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California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

Antonio Ray Harvey, Lila Brown and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

Gov. Newsom Passes Bill Allowing Legislative Staff to Unionize

On Oct. 7, Gov. Newsom’s office announced that he has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1, legislation that permits legislative staff to unionize and collectively bargain.

Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood), a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus authored the bill, which was co-sponsored by Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and 41 other Members.

“@CAgovernor signed #AB1, #CALeg staff finally have the same right to form a union as all other workers,” California Labor Federation posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter after the Governor signed AB 1.

McKinnor, who is a former legislative staffer, called the bill’s passage an “incredible win” on X.

“Today is a huge victory for the nearly 2,000 legislative and district staff that have dedicated their careers to public service and have long deserved the right to be represented by a union,” said McKinnor in a statement.

“We are taking action to make sure that current and future legislative staff, regardless of their Member’s political affiliation, are afforded a safe, equitable and fair opportunity to build a noble career in public service,” added McKinnor.

California-Hawaii Conference of the NAACP Is Hosting 36th Convention in San Francisco

The NAACP California Hawaii State Conference is hosting its 36th State Convention Oct. 26 – 29, at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.

This year’s NAACP CA/HI State Convention theme is “This Is How We Thrive.” The convention will bring together elected officials, activists, organizers, faith leaders, and entertainers for workshops and discussions to promote solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing Black communities within California and Hawaii.

Topics on the agenda include Next-Gen Leadership, environmental justice, housing, veterans’ affairs, labor, education, and more.

“Branch members and civil rights leaders from across the state of California and Hawaii come together every year to discuss our most pressing priorities together to find solutions to the issues impacting our communities the most,” said NAACP CA/HI President Rick Callender. “We are excited to come together and thrive together in San Francisco, home to the NAACP San Francisco Branch, the first to initiate and inaugurate reparations in the state.”

Guest speakers at this year’s Convention include Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, NAACP Board of Directors and NAACP New York President; Rob Bonta, California Attorney General; Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City), chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus;

Los Angeles Attorney Kamilah Moore, chair of the California Reparations Task Force; Willie Brown, former Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco mayor; and Sen. Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward).

For tickets and more information please visit: bit.ly/3qM4kcD.

Solidarity and Sisterhood: L.A. Mayor Karen Bass Celebrates U.S. House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi

From one former speaker to another, two of California’s top political brass honored one another, showing mutual admiration amid continuing political chaos in Washington.

On Oct. 5, Karen Bass the Mayor of Los Angeles and former Speaker of the California Assembly, hosted a reception at the Getty House — the official mayoral residence — to celebrate Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Singer John Legend performed, and hundreds of officials, donors, and other guests attended the event held in the mansion’s backyard just hours after Pelosi spoke at the funeral of Sen. Dianne Feinstein in San Francisco. This was also two days after the former speaker accused the new interim speaker, Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10), of ordering her to vacate her office in the U.S. Capitol. Some reports suggest the order to relocate Pelosi from her “hideaway office,” assigned to her when she was Speaker, was a direct order from the recently ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20).

“What we’ve witnessed this week, the chaos, the disrespect of the leader, the disregard for national and international impact for the whole world to see never happened under the leadership of Madam Speaker,” said Bass referencing the United States House of Representatives vote to remove McCarthy on Oct. 3, through a motion to vacate filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla-1).

Judge Grants Mark Ridley-Thomas’ Request to Remain Free While Appealing Sentence

On Oct. 6, US District Judge Dale Fischer approved former L.A. Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas’ request to remain free while he appeals his conviction in front of the 9th Circuit of Appeals.

Mark Ridley-Thomas filed the motion on Oct. 2.

The veteran Los Angeles politician was found guilty of seven felony counts, including conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, honest services mail fraud in a quid pro quo scheme in which his son received substantial benefits from the University of Southern California (USC). On Aug. 28, he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in federal prison.

Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-CA) before her appointment wrote a letter on the behalf of Ridley-Thomas, asking for the judge for leniency in the sentencing of her “friend, mentor and community leader.”

“As you make your consideration for the next phase of this process, I only ask that you consider the totality of who and what Mr. Ridley-Thomas has been, the work he has done, and the leadership he showed so many of us in times of difficulty,” Butler wrote in a letter dated May 25, 2023.

CSU Workers Get Approval for Unionized Election

California State University student workers announced on Oct. 4 that the California Public Employment Relations Board (CPERB) has decided that they have enough support to initiate a union vote.

The process puts the student workers in the position to unionize after more than 8,500 union cards were certified by CPERB. The group filed a petition for a unionized election in April.

Many Student workers in the CSU system make low wages without benefits like sick leave, health insurance, and they are limited to weekly 20-hour shifts.

If the student workers’ effort to unionize is successful, they would be represented by the California State University Employee Union

(CSUEU). Over 20,000 student assistants across the CSU system will vote on whether to join the existing union.

CSUEU serves staff members who support the California State University’s 23 campuses as well as the Office of the Chancellor. The union represents 16,000 CSU support staff – working in six distinct bargaining units – covering the academics and operations of the CSU, including information technology, healthcare, clerical, administrative and academic support, campus operations, grounds and custodial.

“Shoot the Protestors”: Calif. State Bar Exonerates Attorney Who Called for Violence Against Black Lives Matters Demonstrators

Judge Dennis Saab of the California’s state bar court has exonerated attorney Marla Brown of disciplinary charges related to her May 2020 tweets calling for Black Lives Matter protesters to be shot during demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Brown posted that Black Lives Matter should be designated as a domestic terrorist organization and that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough should have his house burnt down with him in it.

The California state bar filed the charges against Brown.

Although the judge said he didn’t condone Brown’s speech, he determined that she did not intend to incite “imminent lawless action,” and, therefore, should not be sanctioned.

“The evidence tends to show that Brown’s speech was an ill-advised and careless expression of her thoughts and emotions in response to her perceived experience,” Saab said after the trial.

Mayor Bass Invites All Angelenos to the Los Angeles Business and Financial Empowerment Summit on Oct 14

The Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, in collaboration with “Accessing LA,” is inviting all Angelenos to attend the Los Angeles Business and Financial Empowerment Summit on Saturday, Oct. 14. The event is being hosted by the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and Bureau of Contract Administration and is sponsored by BMO (also known as the Bank of Montreal). The venue for the summit is the BMO Stadium located at Exposition Park.

The summit aims to foster economic growth in the city by providing business owners and entrepreneurs with essential information, resources, insights into government contracting, and tools to boost their financial well-being.

The event, which begins at 9 a.m., will feature an expo with 100 resource providers, panel discussions, and numerous networking opportunities. Business owners and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn how to access capital and capitalize on emerging opportunities in today’s economy. The expo ends at 3 p.m. and the panel discussions run until 4 p.m.

The panels cover a variety of topics, including economic forecasts, access to capital, city resources, success stories, upcoming global events like the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic & Paralympics, as well as strategies for inclusive growth. The event aims to offer businesses valuable insights and resources.

LA Mayor Karen Bass and a guest speaker will be conducting a fireside chat. Remarks will be provided by the Board of Public Works Commissioner, Vahid Khorsand.

Summit attendees will have access to a variety of on-site services, including legal aid and consultation for contract drafting and negotiation, a Business Certification Clinic for guidance on obtaining government certifications, and Business Assessment services to help determine business needs. Also offered is Credit and Debt Counseling, Procurement Support for learning how to get access to contracting opportunities, and information on eligibility for down payment assistance programs like BMO’s Welcome Home Grants. Resources will be available for credit readiness and financial fitness, including upcoming financial education sessions and BMO’s Credit Builder and Savings Builder Programs.

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