the heavily traveled Route 66 and those big trucks.

It was a long journey and now I can truly say we have come a long way from the tobacco fields of North Carolina, thanks to my big brother Floyd.

God has truly been good to you as he has blessed you with a great wife and fine children and grandchildren. You have been a great example of what a big brother is supposed to do for others. As you look at this milestone in the aging process and head for the century mark it is time for celebration.

Have a wonderful day and many more to come.

Josie Gonzales for Chair of SB County Board of Supervisors

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After any election whether public or private, the organization or governing body goes through a reorganization of leadership and committee assignments. Those with the responsibility to assist in the process take into account the mission, public image, a person’s knowledge of the organization and leadership skills to bring it all together at the specified moment in time. We have just concluded the midterm elections and in Washington, D.C., new party leaders have been selected. The state is in the process of going through the same process and some local governments are doing the same thing.

In San Bernardino County we have an exceptionally knowledgeable person in Josie Gonzales. She has the leadership skills to deliver the county mission of service to the people while improving the image of county government. Josie is a life-long resident of the county and understands the diversity of its people and businesses. She grew up in a family business and knows the ins and outs of creating jobs and meeting a payroll. Her years of serving on the Fontana City Council give her experience of what city officials have to contend with in trying to deliver service to their citizens. And surely her serving as the current vice chair of the board demonstrates her leadership abilities. She has served as County Supervisor longer than any of the current supervisors.

Josie has served a short time in this position, with some of the elected officials who serve beside her having personal agendas which Josie professionally ignored. Her integrity, which is one quality needed at this time, is undeniable.

Her service to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, age, stature is remarkable. She has consistently supported programs for seniors and our youth. It was just a few years ago that the First 5 program was under fire and the assignment was given to Josie. Programs got funded, mismanagement was corrected, new policies were put in place, and the community and agency were able to do what they do best: provide services to people. The same is true when it comes to representing us before other levels of government in the state and nation.

Yes Josie has served us well and I encourage the other four supervisors to elect Josie as their chair of the board.

Kamala Harris is Attorney General of California

It is now official that Kamala Harris has been elected the next Attorney General for the State of California, thus making her the first female and African American to hold this position. We have come a long way on this journey of electing people of color with outstanding qualifications. I knew she had won the day after the election when I saw the margin of victory for the other Democrats seeking statewide office. So I ran the story of her victory on the 4th of November. We ran another one this week because it is now official.

It was not that long ago when I witnessed some of my fellow Democratic citizens in San Bernardino tell the late Enola Holt, a stanch Democrat, they just could not vote for then gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley to become governor. Of course Holt fired back of her disappointment in them because she had voted for years in support of their candidates who did not have her best interest at heart.

Democrats and Republican have learned some things since then when it comes to voting for people to win elections. Race and gender is important but the percentage of those who cannot pull the level for either is growing smaller and smaller, while the number of good qualified people of color and women is increasing.

Kamala Harris fits the bill on two counts as a woman and as an African American. Congratulations to my friend Kamala Harris.

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BVN National News Wire