By Cheryl Brown
Corey Jackson, President of the California and Inland Empire NAACP Young Adult, Youth and College Division, is holding a press conference he says to publicly denounce Congressman Joe Baca for what Jackson says is his failure to address the needs of his constituents.
He lists the Homeland Security and Patriot Acts as examples of his failure to communicate his position or what it means to our civil liberties. "We are supposed to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions," said Jackson. Jackson says that the issue is the lack of information provided by the Congressman on Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.
It has been brewing for months. Three months ago Jackson sent his first letter requesting Baca give information to the public in the form of a newsletter or town hall meeting explaining the Homeland Security Act and the US Patriot Act and other possible pieces of legislation that he says are attacking both our liberties and our civil rights. "He doesnt keep the community informed and I sent a letter and met with his staff to explain our issues. We want to know how he votes quarterly on issues. We want to know where he stands on Homeland Security and on the Patriot Act. We want to know what is in them," said Jackson.
Walter Jarman, NAACP San Benardino Branch President, said he is concerned about the upcoming vote on the second Patriot Act that is still under consideration and he is calling a special executive board meeting to deal with the issues. "We dont have a position at this time," said Jarman. He continued, "I have some serious concerns and we all should have concerns about the Act(s). I feel it is a threat to our civil rights," he said.
Jackson said that he has waited and waited for responses but none have come forth, so he is holding a press conference on April 18 at the San Bernardino branch office located at New Hope Baptist Churchs Family Life Center on the corner of Western and Highland Ave.
"I met with Baca staffer Mark Shepard, on March 24, to remind him we are not going away. They hope we forget and give up. The April 5th deadline that we set, is up and we still havent heard from him," said Jackson.
We sent the first letter January 16. I have made numerous calls and spoken with his chief of staff (Michael Townsend). If he (Baca) were waiting for a response he wouldnt wait for anyone for three months," said Jackson.
One answer Jackson says he was given was that the information is on the website. How many people in his district have access to a computer, let alone a website?" asked Jackson.
He compared Baca to Congressman George Brown who made it a point to be in touch with his constituents constantly. "Congressman Brown had town hall meetings, he kept us informed about issues and where he stood on them. He had a quarterly newsletter. It isnt like he has to pay for it himself. He gets Franklin privileges. We want to know what is his (Bacas) agenda?
What legislation has he introduced? What we are asking for is fair. It is the bare minimum of what we should be entitled to," said Jackson.
Jacksons position is not just his in a vacuum. He said he has spoken with many people who agree but are afraid to publicly say so.
Bacas office could not comment or give a statement at this time. At press time we were still waiting for a response.
But his office did respond to Jackson after Black Voice calls. Jackson said that the Washington office pointed out the State NAACP has given Baca a 98% rating.
"Thats politics, how he votes for the party interests, not how he treats his constituents and keeps them informed," said Jackson. Calls to State President Alice Huffman were not returned at press time.
Joe Baca represents the 43rd District and has been re-elected twice after the untimely death of the late Congressman George Brown.
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