Discrimination Enforcement Division Established

On Tuesday, Councilmember Price joined the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) and colleagues Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Paul Krekorian for the official launch of the city’s Discrimination Enforcement Division.
The creation of this division allows the city to investigate alleged discriminatory practices in the private sector areas of commerce, education, employment and housing and enforce the city’s Civil and Human Rights Law.
“The establishment of a Discrimination Enforcement Division is yet another reminder that Los Angeles is the epicenter of equity and opportunity and there’s no place for discrimination here,” added Councilmember Price. “Over the last few years and most recently last month, we have been mired in scandals involving hatred and bigotry from Hollywood to politics. The sad truth is that discrimination and racism are real in Los Angeles – and we need all the resources we can get to fight against it.”
LA Civil Rights can investigate discrimination against protected classes that occurred in the City of Los Angeles within three years of a complaint being filed. Complaints can be filed online or via telephone at (213) 978-1845. Based on outcomes of the investigation, financial penalties up to $250,000 and other corrective actions may be implemented.

Karen Bass 1st Black Woman, 2nd Black Mayor of Los Angeles

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will soon have a new title – “Madam Mayor.” (courtesy photo)

Los Angeles Sentinel Was The First News Outlet to Declare Historic Victory for Los Angeles First Female Mayor

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will soon have a new title – “Madam Mayor.” With a lead of more than 5% that is continuing to grow, the longtime community advocate is pulling away from billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso.

One week after election night where Caruso led by a very slim margin of less than 2%, Bass has not only surpassed Caruso, but has also enlarged the gap making the race virtually impossible for Caruso to overcome.

The results posted on Tuesday, Nov. 15, by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office marks the fifth update since election night that Bass has trended upwards to a point where it would be almost impossible for Caruso to overcome.

Representative Karen Bass now holds a 52.55% – 47.45% lead following Tuesday night’s update.  Bass has held a 60% – 40% margin or better over Caruso in every ballot count released since Thursday, November 10. Bass’ late surge is a repeat of the June 7 primary election where Caruso had a slight lead over the Congresswoman and several other candidates on election night, only to see that advantage disappear and Bass ending up the top vote getter, leading all challengers by 7% or more.

Rep. Karen Bass (File photo)

Rick Caruso spent an ‘extraordinary amount of money in an attempt to win the Los Angeles mayoral race with a budget exceeding $100,000,000, compared to Bass who raised and spent in the neighborhood of $9,000,000.

“In biblical terms, this was David vs. Goliath or Karen vs. Goliath.  The amount of money that Rick Caruso spent in an attempt to buy the mayor’s race was unprecedented, but the results of this election show that ‘Dollar Power’ cannot overcome ‘People Power,’ ” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., board chairman of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade and executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and Bakewell Media.

Karen Bass is a longtime Democrat with years of political and community organizing experience.  Bass, who was the first African American woman ever elected Speaker of the California State Assembly, will now make history again as Los Angeles first female mayor and only the second African American mayor following in the footsteps of Tom Bradley, who defeated Sam Yorty for mayor in 1973.

While Rick Caruso is no newcomer to Los Angeles politics, previously serving as a Bradley appointee on the Los Angeles Water and Power Commission and later on the Los Angeles Police Commission, this is his first venture seeking an elected position.

“The citizens of Los Angeles saw through Rick Caruso’s claims to be a Democrat.  We all knew that he was a lifelong Trump-like Republican and only changed his voter registration in order to run for mayor,” noted Tracy Mitchell, president of Mothers in Action, a local nonprofit that provides numerous resources to the residents of the South Los Angeles community.

The lead in the vote totals changed hands three times in the hours immediately after the polls closed on Nov. 8, with Caruso holding a 2.5-point lead on Wednesday, Nov. 9. But since then, every new release of voting information from county officials has favored Bass, with the congresswoman taking the lead on Friday, Nov. 11.

Unlike in years past, or pre-COVID, where votes were generally counted in precincts and pundits could forecast outcomes based upon a candidates popularity in one area over the other, now we are in a post-COVID environment.  In post-COVID times and with mail-in ballots becoming the norm throughout California, the late ballot vote counts come from a broad array of areas, demonstrating that Bass popularity is citywide instead of in a distinct part of the area such as her congressional district in South Los Angeles.

This fact means that there is no reason to expect that any batch of ballots will be largely different from the previous voting trends, which have been coming in for over a week.  At this point, the likelihood that Rick Caruso could reverse a week’s worth of election trends is virtually impossible and he could only win with an astounding reversal of the current voting trends, which appears to be highly unlikely.

As the votes are counted, most campaigns await a news agency to call the election and the victory.  Given the continuous voting trends and the virtually mathematical impossibility of a Caruso victory, the Los Angeles Sentinel is proud to proclaim Karen Bass as the winner and Mayor of the city of Los Angeles!

Karen Bass is currently in Washington D.C., fulfilling her role as the Congressional Representative for District 37, (that is, until Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who was currently leads Jan Perry in a race to succeed Bass in Congress, assumes that spot). Rep. Bass stated, “I am honored and grateful for the support we are continuing to see. I am optimistic and looking forward to the next update.”

The Caruso campaign has yet to release a statement concerning the continuous slide, falling further and further behind.  But earlier ton Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Caruso campaign did email out a letter to “supporters” thanking them for their backing and encouraging voters to track their ballots and insinuating that there were possible missed signatures and/or mismatch signatures on the ballots, in hopes of somehow reversing the trend of falling further and further behind.

 

The Office Of Racial Equity

The City Council voted to approve the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, And Equity report to design the framework and establish a five-year action plan for an Office of Racial Equity. https://civilandhumanrights.lacity.org/our-programs/office-racial-equity
The new office will operate under the Civil, Human Rights, and Equity Department (CHRED) and help establish Citywide definitions and specific approaches necessary to implement and achieve equity principles to be embedded as a core element of the goals, objectives and strategies of the City. To read more on the approved report, please click here.

Biden calls for resignation of LA city council members over racist remarks

Nury Martinez attends Women’s March Action: March 4 Reproductive Rights at Pershing Square on Oct. 2, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“Unacceptable” and “appalling” is how White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described the crude and disparaging racist remarks that surfaced this week in a recording of three city council members in Los Angeles. President Biden believes all three council members should give up their seats, Jean-Pierre said. The recording was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced that she intends to take a leave of absence, but she stopped short of submitting her resignation. Martinez employed racist and derogatory language to describe the son – who is black – of another council member, using a Spanish term meaning “little monkey” and stating that the boy needed “a beatdown.” In addition, she described Oaxacan immigrants in Koreatown as “short little dark people.” Council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León also participated in the conversation.

All three council members have issued apologies.

The president’s statement comes as he embarks on a West Coast tour where he is scheduled for several public events, including a fundraiser with Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. He joined high-ranking California officials in his call for the council members’ resignations. Scores of outraged protesters interrupted a city council meeting on Tuesday.

The White House used the occasion to excoriate Republicans for their treatment of incidents of racism within their own party.

“Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans: When a Democrat says something racist or antisemitic … we hold Democrats accountable,” said Jean-Pierre. “When a MAGA Republican says something racist and or antisemitic, they are embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought after.”

Councilman Mike Bonin — whose son was the subject of the derogatory remarks — gave an emotional statement on Tuesday. “I take a lot of hits, but my son?” said Bonin. He called his fellow council members’ comments unforgivable.

City Council Ends Eviction Moratorium

The City Council adopted the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment Report and recommendations. The City eviction moratorium is slated to end Jan. 31, 2023. Tenants who have missed payments since March 2020 would have to meet two repayment deadlines.
Under state law, tenants will have until Aug. 1, 2023 to pay back missed rent between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021. Under the city’s moratorium, tenants would have until Feb. 1, 2024 to repay rent accumulated from Oct. 1, 2021 to Feb. 1, 2023. In rent-controlled apartments, rent increases will also be allowed to resume beginning February 2024.
The City will provide relocation assistance for evictions deemed no-fault evictions. There are also protections against no-fault evictions for unauthorized pets or residents who aren’t listed on leases until Jan. 31, 2024. The report also explores initiating just-cause rules, requiring specific reasons for landlords to evict tenants in all units, not just those under rent control. To read the report that was approved, please click here. To also read amending motions adopted, passed, click here.

CA Reparations Task Force LA Meeting’s Public Comments Get Heated

Kamilah Moore, chair of California Task Force For Reparations, listens as an attendee tells the story of his ancestor. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

The nine member California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans convened in Los Angeles at the California Science Center for its tenth meeting on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.

The meeting opened with comments from the public with speakers passionately delivering their views on what reparations should look like.

Many focused their comments and opinions on who should and should not receive reparations. The opposing views created tension among those in the audience on an issue that the task force resolved months ago.

From left are Dr. Amos Brown, Miya Iwataki, State Senator Steven Bradford, Attorney Don Tamaki, Ron Wakabayashi and Mitchell Maki, who all participated in the hearing. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

“I think it’s a good thing. We have a lot of passion in our community and reparations speak to the core of what makes Black Americans. I wouldn’t expect any less,” said Chad Brown, a member of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASDLA) and Coalition of a Just and Equitable California (CJEC).

“This is the process. I expect a lot of passion. It’s passion directed at finding solutions,” Brown told California Black Media.”

The temperature in the room rose when Kevin Cosney, associate director of the California Black Power Network (CBPN), addressed the task force members and said that a majority of the members made a “problematic” decision in excluding people such as Africans enslaved in the Caribbean, Native Americans, and persons from the continent of Africa.

Adv entinel)ocates of reparations debate the issue of eligibility outside of the Wallis Annenberg Building in Los Angeles while the California Task Force For Reparations holds a meeting inside. (Antonio Ray Harvey/CBM Photo.)

“We encourage this task force to be transparent, bold, gracious, expansive, and unified in its work of diverse opinions,” Cosney told the task force. “The fact that you prematurely rushed on eligibility is problematic and disrespects the community’s voice. We would like you to reconsider and take this into account.”

Cosney’s CBPN and Brown’s CJEC are two of seven “anchor organizations,” selected across the state to host “community listening sessions” in conjunction with the task force.

The nonprofit California Black Power Network describes itself as a “growing, united ecosystem of Black empowering grassroots organizations” collaboration to change the lived conditions of Black Californians “by dismantling systemic and anti-Black racism.”

Reparations debate the issue of eligibility outside of the Wallis Annenberg Building in Los Angeles while the California Task Force For Reparations holds a meeting inside. (Antonio Ray Harvey/CBM Photo.)

CJEC is a state-wide coalition of organizations, associations, and community members united for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black American men and women.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber who authored the task force legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 in 2020 while serving in the Assembly – has taken the position that compensation should be limited to African Americans who are descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States.

“Reparations are designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years who (suffered) through Jim Crow (laws),” Weber said last January. “Reparations are for those who are descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

Last March the task force voted 5-4 that lineage will determine who will be eligible for reparations over race.

Task Force chairperson Kamilah Moore, vice-chair Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, and president of his local NAACP branch; University of California-Berkeley professor Jovan Scott Lewis; San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery-Steppe, and Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) voted in approval of lineage.

Eligibility is determined by an individual being African American, “the descendant of a (person enslaved as chattel) or the descendant of a free-Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century,” Moore said.

Cheryce Cryer provides her thoughts about reparations and shares issues she had trying to access a community listening session run by one of the anchor organizations. Kevin Cosney.( Antonio Ray Harvey/CBM Photo.) 

Attorney Don Tamaki, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Holder, and Loyola-Marymount professor Cheryl Grills, voted in favor of race.

AB 3121 established the task force with a “special consideration” of those who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States. Starting with the Atlantic Slave Trade, chattel slavery was sanctioned in the U.S. from 1619 to 1865.

“We agree that there should be special consideration for those that trace their lineage back to Slavery,” Cosney said. “But we also know and understand that the system of white supremacy affects everyone who is Black on this planet and in this country.”

Members from CJEC and CBPN moved their heated discussion outside of the facility after making their comments. But, the conversations cooled off with smiles and gestures of mutual respect for opinions.

Brown said the eligibility issue is settled but he is not at odds with debating the merits of the decision the task force made who oppose it. He “stands on” the fact that Black families were impacted by slavery and “those families, descendants, are owed reparations.”

“Reparations are not something that is a cure. It is not something meant to change the minds of people,” Brown said. “Reparations are meant to repair a special community that has been impacted by slavery, Jim Crow, convict leasing, mass incarcerations, and the throughline of slave ships and chains.”

The next Task Force in-person meeting is scheduled for Oakland in December 2022 followed by San Diego in January 2023 and Sacramento in February 2023.

Public-Private Partners Break Ground on Affordable Housing Project in South L.A.

John Stanley, Southside Church of Christ and Innovative Housing Opportunities to build 50-unit complex on West Manchester Ave.

Participants in the groundbreaking ceremony included Saki Middleton (3rd from left), Chris Baccus (4th from left), Pastor Carl Baccus (5th from left) and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (2nd from right). (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

Members of John Stanley, Inc., Southside Church of Christ and Innovative Housing Opportunities broke ground on Monday, Sept. 19, on Serenity, a mixed-use 50-unit affordable rental homeless senior project in South Los Angeles.

Saki S. Middleton,  president of John Stanley; Dr. Carl C. Baccus, Southside senior pastor; and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD 8) were among the participants in the gala event held on Southside’s campus located at 1655 W. Manchester Avenue. The project, which will contain commercial space on the ground floor, will be erected on the former parking lot of the church.

The City of Los Angeles Housing Department provided a $9.22 Million Proposition HHH Supportive Housing Loan and issued $19,910,000 in Tax Exempt and Taxable Bonds for the construction of the project, and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles is providing 36 Project Based Vouchers for Chronically Homeless and Homeless Seniors.  It is slated to serve 18 chronically homeless and 18 homeless seniors and 14 non-homeless independent senior households.

“This is a true public-private partnership,” said Middleton. “It will provide homeless seniors with permanent housing and supportive services which will enhance their lives and improve the quality of the neighborhood.”

An artist’s rendering of Serenity Affordable Housing Complex. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

“Such a long-awaited development we are so grateful to God, the church members, community, and the city for joining us in providing quality housing and services in the neighborhood,” said Pastor Baccus.

“To whom much is given, much is required. We are thankful God gave us this opportunity to give to others with this project.” We look forward to continuing to serve our community,” noted Chris Baccus, executive director of Concerned Citizens Community Involvement, Southside community development corporation.

“Innovative Housing Opportunities is proud to be part of the solution to create more affordable housing for all seniors,” said Rochelle Mills, president and CEO of Innovative Housing Opportunities.  “It’s imperative that all of us address this growing population with homes that are healthy, beautiful, and safe.”

Designed by Withee Malcolm Architects, the mixed-use 50-unit affordable rental homeless project will consist of one, five story building comprised of 50 studio and one-bedroom senior units, 1,600 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space, and two levels of podium parking located on .82 acres. The development includes the replacement of the church parking.

The project will have 20 Studio/one bath and 30 One-bedroom/one bath units and 1,785 Ground Floor Commercial spaces. Amenities will include a 3rd level outdoor courtyard that includes a bbq area, sitting areas, and 1,500 square feet of indoor community space that includes a lounge, kitchen, flex room, and computer/classroom.

The project also has a 4th Floor gym, 3rd-floor laundry facility, and parking for the residents. The units will serve homeless senior and independent senior households fifty-five (55) years and older whose annual household incomes are at or below 60% of the Los Angeles County area median income.

Safe Collection Centers Pick Ups

Report Reveals ‘A Hidden Key to Combating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice’

Report Reveals ‘A Hidden Key to Combating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice’

Stacy Brown / NNPA Newswire 

According to new Sentencing Project research, diverting youth from juvenile court involvement should be a central focus in reducing racial and ethnic disparities.

It should also improve outcomes in America’s youth justice systems.

The report’s author wrote that getting arrested in adolescence or having a delinquency case filed in juvenile court clearly damages young people’s futures and increases their subsequent involvement in the justice system.

“Compared with youth who are diverted, youth who are arrested and formally petitioned in court have a far higher likelihood of subsequent arrests and school failure,” wrote Richard A Mendel, Senior Research Fellow and Youth Justice at the Sentencing Project.

“Pre-arrest and pre-court diversion can avert these bad outcomes,” Mendel concluded.

According to Mendel’s research, Black youth are far more likely to be arrested than their white peers and far less likely to be diverted from court following arrest.

Other youth of color – including Latinx youth, Tribal youth, and Asian/Pacific Islander youth – are also less likely than their white peers to be diverted.

“The lack of diversion opportunities for youth of color is pivotal because the greater likelihood of formal processing in court means that youth of color accumulate longer court histories, leading to harsher consequences for any subsequent arrest,” Mendel asserted.

“Expanding diversion opportunities for youth of color, therefore, represents a crucial, untapped opportunity to address continuing disproportionality in juvenile justice,” he noted.

The in-depth analysis of the juvenile justice system’s unequal and limited use of diversion from court involvement, particularly for Black youth, found that in 2019, 52% of delinquency cases involving white youth were handled informally (diverted), far higher than the share of cases diverted involving Black youth (40%).

The report found the glaring disparity between Black and white youth in every major offense category.

“Overwhelming research finds that diverting youth from the court system yields better outcomes for young people’s futures and public safety,” Mendel insisted.

“Yet diversion remains sorely underutilized, especially for youth of color, and unequal treatment in diversion is a key driver for even larger disparities in confinement later in the process.”

Released on Aug. 30, the report, “Diversion: A Hidden Key to Combating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice,” examined decades of research showing how educational, career and public safety outcomes are better for youth diverted away from juvenile courts.

It provided a primer on diversion and its impact on racial equity – specifically, the report revealed that:

  • Compared to youth formally involved in court, youth diverted from court have a far lower likelihood of subsequent arrest.
  • They also are far less likely to be incarcerated, commit less violence, have higher school completion rates and college enrollment, and earn higher incomes in adulthood.

Mendel found that disparities in diversion result both from subjective biases against youth and families of color and from seemingly neutral diversion rules and practices that cause disproportionate harm to youth of color either by unnecessarily limiting eligibility for diversion or by making it difficult for youth of color to complete diversion successfully.

Many states and localities have recently adopted new strategies to expand and improve diversion, many of which show substantial promise, Mendel further discovered.

“However, efforts to expand diversion opportunities to date have most often lacked an explicit and determined focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities – an essential ingredient for success,” he added.

In his conclusion, Mendel said the evidence leaves no doubt that the justice system “is toxic for youth and should be employed only in cases when young people pose a serious and imminent threat to the safety and well-being of others.”

“For most young people, diversion yields better public safety and youth development outcomes than formal processing in juvenile court – and for much less money,” he wrote.

However, youth of color are not being offered diversion in the same numbers as white youth.

“Racial and ethnic disparities at diversion play a significant role in propelling system-wide disparities and represent a key reason why efforts to improve equity in juvenile justice have achieved so little progress to date,” Mendel added.

For all these reasons, the diversion stage of the juvenile court process should be a top priority for youth justice reform, he stated.

“Advocates should push for, and system leaders should take aggressive action to address the disparities highlighted in this report,” Mendel wrote.

“Combined, the reforms recommended here to expand the use of diversion and to enhance supportive community-led programming for diverted youth offer perhaps the most important and promising avenue currently available to reduce disparities and to improve youth justice systems nationwide.”

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