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Joe's Editorial

Prepare to Vote in November or Prepare to Lose What We Have Gained

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - why vote in NovemberThe Friday, September 17, 2010 Wall Street Journal reported that the great recession of the Bush years has cut family income down to making it the worst economy in America in over fifty years. We all know the job market is bad. We know that this country, and indeed the state of California which prided itself on free education, is on the rocks. The education and economic system has garnered a huge middle class of all races despite racism and discrimination. But now the Tea Party and the selfish Republican millionaires and billionaires are promising to turn the clock back.

One Tea Partier says we need to get rid of the Federal Department of Education. All of the Republicans say we need to cut taxes on the rich and increase the burden on those of us who earn less in order to improve the economy. When Ronald Regan started to talk about a theory that said if you cut the taxes on the rich they would take their profits and create more jobs in a trickle down theory, it was Republican George Bush senior that called it VOODO economics. Bush was right. When Bill Clinton sought to satisfy the Republicans by helping to promote what was called NAFTA and CAFTA, a billionaire Republican named Ross Perot said the great sucking sound that we heard was American jobs being outsourced and going overseas. He was right.



This is Obama Country

Black news - commentary on Obama CountryBarack Hussein Obama is 44th President of the United States. He is the first African American President of the United States. This country was born in 1776 more than one hundred years after the first Africans set foot on this soil, in 1619. There have been 43 White male Presidents and now Barack Obama.

Black America is proud and thankful to young Americans of all races who went out and voted for the best man for the job. The tragedy is that the previous president took us into a war against two countries, one who we know had done nothing to us and in the process of prosecuting that war we spent the money that had been put aside to maintain the style of life we as Americans had grown accustomed to such as top quality education, employment at levels so high that people from other countries left their homelands and traveled here to work. These were the hallmarks of America where we could be all that we could be if we applied ourselves. In America you could be born poor or even a slave and rise to become a doctor, lawyer, educator, nurse or, yes, even the president of the United States.

Problems arose when we began to outsource those great employment opportunities to other countries. This started before both Bush presidents and even continued with Bill Clinton. The problems continued when greed allowed the richest Americans to begin to outsource their dollars to Swiss banks where they would not have to pay taxes. Then some of the richest American corporations like Haliburton decided to move their corporate headquarters to countries like Dubai where they would not have to pay taxes to America. In effect, these corporations get a free ride. They use our roads, our schools, our hospitals, and health care facilities, but their taxes don't help pay for them.



Take A Legal Look 2010

African American news - commentary on the annual CAALA conventionEach year I joined with thousands of California lawyers at the annual California Attorneys of Los Angeles Convention in Las Vegas (CAALA). Last week the 2010 convention was held and, as in the past, it conducts classes and seminars which were inspiring and enlightening as it focuses on lawyer's sharpening our skills in the area of law we practice.

This year the annual three day event included information of loan modification rules, and even though I don't practice in this area the information was informative. New information always allows us to serve our clients better.

One piece of information I picked up was the fact that the law does not allow lawyers or others to take advanced fees on loans. In effect, those who assist with the loan modification must wait on the process to be completed before they get paid. As a note of caution just because you can get a loan on your home doesn't mean you should. Your home is not only your castle. It generally is the largest asset you own and there are lenders out there who would like to get their hands on it and put their names on the title instead of yours. If you are blessed enough to get a piece of property, keep it.



Firefighters Bridging the Gap Between the Past and the Present

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial About FirefightersI had the good fortune to be the keynote speaker at the Southwest Regional Conference of the United Firefighters of Southern California on April 9, 2010. After the speech a few young firefighters from cities including Compton and Long Beach came up to me and reminded me that they were in Pasadena when The Journal was fighting to get more Black Firefighters in Pasadena over fifteen years ago. During the speech I had mentioned a young man named Eric Jackson who I tried to help get into the Pasadena Fire Department, to no avail. Eric is now a Captain in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pasadena's Fire Department was so racist that this young brother had to go to the Deep South to get a job in his chosen field. After the speech, more than one young man came to me and shared that the articles in The Journal years ago had been helpful. Another young man said he had kept all of The Journal articles and my columns for all these years.

I admit to being flattered that a young fireman who by now had reached the rank of Captain in the Fire Department had used something I said years ago to keep up his fight to become a fireman. The comments of the young firemen and the racist hiring activity of the current Pasadena City Manager served as a reminder that the struggle was not yet over. I call the current City Manager racist because he demonstrated his racism in November, 2008, while barely a few months on the job, he hired a White male to serve as Assistant City Manager of Northwest Pasadena, days before the date announced for the closing of the job. The last day to apply was November 25, 2008. He announced at a press conference on or about November 22, 2008 who the winner was.



Firing Barack

African American news - Opinion-Editorial on PoliticsThis past week I had a discussion with a well known African American Business Woman in Los Angeles. She was mad as the devil at President Barack Obama and vowed not to vote for him next time. She was ready to fire Barack, He had disappointed her and the world has not turned around in his one year in office. She said it was because he had chosen some of the Bush cabinet people for his cabinet. Then I stopped by a beauty shop of a friend of mine and they were discussing whether Obama would run again. I believe he will. The shop owner said her husband thought Barack would run again, but some women in the shop thought he had had enough. The shop owner wondered why anyone would want the job of President with all of its headaches.

As I reflect on Obama's first year in office, I think he's doing just fine under the circumstances. That doesn't mean that I have not been mad at him at times... Mostly because he seemed to not hear the Republicans when they demonstrated that they would vote against anything he tried to do. Like a basketball game where there are four Quarters, Obama has fought through the first quarter, and he won.

I've been married to my wife for forty-seven years. That doesn't mean that every year has been perfect. It hasn't, and most of it is my fault. But I'm still there, so I win. It took me seventeen years from the day that I decided I wanted to be a lawyer till the day I passed the bar, after taking it over and over. But I won, and this November will mark twenty-eight years of practicing law.

Politics is like sports in many ways, but there is always a beginning score of 0 to 0. The score and the lead may go back and forth but it's the end score that counts. As for Barack Obama, he won the health care battle. Health Care Reform has started. Job creation has started. It's only the Second month in 27 months for the creation of jobs to increase. It is true that 44 percent of people out of work have been out of work for over six months. But the turn around has started.

The announcement that off shore oil exploration has been approved is probably good news. It maybe undesirable, but is it necessary?

Watch the prices of gas go down and his wisdom may prove itself. After all, we buy oil from Iraq and other enemies while being at war with them. We need to do something to change that. We co-exist with racists everyday on the job and at the stores that we shop at because they are Americans just as we are. Sometimes they take the money we spend with them and buy materials or support programs that are racist and we don't even know it.

Let's not fire Obama yet. It's just the end of the first quarter. Winning takes time and strategy. He's not playing the game alone. There are two teams, Republicans and Democrats, or maybe more if you count the so-called Tea Party and the Southern Democrats who are against him. If my wife had not given me a few second chances to do the right thing, my marriage would be over, and I'm still learning. If the Bar said you can only take it one time, I would not be a lawyer. If my Dad had not made a decision to move from Altus, Oklahoma, a town of only 20,000 people to California in 1948 and start over, where would I be? You can't be in a hurry and win, it usually takes time. I think it's premature to be talking about firing Barack. It's only the beginning of second quarter.

On another note, there has been some scuttlebutt about our local council person, Jacque Robinson. To those who want her fired, I ask what you have done for us lately. It is easy to stand back and take pot shots. If it's important to you, roll up your sleeves and get in and help. In our upcoming issue of the "State of Black Pasadena" we will address that issue further. We will also address our view of what is happening at the school district, in the city manager's office and of course at the Police Department and (pre)choosing a Police Chief. Stay tuned!


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