A+ R A-

Hardy L. Brown

Is Racial Discrimination Widespread in Jury Selection in California?

E-mail Print PDF

I am asking this question because of an article I read in the Arizona Informant Newspaper published by the Campbell family of Phoenix quoting Bryan Stevenson from the “Equal Justice Initiative” on a study they completed stating that race was still a consideration in jury selection in several southern states where the study was done. He cited the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which involved equal protection under the law that Republicans initiated and passed. In that same year, the US vs. Cruishank case was brought before the Supreme Court where hundreds of Blacks were massacred by Whites. The court ruled the civil rights laws were unconstitutional because Blacks had no rights and threw out the case, thus none of the Whites involved served any time in jail. In that case it was an all White jury nine White male Supreme Court Justices, who decided the outcome of the trial. It was not until 1964 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act that we as Blacks got legal equal protection under the law. The same law that Rand Paul of Kentucky says he would like to take away again if elected to the United States Senate, in 2010.

Now we have the case of Oscar Grant, the young Black man shot in the back while lying on his stomach in hand cuffs by a White police officer in Oakland. They requested the case against the officer be moved to Los Angeles because they do not believe the White officer would get a fair shake in Oakland which is in Alameda County. There are 187,802 or 12.9% Blacks in the county and 108,121 or 29.8% in the city of Oakland. In Los Angeles County we have 867,971 or 8.8% Blacks with 370,718 or 9.9% residing in LA City. When you combine the two counties together that is over 1 million Black people. This case is the first of its kind in California where a police officer is being charged with murder. The officer said he was reaching for his tazer or stun gun but accidentally pulled his revolver and shot Oscar. The attorneys have made their selection of people to sit on the jury with the judge’s approval and not one is Black or Latino. I refuse to believe they could not find one Black out of a million to sit on the jury.

The trial of this case has just begun so no one knows what the verdict will be but the handwriting is on the wall that he will be found not guilty.

The other reason for the question is my wife received a call Friday from a local law school graduate regarding a bad experience he was having in the Riverside court. This is typical treatment for Blacks in Riverside’s court system. One court building was moved from a community with a high concentration of Blacks and Hispanics into a middle class White community even though the people using the court were Black and Hispanic. Several years ago we did a few stories on court cases where Blacks were purposely excluded from performing their civic duty. I have heard of similar complaints in San Bernardino County.

There are some interesting reasons to deny Blacks from jury selection the study found. Things like “low intelligence”, “wears eye glasses”, “walked in a certain way”, “dyed their hair”, and countless other reasons. They also found that some district attorney’s offices explicitly train prosecutors to exclude racial minorities from jury service and how to mask racial bias to avoid a finding of discrimination.

I am reminded through my former work in Affirmation Action that even though the rule, policy or procedure has the appearance of a neutral application but always has a negative outcome it is still discrimination in most instances.

We have a new opportunity in Riverside to remove any practices of this kind with the election of a new District Attorney. Judge Paul Zellerbach will be assuming his new duties soon and we should meet with him to assure that none of these practices are in the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

We want a district attorney who will tell any law enforcement officer “do your job and bring us the evidence to support your case.” We want a district attorney that will tell his staff “do your home work on every case because we do not want to convict anyone by using a racially biased jury.” We want a district attorney that will represent the law and all citizens of the county regardless of race, gender, religion, status or political affiliation when it comes to jury selection.

Training for Any Political Office Seekers or Workers

E-mail Print PDF

There is no better time for persons interested in seeking office or helping people to get elected to attend training sessions offered by the San Bernardino Democratic Party and Citizens of the Inland Empire. I have had some good people seeking office come by my office wanting advice on what they should do to get their campaigns off the ground. Some have had no idea on what to do while others know a little bit but have no idea on raising money, getting to the media, how to frame their issues, how to organize a staff and most of all waiting till the last minute to seek advice.

The San Bernardino Democratic Party contact information is Carol Robb at (909) 889-9255 or cell (909) 835-7278. The session will be held at 136 Carousel Mall in Downtown San Bernardino on June 20th from 12 noon to 3pm.

The Democracy for America session hosted by Corey Jackson of Citizens of the Inland Empire will be held at Cal State University of San Bernardino. The sessions will be conducted on July 10th and 11th. Corey’s contact information is (909) 645-8534. To view a video on training, visit www.democracyforamerica.com/training.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in local politics as a candidate or working in someone’s campaign sign up for these sessions. This can make your input into candidates more valuable and gain respect from the people you are trying to help. Take it from me when people believe you know what you are talking about they listen. A lot of concerned people go to candidates and offer ideas only to become frustrated because no one listens to them. Once you have an idea of how campaigns are organized and run you become aware of what the candidate is trying to do and what it takes to get elected.

For example Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have spent almost $100 million during the primary campaign trying to get the Republican voters to vote for them. Most or all of the money went to television, mailers to Republicans, renting space for events, and high priced consultants. The Democrats have not spent much because many had few challengers during the primary but that changed after Tuesday.

We have some people in the Black media with a mostly Democratic readership wondering why they did not advertise with us. It is clear to me as a former office holder and seeker of public office why we have not reaped any of their spending during the primary, however that will be different during the general election in November. Why? Because the Republicans will have to reach our readers to get their message out and the Democrats will want to hold on to their voters.

If the Black voters think or feel that the Democrats are taking them for granted, they will bolt to the other candidates especially if the Republican candidates reach out to them in a big way. Tom Bradley lost his shot at the governorship when his advisors told him that Blacks are going to vote for him so he didn’t have to run a campaign in their community. By Bradley heeding this advice, the Black voters did not turn out in big numbers, which Bradley needed to offset the number of Democratic voters not ready for a Black Governor of California.

The San Bernardino Teachers Association did not endorse my first term for school board because they had listened to so called experts before talking with me. But they did have the late Royce Bell, political committee chairman meet with me at Denny’s on South “E” Street during the campaign to ask me why I was running. I shared with him why and how I was going to do it with the finances to make it happen. He went back to the committee and told them I knew what I was doing and that they should give me some money even though they had endorsed someone else. They did not only give me some money during the election but gave me a birthday party after the election to help pay off campaign loan obligations.

By you attending these workshops you become better informed on how to seek office and how to help lead your community to develop better office holders. It will not require that much of your time for the benefits you will gain. If you are a member of your church’s social action committee or NAACP political action committee or any social action group, it would be beneficial to have someone attend. If you are thinking about running for school board, city council, water board or to lead your organization this is your opportunity to get information on how to do it.

June 8th is Election Day Next Tuesday

E-mail Print PDF

We should be excited about election day coming up next Tuesday because we have the opportunity to participate in our democracy. We can vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on issues for or against candidates seeking office. I remember listening to my parents with their brothers and sisters discussing the people they were going to vote for and the reasons why and now I am doing the same thing, only I don’t have to pay poll tax or take a test. We have overcome so much in our democracy to get the right to vote so please do not let the opportunity escape you this Tuesday.

I want to thank the many readers who have commented to my wife that they look forward to reading my election voters guide during each election. I also want you to know we cherish the trust you have placed in us so we work even harder to reach out to candidates who share our values in our pursuit of happiness.

There is a chance history could be made in the 63rd Assembly District if Acquanetta Warren-Harrison of Fontana, wins the Republican Party primary, where she will run against Rene Wickman of Redlands, a Democrat. It would pit two African American females against one another in this heavy Republican registered district. Something unthought of a few years ago here in the Inland Empire. The Republicans could help overcome the racial image of this district if they elect Acquanetta as their nominee.

I have added a few new endorsements to my previous list: my friend Jerome Horton to the Board of Equalization in Los Angeles, Janice Rutherford for Supervisor in San Bernardino and Barbara Chavez and Fran Givens to the Democratic Central Committee.

My recommendation for statewide office and local office are as follows:

STATE OFFICE:

Kamala Harris for Attorney General
Gloria Romero for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Gloria Negrete McLeod for Senator
Wilmer Amina Carter for 62nd Assembly District

RIVERSIDE COUNTY:

Marion Ashley for County Supervisor
John J. Benoit for County Supervisor
John Tavaglione for County Supervisor
Dale Kinnear for Superintendent of School
Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney
Stan Sniff for Sheriff

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY:

Janice Rutherford for 2nd District Supervisor
Gary Thomas for Superintendent of School
Mike Ramos for District Attorney
Rod Hoops for Sheriff

62nd District Democratic Central Committee

Barbara Chavez
Fran Givens

Proposition 13 – YES
Proposition 14 – NO
Proposition 15 – NO
Proposition 16 – YES
Proposition 17 – NO

Riverside City Council Listen to the People

There is a cloud of suspicion still hanging over Riverside City Hall’s elected officials and the Riverside Police Department after allegations of Chief Russ Leach driving under the influence last February. The handling of the incident appears to the public that the chief received special treatment by his staff and the policymakers in the city. The chief was stopped at 3 am in the morning smelling of alcohol, no lights turned on, the front end of the car was smashed in, and his front tire was shredded from driving it several miles on a flat. The officers decided not to give him a sobriety test nor arrest him but elected to take him home. The officer who made the decision to take him home is now in charge of the police department.

Now the mayor and council are facing questions from citizens on the Eastside of town concerning the selection of a new chief. I agree with the Eastside Citizen Think Tank Committee that a halt should be put on the selection of a new chief until the clouds have become clear on what happened during the Chief Leach incident.

When these citizens led by Mary Figueroa reviewed the history of our police department, it conjures up memories of how they handled other incident investigation.

Transparency and inclusiveness are the political words of the current generation and the mayor and council should take heed to them. The Black and Latino communities perspective on police matters are brought on by years of personal experience of favoritism and promises of secret investigations that are never reported out to the public by well meaning elected officials.

So we urge the council to report out to the public so the city can move forward and select a chief to lead the police department. Without the report, selecting a new chief will only continue this divide of mistrust between the citizens and the people the police are supposed to protect and serve. Do the right thing by the people and not put handcuffs on the new chief without doing what the people want. Blow this cloud away while you can.

California Teachers Association Threatens Black Newspaper

E-mail Print PDF

For the past couple of years, California Black Media, a coalition of 22 African American newspapers across the state founded by myself and co-publisher Cheryl Brown, has sponsored a summit in Sacramento on various issues that impact the Black community. We invite experts on various topics to be a part of the panels so we can become better informed to educate our readers. This year the topics were “Crisis In Our Schools” and “Contracting With Our Small Businesses.”

Invitations were sent to select organizations to request that a high ranking policy maker represent that organization on the education panel and the CTA did not respond in a timely manner so we moved ahead. Working on a tight deadline to print the program and alert our readers of the event, we completed the process without CTA. CTA then contacted us and wanted to get on the panel and we said no. Our decision was no because it was too late.

This response sparked a threat from them as they reminded us about their advertising with Black Voice News in the past.

This incident happened at a time when I was reminiscing about my fiftieth year anniversary of graduating from segregated Jones High School in North Carolina. It was fifty years ago that I graduated from Jones High School in North Carolina with fond memories of my all Black teaching staff.

They, along with the community, had taught us that teachers were on par with preachers, doctors and lawyers. Fifty years later, I still believe that, but organizations that represent teachers have lost their way from the children they teach and have focused more time and money on bullying people who don’t agree with them.

Back in the early eighties, I supported a campaign that allowed teachers to be paid more for the required education they possessed in order to teach. I did that because my employer paid janitors with a high school diploma more than the school district paid beginning teachers. I thought this was wrong, so after my election to the San Bernardino Unified School District Board of Trustees I did something about the pay.

Later, I put my elected position on the line in support of Proposition 98. I went against my professional interests to take authority away from policy makers. I might add, I did this even though the Teachers Association did not support my first campaign.

Now I find my staff and business being threatened by the Teachers Association just because I am siding with our kids.

The CTA staff had researched their files and found out they had placed advertising with us as if that transaction bought our loyalty. Little did I know, this is why they purchased the space. I thought they had a message they wanted to share with the Black community. Now I have discovered their real motive. I have also found that to be true because they withdrew their funding from a branch of the NAACP in Los Angeles when the branch didn’t support their agenda.

Well I have news for CTA, and that is, my father taught me to be ready to move off of the sharecropping farm because when you disagree with the master, or he gets a burr in his pants, you might have to part company.

I don’t want to, but a man has to do what a man has to do; even if that means eating just beans. I remember one day with my last employer when the senior vice president called all of the Affirmative Action Coordinators into the conference room and threatened our jobs if the organization received a bad compliance review from the federal government. I could not believe my ears because we did not do the hiring, promoting, discipline, or terminating of any employees. When he finished speaking he did not want any questions so the threat could sink into our minds. At that moment, I had a flashback to what my dad had said about the master and his farm.

I immediately blurted out, sir, I cannot accept that threat from you because of, and cited several reasons. Then I said now we can take a break. Needless to say I went to the nearest phone and called my wife to say stock up on beans. That never happened because his boss saw the wisdom of my argument.

Unlike my employer, CTA has not put enough money into my business to have the same affect. I truly appreciate the business but now my questions are, how much do you spend with other Black-owned papers and radio stations in California? We have 7% of the student population. Do or have you spent 7% of your advertising budget with the Black community? You have 5% African American teachers paying association dues. Do you spend 5%with the Black community? Do you have 5% Blacks in your staff and are they serving in policy making positions? When have you advocated on behalf of any students that are low achievers or dropouts? When have you advocated on increasing the college going rate? When is the last time you have called and reached outto the Black community and said this is how we can help you?

I still stand ready to meet and work with CTA on matters of children and ways CTA can connect with the Black community because you are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our children.

ENDORSEMENTS

STATE OFFICE
Kamala Harris for Attorney General
Gloria Negrete McLeod for State Senate
Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly
Gloria Romero for Superintendent of Public Instruction

RIVERSIDE COUNTY
Dale Kinnear for Superintendent of Schools
Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney
Stan Sniff for Sheriff

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Gary Thomas for Superintendent of Schools
Mike Ramos for District Attorney
Rod Hoops for Sheriff

PROPOSITION 13 – YES
PROPOSITION 14 – NO
PROPOSITION 15 – NO
PROPOSITION 16 – YES
PROPOSITION 17 – NO

Black Voice News Editorial Endorsements for June 8, 2010

E-mail Print PDF

Each election cycle I try to meet with or talk to as many candidates and supporters of candidates as possible. Thanks to email and candidates websites, I can and have garnered much information to form opinions on the candidates and issues in addition to meeting with them in my office. In some cases I have personal relationships with many of them due to my many years of community work. Some of the candidates are unopposed in the primary so therefore I will have no comments until the general election in November. However for some positions critical to the Black community, like education and the state’s attorney general positions, I will offer my recommendations.

Kamala Harris is seeking the Democratic nomination for Attorney General and I had the good fortune of meeting with her several months ago in my office. I was impressed with her background in crime prevention programs she instituted in San Francisco as the District Attorney. Of all the people seeking this office, she is the only one with a strong crime prevention mentality and a specific interest in our youth. For California, Kamala Harris would be a new kind of Attorney General.

To lead the offices of education as Superintendent of Schools in Riverside and San Bernardino County, I have to put the concerns of the children first, especially African American students. Each candidate vying for the position says that they are there for all children but in each county our children are lagging behind. Something is drastically wrong in the classrooms. Each county has its own set of circumstances that is unique to the county but each superintendent must be the drum major or cheerleader for education. Who is going to provide the leadership as we ‘Race to the Top’ in education by closing the academic gap, while reducing the dropout rate, and increasing the college going rate for all students?

In Riverside, we have Kenneth Young who currently occupies the County Office of Education Superintendent seat and his challenger, Dale Kinnear a dynamic leader at North High School who has the city of Riverside buzzing with optimism and hope.

According to some parents with children at his school, they have a new interest in learning. That is good news to me. I have also heard from Young’s supporters who are not as passionate as Kinnear’s, but they are impressed with Young’s management style. While Young currently occupies the position, our educational system needs a “Drum Major” leader to rally the community and push us to the top in education. Kinnear has an impressive record at North High and the trick will be to use his love for kids in an administrative position at the county level. I think Dale Kinnear can be that kind of leader for Riverside County.

In San Bernardino the decision is not that easy because I have a more intimate knowledge of the districts, politics, and background of all candidates seeking the position. Gary Thomas was appointed to the position three years ago to replace Herb Fischer but like Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle during the vice presidential debates, where Dan said he was like Kennedy, Lloyd shot back, “I knew John Kennedy and you ain’t no John Kennedy.” Well Gary Thomas is good but he is no Herb Fischer.

Then we have Arturo Delgado, Superintendent of Schools inSan Bernardino City Unified. The district has come under hard times for Black children and the same is true for the county schools as far as academic achievement and dropouts. Delgado has a seven member board of trustees to contend with which may have hampered his desire to seek some of the things he might have wanted to implement. He was able to start SANKOFA, a program specifically designed for African American students and according to his latest report the dropout rate has been going down and some low performing schools are slowly improving. But he hasn’t been able to fully sell this initiative to his staff nor has it received proper funding. It’s an interesting concept that has languished because there seems to be no passionate crusader at the district level.

In my opinion neither Delgado nor Thomas have demonstrated the Drum Major leadership role in education, but Thomas has the greatest potential to become one. Thomas has inherited a good staff assembled by Fischer so all they have to do now is engage the community in the vision of educating our children especially the lowest performing children. It is one thing to reach out and another thing to invite people in to the county school system and passionately engage them in the process.

Delgado on the other hand should elevate the academic performance of all children in his district beginning with educating the board of trustees that they were elected to serve all children not just a segment of the student population. I know it is a big challenge for him because some board members need to be replaced but educating them is not impossible. Then he and the president of the board should become Drum Majors for education of the district.

Therefore I recommend Gary Thomas for SB County Superintendent of Schools.

For District Attorney of Riverside County my recommendation is for Judge Paul Zellerbach. You know something is drastically wrong with the system when a judge resigns his office to help improve the image, effectiveness and professionalism of the criminal justice office of the county. We need someone with integrity and the skills to bring people together not divide us. We urge you to vote for Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney.

Mike Ramos has had his hands full trying to harness the corruption in San Bernardino County from high level elected officials. It is not easy to be a District in this county when the public keeps electing unethical supervisors who think they are above the law. However Ramos was elected for such a time as this being of Hispanic Heritage and a Republican. I say Republican because at this time the leaders have been from that party prior to them it was Democrats in the cookie jar. Ramos has done a good job in removing them from office and seeking justice on behalf of the people. We urge you to return Mike Ramos to District Attorney.

For sheriff in San Bernardino I am recommending Rod Hoops, he has already done something no other sheriff before him has done and that was promoting Ron Cochran to the position of Captain, a position no other Black person has held. He also believes in the community and its people, he told my staff.

STATE OFFICE
Kamala Harris for Attorney General
Gloria Negrete McLeod for State Senate
Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly
Gloria Romero for Superintendent of Public Instruction

RIVERSIDE COUNTY
Dale Kinnear for Superintendent of Schools
Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney
Stan Sniff for Sheriff

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Gary Thomas for Superintendent of Schools
Mike Ramos for District Attorney
Rod Hoops for Sheriff

PROPOSITION 13 YES
PROPOSITION 14 NO
PROPOSITION 15 NO
PROPOSITION 16 YES
PROPOSITION 17 NO

Page 36 of 122

Quantcast