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Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Has His Say with New Book

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By Zenobia Jeffries, Special to the NNPA from The Michigan Citizen –

Editor’s note: The Michigan Citizen is the first media outlet to receive a copy of Kwame Kilpatrick’s forthcoming book, “Surrendered,” set for release in July.

DETROIT — Until the lion tells his story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

This African proverb has been a running theme for African Americans since their existence in the New World. It’s no different today, especially for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Recognizing that even with the multitude of press Kipatrick has received since his entrance into public service almost a decade ago, the disgraced mayor’s story was yet to be told in his own words. In his book, “Surrendered: The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Malik Kilpatrick!” released this month with journalist Khary Kimani Turner, Kilpatrick finally gets to tell his story — “unreported, uneditorialized and uninterrupted.”

What many remember most about Kilpatrick, the youngest person elected as mayor in the nation’s history, at age 31, is that he lied on stand during a whistleblower lawsuit about an affair he had with his former chief of staff. The moment began his downfall. Since, his name has become synonymous with scandal.

In his book, Kilpatrick, recounts not only what many remember in sound bites, but gives context to the buzzwords — sext messaging, pay-to-play, Navigator, Manoogian party — used in the now infamous media takedown.

Kilpatrick successfully makes himself the subject — not the object — of his story by giving personalized accounts of his relationship and history with his chief of staff and friend Christine Beatty; his relationship with his administrative team and the metro Detroit business community, contractors, his constituency and the city he was born to love, Detroit. More importantly, Kilpatrick gets intimate about his relationship to his family and his wife in particular. So much so, Carlita Kilpatrick has a chapter “discussing” her husband and the scandal from her point of view, an unusual dimension since the role of political spouses is more often than not silence.

The book is saturated with a redemptive overtone that tends to relay the renewed spiritual connection Kilpatrick has developed. It’s through this lens that he speaks to what happened to him, not declaring innocence in his actions but the unfairness in how the events surrounding those actions were handled.

Kilpatrick’s case — the whistleblower lawsuit brought against the city, by current Detroit City Council Pro-Tem Gary Brown, who was a police officer at the time, along with another officer — was not only tried in a court of law, it was tried in the media, by the media and for the media. He describes this in detail. From the partnership Brown’s attorney and friend, Michael Stefani, had with The Detroit Free Press and its reporters to the judge’s change of ruling and court decorum — not only in the whistleblower case, but those that would follow.

According to Kilpatrick, Stefani used another Executive Protection Unit (EPU) member’s lawsuit — separate from Brown’s — to spice up his own, which Kilpatrick says had grown “stale” after the Attorney General’s “expensive investigation” on the car accidents turned up nothing and failed to interest anyone.

That EPU member, Walt Harris, claimed Kilpatrick had him drive around the city so the former mayor could meet up with women to have sex with them. Kilpatrick called his stories “sexy” and “descriptive” and ones that apparently only Harris had witnessed.

It was Harris’ statement that Kilpatrick and Beatty used their two-way pagers “all the time” that Kilpatrick notes changed the dynamics of the case “and the way it was reported.”

It was this, he believes, that slowly switched the focus from “wrongful termination to sex, affairs and cover-ups.”

Kilpatrick maintains in his book that Brown didn’t do the job he was asked to do.

“And that’s why I took it from him,” he writes. “I’d never encountered the level of treachery that Gary Brown displayed and, to this day, I have no idea what I did to warrant it.”

Kilpatrick recognizes his wrongdoing — the affair — throughout the book and there tends to be a consistent apologetic tone, but more to his wife and God.

He also expresses remorse surrounding his role in Beatty’s hardship following the suit.

It’s apparent when he mentions Beatty that there’s a friendship between the two that supersedes the “salacious nature” we’ve come to see, although he himself calls the exchanges “lewd.”

To read Kilpatrick’s book only for the account of the scandal is not enough. It’s his description of the city’s business, contracts, and the players involved that makes it a worthy read.

There’s always been somewhat of an underlying question in the midst of the Kilpatrick scandal: Who the hell did he piss off to bring this level of scrutiny?

This question could be answered in Kilpatrick’s account of visits by Detroit attorney Reggie Turner on behalf of the area’s powerful Jewish community. Kilpatrick’s General Counsel Sharon McPhail angered many organizations when she set out to improve the placement rates for groups receiving Workforce Development funds. She required recipients to reapply for their funding and submit detailed strategies to improve placement rates.

The Jewish Vocational Services, who received $25 million from the city in workforce funds, had only a two percent placement rate. They were cut.

According to Kilpatrick, the February 2007 Savior’s Day, an important event for African Americans, at Ford Field with Nation of Islam national leader Louis Farrakhan was also an offense to the Jewish community.

Another tension was the withdrawal of $90 million from Comerica Bank, which he believed was charging exorbitant fees, to place in First Independence, which happens to be the only bank in the city owned by African Americans. Comerica’s board members believed it was a slap in the face.

Kilpatrick, with his in-your-face approach, boasts of the progress his administration made. “Trash pick-ups,” new parks, new businesses downtown, are on this list.

“I don’t think anybody understands it, but I do believe that the people in Detroit can truly see and feel the effects of people being in office who are not working as hard as we were,” the former mayor writes.

Overall, Kilpatrick does attempt to fill in the blanks and the rather large gaps left by corporate media.

He details the breakdown of his friendship with Derek Miller and the feeling of betrayal when Miller spent time with those Kilpatrick knew did not wish him well — one of those persons being former City Council member Shelia Cockrel. He points out the way in which Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy approaches his case as a personal attack. He acknowledges those businessmen who helped him during the trials. He calls out those local and state politicians, some currently holding seats, who used him to further their own agendas — City Council member Ken Cockrel, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, to name a few.

Kilpatrick reveals a flawed human being — one sharing a personal and personable story — his own.

Harvard Grad Becomes New Pick to Lead Somalia

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

A Harvard-educated economics professor has been named prime minister of the transitional government of Somalia, as it struggles to keep insurgents of the Islamist Al Shabab group from taking over the country.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said the new appointee will revive an economy wrecked by war during the past 20 years.

Dr. Abdiweli Ali’s resume includes a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard, a master’s degree in economics, from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and a PhD in economics from George Mason University, in Virginia. In recent years, he has been teaching economics at Niagara University in upstate New York.

He was sworn in after a 337-2 vote with two abstentions. Al Shabab rebels, who claim links with al Qaeda, control large areas of the capital Mogadishu and much of south and central Somalia.

Meanwhile, Washington is set to hand over military equipment worth tens of millions to Uganda and Burundi for defense against the Al-Shabab. The military aid includes shoulder-launched Raven drones, night-vision gear, generators, and surveillance systems and other equipment and is part of a $145.5 million package for counter-terrorism support.

Class Warfare in South Africa Heats Up

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

After warning that South Africa could become a “banana republic”, the Secretary General of South Africa’s largest labor union, Zwelinzima Vavi, added fuel to the fire rising between the Government and labor at an executive committee meeting of the labor federation.

Vavi, in a report to the labor group, warned that a "powerful, corrupt, predatory elite (had) combined with a conservative populist agenda to harness the ANC to advance their interests,” since the last federation meeting 3 ½ years ago.

"We have seen … deepening contradictions, and wild zig-zagging in the political direction of the country," the report said.

The labor confab opened with hundreds of delegates, clad in red t-shirts from the various affiliates, singing and dancing ahead of proceedings. They waved Cosatu flags and sang along with a choir dressed in federation colors.

Delegates from Cosatu's 33 affiliate unions representing two million workers are expected to discuss an economic and political program of action during the four-day meeting.

Internally, the labor group is split over calls for the nationalization of mines. It is supported by the ANC Youth League and opposed by the South African Communist Party.

Deliver Us From Diabetes

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Lowering Rates are Difficult, But Possible

By Jessica Williams-Gibson, Special to the NNPA from the Indianapolis Recorder –

Diabetes is a disease that Nancy Dillon knows all too well.

In her 20s, Dillon began caring for her father, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

"Sometimes it was a struggle dealing with the diabetes. I had to do his meal planning and gave him his shots," said Dillon. "I had to adjust my lifestyle to care for him. It wasn't a burden, but a choice I made to help care for my father."

As he aged, his diabetes progressed. He lost his eyesight and had several amputations. It began with his foot, then below the knee on one leg, then above the knee on the other.

Dillon's father passed away in 2007 but during this time as his caregiver, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the most common form. Although her father and the majority of his siblings had diabetes, she was surprised that she developed the disease too.

"I did have the symptoms, but was ignoring them in the beginning like frequent urination, being tired all the time and being thirsty," reflected Dillon.

Fearing she would end up like her father, she began managing her diabetes with medication, a healthy diet and exercise.

Dillon and family are among thousands of people across the country living with diabetes. Blacks are twice as likely to be diagnosed than whites, and are also being diagnosed at faster rates than any other racial group.

Believe it or not, Blacks are not the largest minority group with diabetes, Native Americans hold that title, but statistics such as diabetes being the fourth leading cause of death for Blacks do not stack up in their favor.

Health experts say diabetes is a disease that can be prevented or managed but there are countless variables that further complicate the issue.

Many point to Black culture as reasons for high rates of diabetes, but Kieren Mather, associate professor of medicine and endocrinologist at Indiana University Health, said that's only a small portion that contributes to the problem.

"Things like socioeconomic status is buried in there," said Mather.

The big question that's being addressed is how to lower these numbers when factors such as unemployment, people living in dangerous low-income neighborhoods that discourage outdoor walking, access to places such as parks and food scarcity are issues that are extremely difficult to change.

High medical costs and access to affordable insurance further muddles the problem.

Improving diabetes rates extends far beyond the disease, but health experts say Blacks must move beyond these barriers and gain control of the problem.

Dillon believes that it's up to Blacks to become advocates for themselves and their community in order to address diabetes head on.

"We can't rely on anyone else because this heavily affects African-Americans," said Dillon, who has been maintaining her diabetes for 15 years.

She's doing her part to help fight diabetes by participating in the American Diabetes Association's Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, which will take place on Oct. 2 in downtown Indianapolis, and is a part of Project Power, a diabetes education initiative for the Black community.

Mather said that communities as a whole should assess their own risk and take action on aiding the problem such as adding more sidewalks and easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, if a person believes they may have diabetes, they should get tested. The first and most effective step after diagnosis is to reset people's lifestyle.

"Changes in diet and exercise are often undersold on their effectiveness. That can be implemented with very little cost and modest education," said Mather.

Although there is increased awareness about diabetes in the Black community, advocates believe more needs to be done to lower numbers and save lives.

For more information, call (317) 352-9226 or visitwww.diabetes.org.

Black Newspaper Publishers Conference Brings Out Black Leaders

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NNPA Chairman Danny Bakewell Sr. Passes Mantle of Leadership to Arizona’s Cloves Campbell Jr.

By Jasmyne A. Cannick, NNPA National Correspondent –

CHICAGO, IL – Led by Chairman and Sentinel publisher Danny Bakewell Sr., over 200 Black newspaper publishers from all over the country gathered at Chicago’s legendary Drake Hotel for several days of robust conversations on the future of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America.

The conference kicked off with Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Senior Pastor of the Dallas, Texas based Friendship-West Baptist Church, who addressed the significance and historic relevance of the relationship between the pulpit and the press. In front of hundreds of attendees, Haynes eloquently retold the history of Blacks in the United States pointing out role that the Black Press has traditionally had in African-American communities as the drumbeat of communication.

NNPA publishers made history when Mr. Bakewell announced a historic new partnership between Nielsen and the NNPA that will produce an annual report entitled the NNPA Nielsen State of the African-American Consumers Report with its inaugural release to take place later this year at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference in Washington D.C.

“This report will be able to put into black and white and more importantly quantitative data the shopping habits and spending power of Blacks in America,” remarked Mr. Bakewell.

Spearheaded on the Nielsen side by Vice-President of Public Affairs Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, who says that, “over the next three years the report will be issued in September at the CBC conference and it will provide America with a snapshot of the African-American consumer in one report. This is a first for Nielsen and we’re very excited because we’ve never ever done anything like this before, but we understand the importance of having this information available.”

“While a lot of our readers appreciate our editorial coverage of Black America,” explains Mr. Bakewell, “many have no idea that what they’re reading is just one part of what it takes to put out a newspaper. “The partnerships and relationships that the Black Press hold with corporate America is key to making sure that we are able to share the African-American experience. The Nielsen partnership is just one example of such a relationship.”

NNPA corporate partners representing Ford, GM, Nielsen and Wells Fargo attended the Chicago conference and participated in a conversation led by Mr Bakewell on the future of these partnerships.

“The Black Press is tried, tested, and true when it comes to Black America,” explained Mr. Bakewell. “African-Americans trust us and our partners and that results in increased brand loyalty for our partners.”

Nationally syndicated journalist George Curry moderated a discussion with some of America’s leading advertising agencies that specialize in African-American marketing including the Chicago-based Burrell’s Communications, Carol H. Williams Advertising, Flowers Communications, GlobalHue, and Uniworld Group.

Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights leaders and founder of the National Action Network addressed the issue of unity among African-American leaders as well their responsibility to work with the Black Press in order to ensure that our issues are front and center to keep Black America aware and engaged that the struggle continues on.

Later, Sharpton and Dr. Cornel West sat down for a conversation moderated by journalist George Curry in front of a SRO (standing room only) crowd and streaming live on the Internet to thousands on the state of Blacks during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Other Black leaders in attendance at this year’s conference included Dr. Charles J. Ogletree who moderated a discussion on Black leadership that included panelists Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Rev. Marcia Dyson, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, and Dr. Cornel West.

The legendary Motown group the Temptations provided the entertainment at the NNPA Legacy of Excellence Dinner and Awards where Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton and Miami Times publisher Garth C. Reeves were honored.

Additionally, NNPA hosted its annual coveted Merit Awards for publishing and editorial excellence. This year’s winners included The Miami Times for General Excellence, the New Pittsburgh Courier received the Robert S. Aboott Best Editorial Award, and the Final Call’s Akbar Muhammad took home the Emory O. Jackson Best Column Writing. At the conclusion of the four-day conference NNPA’s body of publishers voted on a new board of directors and executive committee resulting in the passing of the leadership mantle from Chairman Danny Bakewell Sr. to Arizona Informant publisher and former state legislator the Honorable Cloves Campbell Jr.

Mr. Bakewell who has served at the helm of NNPA for the past two years declined to run for re-election in an effort to focus on growing his two newspapers, the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times as well as spend more time with his family.

Although Mr. Bakewell is no longer the organization’s president, he still plans on being actively involved in NNPA and is both delighted and excited at Mr. Campbell assuming the leadership role for NNPA.

“Cloves will be an excellent leader for NNPA,” said Mr. Bakewell. “Over the past two years I’d hoped to lay a foundation for this eventual passing of the mantle so that the next president would inherit an NNPA that was both financially secure and stronger than when I assumed the role. I think that through my work and the work of NNPA’s board and member publishers that’s been accomplished.”

NNPA’s other elected officers include the Atlanta Inquirer’s John Smith as 1st Vice-Chair, Mollie Finch Belt publisher of the Dallas Examiner as 2nd Vice-Chair, Cleretta Blackmon with the Mobile Beacon in Alabama as Secretary, and Yvonne Coleman, publisher of the Louisville Defender serving as Treasurer. Each executive committee officers will serve for two years.

“We’re going to go continue with what Danny [Bakewell] started in terms of advertising and in terms of being a voice for the African-American community,” said Mollie Finch Belt, publisher of the Dallas Examiner.

Atlanta Inquirer publisher John B. Smith Sr. said that he gives kudos to Mr. Bakewell for his outstanding leadership.

“Mr. Bakewell’s leadership is unparalleled to any previous administration including my own and this is in part due to all of the wonderful things he has done for the NNPA.” He continues, “Danny Bakewell has been outstanding leader and he has taken all of us members of the Black Press to unprecedented heights. Though he has passed the baton to a younger generation his stalwart support is evident by the character that we all possess going forward in growing NNPA and by our willingness to become better chaplains for the better good as well as to remain vigilant in our efforts to promote our beloved communities.

The leadership that Cloves Campbell Jr. will exhibit will be unprecedented in the 61-year history of NNPA. We have one of the best teams that has ever been assembled since NNPA started in1940 and through Mr. Campbell’s leadership we’ll see a stronger federation of newspapers for years to come.”

Outgoing Chair of the NNPA Foundation and publisher of the Crusader Newspapers in Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana Dorothy R Leavell said, “We were devastated upon first receiving the news that Mr. Bakewell wasn’t running for re-election—and there were those of us including myself who wondered whether Cloves [Campbell Jr.] was mature enough to handle the position. But my doubts vanished when I first heard him speak. Cloves showed us older publishers that he has respect for us and our history. In Cloves, I see the wisdom that he’s learned from being involved with NNPA and the vigor and energy that comes with being a young man with fresh legs. The guidance that Mr. Bakewell will provide him through this transition period will help him succeed and I am assured that we are in safe hands. I pledge my full support to him.”

On Mr. Bakewell’s leaving the Chairmanship she continued, “We all just want to thank Danny Bakewell for his two years of service as he has certainly set a high bar for anyone following in his footsteps.”

For more highlights from NNPA’s annual conference please log onto http://www.nnpa.org/

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