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Joe's Editorial

Pasadena at a Crossroad

I am excited about the response to the "State of Black Pasadena" report that the Journal African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Pasadena a crossroadpublished this month [4-9-09]. Many have contacted me about planning and facilitating a session or a series of sessions with small groups for the purpose of putting our collective heads together to develop some strategies for the future of our community. One group looked onto the idea of planning more programs to improve things in the areas of education and economics for Blacks. Others have contacted me about how we can influence the development of social and public policy that affect our community.

What is really exciting is that those who contacted me want to do something rather than just talk about the problems that we already know exist. What we need are ideas and action, not just more talk. In that vein, I propose Roundtable discussions. Those in the community who have new ideas may put something in writing and submit it to me so that when we meet we can start tackling the problems, rather than talking about and redefining the problems.

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Remember Greenwood and Black Wall Street?

During the period between 1900 and 1921, in Greenwood, North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Greenwood and Black Wall StreetAfrican Americans built a thriving community complete with businesses and an economic infrastructure so strong that it was nicknamed "Black Wall Street." Over six hundred Black owned businesses thrived in the area. There were Black doctors, lawyers, business owners and entrepreneurs who controlled their own destinies. Black Dollars circulated in the Black community three times before it left the community. There were Black millionaires, Black owned restaurants, a 700 seat movie theater and Black owned bus lines, schools, banks, oil leases and a Black hospital.

Much of the progress was the result of Jim Crow Laws. These laws didn't allow race mixing, or school integration, or even for Blacks to go into White parts of town except to work for White folks. The Ku Klux Klan ran much of the state of Oklahoma. Ironically it was part of the so called, "Bible Belt of America."

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The Dinosaurs Are Still With Us

As we look at Obama's success and simultaneously watch the high unemployment rates and theBlack news from Pasadena - Editorial - today's dinosaurs low graduation rates for African Americans, we must know that there is still reason for concern. Young White Americans and Americans who are products of the sixties Civil Rights revolution elected Barack Obama. The problem is that there are still political and social Dinosaurs in our midst and too often they have risen to levels of power.

When I watched Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melikian give a Dog and Pony show about the killing of Leroy Barnes, I understood I was watching what I call a Dinosaur in action. Melekian actually stood in the front of a room full of people and talked about being transparent and dealing with the facts of the Barnes' shooting. Then he went on to talk about how bad a man Barnes was, his felony convictions, and the fact that he had a gun, and then he essentially said it's okay to kill someone like that. The problem is that he was not telling us anything about the two cops who killed Barnes, except that they were back at work. A scary thought.

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“What you Stopping Me [AGAIN] For, Sucker”

Many of you who read this column remember when Altadena Deputy African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Local policeSheriff  Rosas stopped me at 2:45 a.m. in front of Foxes restaurant and wrote me a ticket, approximately 3-4 months ago? I told the cop that I was delivering The Journal and he wrote me a ticket saying that I had stopped in an intersection and that I had stopped without making a signal. When we got to court and I pointed out to him in front of the judge that Foxes restaurant was not in the intersection, he admitted he had lied and that charge was dismissed. The other charge that I had made a left turn without a signal was sustained by the judge because the cop lied and said I had turned left from the curb lane to go to the middle of the street where I stopped when he put his light on me. I asked the judge why he believed this cop who had admitted he had just lied about my stopping in the intersection? When the judge in Department M in Pasadena said nothing, I asked him if he believed him because he was wearing a uniform. Again, the judge said nothing. He then fined me $176.00 for the lying cop. The economics of the ticket are the $176.00 and whatever the insurance company will increase my premiums by.

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Are You Prepared?

When I was a pre-teenager growing up in Bakersfield, California my folks let me join the BoyBlack news from Pasadena - Editorial - On being prepared Scouts organization. I remember the Scout motto was "Be Prepared." As I grew up I never forgot those words and when I recently heard a story about a family where the father had lost his job as a Stock Broker and his million dollar house was in foreclosure I thought that this was a guy who was not prepared.

As a Stock Broker he had earned up to $750,000 per year. He had decided to go into business for himself and opened another Brokerage house. It was something called a "hedge fund." Today he was earning $7.65 per hour and tips delivering Pizza. I couldn't help but think he should have bought a Pizza Parlor when he was riding high, but he didn't.

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