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Dr. Vincent Matthews has announced he is stepping down from his post as state-appointed trustee of the Inglewood Unified School District to become superintendent of San Francisco's public schools.


Matthews is the fourth person to lead the district since 2012, when the state stepped in to bail out Inglewood schools with a $55 million loan to avoid bankruptcy.  He joined the district in September 2015.


“This was an extremely difficult decision, but I needed to take this opportunity to be closer to my family while returning to the district where I began both my student and teaching career,” Matthews said in a written statement released by the California Department of Education.


Matthews has deep roots in the Bay Area, and worked as a state-appointed superintendent for Oakland Unified and as an area superintendent for San Diego City Schools.  He has also worked as superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District for 5 1/2 years.


By all accounts, Matthews is well liked among peers, who feel he has done good job for the district.  


Inglewood Unified School Board member D’Artagnan Scorza noted, “We now have a trauma initiative that’s addressing adverse childhood experiences throughout the district … We’ve launched My Brother’s Keeper throughout the district; we’ve launched a new school and district newsletter." 


“Dr. Matthews brought stability and strong leadership to the IUSD. San Francisco's gain is our loss. The Council wishes him great success,” Mayor James Butts said.


In his weekly newsletter, Councilman Alex Padilla wished Matthews well:


“Thank you Dr. Matthews for all you have done to steer Inglewood Unified School District in the right direction.  Because of your leadership, IUSD is in a better position today than when you first started. I am sad to see you leave, but I also look forward to our new State Administrator and continuing this progress we have made.” 


Matthews’ resignation comes as the district is deciding how to spend construction bond funds to renovate dilapidated schools, and how to stop growing numbers of families from leaving Inglewood schools.  Competition from charter schools has resulted in a 13 percent drop in enrollment in the last 5 years.


To combat the problem, a successful Spanish language dual immersion program was created  that has attracted some families who would have opted for charter schools or schools outside Inglewood.


California’s State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson said he’d appoint an interim trustee during the selection process to pick Matthews’ replacement. The San Francisco Board of Education was expected to vote on Matthews’ contract at Tuesday’s board meeting.







How to Spot Real Fake News

Thursday, April 06, 2017

There was a time when the news was either considered relevant news or non-news.  The latter consisted of information that was so mild or inconsequential that it wasn’t even worthy of being published. Now, “fake news,” has become woven into the fabric of the free press, to the extent that it’s hard to distinguish what’s real from what’s fabricated.


Sometimes fake news is obvious, as in the case of a headline announcing the engagement between actors Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.  Snopes had this to say:


As far as we know, there’s never been any hint of romance between them outside of the characters they portrayed in the 1985 film ‘Out of Africa.’


Both actors have long been wed to someone else — Robert Redford with Sibylle Szaggars since 2009, and Meryl Streep with Don Gummer since 1978 — making a planned or present marriage between them somewhat awkward, if not criminal.


A dead giveaway was the weird way the article moved from the topic of romance to a sales pitch for a skin product. It began with a fake quote from Streep saying the couple always loved each other to a comment about how young the 67 year-old actresses’ skin looks.  


Fakery in these types of stories is obvious. But what about more legitimate news outlets?  Because mainstream media is the product of Corporate America, it is no secret that what we often read or hear is influenced to some degree by corporate and political interests.  This can make Trump’s cry of fake news seem legitimate.  But, in his case, it is likely an attempt to discredit journalists who disagree with him.


Fox News, Breitbart News and other right-wing conservative outlets that support Trump are known for either fabricating stories, slanting the news angles until the facts are almost unrecognizable, or ignoring facts that make the president look bad.


And with this president, himself creating fake news through his own Twitter feed, the ability to detect what is real or unreal reporting adds to the confusion. 


So how can those interested in reality tell the difference between what’s fake and what’s real? 


According to the Guardian, “If you’re not sure if a site is legitimate, look for any red flags in its domain name, such as ‘’ and its ‘About Us’ section. Google the sources of any quotes or figures given in the story. Most fake news don’t have either, a warning sign in itself.”


If the first you’ve heard of a particular event is from a website you’ve never heard of, there may be a reason. See if other more mainstream sites have run the story. has compiled a list of websites that either purposely publish false information or are otherwise entirely unreliable, broken down by category. Facebook is reportedly implementing a policy that will flag stories of questionable legitimacy with an alert that says “Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers.”


We all have a part to play to insure the integrity of our news.  We must question sources and fight to make sure freedom of the press prevails at a time when our president is trying to shut the media out.  


One thing we can all do is to share responsibly. You are an influencer of those who follow you on social media, even if you don’t think of yourself in those terms.  Think twice about the news you share. You wouldn’t want to be the cause of wrong information going viral.







By Veronica Mackey


On Friday, America will honor the life and legacy of labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. The co-founder of the United Farm Workers or UFW would have turned 90 on March 31.  He died on April 23, 1993.


While there are volumes of information on Chavez’s pioneering work to bring social and economic justice to farm workers, his relationship to late civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not widely reported.


The common fight to end racism and inequality for poor people of color, and commitment to non-violence brought the legacies of these two men together in a way that is reflected in the city of Inglewood today.


As a city run by Latino and African American leaders, on the brink of major economic prosperity, Inglewood reflects the ideals of hard work and economic justice set forth by Chavez and King.  It also dispels myths that certain ethnic groups cannot live together peacefully.  


Today, Inglewood’s population is predominately Hispanic and African American although the number of white residents is growing.  Violent crime in the city is at an all time low.


Raised in a poor family of migrant farm workers, and with only a 3rd grade education, Chavez rose to become one of the nation’s strongest voices for immigrant and workers rights. Like Dr. King, Chavez used nonviolent tactics—in his case, prolonged hunger strikes—to draw attention to unjust working conditions and unfair wages suffered by Hispanic farm workers.  


In 1962 he, along with Dolores Huerta co-founded the UFW labor union.  By the late 1970’s, he became the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. The UFW had become a strong labor force which growers could no longer ignore. 


A folk hero among Mexican Americans, Chavez inspired people of all racial backgrounds. His slogan, “Si se puede” (Spanish for “yes, we can”) was adopted by America’s first black president Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign. 


King’s use of nonviolence, organized marches and economic boycotts drew national attention to racial segregation and injustice against African Americans.  The year-long bus strike by black riders in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955-56 nearly bankrupted the transportation company, and ended the law that gave preferential seating to white passengers.


Through their personal suffering—going hungry, being beaten and jailed, Chavez and King showed what can happen when folks stay committed to standing up to injustice.  


During their lifetimes, each leader expressed tremendous admiration for the other.


On September 19, 1966, Dr. King, sent a telegram to Chavez during one of his early public fasts:


“As brothers in the fight for equality, I extend the hand of fellowship and good will and wish continuing success to you and your members. The fight for equality must be fought on many fronts — in the urban slums, in the sweat shops of the factories and fields. Our separate struggles are really one — a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity. You and your valiant fellow workers have demonstrated your commitment to righting grievous wrongs forced upon exploited people. We are together with you in spirit and in determination that our dreams for a better tomorrow will be realized.”


Chavez would later honor King in an article for Maryknoll Magazine, titled, “He Showed Us The Way,” in April 1978, 10 years after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968:



“Dr. King’s entire life was an example of power that nonviolence brings to bear in the real world. It is an example that inspired much of the philosophy and strategy of the farm workers’ movement. This observance of Dr. King’s death gives us the best possible opportunity to recall the principles with which our struggle has grown and matured.


Our conviction is that human life is a very special possession given by God to man and that no one has the right to take it for any reason or for any cause, however just it may be.”


Several years ago, Chavez came to Inglewood to participate in the annual MLK Day march.


Friday, March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday observed in California, Colorado and Texas.  Some government offices will be closed, including Inglewood City Hall, Los Angeles Superior Courts, Department of Motor Vehicles, Hawthorne City Hall and Los Angeles Unified School District schools.  Post offices and most banks will remain open.  Trash pickup will be unaffected.  


A special Cesar Chavez Day program for children age 3 and up will be held Thursday, March 30 from 4-5pm at the Inglewood Public Library, 101 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90301.  Call 310-412-5645 for more information. 


The public is encouraged to take time off to study and reflect on Chavez’s life, his legacy of economic justice, nonviolence and workers rights—what it means for people here in Inglewood and throughout the world.  


By Veronica Mackey


Neither promises of a shiny new $1.3 billion stadium, a deeply loyal fan base, nor Bay Area roots that go back 57 years were enough to keep the Oakland Raiders from the bright lights of Las Vegas. 


Nevada lawmakers approved $750 million in public funding for a planned domed stadium, and NFL owners voted 31-1 on Monday at the Annual League Meeting to approve the Raiders' proposal to relocate.


The decision ends a 14-month frenzy in which 3 NFL teams announced plans to relocate due to less than desirable stadium conditions—factors that affected each franchise’s bottom line. 


First out of the box was St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who purchased land in Inglewood that will be used to build his football venue. 


After a vote by the Inglewood City Council in 2015 to build the new privately funded $2.6 billion stadium and a unanimous vote by NFL team owners in 2016 to relocate the Rams to Los Angeles, there was speculation that either the Raiders or San Diego Chargers—both at the end of their contracts, playing at stadiums that they did not like—might join the Rams in Inglewood.  


While the Rams deal gained momentum with barely a glitch, the Raiders and Chargers faced uncertainty over where they’d end up, being caught in the middle of home cities fighting to keep them, but unable to work out the financing.


In January 2017, Chargers owner Dan Spanos announced his team would be joining the Rams to play in Inglewood.  Meanwhile, Mark Davis, son of late Raiders owner Al Davis, was hedging his bets that Las Vegas would close the deal for a new venue.  


Davis told the press: "My father always said, 'the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,' and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness.”


Until the stadiums are complete in Inglewood and Las Vegas, the Rams will play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Chargers will play at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, and the Raiders will stay at their stadium in Oakland.  The Inglewood stadium will be complete in 2019, and the Raiders will start playing in Las Vegas in 2020.





My Endorsement for City Council

Friday, March 31, 2017

Next Tuesday, April 4th, Inglewood voters will elect or re-elect city council members. Councilman George Dotson is running for re-election in District 1 and District 2 Councilman Alex Padilla is running unopposed.


Both were elected in 2013, respectively unseating the late Councilman Mike Stevens and long time Councilwoman Judy Dunlap.  Since their elections, the City of Inglewood has experienced an upward spiral of growth which shows no signs of slowing down.  


The purchase, $100 million renovation and reopening of the Fabulous Forum in 2014 signaled the first realization that major change in Inglewood was on the horizon.  Since then, a series of improvements have occurred in Inglewood, which made mainstream media, Corporate America, and even the NFL take notice.  


The $2.6 billion football stadium, which will house the Rams and Chargers, bring thousands of jobs to the city and re-establish Inglewood as the “City of Champions,” was the major initiative voted on by the new Inglewood council.  It required a united effort, which might not have otherwise happened under the old regime.


But it’s not just the big attractions that people appreciate.  Residents look forward to community favorites like the Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, Earth Day Event and Farmer’s Market.  Inglewood has become much more festive under the new administration.


With so many positive changes taking place, I believe it would be a big mistake to change the city council now.  What we have is 5 dedicated men, including Mayor James Butts, who genuinely like each other, care about this city and are willing to work together to make sure Inglewood continues to advance.  The reality we see now is far different from what it used to be 5 years ago, when meetings were marked by constant arguing, and lasted late into the night.


This is why George Dotson gets my support. The businessman and former head of the Inglewood Planning Commission has lived here for more than 30 years and has been a valuable team player, more interested in getting things done than making a name for himself.  His monthly townhall meetings are always well attended and he stays connected to his constituents.  


With Inglewood becoming a major destination city, we will need good leaders like Dotson on board.  He, in my opinion, is the best candidate for District 1.  So don’t change now.  Keep Inglewood strong and thriving.


If you have not paid much attention to the upcoming election, please take a few minutes to study the ballot and candidates over the weekend.  And please, please vote.  Local elections are extremely important because they directly impact residents.  If you have any questions about where to vote, go to, visit the City Clerk’s page at or call 310-412-5280.


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