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Hardy L. Brown

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.

America: A "Good Samaritan" Nation

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Based on the televised reports coming out of Haiti of the suffering caused by the earthquake not much has been learned from past natural disasters including Katrina. As it was with Katrina the news media personnel was able to get in to cover the devastation for several days before rescuers and relief people could get on location not to mention provide water, food medicine or other basic services.

In my opinion the people in the rescue business should consult with our media people on how to get into these disaster areas in a timely manner. Now I know that news media people do not have to take equipment or services with them but the military could go in quickly to make surveillance of the disaster as quickly as our media people. Then security personnel could be dispatched as soon as possible with the coordination of any local authorities. By the third day water and food could be distributed along with rescue and proper medical providers and supplies. I use proper medical providers and supplies because we already know that crumbled buildings produce more broken and crushed bones than a flood. Several things are needed from all natural disasters: water, food, medical care, control of disease and if these things are done quickly it will save lives and prevent people from becoming unruly. When any people are trying to stay alive taking food is not looting it is called staying alive until normalization returns.

What we have witnessed in Haiti reminds us of the horrible days of people begging for water and food during the Katrina Hurricane aftermath. There was no excuse then and there is no excuse now. We can do better and we should demand more from those who are in the business of providing the services. As non United States citizens, Haitians who need access to care or temporary shelter should be granted quick access for entrance into America. We allow known terrorists access into America but squabble over children and people with major injuries from a disaster to enter. It does not make any sense to me. We allow persons seeking political asylum access quickly then we work out the paperwork. Another thing, in this country we have people like, Rev Pat Roberson and radio announcer Rush Limbaugh, who say they are Christians saying things like “God is punishing the people of Haiti because they made a pack with the devil many years ago”; Limbaugh said we give them enough from our federal taxes already and therefore should not contribute anything for relief. I am so happy that 99.99% of Americans do not believe in that nonsense.

I am so happy that Americans are like the biblical “Good Samaritan” from Luke 10 beginning at verse 33. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road and he saw the man, he passed on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came to the place, saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave to the innkeeper. Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” If you notice there was no evaluation of how he got into this situation or asking if he had any financial means to repay he got, no color, race or religion was mentioned. The Samaritan saw a man in need and went into action and said to his caretakers if more money is needed, don’t worry, provide the service and I will pay the cost without out any questions of what you did. So even with our inability to respond in a way that I think we should to disasters I want to say we are still a “Good Samaritan” Nation.

Thanks America.

Is The NAACP "Image Award Committee" Losing Its Way?

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When I was growing up as a child I would sometimes do some silly things and my mom would ask, “Boy have you lost your mind?” To me the implication was that I was not stupid or anything but had temporarily deviated from the family and community norms and teachings. Of course I would think not until after the verbal and physical discipline with a “talking to” afterward that made things a little clearer to me.

While at the state training for NAACP branch officers this week, it was learned that some people wanted to nominate Michael Jackson’s televised funeral to get an award as a variety show.

After doing some investigating of other nominees, I learned that some of the Image Award nominees were not people of color. Being of color is not the sole criteria but my immediate reaction was “NAACP have you lost your way” and have you forgotten why the Image Awards were created in the first place? It was because Hollywood was not recognizing our African American actors nor our contributions to the entertainment industry. Even though they recognize us today in some ways, they still do not do business with Black owned entrepreneurs in numbers consistent with our population. That is another topic for another day.

In my humble opinion a funeral should never be put up for any kind of award because of the reverence of the event. There are long held traditions of how we celebrate the homegoing of our loved ones and giving out awards is not on the list. If you want to pay tribute to Michael, then present something to the family recognizing his contributions to the arts of which there are many. Michael was a singer, dancer, writer, actor and in the movie “This is it” of his practice sessions for his last tour he was a perfectionist and choreographer as well. I want to commend California NAACP State President Alice Huffman and the 62 other presidents for alerting the national office not to include the funeral of Michael Jackson in the Variety/Entertainment category.

The other issue is the nomination of Sandra Bullock as an outstanding actress in a motion picture from Warner Bros about a White female helping a Black man that is now in the professional football league. “The Blind Side,” is a wonderful story but if anyone is to get an award, it should be the lady, Leigh Anne Tuohy, who did it in real life. First let me say I am a fan of Sandra Bullock for her performance in Crash and A Time To Kill. Both of these pictures dealt with real racial issues that we face in America but I don’t see how her playing the role of a woman who helps an individual Black youth is rises to the level of social justice.

According to the NAACP website, the mission of “The NAACP Image Awards is the nation’s premier event celebrating the achievement and performance of people of color in the arts (motion picture, television, recording and literature), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.” Given that as its mission, to me promoting social justice would mean awarding major studios for hiring more Blacks behind the camera, advertising in Black-owned media, contracting with Black owned vendors, and encouraging the development of Black run production studios. To my knowledge Sandra Bullock has not reached that level of social activism, nor has Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Screen Gems, Overtures Films, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Twenty Century Fox and others that NAACP has on its list of awardees.

Now I don’t know how the nominations are made but the committee needs to take a closer look at the nomination process and the mission statement of the committee before they are released for voting. I don’t think that the National leadership has lost their mind but I do think the Image Award Committee is losing its way.

Ashley: The Right Man For The Job

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Hardy L. BrownMarion Ashley has been passed the gavel to lead the Riverside County Board of Supervisors as its chairman one more time. If I had to make an analogy of Ashley getting the nod from hi s peers, it would be like the players of the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was playing giving the bal l to Michael. We are in the worst financial crisis the world, nation, state and local municipalities has ever seen.

In addition, Riverside is experiencing growth with the need to update its infrastructure of transportation, health care, water, education, environment, and the need for greater cooperation between governments.

When I look at his background and experience, Marion has been preparing himself for such a time as this. When I first met Marion several years ago, through the late Rev. Marvin Brown of Perris, I could tell that he was a genuine guy. For starters, he loves Riverside, his family and serving others. I will not list al l the organizations that he has been affiliated with but everything he has done was and is done with those three things in mind. So after talking with him and listening to Rev. Brown talk about him i t was easy to support him. After viewing his service as a supervisor, it is easier to congratulate him on being named chairman of the board again.

Penman’s Office Denied

The San Bernardino City Council voted 4 to 3 to deny legal payment to Andrew Roth for providing counsel to some female employees in the city attorney’s office of Jim Penman. This $3,200 invoice for the city to pay came about several months ago when a document came up missing and turned up in the city attorney’s office. When it was reported as a theft the police conducted an investigation with many saying a female in the city attorney’s office might be the one. No one knew which one so heavy accusations were slung around city hall. In the meantime, the female employees thought they had better get legal counsel while other employees were interviewed without council. Andrew Roth, the attorney the employees hired as their personal counsel, is married to Dianna Roth who works in the city attorney’s office. Now that the investigation is over with not enough evidence to proceed, the females are stuck with a legal fee of $3, 200, which they said the city should pay. The mayor and four city councilmember’s disagreed, so the request was denied.

I am in agreement with the decision to deny payment for their personal legal counsel. All the employees had to do was cooperate in the investigation instead of not answering any questions as directed by the attorney as stated by Mayor Pat Morris.

Council member Rikke Van Johnson said he voted to deny payment because in hi s opinion it was a conflict of interest for them to use Andrew Roth, since his wife worked for the city attorney.

Jim Penman said he saw this denial as a carryover of the mayoral election, which he lost to Pat Morris. Whatever the reason, the denial sends the message that the council is in charge of the city and not the city attorney.

Remembering A Friend

This past week I lost a longtime friend in Stephen Walker. He was the kind of guy that never sought the spotlight or wanted recognition for anything he did. For many years he lived in a small trailer in Mr. Crew’s backyard in San Bernardino California Gardens. He was born in Buffalo, New York and did not like being around family but to us he was family.

Steve was the kind of guy that would drive to San Francisco just to have a good seafood dinner and then turn around and drive back home. Or, he would buy a ten-pound bag of potatoes for Cheryl to make him a large bowl of potato salad so he could eat until he got really full.

Steve was also the kind of friend that if someone wronged you then they had wronged him as well. The last time I saw Steve was last year when he stopped by to see how I was doing and he made me a large pot of Gumbo, Steve Walker style. He told me, “Hardy I keep up with you through your newspaper.” Even though I would only see Steve every once in a blue moon, I will miss him.


Stay on the Line this New Years

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Hardy L. BrownFidelity Investments has several commercials where the message is stay on the line. The one that got my attention for this editorial for the year involves the African American lady telling her client when he is leaving her office his retirement plan looks good. As she opens the door for him this green carpet appears for him to walk on. So, as he happily walked down the street, his eyes turned to view the expensive cars which are tempting him to come in and buy. Not knowing she is watching, she calls out to him, stay on the line. He smiles and gets back on the green carpet.

As we move into the new year, many of us will set goals or resolutions we know are good and we start out with good intentions. Some will commit to lose weight, start a business, save money, be a better parent, a better student and the list goes on and on. There will be some who will pray for strength to keep their resolutions while others will prepare special new year’s meals like black eyed peas, chittlings, hog head cheese or other favorites as traditional good luck foods. Some of us are like the man in the commercial as soon as the first day is over we get back to business as usual while others will last longer. Unlike the commercial we will not have someone to stay behind us making sure we stay on the line.

Therefore let me offer you a few suggestions on keeping your goals. Write them down. This will help you know what you are committing yourself to do. Review the list daily or at another scheduled time to remind yourself. This is also part of your evaluation for any adjustments that might need to be made. Give yourself pep talks or read motivational scriptures, poems or stories that will inspire you. These are the things that say to you “if they could do it, I can too.” Now like the man in the commercial, who stopped to look at the cars, you too might stop or get off track. Just remember the trick is not to stay off but get back on track as quickly as possible.

Have a safe new year celebration and write down whatever you wish to achieve in 2010.

Happy New Year!


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