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Fallout From NAACP Baca Controversy Turns Positive

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San Bernardino

By Cheryl Brown

Corey Jackson says the response to his group denouncing Congressman Joe Baca has been well received in the community and even by Joe Baca himself. In an effort to address the issues that Jackson says his group raised, Baca said he is already doing the things the group requested and that his staff may not have been aware of his work.

Jackson is the State and Inland Empire NAACP Youth President. Last week The Black Voice News published a story reporting the group’s complaints about the perceived non-responsiveness of the Congressman’s office to repeated requests. A charge that Baca told Jackson is just not true. According to Jackson he was told by Baca’s office that the information he requested was available on the Internet.

The NAACP group said they had been trying to get answers to their questions since January when they sent a formal letter requesting that the Congressman educate the community about the Homeland Security and the Patriot Acts. They requested a quarterly newsletter, a town hall meeting, and his voting record on these acts that they say will take the freedoms of the Constitution away. They faulted the Congressman for not informing the people he represents.

The NAACP youth group is calling a press conference today at 6:00 p.m. at the San Bernardino branch office located in the New Hope Family Life Center (Public Enterprise) on Highland and Western Ave. "We praise his 97% voting record that the National office reports, but this is a local issue. Now is the time to monitor him," said Jackson.

"Mr. Baca called me and said he was already doing the things that the group requested. He has had a town hall meeting once or twice a year and had a meeting about Homeland Security. He also said he has sent out a quarterly newsletter. His next town hall meeting has been scheduled for May," Jackson reported. "We have not verified what he said but we will take him at his word and we look forward to seeing the next newsletter," said Jackson.

This story has caused much discussion in the community because of the group’s threat to denounce the Congressman. However, after working through the proper channels, the group found the Congressman’s office unresponsive. Jackson feels that this was the only way they would take them seriously.
"People are always saying we need to do something but no one will come out in the open to do something. We did something," said Jackson. We elect people and then do not hold them accountable for what they do," said Jackson.

Jackson does have some detractors. Baca’s office spoke out against the Black Voice News’ decision to cover the story. It led Westside Story Publisher Wallace Allen to defend the paper’s right to run the story on his radio program featuring Baca’s Chief of Staff Michael Townsend and Jackson.

Allen said, "the Black Voice has a national reputation and I will not let you disparage them.” When he was asked why the Black Voice was the only newspaper to run the story, Allen said he would have run it also but the fax was misplaced in his office.

The consensus Monday at the Westside Action Group meeting seemed to be that they supported the youth NAACP position. They feel that the issue of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act will greatly affect our lives but most people don’t know what it says or what to expect. Most people are happy the group took the leadership to bring this issue to the forefront.

"I’ve met people on the street and they just hug me, saying thank you," said Jackson. Rikki Van Johnson, a candidate for the 6th Ward Council seat, said, " It is important that elected representatives of the community inform the community of issues that will greatly effect the community. They must also realize that everyone doesn’t have computer access.

"Our motto is: when we talk about it we gotta be about it," said Jackson.

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