California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed
Antonio Ray Harvey, Tanu Henry and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media
State Supt. Of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond Declares Candidacy for Governor of California
On Sept. 26, California Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond released a video announcing that he is running for governor in 2026.
In the video, Thurmond, 55, said his candidacy is “about people.”
“California has had a lot of governors,” Thurmond states in the introduction of his announcement. “My story is nothing like theirs.”
“I didn’t come from money, power or influence,” he continued. “Mom emigrated from Panama and became a classroom teacher, but died when I was six years old. My dad served the nation but left us after the Vietnam war.”
Raised by his mother’s cousin, Thurmond, who represented Richmond in the State Legislature from 2014 to 2018, shared the many lessons he learned from his childhood — about the value of hard work, pushing through adverse circumstances and focusing on success.
Also in the race for governor are Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounilakis and former California state Controller Betty Yee.
Secretary of State Weber, Atty. Gen. Bonta Warn Huntington Beach: Voting Proposal Would Violate State Law
On Oct. 5, 2023, the Huntington Beach City Council will decide whether it will approve a plan to put a proposal before voters in March 2024 asking them whether the city should require voter identification during the city municipal polls.
However, on Sept. 28, Attorney General Bonta and Secretary of State Weber wrote a letter to Huntington Beach warning the city’s leaders that the proposal is in violation of California Elections Code section 18543.
“The right to freely cast your vote is the foundation of our democracy,” said Bonta.
“State elections law are in place to ensure the fundamental right to vote without imposing unnecessary obstacles that can reduce voter participation or disproportionately burden low-income voters, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, or people with disabilities,” the Attorney General continued. “If the city moves forward and places it on the ballot, we stand ready to take appropriate action to ensure that voters’ rights are protected.”
Weber said California “cannot turn back the clock on voting rights.”
“Voter ID requirements at the polls have historically been used to turn eligible voters away from exercising the franchise, especially low-income voters and voters of color,” said Weber. “Not only is the action unlawful, it is also unnecessary because California already has guardrails in place for establishing both eligibility of each voter and for confirming their identity when returning their ballot.”
The letter points out that voter eligibility functions are the duty of the Secretary of State and the County Registrar.
WGA Strike: Hollywood Writers Return to Work After Reaching Deal with Studios
The Writers Guild of America West (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA unions have reached a tentative agreement to end a historic and highly publicized strike that shut Hollywood down and lasted nearly five months.
“I am grateful that the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a fair agreement and I’m hopeful that the same can happen soon with the Screen Actors Guild,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “Now, we must focus on getting the entertainment industry, and all the small businesses that depend on it, back on their feet and stronger than ever before.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – the organization that represents the studios – approved a potential new deal on Sept. 24 that allows 11,500 writers to return to work beginning Sept. 27 while the ratification process takes place. The new agreement will run until 2026.
The unions were protesting for higher wages and protections from studios using artificial intelligence in the creative process.
In the end, negotiations included streaming compensations and set a minimum number for writing staffs. Staff writers reportedly received a 5% increase in weekly pay, while story editors and executive editors saw a 3.5 to 4% increase in their compensation.
“What we have won in this contract – most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd – is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days,” the WGA stated in and email to members.
Annual Celebration of Allensworth, Historic Tulare County Black Township, Is Oct. 14
On Oct. 14, visitors will make the annual trek to Allensworth, a historic township in Tulare County founded by Blacks, to celebrate a little-known piece of California history, and the spirit of self-reliance and determination that marked its establishment.
In 1974, the California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the land where Allensworth was located and created a state park called Allensworth State Historic Park.
“Allensworth holds a unique place in our state’s history,” writes a press release about the event. “The annual Rededication event is a time to reflect on this legacy, celebrate the accomplishments of its founders, and inspire future generations to recognize and cherish this rich history.”
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the rededication, Amtrak San Joaquins is offering fares at 50% off for visitors traveling to Allensworth. There will also be a shuttle at the station to take guests to the park. Get train schedule and tickets here.
Unions Come Out Strong in Support of Asm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Michelle Chambers
Last week, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) and former Compton city councilmember Michelle Chambers received key endorsements from powerful California unions in their respective candidacies for elected office.
Teamsters Joint Council 42, which represents 250,000 members in 23 local branches across Southern California, Southern Nevada, Guam, Saipan and Hawaii, endorsed Jones-Sawyer his run for L.A. City Council.
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO is supporting Chambers, who is a former AFSCME member and the former external affairs manager for California Attorney General Rob Bonta. Chambers is running to represent Senate District 35, currently being represented by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), who terms out next year.
Jones-Sawyer, who is termed out from his Assembly seat, has received the support of more than 20 unions and professional organizations in his bid to represent Council District 10 in California’s largest city.
“Teamsters Joint Council 42 is proud to support Reggie Jones-Sawyer for Los Angeles City Council because as a state lawmaker, he has been a champion on behalf of our members and all of California’s working families,” said Teamsters 42 President Hector Delgado in a statement.
“Throughout his decades-long career in public service, Reggie has fought tirelessly for better conditions, wages, and benefits for working families time and time again, while demonstrating a profound commitment to social and economic justice,” Delgado continued.
Yvonne Wheeler of the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO said she looks forward to partnering with Chambers when she is a lawmaker in Sacramento.
“On behalf of over three hundred affiliated union and labor organizations representing more than 800,000 members, I am excited to announce that the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has endorsed Michelle Chambers for State Senate, said Wheeler. Michelle proved her support for workers as an elected official, and as a former union member she understands the issues facing California.”