I was collecting my notes to write how the statewide candidates for political office ignored the Black community and was prepared to talk about how Jerry Brown wanted the Black vote but was taking us for granted because he didn’t buy advertisements in any of the state’s Black-owned newspapers.
There are no Black-owned television stations in California yet, so newspapers are the media of choice for those wishing to reach the Black community. Then I saw a few articles in a couple of papers about how Jerry Brown had visited Black Churches in Los Angeles and Compton. But I was still miffed about why the Black Press was being ignored by the politicians running for statewide office and those campaigning for the Propositions.
As the former President of the West Coast Black Publishers and a member of the California Black Media, I called Vernon Whitmore, the new president of West Coast Black Publishers, and Hardy Brown, president of California Black Media, to inquire and neither had gotten any advertisements either, but the information that they had led to one woman Alice Huffman.
Alice Huffman is President of the California NAACP and president of a public relations company called A.C. Public Affairs. I found out that her company shares luxury office space with the NAACP in Sacramento, CA. I also found out her company got a contract to promote Proposition 19 to the tune of $100,000.
It is not clear as to how much she got to represent a total of twenty items including the Propositions. Her contract included the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s race and Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Controller, Board of Equalization, and Propositions 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27.
I don’t know what Huffman promised these organizations but I think they got screwed, and so did the Black Press. There are more than 20 Black-owned newspapers that cover the African American community in California. That number includes twelve that are California members of the West Coast Black Publishers Association. They are: the Bakersfield News Observer, The Globe Newspaper Group, Inglewood Today, Los Angeles Sentinel and LA Watts Times, The Sacramento Observer, Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal, Precinct Reporter and Tri County Bulletin, Riverside Black Voice News, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint, and the Tri County Sentry.
These are part of the California Black Media membership list: Bakersfield News Observer, Black Voice News, California Advocate, Globe Newspapers, Inglewood Today, Inland Valley News, L.A. Focus, L.A. Sentinel, L.A. Watts Times, L.A. Wave Newspaper, Long Beach Times, Oakland Post, Our Weekly, Pace Newspaper, Pasadena Journal, Precinct Reporter, Sacramento Observer, San Diego Monitor, San Bernardino American, San Francisco Bay View, Sun Reporter, Tri County Sentry, and the Westside Story.
If Alice Huffman told those folks that she represented the African American community, she lied to get their money. The NAACP should be angry because Huffman’s actions used them and set up an apparent conflict of interest operation that makes it look like the NAACP organization, that prides itself in not endorsing candidates, could potentially lose their tax exempt status. The Huffman operation is clearly a for-profit operation based on her representations, or misrepresentations, that she covers the whole African American community.
It is my understanding that only three or four Black-owned newspapers got the advertisements to run in their newspapers, the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Sacramento Observer, the Precinct Reporter (San Bernardino), and Huffman’s own produced eight page tabloid called, The Minority News. This item was inserted into those newspapers, presumably, that she chose and also mailed to a number of NAACP members. I got one when I acquired a copy of the Los Angeles Sentinel.
It’s only a matter of time before someone turns this over to the State Attorney General because of the appearance of impropriety.
Let us not forget the TEA PARTY got rid of the Acorn Operation and the Republican Party operative, Breitbart, got Shirley Sherrod fired because of the appearance of impropriety.
Why is the state NAACP and the national NAACP under new Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and Executive Director Ben Jealous letting the Huffman operation place the NAACP status in jeopardy?
Am I mad? YES. I operate a legitimate media operation that is, like most newspapers, struggling to survive. Meanwhile people who hustle the community operate out of luxury offices using the NAACP as an apparent front.
How many more years will Huffman be allowed to get away with this?
This is a matter for the Attorney General because it stinks, smells of fraud, and is a conflict of interest.
At press time, Ms. Huffman could not be reached for comment.
Joe C. Hopkins is Publisher of The Pasadena/SGV Journal News.