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CBM Summit “Empowering Our Industry”

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By Ashley Jones

California Black Media hosted its first annual Reception during the CBM Summit "Empowering Our Industry" on May 29, 2008 at Chops Restaurant in Sacramento. The reception featured a number of key community leaders throughout the state of California. Key figures in attendance included Secretary Dale Bonner, California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, James Ramos, Chairman of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Alva Johnson, Director of Government Affairs/Public Relations Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and John Kennedy, Special Projects Director of Southern California Edison.

During the reception, California Black Media honored Napoleon Brandford III of Siebert, Brandford, Shank, & Co, Margaret Fortune, CSU Trustee, and Timothy Alan Simon, CPUC Commissioner with the "2008 Newsmakers" award.

Napoleon Brandford III is nationally recognized as a public finance veteran. Branford is a founding partner of Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co, an investment banking firm established in 1996 centrally located in Oakland, California. Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co, was recently named top minority investment bank by Black Enterprise magazine. Brandford has led a number of major financing projects for state, city, and local governments throughout the country, totaling over 5.7 billion during the past ten years. His largest deal was a GO Bond for the State of California, finalized at 1.75 billion.

Margaret Fortune was recently appointed to the California State University Board of Trustee in 2008.  In March 2008 she was selected to administer the Project Pipeline, a Sacramento based non-profit organization. Prior to her current assignment, she served as a senior advisor for the Office of Governor Schwarzenegger and superintendent of St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento, California.

Timothy Alan Simon was appointed Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on February 15, 2007. Prior to this position, he was the first African American appointments secretary for the Office of the Governor. He made appointments to more than 300 boards and commissions and approximately 200 exempt positions in the State of California.

Click here to view pictures of this event.

Symposium on Poverty and Economic Security Set for May 22

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Community Action Partnership of Riverside County will be hosting a Symposium on Poverty and Economic Security on Thursday, May 22, 2008.  The symposium will be located at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Community Center and is modeled after the National Poverty Symposium that was held in Washington, D.C. in 2007.

Economist John Husing will be presenting the keynote address, with an emphasis on poverty trends in Riverside County. Dr. Husing's new data will be very timely for this symposium.

The three topics of discussion will be education, employment and healthcare. Speaking on education will be Kenneth M. Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. Jamil Dada, Chairman of the Riverside County Workforce Development Board, member of the California Workforce Investment Board and Vice Chairman of the National Association of Workforce Boards will speak on employment issues. Dr. Bradley P. Gilbert, Executive Officer of Inland Empire Health Plan, will make a presentation on healthcare.

Lois J. Carson, Executive Director of Community Action Partnership, said, "It is our expectation that the attendees will leave the symposium energized to set Riverside County on a path to eliminate poverty by allowing all residents to be empowered to achieve self-sufficiency. This is the next step in achieving the Board of Supervisors' goal of eliminating poverty in Riverside County within the next thirty years."

The Steering Committee for the Symposium is made up of organizations born as a result of the War on Poverty in 1964. These include Community Action, Head Start, Job Corps, Upward Bound, Inland Counties Legal Services, Center for Employment Training and Community Health Centers.

The "closers" for the Symposium will report out recommendations from each roundtable. Reports will be made by Irene Morales of Inland Counties Legal Services, Ken Sawa of Catholic Charities and Rose Mayes of Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.

The Symposium on Poverty and Economic Security will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on May 22 at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Community Center, 13000 Fields Road in Banning. Lunch will be served. There is no charge to attend, but reservations must be made by May, 15, 2008 to CAP Riverside, (951) 955-4900 or (800) 511-1110.

Brandford: California’s Billion Dollar Man

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By Joe C. Hopkins

Like so many young African American males, Napoleon Brandford, III was born into a family with an unremarkable history. Growing up in the sixties, young Brandford saw a lot of political progress related to what some call, "The Civil Rights era."  He had big dreams. He wanted to become a mayor of a major American city like his heroes, Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of Cleveland, Ohio and Maynard Jackson, the first Black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.

From l-r: Napoleon Brandford, III, Joe C. Hopkins and Cloves Campbell, Jr.

What he became in many ways was much more important to major cities than their mayors. He became a founding partner in an investment banking corporation that helps cities and government entities across the country invest in themselves.  The firm, Siebert Brandford Shank and Co., LLC, is the number one ranked minority owned investment banking firm in the United States. The firm, which was founded in 1996, is ranked in the top twenty five municipal underwriters in the nation. It is also the only African American owned firm on Wall Street.

Brandford started his journey in joining the growing ranks of African American mayors by attending the University of Nevada on a Basketball scholarship. He graduated from Purdue University in 1974 with a degree in Political Science and International Studies. He completed his masters in Public Administration in 1978 from the University of Southern California.  On his pursuit of becoming a mayor, Brandford met a man named T.M. Alexander Jr., the first African American stock broker on Wall Street. Alexander shifted gears.  He went to work for an investment firm and, as he says, started doing exciting things. The experience had changed his focus to finance.

Brandford worked at various positions in finance including a stint in Dade County Florida as Deputy Finance Director. There he put together Bond deals for the county working with Municipal Bonds.  With Alexander as his mentor, Brandford opened his first finance office in 1985 in Oakland, California. His first client was the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. 

Since that time, his client base has included cities and governmental entities across the country providing funding for education, housing, health services, transportation, utilities, redevelopment projects, and general infrastructure. As of the second quarter of 2007 his firm had negotiated more than 2.7 billion dollars in negotiated Municipal Bond issues.

Earlier this year, his firm became the first Black-owned firm to senior manage a $1.75 billion dollar bond when SBSCO was selected to lead a consortium of firms for the State of California in a GO Bond sale.

The young man with the unremarkable beginning and big dreams has moved on to develop a remarkable history and legacy in the world of finance. His many volunteer activities include serving on boards of the NCAA, the Boy Scouts and the University of Southern California. These activities provide him the opportunity to serve as a mentor and role model for young people just as T.M. Alexander did for him.

Siebert Brandford Shank and Co., LLC, is located at 1999 Harrison St., Ste 2720, Oakland, CA 94612. Phone: (510) 529-3133. 

City Holds Local Business Appreciation Reception

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The City of Riverside, in conjunction with the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, recently highlighted and honored local businesses at the bi-annual Riverside Business Reception.

The Riverside Business Reception is designed to give business owners and operators an opportunity to talk with the mayor, city council members, city staff and a variety of representatives from key local business organizations in a festive networking environment.

Organizations such as Small Business Development Center, Riverside County Economic Development Agency, the California Board of Equalization, the Inland Empire Women's Business Center, La Sierra University, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, California Baptist University, the Center for International Trade Development, Riverside Community College and the University of California, Riverside, will have resource information at the event.

For more information, call Sherry Shimshock with the City of Riverside Development Department at (951) 826-2433.

Metlife Offers Free “Life Advice” To Help Families Build Financial Freedom

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MetLife offers free Life Advice to help individuals and families start off the New Year with a renewed focus on personal finance matters. Whether individuals and families resolve to start a business or secure their legacy with life insurance, MetLife has multiple resources to help.

"The beginning of a new year is a great time to assess your financial picture and commit to building wealth within your family and community, and having the right support in place will ensure your success," said Dwight Raiford, senior financial planner, MetLife. "The best way to start is to arm yourself with as much information as possible, even before you sit down with a financial advisor."

In partnership with a host of experts, MetLife's Life Advice program provides free, easy-to-use information to help families take charge of their finances and build a personal safety net. MetLife's Life Advice program offers more than 35 brochures and a comprehensive website (www.metlife.com/lifeadvice) with free financial advice. The award-winning program is meant to support individuals through life's opportunities and challenges-both the expected and the unexpected. Topics covered include:

  • Life Transitions: Getting married? Becoming a parent? About to retire? Tips on how to make the most of it.
  • Family: From childcare to getting a driver's license, how to do what's right for those you love.
  • Financial: Financial planning for college, buying a home, enjoying retirement, or even all three at once.
  • Health: How to make smart healthcare decisions, help save a life and more.
  • Major Purchases: Get the facts before you rent an apartment, or buy a home, car, or boat.
  • Business/Legal: How to start, run and sell a business, plus information on choosing an attorney and the legal system.
  • Disaster Preparation: Protecting your family and possessions from earthquakes, fires, floods and storms.
  • Insurance Basics: Do you know what it takes to adequately protect you, your family, car and home?
  • Calculators & Tools: Use our interactive tools to make more informed decisions about insurance and other financial matters, and home improvement, too.

Individuals may access Life Advice resources at www.metlife.com/lifeadvice  or call 1-800-METLIFE (1-800-638-5433) to order Life Advice brochures. Callers may request up to three brochures, free of charge, each time they call.

MetLife, Inc. is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States.  Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. offers life insurance, annuities, automobile and homeowner's insurance and retail banking services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services to corporations and other institutions.  Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.  For more information, please visit www.metlife.com.

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BVN National News Wire