August 27, 2009
SERVING LOS ANGELES COUNTY WITH NEWS YOU CAN USE
Vol. XXX, No. 1142 FIRST COLUMN
A Nontraditional Ministry: One Man and His Mission BY PAT MUNSON CONTRIBUTING WRITER
While many people prepare to attend a church of their choice on Sunday morning, Pastor Worthy delivers a message of hope to passersby on a busy street corner in South Los Angeles. Identifying himself by first name only, Worthy has many people wondering about the man with the big sign standing on the northeast corner of Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard every Sunday from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Worthy has become a fixture in Leimert Park and is dedicated to his membership of hundreds of drive-by parishioners accustomed to seeing this unassuming man with the cardboard sign that reads “Jesus Saves Gangsters Too!” He should know that Jesus saves gangsters. Worthy is a former gang member and ex-convict who spent most of his life going in and out of jails and prison. His former affiliation with gangs and law enforcement led the street minister to shy away from a last name that became his criminal moniker. “I went through the ‘School of Hard Knocks.’ My mother died
when I was 14, I quit school and my family dissolved,” Worthy said. “I left home and went to the See MINISTRY, page 4
Photo by MARTY COTWRIGHT
NEW CHOICE, NEW CHALLENGE — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses media on the steps of City Hall Aug. 24. The mayor supports the idea of allowing private entities to submit proposals to operate Los Angeles schools. Education unions oppose the idea. The school district board voted in favor of the idea, 6-1, on Aug. 25.
Los Angeles School Board Approves New Controversial Reform Resolution BY CHICO C. NORWOOD STAFF WRITER
Photo by PAT MUNSON
MAKING A STAND — Pastor Worthy stands “in his spot,” near the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue, not far from the bench he used to sleep on in Leimert Park. Worthy has stood his ground with his hand-made sign, offering salvation to former gang members like himself, for the past eight years.
Chants of “recall, recall” were leveled against several members of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education following a 6-1 vote in favor of a controversial resolution endorsed by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The resolution could turn a third of the schools in the nation’s second-largest school district over to private operators. Battle lines were drawn at the highly charged Aug. 25 board
meeting with union members, parents, community groups and LAUSD supporters squaring off against special interest groups and charter school supporters over the Public Choice resolution, authored by Board Member Yolie Flores Aguilar. Entitled Public School Choice-A New Way At LAUSD, the resolution will allow nonprofit organizations, charter, local com-
NEWS IN BRIEF THE SOUTHLAND
Hurricane Katrina Apparently No Match for Human Spirit BY PAT MUNSON CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Perhaps it’s adversity that is the mother of invention, as Hurricane Katrina can be partly credited with making a new woman out of a former street-hustling high school dropout who earlier this year became part and parcel of an Academy Award nomination. Kimberly Rivers Roberts, born into poverty and seeming h o p e lessness in one of New Orleans’ poorest neighborhood, is now a
celebrity. A longtime resident of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which sustained some of the worst damage from flooding in 2005, Roberts will mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — which falls on Aug. 29 — with a performance and speaking engagement in her city of birth. Virtually everyone knows the story of disaster, destruction, despair, misery and government response that followed Katrina. A CHANGED LIFE — Kimberly Rivers Roberts poses for a photo in Los Angeles earlier this year. Roberts, an aspiring rapper from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, gained prominence for her recording of footage following Hurricane Katrina, which formed the basis for the film “Trouble the Water.” The success of the film has helped Roberts to leave a life of drug dealing behind. Pictured with Roberts: husband Scott Roberts (left) and actor Danny Glover (right), executive producer of “Trouble the Water.”
Photo Courtesy of ALEXANDRIA AVERSENTI
People are getting an inside, first-hand view of not only the devastation, but of the human spirit to rise above the most difficult of circumstances. As the storm approached with ferocious wind and rain, Roberts, then 24 years old, and her husband Scott Roberts had no means of getting out of the city and subsequently endured several days of horrific and dangerous conditions alone in their home. With a recently purchased video camcorder in hand, Roberts captured footage that was later used in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Trouble the Water,” directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin. When asked why she chose to stay put when warnings were going out to evacuate, Roberts said, “It was not a decision. It was more of a forced thing because we didn’t have the funds to evacuate. “He (Mayor Ray Nagin) didn’t say, ‘Get out or die.’ And how do you tell people to evacuate and don’t provide a way?” Roberts said recently, by phone from her home in the Big Easy. “He knew of lot of See KATRINA, page 9
munities and the mayor’s office to bid on up to 250 LAUSD schools. The bidding groups would submit plans for running the schools to Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who would oversee the entire process. Cortines said all plans will be up for renewal on a five-year basis. Supporters of the resolution call it school reform. See SCHOOLS, page 7
L.A. Officials Tout First Step in Subway to the Sea (AP) — Crews are nearly finished drilling 70 exploratory holes across the city’s west side — the first step toward building the “subway to the sea” to help unclog traffic in one of the nation’s most congested areas, officials said Aug. 20. Crews drilled up to 80 feet into the ground to assess soil conditions and determine how to best start digging a tunnel, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told reporters at a drilling site in Westwood. The completion of the proposed 121/2-mile line linking downtown to the beach in Santa Monica could create about 16,000 construction jobs, he said. The line beneath Wilshire Boulevard is expected to cost an estimated $6.1 billion. An additional segment across West Hollywood would cost another $3 billion. About $4 billion in funding will come from the county’s halfcent sales tax for transportation projects. Villaraigosa said the line could be completed in 10 years. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the line could draw up to 79,000 riders a
day and add a crucial link to the area’s light-rail system that now covers 73 miles to Long Beach, Pasadena, the San Fernando Valley and communities around Los Angeles International Airport.
Settlement Bars SoCal Lender from Hassling Debtors (AP) — A Superior Court judge has approved a settlement requiring a Southern California loan company to not use abusive language or threats of police action to collect its customers’ debts. In her judgment Aug. 24, Judge Amy Hogue also ordered Anaheim-based CashCall Inc. not to use deceptive advertising and to pay $1 million in civil penalties and legal expenses. The company is well known for its television ads featuring actor Gary Coleman. California Attorney General Jerry Brown accused CashCall of preying on consumers desperate for cash and using loan-shark tactics to collect on their debts. He says CashCall ads suggested low interest rate loans were available to all borrowers, but actually charged annual interest of up to 129 percent. CashCall attorney Dan Baren says the company is happy to have reached the agreement. See BRIEFS, page 6
L.A. WATTS TIMES
August 27, 2009
OPINION EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON
Why California Has a Nightmare Prison Mess The ruling by three federal judges that California must release more than 40,000 inmates to relieve gross overcrowding was much expected and much dreaded. California prisons house more inmates than any other state. In fact, it houses more inmates than several states combined. The system was set up to warehouse 84,000 inmates. It has nearly double that number. California state Attorney General Jerry Brown denounced the ruling as federal intrusion in state affairs. Police officials, unions and GOP state legislators railed that it would flood the streets with violent criminals. The horrid killing of 17-yearold high school student Lily Burk allegedly by a recently released exconvict instantly became their “See, I told you” war cry for keeping the cell doors locked tight. Yet, jail riots, dumping thousands of inmates back on the streets, prisoner lawsuits, draconian budget slashes and gross overcrowding have made California’s jails the nation’s poster jail system for dysfunctionality.
The bitter truth that cops and conservatives and much of the public don’t want to face is that California’s prisons are a mess, because far too many persons are being tossed into the prisons when they don’t have to be. With little fanfare and no public outcry, other states that have faced prison overcrowding have implemented programs that have reduced the prison numbers without increasing the danger to public safety. They’ve increased funding for and expanded the use of specialty courts to screen and refer defendants to drug, domestic-violence and mental-health treatment or counseling. They issue citations for a variety of misdemeanor offenses, impose community service and pretrial diversion on offenders. They’ve increased the use of preincarceration probation and bail hearings to determine if an offender who does not pose a flight or public-safety risk can be released. These aren’t bleeding-heart, soft-on-crime ploys. In a report on California jail and prison conditions nearly a decade ago, the Little
Hoover Commission noted that education, work training, drug-treatment and counseling programs are the best and most cost-effective ways to reduce recidivism rates. California prison officials also concede that the prime cause for the jail overcrowding is the lack of drug and work programs for parolees. Still, the public horror of dumping thousands of prisoners back on the streets makes officials gun-shy about implementing any reforms that can be misconstrued as coddling criminals. L.A. County jail officials, for instance, have taken much heat for a prisoner early-release program. But a close look at those released show that most are jailed for nonviolent, misdemeanor offenses. This isn’t to say some of those jailed for nonviolent offenses don’t pose a potential threat to public safety. Burk’s alleged killer obviously fits that bill. But the reality is that it’s either release them or risk more inmate turmoil, lawsuits and federal tampering with the prisons. This is not a choice that California See HUTCHINSON, page 3
Crack Swiss Banks to Free Africa’s Wealth BY EDWIN OKONG’O NEW AMERICA MEDIA
If President Barack Obama was looking for help with how best to make Africa a partner, he got a hint last week when Switzerland agreed to give the Internal Revenue Service access to Swiss bank accounts of Americans. The deal between the United States and Switzerland was a settlement of a lawsuit seeking access to UBS bank accounts of Americans suspected of taking advantage of the European country’s strict privacy laws to evade U.S. taxes. The justice America received in this case is what Africans have been seeking from the West for decades. African journalists, human rights activists and advocates of democracy and good governance have always known that without the banking secrecy laws of countries like Switzerland, the level of corruption in Africa would plummet significantly. A March 2009 editorial in the African Executive magazine, for instance, declared: “Western governments, [which] are quick to preach good governance to Africa ought to preach the same message to their banks, [which] act as safe havens for corrupt leaders. Bank secrecy laws in Switzerland, Jersey Island, Britain, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg and Austria have encouraged Africa’s vampire states to bank away monies meant for their countries’ development.” Lord Aikins Adusei, a Ghanaian anti-corruption activist, had even harsher words for Swiss banks, labeling them “parasites feeding on the economies of poor Third World countries.” Activists like Adusei often get
accused of blaming the West for Africa’s problems, but thanks to Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws and the U.S. recession, America seems to have finally realized that a policy of a faraway country can have an adverse effect on the local economy. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told reporters last week that money U.S. citizens are suspected to have stashed away in the Swiss banks was at one time as much as $18 billion. As astounding as that figure sounds, it is unlikely that a single American hoarded as much as one corrupt African leader. A 2007 World Bank-United Nations report estimated that Gen. Sani Abacha, the late Nigerian dictator, for example, embezzled $2 billion to $5 billion. Abacha ruled what has been called one of the world’s most corrupt countries for only five years — from 1993 to 1998. And in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) dictator Mobutu Sese Seko is said to have stolen about $5 billion. While in the United States money hidden away does little damage to the greater economy, in Africa it determines whether millions of children live or die. The same World Bank-UN report said that every $100 million recovered could either give 4 million children full immunizations, cover safe water for 250,000 households, or provide a full year’s worth of antiretroviral HIV/AIDS drugs to more than 600,000 people. Undoubtedly, the issue of corrupt African leaders emptying treasuries is not an exclusively African problem that calls solely for an African solution. In Ghana, Obama called on Africans to make reforms “that can
unlock Africa’s potential,” a message that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to spread on her tour this month. It is evident Edwin Okong’O that neither aid from wealthy nations, nor donations from philanthropists and humanitarian organizations, can save Africa’s destitute. The only way out for Africa is the return of the money that has been stolen from the continent. According to UNAIDS, in 2007 alone 350,000 South Africans died of AIDS. The world would have screamed genocide if the apartheid government had killed half as many from 1948 to 1994. The fact that today’s oppressors of Africa are black should not restrain the United States and the international community from sanctioning countries like Switzerland that allow dictators to continue condemning millions to death. On July 14, even before Obama had a chance to kick the jetlag from his visit to Africa, a Swiss court ruled that $7 million belonging to Mobutu Sese Seko must be returned to his family. The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is appealing the decision. Here is a chance for the United States and the world to tell Switzerland that if your father steals a car and dies soon after pulling up to the driveway, it is still a stolen car. Edwin Okong’o is an associate editor and writer for New America Media, which publishes content from thousands of ethnic media outlets on www.newamericamedia.org.
On Women’s Equality Day … Are We There Yet? BY LINDA MERIC
Each year, on Aug. 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day to pay tribute to those brave suffragists, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Ida B. WellsBarnett, who led the struggle for American women to win the most critical tool of democracy — the right to vote. Women today not only have the right to vote, but we’ve made significant advances in the world of work, education, business, and many other arenas. Still, Women’s Equality Day 2009 offers the chance for a temperature check. Are we there yet? How close have we come to full equality? And what steps can we take now to come closer? Women in the United States still earn only 78 cents for every $1 earned by men. African American women and Latinas experience an even bigger pay gap. The pay gap persists despite occupation, despite personal choices, despite income, and despite education. In fact, women earn less than their male colleagues just one year out of college, even when the work is exactly the same. And the gap widens after that. At the rate we’re going, women will have to wait until the year 2050 to reach pay equity. But we can’t afford to wait that long. We need stronger fair pay laws and vigorous enforcement to end pay discrimination. We need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now. We must also address workplace policy that ignores women’s dual responsibilities — work and family. Consider this: The United States is one of only four countries in the world that does not guarantee paid time off for new parents. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks leave for major illness
and the birth or adoption of a child. But not everyone is covered and the leave is unpaid. To move toward equality, we must Linda Meric expand family and medical leave now and make it more affordable for more workers. Additionally, we must provide legislative relief for the nearly 60 million workers who lack paid sick days. Three cities — San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee — have passed ordinances that allow workers to keep their jobs and incomes while caring for themselves or a loved one in times of occasional illness. But now is the time for Congress to take federal action. Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), with 100 House of Representative cosponsors, have reintroduced the Healthy Families Act (HFA) in Congress. The proposal would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days each year. Paid sick days protect the public health, provide a safety net for workers in a tough economy, and are good for business. Studies show that businesses that offer their workers paid sick days have less turnover, higher worker morale and higher productivity. Providing workplace pay equality and sick days for all workers will not be easy victories, but it is attainable. We must all speak out. Tell your story. If we are ever to see a full vision of women’s equality, we must honor the legacy of those brave women who went before us. Meric is executive director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women.
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August 27, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
BUSINESS BIZSHORTS Calif. Home Prices Rose about 2 Percent in July (AP) — The median home price in California rose about 2 percent last month from June, signaling that the state’s housing market may be nearing “a soft bottom,” a tracking firm said Aug. 21. The statewide median price increased 1.6 percent to $250,000, up from $246,000 in June, the third consecutive month in which prices have risen, San Diego-based MDA DataQuick said. Last month’s figure, however, was down 21 percent from $318,000 in July 2008. An estimated 45,079 homes sold statewide last month, the most since 51,054 homes were purchased in August 2006. The sale of higher-priced homes was responsible for the median price boost, coupled with fewer sales of foreclosures. DataQuick said the increase in homes sold in California is being pushed by more motivated sellers, increased availability of larger home loans and buyers sensing the market may have reached a bottom. In Southern California, the median home price ticked up about 1 percent to $268,000 in July from June. The figure for the six-county region was 23 percent lower than the July 2008 median price of $348,000. Foreclosures accounted for about 44 percent of the July sales, the lowest level in more than a year.
Gates Project. The meet-and-greet will take place Sept.10, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., in suite 10AG of the Community Conference Room, 5120 W. Goldleaf Circle. During the event, guest speaker and procurement manager James Augustyn will discuss the Walsh/ Austin Joint Venture, which was recently awarded a contract with LAWA for the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal West Gates Project for about $425 million. The event is free for chamber members and $10 for nonmembers. A continental breakfast will be included. RSVP by Sept. 4. Information: (323) 292-1297, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recycling Black Dollars to Present First Tuesday Breakfast Recycling Black Dollars will present “How to Really Do Business with LADWP” Sept. 1, 8 to 10 a.m., at Papa West Restaurant, 4336 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles. The guest speaker will be Forescee Hogan-Rowles, commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Rowles will discuss the programs, products and services that LADWP offers. There will also be an opportunity for business owners to learn about upcoming bids and RFP opportunities with LADWP. Admission is $10 for members and $12 for guests. RSVP at (310) 673-7777.
Los Angeles Black Chamber to Hold Meeting on West Gates Project
Board of Equalization Announces Reductions in Payments to Local Governments
The Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce will present an opportunity to meet and greet members of the diversity and procurement team for the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Bradley West
The California State Board of Equalization has announced that 337 letters have been sent to local finance directors explaining that declining state sales tax revenues have caused a reduction in expected local allocations for their
August 2009 advances. In addition, 15 jurisdictions received letters notifying them they will be receiving no August advance. This is a continuation of an issue that developed this year with the unprecedented drop-off in taxable sales due to the recession. Payments to the local taxing jurisdictions are based in part on prior taxable sales patterns that do not apply in the current economic climate. Similar letters were sent to 473 local jurisdictions in May. Payments to local governments for the second quarter of 2009 were reduced by 14.4 percent. Information: www.taxes.ca. gov.
Small Businesses Won Record $93.3 Billion in Federal Contracts WASHINGTON — Small businesses won a record $93.3 billion in federal prime contracts in Fiscal Year 2008 (Oct. 1, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008), an increase of almost $10 billion from 2007, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s third annual small business procurement scorecard. In addition, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses increased their share of federal contracting dollars by at least $1 billion to $3 billion. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced a government-wide plan that includes federal agency procurement officials holding or participating in more than 200 events over the next 90 days to share information on government contracting opportunities, including those available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. See BIZSHORTS, page 12
Fearful of Retirement Account Balances? Many Americans who have a 401(k), an IRA or both may be fearful to look at the balances in their accounts these days. After all, the balances in such accounts have fallen dramatically, according to a recent Employee Benefits Research Institute report. Reflecting the significant downturn in the economy, median asset levels in defined contribution plans, including 401(k) and IRA/Keogh plans, dropped at least 15 percent from year-end 2007 to mid-June 2009, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data published by the nonpartisan institute. According to the report: • Among all families with a defined contribution plan, the median (mid-point) plan balance was $31,800 in 2007, up 16 percent from 2004, the date of the previous Survey of Consumer Finances release. According to the institute’s estimates, this dropped 16.4 percent (to $26,578) from year-end 2007 to mid-June 2009. Losses were higher for families with more than $100,000 a year in income (down 22 percent) or having a net worth in the top 10 percent (down 28 percent). • IRA/Keogh plans: Among all families with an IRA/Keogh plan, the median value of their plan was $34,000 in 2007, up 3 percent from 2004. The institute estimates
this median value dropped 15 percent (to $28,955) from year-end 2007 to mid-June 2009. “Over the past months, there is seldom a day that goes by where there is not a story capturing the impact of how the recent market fall has savaged a family’s retirement plan,” said Mark Flaherty, of Virginia Asset Management. “Each of these stories is as devastating as it is real.” But devastation shouldn’t lead to inaction or inertia. Instead, financial planners and others recommend that you should do the following with your retirement accounts given the current state of affairs. Keep Contributing Financial planners and other experts suggest that you should keep on contributing to your 401(k) and IRA plans. To paraphrase, Craig Copeland, senior research associate and author of the institute’s report suggests that if you continue to contribute to your retirement accounts, you’ll be in a position to “accumulate added wealth as the economy recovers.” It’s probably worth checking the percent you are saving or contributing to retirement and working with a financial planner to determine whether you need to adjust your contribution given your goals. See RETIREMENT, page 10
Summer Membership Mixer August 27, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Los Angeles Downtown Marriott www.glaaacc.org
HUTCHINSON Continued from page 2 legislators and prison officials want to make. And it’s a choice that they wouldn’t have to make if they’d aggressively implement the reform programs that other cities and states are using to help people turn their lives around. For a brief time, that included California state prison officials, and that includes California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He recognized the
Facts Aug. 25, 1925 A. Philip Randolph and five other men organize themselves as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and hold their first formal meeting in Elks Hall in Harlem, N.Y. It is the beginning of what would become one of the most successful union organizing efforts in history. By 1959, the union claimed more than 15,000 members. Source: blackfacts.com
crucial importance of reform programs to reduce prison overcrowding and the high rate of recidivism. One of the first things he did when he took office was publicly pledge to spend more on work and diversion. The first day in office in 2005 he appointed a reform-minded prison specialist to run the prisons and jump-start the reforms. But a year later, he was gone, and a report found that the programs were not implemented or drastically scaled back — and the recidivism rate had soared. In a report in 2000, the Bureau of Justice warned that the public — either out of desperation over the surging prison population or wishful thinking about what can reduce the numbers — naively assumes that building more jails is the answer to overcrowding. But the bureau flatly said that was a terrible assumption. Legions of criminal justice experts have also essentially said the same thing. Steve Ingley, American Jails Association president, has gone further. He blames the prison crisis on politicians who pass mountains
of laws to burnish their tough-oncrime credentials, but refuse to provide the resources to improve the jails. Their abominable short sightedness was on full display when state legislators slashed millions in funding for a successful drug treatment diversionary program that helped keep thousands of people out of jail cells. This terribly self-defeating cutback, coupled with the lack of political will and imagination to enact programs that will end overcrowding and jail violence, is a surefire prescription that guarantees that California’s soaring rate of recidivism will continue unabated. This only means more prison overcrowding. It also means that dumping thousands of inmates on the street is no fix for California’s nightmare prison mess. 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.
IT’S FREE BUSINESS ADVICE. HOW GOOD COULD IT BE? The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by El Camino College offers an entire network of Business Advisors who can provide you with free one-on-one business advising and affordable training. Whether you’re starting a business or want to take your business to the next level, we can help you. The SBDC hosted by El Camino College is part of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network, a nationwide program. More than 1.3 million businesses take advantage of the SBDC services nationally, and there’s an SBDC Service Center near you. Appointments are also available at our satellite office in the City of Carson. Visit www.southbaysbdc.org or call (310) 973-3177 to make an appointment today. w w w.southbaysbdc.org
(310) 973-3177 The Lead Center for the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network is operated by Long Beach Community College District. The Small Business Development Centers are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Community Colleges Economic & Workforce Development Program, and center host institutions. Funding is not an endorsement of any product, opinion, or service. All Federal and State funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Special arrangements for individuals with disability will be made if requested in advance.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
August 27, 2009
COMMUNITY COMMUNITY MEETINGS, FORUMS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS Service Providers Reception Slated The first Community Service Providers Reception will take place Sept. 8, 5 to 6 p.m., at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. The purpose of the event is to
give community service providers from the West Adams district the opportunity to meet, network, develop partnerships, identify funding opportunities and find out which services are available in the community. There will be particular focus
on services to youth, especially after school programs, summer school programs and enrichment programs. For information, contact the Rev. Lesa at (323) 731-7285, email email@example.com or visit www.holmanumc.com.
Worthy said. “We didn’t even know about gangs back then in the early ’60s. Anytime the police made contact with us they would fill out field cards used by gang intervention units to identify gang members.” The group of young men eventually became a violent gang, and Worthy became the self-identified leader of it. At 16, Worthy caught his first case. He was arrested for having a gun in his possession and went to jail for the first time. For the next 17 years, jail and prisons became his home away from home. His last prison stint lasted five years. During those turbulent years, Worthy was shot and got into shootouts with the police and opposing gang members. He says he never just went looking for trouble, but only to protect himself and his neighborhood. “We didn’t chase anybody. We didn’t go outside our area,” Worthy said. “We were strictly defensive.” One day, Worthy was shot in the chest and arm while trying to break up a fight. After being rushed to the emergency room, he awoke in the hospital to find himself handcuffed and chained to the bed. A police officer stood over him with breaking news: he was wanted for a prior murder. Spending the next year in jail going back and forth to court, Worthy had lots of time to think about where his life was headed. He started seriously reading his Bible again and hoping for a new way of life. “I just knew I was going to prison for a long time, but somehow we worked out a deal. I knew God was dealing with me,” Worthy said. “I always had this Christian thing inside me. That was what distinguished me from the other dudes.” “I would read my Bible in jail,” he added. Worthy was set free from jail but still held prisoner by his past. With only an eighth-grade education and nowhere to go, he headed back to his familiar haunts. However, by 1975 he was ready for change and started searching for answers. “That was the beginning of me getting more into my faith walk,” Worthy said. “After getting out of jail I sat in Leimert Park and told God, ‘I’m not leaving this park until you tell me what to do with my life.’ ” That’s when Worthy’s life was changed, and he would ride a bus on Crenshaw Boulevard, asking the driver for permission to speak to the riders. He also started a prison ministry in Nevada with Robert Mallard, a friend he met on a bus ride. Worthy has not been in jail for
the past 15 years, he said. During that period, he’s spent a year on Skid Row and stayed at a mission, all the while trying to help others. He said he’s available to assist and is routinely called on by the police, gang intervention-prevention organizations, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and others. The minister said he’s seen a “lot of guys lay down their guns.” Keith Linton, a Los Angeles Police Department officer in charge of the Southeast Division Jeopardy Program, an intervention and prevention boot camp for young men 8 to 16 years old, says Worthy has worked with him for a couple of years and is definitely an asset. “I would not work with anyone who is not passionate. He (Pastor Worthy) is very passionate about his work,” Linton said. “He tells them about the gang life and tries to steer them clear of any involvement in it. He’s dedicated to empowering these kids and their parents. He relates to them and these young men relate really well with him.” Worthy’s concern these days is for the youth and gang members he sees headed down the same destructive path he traveled. Worthy said he is willing and available to work with anyone who is serious about stopping violence in the streets. Though not affiliated with any organized religion or denomination, Worthy knows he can’t solve the problem single handedly. “It’s effective. I’d rather be sitting in a church, with (an) air conditioner and other comforts, but I’m needed out here,” he explained. Worthy would like to do even more. He wants to take his ministry into jails and prisons and deliver a message of hope to prisoners, including those who are ready to be released. He said it is people like him who can be effective in stopping the gangs and relating to the hardcore gangsters. However, due to his background, he can not get an official clearance so he will continue his current tasks. “When the idea first came to me about standing out here with a sign, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, no. I’m not going out there with that big sign. I used to sleep on that bench right over there,” Worthy said, pointing to a bench near Leimert Park’s waterfall. “God promised me I’m going to meet some real people if I stand on that corner and I have met some good people I would never have met.” Though he had planned only to stand on that corner for one day, it is now eight years later and he’s still standing every Sunday — for hours — aiming to help save souls.
MINISTRY Continued from page 1
Photo Courtesy of HILTRONBAILEY.COM
ULTRA WAVE REUNION — Ultra Wave was a group of Los Angeles dance promoters during the 1980s. The group left its mark on L.A.’s hip-hop scene, and various African American alumni from several high schools during the ’80s came together with the group for a reunion party Aug. 23. Pictured (left to right): Ultra Wave co-founder and MC Gregory “G Bone” Everett, and world-renowned MC/DJ “Egyptian Lover.”
projects, the only place I could go and just hung out.” Worthy said he slept in abandoned cars and houses and ate whatever food came his way, sometimes from parents of friends he made in the projects. Having come from an upper middle-class Christian home, Worthy admits he was not raised to be the hoodlum he became. In the early 1960s, he formed a group of guys to hang out with while swimming, playing sports and the like. Before long, that group of guys grew to about 20 to 30 young men aimlessly wandering throughout their South L.A. neighborhood. At the outset, the group was formed to protect themselves and their neighborhood from outside agitators. It wasn’t long before the young men were being noticed by the police. “The police started stopping us and telling us we were a gang,”
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August 27, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: L.A. Watts Times, 3540 Wilshire Blvd., PH3, Los Angeles, CA 90010. DINNER AND A MOVIE — The chefs of “Back to the Table” at the DreamFruit Loft Kitchen will sponsor “Vegetarian Cuisine Night” Aug. 28, 7 to 11 p.m., at 727 W. 42nd St., Los Angeles. This is a hands-on opportunity for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and the veggie-curious to learn healthy, alternative ways to create meat-free meals. The featured film for the evening will be “Fast Food Nation.” The cost for the evening is $35, $25 without bar beverage. Information: (323) 232-3502, b2the email@example.com. TOWNHALL MEETING — The Los Angeles NAACP and FBI will host a forum that focuses on the bureau’s role in the law enforcement community, its jurisdiction, and how community input and cooperation can enhance community safety. The FBI will also recruit qualified individuals for various positions. The meeting will take place Aug. 29, 10 a.m., at the Customer Service Learning Center, 2901/2 Fox Hills Mall, Culver City. The center is located on the second level of the mall by JCPenney. Information: (310) 397-1171. BACK TO SCHOOL BLOCK PARTY — Ruach Christian Community Fellowship will sponsor its First Annual Community Pride Back to School Block Party Aug. 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 11603 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. There will be live music, food, free health screenings and more. Free school supplies will be given to those who attend the Sunday worship service Aug. 30, at 7:30 and 10 a.m. Information: (323) 567-9883, www. ruachradioministry.com. BACKPACK GIVEAWAY — Students entering kindergarten through grade 12 can receive a free backpack Aug. 29, 10 a.m. to noon, at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1715 E. Santa Ana Blvd., Los Angeles, across from the Watts Towers. The backpacks are absolutely free while supplies last. There will also be jumpers and food available, as well as health information. Information: (310) 977-2349. SUPER SATURDAY — The California State University will sponsor a college fair as part of its African American Initiative. The event will be held Aug. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Sculpture Garden of California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson. Free parking is available in lots three and six. Information: (562) 951-4804, www.calstate.edu/supersaturday. RESOURCE FAIR — The Foundation for the Junior Blind will sponsor this “Back-to-School Inclusion and Resource Fair” Aug. 30, 2 to 6 p.m., at its View Park
headquarters, 5300 Angeles Vista Blvd., Los Angeles. Free backpacks, shoes and school supplies will be available, and vendors with food, music, arts/crafts and games will be in attendance. Information: (213) 389-7100, www.specialneedsnetwork.net. FIGHTING FASCISM — The “Summer Study Series on Fighting Fascism” continues with the current topic of “Nazi strategy: Crushing labor by demonizing people of color, Jews, gays, women, socialists and humanists.” This event will be held Aug. 31, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Solidarity Hall, 2170 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. The building is air conditioned. For admission, there is a $2 request per session. Light snacks will be served at 6:30 p.m. for a $5 donation. A work exchange of admission /donation is available. Information: (323) 732-6416, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.socialism. com. LUNCH AND LEARN — The Jenesse Center invites the community to learn about opportunities to partner with it in moving families from crisis to self-sufficiency. Some opportunities include beautifying the facilities where families live; raising money for family-oriented programs and services, and spreading the word about ending domestic violence in homes and communities. A lunch will be held Sept. 4, noon, at 3761 Stocker St., suite 100, Los Angeles. RSVP information: (323) 299-9496, ext. 103, or e-mail srobertson@jenesse. org. JUJU — A Soul Children Experience will present an “All White Party: Libations Through Music” Sept. 5, 10 p.m., at 122 N. Market St., Inglewood. This event costs $15 and is for ages 21 and up. All-white attire is strongly encouraged. There will be visual art by T. Black and resident DJs will spin soul, jazz, funk and rare grooves. Information: (323) 517-3222, www. thesoulchildren.com. BIG HAT LUNCH — Sophisticated Ladies will present “Taking Care of Me! A Big Hat Lunch” Sept. 12, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Hacienda Hotel, 525 N. Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo. The guest speaker will be
This is personal. She was the cornerstone of our family. But my mother died of colon cancer when she was only 56. Let my heartbreak be your wake-up call. Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer in the U.S., but screening helps prevent this disease. Terrence Howard, actor/musician
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India Holloway, a health care specialist. Also, there will be information available on ways to “Manage Your Health and Not a Disease,” and ways to rid your body of toxins. Information: (800) 781-5266, or email Michelle@MShannonConsult ing.com. SOME OF US ARE BRAVE — “A Black Women’s Radio Program,” airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. on KPFK, 90.7 FM, in Los Angeles and online at www.kpfk.org. The voices, views and experiences of black women in particular are highlighted. Information: someof email@example.com, www. myspace.com/souab. ROUNDTABLE — The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable meets Saturdays, 10 to 11:30 a.m., in Leimert Park at the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse, 3351 W. 43rd St., Los Angeles. The roundtable features expert speakers on hot-button local and national issues followed by an open discussion. It is free and open to the public. Information: (323) 383-6145. GANG TALK — Longtime community activist Lita Herron hosts “Gang Talk with Sister Herron,” Thursdays, 6 to 6:30 p.m., on KTYM-AM 1460. The show addresses the devastating impact of gangs and violence on families and communities.
Photos by MARTY COTWRIGHT
RISING UP — Chuco’s Justice Center, home of the Youth Justice Coalition, held an “Indigenous Art Uprising” on Aug. 22 at its offices in Inglewood. The event, which featured various youth and local artists, was a fundraiser for the group’s work to end the mass incarceration of young people. Pictured (top photo): Fabian “Spade” DeBora works on a piece of art. (Bottom photo): DeBora explains some of the influences on his artwork to a group of onlookers.
WARNING Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm are contained in crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products and byproducts. Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm are also contained in and around oil fields, service stations, refineries, chemical plants, transport and storage operations, including pipelines, marine terminals and tank trucks, and other facilities and equipment that manufacture, produce, process, handle, distribute, transport, store, sell or otherwise transfer crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel or other petroleum products or byproducts. The foregoing warning is provided pursuant to Proposition 65. This law requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity." This list is compiled in accordance with a procedure established by the Proposition, and can be obtained from the California Environmental Protection Agency. Proposition 65 requires that clear and reasonable warnings be given to persons exposed to the listed chemicals in certain situations. Aera Energy LLC BP America Inc. and its subsidiaries (and under the trademarks ARCO and Castrol) Chevron Corporation its affiliates and subsidiaries ConocoPhillips Company including its divisions and subsidiaries (and under the trademark 76)
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L.A. WATTS TIMES
August 27, 2009
COMMUNITY BRIEFS Continued from page 1
Mom’s Legacy is WorldRenowned Black Collection (AP) — When the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum of African American History & Culture is finished it will rival New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in size and significance.
Clayton’s son, Avery Clayton, is still cataloging the hundreds of thousands of things his mom collected before she died in 2006 at the age of 83. But he is also getting ready for the museum’s first major exhibition. It’s a joint project with the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino and will be held Oct. 24 to Jan. 4. Clayton’s goal is to open the museum in Culver City in 2011. He says he needs $8.5 million for the museum’s first three years. He has raised about an eighth of that.
up on the Assembly floor,” she said. The version approved by Senate Democrats would have cut the state’s prison population by about 27,000 in the first year.
THE NATION Sen. Edward Kennedy to be Buried At Arlington WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died Aug.25 of brain cancer, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, The Associated Press has learned.
THE STATE Assembly Speaker Bass Postpones Vote on Prisons
Mayme A. Clayton
Facts Aug. 28, 1955 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till of Chicago is kidnapped and lynched while visiting relatives in Money, Miss. Source: blackfacts.com
SACRAMENTO (AP) — California’s Assembly speaker postponed a vote Aug. 24 as she tried to line up enough votes on a plan to trim the state’s inmate population to save about $1 billion. Speaker Karen Bass already had stripped out the most contentious provisions from a bill that passed the state Senate last week. The Democrat said the Senateapproved version doesn’t have enough votes to pass in her chamber. “When we arrive at a responsible plan that can earn the support of the majority of the Assembly and makes sense to the people of California, we will take that bill
There are currently five Kennedy family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and an official speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans were still under way, told The AP that the Massachusetts senator would join them.
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At the site of the eternal flame rest four Kennedy family members: former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy; his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy; their baby son, Patrick, who died after two days; and a stillborn child. Former Sen. Robert Kennedy F. Kennedy is buried a short distance away. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the only surviving brother of the storied political family, died after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.
Green Bay Hires First Black Police Officer GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay has a black police officer for the first time in the 152-year history of its police department. Solomon Ayres was expected to start the first phase of a 17-week training regime this week. He says he expects some resistance from both black and white residents, but thinks his life experiences will help defuse difficult situations and make him open to different points of view. Fran Jonet, president of Green Bay’s Police and Fire Commission, says hiring a black recruit is a long-awaited step in the right direction. Census figures show that African Americans make up about 2.5 percent of Green Bay’s more than 98,000 people. Its police department has 177 officers, including 15 women, four American Indians or Alaska natives and one Hispanic. Information from: Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com.
Financial Issues Plague Illinois Cemetery ALSIP, Ill.(AP) — Officials say financial issues plague a suburban Chicago cemetery where four former workers were charged with digging up bodies and reselling plots. The lack of funds are hampering efforts to clean up Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip because a cemetery official says workers can’t be paid. Roman Szabelski (shahBEHL’-skee), the appointed receiver of Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, says he hasn’t received any of the money he has asked for to run the cemetery. Burr Oak’s assets were frozen after four people were charged in the alleged scheme that authorities say stretched back at least five years. The remaining workers were laid off earlier this month. The historic black cemetery is the final resting place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till.
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Vigil Marks 20 Years Since Yusuf Hawkins Murder NEW YORK (AP) — Exactly 20 years after a white mob surrounded and attacked a black teenager in Bensonhurst, his mother says she still lives with the death of Yusuf Hawkins every day. The Rev. Al Sharpton joined the slain teenager’s family the afternoon of Aug. 23 to lead a vigil at the cemetery where Hawkins is buried. Hawkins and three black friends went to the mostly white Brooklyn neighborhood on Aug. 23, 1989, to look at a used car that was for sale. About 30 whites, armed with at least one gun, bats and golf clubs, chased the four and surrounded them. Hawkins was shot twice in the chest. After the killing, racial tensions in the city flared, and black demonstrators marching in the neighborhood were confronted by angry whites yelling obscenities. Four men were convicted. The gunman is up for parole in 2022.
Springfield to Require Training After Nooses Found SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — City officials in Springfield say plans are in the works to require city workers to take diversity and sensitivity training after two nooses were found hanging at city facilities. The nooses were found earlier this summer hanging at the city’s water and electricity department. One of the nooses was found at the work station of a black employee. Nooses are often considered symbols of racial oppression, invoking images of racist lynchings. Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin says he didn’t think sensitivity training would be necessary in the year 2010, but he’s learned more needs to be done. Authorities are investigating if criminal charges will be filed against the three white employees who allegedly tied and hung the nooses. Information from: The State Journal-Register, www.sj-r.com.
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August 27, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
COMMUNITY Aiming to Show Inner-City Kids Success in Black and Brown SAM HASSAN L.A. GARMENT & CITIZEN
Skid Row beat cop Deon Joseph wants successful AfricanAmerican and Latino-American adults to tell local kids that they're “Just Like U.” Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph sees plenty of what’s wrong as he goes about his duties in the Skid Row district of Downtown — and so do plenty of youngsters who live in and around hard-pressed stretches of the city’s center. Now Joseph has taken it upon himself to give those youngsters a look at some of what’s going right through a mentoring program that he’s been quietly working at as a solo volunteer. The program is called “Just Like U” and aims to bring inner-
SCHOOLS Continued from page 1 “This initiative is a far-reaching effort … it would give innovative school operators the chance to operate our new school campuses opening next fall,” Villaraigosa said. “School competition works because it offers a chance not simply to tinker around the edge of our school district but to turn our public education system on its head.” Ben Austin, whose organization the Parent Revolution was one of the biggest supporters of the resolution presented the board with petitions they claimed consisted of 3,000 signatures from supporters, and challenged the board not to maintain the status quo. Board President Monica Garcia (District Two), one of the authors of the original resolution, said she supported the resolution in the hope that the district can move faster toward improvement. “While we provide 80,000 jobs and while we spend to the tune of $7 (billion) to $8 billion, our graduation rate is no where near acceptable,” Garcia said. “I’m moved today by the kids we don’t serve well.” However, resolution opponents label it privatization and the selling of public schools to private entities. “This resolution is a giveaway of public schools. It’s the beginning of privatization of public education and also it ignores unions and union roles…, ” said Susan Goss-
LAPD Officer Deon Joseph
city youth in contact with successful adults. Joseph is seeking professionals, tradespeople, artists and just about anyone else who has enjoyed some success in life and is willing to spend a half-hour or so with the kids. The program is open to any-
man, president of Chapter 500 of the California School Employees Association. Marguerite LaMotte (District One) was the lone dissenter challenging the legality of the resolution. LaMotte said almost three years ago the district did the same thing and was told by the Legislature that it was “unlawful” to give away the schools. “…We’re right back at it again. The state constitution states that no school, college or any other part of the public school system shall be directly or indirectly transferred from the public school system or placed under the jurisdiction of any authority other than the one included within the public school system,” LaMotte said. “So, I’m conflicted.” Former board members Jackie Goldberg and Rita Walters also questioned the resolution’s legality. Goldberg said taxpayers authorized $120 million to be spent on charter schools with the passage of Propositions K, R and Y, which would be matched by about $120 million in state bonds. “That’s a quarter of a billion dollars that have been spent to build charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. One quarter of a billion dollars. People who voted on those bills knew that was the amount to be spent. This is a back-door attempt to get more than the quarter of a billion dollars.” Goldberg warned the board that as “you will be sued” (if it
one, but Joseph is currently aiming to encourage African Americans and Latino Americans to serve as mentors. He says he hopes that successful professionals of the same ethnic background of the youths in the program — a group of 20 to 25 youngsters about evenly split
passed the resolution.) “This district cannot go out and tell the voters what they are voting on and then after the schools are built say, ‘Oh, but we really didn’t mean it,’ ” Goldberg said. Walters said while she understood the motivation for the resolution, she felt it was ill-advised and “runs a real risk of flying in the face of equal protection guaranteed in the 14th amendment of the Constitution.” “Our schools are public and should remain public schools,” Walters said. “Privatization is not for public schools. The worst phrase that I have heard applied to this is freedom of choice. Freedom of choice was a favorite phrase of southern segregationist. “Education is not an activity that can be improved with catch phrases and mini bits for TV.” Superintendent Cortines now has 60 days to develop a plan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
G JR. LUTHER KIN
Notice of Availability of Record of Decision, Notice of Determination and Limitations on Claims for Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement and SR-47 Expressway Project Effective July 1, 2007, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assigned, and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) assumed, environmental responsibilities for this project pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327. Caltrans has completed the Record of Decision (ROD) pursuant to NEPA, and is filing the Notice of Determination (NOD) with the State Clearinghouse pursuant to CEQA for the Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement and SR-47 Expressway Project. The selected alternative is Alternative 1 “Bridge Replacement and SR-47 Expressway”. A copy of these documents is available at the Caltrans District 7 Office by contacting Caltrans at the address provided below. These documents are also available at the Caltrans website http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/ and the ACTA’s website http://www.acta.org. The NOD starts a 30-day statute of limitations on court challenges to the Caltrans’ approval of this project under CEQA. A Notice of Limitation on Claims is also being published in the Federal Register, which starts a 180-day statute of limitations on court challenges to the Caltrans’ approval of this project under NEPA. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Karl Price, Senior Environmental Planner, 100 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, telephone (213) 897-1839, email Karl_Price@dot.ca.gov.
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These sion talk show, at Turner in Memphis, been 80 years urban affairs April 4, 1968, sanitation workers would have president of He was killed black of the counassassin’s bullet. in support of the city’s joins the rest gone Edition. Watts Times where he had our Special strike. The L.A. this man with who were on — in honoring try — and world from of violence opposed taunts and threats and adults N white students Central High. BRISCOE FIRST COLUM of BY ANDRE lecTING WRITER sworn the integration Roberts has CONTRIBU Obama is Over the years, college stuWhen Barack the United tured high school and president of and has been may in as the 44th 20, Americans dents at seminars, about what finally States on Jan. extensively year interviewed the nation has the turbulent conclude that his was like during Roberts racist past. pro- it school. He uses Dr. Terrence overcome its psychology spent in high to teach one he But for retired as a platform in as many Roberts, 67, and and participate of education inte- experiences fessor Dr. Terrence s at events, balls as possible, Roberts ” teenagers who the importance inaugural improve relationship of nine black Little Rock Central to speak to Today and Tomorrow.great grandhow to best He also plans the Sidwell Arkansas’ 11-year-old color. of “My grated ceremony NORWOOD at C. people to said. Williams, in 1957, the and faculty BY CHICO in among the days leading up 7 Neeko Anthony High School this cleared hurdle In Rock students LITTLE ROCK 9, page Speak- son, up with the theme for STAFF WRITER See E. Day, the “Little speak will be just another for equal rights. California Assembly as the came said organizer Larry battle Inauguration will serve the the continuing validates Nine” will attend luncheons, er Karen Bass and Norris J. year,” the driving force behind Obama’s election tried to Angeles Rock Nine” grand marshal celebrity grand Grant, and the Los the what the “Little Roberts, a former BRIEF In his Association and Bishton Bishton Jr. annual parade. said Commerce. NEWS IN the 25th Joining Bass in Psyaccomplish, P. ValChamber of role as 19 Master’s David marshal for Jan. service the Gen. UniParade on ND co-chair of will be Lt. previous public for Real Estate at Antioch reviewing offiKingdom Day THE SOUTHLA this year’s has been chology program Day deputy director for the state of Kingdom in Los Angeles. celebration of court, Angeles who Serve as cereand 2009 versity in Los Development Taylor. The largest is credited the inaugural Rosenfeld to Jr. holi- cer, Rosenfeld Queen Wyvetta and offiinvited to attend black president in Luther King the Parade create about the Martin first Planning Deputy Supervisor California, California, helping to Other celebrities mony for the tor jobs, attend include day in Southern will begin at 11 Second District has chosen with new private-sec slated to of U.S. history. what we mas urban and cials 2.5-mile parade substance to Ridley-Tho as 72,000 revitalized struggling Nadette Stanis adds Avenue Mark serve Bern “It to “When which Rosenfeld a.m. at Western Boulevard. It actress Times” fame; jazz legend Roberts said. Daniel A. King history, tried to do,” State “Good areas. Martin Luther this country’s a Senior Deputy to Hancock; California west to Crenshaw you look at s of L.A. Dison Herby at the opposition at will proceed of Public Instrucfor the Second District: Thousand look and you look and turn south in Superintendent Rosenmembers of Lose Jobs Boulevard and then you trict team. Vernon Avenue Jack O’Connell; integration, Teachers Could with Obama’s s of Los responCity Council; Crenshaw onto where a festival tion feld will be what has happenedapparent that the (AP) — Thousandother emthe Los Angeles Leimert Park, quite and sible for planning, more. 14 election, it is Angeles teachersbe laid off this on, enTele- and will follow. will include crumbling. transportati on KABC fits in The parade old system is and ployees could the nation’s secto Set to air drill teams what we did as bands, 20 vironment Daniel A. “In retrospect, 7 from 11 a.m. to chip 4 grapschool year theme marching MLK PARADE, page vision-Channel We were able weakRosenfeld economic developschool district year’s parade See that pattern. — For 1 p.m., this the old system of ond-largesta $250 million deficit, ment. Lives On away a bit at with point now than 35 years is “The Dream will — to the He has more and ples officials recently said. en it if you assessment school faster than ever.” Ramon Corprivate sector and is the cowhere it’s crumbling the election Superintendent Legislature ent state LLC, the developm Roberts said Urban Partners rial tines blamed anything, because cutbacks, saying founder of doesn’t change ing entrepreneu elements that for the potential need to solve the an award-winn focusing on develof this there are “systemic that lawmakers crisis if the Los into the fabric real estate firm opportubudget are woven is state’s investment School District United opment and society.” the harm Angeles Unified force intact. the western nities in If anyone understands Roberts. In 6 to keep its work causes, it is States. a board the BRIEFS, page as and See segregation he 15, served at age He has City who the fall of 1957, the Central black teenagersas the member of eight other to be known insults, would come Nine” braved “Little Rock Grant DONLOE BY DARLENE TING WRITER CONTRIBU is a ball of
1-888-NLS-READ 1-888-657-7323 www.loc.gov/nls
do for a living, as long as you have been successful at it and have a story that can identify with these youths,” Joseph said. “The only thing I need from you is 15 to 30 minutes of your time to share your story, so that we can plant a seed in these young minds that will encourage them to think beyond their current circumstance. These kids desperately need to know that we value their lives, and want them to live long and productively.” Anyone interested in participating in the program can call Joseph at (213) 793-0740 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sam Hassan is a writer for the L.A. Garment & Citizen, which, along with the L.A. Watts Times and five other publications, publishes local stories on www.labeez.org.
We are committed to preparing a publication that you will eagerly anticipate each week.The L.A.Watts Times is scanning and probing news and information resources to deliver the best of the African American community to you.To receive the L.A. Watts Times via U.S. Postal Service each week, fill out this subscription form and send with check or money order payable to: L.A. Watts Times for the yearly rate of $65.
between African Americans and Latino Americans — will be able to strike a chord by offering examples of how they avoided gang life and other temptations of the streets, or perhaps explain how they got themselves out of such situations. Another goal of the program is to overcome racial tensions between young African Americans and Latino Americans. “I’m not looking for any money from anyone,” Joseph said. “I’m just asking for a little bit of their time.” The program meets every other week in various locations, including occasional events at the facilities of Union Rescue Mission on the 500 block of South San Pedro Street in Skid Row. “It does not matter what you
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August 27, 2009
HEALTH Many Diabetic Foot Amputations Are Preventable BY LAURAN NEERGAARD AP MEDICAL WRITER
WASHINGTON (AP) — It costs $1,400 to cover the oozing sore on the diabetic’s foot with a piece of artificial skin, helping it heal if patients keep pressure off that spot. So when Medicare paid for the treatment but not the extra $100 for a simple walking cast to protect it, an artificial skin maker last year started giving free casts to some needy patients. Without the right cushioning, “the person will walk to the bus stop and destroy it,” says Dr. David G. Armstrong of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance. Limb-salvage experts say many of the 80,000-plus amputations of toes, feet and lower legs that diabetics undergo each year are preventable if only patients got the right care
for their feet. Yet they’re frustrated that so few do until they’re already on what’s called the stairway to amputation, suffering escalating foot problems because of a combination of ignorance — among patients and doctors — and payment hassles. “There’s no magic medicine right now for the diabetic foot,” says specialist Dr. Lawrence Lavery of Texas A&M University, who bemoans that simple-but-effective preventive care just isn’t attentiongetting. “People come in (saying), ‘Hey, my wife noticed a bloody trail today as I was walking across the linoleum in the kitchen. What should I do?’ ” President Barack Obama got a drubbing from surgeons this month after a confusing comment about
how they’re paid for foot amputations that cost $30,000 or more. That tab is the total cost, including hospitalization; surgeon fees range from about $750 to $1,000. Obama’s larger argument: Better payment for early-stage diabetes treatment, or even care to prevent diabetes, could save the nation money. The money part is hard to prove but it’s a lot of misery saved if it’s your foot, and the spat highlights a huge problem. Some 24 million Americans have diabetes, meaning their bodies can’t properly regulate blood sugar, or glucose. Over years, high glucose levels gradually damage blood vessels and nerves. One vicious result: About 600,000 diabetics get foot ulcers every year. Poor blood flow in the See DIABETIC, page 14
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THE PULSE Watson to Hold Health Care Reform Town Hall Rep. Diane Watson will hold a second health care town hall meeting and information session Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m., at the Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1177 W. 25th St., Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 965-1422.
Forum to Present Special Sunday Meeting on Health Care Plan A special Sunday Town Hall Meeting on President Barack Obama’s Health Care Reform Initiative will take place Aug. 30, 2 to 4 p.m., at the California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Los Angeles. During the event, a panel discussion will take place with representatives from Organizing For America and the Los Angeles County Health Department, who will join California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Congresswoman Laura Richardson in aiming to answer the community’s questions. RSVP at UrbanIssuesForum@ aol.com. For inquiries about future speakers and forum sponsorships, call (323) 993-5920 or visit www. urbanissuesforum.com.
Coroner Rules Jackson’s Death Homicide (AP) — The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, a finding that makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed against the doctor who was with the pop star when he died and is the target of a manslaughter investigation. The coroner determined a fatal combination of drugs was given to Jackson hours before he died June 25 in his rented Los Angeles mansion, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released. Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol acted together with at least two sedatives to cause Jackson’s
Dr. Conrad Murray
death, the official said. Dr. Conrad Murray, a Las Vegas cardiologist who became Jackson’s personal physician weeks before his death, is the target of the Los Angeles Police Department’s manslaughter investigation. According to a search warrant affidavit unsealed Aug. 24 in Houston, Murray told investigators he administered a 25 mg dose of propofol around 10:40 a.m. after spending the night injecting Jackson with two sedatives in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to sleep. The warrant, dated July 23, states that lethal levels of propofol were found in Jackson’s system. Besides the propofol and two sedatives, the coroner’s toxicology report found other substances in Jackson’s system but they were not believed to have been a factor in the singer’s death, the official said. A call to the coroner’s office was not returned Aug. 24.
White House to Hold HIV/AIDS Community Discussions WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House will hold a series of community discussions on HIV and AIDS throughout the country beginning this week. In a statement, President Barack Obama said HIV remains a serious challenge in the U.S. He said he wants the public’s input in the discussions as he works to create a national strategy for reducing new cases and improving care for those infected. The White House says there are 56,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year. The first community discussion was expected to be held Aug. 25 in Atlanta.
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“Thank you for your interest in our research program. The purpose of this particular study is to find out the effects of testosterone, in women. Women who are post-menopause often have low testosterone levels in their blood. Some doctors recommend giving testosterone to women after menopause, but it is not clear whether this helps women health. This study may find out whether it is beneficial to replace testosterone in women who are post-menopause and therefore have low testosterone in their blood. This research study may also find out the most appropriate dose of testosterone that shows beneficial effects on women’s sex life, muscle and fat mass, physical function, and ability to solve some types of problems with the least amount of side effects. “We will measure the effects of testosterone on fat and muscle size, muscle strength, sexual desire and activity, and higher functions of the brain. Approximately 140 women will take part in this study that is approved and funded by the National Institutes of Health. The protocol of this study has also been reviewed and approved by our Institutional Review Board. “For this study, we are looking for women between the ages of 21 to 60, who are post-menopausal (either menopause occurred naturally with their ovaries intact or occurred surgically with their ovaries removed) and have had their uterus removed by surgery, and who do not have breast or uterine cancer. Do you meet these criteria?”
For information call (323) 357-3697 “If you are interested in obtaining more information about this study or taking part in this study, I can set up an appointment for you to come to our Clinical Study Center at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. During this visit, I will explain all the procedures in great detail, describe the risks and benefits involved, and answer any questions that you might have about this research study.”
August 27, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
CDC: Life Expectancy in U.S. Up, Deaths Not BY MIKE STOBBE AP MEDICAL WRITER
ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, now standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Aug. 19.
The increase is due mainly to falling death rates in almost all the leading causes of death. The average life expectancy for babies born in 2007 is nearly three months greater than for children born in
KATRINA Continued from page 1 people here, especially in the 9th Ward, didn’t have cars or money to go anywhere. I was thinking, ‘I hope I don’t die,’ and praying God spare our lives.” Roberts said God answered her prayers and in the process pushed her to a new level of maturity and confidence previously unfathomable to this young woman. In the process of trying to survive flood waters and to help her neighbors with food and shelter, Roberts kept her camcorder rolling until the batteries failed. “I wanted to film this in order to tell a complete story,” she said. “I couldn’t believe this was happening. Five days after the levees broke, no one rescued us.” After five days, Roberts said she was on her own and had to find a way out. Her husband and a longtime friend, Larry, managed to secure a moving truck, which they used to gather up five families after going through the neighborhood knocking on doors and offering help. Twenty-seven people piled into the truck and made the 200plus mile trip to a shelter in Alexandria, La. After staying at the shelter for a couple of days, Roberts, Scott and their friends Larry and Brian packed up and drove to a cousin’s house in Memphis, Tenn. They stayed their six months before moving back to New Orleans and contending with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial help. With funds eventually coming from FEMA and financial and emotional support related to “Trouble the Water,” Roberts said she still lives in the Ninth Ward but in a better neighborhood on higher ground. She also has a new outlook on life. Roberts and Scott were in Los Angeles in February to attend the Academy Awards ceremony and to also receive recognition from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The association with the film has also provided the aspiring rapper, who goes by the name Black Kold Medina, with endless opportunities. She doesn’t even think about selling drugs or street hustling these days because she’s busy with her own label, Born Hustler Records, on which she released her first album, “Trouble the Water” in May. Roberts is now performing with a live band and her husband. She’s performed in Paris, Central Park and throughout the United States. The rapper, writer and producer constantly receives invitations to perform and speak at var-
ious events in and around New Orleans and elsewhere. She has even fielded job offers from professional speaking firms. In January, Roberts founded her own nonprofit called “Trouble the Waters Awakening Minds” to raise money for substance abuse programs, rehabilitation facilities and other resources to help people in her community get back on their feet. She is also working on an autobiography. “Before Katrina I was just surviving everyday,” Roberts said. “I just saw the world through the eyes of my neighborhood and I couldn’t see the world past here. I didn’t know a whole other world existed out here. I thought this was it. Economic disadvantage dictated our lives. “I am just glad to experience different things and the movie has allowed me to do that. I’m still trying to be a part of the world. Before Katrina I was never a part of the world. If I was, they would never have left me. If you don’t have status, education, power or money, nobody really cares.” That has all changed for Roberts now and she admits that out of the chaos she now has opportunities to do better. “I felt this was the way it was supposed to be, selling drugs and stuff. I never had the opportunity to shine,” she said. “Now I’m about making a difference in the world and helping people regain control of their lives.” Roberts sees some improvement for the better in the Ninth Ward, even though many of the
Facts Aug. 29, 1957 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first federal civil rights legislation since 1875. The bill establishes a civil rights commission and a civil rights division in the Justice Department. It also gives the Justice Department authority to seek injunctions against voting rights infractions. Source: blackfacts.com
2006. The new U.S. data is a preliminary report based on about 90 percent of the death certificates collected in 2007. It comes from the National Center for Health
families who lived in the area for years are no longer there. Many of them can’t afford to rebuild nor can they pay the higher rents that accompany rebuilt units. “A lot of people were uprooted from where they had raised their children for generations. The few who did come back are now renters where they used to be homeowners,” Roberts added. With her new-found awakening, Roberts, who is now the mother of a young daughter, wants to awaken others to the belief that life can get better despite present circumstances. She is still a hustler; only now it’s a legitimate hustle with positive results for herself, family and community. “I do believe the same spirit that dwelled in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Sojourner Truth dwells in me,” she said. “That spirit to strive for change. If we continue to change, we won’t stay in our condition.” To learn more about Kimberly Rivers Roberts, her music, nonprofit agency and the film “Trouble the Water,” visit bornhustlerrecords.com or troubledwaters-awakeningminds. org.
Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Life expectancy is the period a child born in 2007 is expected to live, assuming mortality trends stay constant. U.S. life expectancy has grown nearly one and a half years in the past decade, and is now at an all-time-high. Last year, the CDC said U.S. life expectancy had inched above 78 years. But the CDC recently changed how it calculates life expectancy, which caused a small shrink in estimates to below 78. The United States continues to lag behind about 30 other countries in estimated life span. Japan has the longest life expectancy — 83 years for children born in 2007, according to the World Health Organization. The CDC report found that the number of deaths and the overall death rate dropped from 2006 — to about 760 deaths per 100,000 people from about 776. The death rate has been falling for eight straight years, and is half of what it was 60 years ago. Heart disease and cancer together are the cause of nearly half of U.S. fatalities. The death rate from heart disease dropped nearly 5 percent in 2007, and the cancer death rate fell nearly 2 percent, according to the report. The HIV death rate dropped 10 percent, the biggest one-year decline in 10 years. “It was kind of a surprise to see it go down so much,” and it’s unclear if it will be a one-year fluke
or not, said Bob Anderson, chief of the agency's mortality statistics branch. The diabetes death rate fell about 4 percent, allowing Alzheimer’s disease to surpass diabetes to become the sixth leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s has been climbing the death chart in recent years, though that may be partly because declines in other causes are enabling more people to live long enough to die from Alzheimer’s, Anderson said. The nation’s infant mortality rate rose slightly in 2007, to 6.77 infant deaths per 1,000 births, but the rise was not statistically significant. It has been at about the same level for several years. That’s not a shock, some experts said. Medical care improvements can improve infant survival, but they also mean that some troubled pregnancies now make it to infancy before death, said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Atlanta’s Emory University. Another recent CDC report containing early data for 2008 counted 2.45 million deaths last year. That’s an increase of more than 29,000 deaths from the 2.42 million deaths in 2007. CDC data sometimes changes as more records come in and researchers eliminate duplicate reports. But it’s likely an increase will hold up because of the growing number of elderly, experts said. On the Net: CDC report: www. cdc.gov/NCHS/.
Diabetes Wellness Conference “Living and Thriving With Diabetes” Good Samaritan Hospital, invites you to attend a free wellness conference (Seating is limited; RSVP is required). Learn how to thrive with diabetes by, eating healthier, being more active, monitoring your glucose, reading food labels, taking care of your feet and eyes. The program will feature an Endocrinologist, Eye Specialist, and other diabetes outreach members. Don’t miss this event! Date:
Saturday, August 29, 2009
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Good Samaritan Hospital Moseley-Salvatori Conference Center 637 Lucas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90017 Parking validation and refreshments will be provided. Please use the parking lot across from the Conference Center on Lucas. Reserve your seat today! To RSVP call (800) 472-2737 or email: email@example.com
L.A. WATTS TIMES
August 27, 2009
Mississippi Schools Making Civil Rights Part of K-12 Instruction BY SHELIA BYRD AP WRITER
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In Mississippi, where mention of the civil rights movement evokes images of bombings, beatings and the Ku Klux Klan, public schools are preparing to test a program that will ultimately teach students about the subject in every grade from kindergarten through high school. Many experts believe the effort will make Mississippi the first state to mandate civil rights instruction for all K-12 students. So far, four school systems have asked to be part of a pilot effort to test the curriculum in high schools. In September, the Mississippi Department of Education will name the systems that have been approved for the pilot. By the
2010-2011 school year, the program should be in place at all grade levels as part of social studies courses. Advocacy groups such as the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and Washingtonbased Teaching for Change are preparing to train Mississippi teachers to tell the “untold story” of the civil rights struggle to the nearly half million students in the state's public schools. “Now more than ever we are engaged in national debates about race and so much of those debates are impoverished in their understanding of history,” said Susan Glissen of the Winter Institute. “We want to emphasize the grassroots nature of civil rights and the institution of racism.”
RETIREMENT Continued from page 3 Create an Investment Policy Statement Often financial planners will use an investment policy statement to determine the appropriate asset allocation given your time horizon, risk tolerance and goals. “You really, really have to treat your 401(k) like an investment rather than a tax code section,” Flaherty said. “That means you have to critically and objectively review performance versus the risk you are willing to accept, measure performance versus an accepted benchmark, and make modifications and changes when appropriate based upon analysis.” In short, you have to “be involved” with your retirement accounts — 401(k)s and IRAs are not set-and-forget investment accounts. Establish a Target Part of creating an investment policy statement requires that you establish a target, an amount that you want to accumulate in your
retirement accounts. Besides giving you something to save and invest toward, having a target puts you in a position “to perform the ‘mid-course’ corrections and changes necessary to increase … your ‘probability of retirement.’ ” You want to “hit your target,” Flaherty said. So manage your 401(k) as if your retirement depends upon it — it does. Periodically Review Your Asset Allocation “People put money into their retirement accounts but do little towards periodic evaluation and management,” Flaherty said. “This doesn’t mean that you can be constantly making changes,” he said. “But it does mean you should be making conscious decisions, setting benchmark and action triggers.” This column is produced by the Financial Planning Association, a membership organization for the financial planning community.
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The program is the outgrowth of a law passed in 2006 by the Legislature. The state moves forward with statewide implementation in the 2010-2011 school year, despite an unsuccessful legislative effort to eliminate the plan this year. Education officials looked to other states for a model, but couldn’t find one that included anything as comprehensive as what Mississippi has in mind, said Chauncey Spears, who works in the curriculum and instruction office of Mississippi’s education agency. The Education Commission of the States didn’t know of any other state with such a program, although it does not specifically track social studies curriculum. Some states, including Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas, have placed an emphasis on civil rights instruction. New Jersey created an Amistad Commission to ensure the history of slavery is taught in schools. Pennsylvania's Philadelphia school district requires students to complete an African-American history course before graduation. “We’re behind time. Students don’t know about what blacks did. They’re not taught anything about culture, about our history,” said Ollye Shirley, a member of the commission created to research the Mississippi curriculum and a former Jackson Public School board member. History classes will be the proving ground this fall, and the state Board of Education is expected to approve expansion of the curriculum to other grade levels in spring 2010, Spears said. Deborah Menkart, executive director of Teaching for Change, said it’s important to help students understand that Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weren’t the only important figures in the civil rights movement. “The traditional version would be that it started in 1954, thereby leaving out the fact that a lot of groundwork had to be done before that,” Menkart said. “The other part that gets left out is the struggle for economic justice, like Martin Luther King’s support of the sanitation workers in Memphis.” Menkart said classrooms activities can include role-playing in which students act out civil rights protests such as the Montgomery bus boycott, improving their critical thinking and social interaction. Those are the types of lessons being taught in Vickie Malone’s “Local Cultures” class in the McComb School District, which began civil rights studies before the law was passed. The state’s curricula will be modeled, in part, after the district. Classroom assignments for Malone’s students, who sit around tables rather than desks, include interviewing local activists, questioning their relatives about their role in the fight for integration, or studying the plight of migrant
NOTEBOOK Back-to-School Celebration Slated A back- to-school celebration will take place Sept. 8, 6 to 8 p.m., at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. Through the celebration, the church aims to provide parents with information, support and resources. The first 100 kids in attendance will get backpacks and school supplies. Additional items will be given away via a drawing. Special guests include Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. For more information, call the Rev. Lesa at (323) 731-7285, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.holmanumc.com.
Drawing Contest for Children to Take Place Soul Cups Cupcake and Catering Co. will hold the “Draw Your Favorite Cupcake” contest for children ages 7 to 12 on Sept. 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Say Cheese Café in Silverlake. Cupcake and café executives and local artists will serve as the judging panel, which will choose two winners. The youth with the best designs will win a dozen cupcakes for their families. Students can drop off their designs to Say Cheese Café, 2800 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles. The top five designs will be showcased at the Soul Cups event Sept. 12. The top five drawings will be photographed. (Drawings will not be returned unless a self-addressed and postage paid envelope is included). For more information, contact Soul Cups at (213) 483-2333 or visit www.soulcups.com or Say Cheese Café at (323) 665-0545.
the nation for African American male high school scholar athletes. The National Alliance of African American Athletes has presented the award for the past 81 years. Donation is $20. For more information, contact Reginald Grant at (323) 3761057, e-mail eplaybook1@mindspring. com, or visit www.naaaa. com or www.thebesfantacysports. com.
Loyola’s Gift from ‘Katrina class’: New Sculpture NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It’s a special gift to Loyola University in New Orleans from that school’s “Class of Katrina.” Loyola’s Class of 2009 — many of whom were freshmen when Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005 — will dedicate a sculpture to the university on the fourth anniversary of the storm. The sculpture pays tribute to 637 colleges that took in displaced Loyola students in the semester following Katrina. Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city. Loyola was forced to suspend classes, and students scattered to colleges and law schools across North America. The sculpture, by New Orleans metal artist David Borgerding, incorporates the names of each of the schools into a metal bench, shaped like the spiral of a hurricane.
Schools Urged to Prepare for Swine Flu Absences
An NFL Season Kick-Off Party and Watkins Award Fundraiser will take place Sept. 12, 7 p.m. to midnight, at the Palm Grove Restaurant and Event Venue, 4641 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. The event will feature sports industry professionals, retired NFL players, entertainers and the film crew from “The Best Fantasy Sports Show.” A fantasy draft will be held and NFL and sports collectibles will be raffled off. The Watkins Award is said to be the most prestigious award in
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says schools should be prepared to keep teaching even if swine flu sickens large numbers of students. Speaking at a D.C. elementary school on Aug. 24, Duncan urged educators to prepare online materials and other resources to ensure students can continue learning even if they have to stay home. Duncan was joined by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and representatives from companies such as Apple and Microsoft, which are working with the Education Department to offer resources to schools severely affected by swine flu. Sebelius says clinical trials of the swine flu vaccine “look good” and she says health officials will work with schools when vaccinations are administered possibly by mid-October.
workers. The students are reading “Mississippi Trial, 1955,” a fictionalized account of the murder of Emmett Till, a Chicago youth who was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Kindergartners in McComb are introduced to the subject through lessons on diversity, discussing differences such as hair texture and skin tone, Malone said. “It helps kids understand that however you are that’s a great way to be,” Malone said. Spears said the curriculum changes don’t require new textbooks and teachers will be allowed
to develop their own lesson plans. There will be added achievement goals for students. For instance, high school students should be able to evaluate the impact of the civil rights movement in expanding democracy in the United States. Spears said teachers can also call upon people in their community who lived through these historic events. “There are people in local communities who can give great insight into the civil rights movement. There are various things that teachers can do to incorporate this into their classrooms.”
Watkins Award Fundraiser to Feature Awards, Draft
August 27, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE Smokey Robinson Reflects On Career, New Album at the GRAMMY Museum BY SLAV KANDYBA CONTRIBUTING WRITER
On the eve of his new album’s release, Motown legend Smokey Robinson visited the GRAMMY Museum Aug. 24 to discuss his five decades in the music business and share anecdotes about working with legends such as Berry Gordy, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson. Following a conversation with the museum’s director and taking questions from the audience, the writer of such hits as “My Girl” and “Tears of a Clown” performed a number of songs with a full band, including “Don’t Know Why,” the first single from his new album, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.” From the moment Robinson walked on to the stage, dressed in a gray pinstripe suit and a silk Tshirt, the audience of some 200 fans applauded loudly and laughed at nearly every joke. Robinson himself appeared in a great mood, as evidenced by his ear-to-ear smile and hearty laugh. “I’m living way beyond my wildest dreams,” he said, sitting in a director’s chair opposite of the GRAMMY Museum’s executive director, Robert Santelli. “I dreamed to be either a singer or a cowboy — and I liked cowboys who sang, like Gene Autry.” Growing up in “the ’hood” of Detroit, Robinson lived mere blocks from Aretha Franklin, whose brother was one of
Robinson’s closest friends. One day he heard her sing through a window, walked in and saw that she was playing the piano. She was 5. Robinson himself began writing when he was 6 years old, penning a school play. “I think creativity is a gift from God,” Robinson said. Describing the Motown family as almost like a real family that hung with each other socially as well as in the studio making hit after hit, Robinson called the late Marvin Gaye his “brother brother” and added “What’s Going On” was his favorite album of all time. Michael Jackson, at 10 years old, was “a bundle of talent” that possessed all the star qualities that the world would get to know later, Robinson said. The Supremes’ Diana Ross lived “four doors down from me,” Robinson said. Motown was rightfully compared to Detroit’s automobile assembly line, Robinson told Santelli. “My car was my writing place,” he said, crediting Berry Gordy, a one-time assembly line worker, for pursuing a dream and starting Motown with an $800 loan from family. “What’s special for us in Detroit is we had Berry Gordy,” Robinson said, adding that Gordy was “a songwriter at heart” and competed for song placements with his writers, including the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland team.
“The Motown sound was the people,” he said. “People were coming from all over the world to record in Detroit because they thought there was something in the air.” Although Motown cranked out pop hit after pop hit, the record label was in tune when The Beatles emerged and “took the world by storm,” as Robinson put it. “I loved them because they were the first white act at the top of the music industry who gave credit to the black music,” he said. To this day, Robinson is still amazed at how music transcends languages and nationalities. He calls “My Girl,” a song he penned for The Temptations, his “international anthem,” because when he performs it overseas in nonEnglish speaking countries, fans know the melody and the words. Robinson has discovered new talent overseas as well. He’s working with a popular Australian band called Human Nature, which recorded Motown covers all the way to the top of the charts. Robinson was sold when they performed his hit “Ooh Baby Baby” for him a capella, “and never got off pitch,” he said. Robinson’s new album features original material — with one exception. The single, “Don’t Know Why,” was originally written for and performed by Grammy-winner Norah Jones. Robinson’s album features guest vocalists Joss Stone and India.Arie.
Photos Courtesy of SLAV KANDYBA
STILL SMOOTH — (Top photo): Motown legend William “Smokey” Robinson grooves to the music during a three-hour long appearance at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live on Aug. 24. Robinson performed several songs at the museum with help from a band and backup vocalists. (Bottom photo): Robinson responds to questions from GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli.
Review: Spike Lee Adapts Vibrant ‘Passing Strange’ BY CHRISTY LEMIRE AP MOVIE CRITIC
(AP) — It’s easy to see why Spike Lee was drawn to Stew, the one-named musician and mastermind behind the Broadway production “Passing Strange.”
Like Lee, the artist formerly known as Mark Stewart possesses a powerful and singular voice, one he uses to express vividly his own unique experience of growing up as a black man in America. And Lee has always shown a strong affinity with music in his films, as evidenced by his longtime collaboration with composer and jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard. In bringing Stew’s show to the screen as “Passing Strange The Movie,” Lee took the wise and uncharacteristic step of staying out of the way — of letting the songs and the story play out without insert-
ing his own trademark aesthetics into them. (“Passing Strange” won the Tony last year for best book of a musical and earned six other nominations. The movie version played theatrically in New York starting Aug. 20, and became available nationwide through video-ondemand Aug. 26.) Lee shot two performances at New York’s Belasco Theatre before the show’s close — including the emotional finale — then shot it again without an audience to capture close-ups, include dolly shots. The result is so crisp and intimate, it makes you feel as if you’re right on the minimalist stage with Stew (who also narrates), the rest of his formidable cast and the band. Similar to Jonathan Demme’s concert film “Neil Young: Heart of Gold,” the cameras stay focused almost entirely on the performers, except for a few times you see the packed and rousing house in the background. Matthew Libatique, the cinematographer behind several of Lee’s recent films including “Inside Man,” lets you see every facial expression and bead of sweat — and even a few tears. The film is also edited (by another frequent Lee collaborator, Barry Brown) with a natural energy and fluidity, which enhances the vibrancy of the material. The semi-autobiographical “Passing Strange” tells the story of a black Los Angeles teenager, known as Youth (Daniel Breaker), who struggles to find his artistic identity
in the 1970s. Among the forces that shape him are his church-going mother (Eisa Davis) and the bohemian misfits he meets in Amsterdam and Berlin (De’Adre Aziza, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge and Rebecca Naomi Jones in multiple roles). The coming-of age tale may sound familiar and the self-serious debates about creativity can grow repetitive. But the powerful and catchy rock, blues and gospel songs (co-written by singer and bassist
Heidi Rodewald), along with Stew’s humorously pointed observations about race, make “Passing Strange” compelling and often moving. Besides trying to figure out who he is, Youth also has a complicated relationship with his blackness. He was raised middle class, safely surrounded by love, but when he travels to Europe and immerses himself in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, he starts to think he doesn’t have enough of a tortured past from which to create true art, so he affects a ghetto persona.
“I am bleeding sunshine,” he half sings, half recites. “I am emptying my veins.” As Stew points out, no one on this stage knows what it’s like to hustle on the streets of South Central — one of many times he talks directly to his characters or to the audience. His words — both spoken and sung, on stage and on screen —ring out loud and clear. “Passing Strange The Movie,” a Sundance Selects release, runs 135 minutes. It gets three stars out of four.
CELEBRATION 2009 Wednesday-September 16, 2009 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE LeBron James Hosts Documentary Screening
SHORT TAKES FILMS • “Warner on Wednesdays” is a summer film series every Wednesday at 6 and 9 p.m., hosted by the Warner Grand Theatre, at 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro. The cost per film is $3 per person. Families and couples can save by purchasing a $10 “date night” ticket that includes two admissions, two bags of popcorn and two drinks for one price. On Sept. 2, the featured film will be “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail,” which is rated PG-13. Information: (310) 929-8129, www. warnergrand.org. • The Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship will screen the PG-13 rated film “Pastor Brown” Aug. 29, 4 to 6:30 p.m., with a Q-and-A session following
event is free. Information: http:// longbeachfunkfest.com, e-mail email@example.com. • The Leimert Park Village Merchants and Eighth District Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks will host the Leimert Park Village African Art and Music Festival. This event will take place during Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5 to 7, in Leimert Park, at Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Information: (323) 2955469, (323) 295-2502, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walls LaNier, one of nine black students who integrated Arkansas’ Central High School in 1957. When 14-year-old Carlotta Walls signed her name on a simple sheet of paper passed around the ninth grade classroom of her all-black public school, little did she know she was not only expressing interest in attending the all-white high school, but also changing the course of her life, her family’s, and that of countless black students for generations to come. This 304-page hard cover book retails for $26. Information: www. randomhouse.com.
• Gallery 800 has announced its third art show of the year, “brothers & sisters,” personal artwork of the cast and crew of ABC’s hit series. The art show opens with a hosted reception Aug. 29, 5 to 10 p.m., featuring live music and refreshments. The exhibition will run from Aug. 29 through Nov. 16. Forty artists will participate in this exhibit, including members of the cast, producers, art department and others. Located at 5108 Lankershim Blvd., in North Hollywood, Gallery 800’s hours are 2 to 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Information: www. gallery800.com.
• The B.A.D Entertainment Group and the Blue Moon Nights will celebrate Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday Aug. 29, in the NoHo
BOOKS the showing. There will also be refreshments available. “Pastor Brown” explores central family connections — mother/son, father/ daughter, sister/sister, etc. The relationship of Jessica “Jesse” Brown and her son Tariq serves as a gateway for delving into the family dynamic. The movie uncovers an ingredient for making those relationships work: forgiveness. This screening will benefit the church’s Board of Christian Education. A donation of $5 or less is required for admission. Information: (323) 7318869.
• New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey is back with his 17th novel, “Resurrecting Midnight,” which was released
FESTIVALS • The “Long Beach Funk Festival” will take place Aug. 29, noon to midnight, at the intersection of Pine Avenue and East Broadway.
Scheduled performers include Mandrill, Dawn Silva of the Brides of Funkenstein and the Meter’s Experience. There will also be a George Clinton art exhibit. This
August 27, 2009
Aug. 25. The 464-page hard cover book cost $26.95, and Dickey will discuss and sign copies of the book at Aug. 28, 7 p.m., at Leimert Park’s Eso Won Books, at 4331 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles. The novel continues with international assassin, Code Name: Gideon. Information: (323) 294-0324, www.ericjerome dickey.com. • “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School” was released Aug. 25. It is the memoir of Carlotta
Arts District, 4712 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. The featured entertainer will be Scorpio, a well-known Michael Jackson impersonator, who will pay a special tribute to the “King of Pop.” The event will begin at 7 p.m., and admission is free until show time begins at 10:30 p.m. The cover charge will be $20. Scorpio will be joined by celebrity appearances, surprise guest artists and more. There will be valet service and free self-parking available. Information, including for VIP section: Bobby Drake, (661) 4928203, e-mail email@example.com. • Identical Twins Productions will present a “Family Affair” starstudded birthday celebration for the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson, Aug. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. A Michael Jackson impersonator will be in attendance and there will also be a talent search for identical twins and triplets. Youth and their families are encouraged to attend this free event. Donations will be accepted at the door and a portion of the proceeds will go to a local teen substance abuse rehabilitation center and a women’s domestic violence shelter. Information: Kaye and Shaye Williams, (310) 309-1162, (562) 726-9575.
BY TOM WITHERS AP SPORTS WRITER
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James went to the movies last week and brought 1,000 guests with him. A few miles from the high school where he became a phenom, the NBA’s reigning MVP hosted an advance screening of the documentary, “More Than A Game,” a film about James’ ascent to superstardom and the four childhood friends who helped him get there. Shortly after severe thunderstorms blasted through the downtown area, chasing the marching band and cheerleaders from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School inside, James arrived at the historic Civic Theatre along with his girlfriend Savannah Brinson, New Orleans All-Star guard Chris Paul, television host Nick Cannon and a few of the film’s co-stars — high school buddies Willie McGee and Dru Joyce III. James will visit China, London and make other stops abroad to promote the film, but none of them will compare to showing it in his hometown. “It means everything,” the Cleveland Cavaliers megastar said. “This is where I was born, and I like to give back to the city where I came from. I wouldn’t be the person I am without this city. The hardships and the great things that I have gone through have all built LeBron James. “So to be able to come back and premiere a movie like this in a building I have seen my whole life is great.” The documentary, directed by Kris Belman, recounts how James and his friends pursued their dream of winning a national championship. Beginning in a decrepit inner-city gym, the five friends embarked on a journey that would
BIZSHORTS Continued from page 3
‘Refrigerator 101’ Tips Offered A refrigerator can use about 19 percent of a household’s electricity. Here are some general guidelines from Southern California Edison that could help every refrigerator run more efficiently, resulting in less energy consumed and lower electricity bills: • To reduce strain on the refrigerator’s or freezer’s motor, position the unit away from a heat source such as an oven, dishwasher, or direct sunlight. Allow air to circulate around the condenser coils, keep the coils clean, and leave a space around the unit. • Make sure the door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door on a piece of paper, so that it is partly inside the refrigerator or freezer. If you can pull the paper out easily, the door’s seal should be checked. • Keep the refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees
be illuminated by a national spotlight as James’ fame grew. The film incorporates home video, personal photos and footage taken during James’ final two years of high school. James said he could have never imagined the finished product. “We had a cameraman following us around. It was one more camera in my life, but we were just helping a guy do a school project,” he said. “We never thought that six years after we graduated high school that it would turn into this.” James hopes those who see it come away inspired. “The message, especially to inner city kids, is to just have a dream,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re a kid, you don’t believe that your dream can become a reality. All five of us had a dream of winning a national championship and we didn’t let anything stand in our way until we made it a reality. “There’s more ways out than just basketball, but at the same time, we used the game, we didn’t let the game use us. By doing that we created a loyalty, we created a friendship, and a brotherhood that was going to last forever. We’re still best friends.”
Fahrenheit, and keep the doors open only as long as necessary. • A full refrigerator runs more efficiently than an empty one. Keeping the fridge stocked with bottles of water will do the trick; empty freezers can be packed with bags of ice. • Regularly defrost manualdefrost refrigerators and freezers; frost build-up increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Do not allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
Facts Aug. 27, 1949 Paul Robeson’s scheduled singing appearance at the Lakeland picnic grounds in Westchester County, N.Y., is disrupted by a riot instigated and provoked by whites angry at Robeson’s political stands. Source: blackfacts.com
August 27, 2009
L.A. WATTS TIMES
ARTS & CULTURE Ernie Singleton, a former vice president of Urban Music at MCA Records, celebrated his 60th birthday Aug. 20 in Hollywood.
Samuel L. Jackson and LaTonya Richardson at the premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” Aug. 10.
Ernie Singleton and wife
Actress Lisa Raye McCoy and Bobby Brown served as the hosts of Singleton’s party
Tatyana Ali and Carson Mayor Jim Dear at the launch of the Millennium Momentum Foundation’s National City of Opportunity Initiative on Aug. 22
The Second Annual Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival was held Aug. 12 to 22 at various sites in the downtown area. The closing night film, “The Jackson 5 in Africa,” brought out many stars. Actor Robert Hooks and his wife
Actress Tangi Miller, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary and actress Gina Ravera.
Actor Roger Guenveur Smith and LeTania Kirkland
R&B Singer John E. Carter Dies at 75 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HARVEY, Ill. (AP) — John E. Carter, the R&B lead tenor and twotime inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Aug. 22. He was 75.
founding member of the Flamingos. The classic doo-wop group gained fame with such hits as “Golden Teardrops” and their reworking of the pop classic “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Carter left the Flamingos for the first time in 1957 to do military service, and left permanently in 1960 to join the Dells, which had been formed in the early 1950s by some of his high school friends from Harvey. Stewart noted that the Dells
were one of the longest-running R&B vocal groups. The quintet had no personnel changes after Carter replaced original lead tenor Johnny Funches. The Dells’ 1954 breakout hit, “Oh What A Night,” sold more than 1 million records when it was reissued in 1969 with Carter on falsetto lead. The Dells were also famous for “Stay in My Corner,” one of the first R&B hits to run more than six minutes. The group toured extensively
with Dinah Washington, and later with Ray Charles. The Dells also came to the attention of Quincy Jones, who coached them into a more eclectic vocal style, incorporating jazz, soul and Broadway sounds. The Dells, consisting of Carter, baritone lead Marvin Junior, and backup singers Charles Barksdale, Michael McGill and Verne Allison, served as technical advisers on Robert Townsend’s 1991 movie, “The Five Heartbeats,” which was loosely based on their careers. The Dells performed publicly
for one of the last times in 2004, when they did an outdoor concert in downtown Chicago to celebrate their induction into the hall of fame. The Flamingos were inducted in 2000.
Facts Aug. 28, 1963 More than 250,000 people participate in the March on Washington, at that time the largest civil rights demonstration in history. Source: blackfacts.com
John E. Carter
His death was confirmed by Susan Fine, a spokeswoman for Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Carter’s hometown of Harvey. “We have lost an incredible voice that graced two of the most significant vocal groups of all time,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the hall of fame. “As a member of both the Dells and the Flamingos, Johnny was one of a select few artists inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” Carter, who was known for his falsetto, was the last surviving
Photo by JOHN BARSKY (A.P.A)
ANNIVERSARY — The American Society of Young Musicians celebrated its 17th anniversary at the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills Aug. 22. The annual event benefits ASYM’s musical scholarship programs for young people along with a mentorship component. Pictured (left to right): Bobby Womack, Rhythm & Blues Award honoree; Jarvee Hutcherson, founder/national president of ASYM; Russ Regan, Musicians Advocate Award honoree; Sam Phillips, host, radio and television personality; Joey Sommerville, “All That Jazz Award” honoree, Tea Leaf Green Band; Scott Rager and Josh Clark, Favorite Grassroots Band Award.
L.A. WATTS TIMES
August 27, 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. As of presstime, the Los Angeles Dodgers (74-51) and the L.A. Angels of Anaheim (74-48) still lead the NL and AL West divisions, respectively. The Angelsâ€™ starting lineup is batting .297 or better. Since returning to the active list on Aug. 4, the Angelsâ€™ veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero has been on
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