By Willie Brown
Congratulations to Autumn Burke for winning Tuesday’s primary election. It certainly was a breath of fresh air to see a young person so focused and dedicated to her run for the State Assembly (62nd District), and such a nice person too.
Autumn ran a highly professional, intelligent campaign, and brought fresh new energy and ideas to the table. Although it is far from over, she is getting a lot of buzz and most feel she will take it all in November.
There can only be one winner, of course. But I would be remiss if I did not mention my friend. West Basin Municipal Water District Director Gloria Gray. Besides being a local heavyweight in the community, she is also one of Inglewood Today’s favorite people.
She has been a steady and fearless leader for more than 20 years, with the Los Angeles County Department of Health and Human Services, as a member of the Inglewood School Board, and through her service at WBMWD. She came in third place Tuesday night, but what I hope people will understand is this:
Despite buying a last-minute house in Westchester (to qualify to run for the State Assembly) at the tune of $1.3 million, dumping another $400,000 or so into her campaign, literally buying the Morningside Chronicle to sing her political praises, and trying to smear Gray’s name and reputation, carpetbagger candidate Simona Farisse, still came in behind Gray. Compare her sizable funding to Gray’s modest $15,000 and you’ll see money doesn’t necessarily win elections, people do.
This is a classic David and Goliath story. Not only did Gray have to fight against lies and big money, she had to contend with a political newspaper taking potshots at her reputation through Farisse. Randall and Teka Fleming, editor and publisher of the Chronicle built Farisse up as some sort of savior, even though she only moved into the district to run, and never connected with people. Yet, they say she’d be good for the people of Inglewood. Really?
As reported last week, the Flemings not only ran unashamedly biased stories on Farisse, they apparently worked for her campaign, and were seen loading their car with her campaign signs.
Farisse may have bought the Flemings for $3,000, but she could not buy this election.
Gray still managed to secure a respectable place in the race. Her name recognition and experience proved more valuable than Farisse’s dollars. The people showed more honor for Gloria Gray than the rich carpetbagger who thought her money was enough to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
The victory from Tuesday night is a victory for everyone in Inglewood—the confirmation that Inglewood is a community that cannot be bought. We should all sleep a little better tonight.