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Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

Tanu Henry, Lila Brown and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media  

Four Black Californians Among 10 Inductees Into State’s 17th Class of Hall of Famers 

On Jan. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Museum announced inductees into the 17th Class of the state’s Hall of Famers.

Among this year’s 10 inductees — both groups and individuals — are four Black Californians: Former San Francisco Mayor and California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown; award-winning filmmaker Ava Duvernay; Federal Judge and civil rights leader Thelton E. Henderson; and basketball Hall of Fame player and broadcaster Cheryl Miller.

Other 2024 inductees are: master chef and “mother of fusion cuisine Helene An; computer scientist and “father of the internet Vincent A. Cerf; all-female pop punk band The Go-Gos; Chicano Rock band Los Lobos; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Congressman Leon E. Panetta; and artistic director and choreographer Brenda Way.

This year’s honorees join 150 other Californians who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“The contributions of this newest class of the Hall of Fame will have an impact on California – and the nation – for generations to come. Through their boundless qualities and trailblazing achievements, these visionaries embody the spirit of California and will continue to inspire millions more,” Newsom said in a press release issued after videotaped announcement last week.

First Partner Siebel Newsom also welcomed the “spectacular new group of trailblazers.

With a penchant for challenging the status quo, these individuals wholly reflect the courageous, ambitious, and bold spirit of California, and have made an indelible mark on our state, nation, and world,” she said.

Inductees are selected annually by the Governor and First Partner.

Sen. Butler Marks First 100 Days in Office With Message and Meetings

U.S. Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), a former labor organizer and advocate for women in politics, marked her first 100 days in office on Jan. 13.

Butler commemorated the occasion with a message to constituents and hosting two open houses in Los Angeles and San Diego for community members and youth organizations.

“My first 100 days have been filled with opportunities to listen, to learn and to lead on behalf of generations of Californians demanding a government that works for them and protects their fundamental freedoms,” said Butler, who Gov. Newsom appointed in October to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein after she passed away on Sept. 29.

“From voting rights and housing affordability to mental health and reproductive rights, young people and especially young women are facing headwinds, and I’m committed to using my time in the Senate to hold the door open for them,” continued Butler.

On Jan. 13 and Jan. 14, Butler held two roundtables with young people in Los Angeles and San Diego that were closed to the press, according to her office.

“At a time of pervasive cynicism about our government, it is more important than ever to invest in restoring confidence in our democracy and to build a partnership with the next generation of leaders,” said Butler, who has announced that she will not join the race for the U.S. Senate seat she currently holds.

In the U.S. Senate, Butler, who has been a strong supporter of pro-labor legislation at the federal level, serves on the Judiciary Committee.

Since her appointment, Butler has also supported the Youth Voting Rights Act, which would allow eligible 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote; and other legislation that would improve the lives of women and children, including the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023, which would protect access to abortion; the Child Care for Working Families Act and the Protect Vulnerable Immigrant Youth Act.

California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) to Host 2ndAfrican American Economy Summit in Los Angeles

The California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) and California African American Action Fund (CAAAF) will hold their 2ndAnnual State of California African American Economy Summit in L.A. on Jan. 24 and Jan 25.

The Summit will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport located at 5400 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

The Conference is designed to discuss specific economic topics as well as provide opportunities for business owners, entrepreneurs, advocates and other guests to connect, learn, and grow.

Speakers at the summit will include Dr. Julianne Malveaux (Economist), Dr. Anthony Samad (Executive Director Mervyn Dymally Institute), and Tara Lynn Gray (Director of The California Office of Small Business Advocate – CalOSBA), among others. They will also participate in the State of California Economy Panel.

Another discussion will be a Mayor’s Roundtable, featuring African American mayors from Northern, Central, and Southern California. Regional perspectives on African American participation in the California economy will be shared by these panelists as well as challenges and opportunities for businesses in their respective cities. Deborah Robertson, Mayor of Rialto, will be the roundtable’s moderator.

CAACC Chairman Timothy Alan Simon Esq. will host a fireside chat with keynote speaker Janice Bryant-Howroyd. Bryant-Howroyd is the founder and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based The ActOne Group, the largest privately held, minority-woman-owned personnel company founded in the United States.

Vaughn M. Williams III, Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor for SoCalGas Company will be the moderator for Business Matchmaking, a session that facilitates networking among business owners across sectors.

For more information on the summit, call (800) 791-7068. 

Mayor Bass Announces L.A. Police Chief Moore’s Retirement

On Jan.12, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass held a press conference to announce the retirement of LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who will officially step down at the end of February.

Moore will be retained on contract as a consultant during the transition to a new chief.

“I want to thank Chief Michel Moore for his more than 40 years of service to the people of Los Angeles, and for his partnership in bringing homicides and violent crime down over the last year,” said Bass at the news briefing.

Bass remained even keeled although Moore was pressured to resign by a coalition of clergy and community leaders after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that he ordered detectives to investigate the merit of Bass’ scholarship at USC while she was running for mayor in 2022.

“If LAPD Chief Moore has directed detectives to investigate our mayor, Mayor Karen Bass, based on a personal agenda, we are asking him to resign immediately,” said the Rev. K.W. Tulloss in December, according to an L.A. Focus report.

Tulloss, who is the Pastor of Weller Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles and President of the Baptist Ministers, Conference, added,” If he does not resign? We’re asking that the L.A. Police Commission to immediately remove him.”

At the news conference there were no signs of tensions between Bass and Moore.

“Amidst a national police-recruiting crisis, LAPD also saw more than 1,000 applicants to its academy in a single month, which is the highest number in years. I have directed the immediate launch of a nationwide search for LAPD’s next chief, which will include significant community input and consultation with law enforcement officers and experts, said Bass.  The appointment of an interim chief will be made by the Board of Police Commissioners.”

L.A. County Supervisors Vote to Back U.S. Sen. Padilla’s Suicide Crisis Line Bill

On Jan. 9, all five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to throw their support behind federal legislation Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger led the effort.

The bill, titled the Local 988 Response Act of 2023, would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to mandate that all incoming calls to the national 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline be routed based on location of the caller, instead of the person’s area code.

“This system leads to callers oftentimes being connected to centers that cannot connect them with additional mental health assistance,” read a press release Padilla’s office issued.

“When someone calls 9-8-8 and needs help that we can’t provide over the phone, we need to be able to send mental health professionals to them quickly — but that can’t happen if LA County residents with out-of-state area codes are diverted away from our local call center,” said Hahn, who represented California’s 36thand 44th districts in Congress, respectively, from 2011 to 2016. 

“One of my goals when I went to Washington last spring was to get the ball rolling on solving this problem and I am grateful that on top of Congressman Cardenas’ bill in the House, we have this new bipartisan bill by Senator Padilla,” Hahn added.

In addition to using geo-location technology to route calls, if the legislation passes, the FCC will instruct carriers to allow calls and texts to 9-8-8 even if the caller’s phone is inactive or experiencing interruptions. It would also require multi-line systems like the ones some hotels and offices use to support direct dialing to 9-8-8 rather than first dialing a 9 or other number for external calls.

“Congress created the bipartisan 9-8-8 hotline to make it as easy as possible for Californians and Americans in crisis to quickly access lifesaving support,” said Padilla. “Mental health response on the lifeline must be efficient and safe, but the current system risks connecting callers to response teams thousands of miles away.”

Advocacy Group Report Card: California Is Underinvesting in Its Children

Children Now, an Oakland-based advocacy organization released a report card on Jan. 10 that claims California is lagging in several areas key to the wellbeing of children, including preventing substance abuse, preventive screening, supporting mental health and providing resources for birthing health.

“The California Children report card grades the state on its ability to support better outcomes for kids from pre-natal to age 26” the report states. “Each grade is based on the state’s progress (or lack thereof) on passing and implementing state policies and making investments in the supports and services needed for all kids to reach their full potential.”

In California, the total number of children within the study’s age range is 13.7 million. Of that number, 5 % (roughly 685,000 children) is Black or African American.

After Gov. Newsom presented his annual budget to the California Legislature on Jan. 10, Ted Lempert, Children Now’s President said, “California has consistently underinvested in its kids.”

“While we recognize the large deficit affecting the Administration’s budget proposal, we can’t continue down this path of deprioritizing kids that has led to alarmingly poor outcomes,” Lempert wrote.” We applaud the Administration’s renewed commitment to childcare rate reform, but are particularly concerned with some proposed reductions, including the elimination of the 24/7 hotline for youth in foster care and taking dollars back from state preschool.”

Assembly Initiates First Move Toward Banning Youth Tackle Football

Last week, the California Assembly moved one step closer to banning tackle football for children in the state younger than six years old.

On Jan. 10, the Assembly Arts Entertainment Sports and Tourism committee voted 5-2 to advance Assembly Bill (AB) 734, which was authored by California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) member Assemblymember Kevin McCarthy (D-Sacramento).

Capitol insiders say the full 80-member state Assembly may take a floor vote on the bill soon.

“On and after 2025, a youth sports organization that conducts a tackle football program, or a youth tackle football league, shall not allow a person younger than six years of age to be a youth tackle football participant through the organization or league,” reads the bill’s language.

McCarthy’s says there is credible research indicating that tackle football can affect the brains of young children.

The bill has drawn some criticisms from a number of other politicians and policymakers.

“Youth football isn’t just about pastime and tradition, it serves as a safe space for our young boys and girls to not just play a game, but a place for structure, discipline, and positive attention many in our community don’t find at home,” said Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper, who opposes AB 734.

“Kids learn about teamwork and serving a purpose bigger than themselves,” added Cooper, who is a former member of the Assembly and CLBC.

Supporters of bill, on the other hand, say the legislation is not taking organized sports away from children.

“It is simply saying that we’re going to move from tackle football to flag football and we can still have the same learning experiences,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), who is also a member of the CLBC.

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