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Hardy L. Brown

The San Bernardino City Council has Rung the Bell

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At a boxing match the announcer comes into the ring grabs the microphone and announces “in this corner weighing in at so many pounds and wearing black trunks is Joe Louis and in this corner wearing white trunks is Max Smelling weighing so many pounds.”

But in San Bernardino politics at the special budget hearing Mayor Pat Morris grabbed the microphone and called the meeting to order and introduced Charles McNeely, the City Manager, who explained the rules of the match for the evening.

He laid out the budget of the city with the shortfalls in revenue and the cuts required to bring the budget in line with the reality of the cash flow. At the end of the marathon session, which lasted until after eleven o’clock in the evening and all the body blows were thrown, Mayor Morris asked thecouncil members “to cast your votes please”.

At this moment it was in the judge/council’s hand to cast a vote to accept the recommendations of the city manager or reject his recommendations. Voting to accept the city manager’s recommendations were Rikke Van Johnson, Virginia Marquez, Fred Shorett, Tobin Brinker and Jason Desjardins with the win and Chas Kelley and Wendy McCammack with the loss. That is the way the vote goes most of the time.

While every level of our government agencies are going through a financial crisis at least the San Bernardino City Council is moving in the right direction to correct a long nagging mismanaged system. I want to commend the five council members who bit the bullet, Johnson, Marquez, Brinker, Shorett and Desjardins for doing the right thing. They accepted the recommendations put before them by McNeely. It calls for an $11 million dollar budget reduction that will begin in July 2011.

One of my main reasons for commending the majority is that the cuts included some sacred cow departments, police, fire and city attorney. Council members Kelly and McCammack did not even want to discuss these departments for cuts. Mind you when you add them together they represent over 72% of all the money from the city’s budget. Then when you look at how much the employees in those departments make and do not live in the city to pay taxes it will make your blood boil. For example: the police average yearly salary is $128,684.20 per officer and only 34 out of 305 call San Bernardino home. They take our hard earned money to other cities to employ other employees to provide services for their own family members.

The firemen are no better when it comes to being good citizens of San Bernardino. They make on average $160,183.57 per year with only 8 of 148, calling San Bernardino home. In the communities where these city workers live they have nice green parks, libraries, paved streets and enough employees working in planning to help developers with building permits.

According to the adopted budget of 2010-2011 information given to us by John Wilson, Senior Assistant City Attorney, their budget is nearly $4 million dollars, of which they employ two code enforcement officers and two detective inspectors whichare duplicate employees which are provided by other departments. Penman wants to have his own FBI employees instead of relying on the police or code enforcement departments for action. The Police Department budget is over $57 million dollars, that does not include Measure Z money. The Fire Department’s budget is over $32 million dollars. Just think about what we could do if these employees lived, bought homes, cars, food, paid sales taxes and sent their children to school in San Bernardino?

The reason McCammack and Kelley did not want these public sacred cows to be touched is because of donations to their political campaigns. Also added to this bunch is Jim Penman the City Attorney who is the Muppet Masters of all of them. It became crystal clear watching him at the budget hearing as he described his ability to get five votes onthe city council. Penman said he went to thecity manager and then the mayor after he hadtalked the strategy over with his mouth piece on the council Wendy McCammack. I said to myself Mr. Penman has lost his way by gathering votes instead of offering legal advice to the city. He lost his way when he told a Mexican family I will help you by giving you a one way ticket to Mexico. Or was it another time when he proposed that every council member should be voted on by every citizen in the city. He proposed that because Whites vote at a higher percentage than Blacks and Hispanics thus Whites would control city hall with this scheme. The NAACP and MALDF organizations saw this as a violation of the Voting Rights Act and called him on it.

Mr. Penman also gets the lion share of his political donations from, you guessed it, the police and firemen associations. I hope they do not help fund the opposition to Measure Con the ballot in November for some necessary charter changes to have the city attorney, treasurer and city clerk appointed instead of being elected. If they do then the next charter change will be to correct the way police and firemen are paid. The current city clerk and treasurer have signed on to the charter change recommended by four members of the city council. I might add the mayor had nothing to do with the original group that came up with the idea to push forthis charter change. I know because I was atthe meeting.

And Mr. Kelly sits at the dias and talks about developing jobs for citizens in the city while he sends millions out of the city every payday with police and firemen toother communities. He didn’t fight as hard for the departments where the Blacks and Hispanics are working to provide services to the public.

Yes I know that we are going through horrible financial times but I am glad to see the council stand up for what is right. Because the well funded well organized public safety unions are getting so much support I am offering to meet with other employees of the city to discuss ways in which they can help themselves politically here in the city. For one you can vote and the police and firemen cannot because they do not live here. So let us get together and discuss strategies so your voice can be heard down at city hall now that the BELL has been rung by the council.

Non Racist Republicans Playing a Racist Game with the Fourteenth Amendment

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When I was a child I thought as a child, I acted as a child, I played like a child but when I became a man, I put away those childish things and began acting like a man and a citizen of America. That means doing things for the betterment of all citizens as we go about our life, seeking liberty and happiness. My thoughts and opinion is targeted at the people who want to repeal the 14th amendment under the argument that they want to just go after so-called anchor babies born to illegal immigrants. This 14th amendment came about in July of 1868 after the civil war and the famous Dred Scott Decision of 1857 where the highest court said Blacks were not citizens and had no rights a White man had to honor or recognize. Section 1 of the amendment states “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” are protected by federal law which no individual state can take away.

When I was growing up as a boy in the forties and fifties under Jim Crow, there were a lot of western movies that Iwatched across the street from my home at the elementary school on Friday nights. We did not call them westerns, to us kids it was “cowboys and Indians”. That led us as kids to play the role of cowboys or Indians with us picking which one we wanted to play on any given day. Sometimes, I would pick the role of a cowboy like Jimmy Stewart in the movie Winchester 73 or other stars like Buster Crabbe, Tom Mix, Lash LaRue and the list would go on and on. Then there were other times I would be Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, Cochise and the list can go on and on of my Indian heroes on the movie screen. We would ride around the yard with wooden sticks between our legs serving as ponies, paper cap guns strapped to our sides and our homemade bows and arrows on our backs. To me it was a game I played when I was a kid but now that I am a man I have put away that childish notion and look at the impact these movies had on me as an unsuspecting youth.

There were other movies that had negative stereotypes of Blacks, Mexicans and Asians which all had one overall arching theme of culture domination in their presentations. Again, now that I am a man I have put aside those images and tried to deal with the reality of how things were and are so we can move forward to improve relationships with all people.

However, we have some people like radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, Senator Mitch McDonnell, Congressman John Boehner, Newt Gingrich and others in the Republican Party that are still playing those old stereotypical racist games of old. They are old enough to remember the Jim Crow laws of the south, the game of calling all Black men boy regardless of his age so as to demean him or someone you don’t have to respect.

More Commentary This Week:
Riverside Council Members Need To Revisit Why They Sought Office
Corey Jackson for Area D County School Board

I am glad I remembered those stories and that way of life because I can see they are trying to take us back to those days of yesteryear. I am not going to say any of them are racist but they are playing the racist game. They have not grown out of the role they played when they were children when the law was legal segregation and Blacks and other minority groups had no constitutional rights. I also want to tell the Indians now can live on or off the reservation. They have found a new industry -- gaming -- that assists some to live a better life here in their native land. The Jim Crow laws of segregation have been ruled unconstitutional even though the residue still has its effects on us as citizens. I want to point out to them that women have the right to vote with three serving on the U.S. Supreme Court and many serving in congress alongside many Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Indians.

Now we have Limbaugh still referring to President Barack Obama as a “boy child” and someone you don’t have to accept as president. He never referred to George Bush as a boy, even though Bush acted like one sometimes. We now have some Republicans calling for a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution under the disguise of saying children born in the USA to illegal immigrants (Mexicans) should not be given citizenship rights. It sounds good to many Americans and some Blacks, who think something like this must be done to address this problem. However, let me tell you, once they get the 14th amendment open they might as well take away every other persons right to fix their fancy. It will become like the game of ‘Operation’ that kids get for Christmas with the patient lying before you, remove the leg bone and kidney, no the arm and so it goes. To these non-racist Republicans playing a racist game with the 14th amendment, it is a political game to get votes and stay in their elected positions but to me it is a matter of life and death. I have lived under Jim Crow Sr. and I don’t care what Jim Crow Jr. calls it, it ain’t gonna to happen.

So none of you are racist nor segregationist but you are acting out the parts of those racist from the past. Grow up and put together a program that will bring us together in business, education and community. If you want to repeal the fourteenth amendment then add to it the forty acres and a mule, now a tractor, which was never given to our ancestors. Put in reparations for the years we worked for no pay. Pay the Black farmers for the government discriminating against them. Show us the real Republican Party of Lincoln and the writers of the Fourteenth Amendment, now that is a role you should be playing and not that of racist politics.

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.

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