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Hardy L. Brown

Setting the Stage for this Year's Campaign Season

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Another political season is upon us that will require our decision to vote on people and issues that will serve our interest in the public arena.

When it comes to candidates none of us have found a fool-proof way of voting for someone who will do everything we want. However if you are like me you seek to talk with as many of them as you can while reading as much about them as possible. You also read the propositions to better understand what is presented before you as well as who is behind them.

Sometimes they sound good but in reality not practical or worth the money, let alone of benefit to the African American community.

What we try and do hereat the Black Voice News is what I described above and offer you our opinion on who will represent our best interest in the office the candidate is seeking.

So until the primary election in June and the general election in November I will be offering you our endorsements aswe make decisions on various positions.

Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly A Proven Leader

The citizens residing in the 62nd Assembly District have been well served by Wilmer Amina Carter as their Assemblymember. She has demonstrated the training and political leadership she acquired while working with Congressman George Brown and that is working with everyone including the opposition party. She has conducted many hearings in the district to garner information before making a vote while publishing timely newsletters to keep us informed.

Having been a small business owner herself she understands and has supported legislation to increase our participation in the vendor programs of the state.

Her commitment to our young people is evident in her staff and the recognition she has given to academic and leadership achievement. She reaches out to a diverse constituency by supporting and attending the many functions in all communities.

Now while I have focused on her ability and skills to work with a diverse population and across political lines, Amina is busy a legislator writing, reading and supporting many bills onthe following committees: education, health, transportation, budget, utilities, commerce, census and select committee on higher education.

Even with her busy schedule whenever the Black media owners in California are visiting in Sacramento, which is twice a year, she always finds time to meet and inform us on the latest issues.

Return Wilmer Amina Carter to the 62nd Assembly District seat.

Stan Sniff for Sheriff: A Committed Leader

Several years ago the Black Voice News and Riverside County Sheriff Department under then Sheriff Bob Doyle, started a program to change the perception of how African Americans inRiverside County viewed law enforcement and to recruit more of us into the profession. (I shared with Sheriff Doyle that because of our long history as adversaries and not that of protecting and serving so it must be a longtime commitment from the departmentand us to make a change.) Well Doyleretired and we have a new sheriff in town.

Not knowing Sheriff Sniff I proceeded to observe his actions, and talk withhim and others who interacted with him. I must say he did meet with my staff to commit and continue the relationship and program of reaching out to the Black community not just with words but with dollars. In my conversations with him he is trulysincere in his desire to keep the county safe and in a much better place on race relations and employment than where he found it.

He has made some strategic promotions within the department and can be seen consistantly engaged with the community. It is refreshing to see the sheriff at NAACP events, church functionsand at the past Black Voice Foundation gala, Sheriff Sniff attended rather than sending a representative.

Sheriff Sniff is respected by his peers and supported by hisstaff. He leads the county by example.

I urge the voters of Riverside to keep Stan Sniff as our sheriff.

The Black Farmers are going to get their money

At last, the Black Farmers of America might just get the $1.7billion, from the Federal government for years of racial discrimination by the department of agriculture. We have followed this story for 40 years when it was brought to our attention by Cheryl’s cousins in Sanford, North Carolina. Then we met andtalked with the organizers several times after that. I met withSecretary Blocker in the Clinton administration to talk about the issue after the courts ruled in the farmers favor but did not force the money to be paid. Well it is long overdue but it looks as if it will be completed under President Barack Obama’s Administration.

Reps/Dems Step Up To The Plate

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The past several weeks some members of the Republican Partyand the newly found Tea Party have had a field day in scaring thepublic not to support President Obama and the Democratic Party’s health care bill or any bills for that matter. They haveeven used a photo showing Republican Gov Charlie Crist of Florida hugging President Obama as a negative. Saying thatGovernor Fist is too chummy with President Obama because hetook the stimulus money to help the people of Florida. Now mind you the people of Florida pay taxes and arehurting like everybody else. This is how far some people will go when it comes to money and race when it involves African Americans. Most Americans have forgottenthe Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow Laws that followed. After the Civil War nine Blacks were elected to Congresswhich set off a fire storm of Ku Klux Klan activities all over this country which shut Blacks out of Congress for almost 100years. Jim Crow was legal by law into the 60’s and is still practiced today by elected officials in the south and other parts ofthe nation when it is convenient.

I was not going to write anything about my thoughts on these political games until I remembered my experience with GeorgePepper, the past Grand Master of the California Ku Klux Klan in Fontana across from Kaiser Hospital at the old Thrifty Restaurant. George Pepper had heard me say at a public meetingI didn’t care what a person thought or believed in America aslong as they did not put it into action that would deny a personsrights because of the color of his skin, sex, religion or national origin. I did not know him by face but he came up to me afterthe session to invite me to do a radio program with him in adebate. I told him I would think about it so later in the week he called my office at Kaiser and said asked if I would meet him for coffee at the Thrifty Coffee shop. I agreed and when I walked in he was sitting in the booth and I extended my hand for a shake.

He replied I can’t shake your hand in public. He said it was an“image” thing. I won’t go into some of the other things that wetalked about because of space but it was an eye opener on theracial divide and public image.

That brings me to the current way the Republicans are acting towards President Obama. They cannot appear to be supportiveof his policies, take pictures with him in public or make sure noAfrican Americans receive help and Lord knows do not let anymoney into the hands or under our control. Growing up in North Carolina during segregation federal money would come into thecounty and still does, according to Johnson Willis, and beforethey would give it to Black people they would let it go back.

This is what the white Republicans of South Carolina are doingtoday. Another Republican voted against the stimulus moneyand went home to take pictures with his white voters, who gotstimulus money, and said look what I got you from Washington.

In Florida some members in the Republican Party are using apicture that Governor Crist took with President Obama saying Crist does not deserve your vote. The Tea Party is saying wewant to take this country back to what the founding fathers established it on, as one of their signs stated, let’s stop progress. Which I translate into let us remove Blacks from office and keep them out of decision making of public policy.

According to CNN 67% of this conservative party followersare non educated white males or blue collar labor workers. That is why Sarah Palin criticizes President Barack Obama for beingeducated, brilliant and able to use or not use a teleprompter, while she writes notes on her hands like students did to cheat in school.

The stimulus money will help every one in Florida regardless of race, sex, creed or color. Remember George Pepper statement to me, we have an “image” to uphold.

I also recall the KKK saying that the Republican Party platform looked like it was written by them back when Ronald Reagan defeated then President Jimmy Carter. People in the Tea Party Movement or some in the Republican Party say I always notice these tactics when money is mixedwith race. In districts where African Americans are not a signif- icant factor these kinds of racial attitudes are not displayed.

When President George Bush was doling out billions to “white only” corporations these same uninvolved 67%population saidnot one word.

When I took my first typing class in high school, we had to type over and over again: Now is the time for all good men tocome to the aid of their country. I say now is the time for those Republicans who really believe that they are the party of Lincoln to step up to the plate and marginalize that kind of thinking. It is also time for those Democrats who also say onething yet do another to step up to the plate and call these tactics for what they are, racial scar tactics, not Christian conservative values. Before these now southern Republicans becameinto existence they were old Dixie Democrats doing the samething.

Big Lots settles race discrimination Lawsuit

The Big Lots Store in Rancho Cucamonga settled a $400,000 lawsuit where a Hispanic supervisor and other Latino employees repeatedly used the N word when referring to African American employees. Big Lot has 71 stores within a 50 mile radius of zipcode 92411 in San Bernardino where they sell all of their products. If they think this way of the Black employees I wonder what they think of their Black customers.

Big Lots corporate office is in Columbus, Ohio where they say “we encourage each member of our team to develop strongbonds in the community where we live and work.” They forgotto tell the employees in Rancho Cucamonga to do that with the Black community as a matter of fact they forgot to tell all of the California employees about the Black community. They go onto say “We are committed to making a difference to those weserve by stocking food banks, supporting volunteerism, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to schools andsocial services agencies.”

My question to the Black community is: has Big Lots made adifference in your community or organization with a donationor your food bank program? If not ask your local Big Lots storemanager, why not.

They also said they have launched a national advertising campaign to help vendors learn more about their buying power; again they ignore the Black media.

Shame on you Big Lots and congratulations to the AfricanAmerican employees of Rancho Cucamonga.

Target's Celebration of Black History Month Called Dare-Dream-Do

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Target Stores or now Target Corporation, because of a recent name change, has been celebrating Black History Month since 2006 and they always notify the owners of Black newspapers to carry their message for free. The Target Corporation is one of the nation’s largest advertisers yet they fail to see us as advertising partners.

They see Black Americans and our news papers as customers and contributors to this great nation, in my opinion, but only as a means to get its message to our people.

The Target ad for this y ear shows four Blacks who are successful because they “Dare-Dream and Do.” If you s aw the ad it would say to you Target cares so come and spend your money with us so we can continue to care but share your money with other communities . Target donates over $3 million each week to community organizations but falls short when you look at what they give to Black-run organizations as benefactors o f this generosity. The other known reason for this type of ad with Black faces in them is it will attract us as loyal customers into their stores when it comes to spending money.

Target, like its competitors and other corporations in America, have policies on corporate responsibility, community outreach, and diversity in employment and supplier services. These are well meaning written policies but always come up short when it comes to the African American people. According to a statement on their website, they are proud of their diversity investment programs and opportunities but did not list those investments. They only listed one Black organization in Los Angeles that they contribute to which is the Afro American Museum. Locally, I have not seen nor heard of any efforts of the 31 Target Stores in the Inland Empire communities. Yes they have 31 stores in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Maybe you should inquire of the s tore manager the next time you visit the store in your community.

Like their ad implies I “Dare” you to ask them to give back to the community to help you fulfill your “Dream” of a good education from their scholarship program, or a job to help with their diversity employee opportunities o r better y et a contract for supplies or service. Then we can change the “Do” into a we Did it together.

Charter Schools: If You Build It, They Will Come

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on February 4th, charter schools are returning to the past of racial separation or racial isolation according to a study completed at UCLA.

This was one of the drawbacks from some voices when charter schools were first put on the table as one of the solutions to improve public education. I have no doubt that the study is correct but there is more to educating our young people than what race is in the classroom with you. It is important but only if our children are improving their education.

I remember the nation saying integrate our schools with full deliberate s peed which is still our nation’s goal. Part of the problem is we have spent the last 50 years counting bodies instead of teaching our kids to count. So I hope we don’t get caught up in that distraction again especially Black Americans. While we were counting racial bodies Whites were leaving the inner cities to legally separate school districts in newly formed communities. We were hopping on buses to segregated class rooms on integrated campuses. I witnessed whites bused into minority community schools only to be taught by experienced teachers with no Blacks or Hispanics in that special, white-only, magnet class. I witnessed the suspension and expulsion rate of Black and Hispanic students go through the rooftop especially boys. I witnessed the dropout rate of this same population hit the 50 percent level in many districts. I witnessed the dumbing down of student curriculum to Black and Hispanic students implying we cannot l earn. I witnessed the closing down of schools in minority communities which s ends the signal, education is not important to us, yet studies have shown that Blacks and Hispanics vote at a higher rate for school bond funding than any other group of people.

While all of this was going on administrators and teachers salaries were on the rise with fewer Blacks going into education. The cost of books kept going up and up with les s diversity in them to reflect a diverse nation. And I might add the integration policies o f our public schools leaves a lot to be desired as our Black students fall further and further behind.

So now that more Blacks are saying put the money in our hands so we can have a greater say in the education of our children, UCLA wants to do what they did in the sixties put another topic in the mix. They told us in the sixties we could not l earn because of our income, while it has an impact it has nothing to do with a child’s l earning ability. Mom would say your job is to learn to read, write, and count while in the class. You can eat when you get home. Now I know some people will say that some don’t have it that well but I use to put sugar in a saucer with water then sop it with a biscuit after school, then go into the tobacco field and help before dark.

So now I see the value of well intended people that are committed to putting education at the top of the agenda for African American children and I am all for that. One thing I have l earned in my years of working in education, if you build a high achieving student body, people will come regardless of race.

Toyota Ignores Black Community Customers

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The Toyota automobile company has implemented a worldwide recall of many of its cars with the company reaching out to its customers saying stay with us. Bring your cars in for repair and be careful while driving until you can get it repaired. The executives have been on television, radio and even put paid advertising in major daily newspapers nationwide to inform their customers of the sticking gas pedal and to stay with them. General Motors and Ford have begun advertising the message, bring your Toyota product in for trade to our products. They are doing all of this while ignoring the owners of Black newspapers and radio stations which is an issue for me.

They are aware that we’re here because they have invited us to drive their cars so we could write about how they drive and the quality of their products. They even send us company press releases to publish for our readers.

So they know we are here as a viable business and credible resource to our communities. Yet, when it comes to spending money with any of us, they stop. The same is true with other companies but this article is focused on Toyota from my perspective.

Over the past decade, I would take a quick count of the makes of Toyota autos in the parking lot of St. Paul AME Church on any given Sunday morning. I was doing it because I had a Black owned Lincoln Mercury/Volkswagen dealer advertising in my paper.

(He had told my wife that 24% of all the cars he sold since he had been advertising with us was a result of his ad in our paper.) This was good news for us because it meant he was getting his money’s worth plus he supported our community in other ways from the money we spent with him buying cars. I asked you my readers when was the last time you went to a function or event held in the Black community that Toyota was a sponsor.

How many Toyota dealerships are owned by African Americans? How many Blacks do you know that supplies products or services to Toyota?

Now Toyota on the other hand was not spending any money with us nor were they supporting any groups or programs in the African American community locally.

Yet from my counting their cars in the parking lot, they occupied 35% to 40% of the parking spaces mostly because of price and so-called quality. Now comes the Toyota quality issue that has people afraid to move their cars and what does Toyota do; they are ignoring their most loyal customers by saying if you want information about what we are doing about the problem with your money get it they best way possible.

Let us take a look at where Toyota sells the most cars.

Toyota’s occupy nine of the top ten spots in California for selling cars with each dealer averaging at least 3,500 sales per year. These are the areas with the percentage of sales in the area: San Gabriel Valley 27.6%; San Fernando Valley; 26.6%; Oakland 26.3%; Inland Empire 25.3%; North San Diego 24.8%; Orange County 24.5%; Los Angeles South Bay 24.1% and Sacramento at 23.6% according to a report by Mr. Jim Lentz, Executive Vice President of Toyota to Auto Week. Blacks spent $3.8 billion on cars and related services according to Target Market News in 2006 in California. Toyota spent $2 billion in advertising in the same year and had a special department for the Hispanic population according to a report they submitted to advertising age.

So the question to Toyota is why do you ignore the African American community when it come to reallocating money back into the community that buys your products?

2010 Census: Time to Act Now

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African Americans in California will go undercounted based on the paid advertising program listed on a national 2010 Census Count web-site. The census has bought every language television station, radio station, newspaper, magazine, digital outlet, and billboard owned, operated or directed to the Asian and Hispanic population, while listing only KJLH, owned by Stevie Wonder, to reach the Black community.

Now they do list other white owned media to reach our people including billboards.

They list ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, BET (all corporate owned) as influencers’ of our community. They list the Los Angeles Times but not the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Watts Times or the other 30 Black owned newspapers in California.

Now while we, watch, listen, read and look at billboards when it comes to action we read our Black newspapers for direction. Just to give some examples, when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for re-election he garnered 31.9% of the Black vote by using the Black owned newspapers of California. When our people get abused by police: Tyisha Miller in Riverside, Barbershop owners in Moreno Valley, LA, Oakland or discriminated against by corporations they seek the Black press to tell their story. When churches want people to know where they are located they advertise in the Black press. When they want the community to know what they are doing they contact the Black press. When the NAACP conducts a membership drive they put it in the Black press. When community based organizations want the community to know what programs they offer, they seek out the Black press. When corporations promote African Americans to prominent positions they want us to put it in our papers. Everyday I get press releases from the White House, United States Senators, members of congress, governors, all government department heads, state, county and city elected officials. I even get them from a host of corporations that want it known in the Black community that they are our friend. Yes I even get press releases from the Census agency and all of them have one thing in common, they want it for free.

Why is this important? It is about money, elected representation, business, education, jobs, health care and other services. Our state gets money back from the federal government based on our population. We send so much to Washington with the expectation of getting a fair share back. Black people are expecting the same. Each political party wants political districts drawn up in a way that will give them political advantages. Blacks want the same. Currently we are at a disadvantage and with the newly formed Citizen Redistricting Commission we are looking a nightmare in the face. It is being reported now that 75% of the applications being received to serve and draw up our political lines are white. Now whites do not make up 75% of our population. The reason for so few Blacks or Hispanics applying is the confusing and narrowly drawn qualifications in addition to not reaching out to us.

So with the national census not significantly using the Black press we lose out on business, we lose out on money returning back to help us and we will lose out in Black political elected representation.

The time for us to act is now while other groups are angry over the possibility of an undercount and underrepresentation.

Hats off to Sandra Bullock for Donating $1 Million to Haiti Recovery

Two weeks ago I wrote about the NAACP Image Awards nominating Sandra Bullock for an outstanding actress award for her protrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, a White female helping a Black man that is now in the professional football league in “The Blind Side”. Unlike Tuohy, Bullock’s social contributions were unclear but since then I have learned that Sandra Bullock has donated one million dollars of her own money to help the people of Haiti. I am sure that Sandra did not give the money to receive any accolades from anyone but this kind of contribution cannot go un-noticed by me even when you think of the parable where the widow gave her last penny, known as the widows mite because that was all she had. Surely this is not all Sandra has but it is a very healthy sum that makes a loud splash in the lake of generosity. When you compare this kind of money to a country where the average citizen earns two dollars a day in the best of times think of what that means now to a people with nothing. Since two weeks ago Sandra has racked up the Golden Globe Best Actress award from the Foreign Press Association therefore making her the top contender on the Image Award nomination list.

Ms. Bullock thanks for putting your pocket book where others only give lip service.

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