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By Veronica Mackey

 

On Tuesday, Mayor James Butts and Inglewood Councilmen Alex Padilla and Ralph Franklin presented a commendation to Books, Boys and Barbers, an outreach program that encourages boys to read.  Local barbershop owners teamed with the Inglewood Public Library to provide books for boys to read, or have adults read to them, while waiting for a haircut.

 

A member of Motivated Men, a mentoring group involved in the program, thanked the barbers, Inglewood Council members and the Inglewood Public Library for making Books, Boys and Barbers possible.

 

“I just want to say how much I appreciate these barbers,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Willie Agee. 

 

There were hardly any comments from the public—with the exception of a commonly heard complaint that council meetings should be held in the evening instead of during the day.

 

Mayor Butts surveyed long time resident Ray Davis about the matter.  “Do you think day meetings make a difference in terms of the progress of the city?”

 

“At night more people may want to come,” Davis said.  “But basically the people will make you bend to their will.”  He told the mayor if enough people were that concerned about meeting times, they would show up in numbers and make their voices heard.  

 

The Inglewood City Council approved:

 

•Two professional services agreements for building safety plan checks in the amount of $100,000 each;

 

•A resolution amending the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Budget transferring Community Development Block Grant funds in the amount of $55,076.94 from the contract services to the salaries budgetary line item for the Senior Nutrition Program; 

 

•Acceptance of the State Citizens Option for Public Safety grant funds in the amount of $179,644; 

 

•Re-appropriating unused Urban Areas Security Initiative grant funds from Fiscal Year 2015-2016 to Fiscal Year 2016-2017 in the amount of $165,000;

 

•A blanket purchase order to supply and deliver liquid chlorine to the City of Inglewood Sanford T. Anderson Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $80,000; 

 

•A blanket purchase order for the supply and delivery of liquid ammonia to the City of Inglewood Sanford T. Anderson Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $14,240;

 

•A contract award to Select Electric, Inc. in the amount of $1,399,941 plus a 10% project contingency in the amount of $139,994 for a total project construction allotment of $1,539,935; 

The City Manager’s Office got the green light to submit the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) 2017-2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018) to the Oversight Board for approval consideration, and administrative allowance of the City of Inglewood as Successor Agency to the former Inglewood Redevelopment Agency for the ROPS 17-18 period.

 

Two ordinances were introduced.  The first, from the City Attorney’s Office, recommends repealing Chapter 5 (Offenses, Miscellaneous), Article 8 (Sexual Offender Residency Restrictions) of the Inglewood Municipal Code to conform to recent court decisions. 

 

The second ordinance, from Economic And Community Development, recommends adopting a categorical exemption and approving a zoning code amendment to allow for more flexibility and variety in physical development within the City of Inglewood.

 

City Treasurer Wanda Brown gave another favorable report on rising home values in Inglewood.  A resident bought a fixer upper for $400,000, she said, then sold it for $695 two weeks ago.

 

Councilman Alex Padilla thanked Parks, Recreation and Library Services Director Sabrina Barnes and the community “for celebrating Martin Luther King Day and what he stands for.”  He added:  “I also want to welcome the Chargers to Inglewood.  Inglewood continues to stay on the map for all the right reasons.”

 

Councilman Ralph Franklin noted: “In all my years on the council, this was the best MLK celebration…Steve Wonder entertained us with 2 songs at the church.  Then he marched with us from the church to the Forum and then performed 2 songs there as well.”

 

“This is the second time Stevie Wonder attended.  He walked the 2.4 miles from Faithful Central Bible Church to the Forum,” Butts said.

 

“We are also proud of the press conference we had with the Chargers, and they got to know our residents on a personal level … and they were stunned at how much we were ready to embrace them.”

 

Butts closed the meeting with a touching story from the MLK ecunemical service from a young orator.  In his speech, a 6 year-old boy talked about how everyone wants to be number one in something.  “He said he wanted to be number one in love and service.  This boy is something else.  He’s going to be president one day,” Butts said.  It is a goal for which more adults should strive.

 

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to approve the contract it would sign if L.A. is awarded the 2024 Summer Olympics bid.

 

Council members also approved a final list of venues, including the NFL stadium in Inglewood (currently under construction) and the Memorial Coliseum, which would be used for opening and closing ceremonies.

 

“The IOC’s Host City Contract is our promise that Los Angeles is ready to host an outstanding and fiscally responsible Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “If L.A. is selected as the 2024 Host City, our low- risk, high-tech and sustainable Games will inspire the next generation to grow the Olympic movement and provide social and economic benefits for our communities. Today’s City Council approval is its 14th unanimous vote in support of LA 2024, and it shows that our city is united to bring the Games back to L.A.”

 

LA 2024 is in a strong position, assuring a privately financed, balanced budget of $5.3 billion for the Games.  Los Angeles would cover budget shortfalls, if any, according to the contract.

 

Using existing venues only was a key part of balancing the budget. And although Inglewood lies outside L.A. boundaries, it will be the closest, newest and most expensive sports venue available by the time the 2024 Summer Games comes around.  The Inglewood stadium will be complete and welcome both the L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers in 2019. 

 

There will be a series of presentations made by LA 2024 to the International Olympic Committee between now and September, when the host city is chosen in Lima, Peru.

 

2017 Oscar Nominations More Diverse

Thursday, January 26, 2017

By Veronica Mackey

 

What a difference a year makes.  In 2016, many African Americans boycotted the Oscars, citing a notable lack of nominations for people of color.  Actress Jada Pinkett Smith led the charge by posting a video on social media which addressed the situation.  

 

Spike Lee told Variety, “As I see it, the Academy Awards is not where the ‘real’ battle is. It’s in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to “turnaround” or scrap heap. People, the truth is, we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white.”

 

Rather than attend the Oscar ceremony, Lee said he would attend a Knicks game instead.

 

 #OscarsSoWhite trended on social media, pointing out Oscar snubs for black actors Idris Elba (“Beast of No Nation”); Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”); and the cast of the NWA biopic "Straight Outta Compton.”

 

Following last year’s controversy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, stepped up efforts to increase diversity by more people of color.  She was re-elected for her fourth term in August.

 

This year, a record number of 6 black actors were nominated:  Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), Viola Davis (“Fences”), Denzel Washington (“Fences”), Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) and Ruth Negga (“Loving”) all snagged nominations. There were no non-white acting nominees in 2011, 2015 or 2016.

 

Last year 638 new members were added to the Academy, resulting in a more diverse block of voters in terms of ethnicity, gender and age. Gender diversity still lags behind in the best director category.  Only four women have ever been nominated for best director. Kathryn Bigelow was the one and only woman to win, and that was 7 years ago.

 

Ava DuVernay has a chance to become the first black woman to win the best documentary award for  her film, “The 13th.”  Barry Jenkins could be the first black film maker to win for as Best Director for “Moonlight.”

 

There also needs to be more consideration of young, new talent.  This year actress Meryl Streep is nominated again —her 20th.  Some critics say she is overrated and the acting nomination should have gone to Amy Adams for “Arrival.”

 

It’s a decent start for Black Hollywood, but more progress needs to be made for women and for  Latinos, Asians and other people of color.  Representation needs to be broadened as well for everyone in the film industry who works behind the scenes.

 

By Veronica Mackey

 

A day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, more than 3 million women in over 30 countries participated in the Million Women’s March—the antithesis to what they say are dangerous Trump ideologies.  They came together for a day of unity to organize, be heard, and protest the new administration.

 

California lawmakers Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Maxine Waters joined women in the nation’s capital, telling them to be vigilant and unrelenting in pursuit of equality.  Notable speakers included Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, and America Ferrera.

 

The march exceeded expectations of both organizers and law enforcement.  An estimated 500,000 people participated in Washington DC alone.  In Chicago, about 22,000 were expected.  However, that number soon swelled to 150,000.  About 750,000 people showed up in L.A., outnumbering even the march in Washington, D.C.

 

Women, men and children showed up from all age groups, political parties, income levels, races and religions.  Defying Trump’s remark that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a “nasty woman,” Ashley Judd said, "I'm not nasty, like the combo of Trump and (Mike) Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I'm nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth." 

 

She was cheered on by a sea of women wearing pink tee-shirts and “pussy” hats.  The hats were created to underscore Trump’s disregard for women by saying it’s okay to grab their genitals.

 

The march was organized to protest possible defunding of Planned Parenthood, and a host of other issues being threatened under the new Trump administration:  environmental protection, gay rights, immigration, income equality, abortion, healthcare, and education.

 

Harris said all issues are women’s issues and told them to stay in the fight:  "It's going to be harder before it gets easier. I know we will rise to the challenge and I know we will keep fighting no matter what," she said. "This was a day for us all to come together in our nation's capital ... let's buckle in because it's going to be a bumpy ride."

 

Waters warned women to be vigilant and pay attention to Trump’s cabinet picks.

 

Ferrera took on the immigration issue, saying:  "The president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance."

 

Film maker and liberal activist Michael Moore was one of the men who spoke at the D.C. rally.  He  urged the crowd to get involved in politics:  

 

“Say yes to be willing to put yourself on the line. It is that simple. The next thing on your to-do list: You have to run for office. You, yes, you. I can see your faces, 'No, no, Mike, not me.' This is not the time for shy people."

 

Iconic activist and former political prisoner Angela Davis said: “We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages." 

 

While much of the rhetoric was aimed at Trump, the mission of the march goes way beyond resisting the new president.  Susan Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, told BlackAmericaWeb viewers not to get stuck on Donald Trump.

 

“We need strategy. We don’t have a plan. We haven’t stood strongly together and sustained any movement since the Montgomery Boycott. We have to come together with a three or four point plan. I understand the pain and the depression…but get over it. We have the opportunity to really turn our ship around,” Taylor said.

 

The Million Women’s March has launched a new campaign to keep the momentum going:  “10 Actions for the First 100 Days.”  To sign up, go to www.womensmarch.com.  For more information on Taylor’s mentoring organization, visit http://www.caresmentoring.org.

 

 

 

Trump Vs. Media—How We Can Win

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The time has arrived when those of us in the news business find ourselves subjects of the very news we report. Donald Trump is at war with the media, but that’s hardly surprising, as he is always at war with something or someone. 

 

We cannot allow him to win.  America and the world in general is counting on dedicated journalists—from small independents to large mainstream outlets—to make sure the integrity of the free press is protected.  

 

Trump would like nothing more than to shut down the real media in favor fake news outlets such as Fox News or Breitbart.  This is a sure sign of a dictatorship trying to happen.  One of the first things a dictator does is to control the message of the media.  They monitor news that goes against the ruling party.  This was evident when Hitler ruled Nazi Germany and today in North Korea.

 

Controlling the media is a form of mind control.  If the only voice citizens hear is the one of those in power, there is no opposition. It becomes easier to brainwash people.

 

We are living in an age where Trump’s tweets are passed off by some as real news—a time when it is okay to have “alternative facts.”  Trump even said with a straight face that he had an historic number of attendees at his inauguration.  In fact, he had about half the number that President Obama had. Pictures prove that fact.  

 

An ordinary man would save himself further embarrassment and move on when presented with the facts.  But we are not dealing with an ordinary man.  

 

Trump also claimed that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton not because more people voted for her, but because “millions of people” voted fraudulently.

 

This comes from a man who, despite winning the most electoral votes—and therefore, winning the election—is not content to win the presidency.  He has to go back in time and try and rewrite history by making up fake, unverifiable stories.  

 

So what should be done if the media were suddenly cut off from the White House?  How could the media continue to serve the people and bring the truth to light?  

 

Don’t rely on one single source for news.  This is why small, independent and local news outlets are so important.  They are not beholden to Washington politicians or lobbyists for their paychecks.  

 

Keep your cell phones powered up to record videos and post to social media.  Whether you are a professional journalist or not, you have a voice.  Many injustices that might have otherwise gone unnoticed were exposed by citizen reporters.

 

And, please let’s stop calling our country “Donald Trump’s America.”  Putting his name on it cheapens everything and puffs up his already overinflated ego.  America belongs to all of us, as much as the right to free speech.

 

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