Each election cycle I try to meet with or talk to as many candidates and supporters of candidates as possible. Thanks to email and candidates websites, I can and have garnered much information to form opinions on the candidates and issues in addition to meeting with them in my office. In some cases I have personal relationships with many of them due to my many years of community work. Some of the candidates are unopposed in the primary so therefore I will have no comments until the general election in November. However for some positions critical to the Black community, like education and the state’s attorney general positions, I will offer my recommendations.
Kamala Harris is seeking the Democratic nomination for Attorney General and I had the good fortune of meeting with her several months ago in my office. I was impressed with her background in crime prevention programs she instituted in San Francisco as the District Attorney. Of all the people seeking this office, she is the only one with a strong crime prevention mentality and a specific interest in our youth. For California, Kamala Harris would be a new kind of Attorney General.
To lead the offices of education as Superintendent of Schools in Riverside and San Bernardino County, I have to put the concerns of the children first, especially African American students. Each candidate vying for the position says that they are there for all children but in each county our children are lagging behind. Something is drastically wrong in the classrooms. Each county has its own set of circumstances that is unique to the county but each superintendent must be the drum major or cheerleader for education. Who is going to provide the leadership as we ‘Race to the Top’ in education by closing the academic gap, while reducing the dropout rate, and increasing the college going rate for all students?
In Riverside, we have Kenneth Young who currently occupies the County Office of Education Superintendent seat and his challenger, Dale Kinnear a dynamic leader at North High School who has the city of Riverside buzzing with optimism and hope.
According to some parents with children at his school, they have a new interest in learning. That is good news to me. I have also heard from Young’s supporters who are not as passionate as Kinnear’s, but they are impressed with Young’s management style. While Young currently occupies the position, our educational system needs a “Drum Major” leader to rally the community and push us to the top in education. Kinnear has an impressive record at North High and the trick will be to use his love for kids in an administrative position at the county level. I think Dale Kinnear can be that kind of leader for Riverside County.
In San Bernardino the decision is not that easy because I have a more intimate knowledge of the districts, politics, and background of all candidates seeking the position. Gary Thomas was appointed to the position three years ago to replace Herb Fischer but like Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle during the vice presidential debates, where Dan said he was like Kennedy, Lloyd shot back, “I knew John Kennedy and you ain’t no John Kennedy.” Well Gary Thomas is good but he is no Herb Fischer.
Then we have Arturo Delgado, Superintendent of Schools inSan Bernardino City Unified. The district has come under hard times for Black children and the same is true for the county schools as far as academic achievement and dropouts. Delgado has a seven member board of trustees to contend with which may have hampered his desire to seek some of the things he might have wanted to implement. He was able to start SANKOFA, a program specifically designed for African American students and according to his latest report the dropout rate has been going down and some low performing schools are slowly improving. But he hasn’t been able to fully sell this initiative to his staff nor has it received proper funding. It’s an interesting concept that has languished because there seems to be no passionate crusader at the district level.
In my opinion neither Delgado nor Thomas have demonstrated the Drum Major leadership role in education, but Thomas has the greatest potential to become one. Thomas has inherited a good staff assembled by Fischer so all they have to do now is engage the community in the vision of educating our children especially the lowest performing children. It is one thing to reach out and another thing to invite people in to the county school system and passionately engage them in the process.
Delgado on the other hand should elevate the academic performance of all children in his district beginning with educating the board of trustees that they were elected to serve all children not just a segment of the student population. I know it is a big challenge for him because some board members need to be replaced but educating them is not impossible. Then he and the president of the board should become Drum Majors for education of the district.
Therefore I recommend Gary Thomas for SB County Superintendent of Schools.
For District Attorney of Riverside County my recommendation is for Judge Paul Zellerbach. You know something is drastically wrong with the system when a judge resigns his office to help improve the image, effectiveness and professionalism of the criminal justice office of the county. We need someone with integrity and the skills to bring people together not divide us. We urge you to vote for Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney.
Mike Ramos has had his hands full trying to harness the corruption in San Bernardino County from high level elected officials. It is not easy to be a District in this county when the public keeps electing unethical supervisors who think they are above the law. However Ramos was elected for such a time as this being of Hispanic Heritage and a Republican. I say Republican because at this time the leaders have been from that party prior to them it was Democrats in the cookie jar. Ramos has done a good job in removing them from office and seeking justice on behalf of the people. We urge you to return Mike Ramos to District Attorney.
For sheriff in San Bernardino I am recommending Rod Hoops, he has already done something no other sheriff before him has done and that was promoting Ron Cochran to the position of Captain, a position no other Black person has held. He also believes in the community and its people, he told my staff.
Kamala Harris for Attorney General
Gloria Negrete McLeod for State Senate
Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly
Gloria Romero for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dale Kinnear for Superintendent of Schools
Paul Zellerbach for District Attorney
Stan Sniff for Sheriff
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Gary Thomas for Superintendent of Schools
Mike Ramos for District Attorney
Rod Hoops for Sheriff
PROPOSITION 13 YES
PROPOSITION 14 NO
PROPOSITION 15 NO
PROPOSITION 16 YES
PROPOSITION 17 NO
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