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All Labor Has Dignity

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By Cheryl R. Brown

As we reflect on the meaning and purpose of Labor Day it’s fitting to think on the modern day labor movement. After decades of success in securing the growth of the middle class in the private sector, public sector labor unions are now equally if not more dominant in policy arguments and political affairs. Private sector growth will help the Inland Empire sustain manageable public sector services. We know that a good economy is one with a robust middle class and a well-trained workforce. The American Labor Movement has been instrumental in building both.

In challenging times, Inland residents do well to look toward dedicating ourselves to a future where business and labor collaborate for solutions that benefit all communities. Despite what over-heated rhetoric might suggest, most people want to live in quality environments, have enough to make ends meet, and leave the next generation in a better position than where we started. Longtime small business owners like my husband Hardy and I have seen the evolution of this region’s economy from a hub of citrus and grape farming to a manufacturing base with Kaiser Steel (where Hardy worked for a number of years) to a bedroom community and now the emergent health and service industries.

When we bought a small newspaper in 1980, we organized a union shop through the Hod Carriers; the same was true of printing and book publishing businesses we owned for a time. As a planner at the San Bernardino County Planning Department I served as an employee representative to the San Bernardino County Employees Association. The right to organize is fundamental to democracy as is the right to bargain for wages and benefits.

It is my hope that the Inland region of California is reaching the end of its economic troubles and beginning a resurgence led by the health, construction, service, manufacturing, and transportation industries.

Such a rebound is possible with a focused conversation on private sector economic growth and ways we can partner to encourage positive efforts. We are in a prime position to bring businesses back from other places because we have leading institutions of higher education, solid weather, improved transportation routes that can be bettered with continued investment, and a will to win the jobs race in California. Unlike other regions, we Inland people are prepared to lead on the question of jobs right now.

I am a daughter and niece of domestic workers. I myself cleaned desert motels in Palm Springs in the 1960s and can tell you that all labor has dignity because human beings endeavor to perform a service with which they can be proud and useful to employers and customers. Domestic work is challenging and wages for hard labor have never been high.

I learned a great deal from my mother and aunts who worked in other people’s homes so that their children might be homeowners themselves one day. I was personally inspired to pursue my education so I could further myself and my family by having the opportunity to run a business from production, to cleaning my building, making payroll, and hiring employees.

With a sustainable economic turnaround, the status of all workers and their families will be improved. On this Labor Day, may we celebrate the gains of the past, the security of the present, and the opportunities for a future of jobs, growth, strong businesses, and a healthy economy.

Cheryl Brown is a San Bernardino small business owner and civic leader. She is also a candidate for the 47th Assembly District (Fontana, San Bernardino, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Bloomington & Muscoy) 1580 N. WATERMAN AVENUE Page PAGE 1 of NUMPAGES 2 SAN BERNARDINO, CA 92404

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: FIRST LADY OBAMA SEIZES THE MOMENT

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Firing up the faithful, reassuring the skeptics

By Chris Levister

Characterized by what California delegates Linnie Frank Bailey and James Dudley call a sea of diversity, thousands of Democrats gathered at the 2012 Democratic National Convention four years after then Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) became the first African-American in U.S. history to accept the party's nomination.

With the nation’s economy in tatters and the near-rapturous adulation waning, the Democratic faithful gathered again, this time in support of national unity and a president who carries the power and the burden of incumbency.

“Our mission is to convince Americans to stick with the president they know rather than gamble on someone new,” said Bailey, a challenging task given the backdrop of 8.3 percent unemployment and tepid economic growth. “The main question we are being asked here is, ‘Are we better off than we were four years ago’,” said Dudley – “the answer is absolutely yes.”

Four years ago, America was bogged down in two costly and deadly wars, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month, the stock market had crashed, Wall Street had to be rescued with a $700 billion bailout, the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, and color-coded terror alerts reminded us of the lingering threat of Osama Bin Laden.

Under President Obama, we've ended the war in Iraq, created 4.5 million new jobs, doubled the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and generated record profits for the auto industry. And that's to say nothing of health care reform, financial reform, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and hundreds of other major accomplishments from this administration. “The way to get the president re-elected is by spreading the gospel of the truth,” declared the convention’s oldest delegate Elzena Johnson of Terry, Mississippi – born in 1914.

“This is what America looks like, inclusive, open, transparent,” Dudley said of the 5,559 delegates and 407 alternates circulating the convention floor. Half of all the delegates are women, 27 percent are black, with a record number of 800 Latino delegates and 644 youth delegates. There were a lot of testimonials like Johnson’s, Dudley’s and Bailey’s, but it was First Lady Michelle Obama's show Tuesday night at the Convention, and she used it masterfully — carrying a rapt crowd along with a narrative of family, hard work, and truth-telling.

“President Barack Obama is just like you. He knows the American Dream because he's lived it,” the first lady told an enthusiastic and adoring crowd in an address intended to reassure voters that her husband shares their values – hard work, perseverance and optimism. “He believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” Mrs. Obama never mentioned the president's Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who grew up in a world of privilege and wealth.

But the point was clear as she weaved a tapestry of their early years together, when money was tight and times were tough, when they were "so in love, and so in debt." She reminisced about the man who now occupies the Oval Office pulling his favorite coffee table out of the trash and wearing dress shoes that were a size too small. And she told stories about a president who still takes time to eat dinner with his daughters nearly every night, answering their questions about the news and strategizing about middle-school friendships. With a mix of personal anecdotes and policy talk, Mrs. Obama's speech was by far her most political yet.

“Today, after so many struggles, triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are – it reveals who you are,” she said. Mrs. Obama followed an electrifying speech by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the first Latino to keynote a Democratic National Convention. His national debut put the Harvard-educated Texan on the national map, recalling the way that Barack Obama's keynote did in 2004, when he was still a state legislator.

With a mixture of soft laughter and gentle scorn, Castro described Romney, one of the wealthiest men ever nominated for president, as “a good guy. He just has no idea how good he's had it.” “Their theory's been tested. It failed. Our economy failed under Republican policies. The middle class paid the price,” he said. “Mitt Romney just doesn't get it. But Barack Obama gets it.” Tuesday, Democrats ratified a party platform that echoes Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy and reflects his shift on gay marriage by supporting it explicitly.

In a nod to dissenters on gay marriage, the platform expresses support for “the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.” Convention speakers include, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, John Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Representatives Judy Chu and Karen Bass.

On Wednesday night, former President Bill Clinton will deliver what is widely seen as the most important speech of the 2012 Democratic National Convention outside Mr. Obama's own, when Mr. Clinton will place Mr. Obama's name in nomination.

“He reminds the nation, and particularly independent and swing voters, that things were pretty prosperous in the 1990s because he rejected a lot of the Republican policies that are being advanced now,” said Mike McCurry, who was Mr. Clinton's press secretary for four years. “He instantly evokes the memories of when things were a little better for Americans, and can credential Obama as a guy who will make the tough choices.” President Obama's crucial Thursday night acceptance speech was moved indoors due to dire weather forecasts.

Convention watchers say the switch deprives Democrats of what they had considered a major opportunity to register thousands of new North Carolina voters in a crucial swing state.

USC Stays on Script in Season Opener

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USC 49 Hawaii 10

Trojans’ offense flexes its muscle early with 49 points in the season opener

By Gary Montgomery

BVN Staff

Los Angeles – The 2012 USC Trojan football season is without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated seasons in the last five years for USC football fans. Not since the days of Marcus Allen and Charles White has there been so much to be excited about.

USC returns with one of the most talented offensive units in the country led by a four-year starter at quarterback who came in 6th in the Heisman balloting last season. Just having a four-year starter at the helm is exciting in itself but when you add two 1000-yard receivers in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee that nobody in the conference could cover last season you have something really special.

Barkley and Lee wasted no time in giving the 93,607 Trojan fans what they came to see. On the first play from scrimmage Barkley flipped a short pass to Lee who slipped a defender and raced 75-yards for USC’s first touchdown. Saturday’s season opener also included a tribute to the late Junior Seau who took his own life in May. Junior’s parents and his children gathered on the Coliseum grass during a timeout for a tearful ceremony.

Also, adding to the excitement, USC former offensive coordinator, Norm Chow made his head coaching debut with Hawaii. Chow was the Trojans Offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2005 where he helped Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart each win Heisman trophies. Ironically, when Chow left USC for Nashville and a chance to coach rookie quarterback Vince Young his replacement was none other than Lane Kiffin. Chows return was definitely not as amicable as he would have liked. The Warriors remained winless against the Trojans and advanced their head to head record to 0-8 lifetime against USC. USC’s overall offensive performance was not far off last year’s pace but not flawless. Certainly nothing like the season ending barrage they unleashed against UCLA. “I would give us a grade of ‘C’,” said wide receiver Robert Woods when asked about his team’s performance. “We did some good things tonight but overall it was not our best performance and we will play much better,” continued Woods.

Woods tough critique of his team’s performance was based on several obvious rough spots during the game. Normally sure handed Marqise Lee had a couple of drops on easy attempts. “It’s frustrating; you practice these things over and over every day. When you do that you expect to make those plays in the game and when you don’t it’s frustrating,” said Lee. Barkley threw for 372-yards, Marqise Lee had 10 catches for 197-yards but Woods was held to only 42-yards receiving. Although he caught two touchdowns, the Hawaii defense was able to take away one of USC’s big guns.

The other concern for USC should be the running game. The trio of Silas Redd, D.J. Morgan and Curtis McNeal only produced 98 total rushing yards. The Trojans will likely need a more balanced attack at some point in the season. The defense’s performance was solid but will need a better opponent to determine its level of improvement.

G. Montgomery can be reached at HYPERLINK "mailto:sports@blackvoicenews.com"sports@blackvoicenews.com

SB Bankruptcy Plan Would Slash 100 Jobs, Cut Services Heated discussion highlights dysfunctional history

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By Black Voice News Staff Report

The fight over a dramatic austerity plan for bankrupt San Bernardino continues. It escalated at Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council when city officials weighed a plan that would slash jobs, close libraries, and contract out some key services to private companies.

The plan would shave $22.4 million off the city’s $45.8 million general fund budget deficit. “We have no choice. We don’t have sufficient funds, Interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller told the council. “We have to make the deep cuts.”

The proposed plan would eliminate more than 100 jobs, including 41 non-sworn positions in the Police Department and other department including managers, clerical staff and janitors. Twenty positions were slated to be cut from the Fire Department, triggering demotions but no layoffs. Several council members took issue with the proposal calling it “ill conceived”. “I think we should vote on a plan that relies on experts. Not members of this City Council.” Rikke Van Johnson said referring to an alternate plan proposed by Councilman Chas Kelly. Councilwoman Wendy McCammack refused to support a plan to outsource key city services including trash – a long running point of contention between Mayor Pat Morris and some members of the council. The discussion erupted into finger pointing and outbursts from the audience when Morris refused to call for a vote on the plan until all department heads weighed in. There were loud boos directed at City Attorney James F. Penman, who openly accused Morris of packing City Hall with his supporters.

Unable to agree on a proposal to guide the city through bankruptcy, the council adjourned and decided to reconvene Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. A proposal by councilman Chas Kelley, on the table late Tuesday night, failed by a vote of 4-3.

Girl Scouts Meet to Discuss Diversity, Inclusio

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By Jordan Brown

The San Gorgonio Girl Scouts took the time to meet with troop leaders, former scouts, and scout parents about diversity and inclusion of scouts of color. One hundred people, mostly women, gathered this last weekend for a Diversity Summit with San Gorgonio Girl Scouts Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Harnisch Breunig.

The Summit is a continuation of an over half-century conversation about how girls and women of color fit in scouting. The first scouts were admitted in the early 1940’s in the southeastern United States. Racial inclusion was not national scouting policy until many years later. In the Inland Empire, there were various board members of the Boys and Girls Scouts who encouraged the development of scouting efforts on the Westside of San Bernardino, the area’s Black mecca. Cheryl and Hardy Brown, co-owners of Brown Publishing Company that publishes the Black Voice News, were among those who started troops and encouraged scouting in the area.

Ms. Brown addressed last weekend’s gathering with the story of how her eldest daughter, Lynn, first joined her father at Boy Scout events because none were available for girls in her neighborhood. It was not until Ms. Brown helped form Troop 252 at Rio Vista Elementary School that girls and their families had opportunity to engage the leadership development and programming of this lauded organization. Additionally, she shared how she was impressed enough with scouting to remain a troop leader for over a decade and being honored as a “Green Angel” for dedicated service to the organization. She was also a missionary ambassador to Cuernavaca in Morelos, Mexico on behalf of the City of San Bernardino and the Girl Scouts.

The Cuernavaca visit was an opening for other Mexican cities to become sister cities of San Bernardino and help foster understanding and respect across cultures. Ms. Brown constantly made the point that the Girl Scouts were in unique position to promote tolerance and affirmation irrespective of background.

The meeting was a positive step in reminding all involved with the Girl Scouts to honorably try to serve God and country, help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

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