Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Timely News Gatherings from the Desk of Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP –
Top Story

New district maps would reshape the Valley
By Dakota Smith, Staff Writer
The San Fernando Valley’s political landscape was shaken Friday as elected officials scrambled to stake early claims within newly proposed congressional and state legislative boundaries, and analysts forecast pitched election battles in 2012. The much-anticipated release of a draft of what could become the state’s new political districts map was bad news for some incumbents, but others saw opportunity for a political land grab. Within hours of the release, City Councilman Tony Cardenas – who was just elected in March to a third term – announced his intention to run for a new congressional seat in the northern San Fernando Valley, that would give him a majority Latino vote. Los Angeles Daily News


Why a White Woman and a Black Man Will Lead the USA’s Top Paper
By Paul Delaney
When I heard the historic announcement from Times Square the other day, that America’s top newspaper had named a woman as executive editor, my thoughts drifted back to the 1972-1981 decade at the paper, and the words of Dickens — almost cliché nowadays — seemed apt: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The New York Times, where I spent most of my career, appointed Jill Abramson to lead the newsroom. Her No. 2 will be Dean Baquet, named managing editor. It will be the first time the two top positions at the 160-year-old newspaper have been filled by a woman and a black man. That is a groundbreaking team. The monumental change deserves more attention than the relatively subdued reaction it received. The Root



Family members of slain man weren’t allowed to protest ex-BART officer’s release, relative says
By Nsenga Burton
A former transit officer convicted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man at an Oakland train station was released from jail early Monday without relatives being allowed to lodge a protest, an uncle of the slain man said. “They snuck him out,” Cephus Johnson, 53, a systems engineer, said during a demonstration outside U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Johannes Mehserle, 29, was released after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant III on New Year’s Day 2009.  Los Angeles Times

Group seeks initiative to reform Three Strikes Law
By Tracey Kaplan
A coalition led by a group of Stanford University lawyers intends to put an initiative on the November 2012 ballot to reform California’s Three Strikes Law, the harshest such sentencing law in the nation. The group has secured at least one major financial backer, David W. Mills, a former investment banker and Stanford Law School professor. It also hired San Francisco political consultant Averell “Ace” Smith to lead what is expected to be a fiery campaign.  The Mercury News

TV’s Montel Williams comes to Sacramento to open marijuana dispensary
By Miles Bennett-Smith
Montel Williams has been the face of many things – host of a nationally syndicated television talk show and pitchman for prescription drug assistance products and a fruit-and-vegetable emulsifier. On Monday, Williams appeared in Sacramento to announce a partnership with a new enterprise, a medical marijuana dispensary. In a news conference at the newly renovated offices of the former Capital Wellness Center, Williams spoke about his own battle with multiple sclerosis and why he turned to marijuana to alleviate near-constant neurological pain.   Sacramento Bee

Gay judge wasn’t required to remove himself from same-sex marriage case, U.S. judge rules
By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from San Francisco — A federal judge’s refusal Tuesday to invalidate last year’s ruling against Proposition 8 established for the first time that gay judges may decide gay rights cases without having to defend their impartiality. U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware ruled that retired Judge Vaughn R. Walker, 67, who is openly gay, was not required to remove himself from the same-sex marriage case because he has a long-term partner. “It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings,” Ware wrote.  Los Angeles Times

Why Prop 8 must fall: Civil rights
By Julian Bond
This Sunday we celebrate the 44th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that struck down anti-miscegenation laws that forbade African Americans and whites from marrying. In the Loving case, a unanimous court held that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights of man…fundamental to our very existence and survival.” The court also held that “under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”  USA Today



Sharpton: “Black Digital Media Has A Chance To Make History”
By NewsOne Staff
The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke Tuesday about the importance of Black digital media at the headquarters of the largest digital media company super-targeted to the African-American audience according to Comscore, InteractiveOne. Sharpton’s appearance focused on his belief that not only is Black digital media important to the re-election of President Obama, but to the African American community at a time when many traditional media sources like radio and newspapers are not being consumed as they once were.  NEWSONE

States in play: 5 Obama states that the GOP could win back
By Josh Kraushaar, National Journal
President Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008, but with a struggling economy, his campaign is focused on defending the gains he made. National journal interviewed 10 veteran Democratic and Republican strategists to get their sense of which states will be toughest for Obama to hang onto. Based on their feedback, here’s the list of the five states that supported Obama in 2008 that are most likely to vote Republican:  Yahoo! News

Despite black parent anger in New York City, NAACP is right
By DeWayne Wickham
The NAACP is being attacked by parents of New York City schoolchildren who are angered by the civil rights group’s support for a lawsuit that seeks to keep 20 charter schools out of buildings that already are occupied by traditional public schools. The suit also attempts to block the closing of some of the city’s underperforming public schools, the kind of schools that make many parents clamor for a way out. In the 20 years since Minnesota enacted the first law allowing charter schools, this hybrid approach to public education has become an increasingly popular escape hatch, especially for black students.  USA Today

Stevie Wonder Inducted Into Apollo Hall of Fame
By Nsenga Burton
EURweb is reporting that music legend Stevie Wonder has been inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. He was honored through the famous theater’s spring gala. Though Wonder was the main attraction, the audience was also wowed as he collaborated with a cast of friends and admirers including Tony Bennett, Chick Corea, Paul Shaffer and Doug E. Fresh, reports the AP. “It’s a moment to cherish and remember, relishing in the memories of the times that I’ve been at the Apollo, as well as this night, the great people that came out to support me being here,” Wonder said in an interview.  The Root

Gates sees no bar to lifting gay ban
By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that he sees no roadblocks to ending the ban on openly gay military service, and if the top officers of each service recommend moving ahead on the repeal before the end of the month, he will endorse it. A little over two weeks before ending his 4 1/2 year tenure as Pentagon chief, Gates sat down in his office for an Associated Press interview that touched on a range of issues, including his expectation of a smooth handoff to his designated successor, current CIA Director Leon Panetta. Gates will retire June 30.   Yahoo! News



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