On my return from out of town, this week, I saw two articles in local newspapers that disturbed me about an elected official. Tyron Hampton, the elected Black male who represents the Black community of Pasadena on the school board is on a campaign to convince the school district to spend thousands of dollars to hire him a personal assistant, when no other representative on the board has an assistant. Hampton is headed for the completion of his first term and, in my opinion, needs to be replaced by someone who is more concerned with educating Black youth than lifting his profile for the next election.
I note that last year board President Renatta Cooper got three legal opinions on the Issue before it was dealt with. I was turned down by then Superintendent John Gundry. Having lost the battle to get a taxpayer paid assistant under the past superintendent, he has re-opened his battle to get one because his friend, Scott Phelps, is now the president of the board.
This type of scheme is consistent with what Hampton told me when he came to visit me, seeking the Journal's endorsement when he ran for office. During that visit, I told him that the Journal may make a recommendation, but we don't do endorsements for a number of reasons. The major reason for not doing endorsements is that politicians may be untruthful to get an endorsement.
In this case, Tyron Hampton admitted being a Republican, but lied to me when he said that he was probably going to leave the Republican Party. I have confirmed that he told other prominent Blacks in the Pasadena community the same lie about leaving the Republican Party. I told him about the longstanding bad relationship between myself and his father. He told me he was making his own decisions and was not like his father. He also told me a story that, essentially, he was impressed when he visits white Republicans' houses and found them more prosperous than Black folks.
I can't help but wonder if he feels that way about Blacks and their lack of progress, why would he want to represent them? Clearly, he appears to be one of those Republican chosen Blacks to run for political office to stifle the progress of Blacks, like Ward Connerly and Clarence Thomas.
As I read his actions while on the Board, I deem his coffee klatches and his wanting an assistant to be at taxpayer's expense, not doing much for his Black constituency and a devious way to have the public finance his personal political aspirations. Where are the creative programs to teach and help young Black students like the one for students in East Los Angeles which was highlighted in Sundays' newspaper? Where is his commitment to hire more local Blacks rather than someone from Sun Valley? Where is his commitment to the Vocational Education of young Blacks? It seems, rather, that his commitment is to represent the needs of himself and the Republican Party.
I suggest the Board vote no to hiring him an assistant. By the way, as a Civil Rights attorney for the last thirty years, this is not an employment discrimination Issue. Hampton is a volunteer and should the Republicans want to help their guy, get him a volunteer. Don't punk the Black community.