December 17, 2009
SERVING LOS ANGELES COUNTY WITH NEWS YOU CAN USE
Vol. XXX, No. 1158
CBC Members Vow to Escalate Protests Parents Hope Son Inspires if Black Economic Woes Are Ignored More Black Organ Donors FIRST COLUMN
BY COREY WILLIAMS AP WRITER
DETROIT (AP) — Connie Spight was pleased when her 17year-old son, a popular athlete at a prestigious Detroit prep school, sided with her in a 2006 dinner table discussion about organ donation. “He said, ‘You know what, dad? I agree with mom. Why not do that to help someone else?’ ” Spight remembered. “We knew that he was in favor of it, but we didn’t think he would go before us.” Her son, Brandon Spight, died early the next year from a rare brain defect. His lungs, kidneys, liver, intestine and heart valves helped save five others.
BY HAZEL TRICE EDNEY NNPA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Now his parents, Connie and her husband, Virgil Spight, are trying to convince other blacks that they too should donate their organs. Blacks account for nearly a third of the more than 113,000 people awaiting transplants, despite making up only 13 percent of the entire U.S. population, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. There’s no national database tracking the number of blacks signed up as donors, but it’s widely believed to be about 30 percent, said Remonia Chapman, Detroitarea program director for the Gift of Life Michigan Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program. That’s not enough, said Clive Callender, professor of surgery at Howard University and director of the school’s transplant center. An even more disproportionate number of blacks are waiting for transplants on some organs, such as kidneys, because of higher rates of kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension and other health problems, he said. While race doesn’t matter with most transplants, kidney and bone marrow donors and recipients have a better chance of matching if See DONORS, page 13
WASHINGTON (NNPA) — The 10 black members of the powerful House Finance Committee are still being applauded this week by the black press and black leaders nationally for boycotting a committee meeting to force a $4 billion allocation to benefit the black community. They have told the NNPA News Service that they plan to escalate protests if lawmakers continue to ignore the suffering of their constituents, including advertising discrimination against black newspapers. “We’re out of the box, we’re full speed ahead and we are not going to sit back and watch our communities suffer in silence,” said U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the ranking Congressional Black Caucus member on the committee, who led the Dec. 2 boycott. “The 10 African American members of the Financial Services Committee have cooperated with the leadership, we have cooperated with the administration, we have supported the bail out and now we’re saying: ‘What do we get for all of this cooperation? What are we delivering to our communities?’ And the answer is little or nothing.” Describing horrid conditions in their districts that illustrate disparate suffering in the African American
South L.A. Light Rail Gets the Green Light BY THANDISIZWE CHIMURENGA ASSISTANT EDITOR
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors unanimously approved the Locally Preferred Alternative of light-rail transit for the Crenshaw Corridor Dec. 10. The rail line will stretch from Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards to Aviation Boulevard near the Green Line, close to Los Angeles International Airport. The 8 1/2-mile project could cost about $1.7 billion, according to MTA. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas considered the vote by MTA to be a victory for the South Los Angeles community. “This project is long overdue and will provide congestion relief, improve air quality and serve as an economic catalyst,” he said in a press statement. At issue during the meeting was the option of having a portion of the rail built underground, as well as deciding that the project be a light rail instead of a busway. The option of the rail line being underground from West 48th to West 59th streets along South Crenshaw Boulevard was considered by some to be a crucial factor in the mobilizing of a crowd at MTA headquarters.
REPRESENTING — Black members of the House of Representatives’ Finance Committee who boycotted a Dec. 2 committee meeting to force a $4 billion allocation to benefit the black community. The lawmakers stated their constituent districts, including the black press, have been left out of federal efforts to stimulate the nation’s economy. Pictured (from left): Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (Mo.); Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.); Rep. Mel Watt (N.C.); Rep. Al Green (Texas); Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.); Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.); Rep. David Scott (Ga.); Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.); Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.); and Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. (Mo.).
communities, each of the 10 members — in separate interviews — described what their constituents are dealing with and told why they must continue to act. “Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are being bombarded with requests for assistance by minority businesses that have no capital,” Waters said. “The banks won’t lend them any money. They’re either closing down or threatening to be closed down. The joblessness is off the scale. Not only do we have long lines seeking unemployment, but on Thanksgiving Day around the country — including the scenes that came out of Atlanta and Los Angeles — there were thousands of people standing in line for turkeys and turkey dinners. “In Los Angeles, I walked a four-block square place where they were giving out baskets. In that line were the disabled. One lady was 94 years old.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), chairwoman of the CBC, is supportive of the Financial Services Committee’s stance.
In a statement following remarks by President Barack Obama on job creation and economic growth, she said: “President Obama’s speech was another sober reminder of the important work we must do to grow our economy and create jobs. While we agree with the president that support for small businesses, infrastructure investment and green jobs is essential, we also believe that much more needs to be done, particularly for those Americans who are hurting most.” What the 10 black members did was boycott the committee’s final vote on a broad-sweeping financial overhaul bill. Instead, they were over at the White House trying to obtain greater funding for economic advances in the black community. The vote passed narrowly, but the CBC’s action forced $4 billion to the table to go directly toward helping people keep their homes after they’ve lost their jobs. Danny Bakewell, chairman of the 200-member National Newspaper Publishers Association, was See CBC, page 4
NEWS IN BRIEF THE SOUTHLAND Photo Courtesy of MARK-RIDLEY THOMAS’ OFFICE
PEOPLE POWER — Just a few of the hundreds of people who crammed into MTA headquarters Dec. 10 at a board meeting. The meeting was held, in part, to discuss the proposed light rail project along the Crenshaw Corridor in South Los Angeles. The MTA board voted unanimously to approve the rail project, as well as to study the feasibility of building a portion of the project underground.
Hundreds of people packed the MTA’s board room at One Gateway Plaza, and overflow rooms had to be opened to accommodate attendees. “Alot of the people we spoke with did not know what was happening, and the few that did, did not know the extent of what Metro was proposing,” said Damien Goodmon, a spokesperson for The Citizen’s Campaign to Fix the Expo Line (Fix Expo). “They did not know the streetlevel design would have taken half of the parking on Crenshaw Boulevard away.” Although Fix Expo has been critical of the MTA’s process of
light-rail development in South L.A., it also described the day’s events as a victory. An e-mail blast sent by the group after the meeting said: “For the first time in the history of the current process, MTA will now conduct a study and identify a funding strategy to keep the entire Crenshaw Blvd. portion of the Crenshaw-LAX Line in a subway. “A full Crenshaw Blvd. subway would allow our children, elderly and the public at-large to walk/drive across the street without having to negotiate with 225-ton trains, See LIGHT RAIL, page 4
Audit: LAPD Mishandled Millions in Purchases (AP) — A Los Angeles police audit concludes the department bungled millions of dollars in purchases through policy violations and poor record-keeping. The internal audit says there was a breakdown of controls in the department’s procurement system, which handles about $60 million worth of purchases annually. According to the audit, 84 percent of the purchases were made without the required competitive bids and fewer than half had documents verifying that the goods were delivered. The audit was sent to civilian police commissioners this month and reported on Dec. 14 by KNX radio.
The audit reviewed 102 transactions for the 2007-08 fiscal year. It found problems with about $3 million in purchases. Messages were left with the police chief’s office and the Police Commission.
Jail Locked Down to Prevent Violence (AP) — A jail in downtown Los Angeles was on lockdown last week after officials learned inmates were plotting racial violence. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s office said inmates at the Men’s Central Jail had been confined to their cells since Dec. 11. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said restrictions were being gradually lifted Dec. 14. No riots or fights were reported. See BRIEFS, page 5
L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
Call Me Barry: Poor Nations Fear Shaft Obama’s Tough Love EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON
Getting the world’s richest and poorest nations to cut a deal on climate control that both sides can live with has never been easy. This was evident again when Sudanese ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Dia Ping, who represents 130 countries in a bloc called the Group of 77, and China flatly called a preliminary draft of a policy document on climate control at the Copenhagen, Denmark, climate conference racist and imperialist. Ping’s strident name call is hyperbole. But his troubling point that industrial production and expansion has driven Western economic plenty isn’t. Ping’s blast at the rich nations for dragging their feet on aid to the poor nations is hardly new. Third World leaders have long charged that clamping tight caps on carbon emissions will make it almost impossible for the poorest nations to catch up with the West. By every measure of economic well-being, employment, technology and national gross domestic product, the imbalance between the haves and have-not nations is staggering. When the poor nations demand funds from rich nations as the price for cutting a deal on climate control, they are assailed as obstructionists, selfish, and fatalists on combating global warming and pollution. Third World leaders agree that global warming is a danger. It threatens their water supplies, forests, crops, rivers, and the seas that border
their nations. The decades of colonial rule, economic exploitation, the systematic gut of their resources, and crushing debt, have stripped these nations of the resources to combat the threat. The conflict over how best to balance climate control measures with Third World economic uplift exploded in bitter exchanges at a preliminary conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in October. Third World delegates accused the rich nations of trying to wiggle out of their commitment to provide nearly $100 billion to a global donor’s fund to help poor nations promote economic development and growth. The European Union initially pledged to pump $15 billion into the fund by 2020. The Copenhagen conference had added a sense of urgency since the Kyoto Protocol Accords on climate control run out in 2012. Kyoto established the basis for a global warming control agreement. The United States and China are the world’s two biggest carbon emitters. Yet they have not contributed a dime to the global fund so far. The Bush administration opposed Kyoto. Bush claimed that the treaty was unfair as its legally binding provisions for curbing carbon emissions apply only to rich economies, not developing countries. But Bush was deeply influenced by the drumbeat conservative attacks on global warming as a hoax and part of the liberal agenda to
retard U.S. industrial growth. The Obama administration is under heavy pressure to reverse Bush’s policy on Kyoto and drastically cut greenhouse emissions as well as to contribute billions to the global fund for the poor nations. While China does not slough off the global warming threat, it’s still a developing nation and has a huge vested interest in watering down any effort to place restrictions on emissions from its expanding plants and factories. China so far has opposed the effort to place a “peak” year on capping carbon emissions. The charge of imperialism and racism aside, poor nations will push the United States, Europe, and Japan hard at the conference not only to come up with ways to clean up the air that they pollute and heat up the planet with, but also to strike an accord that does not do further damage to the tottering economies of the poorest of poor nations. The rich industrial nations did the damage to the Earth and the economies of poor nations. The burden is on them to undue it. They must fulfill their pledge to shell out the money that they promised to boost poor nations. That’s literally the price to make Copenhagen talks a true success for the planet. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, “The Hutchinson Report,” can be heard in Los Angeles, Fridays on KTYM Radio 1460 AM, and streamed live nationally on ktym.com.
All 100 Senators Should Agree START is Vital First Step BY SUSAN SHAER
A flu pandemic is nasty, brutish, and a global danger. All U.S. senators and other leaders agree, and leap to keep everyone safe and healthy. Another nasty, brutish and global danger, which additionally is outrageously expensive and out of synch with today’s defense needs, is the continued maintenance of our huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. All our senators should agree on this. However, since there are threats and plotters, the United States needs to have a strong and effective defense. In his speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, President Barack Obama acknowledged these threats; and he also reiterated his call for a world free of nuclear weapons. As he has noted, they pose too much risk to all of us, as humans sharing a single planet. The longer nuclear weapons lurk, and grow, the graver the danger that they could fall into the wrong hands. So how do we proceed toward the goal of liberating the world from the threat that nuclear weapons pose? The answer is simple: Step by step. The road to disarmament is, necessarily and rightly, long, and will take time and patience, and many steps that guarantee our safety and prevent any
cracks in our security. One of the first steps is to take stock of the existing nuclear arsenals — and then reduce the number. The reality is that it is possible, and it’s in the works. Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev committed to this goal months ago; and will soon sign onto a new START agreement (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) that pledges and ensures the United States and Russia will chip away at their huge stockpiles. The fact is that the United States and Russia still hold onto around 95 percent of the world’s roughly 23,000 nuclear weapons. When the Cold War was drawing to a close, both countries acknowledged the urgent need to reduce these stockpiles, and signed onto START I. It was the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history. Since that treaty expired on Dec. 5 of this year, the United States and Russia have been working to fashion a new treaty acceptable to both. A critical piece is a reliable system to provide an accurate assessment of the size and location of each country’s nuclear forces. The new treaty will reduce the strategic deployed arsenals of each country by about one quarter (to a ceiling of 1,675 within seven years). After the treaty is finalized, it
heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration – first in committee hearings, and then on the floor. There will be ample time for debate. There are many reasons for the Senate to ratify this treaty, and to do so with deliberate speed. We have more than enough nuclear weapons to provide a strong defense; and to destroy life on the planet. We need to begin the long process of dismantling some of the thousands before they slip into the wrong hands. Maintaining these many thousands is enormously and wastefully expensive. We have better information than ever about Russia’s situation, and so are assured they are acting in accordance with the treaty. We should cultivate a positive relationship with Russia, particularly today. The world is waiting for its leaders to choose a sane path to help keep from destroying the planet. At least 67 Senators must vote to ratify START. This is a considerable number. And yet, really, it should have the support of all 100. START is in the interests of the United States, it makes us safer, and ideally, it helps to build momentum toward the ultimate goal of a safer world without nuclear weapons. Susan Shaer is executive director of Women’s Action for New Directions.
BY SIKIVU HUTCHINSON
In the dark of any given movie theater, from Main Street USA to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, they surround us: white America’s Hollywood objects of desire, playing romance and adventure in full amnesiac bloom. They taunt and entice, radiating spunk and derring-do in the face of strenuous man-hunting, universesaving, dragon-slaying and average hard-working Americana familyhood. Missing from the studio green light rosters are the tales of the ambitious, play-by-the-rules black girls and boys newly minted in the job market and beat down by underemployment. The ones who are initiated into adulthood on reverse discrimination screeds heralding the white working class as the last acceptably dumped on “minority.” The ones who are promised that the legions of Talented Tenth blacks armed with college degrees will level institutional racism. The ones who must quietly “absent” themselves from their resumes while white convicted felons, cashing in on their birthright, waltz through corporate doors. A recent New York Times article on black college graduates’ struggle to find jobs should be sobering for anyone with the deluded belief that Barack Obama’s Talented Tenth magic will rub off on them. According to the Times, some black college grads, fearing that they will forever be consigned to fast food fryers or professional irrelevance, are changing their names from Rashida to Heidi, Omari to Chip (or Barack to Barry). Staggering black unemployment rates 5 percent above the national average have made black job applicants desperate to pre-empt
racist discrimination by potential employers. In some instances, graduates of historically black colleges and universities have Sikivu Hutchinson deleted all reference to their tenure and omitted mentions of involvement in ethnically suspect groups. These trends point to the larger paradox of black invisibility. The Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) White House lobby for targeted initiatives to address black unemployment underscores the divide between the image of black assimilation suggested by the hyper-telegenic Obama family and the reality of post-Jim Crow segregation. Jockeying for a palatable white norm, blacks must effectively water themselves down and evacuate their social histories and memorialized sense of self and accomplishment. Racist death threats against Obama, coon/welfare-mother-cheat references on AOL news posts, and Fox News-fueled tea party insurgencies offer a steady avalanche of evidence that representations of blackness remain fixed in the white mainstream mind. Indeed, the current crop of mainstream film narratives about blackness — from the blockbuster white woman’s burden romp “The Blind Side” to the lurid ghetto pathology of “Precious” — offer powerful affirmation of the seductive lure and redemptive powers of whiteness. Released in an era where the rhetoric of post-racialism has reached surreal fever pitch, both films are essentially bookended portraits of See SIKIVU, page 14
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December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
BUSINESS BIZSHORTS Free Business Plan Classes Being Offered Free classes on writing business plans and entrepreneurial training will be available Jan. 9 to Mar. 27, 2010, through the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corp. Classes start the first Saturday of each month and are scheduled to run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Classes will be held at the Business Enterprise Center, 6109 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. Information: (323) 789-4515.
State Barber Board Chief Settles Civil Rights Suit (AP) — California’s barber board will clarify anti-discrimination policies to settle a lawsuit claiming it profiled blacks and used inspections as a cover for police probes. The American Civil Liberties Union on Dec. 10 announced a settlement between four barbers and the head of the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. A federal civil rights lawsuit claims armed police in the Riverside County town of Moreno Valley used state health inspections as a pretext for warrantless searches during raids last year on five black-owned and patronized shops. No charges were filed. Barber board head Kristy Underwood denied wrongdoing but agreed to create policies barring racial profiling and limiting joint inspections with police. The lawsuit continues against inspectors, police and the city.
LAX Getting $150M for Baggage Screening System (AP) — Los Angeles International Airport is getting $150 million in federal funds to upgrade the baggage security system to speed up lines at its terminals. The money will help complete an automated system that will eliminate the need for bags to be screened manually for explosives. The airport already has the inline baggage screening system at one terminal. The new project, expected to be completed by late 2012, will add the screening system to more sections of the airport. Airport officials and the Transportation Security Administration made the announcement Dec. 7.
Study Finds Upside in Calif. Budget Cut Failures (AP) — A University of California, Los Angeles, economic forecast says state officials’ failure to enact spending reductions agreed to during this year’s budget negotiations will put a drag on the state’s economic recovery in the coming years. The quarterly Anderson Forecast released Dec. 9 says growth would be slowed as deferred job cuts are enacted to plug a stillgaping deficit. But the forecast also says the delay in implementing those cuts is keeping affected workers employed until the economy improves. The report says the state’s unemployment rate will have reached
a high of 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and would not dip back into single digits until 2012. It says economic growth would begin to pick up in the beginning of 2011.
Southern California Commuter Rail CEO Steps Down (AP) — The chief executive officer of Southern California’s commuter rail agency will step down but continue to work on safety measures for the system, which is under scrutiny after 25 people were killed in a head-on train collision last year. Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s board held a closed-door session Dec. 11 to create a new position for David Solow, who had headed the fivecounty Metrolink system for 10 years. Solow has come under fire from board members, who said he mishandled recent fare increases and seemed overwhelmed by the job since the September 2008 crash, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Holidays: Buying Into a Christmas Without Presents BY NEDRA PICKLER AP WRITER
WASHINGTON (AP) — I’m not a Scrooge, really. I embrace almost all of Christmas. Except for the one time-honored tradition that brings so much stress and expense that eliminating it has made the holiday even more magical. Join me — and others who are signing on in times of tight budgets — in the wonderful simplicity of a Christmas without presents. If 2009 taught us anything, isn’t it that we can live with less and actually maybe even live better that way? My family stopped exchanging
Christmas presents when I was a teenager and my single mother was out of work. We thought of it as a sacrifice that we had no choice but to make. We didn’t realize at first that getting back all the time we spent shopping, wrapping, and stressing out over gifts was the best present we could give each other. But we’ve never gone back to the old way of presents stacked under the tree. We haven’t missed the bottles of scented lotion that cluttered our bathrooms but didn’t get used, the Santa Claus pajamas that were out of season after a couple of weeks, or the myriad gadgets that we didn’t
really want or need. Instead of going to the crowded mall, we spent quiet evenings at home together, listening to holiday music, and playing games. Money saved could be spent on a lavish Christmas dinner — and we had a New Year free of holiday bills. My main incentive for not purchasing gifts is to cut stress and waste out of what can be joyful family time, but there are other good reasons. Some people forgo gifts to save money, to reduce materialism or environmental impact, or to keep the focus on the season’s religious significance. See HOLIDAYS, page 10
Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said he lost confidence in Solow’s ability to provide the leadership needed, after the Chatsworth accident. Investigators believe a Metrolink engineer who ran a red light seconds after he was text messaging on his cell phone is to blame for the crash. Eric Haley, the former CEO of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, will lead Metrolink temporarily while the agency searches for a new CEO.
L.A. City Council to Request Jackson Memorial Cost Update (AP) — Two Los Angeles City Council committees plan to ask City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to report on his investigation into recovering the $3.2 million that the city spent on services related to the Michael Jackson memorial tribute in July. At the council’s Public Safety Committee meeting Dec. 7, Councilwoman Jan Perry said once the investigation is completed, she would resume discussions with the Staples Center owner for a “donation.” Perry said entertainment giant AEG is unlikely to hand over any money with the looming threat of criminal prosecution. Councilman Bernard Parks said at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting that he would like Trutanich to state the charges AEG could face.
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L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
COMMUNITY COMMUNITY MEETINGS, FORUMS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS Metro to Operate Trains All Night on New Year’s Eve The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will offer 24-hour service on all of its rail lines on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. Metro Red, Purple, Blue, Green and Gold Line trains will run every 20 minutes from 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 5 a.m. the next morning. To facilitate transit to the 2010 Pasadena Tournament of Roses 121st Rose Parade, Metro also will provide additional train service with greater frequencies on the East Los Angeles to Pasadena Metro Gold Line, which has four stations (Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake and Allen) within walking distance of the parade. Also, Metro has announced
that all its bus and rail lines will be free of charge between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Parking is available at Union Station. Information: 1 (800) COMMUTE, www.metro.net.
Education & Resource Center Presents African American Film Marketplace The 16th annual African American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase will take place Dec. 18 to 20 at Nate Holden Performing Art Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. There will be short films and documentaries — 50 total — from a variety of places around the United States. The admission fee for each
Southern California Edison: Leading the Way in Clean, Green Energy Southern California Edison (SCE) continually seeks out and taps into new sources of alternative and renewable energy (energy from sources that can’t be depleted such as wind, solar, and water among others). The utility is helping meet the state’s renewable energy goals to deliver more clean and green energy to its customers today and in the future. California currently has a goal of delivering 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and is considering legislation to increase the goal to 33 percent by 2020. SCE is the nation’s leading purchaser of renewable energy and in 2008, delivered 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy to consumers – 16 percent of its total power deliveries under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard guidelines. SCE also purchased approximately 65 percent of all U.S. solar generation for its customers. Each year, SCE solicits offers of new competitively priced renewable energy for its customers. Since 2002, SCE has entered into 47 contracts that will generate up to 27 billion kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy. Purchases of renewable energy can deliver nearly 2,800 megawatts of electricity, including: • 1,137 megawatts from wind; • 955 megawatts from geothermal; • 356 megawatts from solar; • 176 megawatts from biomass; and • 200 megawatts from small hydro. In February 2009, SCE negotiated one of the world’s largest solar deals for seven “power tower” projects that will provide up to 1,300 megawatts of solar thermal energy. Also in June 2009, SCE gained regulatory approval for the nation’s largest solar panel project that will result in 500 megawatts of advanced photovoltaic generation to be installed on otherwise unused roofs of Southern California commercial buildings. $QRWKHU VLJQL¿FDQW DJUHHPHQW LV WKH ODUJHVW ZLQG HQHUJ\ contract ever negotiated by a U.S. utility, securing 1,500 megawatts or more of power for SCE customers. In order to deliver renewable energy to customers while maintaining the reliability of the electricity system, SCE is building the nation’s largest transmission project devoted primarily to renewable energy. The Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project will provide access to up to 4,500 megawatts of electricity when completed. To learn more about SCE’s commitment to renewables, please visit www.sce.com/renewables. Advertorial
day is a $5 donation. Information: (310) 284-3170, (323) 957-4747, www.bherc.org.
California Speeds Jobless Checks Despite Glitch SACRAMENTO (AP) — State employees worked through the weekend to prepare unemployment checks for 121,000 long-term jobless Californians, bypassing an antiquated computer system.
CBC Continued from page 1 credited by several members for helping to spark the protest by his lobbying around Capitol Hill. Bakewell said he is delighted at the stance taken by the CBC, but much more must be done to recognize the power of the black press to the nation. “We have been the backbone and the foundation on which America was built,” he said. “And in this case, what we are realizing is that we continue to be the foundation on which many of these corporations make their profits and develop their brands throughout the country and we’re not going to continue to sit idly by and let them do that while the very fabric of our community is crumbling from within. “We’re serving notice on General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and other automotive companies and the automotive industry that there will be no more business as usual.” Bakewell and NNPA Foundation Chair Dorothy R. Leavell, as well as Mollie Belt, second vice chair of NNPA, and Michael House, NNPA marketing chairperson, have begun a series of meetings with corporations and have already made inroads. “We’ve met with AT&T. They have been very receptive. They represent what we believe at this point we can say is a good corporate citizen,” Bakewell said. “We’re not asking for a bail out or a hand out; we’re asking for reciprocity and respect.” Bakewell explained that the black community, black newspapers included, are being shortchanged for the dollars they spend with businesses and corporations. “We’re asking what percentage of the market share do we represent a company’s business, their profit margin? If we represent one percent, we don’t expect to get anything more than one percent. But, if we represent 50 percent, we expect to have 50 percent of their resources …” To avoid legal ramifications, the committee agreed to target the
Loree Levy, spokeswoman for the state Employment Development Department, said checks could begin arriving as early as midweek after complaints poured in about the delays. Levy previously said jobless payments from a federally approved extension of at least 14 weeks could be delayed into the new year. She had blamed the state’s 30year-old computer system for com-
plicating programming that must be rewritten to issue the new checks. Employees now are working around the usual paperwork to issue the checks. The speedup comes after complaints from lawmakers, social service advocates and a pointed letter Dec. 11 from the Schwarzenegger administration. Information from: Los Angeles Times, www.latimes.com.
money toward communities with the highest socio-economic impact rather than by race. That includes most of the CBC districts. “Across the country, it is absolutely shocking,” said Rep. Al Green (D-TX). “It is very unfortunate that we have to make this commentary, but the truth of the matter is that there are people who are suffering and who have not been identified properly … We cannot leave these communities behind. If it goes to the areas where the unemployment is the highest, it covers the people who are suffering the most. Green said his office has found that the federal government spends about 5 percent of $4.3 billion for adrelated expenditures on small business and minority businesses. “We can do better than that,” he said. “These newspapers, not only do they benefit from the ads, but the community benefits from the message that the ads bring to the community because it goes to a corner of the community that is not penetrated by other newspapers.” Part of the money will come from the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). CBC members are hoping to get even more as they continue to use creative ways to call attention to the swelling problems in the black community that have shaken up the offices of the CBC members. Members are receiving the calls and e-mails everyday, says Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). “They say, ‘When’s our turn?’ ” Ellison said. “ ‘We need real jobs programs. We need something to help small, minority businesses. We need to know that there is a vibrant, historic and very strong African American business community here in the United States and in my state of Minnesota.’ It really struck me that every single industry is being severely impacted.” Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) says his district has been hit especially hard in homeownership. “My district in the city of New York is number one in foreclosures,” he said. “So, more people are losing
their homes and thereby losing wealth. And so much so that I’ve had to get not-for-profit organizations that have expertise in helping individuals work through these problems.” CBC members have known all along about the disparate treatment of blacks. But recently they were enlightened to the point of taking their consciousness to a new level of protest. “As we worked through the process of getting to the point where we were going to vote for the final Wall Street bill, it became more and more difficult for the 10 members of financial services to vote for it because it felt like we were navel gazing,” said Gwen Moore (D-WI). “We saw that we were presiding over the entire collapse of the black economy. We had to make a decision about how to get attention on a whole sector of our economy that was about to go under. It wasn’t like the black community was getting a hair cut; we were being beheaded.” With the black unemployment rate surpassing 15 percent while the overall rate is at 10 percent, there is one cry above all others for which the CBC vows to continue to stand: “Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). “We’re dealing with so many contentious issues in Congress. To see people who are bold and unapologetic, you can’t do anything but respect it; whether you agree or disagree philosophically, the boldness that comes with that stand can’t be overlooked.”
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LIGHT RAIL Continued from page 1 preserve over 200 parking spaces crucial to the commerce of local small businesses, provide some basic equity to the system, and reduce the travel time of the train ride by 25%.” The MTA estimates that more than 7,500 construction jobs will be created annually by the project. The line could open as early as 2016. However, another estimated time frame for the opening is 2018. A firm named Hatch Mott MacDonald currently has a $10 million contract for preliminary engineering conceptual planning, primarily to “study” portions of the proposed Crenshaw Corridor for its environmental and physical feasibility. The next steps for the MTA include an environmental impact study and report on the proposed underground portion of the rail line. “We will continue to monitor this process closely and remain prepared to protest if the changes are not sufficient at this stage in the process,” Goodmon said.
December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
COMMUNITY BRIEFS Continued from page 1 Violence between black and Latino inmates has been a problem throughout the county’s jail system. In other news, corrections officials said an Aug. 8 fight that erupted in a section of the California Institution for Men in Chino was triggered by an “ongoing racial street war” between black and Hispanic gangs. The riot in Chino left more than 200 injured and two buildings destroyed.
THE STATE Democrats Pick L.A. Lawmaker As New Assembly Speaker SACRAMENTO (AP) — Democrats settled an internal dispute Dec.
1977 and 1981 council elections and served as its president. Henderson also unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1989 against incumbent and political powerhouse Coleman A. Young. She was pronounced dead on the morning of Dec. 14 at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“She was a great woman and probably the start of a lot of women going into elected office in Detroit,” Councilwoman BarbaraRose Collins told The Associated Press. “But she also was a great humanitarian as a social worker. She helped her constituents with social problems, like housing,
homelessness. She helped people who were hungry. She had a great heart.”
Protest at S. Africa Embassy Remembered WASHINGTON (AP) — Politicians, celebrities and other dignitaries marked the 25th anniversary
of a protest and arrests at the South African embassy against apartheid. The event began Dec. 15 at the embassy, where Ambassador Welile Nlapho welcomed guests celebrating the Free South Africa Movement. Among those who were expected to attend were former D.C. See BRIEFS, page 6
10 by selecting a Los Angeles union organizer to be the next speaker of the California Assembly. They unanimously backed Assemblyman John Perez, chairman of the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His nomination for the post, among the most powerful positions in state government, marked another milestone for the 80-member house. If confirmed by the full Assembly in January, Perez will become the first openly gay Assembly speaker. The leader he will replace, Democrat Karen Bass of Los Angeles, was the first black woman to head either chamber of the Legislature. Perez, 40, said his nomination broke another barrier for gays and lesbians, but he also emphasized that he should not be defined by his sexual orientation. “My job is to represent the interest of all people of the state of California,” he told reporters after winning the caucus vote at Stanford Mansion, a former governor’s home near the state Capitol.
THE NATION Detroit’s First Black City Councilwoman Dies at 92 DETROIT (AP) — Erma Henderson, the first black woman elected to the Detroit City Council, has died of natural causes at age 92.
Considered one of the most powerful black women in the city’s history, Henderson joined the council by winning a runoff election to fill a vacancy in 1972 and was reelected the following year. Henderson received the most votes in
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L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
COMMUNITY BRIEFS Continued from page 5 Congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy, who was among those arrested in 1984 during the protest. Other invited guests included actor Danny Glover, singer Harry Belafonte, Roger Wilkins of the Free South Africa steering committee, and Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs. On the Net: www.transafrica forum.org.
Senate Sends $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill to Obama WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Dec. 13 passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill with increased budgets for vast areas of the federal government including health, education, law enforcement and veterans’ programs. The 1,000-page-plus package, one of the last essential chores of Congress this year, passed 57-35 and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The weekend action underlined the legislative crush faced by Congress as it tries to wind up the year. After the vote, the Senate immediately returned to debate on health care legislation that has consumed its time and energy for weeks. Senate Democrats hope to reach a consensus in the coming days on Obama’s chief domestic priority. The spending bill combines
six of the 12 annual appropriation bills for the 2010 budget year that began on Oct. 1. Obama has signed into law five others. On the Net: Information on the bill, H.R. 3288, can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov.
Producer Tyler Perry’s Mother Dies at Age 64 ATLANTA (AP) — Willie Maxine Perry, who helped inspire the character Madea played by her movie producer son Tyler Perry, has died. She was 64. Tyler Perry announced her Dec. 8 death on his Web site, where he thanked fans for their prayers. He did not say where his mother died or anything about the cause. Perry’s publicist, Keleigh Thomas, would not give further details Dec. 9. Perry owes much of his popularity to his portrayal of Madea, a sharp-tongued, iron-willed Southern matriarch played by Perry in a padded suit and wig. She is the central character in films such as “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail.”
THE DIASPORA Report: 2,000 Killed in 2009 South Sudan Violence NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Officials from an international medical group say more than 2,000 people have died and 250,000 have fled their homes this year because
Photo Courtesy of LAURA RICHARDSON’S OFFICE
BRINGING CONGRESS TO COMPTON — Congresswoman Laura Richardson (center) is joined by (from left) Councilwoman Lily Dodson, Compton Unified School District President Mae Thomas, Councilwoman Barbara Calhoun and Councilman Willie Jones at the historical 37th Congressional District satellite office grand opening at Compton City Hall Dec. 12. Richardson became the first congressional member of the 37th District to open offices in every city in the district, which includes Carson, Compton, Signal Hill and Long Beach.
of fighting in southern Sudan. Officials from Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, say the violence is the worst seen in the south since the 2005 peace deal with the country’s north that ended two decades of civil war. MSF director of operations in Sudan, Stephan Goetebghebuer, says unlike previous years, the clashes are more frequent and women and children are targeted. Karla Bil, MSF’s medical coordinator in Sudan, says 75 percent of the population in southern
Sudan does not have access to basic health care, exposing them to deadly diseases.
Sudan Leaders Agree on South Referendum Law KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan’s leaders settled their differences Dec. 13 over the hotly disputed 2011 referendum on southern independence, the official news agency reported, clearing a main hurdle facing the fragile four-yearold, north-south peace deal. The referendum bill has been straining relations between the former rivals for months. Northern officials have demanded at least 75 percent of registered southern voters turn out in order for the referendum results to
Facts Dec. 18, 1865 The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified. The amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Source: blackfacts.com
be valid. The south insists on a lower threshold. Senior southern official Pagan Amum said President Omar alBashir and the southern President Silva Kiir met with their political advisers and finally agreed on the bill.
The two sides also agreed on the referendum rules for three areas laying on the yet undemarcated north-south border, including the oil-rich region of Abyei. The peace deal also created a national unity government and a semiautonomous south. It provides for nationwide parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in April 2010, and a referendum in 2011 to determine whether the south wants to secede from the northern Arabized north.
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December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
WHAT’S GOING ON? Deadline for receipt of What’s Going On listings is Friday, 12 p.m., at least two weeks prior to activity. Fax to: (213) 251-5720, e-mail us at email@example.com or mail to: L.A. Watts Times, 3540 Wilshire Blvd., PH3, Los Angeles, CA 90010. PARADE OF LIGHTS — A two-day celebration will mark the 33rd anniversary of this parade through the Ventura Harbor. On Dec. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., boats adorned with Christmas lights and decorations will illuminate the harbor, and fireworks will fill the night sky. There will also be pony and train rides, carousel rides, and a visit with Santa for the children. Christmas shopping and dining will also be available at one or more of the 10 Ventura Harbor restaurants. This event is free and free parking is available. Information: (877) 89-HARBOR, www.venturaharborvillage.com. EXPERIENCE THE OCEAN — The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium provides a variety of exhibits and activities for all ages to engage in education, recreation and research of Southern California’s marine life. “Ocean Art” will be offered Dec. 19, 9:30 a.m. to noon, in the marine laboratory. “Tidepool Wonders,” which will take place Dec. 27, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., provides an opportunity to examine tidepool animals along
the shores of rocky depressions during low tide. A “Winter Seafari Session” will take place Dec. 28 to 31 for kindergarten through secondgrade students and third- through sixth-grade students. There may be a cost involved for some activities. The aquarium is at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Information: (310) 548-7562, www.cabrillomarine aquarium.org. ‘SAVE A STRAY’ — The Found Animals Foundation will host its second annual “Save A Stray For The Holidays” adoption event Dec. 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., simultaneously at 14 Los Angeles City and L.A. County animal care center locations. Each location will reduce adoption fees, including microchip and spay/neuter surgery fees, for the special program. Hundreds of animals will be available, and trained “matchmakers” will be on hand to help visitors find the perfect pet. The foundation will include special gifts for all new adoptees. Information: www.found animals.org. ‘A TASTE OF AFRICA’ — KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science will host a full night of food, fun, and live entertainment featuring Wadada Khufu, Djembe drummers, spoken word artists, African cuisine and more. The center is celebrating 20 years of service to
HOLIDAY FESTIVAL — More than 3,000 children and families attended the Children’s Institute Inc.’s holiday celebration Dec. 12 in Torrance. The celebration is the organization’s largest event of the year and benefits children who have been traumatized by violence and abuse. The day included carnival rides, arts and crafts, live family entertainment, Santa Claus, and toys for every child.
the greater Los Angeles community under the leadership of the Rev. Meri Ka Ra Byrd and his wife, “Nana Ife” Byrd. This event will take place Dec. 19, 7 p.m., at the historic African American Firefighter Museum at 1401 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Information: (323) 292-1404, (323) 756-7567. SEASON FEST 2009 — St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, 12923 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angles, will celebrate the season with jazz, gospel and R&B. The event will feature The Temptation’s Revue, Mark Allen Woods of the R&B group
Lakeside, co-hosts Edna Tatum and actor Art Evans and more. It will take place Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $20. Information: (310) 329-3443, www.stmarkamela.org. TOY DRIVE — Earlez Grille, which specializes in vegetarian cuisine, will have a gift drive Dec. 20, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 3630 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles. People who bring a toy or gift worth $10 or more will get a free hot dog and drink while they last. There will also be musical performances for those in attendance. Information: (323) 299–BUNS (2867).
COAT DRIVE — One Warm Coat, a project of NewSong LA’s Children’s Ministry, is collecting clean, reusable coats and jackets for distribution to needy individuals. Coats can be dropped off Dec. 20, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Animo Leadership Charter High School, 1155 W. Arbor Vitae St., Inglewood. Coats of all styles and sizes are welcomed and children’s sizes are most needed. The coats will be distributed free of charge directly to local children and adults. Information: (424) 903-9352, www. newsongla.net. See WGO, page 11
You May Have Vampires In Your Home And Not Even Know It Energy Vampires are electronic devices that continue to drain energy even when they are turned off or in sleep mode. Slaying energy vampires is easy and can save you money on your electric bill. Eliminate energy vampires like TVs, computers and cell phone chargers by: • Unplugging electronic devices when not in use • Plugging devices into power strips that can automatically stop the ﬂow of electricity when electronics are not in use
Save energy, money and the environment. To learn more log on to sce.com/save
FOR OVER 100 YEARS...LIFE. POWERED BY EDISON.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
ARTS & CULTURE SHORT TAKES PLAYS • “Wise In His Own Eyes,” written by Damita Ford and directed by Alretha Thomas, will run Dec. 18 to 19, 7 p.m., at Jackson Hall, 1555 W. 108th St., Los Angeles. This play is presented by First New Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church’s Liturgical Fine Arts Department. The story revolves around a man who has it all. Even as a child, he never wanted for anything. His world is suddenly cast into turmoil, which leads him to the understanding that wealth cannot buy happiness. Admission to this event is free. Information: (323) 756-2541. • The “Chocolate Nutcracker,” presented by the Los Angeles Preparatory and Performing Arts Center, will take place at the University Theatre on the campus of California State University, Dominquez Hills, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. This variation of the traditional Nutcracker
Barack Obama. Proceeds from the sales of the books will benefit the scholarship fund of the Stovall Educational Uplift Foundation. Information: (323) 291-6916, stovallfound@aol. com. • “Want To Start A Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle” was published by New York University Press on Dec. 1. The stories of the women profiled in this book help
ballet emphasizes a journey through dance exploring the regions of the Diaspora that are indigenous to people of color, giving African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and other ethnic youth the opportunity to dance in a ballet that reflects their national and cultural heritage. Tickets for this event are $27.50 and $22.50, and special preview school shows are $10. Tickets may be purchased through the center’s box office. Information: (310) 2723243.
Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers
The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, the Mount Rubidoux Seventh Day Adventist Church Choir, and others will perform as part of Los Angeles County’s 50th Annual Holiday Celebration Dec. 24, 3 to 9 p.m., at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. TaikoProject, Antics Performance and others will
perform, and swing dancing and caroling will also take place. Admission to this event and parking are free. However, there will be a live broadcast on television on KCET and online at www.kcet.org, and on the radio on KPFK at 90.7 FM. Information: (213) 972-3099, www. HolidayCelebration.org.
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BOOKS • “Unheralded but Unbowed: Black Scientists & Engineers Who Changed the World,” by Garland L. Thompson, was recently published by CreateSpace. The book traces the history of blacks in innovation and scientific achievement, which reveals a long line of accomplishments the author feels are too often overlooked. Some of the profiles include Blue Angels pilot Donnie Cochran, NASA astronaut Guy Bluford, business executives Linda Gooden and Rod Adkins, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president Dr. Shirley Jackson. The 356-page paperback book retails for $21.95. Information: (610) 931-1316. • Robert A. Stovall will sign copies of his books, “Betrayed By Holy Hands,” and “Hail To The Chief,” at Crenshaw United Methodist Church’s Wesley Hall, 3740 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, on Dec. 20, 1 to 3:30 p.m. “Betrayed” paints a picture of faith, courage and perseverance in the face of unspeakable deeds, and “Hail” is an imaginary dialogue with President
to shatter the pervasive and imbalanced image of women on the sidelines of the black freedom struggle in the United States. The 368-page paperback book retails for $25. Information: www.nyu press.org.
ENTERTAINMENT Spoken Funk, which features comedy and poetry, will take place Dec. 20, 8:30 p.m., at M’Bar in Hollywood, 1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood. It will be broadcast live at spokenfunk.tv. Tickets information: spokenfunk.com, myspace.com/ spokenfunk. Further information: Juren Smith, (877) SPOKEN-4.
“Crumbs” is a Tasty Comedy/Drama
“Four cheers for Fantasia! If you haven’t seen The Color Purple,
SEE IT NOW.
If you have seen it, SEE IT AGAIN.”
BY DARLENE DONLOE CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Lynn Nottage is well known for her 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Ruined.” She’s also known for writing rich, vibrant, full-bodied characters with depth and heart. Her play, “Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” has characters that fit those defining features and more.
The family comedy/drama was recently recorded as part of L.A. Theatre Works’ “The Play’s The Thing” radio series at The Skirball Cultural Center Dec. 9 through 13. Watching actors record for radio with only their vocals and a mic is a wondrous experience that calls upon the audience to vigorously use its imagination. See ‘CRUMBS’, page 14
PHOTO BY ANDREW ECCLES
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THE PLAY’S THE THING — The comedy/drama, “Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” was performed Dec. 9 through 13 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Performances were recorded for broadcast on the L.A. Theatre Works’ nationally syndicated radio theater series, which airs locally in Southern California on KPCC 89.3 every Saturday from 10 p.m. to midnight. Pictured (left to right): Tinashe Kajese, Charlayne Woodard, Russell Hornsby and Deidrie Henry.
December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) Celebration of Gospel was held Dec. 12 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. The 10th anniversary event will be broadcast on BET next month.
(Left to right): singers Kelly Price and Ledisi
“The View” co-host Sherri Sheperd Pastor Shirley Ceasar
(Left to right): Evangelist Diane Barrino Barber and singers Yolanda Adams and Fantasia
VISIT THE L.A. ZOO’S
(Left to right): Bebe and Cece Winans
Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center Presents
The 16th Annual African-American Film Marketplace & S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase December 18-20, 2009
Enjoy this holiday season skating in a place like no other, the new Holiday Fun Rink at the L.A. Zoo. Bring the entire family for a fun ﬁlled day during Reindeer Romp Now through January 3rd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NATE HOLDEN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
4718 West Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016
Visit live reindeer Belle, Jingle, Noel and Velvet
Friday, Dec. 18th - 7:00 pm OPENING NIGHT GALA: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1959 classic “IMITATION OF LIFE” featuring Living Legend Juanita Moore ~ R.S.V.P. Required
Saturday, Dec. 19th FIGHTING BACK WITH FILM 10 am – 2 pm Short films on the impact of gang violence, panel discussion to follow moderated by writer Erin Aubry-Kaplan NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP 2:30 pm Learn how to create, market and distribute digital content on new media platforms FEATURE FILM SCREENING 8 pm – My Nappy Roots A Journey through Black Hair, Hair-itage by Regina Kimball (78 min.)
Sunday, Dec. 20th Workshops: • LA Youth Expressions – Student’s Film Showcase ~10 am to 12 pm • Actors Forum ~ 1 pm ~ Creating your own properties and solutions in Hollywood • On The Set ~ 2 pm ~ A live set w/camera & crew – Directing, Acting & Production AN INTIMATE DISCUSSION ~ 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm – with JEFF CLANAGAN, CEO/President Codeblack Entertainment about the black "Urban" film market, development, acquisition, producing, marketing, distribution and pitching your project CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING ~ 7 pm The Harimaya Bridge by Aaron Woolfolk (Eleven Arts, Inc.) Starring Ben Guillory and Danny Glover. Closing Night Soul Food reception will follow ~ Reservations required. Showcasing 33 films by African American Filmmakers All Events Are Free! For more information ~ call 323-957-4747 or visit: www.bherc.org
Photos with Santa Claus Meet Santa Claus and have your picture taken* Nominal fee
Festive Holiday Carolers Enjoy the festive melodies of holiday carolers*
Holiday Crafts Make your very own reindeer antlers*
Animal Treats Watch as the animals unwrap their very own holiday treats*
Holiday Fun Rink Enjoy skating at the Zoo through January 10 Nominal fee (skates included) Must be 5 years or older *weekends only
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, closed December 25 Location: Grifﬁth Park, intersection of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways Phone: 323.644.4200 for more information or visit us on www.lazoo.org
L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
ARTS & CULTURE
Miss. Girl Voices Princess-to-Be in Disney Film BY EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
MADISON, Miss. (AP) — Elizabeth Dampier doesn’t get the royal treatment at home, even though the fifth-grader plays a princess-to-be on the big screen. The 10-year-old Mississippi girl is the voice of young Tiana, the female title character in the new Disney animated movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” which recently opened nationwide. Elizabeth does chores, sings in a Baptist church choir, makes snacks for her three younger siblings and is a straight-A student in a family of high achievers. Her father, Dr. Arthur R. Dampier, is an optometrist. Her mother, Jeanna, is a molecular biologist. Sitting in the bedroom she shares with her 7-year-old sister, Elizabeth says she is a bit like her character. “I’m fine with, like, the princess stuff,” Elizabeth says. “I am like her. I don’t like kissy and mooshy-gooshy stuff.” Tiana likes to cook with her father and dreams of owning a restaurant. Elizabeth says she’d also like to own a restaurant when she grows up — unless she makes it big as an actress or decides to run a toy store. Elizabeth has appeared in school productions and local com-
Elizabeth Dampier and Anika Noni Rose
mercials, but young Tiana is her first movie role. Anika Noni Rose is the voice of the older Tiana. Elizabeth learned about the Disney part three years ago from an agent. She had three auditions in 2007 and learned in early 2008 that she’d been chosen. She did the voice recording in New Orleans and Los Angeles in 2008 and 2009. “The Princess and the Frog” is set in 1920s Louisiana, and Elizabeth learned a New Orleans accent with the help of family friends who moved out of the city after Hurricane Katrina. “I got used to shaping my mouth in an ‘O’ when you want to say something. That is very differ-
ent from talking like we do in Mississippi,” Elizabeth says in lilting drawl. One of the directors, Ron Clements, says Elizabeth learned her lines and took direction well. “Her attitude was very determined and really wanting to do a good job and wanting to work really hard, which is very similar to Tiana,” Clements said from California. Fellow director John Musker said the young actress “brought a lot of natural cuteness and warmth to the part,” including an endearing pronunciation of “frog.” “She said ‘a fruh-aug’ and that was her own thing, and we really loved that so we used that in the movie,” Musker says. Tiana is Disney’s first African American princess, and while Elizabeth understands the significance, she’s not overwhelmed by it, her mom says. Jeanna Dampier calls the movie “an awesome blessing” for her daughter. “She’s just very proud and excited about the work that she’s done, and that’s really what she focuses on,” Jeanna Dampier said. Elizabeth lists President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Harriet Tubman as heroes. Winfrey — also a Mississippi native — provides the voice of Tiana’s mother,
THE PRINCESS — Disney’s new animated feature, “The Princess and The Frog,” is set in 1920s New Orleans and boasts Disney’s first African American princess, Tiana. Ten-year-old Elizabeth Dampier provides the voice of Tiana. Actors Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard, respectively, provide the voices of Tiana’s mother and father.
Eudora, but Elizabeth did not meet her during production. Elizabeth aspires to meet the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia. “They don’t seem like some stuck-up girls just because their dad’s the president,” she says. Elizabeth’s fifth-grade class at
St. Richard Catholic School in Jackson was planning a field trip to see “The Princess and the Frog.” Teacher Kristi Garrard says classmates are supportive, and Elizabeth has not bragged about being in a movie: “She’s a normal kid.”
baby-sitting or dog-sitting for the weekend,” she said. “This is not just a response to the tightened purse strings but also reflective of the fact that we just don’t need any more junk.” The first couple — Barack and Michelle Obama — told People magazine last year that they don’t personally give Christmas gifts to their daughters, but there’s always something under the tree from Santa Claus. President Obama said they want to teach the kids limits, while Michelle Obama said, “They get so much stuff anyway that it just becomes numbing.” Now that my sister and I are grown and living on opposite coasts, we spend our Christmas budget on traveling home to the Midwest to be together as a family. Our gift to each other is being present, which gets more difficult as we get older. A study of 117 people published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that those who emphasized time spent with family and spiritual activities had merrier Christmases than those who gave or received big presents. “Despite the fact that people spend relatively large portions of their income on gifts, as well as time shopping for and wrapping them, such behavior apparently contributes little to holiday joy,” wrote the researchers, Tim Kasser of Knox College and Kennon M. Sheldon of the University of Missouri-Columbia. I’m not opposed to presents — in fact I love giving to celebrate birthdays, new babies and weddings. But those occasions seem less stressful since they come one at a time, spread out over the year, and without the reciprocal pressure of trying not to over- or under-buy in the exchange. I’m such a fervent believer in the no-Christmas-present rule that I’ve extended it to all my friends and family. Most seem relieved to be able to cross me off their long holiday shopping list. Of course, not everyone likes the idea. They believe Christmas is the season of giving, and that without presents it can be depressing. But the point of the no-presents pledge is that you still give of your time, and in our stressed-out, overscheduled lives, that’s the most precious gift of all.
Continued from page 3 Shari Shomin, a grandmother from South Federal Way, Wash., said her husband, son and daughter have all struggled with unemployment this year, and the family has decided there will be no Christmas gifts unless they are homemade. “Time to get creative and get down to the true meaning of Christmas. Celebrating the joy of our Savior’s birth. Be together with one another,” she said. One friend told me recently that she has informed her three children they will get half the presents they usually do, and there will be no giftbuying for anyone outside the family. Two other friends say that instead of giving presents to everyone in the family, each person will draw the name of just one other for whom to buy a gift. Personal finance author Ramit Sethi lists a ban on holiday gift-giving as Tip No. 18 in his money-saving challenge, and has created the Web site NoChristmasGiftsThisYear. com to spread the idea. The site includes an e-card you can send to loved ones asking them to skip the gifts and instead do something together, such as play a game, cook a meal, or volunteer for a charity. “People are in debt and they’re losing jobs every day,” Sethi says. “Yet there’s one sacred cow that we can’t seem to shake, no matter how bad things get.” Incurring Christmas debt regularly causes some people to start off each new year on the wrong foot, Sethi said, but perhaps habits are changing. He noted a survey from the American Research Group that indicates Americans have steadily cut their planned holiday spending in recent years, from $1,004 in 2004 to $431 last year. The biggest cut, about 50 percent, came between 2007 and 2008. Michelle Dickson of Southfield, Mich., says that after going through three rounds of unemployment in six years, she’ll be getting small gifts for only the children in her family, not the adults. “If anything, I will bake cookies from grandma’s old recipes or give non-monetary gifts, like five hours of
December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE
AAFCA Honors Year’s Best in Film BY DARLENE DONLOE CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The African American Film Critics Association held its first ever live awards ceremony Dec. 14 at the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles. The African American Film Critics Awards, hosted by Tanika Ray, formerly of the television show, “Extra,” honored the year’s best in film.
“When I first got into the industry, my passion was film,” Ray said. “This is a full-blown slam dunk. I love celebrating what black people are doing in film.” AAFCA recognized winners in eight categories, including Best Picture of 2009, the Lee Daniels’ drama, “Precious,” starring Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Sherri Shepherd and others. The film, about an overweight,
KWANZAA CALENDAR KWANZAA PARADE — The 33rd Annual Kwanzaa Gwaride will begin its processional Dec. 26, noon, from the intersection of Adams and Crenshaw boulevards in Los Angeles. The parade will travel south to Leimert Park at 43rd Place to open the 44th Year of the Kwanzaa Era: The Year of Kujichagulia (Self Determination). The role of Oba (King) of the parade this year will be posthumously given to the late Tommy Jacquette, a founder of the Watts Summer Festival. The role of Iyaba (Queen) of this year’s gwaride will be jointly shared by Regina Kimbell, filmmaker and producer of the award-winning film, “My Nappy Roots,” and Denise Estelle, producer of the Wooli Me Natural Hair Expo. Information: (323) 735-6643, www. kwanzaalive.com. UMOJA MEANS UNITY — A Kwanzaa candle-lighting ceremony for Umoja (Unity) will be held Dec. 26, 6:30 p.m., at Exposition Park’s California African American Museum, 700 State Drive, Los Angeles. This annual ceremony will include poetry, music and wishes for the New Year to mark the beginning of Kwanzaa. Attendees are asked to bring warm, clean or new clothing, coats and blankets for those in need to celebrate this season of harvesting and sharing the good. This event is sponsored by the African American Cultural Center, KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science, the Kwanzaa Heritage Festival and several others. Information: (323) 299-6124, www.Official KwanzaaWebsite.org. LONG BEACH KWANZAA — Shades of Afrika will hold its seventh annual Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 26, 5 to 9 p.m., at Recreation Park Social Hall, 4900 E. 7th St., Long Beach. There will be a Karamu (community feast), drummers, dancers, arts and crafts, storytelling and more. Tickets for this event are $12
WGO Continued from page 7 CAROLING IN THE PARK — The City of Compton and Councilwoman Lillie Dobson will present this second annual event Dec. 17, 6 to 8 p.m., at Lueders Park, 1500 E. Rosecrans Ave., Compton. Information: (310) 605-5684. MLK TREE LIGHTING — Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will host a special Tree Lighting ceremony in celebration of the hope the holiday season represents at the Martin Luther King Multi-service Ambulatory Care Center. The event will take place Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m., at 12021 S.
for adults and $5 for children, and the proceeds will benefit Starting Over Inc., a transitional housing provider for men, women and children. Information: (562) 436-2210, shadesof firstname.lastname@example.org. HERITAGE FESTIVAL — “Be Healthy, Be Smart, Be Strong” is the theme of the eighth annual Kwanzaa Heritage Festival, Block Parade and Candle Lighting Ceremony that will be held Dec. 26 to 27, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the parking lot of Leimert Park’s Vision Theatre, 4330 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles. There will be live music, drum circles, an international food court, a health pavilion, a children’s village with a petting zoo and more. Information: (213) 955-5239, email@example.com. DANCE THEATRE — The Lula Washington Dance Theatre will hold its 19th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration Dec. 29 to 30, 7:30 p.m., at 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles. Rapper and poet “YoYo” will join the Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble in its “Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture.” Proceeds from the evening will benefit the dance company’s ongoing programs including its dance school, dance company, youth scholarships and local performances. Information: (323) 2925852, www.lulawashington.org. KARAMU — “An Evening in Africa” is the theme of the annual Kwanzaa Community Feast. This event will be held Dec. 31, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles. There will be a libation, dance, drumming, stories, poetry, African foods and special cultural presentations from Maulana Karenga, Asha’s Baba and others. This event is sponsored by the African American Cultural Center. Tickets are required to attend and no tickets will be sold at the door. Information: (323) 299-6124, www. OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org.
Wilmington Ave., Los Angeles. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP information: http://ridleythomas.lacounty.gov/ treelighting. MONTE CARLO — The Claude Pepper Senior Citizen Center will hold its seventh annual New Year’s Eve Day Monte Carlo Celebration Dec. 31, noon to 5 p.m. This event costs $15 and there will be food, beverages, live entertainment, prizes, a chance to try a variety of casino-type games using $150 in play chips, and party favors. There will also be a Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament for which the buy-in is $45 per player. The center is at 1762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. Information: (310) 559-9677.
illiterate and abused teen, took three other honors including, Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique) and Best Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher), which tied with “The Princess & The Frog,” (Disney) written by Ron Clements, Rob Edwards and John Musker. “I’m honored and humbled by the recognition,” said Rob Edwards, who is African American. “It’s nice to be recognized for your work. I’m loving that everyone is getting behind this film. “It’s good to know that if you create movies that have been cast with wonderful, beautiful characters that are intelligent and hard working, if you show great fathers and families and show true African American values, that it will be profitable.” Edwards, who has been a writer for 20 years, said he hopes people will go out and make more and more of “these types of movies.” Daniels won Best Director for “Precious.” Paula Patton, who starred in the film as a special education instructor, accepted the award on Daniels’ behalf. Morgan Freeman, who was not in attendance, received the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in “Invictus.” Nicole Beharie, who also was not in attendance, took home the Best Actress award for “American Violet.”
HONORING THEIR OWN — The African American Film Critics Association held its first awards ceremony Dec. 14 at the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles. The association honored the film industry’s best and brightest for 2009. Pictured (left to right): Actors Brian White, Paula Patton and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by BILL JONES
The Best Supporting Actor award went to Anthony Mackie for his role in the war drama, “The Hurt Locker.” A Special Achievement award was given posthumously to Michael Jackson. AAFCA’s top 10 films of 2009 are: • “Precious” • “The Princess and The Frog” • “Up in the Air” • “The Hurt Locker” • “This Is It” • “American Violet” • “Goodbye Solo” • “Medicine for Melancholy” • “Good Hair” • “Up” “We need events like this because we as black film critics are recognizing those who may not be recognized by everybody else,”
association President Wilson Morales said. A host of celebrities were on hand for the awards show, including presenters R&B singers Anthony and Tarsha Hamilton, Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Moesha”), and Brian White (“Men of a Certain Age”), who accepted the Best Supporting Actor award for Anthony Mackie. “It’s nice to have events like this where we celebrate each other,” said White, best known for his role in “Stomp The Yard.” “It’s even greater when good actors and good projects are recognized.” Founded in 2003, the association reviews “the quality and standards of cinema overall, with a particular emphasis on films about the black experience,” its Web site states. For more information on the association, visit www.aafca.com.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
Politics Dominate California Education Reform Effort BY JULIET WILLIAMS AP WRITER
SACRAMENTO â€” To education reformers, a $4.3 billion school funding competition from the Obama administration seemed like just the push California needed to start making long overdue changes to restore academic luster to the stateâ€™s public schools. But the drive to dramatically turn around a faltering system that serves more than 6 million children has run into political reality in a Legislature dominated by special interests. The result could leave the state with the nationâ€™s largest public school system ill-positioned to compete for the so-called Race to the Top funds. Officials estimate California stands to gain up to $700 million. Lawmakers meeting in a special session on education called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are considering competing Democratic bills. Both are intended to clear the way for Californiaâ€™s federal application and to deal with some of the same issues, such as increasing the number of charter schools, revamping state tests and restructuring the worst-of-the-worst schools. But how they propose to reach those goals is vastly different, and itâ€™s unclear whether the versions can be reconciled in time for the state to meet a Jan. 19 federal application deadline. A Schwarzenegger-backed bill by state Sen. Gloria Romero, DLos Angeles, and the state superintendent of public instruction gives parents more say in what happens to failing schools and makes it easier to evaluate teachers and principals based on student achievement. It also would let parents move their children out of failing districts. After narrowly passing the
Facts Dec. 18, 1996 The Oakland, California Board of Education becomes the first in the nation to recognize â€œBlack English,â€? also known as â€œEbonics,â€? as a separate language and not a dialect or slang. Dec. 18, 1971 People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) is formed at a Chicago meeting by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. Source: blackfacts.com
state Senate in November, with several Democrats opposing it or opting to sit out the vote, that measure is now stalled in an Assembly committee. One of the most powerful and well-funded political interests in the state, the California Teachers Association, is lobbying against it. The teachers union instead backs different legislation offered by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica. Reform advocates say that legislative package, which passed the Assembly on Dec. 10, does not go nearly far enough to fix California schools. Because of that, they say it wouldnâ€™t stand a chance in a competition against other large states such as Florida and Texas, which already have made bold school reforms. Schwarzenegger has supported many of the changes included in the federal guidelines since taking office but has not been able to get the changes through a Legislature controlled by Democrats, who receive campaign funding from the teachers union. He said he will veto the Assembly legislation if it reaches his desk, although that is unlikely because the Senate already has passed much tougher reform measures. â€œThis is a Race to the Top, not a race to mediocrity or the status quo,â€? Schwarzenegger said. The Republican governor has been blunt about the Assemblyâ€™s effort, saying its Democratic majority simply wants to water down the tougher Senate legislation. The Assembly bill, he said, wonâ€™t provide a real shot at the federal money in a state that has sustained billions of dollars in education cuts during the last three fiscal years. Californiaâ€™s education system was once considered a national model that bred a generation of scientists and entrepreneurs, but the state has fallen to near the bottom among states in school funding and academics, earning a D in academic achievement this year from Education Week magazineâ€™s annual national schools survey. Students perform below the national average on nearly all measures, with black, Hispanic and poor children faring worst.
Nearly 2,800 of its schools are considered to be failing by federal standards. The dispute over whether to enter the federal competition and, if so, how strong the reforms should be is dividing Democratic allies and discouraging reformers who had hoped for historic change. Margaret Fortune, a California State University trustee who once served as an education adviser to Schwarzenegger, said she has become disillusioned. Many lawmakers put partisan interests ahead of reasonable changes in school policy, she said. â€œIf they were responsible leaders, they would stand up and say, â€˜You know what? Weâ€™re leading a broken system, so we need to turn around and fix it, because this is shameful,â€™ â€? said Fortune, who now runs an independent teachertraining program and has launched several charter schools. Representatives of the California Teachers Association and other influential education groups, including the California School Boards Association, argue that the state should approach Race to the Top cautiously. They say lawmakers should not rush headlong into major reforms for what amounts to a relatively small pot of one-time federal money. California, which will spend $50 billion on K-12 education this fiscal year, stands to receive between $300 million and $700 million if its application is successful. Some Democratic lawmakers, particularly Hispanics and blacks, are feeling pressure from both sides: the teachers union, which opposes dramatic changes, and community groups that are frustrated by a persistent racial achievement gap. Alice Huffman, president of the state NAACP and a former political director of the CTA, testified before the Assembly Education Committee that reforming the stateâ€™s faltering schools is an urgent civil rights issue. She said she has nieces and nephews who have graduated from California schools yet cannot read and write. â€œIâ€™m just going to say that if we donâ€™t get this done, we have really blown it one more time,â€? she said.
NOTEBOOK L.A. School Board OKs 5,000 Job Cuts (AP) â€” The Los Angeles school board on Dec. 8 approved a plan to close a $470 million budget gap in the next academic year by cutting more than 5,000 jobs if unions do not agree to givebacks and voters do not approve a parcel tax. As some 300 employees protested outside the board offices, district Superintendent Ramon Cortines outlined a preliminary series of options to make up the revenue shortfall, saying that layoffs of teachers and other employees would be a last resort for the nationâ€™s second-largest school district. The district will instead first ask voters to approve a limited parcel tax, which would raise $100 million to $200 million a year for schools over the next four to six years and cost property owners $2 to $4 a week. Administrators also are negotiating with the teachers union for four furlough days. The districtâ€™s three other unions have already agreed to furlough days. Cortines said other cuts for next year could include slashing arts programs by 50 percent, downsizing the eight district administrative offices to four, making administrative employees pay for parking, consolidating schools with fewer than 400 students, increasing K-3 classes from 24 pupils per teacher to 29, and delaying adoption of new textbooks by a year. The board approved the budget proposal 6-1, with board member Marguerite P. LaMotte as the lone dissenter.
L.A. School District to Temporarily Shut Down School (AP) â€” The Los Angeles Unified School District said it will temporarily shut down under-performing Fremont High at the end of the school year and require all staff members to reapply for their jobs. Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines made the announcement Dec. 9 on the Fremont campus in the Florence neighborhood in South L.A. Cortines said teachers who return to Fremont must sign an â€œelect-to-workâ€? agreement that will establish special rules. Displaced teachers will be placed at other schools. The controversial strategy, called â€œreconstitution,â€? has not
been tried before by the district. Cortines said Fremont has failed to meet the districtâ€™s yearly progress goals for the past 12 years.
Study: Grad Rates Between Blacks, Whites Widening ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) â€” The disparity between graduation rates for white and black college football players at schools headed to bowl games grew slightly this year, according to a study released Dec. 7. The annual report by the University of Central Floridaâ€™s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport also showed overall academic progress. But there were 21 schools that graduated fewer than 50 percent of their black football players, the study found. Thatâ€™s up from 19 last year. Richard Lapchick, the director of the institute, said the widening gap between whites and blacks was surprising because those numbers had closed in recent years. The study was based on NCAA statistics collected from member institutions. The analysis is of the 67 schools that have accepted bowl invitations by Dec. 7. The study showed 57 schools had graduation success rates of 66 percent or higher for white football players, which was more than 2.8 times the number schools with equivalent graduation success rates for black football players. Thatâ€™s up from 56 schools last year. Four schools had graduation success rates for black football players that exceeded rates for white players â€” Connecticut (5 percent higher); Troy (7 percent higher); Southern Mississippi (8 percent higher);and Rutgers (4 percent higher). That was down from five schools in last yearâ€™s study.
Protesters Damage Calif. University Leaderâ€™s Home BERKELEY (AP) â€” Eight people were under arrest Dec. 12 after protesters broke windows, lights and planters outside the home of the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. University spokesman Dan Mogulof said 40 to 70 protesters also threw lighted torches at police cars and the home of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau Dec. 11. There were no fires or injuries. The protest at the chancellorâ€™s home came late the same day that police arrested 66 protesters at See NOTEBOOK, page 13
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December 17, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
Government Auditors Say Food-Tracing Program Flawed BY GARANCE BURKE AP WRITER
FRESNO (AP) — A crucial part of the nation’s rapid-response plan — the ability to trace food through the supply chain during an illness outbreak or bioterrorism attack — is seriously flawed, an independent watchdog agency has found. Federal auditors found that nearly half the food manufacturers they surveyed that are supposed to register with the Food and Drug Administration failed to give the agency accurate contact information, according to a report to be released Dec. 11 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office. Congress set up the program after the Sept. 11 attacks to keep food safe from bioterrorism and to allow quick tracebacks when contaminated food reaches consumers. The report follows a series of high-profile food safety problems in the U.S. involving everything from disease-ridden ground beef to the largest peanut butter recall in history. A key lawmaker called the findings “appalling.” “The weaknesses in our food safety system that are highlighted in the report are unacceptable,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs the House spending
panel that oversees the FDA budget. “Congress should pass comprehensive food safety legislation to give FDA the statutory authority it needs.” Companies that manufacture, process, pack or hold food that is eaten in the United States are required by federal law to provide their address and basic contact information to the FDA, so investigators can follow suspect foods through the supply chain. After interviewing managers at a sample of 130 such companies, however, government investigators found that 48 percent didn’t give the agency accurate information. More than half were unaware companies had to register, and about a quarter provided no emergency contact information, because current rules don’t require it. “This lack of information may hamper FDA’s ability to contact food facilities in an emergency,” investigators concluded. They recommended that the FDA improve its record keeping and consider seeking stronger legal powers to fine violators. FDA officials called the report “helpful” and said it confirmed a known set of problems in the nation’s food tracing system, according to comments submitted by Deputy Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.
DONORS Continued from page 1 their race is the same. “We have to do better than our share,” Callender said. “We have got to do as good as we can.” Fear and, in some cases, spiritual beliefs have kept many blacks from donating, he said. “There was the belief that if you didn’t have your organs when you died, you’d be in trouble,” Callender said. “If you didn’t have your eyes, you wouldn’t see grandmother in the great hereafter. “There also is the basic fear that they might be interested in getting my organs than saving my life. And racism, that they will take my black organs and give them to white people.” The Spights have used Brandon’s story to encourage blacks to register as donors in Michigan, where 1,100 of the 2,900 people awaiting an organ donation as of Nov. 1 were black. Brandon began having severe
Connie and Virgil Spight
headaches in early January 2007, during his senior year at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. Doctors found bleeding on his brain and eventually diagnosed him with arteriovenous malformation, a congenital abnormality in the arrangement of blood vessels in an area of the brain where arteries and veins are directly connected.
NOTEBOOK Continued from page 12 a campus classroom building that was partially taken over for four days. The demonstrations are against state funding cuts that have led to course cutbacks, faculty furloughs and sharp fee increases. “The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives,” Birgeneau said in a statement. The eight were arrested on
suspicion of rioting and several other charges. The two incidents are the latest in a series of demonstrations in which students have taken over buildings at California State University and University of California campuses. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature cut spending for California’s two public university systems by 20 percent to help balance the state’s budget. Community colleges were cut about 8 percent.
Problems with the federal government’s ability to trace food drew attention last year after FDAinvestigators struggled for weeks to identify the cause of a salmonella outbreak initially blamed on tomatoes. No contaminated tomatoes were found, and the outbreak strain eventually was discovered in hot peppers from Mexico. Problems resurfaced this spring during a massive salmonella outbreak in peanut products that sickened hundreds, and again recently as a California beef processor announced it would recall nearly 850,000 pounds of ground beef due to salmonella fears this year. Fresno-based Beef Packers Inc. is one of more than a dozen plants that sold meat to the National School Lunch Program, and DeLauro has called for its temporary closure while inspectors probe conditions there. President Barack Obama’s new FDA commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, has been working to restore the agency’s credibility, and FDA officials repeatedly have said a skimpy budget and toothless regulations keep them from going after companies that break the rules. An agency spokesman did not return a call last week seeking further comment. On the Net: Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office, http://oig.hhs.gov. On Jan. 30, 2007, the Spights rushed him to a hospital with stroke-like symptoms. He never went home. Machines kept him alive until Feb. 11, 2007, and then he was declared brain dead and his organs donated through Gift of Life Michigan, an organ and tissue recovery organization. “For some reason, people think that if you’re an organ donor the doctors are not going to do everything they possibly can to save you,” Connie Spight said. The Spights allowed Gift of Life Michigan to use Brandon’s photo earlier this year on billboards, brochures and posters during the nonprofit’s campaign to increase donor registries in the Detroit area. Registrations jumped by at least 300 percent in Detroit and throughout surrounding Wayne County, Chapman said. During April and May — the height of the campaign — Wayne County generated about 18,400 donor registrations, compared with about 3,900 in those two months in 2008. “You can’t have a better story” to encourage other blacks to consider and eventually sign up as organ donors, Callender said. “That’s wonderful for all ethnicities to have somebody that young be so unselfish and giving. Getting the young kids whose minds are more flexible than the older folks is a good place to start.” Brandon’s parents and former classmates will have a floral display with his picture that will be included on a float in the Jan. 1 Tournament of Roses Parade in
THE PULSE California to Halt Mammogram Program
Swine Flu Toll Includes a Few Pets
(AP) — A state program that provides mammogram services to low-income women is temporarily stopping new enrollments, and plans to raise the eligibility age when it restarts seven months later. The Every Woman Counts program will be suspended Jan. 1, and when it starts up again July 2, 2010, California Department of Public Health director Dr. Mark Horton says it won’t serve women under the age of 50. Previously, to be eligible for the program women had to be 40 years old. Horton blamed declining state tobacco tax revenues and increasing demand for screenings for the cuts. The program served 311,000 California women this fiscal year and expects to serve 259,000 next year.
(AP) — A handful of pets have been sickened with swine flu in recent weeks, but here are doctors’ orders: Wash your hands and don’t panic. The virus, also known as H1N1, has been diagnosed in only a few cats and ferrets in the U.S. since it emerged in April. Veterinarians say they don’t know if that is because so few animals have been tested or because so few have the disease. A lethargic 13-year-old tabby in the Midwestern state of Iowa that was having trouble breathing was the first house cat to be diagnosed. In the last two months, other cats have tested positive in several states. Whether doctors are treating humans or pets, they give the same advice: Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze and limit contact with others if you are ill. No cases have been reported in dogs or birds, but at least five ferrets in the U.S. tested positive, and one died. There have been a few cases in other animals — including turkeys and pigs — that appear to have gotten the illness from farm workers. A cheetah from a zoo in California also tested positive, but it is unknown whether it had contact with a handler or zoo visitor with swine flu.
Food Safety Tips Offered for Holiday Feasts SACRAMENTO (CDPH) — With the holiday season in full force, the California Department of Public Health is reminding Californians about the importance of safe food handling to prevent food-borne illness. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually in the United States are related to foodborne diseases. CDPH recommends the following food safety practices: 1. Keep hands and food contact surfaces clean: • Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw foods. • Thoroughly clean all work surfaces, utensils and dishes with hot soapy water and rinse with hot water before and after each use. 2. Avoid cross contamination: • Always wash fruits and vegetables in clean sinks under running water and keep fruits and vegetables away from raw meats, poultry, eggs, fish and any other raw animal product. 3. Cook foods to proper temperatures: • Before cooking, rinse poultry and seafood thoroughly in cold water and drain well. 4. Refrigerate leftovers: • Do not eat leftover meat that has been refrigerated for longer than four days or leftover stuffing or gravy refrigerated for longer than two days. If properly wrapped, leftover meat may be safely consumed after being frozen for one to three months. Information: www.fsis.usda. gov, www.fightbac.org.
Pasadena. Brandon will be one of 76 organ donors featured. “If we lost him, we wanted some good to come of it,” Virgil Spight said. “I keep saying something positive came out of this.” The Spights, both retired Detroit police commanders, also have established a scholarship and
Zhu Zhu Pets Defends Toy Safety ST. LOUIS (AP) — Aconsumer group contends one of the holiday season’s must-have toys is unsafe. But the maker of the robotic Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters defended its product against a study by San Francisco-based GoodGuide that said higher-than-allowed levels of the chemical antimony were found in the toy. Good Guide named Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters one of the top-selling toys with low ratings after finding antimony, which can cause health problems, on the hair and nose of one of the toy hamsters, called Mr. Squiggles. The group assigned the toy, aimed at 3- to 10-year-olds, a rating of 5.2 on a 10-point scale. But the toy’s maker, St. Louis-based Cepia LLC, insisted in a statement that its product is safe and has passed rigorous testing. The company said it was contacting GoodGuide to share its testing data and determine how the report was founded. Zhu Zhu Pets, which retail for about $10, have become this season’s toy craze, following in the footsteps of Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids. The items fetch $40 or more on resale Web sites like eBay and Craigslist.
endowment in Brandon’s name at the University of Detroit Jesuit, and many of his classmates have taken his story with them to colleges across the country where they participate in donor campaigns. “That’s the kind of impact, the kind of legacy this young man continues to give,” Chapman said.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
December 17, 2009
SPORTS BRAD PYE JR.
SPORTS BEAT Notes, quotes and things picked up on the run from coast-to-coast and all the stops in between and beyond. The NFL is excited about its two historic 13-0 teams â€” Jim Caldwellâ€™s Indianapolis Colts and Sean Paytonâ€™s New Orleans Saints. Locally, the high school football community is just as excited about Robert Garrettâ€™s 14-0 Crenshaw High Cougars, which will play for a state championship. Unlike the Colts and Saints, who must win three more to remain perfect and realize their Super Bowl goal, the Cougars need only one more victory over Northern Californiaâ€™s Concord De La Salle (122) at the Home Depot in Carson
Dec. 19 to win its first State Open Division crown â€” in its first try. And the beat continuesâ€Ś Buffalo Billsâ€™ Interim Coach Perry Fewell picked up his second win in three games with a 16-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. When the Buffalo Bills fired Dick Juron more than three weeks ago, the Bills hired Fewell, a black man, to replace him. And the beat continuesâ€Ś The next time you see Alabamaâ€™s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, it will be in the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7, 2010, against No. 1 Texas in the Rose Bowl stadium. The University of Houstonâ€™s Kevin Tumlin should have a new job
â€˜CRUMBSâ€™ Continued from page 8 Drama is the name when it comes to the story of the Crump family, which includes patriarch Godfrey (Russell Hornsby) and his two children Ernestine (Deidrie Henry) and Ermina (Tinashe Kajese). Picture it: Brooklyn, 1950. Racism is running rampant. Godfrey Crump, a recent widow, and his two daughters pack up their meager belongings and travel from Pensacola, Fla., to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a new beginning. But thatâ€™s easier said than done. Crump is still stinging from the loss and so are his girls, who keep themselves busy by fantasizing
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