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What Raven Really Meant

Thursday, October 09, 2014

On Sunday night (October 5) Raven-Symone was interviewed by Oprah for a special titled, "Where Are They Now?" which debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). A lot of black people are mad about a comment Raven made regarding her identity. Oprah addresses the tweet Raven wrote over a year ago in support of the gay marriage act passing through the U.S. Supreme Court. The tweet reads, "I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you." 


Oprah asks if that was Raven's way of "coming out". Raven expresses that while her tweet was a general cry of excitement for the LGBT community, she is currently In a happy and healthy relationship with a woman. Raven exclaimed, however, that she doesn't like the label of "gay" or labels in general.


Here's where it gets messy. In the list of labels she dislikes, she includes African-American. "I'm an American. I'm not African-American, I'm American."  Black Twitter went rampant with rebuttal tweets claiming Raven is adding to the list of black celebrities claiming they are the "new black". 


This new "philosophy" started with a comment by Pharell Williams earlier this year. Also in an interview with Oprah, Pharell says: the "new black" doesn't blame other races for our issues. The "new black" dreams and realizes that it's not pigmentation; it's a mentality. And it's either going to work for you or against you. And you've got to pick the side you're going to be on. People of color are upset (and I would argue rightfully so) that Pharell seems to think anyone can get ahead and your race has nothing to do with it.


However, I don't think that is what Raven is getting at. She goes on to explain that what she means is she doesn't have knowledge about her specific African roots. She's from Louisiana and her values, beliefs, and identity primarily come from America. I can't get behind a "post-racial-I-don't-see-color" mentality but I can understand what Raven was trying to say.


I grew up in America. For better or for worse, America has shaped my identity. I believe in individualism, independence, and self-sufficiency. These traits are definite American and individualistic culture ideologies. I am Black American, not African-American. I have no knowledge about African culture, ideologies or languages. If I were to go to Kenya or Sierra Leone tomorrow, I would not fit in.


We might have similar skin tones but that's about where the similarities stop. That is the point I believe Raven was trying to make


25 Bikes for 25 Kids

Thursday, October 09, 2014

This past Friday, the Inglewood Salvation Army opened its doors to an influx of jubilant children eager to get their hands on their very own bikes.


Salvation Army Corps Ministry Leader, Christopher Golden stated, “Continuing a rich tradition of partnerships in the community, the Salvation Army, Republic Services, and the City of Inglewood have teamed together with Bikes For Kids, to provide 25 bicycles to 25 kids through their recycle donation program.”


Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and District 1 Councilman George Dotson, celebrated with the young people as they strapped on their brand new helmets provided by Bikes For Kids.


Mayor Butts added, “You know the #1 gift any kid wants to get at Christmas time, is a bicycle. For the Salvation Army to partner with Republic to provide bikes to children that otherwise would not have them, is just a blessing.”


Angela Williams, Environmental Services Manager for the City of Inglewood added, “I’m very happy today on this occasion to be able to present, bikes to the Inglewood youth. The bikes were made available through the solid waste contract the City has with Consolidated Disposal Services. The bikes were donated and/or refurbished to give to the Inglewood community.”


Community Liaison for Consolidated Disposal Services, Dawn Harris, was moved by the event as well, “Consolidated Disposal, is very happy to partner with the Salvation Army, Inglewood Mayor Butts, and the City Council to put on this bike event today. We were fortunate to have families show up with children who were very anxious and very eager to get a bike and helmet today, and it made my day.  Personally, I was very touched to see the smiles of the children.”


For more information on how to donate an unused bicycle, or inquire about the recycle donation program, contact the City of Inglewood Public Works Department, 310-412-5333. Or visit the City’s website at



What’s on the Ballot for Inglewood?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

In less than a month, Inglewood voters will once again go to the polls to decide the next mayor. Mayor James Butts is running against former Inglewood District 1 Councilman Mike Stevens, and Inglewood residents, entertainer Sandie Crisp and retired businessman Gil Mathieu.  The mayor’s race is one of the most closely watched races in the city.  But it is only a part of the election. 


In this Midterm Election, voters will cast ballots for state officials as well as decide on important California initiatives.  So, what else is on the ballot?  Glad you asked.  Here is what Inglewood voters will decide, in addition to the next mayor.  Use it as a condensed guide to the upcoming election on Nov. 4.  Do your research now to make informed decisions and save time.


Statewide, voters will decide whether to give 4 more years to incumbents, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and Board of Equalization Member Jerome Horton.  All incumbents are Democrats, looking to defeat their Republican opponents, Neel Kashkan, Ron Nehring, Ronald Gold, Ted Gaines, Marshall Tuck, and G. Rick Marshall, respectively.


Term limits have forced 3 Democratic incumbents out of office.  Secretary of State Debra Bowen will vacate her seat to either Democrat Alex Padilla or Republican Pete Peterson.  Betty Yee and Ashley Swearengin will fight for the office of Controller now that John Chiang is termed out.  Chiang is seeking his first term as Treasurer against Greg Conlon. Current Treasurer Bill Lockyer is not seeking office.


Autumn Burke hopes to defeat Republican challenger Ted Grose for the 62nd Assembly District, while U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is running for re-election in the 43rd District against Republican, John Wood, Jr.


Jeffrey Prang will face-off with John Morris for the L.A. County Assessor’s seat, and Paul Tanaka is running against Jim McDonnell in the Los Angeles County Sheriff.’s race.


West Basin Municipal Water District Board Member Gloria Gray is seeking another term in Division 2.  She is expecting a win over rivals Michael Amos, Darius Leevy and Analilia Joya.


Five statewide ballot propositions are certified for the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot in California.  Here is a bullet-point description of each:


Prop. 2: State Budget, Budget Stabilization Account, Legislative Constitutional Amendment. Requires half of state revenues to be transferred from the general fund to the budget stabilization account to repay state debts.


Prop. 45:  Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes.  Requires approval by the Insurance Commissioner before a health insurer can change its rates.


Prop. 46:  Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors.  Requires drug testing of doctors and review of statewide prescription database before prescribing controlled substances.


Prop. 47:  Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties.  Requires misdemeanor sentences, instead of felonies, for certain types of drug and property offenses.


Prop. 48:  Indian Gaming Compacts.  Will approve or reject tribal gaming compacts between the state and North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe.




Traffic Congestion—Signs of Progress

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Street construction and the future of the old Daniel Freeman Hospital site were the main topics discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting.  Resident Leroy Fisher wanted to know how the City “got around the covenant” that allowed the Daniel Freeman property to used to build condominiums instead.


“Covenants apply to the parties involved.  The City was not a part of the covenant.  The City had no say in the sale and transfer of that property,” Mayor James Butts said.


“The City couldn’t tell them (owners of the site) what to do,” resident Ethel Austin said. 


The council approved an agreement to allow the Cities of Torrance and Lomita as member cities of the South Bay Workforce Investment Area.  They also approved advance payment to cover the City’s cost for professional services associated with developing the old Daniel Freeman site.


Compensation for Inglewood employees receiving full pay when they become ill or injured will now be reduced from 12 months to 6 months. After 6 months, full time workers can get worker’s compensation, Mayor Butts said. 


City Manager Artie Fields announced that the City’s Acting Community Development Director, Linda Tatum, was honored last month by the American Planning Assn., California Chapter, for her distinguished service.


 “There is a talented group of employees working for the City.  Linda Tatum is one of those employees.  We’re very grateful to have someone of Linda’s caliber,” Fields said.  


A professional planner for more than 20 years, Tatum has served on the board of director the APC for 12 years, and is a member of the California Planning Round Table. 


“She proves how great our staff really is.  We are only as good as the people we work with,” Councilman George Dotson added.


City Clerk Yvonne Horton shared some facts about the upcoming election:  “It is going to cost $36.5 million to do this November election. About $4.8 million will be spent in L.A. County.  Over a million people are eligible to vote, but not registered.”  Horton said the highest voting group are those in the 18-29 age category.


The Hollywood Park project is humming right along.  And with it, the inevitable reality of traffic interruptions. 


“The Gas Company is putting in a new gas transmission line between Yukon and Prairie,” Councilman Ralph Franklin said.  “Gas lines are being installed for the new Hollywood Park project. They are going to go all the way to the 105 Freeway.  It’s about a 30-minute delay.  You’re going to have a lot of disruption, so if you can avoid that intersection, you may want to do so.”


Franklin added that the gas line project will delay street paving, but “we have to take care of the things in the ground first.”


Dotson said folks may want to attend his Oct. 11 town hall meeting for more than the information:   “If you haven’t got your flu shot, it’s time to go and get it.  They’re also checking blood pressure, so if you’re having medical problems, Walgreens will be there.” All shots and checkups are free. 


The District 1 Town Hall will take place from 10am until noon at First Church of God, 9550 Crenshaw Blvd.   The public will hear from Mayor Butts, City Treasurer Wanda Brown and Chief of Police Mark Fronterotta.  Representatives from the Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison Company, AT&T, the Former Daniel Freeman Site and Centinela Hospital will update the public on new projects and share information about job opportunities. Councilman Alex Padilla took time to commend Public


Works Director Louis Atwell and his staff for their work around town.  “The public works staff has done an outstanding job addressing issues about trees that need to be trimmed and sidewalk repairs.  We’re in our new fiscal year and it’s (tree trimming) now going to run into Districts 1 and 4.  Districts 2 and 3 will be doing street repairs,” he said.


Councilman Eloy Morales reminded the public that drop off and pick up locations of children around schools will be more strictly enforced by new traffic control officers,



Red’s Flavor Table

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Amongst a packed house and the likes of KJLH Radio and NBA Hall of Fame Legend Reggie Miller, I found myself in the heart of Louisiana this past Saturday as the community partook in the grand opening of the Flavor Table, a New Orleans style breakfast restaurant located at 2812 W Florence Avenue in Los Angeles.


Hot plates swooshed by, folks carried smiles and good conversation, and music charged the air with good vibes, as guests, family, and friends indulged in the Southern cuisine that’s become quite a fan favorite in the last few decades.  


The newly opened establishment is actually the return of a Los Angeles gem that has been around since the early 1980’s, previously located on Western Ave and 39th Street. The former restaurant was titled Red’s, for the once red-haired, fiery and effervescent personality of its proprietor and Head Chef, Marilyn Wallace, a native of Marksville a small city in and the parish seat of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana.


A student of the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, Wallace was keen on pursuing her career as an actress at the time of the restaurant’s inception. “It wasn’t my dream to open up a restaurant, it was my dream to become an actress, and that’s how it all started. After we would do different performances at different theaters, everybody was always hungry. And we’re like, starving actors and actresses, we don’t have a lot of money, we had all our money going to school.”


Wallace joked about the first time he peers tasted her food. “So, we would prepare our own meals, everyone made a dish, we took turns, and every time I prepared something, they thoroughly enjoyed it. So, they would say, you’re so good, you’re a good cook, and I actually resented that, I’m a good cook? No, I’m a good actress!”


Being an actress has in its own unique way, rendered a competitive advantage to Wallace due to the fact that with acting, one learns the skill of quick thinking. “It’s all about improvisation, you know you have to think fast when you’re an actor or an actress. You better think fast when you’re in that kitchen.”


The establishment is cozy, it feels like your favorite aunt is going to come out from the kitchen and smother you with a big hug and kiss after you take your seat. The dining area is draped with photos and Louisiana inspired memorabilia that accentuates the ambiance.


As I made my way out back, there was a beautiful and elegant patio area, or New Orleans style “living room” fully furnished with intimate seating, a garden, and a comfy red sofa for the moment when the shrimp and grits hit the spot, forcing you to lie down.



The atmosphere is riddled with the vibe of family, and according to Quintella Smith, Wallace’s first cousin who also runs the establishment, “Lynn is a huge advocate of family, bottom line. She’s the matriarch of our family now, and she believes in family, she pulls the family, and it’s like the most important thing to her is keeping the family together. I think that’s the driving force.”


With a celebrity chef for a son, daughter, son in law, nieces, cousins all at the helm of this business, Wallace is definitely a proponent of family.


Ambiance and family are all great starting points to a successful restaurant, but there is no greater advertising agent, than the food. With various southern dishes on the menu, The Flavor Table offers shrimp and crab omelets, shrimp and grits, a heavenly peach cobbler French toast, and a host of other down home delicacies. After you eat there, that patio couch will most definitely be your best friend.





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