Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hillary Hysteria?

On Monday, October 22, presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in the Central Valley. To a diverse crowd of nearly 1000 supporters and a few outskirt protesters, the former first lady of the White House touted her stance on the war in Iraq, health care, education and need to investment in renewable energy. Some of the platform speakers, which included Delores Huerta (co-founder of the United Farm Workers), Council President Henry Perea, Councilmember Blong Xiong and program emcee Cynthia Sterling, sang Mrs. Clinton’s praise and mentioned the Valley hadn’t been inspired to such Democratic-fever since the famed Robert Kennedy visit over forty years ago.

Four black leaders were on the platform in front of Fresno High School at Monday's rally including Rev. Shane B. Scott, the senior pastor of St. Rest Baptist Church. His support for Senator Clinton centers on the issues that are important to him and his congregation-- health care and education. "My support is based on qualifications over race", says Pastor Scott, when asked what drew him away from his early support of Senator Barack Obama. Like others, he had contacted Obama's staff about planning a visit to the Central Valley, only to be told the campaign preferred to utilize resources elsewhere in the state.

Where is Brother Barack?

As the campaign proceeds and Senator Clinton continues to command strong support national wide by African-American voters, the question is— where is Brother Barack? Given Senator strong showing, will he reconsider visiting Valleycrats, who tend to be more conservative than their counterparts in the Bay Area and Southern California? Can he appeal to the Valley’s younger demographic (age 18-34), where his support is the strongest?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Urban Legend: US Post Office to destroy Black Heritage Stamp series

I love that the African-Americans braces technology and that we made great strides in using the Internet. At the same time, we have to savvy about the investigating the messages and information that comes into our INBOX.

Heard this one:

"The P.O. will DESTROY all remaining African American Heritage stamps at the end of the month instead of following their usual procedure of selling them"

This internet urban legend dates back to 2000, stating that the US Post Office will stop selling stamps depicting black American heroes and leaders and destroy the remaining in possession. The Post Office has made several official statements indicating that it has no intention of taking such actions against the Black Heritage Stamp series. On the contrary, on January 8, 2007 it issued its 26th consecutive stamp commemorating Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

But in the word of Reading Rainbow's Levar Burton, "don't take my word for it":
(see the various forms of the hoax and the Post Office's multiple counter memos)

Break the Chain (letter)

Statement from US Postal Services

Localized Community Solutions to Support Fresno Black Athletes

Black on Black Mentorship. Collaborate with local universities and colleges, to set-up an African-American male mentorship programs to provide psychology and social guidance outside of the campus environment. Where do we recruit these mentors? United Black of Men, Fresno Black Peace Officers Association, Black churches, and other local black professional organizations.

Community-campus networks. Black community organizations and concern citizens should connection to college athletic departments to create a social networks for the many black students recruited to our campuses, especially from outside the area who lack those relationships.

Black Enterprise. Invest into the athletes' academic and professional development with internship and employment opportunities with black-led organizations and businesses. Outside of the approximately 10-15 individuals who will continue with a professional athletic career, the remainder have an immediate need to focus on preparing themselves life outside off the field.

Black Athletes and Crime- Who's Responsible?

Black athletes and crime—Who’s responsible?

There are countless stories of black college athletes posed with celebrity, potential wealth and promising professional careers only to have those opportunities taken away due to criminal behavior and/or poor decisions. From the recent FSU football player, Jason Shirley and convicted murder Terry Pettis to even the Edison High School and college student athletes killed the car attendance; these young black men have lost opportunities that many aspire to. Many ask the question: Are these results solely the responsibility of the young men or are others partly to blame? And if so, who?

Here are some responses to an article on . I though to extract information from the comments but I think some of the issues could not be better stated.

Personal Responsibility

“Why are we supposed to feel sorry for them when they break the law? Are they not adults? Are they not over 18? See, I have a hard time feeling sorry for them when they go out there and break the law. It should be common sense, after all, they do live in America, but I guess common sense isn't all that common anymore. But, someone needs to tell them the list of DO'S and DONT'S. And, if I knew that this was in place, then I REALLY wouldn't have any sympathy. Because, you and I both know that, because they are athletes, everything has been excused away for them, so when the REAL WORLD slaps them silly, it's a shock to them, and a shock that usually costs them their future.”

“I get it. They screwed up!!! They deserve whatever punishment they receive!!! You can't possibly see my posting as an apology for them. I always call for personal responsibility. But when schools make millions, they have a strategic opportunity to stop these boys from getting into trouble.”

Parents & Families

“Most people thus far as saying there need not be any community solutions because this is a ‘personal problem’. If they were raised properly by their parents by 18 they should be able to make some intelligent decisions. Some of the stuff these fools do is asinine.”

“Parents need to do their job. But let's deal with the reality on the ground. It's fair to call parents to do their job.”

In the recently published Come on People, co-authored by Bill Cosby it speaks to the lack of parenting and that many of the problems in the black family stem from absence of father and positive male figures. But is that the only possible response?


“Some believe universities have failed to supply young athletes with proper mentoring and active monitoring to protect them from over exposure and poor decision making. Of course, these young men bear responsibility for their actions as well. Yet, given the psychology of superstar status, celebrity and the rags to riches stories, most of these young men have in common, they are not nearly equipped to handle the transformation without guidance. Moreover, these young men generate, untold dollars in revenue for their respective schools. Surely, they can afford to expend a few dollars counseling and guiding them.”

“But, I also blame the colleges. The colleges need to have, on retainer, a hard middle-aged Black man that sits these folks down at the beginning of the semester and tells them the rules of LIFE for a Black Man.

One reader, gave the following recommendations for colleges and universities to avoid further loss of life and livelihood:

1) Assign a guidance counselor and require check-ins.

2) Require counseling to explore their minds and make future recommendations tailored to their needs.

3) Require athletes to live on-campus in monitored facilities, in terms of going and coming. This would assist universities ability to limit the gift culture, access to alcohol, drugs and women.

4) Implement random drug testing and rehab for violations, not suspension.

It Takes a Village…

Why should young people be allowed to go down the wrong path because their parents' failed them? If others around them can see the problems ahead and take a few measured corrective steps to avoid calamity, where is the harm? It's wrong to watch someone go the wrong way if you can offer a word to steer them in the right direction.

I want you bloggers to consider the measured steps that can be taken to assist young athletes whose parents have failed them before they get into trouble. Remember when these young men go down, they take, in part, the dreams of many younger and older black boys and men with them. When we work together to help them, we help ourselves as well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Double the Trouble? West Fresno meat rendering plant to expand

Darling Intl. is seeking to expand the capacity of their West Fresno rendering plant (795 W. Belgravia, Fresno, CA 93706) from 855,000 lbs to 1,500,00 lbs per day. It has been a long time standing odor nuisance in southwest Fresno for over 50 years. It is in close proximity to several schools, public housing complexes, and single-family homes.

The SJV Air Quality Control District allowed Darling to install the equipment in 2006 but they weren't given permits to increase capacity as they are requesting now after public outcry. Since those permits were given, the HUD and City-funded HOPE VI housing development sponsored by the Fresno Housing Authority is slated to invest nearly $60M of housing surrounding the plant including the newly constructed LEED-certified preschool & community center. In addition, there are hundreds of new privately-funded housing units planned within 1 mi. radius of the plant.

We were initially told that the City has no legal jurisdiction in the matter though Sterling and the District 3 Implementation Cmte will submit opposition letters. In addition, the Control District may put the item on their board's consent calendar (no public comment unless posed by one of the board members) unless they receive significant comments (I don't know that's defined). Fresno City Council President Henry Perea Jr. is now on that Board along with Supervisor Judy Case. There is one other minority on the board from Arvin-- a local councilmember.

In August 2007, the Air Board approved their new Environmental Justice Strategy. Ray Leon (Latino Issues Forum/Asthma-Air Advocate) , Kevin Hamilton (Sequoia Healthcare/Asthma-Air Advocate), Metro Ministries, the Poverty Center among others were participants in writing it. The Board is in the process of selecting members to sit on a EJ Committee to advise the Governing board.

The Concerned Citizens of West Fresno that includes advocates such as Mrs. Mary Curry (former FUSD school board member) and Harlan Kelly (former vice-chair of Edison Planning Advisory Cmte and an origin FWCED board member) requested an 30-day extension of the public comment period from the Air Board, which was granted. That new deadline for public comment will end November 5th.

Councilmember Sterling office is coordinating a community meeting that is scheduled to take place before the November 5th deadline.

Public Notice (Sept 5, 2007)

SJVAQCD Environmental Justice Policy

Fresno Bee Article (10/03/07)

Sign a Petition

West Fresno Community Design Workshop

October 17, 2007
5:30 PM Doors Open
6:00 PM Workshop

Cecil Hinton Center
2385 S. Fairview Ave
Fresno, CA 93706

Partner Introductions

Community Break-out Workshops

Come share your ideas about regarding :
  • Housing & commercial development
  • Public Transportation
  • Bicycle & Walking Routes
  • Open Green Park Space
  • Street Intersection Improvements
Event Host:
Fresno Housing Authorities
Event Partners:
Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development (FWCED)
Design Community & Environment
Strategic Energy Innovations

Refreshment & Beverages

Spanish & Hmong language services will be available