Author: lafocus

California Dem Party African American Caucus Endorses “Pro-Black” Propositions

Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media 

The California Democratic Party African American Caucus (CDPAAC) hosted press conferences at four locations across the state to call on Black Californians to support what that group has deemed as the “pro-Black” propositions on this November’s ballot. 

The news conferences were held in metropolitan areas with some of the largest numbers of African American voters in the state — Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and Sacramento — on Thursday, Oct. 22. The initiatives the CDPAAC has endorsed are: Prop 15 (split roll tax), Prop 16 (repeal of Prop 209); Prop. 17 (restoring voting rights for ex-prisoners); and Prop 21 (rent control). 

“We will be expressing our support for pro-Black ballot initiatives. We will also be speaking specifically to the benefits the initiatives will have on the Black community,” said Kimberly Ellis who ran for chair of the California Democratic Party in 2019 and is a former recording secretary of the CDPAAC. She was in Oakland speaking with California Black Media by phone.  

The CDPAAC’s Black women leaders who led the effort also used the political event to criticize what they describe as attempts by some “bad actors” within the African American community to undermine initiatives that could improve the lives of African Americans.  

Kendra Lewis, vice chair of the CDPAAC, called out the California – Hawaii National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), saying that group is one of the detractors whose positions on ballot measures go against African American interests.  

“Sadly, we’ve seen the NAACP California-Hawaii chapter lose its moral compass as evidence of its most recent endorsements, including to pro-Black initiatives like Prop. 15 and Prop. 21,” Lewis said on steps at the north entrance of the State Capitol.  

Lewis accused the California branch of the country’s oldest civil rights organization of accepting payments to take stances on legislation, but she also acknowledged the problem of money influencing politics is much larger than the NAACP.   

“To be clear, this isn’t about any one person or institution as these types of payouts have been happening for far too long,” she added.  

Although the CDPAAC is supporting four “pro-Black” ballot propositions, it is emphasizing two of them: Prop 15 and Prop 21.   

Prop. 15, the “Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative,” would levy higher real-estate taxes on business and industrial buildings than on residential homes. The initiative’s intent is to increase funding for public schools, community colleges, and local government services by changing the tax assessment of commercial and industrial properties. The state’s fiscal analyst has estimated that, upon full implementation, Prop 15 would generate between $8 billion and $12.5 billion in revenue per year. Forty percent of the revenue would be allocated to schools while the other 60 % would fund local government. 

Khiry Moore, an educator, photographer and entrepreneur in Sacramento who owns a couple of rental properties with his wife, says he neither supports Prop 21 nor Prop 15.  

“The problem we have as a culture or race is that we don’t allow objective thought. We don’t focus on how these propositions would benefit or affect us as Black people,” he said. “You must remember. We – the Black Caucus — supported welfare reform and 1990s crime bills.” 

“We get to a point where somebody tells us this issue is important to us and we go hard to defend it without thinking it through. We also don’t hold politicians responsible after elections,” Moore continued.  “They might promise us that this money will be spent on things that are important to us like schools, but how many times in the past have we seen this money raised and re-routed to other spending that has nothing to do with us and we are never there to follow up and hold these politicians feet to the fire? I’m still waiting on the lottery money from the eighties.” 

At the CDPAAC Sacramento event, L. Lacey Barnes, Executive Vice President of the California Federation of Teachers, said she supports Prop 15.  

“For small businesses, I think the (minimum) number is at $3 million. At the most 80 % (of Black businesses won’t meet that threshold),” Barnes said, describing the size of businesses that would be taxed if voters approve Prop 15 next week.  

“If they do, we still believe that’s a benchmark. If we reach that level of success, paying your fair share is not going to break the bank,” she continued.  

But Huffman and the California State Hawaii NAACP insist Prop. 15 would not benefit Black businesses and lower income Americans. In fact, in a statement about the initiative, Huffman said it would hinder the upward mobility of Black working people.  

“The property tax hike on the November ballot will hurt minority communities — causing more gentrification, killing jobs, and increasing the cost of living for working families,” she wrote. 

Along with Huffman, former state Assemblymember Roderick Wright, former state Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, and pastor Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, oppose Prop 15. 

Moore agrees with Huffman. As a business owner who rents a commercial space for his photography studio, Moore also said taxing commercial property owners at a higher rate will cause landowners to find a way to make up for their losses.  

“My landlord allows me to pay below market rate because he supports Black businesses,” he said. When taxes become too expensive for commercial property owners, Moore says, “they will just evict us and collect tax write-offs for vacant buildings.” 

Black politicians and supporters of Prop15 are state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), State Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond and San Francisco Mayor London Breed

Almost $125 million has been poured into the fights for and against Prop 15. The Schools and Communities First Political Action Committee (PAC) has raised $63.39 million in favor of the initiative. Seven PACs, including Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, have collected $60.72 million in an effort to defeat Prop 15. 

Prop 21, the “Local Rent Control Initiative,” would allow cities to introduce new rent control laws or expand existing ones. Huffman says she and California -Hawaii NAACP are concerned that, if Prop 21 passes, it would pave the way for higher real estate costs, which would increase unaffordability in the state’s housing market, leading to more evictions. This would severely affect the Black community, she says.  

“Prop. 21 encourages landlords to evict tenants and would result in less rental housing supply, higher tenants, and more homelessness,” Huffman says.  

Of more than 2.3 million African Americans living in California, 5.5% of the total population, about 64% are renters, according to TenantsTogether.org. More than 16 million people in California are renters.  

But many Black landlords like Moore look at Prop 21 from a different angle.  

He says more rent control will make landlords super-selective about who they rent their apartments to, forcing them to reject applicants who are low income or have lower-than-average credit scores.  

The effort to place Prop 21 on the ballot is to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins). Costa-Hawkins is a state statute that limits the use of rent control in California. 

Prop 21 is opposed by a diverse group of seniors, veterans, labor, homeowners, affordable housing advocates, and businesses. They say the timing of the initiative is especially bad, too, as many homeowners in the state that rent properties are suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Homeowners and Tenants United PAC has raised $40.20 million to support Prop 21 while Five PACs, including Californians for Responsible Housing, has garnered $73.41 million in opposition to the initiative. 

Gov. Newsom opposes Prop 21.  

“In the past year, California has passed a historic version of statewide rent control – the nation’s strongest rent caps and renter protections in the nation – as well as short-term eviction relief,” said Newsom. “But Proposition 21, like Proposition 10 before it, runs the all-too-real risk of discouraging availability of affordable housing in our state.”

Briefly: Jay-Z Starts His Own Cannabis Brand; Pope Francis Appoints First African American Cardinal…

Jay-Z Starts His Own Cannabis Brand

Rapper Jay-Z is expanding his entrepreneurial catalogue with a new line of cannabis products. The fresh brand, Monogram, comes after he was named chief strategist for cannabis company Caliva in 2019 as a new partnership with the California-based company.

“We think this is a sea (of) change in terms of the visibility to the industry,” Dennis O’Malley, chief executive officer of Caliva, told CNN Business. “We take this partnership with a lot of responsibility, a lot of humility, a lot of accountability moving forward.”

The brand promises a “careful strain selection, meticulous cultivation practices, and uncompromising quality.” 

Monogram joins the 50-year-old’s expanding list of businesses and partnerships which include the NFL, liquor companies Armand de Brignac and D’Usse and the streaming media service, Tidal.

“Monogram marks a new chapter in cannabis defined by dignity, care and consistency,” the brand website reads. “It is a collective effort to bring you the best, and a humble pursuit to discover what the best truly means.”

Pope Francis Appoints First African American Cardinal

Pope Francis is set to appoint Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington to cardinal next month. This will make the 72-year-old the first African American to hold the position. He will be one of 13 in a new class of cardinals.

“At a time when racism is tearing our country apart, he has been a consistent, persistent voice for the dignity of all — for Black lives and for racial justice and reconciliation,” said John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. “We need healing, and for Pope Francis to recognize his leadership is a hopeful sign.”

Gregory was appointed archbishop of Washington last year, replacing Cardinal Donald Wuerl who had been accused of mishandling clerical abuse cases.

“With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christ’s Church,” Gregory said in a statement.

Compton Mayor Guarantees Income for 800 Residents with New Program

Christal Mims, Staff

Compton Mayor Aja Brown is creating a new program that guarantees 800 residents in the community a basic income for two years. The Compton Pledge is a pilot program being rolled out to help those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I recognized that there’s a need for additional income, especially with the pandemic resulting in record-high numbers of unemployment throughout the entire country,” Brown said. “This is a great opportunity to address inequalities for Black and brown people and also additional opportunities for upward mobility.”

Residents of Compton who receive cash will be randomly chosen from a pre-verified group of “low-income Comptonians, working in collaboration with national and local community-based organizations which have built the infrastructure to deliver Covid-19 relief cash transfers to individuals who are excluded from welfare programs and formal financial institutions.”

The coronavirus pandemic has raised the city’s unemployment rate which now stands at 21.9 percent, according to the new program’s website.

The initiative would provide free cash for two years and will target low-income Black and Latinx individuals in addition to those who were formerly incarcerated.

Brown has partnered with the Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI), the Jain Family Institute (JFI) as well as local and national leaders that serve underprivileged communities and justice movements across Compton and the U.S. Private donors are also contributing $2.5 million to fund the program.

The exact amounts received by each participant will vary, but “each participant will receive at least several hundred dollars, with greater amounts received by parents with multiple children. The frequency of distribution will also vary but participants will be informed at the outset about the timing of their expected payments so that they may plan accordingly.”

Another feature of the Compton Pledge is its online payment system which will allow recipients to get their money through direct deposit, electronic transfers or prepaid debit cards. The platform will also provide no-cost banking and access to “existing financial, legal, and counseling services.”

The Compton Pledge will be the largest city-based guaranteed income pilot in the US and will “harness the power of unconditional cash transfers in service of racial and economic justice.”

“I know firsthand what guaranteed income could have done for my mother,” Brown said. “People in our community are going through tough times, and I know that guaranteed income could give people a moment to navigate their situation and have some breathing room to go back to school, explore a new career path, spend time with their children, or improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.” The program is set to begin sometime later this year.           

New Program Provides Laundry Services for Unhoused Angelenos

Staff

SoCalGas has partnered with The Laundry Truck LA (TLTLA) to provide free laundry services for unhoused L.A. residents. The initiative will consist of a mobile trailer fully equipped with five sets of washers and dryers, a folding station, and a water heater. With the addition of the new trailer, TLTLA is expecting to complete over 10,000 loads of laundry by the end of the year.

“We are proud to join with SoCalGas in launching this new truck,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “As an early supporter of The Laundry Truck LA, we have been gratified to watch this organization grow, and reach more people experiencing homelessness in our community.  Clean clothing is something so many of us take for granted, but it is truly a human right and need for us all. They provide a great service to the homeless in Council District 1.”

The Laundry Truck LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free mobile laundry services for people in need throughout the city and is one of the first mobile laundry services in the country to serve the homeless population. 

TLTLA’s trailers offer services seven days a week, including night shifts, to unhoused individuals throughout L.A. County’s parks, recreation centers and other specialized locations. Accessible personal care services, like laundry, play a large part in helping to improve the livelihood of underserved populations.

“Thanks to The Laundry Truck LA, many people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County have been able to wash and dry their clothes free of cost. That is why I proudly supported The Laundry Truck LA with a grant of $90,405, which made it possible for Laundry Truck LA to provide critical laundry services to residents of the Winter Shelter in Bassett Park,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Access to laundry services is a simple way to give our unhoused neighbors self-confidence and a sense of dignity.”

SoCalGas also donated $25,000 to TLTLA to support the growing demand for personal care and laundry services earlier this year.

50 Cent’s Support of Trump Shows His Lack of Tax Knowledge

Christal Mims, Staff

Rapper 50 Cent recently came under fire for saying that he supports President Donald Trump after learning about Joe Biden’s tax plan. He also said that he doesn’t care if Trump “doesn’t like Black people.”

The 45-year-old posted a photo to Twitter on Monday from a CNBC broadcast that suggested those living in New York could face combined federal and state tax rates of 62 percent, to which he replied, “What the f***!” he wrote. “(Vote for Trump) I’m Out, F*** New York.”

Biden supports raising tax rates for corporations and those making $400,000 or more per year. This would reverse part of Trump’s 2017 tax law that reduced the top federal rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. He is promising to raise $4 trillion in the next decade from taxing the rich.

The rapper, born Curtis James Jackson III, doubled down on his statements on Tuesday after facing backlash, saying, “Yeah, I don’t want to be 20cent. 62 percent is a very, very, bad idea. i don’t like it!”

Critics were quick to point out that the report 50 Cent used to come to his conclusion was a bit faulty. CNBC contradicted the surface-level depiction in another article that later revealed, “few if any taxpayers pay the full statutory rates, which don’t include deductions, credits, offsets, loopholes and lower tax rates on other sources of income.” Those “other sources of income” are relevant as many millionaires and billionaires get more than a third of their spending money from capital gains. 

The tax is also driven by the marginal tax rate, meaning that only income over $400,000 would be taxed at 39.8 percent, with the first $399,999 being taxed at lower marginal rates. This would make it highly unlikely that 50 Cent finds himself in a position where he is paying 62 percent of his income in taxes.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, if Biden’s tax plan were to be fully implemented with no alterations, it would raise $1.6 to $1.9 trillion from corporations, $1.0 to $1.2 trillion from high earners through income tax and $800 billion to $1 trillion from Social Security payroll taxes on high-wage earners over the next decade.

The Democratic presidential nominee would “raise the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent, set minimum corporate taxes for domestic and foreign income, restore the top individual tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent, tax capital gains as ordinary income and at death for very high earners, limit various tax breaks for higher earners, subject wages above $400,000 to the Social Security payroll tax, and pass various other cuts and increases.”

Whether he understands the tax plan or not, 50 Cent doesn’t appear to be interested in backing down from his recent position on the subject matter.

L.A. County Officials Warn Residents About Property Tax Scam

Staff

Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector Keith Knox and County Assessor Jeffrey Prang are alerting the public about a property tax scam that has been reported to a District Office of the Assessor. Unknown people are reportedly attempting to fraudulently collect in-person property tax payments at taxpayers’ homes due to COVID-19. 

“Please note that the County of Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTC) does not conduct in-person visits to collect property tax payments and that any attempts to collect in-person payments are fraudulent,” said Knox. “Should you be contacted at your home or hear about this in your neighborhood, do not make payment to the person requesting it and notify local law enforcement immediately. Be sure to provide a detailed description of the individual.”

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said at least one resident in the Rowland Heights area has already been impacted by the scam.

“This scam is sophisticated but do not fall for it,” Hahn said in a statement. “County officials are not going to any homes to collect property tax payments – in fact, the Treasurer Tax Collector Office is not accepting is not accepting any in-person payments at this time.”

The individuals involved in the scam may even have fake identification in addition to the tax bill for the specific homeowner being targeted. These individuals allegedly are claiming that the homeowner must pay their property taxes in-person because the COVID-19 pandemic has closed county offices to the public.

“It’s important to be cautious with anybody making unsolicited offers,” Assessor Prang said. “Appraisers sometimes will visit homes to appraise the property, but our appraisers will never ask for tax payments. This current activity is a scam and it’s important to report it to the authorities immediately.” 

Prang said that people need to be aware of the scam and not engage with anyone seeking an in-person property tax payment.

Residents are being informed that the TTC accepts payments online, by mail or over the telephone.  Details on available property tax payment options can be found at ttc.lacounty.gov.

If approached by a potential scammer, homeowners are being encouraged to get a detailed description of the individual and report it immediately to local law enforcement.

Community Leaders Beef Up Attempts to Block Latest Attempt to Buy Crenshaw Mall

Staff

Local leaders and community activists continue to voice their disapproval of New York developers LIVWRK and DFH Partners impending purchase of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. After stopping the sale of the mall to CIM Group earlier this year, community members are once again attempting to halt the sale to other allegedly Trump-affiliated companies.

“I had hoped the Crenshaw mall would be bought by local investors and that the vision of the people who helped craft the Crenshaw specific plan could also help guide what’s being built in the mall property. That is why I want to make it clear that I am opposed to any purchase of the mall that is not guided by local investors who represent the vision the residents of this community have for the mall property,” said L.A. Council President Herb Wesson. “The community has been adamant about expressing their concerns with potential buyers of the Crenshaw Mall having strong business connections to Donald Trump and Jared Kushner. It is clear that sentiment remains prevalent throughout the community. And I stand with them.”

Those opposed to the sale argue that a large-scale real estate development of this magnitude will lead to longtime resident migration and displacement as a result of gentrification.

Asher Abehsera, the founder of LIVWRK, said he will speak to residents before deciding on a makeover plan, saying, “A project of this scale affords a mix of uses.”

But opponents believe the mall is best left in the hands of those who know the community.

“I believe in the power of the people, and the people of LA built a historic effort to acquire the Crenshaw Mall. Local ownership = local power. This is exactly the type of investment we need for the 2nd District to thrive. @DTCrenshaw, let’s figure out how to make it happen,” State Sen. Holly Mitchell tweeted.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also voiced his support of neighborhood-control of the landmark mall.

“Redevelopment of the @DTCrenshaw Plaza is a game changer. The future of the Plaza is bright given its proximity to the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line. Community advocacy is a must for ownership that shares its values and priorities for this vital area. #40AcresAndAMall,” he tweeted.

Activists are currently asking community members to sign a petition to stop the sale of the mall.

“I’m pleased to support Downtown Crenshaw in its efforts to acquire and redevelop the Crenshaw Mall. It is organized around issues of community ownership and self-determination concerning the future of this significant commercial hub in South Los Angeles,” said retired L.A. City Council member Robert Farrell. “Its development team is unrivaled in experience and expertise and gives it the capacity to direct a project of this magnitude. I encourage and urge your participation in Downtown Crenshaw. We have a competent and capable team, and we don’t need anyone associated with Donald Trump or his son-in-law Jared Kushner coming into our community.”

The Crenshaw Subway Coalition and The Umoja Center will be holding a virtual community meeting on Saturday, Oct. 24 to discuss the most recent details concerning the sale of the mall.

Democrats & Progressives Say While Ending Cash Bail Is the Right Move, Risk Assessments Could Heighten The Risk of Racial Discrimination

Christal Mims, Staff

In what once appeared to be clear cut, the decision to vote “yes” on Proposition 25 and end the cash bail system is now causing controversy amongst Democrats and progressives. While collectively agreeing that cash bail has harmed the Black community and other communities of color since its inception, some fear that the system set to replace it could be even more harmful.

Prop. 25 would make California the first state to end the use of the cash bail system. The system would then be replaced by risk assessments to decide whether a suspect should be granted a pre-trial release. The assessments would categorize the individual as either low risk, medium risk or high risk. 

Depending on the outcome, a suspect would either be released (low/medium risk), remain detained depending on the court’s ruling (medium risk) or remain in jail with the opportunity to argue their release in front of a judge (high risk).

Opponents fear that these risk assessments could heighten the risk of racial discrimination and bias and keep more people behind bars as they await trial.

“I can’t predict what will happen, but I can say that the system they’ve set up is going to allow for expanded incarceration and expanded pretrial supervision including electronic monitoring, all of which is going to lead to more incarceration,” said John Raphling, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles.

Judges will also be given a lot more control. People accused of lower-level felonies would go before a judge who could keep them in jail or put conditions on their release. The judge’s decision would be partially based on the results of a risk assessment tool that is designed to measure a person’s likelihood of re-offending or skipping out on court.

Each county would have the freedom to determine their own risk assessment tool. According to Rahpling, this freedom is too much.

“If you’re low risk, then (under Prop. 25) you’re likely to get out — but the judges can always override any decision of risk assessment,” he said. “In my research, I’ve found that they overwhelmingly override in favor of locking people up … and there’s real questions about the accuracy of those (risk assessments).”

Others think the assessments are worth giving a chance. Santa Barbara Probation Chief Tanja Heitman, whose county has been experimenting with alternatives to cash bail, thinks assessments can actually help reduce racial disparities.

“I think probation officers are just as likely to allow biases unintentionally to creep into their decision making if they don’t have an assessment tool to help guide them, if they don’t have an assessment tool to ground them,” she said.

Underprivileged, primarily Black and brown communities have suffered at the inequality the cash bail system encourages, with rich defendants automatically benefiting from the system. Supporters of the proposition believe the system is inherently racist and needs to end for that simple reason. 

“We need to stand behind our elected officials who have stepped up to end a predatory bail system that literally preys on poor people that are predominately Black and Brown. What we do know is that our county jails are full of poor Black and Brown people. We know that as a fact. It (Prop. 25) ends criminalizing poverty right now,” said Sam Lewis, the Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

Many also argue that while risk assessments may not be perfect, they can at least be reworked and tweaked to better serve the community, while the cash bail system leaves no room for improvement.

Faith Leaders Unite Behind Maxine Waters and Against Her Opponent

Stephen Oduntan, Staff

A group of more than 30 L.A. County faith leaders staged a press conference outside Citizens for Waters campaign headquarters in Hawthorne this week following recent online attacks against Rep. Maxine Waters from her rival Republican Joe Collins who is running to unseat the 15-term incumbent.

The press conference was organized by the Coalition of Los Angeles Interfaith Leaders, who praised Waters’ more than 40 years of public service tackling difficult and often controversial issues.

One by one, they stepped up to the mic and made a case for why voters should support Waters’ campaign and not allow Collins to oust the longtime Democratic lawmaker from her congressional seat in November.

“Maxine Waters has a history of being there for her community. Her opponent is somebody who just popped up off the scene. We know what a wolf looks like in sheep clothes. We can see the handwriting on the wall. We know the narrative this GOP candidate is trying to put out there. So, we just want everyone to know that we the faith leaders are praying for the congresswoman in all her goals and priorities,” said Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles and Southern California.

Pastor William D. Smart Jr. delivered a highly energetic speech.

“We’re here because no voice has been stronger,” said Smart, president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California.

 “No love has been more meaningful. No commitment has been greater. No cause has been more resounding. No articulation has been more significant. No warrior has been more engaging. No responsibility has been more dutiful. No fight has been more relevant. No congressperson [is] more dependable. No person has been more courageous. No voice has been more righteous. No clarion call has constantly answered. The divine imperative is always on Maxine Waters.”

The faith leaders took umbrage with Collins who released a scathing campaign ad attacking Waters for living in a multimillion-dollar mansion while representing a district plagued by crime and poverty.

“Do you know where I am right now? Maxine Waters’ six million-dollar mansion,” Collins says in the video ad. “Do you know where I’m not right now? Maxine Waters’ district. Maxine does not live in her district, but I do,” Collins said.

As of Thursday evening, the campaign ad had received more than 138,100 likes and more than 69,300 retweets.

Collins says he made the decision to leave the Navy so he could run for office, which he could not do while on active duty. The 34-year-old and South Los Angeles native is a huge Trump backer running in District 43—a Democratic stronghold district with a population of about 710,000 individuals. He has outlined some of his priorities for change in the district, including combatting the lack of quality education, gang activity, the sky-high crime rate, and homelessness.

But Pastor Shane B. Scott (senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Watts and the organizer of the event) said Maxine Waters’ record speaks for itself and that the 82-year-old congresswoman has championed the cause of all Americans.

“In case Mr. Collins needs to be reminded, you don’t just serve 15 terms if you’re ineffective. But rather you serve 15 terms because you have been a champion for justice. Champion for justice for all people whether they are Black, White, Asian, Latino, and Native Americans,” Scott said.

Scott also challenged the legitimacy of Collins’ Navy service record. 

“Mr. Collins,” said Scott. “We are well aware that you have been dishonorably discharged from the Navy. We are aware that you have been prohibited from using the word veteran to identify yourself. Hence on the ballot you are identified as a sailor.”

The tall, sharply dressed pastor spoke for about five minutes and offered a catalog of damaging information against Waters opponent, including allegations that he had not paid child support.

As for Collins, he took to Twitter and scoffed at the faith leaders for holding the press conference.

“I love how a few black pastors in LA got together to try and smear my name on behalf of @RepMaxineWaters. Too bad they’re too afraid to approach me like real men. Just like Maxine is too afraid to debate me. They have the real fear of God in them when it comes to Joe Collins,” he wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

To that end, Tulloss told L.A. Focus that Waters’ political opponents are ignorant of the work she has done in the community she serves.

He said, “Maxine Waters is the voice of the voiceless. And of course, anyone held in such high esteem is often demonized. Look at how the president even talks about our congresswoman.

“Repeatedly, President Trump has insulted and besmirched Waters calling her “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”

Tulloss added, “Regardless of what anyone has to say about Maxine Waters, we love and appreciate her.”

Supporters and Opponents of Prop 24 Make Last-Minute Pitches to Voters Before Election

Quinci LeGardye | California Black Media  

Two years after California lawmakers passed the first consumer data privacy act in the country, voters have a chance to expand the law or leave it as it is.  

Proposition 24 on the November ballot would update the California Consumer Privacy Act to add new provisions and create an agency to enforce the laws. 

California’s consumer data privacy laws were established by the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), which requires that large tech companies disclose the kind of data that they collect from people who use their apps and websites. It also allows users, referred to as consumers in the legislation’s language, to opt out of having their data sold to third parties, including advertisers. 

If passed, Prop 24 would give consumers an opt-out option so businesses would not be able to use their sensitive personal information, such as their race, Social Security number or exact location, for advertising or marketing. It also requires businesses to obtain permission before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 16. For children younger than 13, businesses need permission from a parent or guardian to collect data. 

The initiative would also establish the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), which would enforce the consumer privacy laws. This new office would be separate from the California attorney general’s office, which currently handles privacy concerns, and the office would receive at least $10 million in funding annually.  

The initiative would also triple fines for violations concerning customers under age 16. 

Prop 24 was filed by San Francisco real estate developer Alaistair Mactaggart, who was a proponent of the CCPA in 2018. The measure is endorsed by the California NAACP, Consumer Watchdog, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.  

Opponents of Prop 24 include the ACLU of California, Color of Change, League of Women Voters of California and Consumer Federation of California. 

Those in favor of the law argue that consumer privacy laws need to be stronger, especially now that so much of life has been moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sean Dugar, social activist and Yes on Prop 24 supporter, spoke with California Black Media about the need for more data privacy to stop targeted ads and discrimination. 

“You hear the horror stories every day. You hear about women who were at Planned Parenthood clinics being targeted by anti-abortion groups, kids who are logging into their classrooms being targeted by pornographic ads, folks who are on dating apps having their sexual preferences sold to the highest bidder. All that is happening now, in addition to legalized redlining and being able, as a financial institution or as a developer or real estate agent, to opt out of certain communities, especially Black folks, limiting people who see their properties and their services,” said Sean Dugar, social activist and Yes of Prop 24 supporter. 

The Yes on Prop 24 campaign also issued a statement highlighting concerns regarding Black consumers’ data privacy, after recent reports found that the Trump campaign used sensitive personal information to suppress the African American vote in the 2016 presidential election. Prop 24 would stop businesses for compiling racial data. 

“Everything you can imagine is online and available to be sold, or even worse hacked, about you. And so, we need not just strong laws, but an enforcement agency that will be able to ensure that our privacy and our data are protected, and that we as Black folks specifically are no longer targeted and no longer racially profiled online,” said Dugar. 

Opponents of the ballot initiative argue that Prop 24 actually weakens consumer rights by including an Internet “pay for privacy” scheme, where those who don’t pay get inferior service and more pop-up ads. Also, they argue that Prop 24 would force consumers to notify each website and app they use individually to protect their data. 

Opponents also emphasize that the ballot measure was written with input from giant tech corporations, and that the measure’s sponsor rejected input from privacy and consumer rights groups. 

“No one reads the thousands of words of legal fine print that you have to accept before you can use an app or visit a website. The fine print is where you sacrifice your privacy. The same is true of Proposition 24. Its 52 pages are full of privacy reductions and giveaways to Facebook, social media platforms and big tech companies that misuse our personal information,” said Richard Holober, President of the Consumer Federation of California. “Advocacy groups that fight for the rights of Californians have read Prop 24’s fine print and that is why they oppose it.” 


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