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Congratulations Chief Cannon and RPD

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Last Thursday Russ Leach, Riverside Chief of Police, announced the promotion of Jim Cannon to the rank of captain. This is only the second time in the city's history that an African American has reached the rank of captain.

It is good for Jim Cannon to reach this mark while at the same time poses a question for the city to ask why it took this long to recognize his qualifications. Cannon has been with the department since 1976 and has an impeccable record (with the exception of the memo placed in his file after the Miller shooting and later removed by the State Attorney General Bill Lockyer).

My take on what Cannon was trying to do at the time was alert the department, in which he works and loves, to the severity of the Miller shooting. The administration did not listen but chose to discipline him for doing the right thing. I have been placed in the same situation by White supervisors who did not listen to my advice and choose the path of concealing information. I have also investigated hundreds of complaints by Blacks and Latinos who have had similar experiences.

To the number of people who might think this was a political appointment, I say hogwash. This is a well qualified individual who should have been promoted to captain a long time ago and should have been considered for chief. Cannon is a well respected man in the Inland Empire and is committed to his faith and church. He also married into a well respected family in our community.

He has waited patiently for God to touch the hearts of the city's leadership. Prior to Jim Cannon, Alex Tortes and Dave Dominguez's promotions, minorities have not fared so well in the police department. I hope this is a sign that future promotions will reflect the community in which it provides service.

Congratulations to Cannon and Chief Leach for recognizing his skills and talents. This is a step in the right direction of rebuilding the relationship between the Black community and the police department.

Bush's visit to Africa, a good thing

It is no secret that a small percentage of African Americans voted for George W. Bush for President. Everyone you ask will have their own reason for their dislike or better stated distrust of his sincerity to address concerns we have presented to the government.

To some it is the attitude of the Republican Party toward Blacks. Some will say it is because of his position too give to much authority back over to the states that once oppressed Black’s Civil Rights. Some will say it is because his stance on the death penalty in Texas, where they killed more Blacks than anywhere else in the country.

Some will say it is because of his non-support of Affirmative Action programs. The list can go on and on, however I would like to give him some credit where credit is due, even though his motives are not very clear.

Remember fifteen percent of America's oil comes from several countries in Africa and this is expected to increase upwards to twenty five percent by the end of 2005. Race is not the only reason.

President Bush has placed himself on the “Continent of Africa,” even though he once referred to the continent as a "country". His staff later informed him that Africa has fifty-two independent countries. His visit will help bring Africa closer to a better place on the agenda of American politics. Bush standing in the doorway of "NO Return" has to have an impact on our perspective of race relations here in America.

To that Bush said, "The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over." Let's give him credit for making the visit and continuing the dialogue begun by President Bill Clinton.

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