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Hardy L. Brown

Leadership Likened in San Bernardino Governing Body

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Last week three young ladies, came into the office looking for my son to place an event they were having at Perris Hill Park on January 21st into the paper, to bring attention to the senseless killing of their classmate Keith Deshean Hall and the shooting of another classmate Army Specialist Christopher Sullivan. I am sure you recognize Sullivan’s name, as he was the recipient of a Purple Heart Award for being injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and was attending a hero’s homecoming party. Someone at the family party pulled a gun out and shot Sullivan while engaged in an argument over a football game. Now Sullivan lay in the hospital paralyzed.

One of the young ladies, BeAnna Hamilton, said this is crazy and we have to do something. The “peace event” she calls it, is to focus attention on the violence and offer solutions in order to reduce these types of incidents in the city. She went on to say that the Police and Firefighters Association have signed on to help them as well as the Young Visionaries organization.

They are hoping to attract a large crowd who like them, are tired of people settling their differences with a gun.

I was hoping the mayor and city council members would embrace the youth’s gesture for peace but after watching the council meeting last Monday, it is clear they are in need of a peace event. The meeting began at 3 pm and ended at 11 pm with lots of verbal assaults, insults, accusations of dishonesty hurled at council members, Mayor Pat Morris, City Manager Charles McNeely and his staff from councilmember Wendy McCammack, and City Attorney Jim Penman.

McCammack and Penman got so angry they could not even sit in their seats, they went to the public podium and threw a barrage of words at their colleagues on the council and said it will be different when the new council member is sworn to office in March. Neither Penman nor McCammack wanted the council to approve Regal Cinemas movie theater in downtown, San Bernardino.

She was angry because a majority of the council would not join her making the staff give her requested information. They have an unwritten policy that when council members make a request that will involve a lot of staff time, at least four council members must agree to give the go signal to staff. So McCammack took her frustrations out on McNeely, the city manager.

Then later on the agenda, they needed a legal opinion from Penman regarding the city’s take over of the redevelopment agency’s $155 million properties and other investments done in the name of the city. Penman would not give the council-members a clear opinion but gave conversation that you might be sued if you take over without the states approval. The mayor and some council members argued that it would be irresponsible to allow another group or government be appointed to carry out the business in the city. After much name-calling they did seek to go on record to accept part of a motion presented to them by the staff of the redevelopment agency.

Another highlight in the meeting was that the newest council member, Robert Jenkins spoke and said he could not figure out how some members get information that the rest of them do not have. As an observer of the meetings, it appears to me that McCammack always brings up information, with research papers, regardless of the timeframe it is brought to the attention at the meeting. Usually it is in line with the city attorney’s thoughts on the subject.

I cite the antics of the council in light of our youth in the city seeking guidance and leadership from our elected officials. This past meeting was a bad example for our young people to follow on how to conduct oneself in making public policy. The city council and city attorney needs to get over the election and personal agendas and get down to governing the city. Our young people, businesses, and taxpayers deserve better.

Gov. Brown, Where Do The Black Citizens Fit In With Your Budget?

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Our current governor Jerry Brown is searching for ways to solve the recurring state budget shortfall that has faced every governor for several decades. They have tried different strategies by shifting responsibilities from state to local government and back to state and now realignment. While they are shifting the public safety problem of overcrowded prisons to the local level, they striped redevelopment from their hands to help solve a one-year budget deficit. Our prisons have become overcrowded because of the three-strike law that landed more Blacks and Latinos in prison to be guarded by a white population. The question is where does the Black population fit into the business of public safety in the state’s budget?

Ever since 1972 when the government started documenting unemployment rates by race, the unemployment rate of Black Americans has been double that of White Americans. California is no exception with its current overall unemployment rate at 11.7% and Black Californians hovering at 15.7% unemployed and White Californians at 8 percent. There are many reasons given by experts that attempt to explain why the unemployment rate for Blacks is always higher than Whites including education, location, lack of specialized skills, etc.

In California we have over 37 million residents of which over 2.6 million, 7.2% of the population, are African Americans. We send 416,000 Black children, 6.7% of the student population, to public schools where only 59.0% graduate, over 30% drop-out before graduation, and where 96% of the teachers do not look like them. This is not a reason for our students to drop-out but one has to wonder about the business aspect of our education system and the Black community. So the question is where does the Black community fit into the business side of education of the budget?

The governor had to cut some services from his budget and those cuts hit our community harder than any other community because of health care needs and services. These cuts hurt the very ones who had given so much to the success of our state when they were in their prime years, working, and paying taxes. These senior citizens are still living in the inner cities because racial discrimination prevented them in the past from earning higher wages to propel their ability to move into senior citizen communities. Yet, these same citizens will be asked to vote to raise their taxes if Sacramento should have it’s way in June. So my question to the governor is where will the services and business opportunities fit into your plan for the Black residents of California.

According to the latest information I was able to find on the number of Black owned businesses in California at 138,891 we stand ready to help build and push the state into the black. These firms come in all categories from agriculture, construction, retail, transportation, information technology, finance, science, education, health care, real estate, marketing, advertising and entertainment and more.

Now in order to motivate the voters to support anything that resembles more money coming out of their pockets, they are saying, “What is it for and what is in it for me?” Everyone who pays taxes is a special interest group and African Americans are no exception. I remember several years ago a large medical group asking a Los Angeles council member for his support and he responded back, “What have you done for me lately?”

So the question to the governor is, “What have you done for the African American community that would warrant the voters to follow your lead?”

The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863

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The United States, engaged in a civil war, North vs. South to determine the direction of this country to remain a nation of Black citizens in slavery or Black citizens becoming freemen. The south wanted to keep this free labor of Blacks while the north was trying to preserve the union and join other European nations that had abolished slavery. Many Blacks heard that this was going to happen but did not know when. It is said that just like the Jews being set free by Pharaoh of Egypt, there was much excitement and high anxiety on plantations and other places that Blacks congregated. It was like children waiting for Christmas morning to come so they can open gifts. But unlike the Jews annual celebration of the Passover of freedom and children celebrating Christmas for gifts; Black Americans do not celebrate their day of Emancipation in 1863, so we forget.

I was reminded of this by Pastor Larry Campbell’s special “Watch Night Service” to be held at St. Paul AME Church on the evening of December 31st. To that end, I am printing the document President Abraham Lincoln signed into law. It is irrelevant as to whether he wanted to or not because Pharaoh did not want the Jews released either.

By the President of the United States of America:
A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN 
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

God Is With Us

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My pastor, Rev. Larry Campbell of St. Paul AME Church sends these daily “Moments in the Word” by email to people who need a spiritual devotion to start their day. This past week, his scriptures have centered on Christmas and this is one I would like to share with you.

BIBLE MEDITATION:

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 (KJV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

Have you ever had anyone tell you "I'm with you" only to discover that you were all by yourself?

There are many people who begin projects thinking that they have the support of friends and family only to learn that once difficulties arise that they are often standing alone.

. It happens on the job, when co-workers put you up to speak to the boss about a problem, then you learn that you are all alone.

. It happens in the community when you are selected to lead a time consuming and expensive project only to hear those who pushed you up front give excuses for not giving you help.

. It most definitely happens in the political world. It even happens in the family. Just about everyone has experienced what it means to be alone when you thought you had a crowd with you.

Wouldn't it be nice if each of us were like the people in the Verizon cell phone commercial? In that commercial each time a subscriber picks up the phone there is a whole network of people standing behind him. The idea is that there is a small army of supporters backing up every call. It would be great if we had our own network of support, "with us" everywhere we went.

Sometimes we can have people with us, but their presence means nothing. A man complained to his wife that he wasn't going to play golf anymore because he couldn't see where the ball fell after long drives. His wife reminded him that he was 70 and his eyesight was not what it once was. She suggested that take her brother along with him. The husband laughed as questioned what good that would do since her brother was 85 years old. "Don't let his age fool you," said the wife. "He's 85 but he can see a fly blink his eyes at 100 yards. His eye sight is so good that he can read the license plate on a car four blocks away." Convinced, the husband took his brother in law, Jack, with him on his next golf game. When he teed off the ball soared into the air. "Can you see it, Jack?" asked the husband. "Sure can!" The husband felt good, but as they started to walk he asked Jack, "Where did the ball land?"

Jack gave a blank stare and said, 'I can't remember." Then the wife blurted out, "oh I forgot to tell Jack's got perfect eyesight, but he can't remember a thing." Jack was with them that day, but his presence meant absolutely nothing.

One of the joys of the Christmas season is that it reminds us that we are not alone. The arrival of the Christ child jogs the memory of the whole world and gently reminds them that "God is with us." As Christians we are happy to know that we are not alone. We are happy to know that despite the difficulties of the times that the God we serve empathizes with us every day of our lives. Even before we pray to him he knows our needs, because he is with us.

Have a Blessed weekend and don't forget to attend a Bible believing and teaching church of your choice.

Merry Christmas from The Black Voice News Family and Staff

Gigi Hanna for San Bernardino City Clerk

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I know it is Christmas time and all of us are involved with getting presents for our loved ones and getting ready for Christmas dinner, but we also have people trying to suppress or remove our rights to vote in some states while we are trying to motivate people to vote in San Bernardino.

As of this writing, the national office of the NAACP is fighting the fight in several states to oppose several state initiatives that would require a voter to have a driver’s license in order to vote. We know that many people do not drive especially senior citizens or those living in cities relying mainly on the use of public transportation. You also have states not wanting those with any criminal records to vote at all regardless of current status. The NAACP is trying to maintain the voting rights we have gained over the past fifty years, while in our area we have the right to vote but are not exercising it.

This brings me to the run-off election for San Bernardino City Clerk to be held in February. It will be a “vote by mail” election with the ballots going out on the 9th of January, a week before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday that is at the height of the national football playoffs, and after the New Year’s celebration. So I know the last thing on people’s minds will be voting-- especially for the position of city clerk.

During the last citywide election just over 12,000 voters took the time to vote for the city clerk position out of a voting population of over 70,000 registered voters in the city. We must do better if we want a more open, transparent, and honest government.

Given this scenario, you might ask the question, “why concern yourself about the city clerk position.” I will answer that question this way; for those who attend church meetings or any meeting for that matter and a motion is made then seconded, then a discussion starts and the original intent of the discussion takes off in another direction and later someone asks the secretary to read the original motion and then the maker of the motion says that is not what I said or meant and the person who seconded it says I did not second that. So you finally pass something and you come back to the next meeting and have the minutes read for approval and the minutes read like something from another group. You wonder if the secretary or keeper of the minutes attended the same meeting you attended, this is why electing the right person as the city clerk is so important. That position governs the records that might wind up in court as what happened in a public meeting.

The city clerk position is responsible for accurate recording of all legal transactions of our city government and ensuring that all elections are conducted in a proper and fair manner. In other words, the city clerk is the “integrity agent” of city government. This person must not compromise or be so closely aligned with others at city hall to give the impression they would change documentation if requested to do so.

According to the primary election documents, the candidates were so closely aligned to another candidate, City Attorney Jim Penman, that they even printed their names on the same yard signs. Her campaign literature was even paid for by Penman. Now I am not saying she would not be independent but the printed evidence gives the impression she would owe her entire election to him. Even without that political baggage she does not match her opponent when it comes to qualifications to hold the position.

Gigi Hanna is a trained public records expert and has the college education to handle the job. If we want to continue a legacy of competent city clerks in the position; efficiently run departments; keeping politics out of the office; being a friend to citizens; and improving public access to government records through technology and conducting a fair and accurate election then join with me in voting for Gigi Hanna for San Bernardino City Clerk.

When you get your ballot in the mail during that first week of January, fill it out and mail it back. This will be your response in letting the NAACP know you take voting seriously. This will be your response to people who think we do not vote. This will be your response to people who think you do not care or count. Remember this will be a “vote by mail” election. This will be a message to Martin Luther King, Jr. that his death was not in vain. This will be your way of saying I want an open and transparent city government that is independent of other elected officials at city hall with a person who cares about me.

Please join me and vote for Gigi Hanna.

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