Commentary (131)

Debunking the Stereotype of “Free Stuff”

Written by Thursday, October 01, 2015
When GOP candidate Jeb Bush discussed how he'd win over the black electorate, he could not help putting his foot in his mouth. Trying to distinguish his party from Democrats, he alluded to black voters as people who only want a hand out. “Our message is one of hope and aspiration," he said. "It isn't one of division and, 'Get in line, and we'll take care of you with free stuff.’” The stuff he refers to is presumably public assistance, food stamps, etc. Although not as damaging as Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment, the way Bush views African Americans is…

City Budget An Example of Solid Financial Planning

Written by Thursday, September 24, 2015
Four years ago, the City of Inglewood had $11 million in the bank. Now it has around $43 million—nearly 4 times as much! It took a lot of creativity and heart-wrenching decision making to turn things around. But actually improving the City’s finances is not that different from what most families deal with every day. The dynamics are the same, and it got me to thinking what families could do to improve their own financial situations. A significant part of Inglewood’s budget deficit was caused by unfunded liabilities, particularly retiree lifetime medical benefits. These benefits were extended to all Inglewood…

Hispanic Heritage Month Offers Learning Moments

Written by Thursday, September 17, 2015
During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) we recognize and celebrate the important contributions and presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12. The terms Hispanic or Latino incorporates everyone of Spanish culture or origin, regardless of nationality. This includes, but…

Remembering Cynthia

Written by Thursday, September 10, 2015
My heart has skipped a couple of beats since I got the news moments ago that Cynthia Manker, former Associate Editor of Inglewood Today, has passed. While I am still trying to wrap my head around what has happened, I am certain she is in a better place. Cynthia was forced to quit working in 2011 when she had a stroke. She never made a full recovery, although she continued to receive treatment and rehabilitation. Prior to this, she was plagued by other health challenges. But regardless, there are not many people I have met with more energy. Even when…

Strategic Laziness is a Good Thing

Written by Thursday, September 03, 2015
Labor Day Weekend is upon us—another opportunity to lay in the shade, kick back and enjoy barbecue. After all, that is what holidays are for, right? For many of us this, Labor Day is the “last hoorah,” the transition day that signals the end of summer and beginning of back to school or work. There is a mental attachment to this holiday which carries the message that fun time is over. It’s time to sharpen our pencils and settle down. Summer is such fun, and it’s sad to see it go. But it got me thinking of ways to extend…

The Heart of a Servant

Written by Thursday, August 27, 2015
On August 23, I attended the annual Gardena Jazz Festival. Former Assemblymember Steven Bradford (whose district included Inglewood) has been organizing the event for years, bringing top jazz entertainers to the South Bay. As usual, the music was phenomenal. However, what made this festival even extra special was the addition of youth volunteers assigned to welcome and seat the guests. There were young high school students catering to people. They were so nice, professional and respectful that I just have to acknowledge them. In this age where young people are doing many negative things to get attention, it’s so nice…

Junk Food Advertising Paves Road to Obesity

Written by Thursday, August 20, 2015
The road to obesity is paved with junk food advertising. If getting your kids to eat healthier seems like an uphill battle, the culprit may be your television. Recent findings revealed at this week’s annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media indicate black and Latino youth are being disproportionately targeted with junk food ads. The report, released by the Uconn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity (, found: · Food companies were significantly more likely to direct their youth-targeted ads to African American and Latino audiences than to the general population: 71% of youth-targeted brands focused on…

Oral History Project Gives Voice to More People

Written by Thursday, August 13, 2015
One of the best aspects of family reunions is bringing together older generations with newer ones. As grandparents learn about the latest pop culture icons, and Millennials discover more about their roots, a bond is formed between the generations. Recently I discovered an oral history project that has recorded interviews with over 100,000 people in the last 12 years. StoryCorps is making history come alive through recordings in unique ways. One story that caught my eye was an animated short movie by a black woman who was on the forefront of voting rights. She told the story of what she…

Three Cheers for Volunteers

Written by Thursday, August 06, 2015
On Tuesday night, one of the hardest working women around was honored with a commendation from the City of Inglewood. Long time resident Ethel Austin was acknowledged by Mayor James Butts and council members for volunteer work with the Special Olympics. Ethel assisted members of Team Jamaica, making sure everyone had what they needed. It was a well deserved honor that I know she will never forget. This is not the first Ethel has given her time to others in our community. And I know it won’t be her last. She belongs to a special group of individuals who have…

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Written by Thursday, July 30, 2015
Can you look at someone and tell if they are suicidal? That question, asked by writer Kirsten West Savali, caused me to pause. The answer is obviously no, but how often do we judge a person’s mental state or motive based on nothing more than physical appearance. Savali’s article focuses on the tragic death of young black woman, Sandra Bland, who mysteriously died in her jail cell after being arrested during a traffic stop. According to police, no one left or entered Bland’s room. Authorities say she hanged herself. But those who knew Bland say she would never do…
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