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The Hoods are Off

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The vicious, hateful and senseless violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend is a sad reminder of how racially divided we really are.  After having a black man occupy the White House for 8 years, the creation of more black millionaires than ever before and what appeared to be more racial tolerance all around, Ku Klux Klan members made it clear that racism is very much alive and well.  


And not the covert kind of racism, but the kind that gets people killed.   James Alex Fields Jr., 20, believed to be the driver of a car that plowed into a crowd of counter protestors, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of a crash that resulted in a death. Three people died and at least 34 were injured in Charlottesville.


Decades ago, Klan members waited until night to terrorize black folks.  And even then, they always showed up with hood-covered faces. Today, racists are brazen enough to walk up to people they don’t like in broad daylight and with news cameras rolling, and assault them.  They don’t seem to care at all who sees them; some even hope they will be seen.


I don’t have any statistics on the average income of these hate group members, but I would suspect that many are uneducated low to medium wage earners.  They are the very people who need to hang on to the Obamacare that Trump so desperately wants to eliminate.  


And, if my hypothesis is correct, they are working people who need their jobs.  This is where their dirty deeds could come back to haunt them.  As MSNBC host Rachel Maddow noted, this brand of white supremacists is not afraid to show their face on camera, and this boldness is playing into the hands of law enforcement.


It’s no secret that since the dawn of the Internet, employers have used social media to spy on current or potential employees.  Attorneys, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies use sites to gather information when building a case.  Posts that verbally attack or make fun of others aren’t just for laughs in a public forum.  They are potential pieces of evidence that could land people in jail.


Faces of the Charlottesville hate mongers are now forever recorded in time, and some of the people caught on video will eventually have to answer to neighbors, relatives, church members, and employers.  Friends will want to know why they were in Charlottesville, standing next to others cursing at peope and holding lanterns. They are not going to have a valid answer for their behavior when folks begin to recognize them from the news.  Their secret racism will be exposed.


There are some, however, who do not care who knows about their hatred and bigotry.  Some even try to justify it and say it’s God’s will.  And this willingness to be openly racist is what hate group organizers really want.  Like ISIS, domestic terrorists love media attention, and they’ll do anything to get it. Group leaders hope recruits will be rejected by their families and friends.  Being shunned by loved ones, recruits are more likely to form strong bonds with terrorist groups.  This is exactly what happens to many of our young people when they end up in gangs.


Now that Trump is president, racists feel safe enough to come out of hiding.  The KKK hood is off and they are willing to be seen for who they are.  But we all know there’s no way to control who sees you once the video is rolling.  So keep on smiling for the cameras, KKK, because there are many more who do care when innocent people are hurt.  They are watching, and they will come for you.



Short, Not Sweet

Thursday, August 10, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


Tuesday’s council meeting was cut short when a woman demanded that the council make public results of a police investigation involving the officer-involved shooting deaths of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin.  There was a brief exchange between the woman and Mayor James Butts.


“They were asleep… and to have the officers shoot them is unheard of in this country,” the woman said.


“You apparently know a lot.  So you’d know the family’s attorneys have access to all information…Maybe the family isn’t telling you,” Butts said.  


The woman said the families have a “gag order.”  The woman continued to speak past her allotted time.  At one point, Butts asked the guard to remove her from the meeting, then decided instead to end it.


The entire meeting ended shy of 15 minutes.  But before everyone cleared the room, Inglewood council members agreed to the following actions:


•Approval of an Associate Membership in the Golden State Finance Authority and consent to the inclusion of properties within the City’s jurisdiction in the Golden State Finance Authority Community Facilities District No. 2014-1 (Clean Energy).  The action will allow the financing of  renewable energy improvements, energy efficiency and water conservation improvements, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and other improvements. 


•The purchase of computer equipment from Dell Computer L.P. 


•Amendment of an agreement to extend the term of Hillcrest Medical to provide emergency medical treatment for in-custody prisoners through July 31, 2018  


•An agreement with the Los Angeles Police Department, allowing the Inglewood Police Department to enroll pre-service police recruits in their POST-certified training academy


•An agreement with Kane Ballmer & Berkman (KBB) for broad ranging legal advice, guidance, and representation to the City of Inglewood, Inglewood Successor Agency (formerly Inglewood Redevelopment Agency), and the Inglewood Parking Authority


•An ordinance amending the Inglewood Municipal Code, Chapter 3, introduced August 1, 2017, to increase certain parking penalties 


A public hearing was set to consider an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of Special Use Permit No. 2017-003 to allow a beauty salon within 300 feet of a similar use at 1413 North Centinela Avenue. 


Silicon Beach and the Digital Divide

Thursday, August 10, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


Silicon Beach.  If you haven’t yet heard of it, you should know that this hotspot for tech-driven companies it is closer in distance than you think.  It is driving up property values and creating thousands of new jobs, and is being blamed for displacing renters and small businesses. 


Unlike Silicon Valley in Northern California, home of Google and Facebook, Silicon Beach is not overwhelmingly geared toward technology jobs.  Rather, the area tends to have a more diversified economy where tourism, finance, and/or other industries also play a major role.  


According to Wikipedia, Silicon Beach is the Westside region of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, home to over 500 tech startup companies, with emphasis on the coastal strip north of LAX to the Santa Monica Mountains.   Major technology companies like Google,  Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed, Facebook, and AOL have opened offices in the region. 


While the rapid growth of tech companies has boosted the quality of life in such areas as Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, pockets of Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood, cities to the south and east are lagging behind. 


The tendency of companies to congregate in these centrally-located, high income areas has raised concerns about the feasibility of racial minorities joining the workforce, as they tend to live in further outlying areas.


One of the biggest reasons for the digital divide has to do with the uneven distribution of fiber optic lines, which is the gold standard of Internet connectivity. A new study has found that fast, high-capacity fiber-optic lines are hard to find in areas south and east of Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, Westchester, Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice and Manhattan Beach.  


Some smaller, poorer cities cannot afford fiber optics because it is expensive to install.  So it’s no coincidence that these cities are not up to speed with smart technology.  And until more investments are made in areas like South Los Angeles, richer cities will become richer and poorer cities will become poorer.  


There is technology available today that can download 25 songs in 1 second.  Without equal access to high speed data, Manhattan Beach might be forewarned against an energy crisis while Compton residents could be literally in the dark.


Understanding the need for fiber optics to meeting future demands and building a stronger workforce in less affluent cities requires a shift in thinking. Cities have to think of fiber optics as a necessity, like air and water. 


Inglewood, Redondo Beach, and El Segundo are working quickly to lay down extensive fiber networks, along with Riverside County, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Ontario and Culver City, according to a Los Angeles Times article.


While Google, Snapchat, Yahoo!, Facebook and other major companies in Silicon Beach can afford to buy their own broadband communication systems, small local governments need to work together so they, too, can afford to build the technology infrastructure.


Broadband Internet providers like Spectrum and AT&T continue to compete for customers, while some cities have begun to install their own fiber optic lines and provide direct access to residents.  Beverly Hills, for example, provides fiber optic technology to homes. 


In the future, and even now Southern California will become a cluster of “smart cities” using technology to operate self-driving cars and to find parking spaces that double as car charging ports. 


Silicon Beach will obviously benefit local communities, as cities will profit from investments, and tax revenues.  But there is a downside.  Since Snapchat moved to Venice, rents in the already pricy area have risen out of control.  



According to an article in L.A. Curbed (March 31, 2015):  “In this single wave of growth, Snapchat will displace about three dozen renters in the multiple buildings they're moving into.  It's not clear which addresses and suite numbers exactly Snapchat is going to occupy, but at the complex on Abbot Kinney, they're snatching up about 40,000 square feet, leaving roughly 6,700 square feet of the space alone.”


Snapchat bought ocean view property in the area, which was rented to their employees. Rising rents forced some residents and mom–and-pop proprietors out.  Residents complain about not having enough parking.


It’s hard for city officials to argue with “progress” when technology from Silicon Beach companies can potentially create tens of thousands of new jobs, enhance crime fighting and bring major economic investments.  Casualties of displaced renters and small businesses, and an even wider digital divide are realities that deserve attention.  


At the lightning-fast pace in which technology is growing, the sooner, the better.


As construction continues on the massive new football stadium and entertainment center, due to open in 2020, potential sponsors and suite owners got a preview of the finished product at the new stadium model center on Tuesday.


Located in Playa Vista, about 15 minutes from the site, the new model is a dramatic display of what is to come.  With a floor to ceiling video screen, it’s one spectacular way to advertise the new stadium.   


Visitors got a glimpse of the $2.6 billion, 70,000-seat venue, which will sit on 238 acres at the old Hollywood Park site, which will include a hotel, retail shops, an entertainment center and upscale housing.


The Playa Vista center offers more of an interactive 4D experience than a traditional model —with audio and visual technology that mimics Hollywood.  Like the vision of big thinking stadium owner Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Rams, it overshadows expectation.  


After showing high-tech videos of the project as well as the Rams and Chargers, two doors open to reveal the model of the stadium and adjacent areas.


Arranged in three pieces across a 1,200-square foot space, designers believe it’s the biggest such model ever constructed in North America; they needed a crane to hoist it.


The new stadium being built in Inglewood is about much more than football, as evidenced by the versatile design.  The video revealed how the football field can easily convert to accommodate a basketball or soccer game.  The venue has already been named as a Super Bowl site and will also host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.


There’s a lot riding on this stadium in terms of dollars—most immediate for Kroenke is stadium naming rights and suites.  The first of 125 suites are on sale and the center will also serve as the hub for tickets beginning in the fall.



Inglewood’s Morningside High School was featured on ESPN Tuesday night as the place that fueled the dreams of 5 basketball superstars during the 1992-1993 season.  


“Morningside 5” chronicles the  lives of Stais Boseman, Dwight Curry, Corey Saffold, Donminic Ellison and Sean Harris 25 years later.  It’s the latest film in ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.


Narrated and directed by Mike Tollin, the film is a 90-minute presentation from the ESPN Films group, and was taken from his original 1993 documentary about the team, titled “Hardwood Dreams.”


Based on the lives of 5 high school basketball players from Inglewood, “Morningside 5” is a journey filled with hope and disappointment, anger and inspiration, Tollin says. The Morningside Monarchs were riding high in the early 1990’s with an esteemed reputation for basketball,   “plus their five pre-eminent players were all returning for their senior years,” Tollin told TheWrap.  


Morningside is the same high school that produced former WNBA superstar Lisa Leslie.  She dominated the court there as a student from the mid to late 1980s.


Tollin is a Philadelphia native who has become a successful TV/film producer and director in Los Angeles.  No matter where his career has taken him, Tollin said he keeps coming back to Morningside.  


"They had a 20th reunion in 2013, which was our first shoot," Tollin says.  "Didn't even make the (film festival) cut. We would just pick up the five guys based on certain events, like Stais was about to have a baby, so we went to Minnesota, Corey decided he wanted to try out to make a comeback in Toronto, so we went to Toronto. Dwight was out of jail and looking at job opportunities, so we followed his job quest. Sean's rap career -- he had a big concert in Vegas so we'd go to Vegas.  Donminic, out of the blue, got this incredible unlikely job. We were able to get clearance from his employers. It's pretty amazing when you see this arc of 25 years of these lives."


None of the men ever made the NBA, and “all but one of them has moved away from basketball and they’re all just finding their way in the world,” Tollin told TheWrap. “What I love about this film is it isn’t really a story of triumph or tragedy in any great measure — it is a film about real lives.”


If you missed it,  “Morningside 5” will air again on ABC Saturday, August 12, at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT


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