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Hardy L. Brown

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.

Making A Loud Noise So The Snakes Will Move

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This past weekend was a whirlwind tour for me. My wife and youngest daughter Regina Wilson got me to go to San Francisco to receive the Justus F. Craemer, Newspaper Executive of the Year Award from the California Press Association for my editorial writing and positions taken on key issues in the community.

One never knows who is reading or watching what you do or the impact it is having on individuals or the broader community. I always get feedback from my church members and the late Rev. Williams Jacks would always call me up and say “Brother Brown when are you doing your political endorsements so I can vote.” Then I found that most of the church community in Riverside and San Bernardino was waiting and reading my endorsements so they could vote. My Aunt Norma Archie still calls me for other members to say “Hardy don’t forget to do my endorsements”. My friend Rev. Benjamin Inghram would say to me, before he passed, “Brother Brown I wish the greater community could read what you are saying so they would understand where we are coming from on some of these issues.” Rev Inghram would be proud to know that the greater community gave me this honor.

This led me to contact candidates for interviews and research their stance on issues and ballot measures. I thank God everyday for the invention of the internet because now with my physical and verbal limitations from a degenerative neuromuscular condition PLS/ALS, I do not have to go to a bunch of meetings. I can watch public meetings from anywhere in the world on television and webcams from my computer in the office or at home.

I also thank God for my condition because without it, I would not be writing my weekly editorial because I would be too busy running around attending meetings and talking about what someone else should do. He told Paul I am not going to remove the “thorn from your flesh” because “my grace is sufficient for thee” in other words don’t be limited by what you think are limitations but trust in me and I will expand your boundaries and influence, as I did with Jabez.

I am thankful that my parents, Floyd and Essie Brown taught me the value of trying to treat people right and being involved in the community. I am also thankful that Edison and Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program showed me what corporate responsibility to one’s community should do. I am thankful for the public for electing me to the San Bernardino School Board for that is where I learned what good public policy can do in people’s life and that one person can make a difference. I am thankful for my wife, who has devoted her life to helping me in everything I have done over the past fifty years and not wavering as my helpmate. I am thankful for my children, who now work with me everyday and who are making my vision their vision. I am thankful to our staff, especially Lee Ragin, for making sure everything is laid out and in proper order before printing time. I am thankful to my mentor in the newspaper business Sam Martin who gave me the opportunity to own the Black Voice News and told me people need a voice. Last but not least, I am thankful to the Inland Empire community who support the paper each and every week with church and business advertising and readership.

Every week a member of St. Paul AME Church, Brother Abraham, gives my wife one dollar to give to me for delivering the paper to him. This is the kind of support we get from the community for putting out an issue each and every week.

However, it is from my past life experiences that I write the way I write and say it the way I do. I was engaged in a telephone conversation with my brother, Charles Donnie who still lives in Trenton, North Carolina, when he said my editorial reminded him of what we had to do in order to swim in the river behind our house. Each summer the brush and weeds would grow thick covering the pathway to the river. And each summer that would bring out the snakes which loved to hide in the thick brush. So in order to swim that meant making a new path to the river by making a loud noise and cutting back the brush so we could see and not get bitten by these sliding critters. Snakes do not like loud noises and neither do people in public life.

So in thanking the California Press Association for this prestigious honor, I say let us keep on making some noise so the snakes will move and Press Enterprise Publisher Ron Redfern for nominating me.

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