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Hardy L. Brown

Riverside Council Members Need To Revisit Why They Sought Office

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According to an article in the Press Enterprise by Alicia Robinson the Riverside city council members enjoy a $39,405 year salary for doing a parttime job plus a free car and gas credit card to do “official business”. This free car cost the city $5,000 to $7,000 per year for purchase, insurance, and general upkeep. The pay out for monthly usage of the vehicles varies from member to member because of the definition of “official business” between each member. 6th Ward council member Nancy Hart sold her personal car because once she got the city car her personal car was not used.

Steve Adams drove his city car to Santa Barbara many times to shopping centers and stopped in Ojai and went shopping, not bad for “official business”.

According to the city charter section 403 the council members are entitled to compensation when doing “official duties” and “shall be reimbursed on order of the city council.” One of my questions would be is what constitutes “official duties or business”? Would “official business” mean that the council members would get council direction first to visit Santa Barbara and make a report back to the council or could the member wake up on a beautiful day and say to the family let’s drive up the coast to Santa Barbara and check out some shopping centers? While another council member wakes up and tells their family let’s travel down to Mexico and visit our sister city. Or yet another council member waking up and saying to his/her family or friends let’s go to Arizona for a conference? Is each council member doing it in the name of “official business” for the city but never reporting back to the city of their findings? What about the number of local trips within the city that are not related to city business such as personal shopping or grooming?

Also, according to the article this free car program was implemented when Brad Hudson became city manager. Brad Hudson is now under fire from some community groups that do not like his management style of communicating with the minority community.

They are demanding Hudson be fired and return integrity to city hall, implying that these perks and other things have happened without public discussion.

I want to commend Council members Mike Gardner and Chris MacArthur for not accepting this free car program because it is these kinds of perks to policymakers that clouds the thinking. It is other perks of giving council members untraceable license plates that have community members upset.

With the public demanding more transparency from their elected officials, it would behoove the council to evaluate their relationship with staff and the perks they enjoy. They should also revisit why they sought the office of policymaker for the city. Was it to get perks or lead the city with good policies to improve the quality of life for its citizens and be good neighbors to surrounding communities?

Corey Jackson for Area D County School Board

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The school board for the county of San Bernardino has five members elected by areas and the superintendent is elected countywide. They help provide leadership in education for the more than 420,000 students in the county but have direct responsibility for less than 4,000 of them. A large portion of those students are under our Juvenile Justice system or other programs run directed by the county. In some circles there is discussion to dismantle the county department of education or the board because the superintendent is elected. I think those discussions are premature and it stems from the lack of drum major leadership from those elected. There are many services the county provide and can provide that individual districts cannot provide because of cost and the one area is in being a voice for education.

When the county speaks with one voice on the many problems facing us with one voice on solutions then improvement of all students will become a reality.

That brings me to Corey Jackson who is seeking to represent area D on the county board of education. To me Corey brings the kind of drum major leadership with energy and visionary thinking that will be a partnership with a superintendent who has a plan for the community. Corey knows how to work with and not against people. Corey knows how to work with a team of diverse people and that is needed on the board to include all students and staff. Corey has experience from serving as a student board member while a student in the Rialto School District.

He didn’t stop there as a student at California State University San Bernardino he was involved with student government and appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to represent students on the Board at Cal State.

This young enthusiastic man will be a unifying force on the board with ideas to help the elected superintendent accomplish the goal of serving all students in the county. Vote Corey Jackson for area D San Bernardino County Board of Education.

Maxine Waters' Alleged Ethics Violation is a Charade

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The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics, OCE, by a vote of no less than four members on July 24, 2009 adopted the following report and ordered it to be transmitted to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the United States House of Representatives. The subject was Representative Maxine Waters. The nature of her alleged violation is as follows: “Maxine Waters made a request in September 2008 to then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that Treasury Department officials meet with representatives from the National Bankers Association.

A meeting was in fact granted shortly thereafter. However, at the meeting, and in the follow-up activity that occurred through Representative Waters’ Congressional office, the discussion centered on a single bank—One United.

Representative Waters’ husband had been a board member of One United from 2004 to 2008 and, at the time of the meeting was a stock holder of the bank. Representative Waters’ may have violated House Rule 23, clause (by permitting compensation to accrue to her beneficial interest) and House precedent regarding conflict of interest.”

According to an article in the New York Times, Leo Wise, chief council for the OCE is quoted as saying there is a “three level standard of proof” they have before his agency passes along a recommendation to the congressional committee to conduct a trial regarding any allegation of wrongdoing. Wise is also quoted in the same article that “facts don’t tarnish peoples’ reputation, facts are facts.”

In my reading, the allegations surrounding Congresswoman Waters, are now being reported as fact by the White controlled media.

Mr. Wise is smart enough to know that when a White American publicly says something negative about a Black person it become a fact even when it is a lie.

Almost 30% of White America believes President Obama is not an American and it is a lie. The woman who drowned her children and told the public a Black man took her car and her children was not questioned at first because of the unspoken belief that Black men are criminals. Even more recent is the famous case of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates who was arrested for trying to break into his own house. There are many more examples and national surveys to back up this statement regarding how Whites perceive Black Americans. Mr. Wise is a smart --- man out to make a name for himself as a “Black dragon slayer” to enhance his reputation at others expense. I use the term “Black Dragon Slayer” because the majority of representatives he is going after are African American. Mr. Wise uses the carefully worded language in his report -- “may have violated House Rule 23”. Mr. Wise you did the investigation, did your facts of “may have violate” pass the three level standards you spoke about in the article?

Well Mr. Wise and the unfair nationally owned media in America, we might not print everyday, and we may not own any television stations but the Black Media owners of California and America stand behind and with our friend Maxine Waters. On a personal note my family has known Maxine and her husband Sidney for over forty years long before she became an elected official; I or others who know her have never questioned her integrity.

She hasn’t fought to enhance her pocketbook but has put her political reputation on the line many times for those who could not speak for themselves like the National Bankers Association. This association reached out to Maxine for the meeting because they were being ignored as the Bush administration doled out $740 Billion of our taxpayer’s funds to banks that do not serve Black America. These financial institutions did not have to call anyone because the government called them to come and get the money even if they did not need it. Maxine was not a part of the discussion or any meetings with the Black Bankers that may have come about as a result of our nation’s financial bailout. It is a fact that the Black community and businesses are still lingering under the current depression and our banking institutions were given only $12 million dollars to cover all minority banks in America. That is a crying shame when you look at the facts of Blacks, Hispanics and Asian bankers in America. According to my research there are a combined total of 50 banks owned by these minority groups and they would not have received that $12 million if they had not called Maxine Waters. Maxine did what any elected official should do when presented with such a blatant problem of disparity in public policy. Are we not Americans too?

Mr. Wise, why don’t you investigate the ethics of how all of the government money finds its way into institutions where there is real corruption? To do that would lead to your silence in the media and around Washington.

I am writing this today to tell Maxine that do not give in to this charade of unethical justice by Mr. Wise and the biased media. We know who you are and whose you are. They did not put you there and they cannot take you away. Keep on telling our story of being underserved by the government we pay taxes to and continue to say it as loud as thunder.

Let us know what we can do to help you in this hour of need.

Be Careful in Giving the People what they Want, Vote No on Proposition 19

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In 1975 the O’Jays had a hit record titled “Give the people what they want” with one line that said “We’ve been all around the world and with one unanimous decision, give the people what they want.” It is a good song to sing and dance to but in reality one has to be careful in giving the people what they want. I am referring to Proposition 19 on the ballot for voters to legalize control and tax Cannabis better known to the public as marijuana. According to the latest polls 52% of the public is in acceptance of this issue. What happens when the people get what they want?

From my bible teaching days I am reminded of some things the people asked for beginning with Moses. The Israelites had just come out of bondage and some needed freedom from the wives they were with during their time in slavery. So they got together while Moses was getting the Ten Commandments from God and requested of Moses when he returned from the mountains that they wanted the right to divorce a wife so they could marry another woman. According to Matthew 19:8 Jesus said that was not the intent of what the Father had in mind but Moses made the concession because of the hardness of the people. In other words Moses gave the people what they wanted and today people go in and out of marriage like changing clothes. In America we have a 40% divorce rate which is the highest of any country. While people get divorced some have done it seven or eight times trying to get it right like Larry King or Elizabeth Taylor.

Another time was in keeping with the tradition of releasing a prisoner during a holy day. Again Matthew 27:15-21 gives us a lesson of giving the people what they want. Pilate had many prisoners he could have released but two prisoners by the name of Jesus and Barabbas had prominent reputations among the people. So Pilate asked the people what and who do you want? The people responded give us Barabbas; thus Jesus went to the cross. You have to be careful when you consider giving the people what they want.

Another item more closely related to Proposition 19 is when they argued for the legalization of alcohol and the money to be made would reduce taxes. What did that give us? It did bring it under the control of government and it produced some tax revenue but not enough to reduce people from paying taxes. It also brought us legalized alcoholics and a higher cost of medical care to treat all of the people who drink. It has produced more driving under the influence related deaths. It has not prevented people under 21 years of age from getting alcohol. It has produced more liquor stores in urban, Black, communities than grocery stores and even the grocery stores sell alcohol. Numbers have not been given on how many jobs, families, businesses and medical cost have come from the use of alcohol by individuals. You have to be careful when you consider giving the people what they want.

Now what does the pusher of the Control and Taxation of Marijuana (known as Proposition 19) have to offer us? (1) It will allow persons 21 and over to carry an ounce of marijuana around with them and not worry about being arrested.

(2) It will allow you to smoke it in your home or a licensed business establishment. (3) It will allow you to grow marijuana in your private residence in a 25 foot square area.

They say if it becomes law it might bring $1.4 billion dollars into a state that needs $21 billion to solve its current deficit problem. Plus the history of taxing alcohol, cigarettes and approving the Lottery have not solved our budget problems. Allowing people to carry an ounce around is going to allow it to be smoked in the street while walking through the neighborhood not to mention neighbors smoking it while having family backyard barbeques. This will also require local governments to license businesses, like they currently do liquor bars and taverns, so where will they set up shop? In poor and Black communities.

Just in case you do not know the pusher of this proposition is a white café owner by the name of Richard Lee in Oakland. He has an unaccredited colleges there and in Los Angeles where he is prepared to teach people how to grow and manufacture the drug. He stands to make billions while the Black community stays just consumers. We do not have the land to grow any. We will not be a part of the distributors. We will not be granted licenses to sell any. But just like the industry of alcohol we will consume, get addicted and wind up with health related illnesses from marijuana.

Contrary to what some people believe that the arrest rate of Blacks will go down if this becomes law, it will not. Why, because law enforcement will still concentrate on us for driving under the influence and other infractions of laws. The reason we are stopped more is because law enforcement patrols and harasses our community more.

Joshua 24: 15: as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I think we in the Black community must say as for our community we cannot support the passage of Proposition 19 for any reason. Therefore we urge the Black community to vote NO.

Governor's Veto of the Farm Worker Bill

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This statement is from Hardy Brown, Founder of California Black Media and Publisher of Black Voice News concerning the Governor's Veto of the Farm Worker Bill.

I understand Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to veto SB 1121 because I have been on both sides of the issue. What I don't understand is the penchant of people to compare everything and every situation to the Jim Crow experience. Senator Florez said the Governor, "decided to use his pen in the spirit of the politicians of the segregationist South, who pushed to discriminate against the least protected members of our society...it is a vestige of Jim Crow."

Being from North Carolina and a farm worker myself I can understand the farm worker's argument. I worked for 50 cents per hour in a 10 hour day in the tobacco field. There was no overtime. As a worker in tobacco some workers could make you go broke by the speed in which they harvested the tobacco from the field. To pay overtime in this type of labor might drive a farmer into the poor house.

I also worked a full day picking cotton for 4 cents a pound and on a good day you might get 100 pounds. The pay was different when I was picking corn and digging sweet potatoes. We were paid by the bushel. In these situations it was to both the workers and farmers advantage to be fast because the pay was contingent on productivity. The productive workers made more while the farmer got the crop in a timely fashion.

I was also on the farmer's side paying the workers for my father's sharecropping business. From the farmer's side of the pay issue you have to decide which pay method to use based on the crop being harvested. I don't know if the legislation takes all of those things into consideration. To compare this with the southern treatment of Blacks might be stretching the point but I remember vividly how I felt when I first came to California and went to pick grapes in Fontana. While it's not the type of work I wanted to do, it was in no way similar to the "slave labor" or "sharecropping" history of the state I was from.

I am concerned that the issue of the veto of overtime for farm workers is unfairly compared to America's history of racism, segregation, and Jim Crowism, especially as those things relate to Governor Schwarzenegger. Since he has been in office, he has included more diversity in his cabinet appointees than any governor who served before him, just ask CPUC Commissioner Tim Simon, who was appointed the first African American to serve as Appointments Secretary by Gov. Schwarzenegger. The Governor has also been a champion for workers: signing legislation to increase the minimum wage, forcing regulations that help improve farm worker's working conditions such as requiring breaks during the work day and setting aside an area for breaks, supporting a heat illness prevention campaign, and supporting the (EEEC) Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition to insure employers of agriculture workers are in compliance with labor laws.

I understand the need to do more. However with this state in its current fiscal crisis and with companies threatening to leave the state because the cost of doing business here is higher than most states in the union, I understand the Governor's action. And I reject the notion that race was a reason for that decision.

 

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