April 03, 2014
LAWT News Service
“Fundraising is important, but in the end I will win this race based on my reputation, track record, and the rapport with parents, teachers, students, and the community,” said Dr. George McKenna, who is said to be the front runner in the race for LAUSD’s District 1 seat, to replace the late Marguerite Lamotte.
Recently, the City Ethics Commission released the first round of public disclosure statements detailing contributions and expenditures for each candidate running in the District 1 special election. The financial disclosures showed McKenna raising $57,825.98.
“I am pleased with the amount of contributions that I’ve received so far,” he said. “Since declaring my candidacy, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reuniting and meeting with teachers, parents, and former students that I’ve been involved with throughout my career. The response has been overwhelming with many of them excited about reaching out to their network of colleagues, friends, and family to discuss their support of me for the school board.”
McKenna’s experience places him head and shoulders above his competition, said his campaign supporters.
“Because of his track record within LAUSD and his reputation among students, teachers, and parents, he is confident he will raise the funds necessary to win a competitive campaign,” they said.
“None of the other candidates can match my experience,” McKenna added.
“I don’t need to spend $113,000 to get people to know my name. People already know my name and my experience is unmatched. I’m raising money to let people know I’m in the race. Once they know I’m in the race, the community will vote for me.”
LAUSD Board District 1 spans from Windsor Hills to the southwest, Cheviot Hills to the northwest, Hancock Park to the north, University Park to the northeast and parts of Gardena to the southeast. The special election will be held during the June 3 state primary ballot, with a runoff if no candidate reaches fifty percent plus one vote scheduled for August 12.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.electmckenna.com and follow @ElectMcKenna on Twitter and on Facebook at facebook.com/ElectMcKenna. Trending on Twitter at #ElectMcKenna.
March 27, 2014
By Jazelle Hunt
NNPA Washington Correspondent
The gaping underrepresentation of women of color on the political stage deeply undermines the American ideal of democratic representation.
That’s a conclusion reached by the Center for American Progress and detailed in an article titled, “Why We Need a Political Leadership Pipeline for Women of Color.”
The article, part of the Center’s Women in Leadership project, was unveiled during a panel event featuring prominent women of color scholars, organizers, and professionals.
“The relative lack of women of color serving in elected office raises grave concerns regarding democratic legitimacy and the fundamental issues of political representation,” the article states. “Lack of representation, of course, can mean a lack of attention to and advocacy for issues important to communities of color. And … translates into a major missed opportunity for the empowerment of underserved communities.”
Today, there are 14 African American women in Congress, less than 3 percent of that body. There is only one woman of color in the Senate, an Asian American. And both delegates to Congress – elected representatives who do not have the right to vote except in committees – are Black women.
The picture is the same at the state level. Black women hold about 3 percent of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats, across 40 states. Among the 100 largest cities, Baltimore is the only one currently led by a Black woman mayor.
“What I’ve experienced over these years is that if it’s something that’s beyond Black, then it isn’t necessarily obviously seen that a Black woman could be the lead of it,” said panelist Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Roundtable. “Because it’s a multi-racial or multi-ethnic, so therefore – ‘No, we’ll get to your issue later.’ There’s the reality that, in a broad women’s movement, for Black women and [other] women of color, are we all equal in that opportunity for leadership?”
According to the article, lack of representation in politics results in a lack of attention to issues that affect women and people of color more. Moreover, males and females behave differently in politics.
A 2009 report from now defunct The White House Project notes that on average, women in Congress introduce more bills, attract more co-sponsors, and bring home more money for their districts than their male counterparts.
Even in high-stress professions, women can more than hold their own.
For example, Val Demings, the keynote speaker at the Women in Leadership panel, is the first woman to serve as police chief of Orlando, Florida. In her four-year term, violent crime dropped 40 percent.
A 2006 study in the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy found that Latina representatives in four southwestern states were more likely than their male counterparts to prioritize the needs of African Americans and Asians, as well as women and families.
But women need to be represented in more than token numbers, Demings said.
“I can only speak as a Black woman…but if you don’t see a whole lot of folks who look like you doing what you’re thinking about doing, it’s tough to believe that you can do it,” she said in her keynote address.
After she retired as police chief, the mayor urged her to consider running for Congress.
“I was meeting with a member of Congress and he said to me that women have to be asked about seven times to run for public office before they’ll even consider it,” Demings recalls. “I was floored. I felt like I was a pretty assertive, bold, going-into-places-where-others-would-dare-not-go type of person – but I was on my seventh ask.”
Demings ran for a House seat in 2012 on the Democratic ticket. She lost the race to the incumbent candidate by 3.5 percentage points, in a district that was 69 percent white. Currently, Demings is running for mayor of Orange County, Florida.
In a 2012 study, American University researchers found that women are both less likely than men to have anyone suggest they run for office, and twice as likely as men to consider themselves “not at all qualified” for the job. Consequently, fewer women – especially women of color – decide to run for office.
“The barriers holding back women of color are undoubtedly much the same as those shown to limit the political ambitions of all women in general: lack of financial resources, weaker social networks, lack of familiarity with the political process, a greater level of responsibility for children and household tasks, and a greater tendency to be more risk-averse than potential male candidates,” the article explains. “The lack of economic support is perhaps one of the greatest barriers for women of color, as they are often the primary or sole caregivers of their children and their elders, earn less, and have considerably less wealth than men of color and white men and women.”
But there is some encouraging news.
According to the Center for American Progress, women of color are increasingly showing up to the polls; African American women voter turnout rose from nearly 60 percent to nearly 70 percent between 2004 and 2008 (Latinas and Asian American women made 20, and 17 percent gains, respectively, in the same time period). This is higher than the 2008 national voting average of 58.2 percent.
If all eligible women of color voted, that would mean more than 41.8 million votes – or, the equivalent of 62.5 percent of President Barack Obama’s 2008 votes, and 71.7 percent of John McCain’s.
“As I worked through voting rights issues, and working in civic engagement…[I was] focusing on what to do to really deal with the power of the sistah vote,” said Campbell. “I say that as an affirmation, because we have not met that yet. We have the numbers, we turn out, people say we’re the most progressive vote, but we have yet to benefit from that power.”
March 27, 2014
City News Service
The city will offer twice as many jobs to young people this summer, with a total of 10,000 openings, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this week. The Walt Disney Co. donated $1 million to fund the Hire L.A.’s Youth program, which makes jobs available to people aged 14-24, Garcetti said.
“I can’t think of a better partner for our youth than Disney,” the mayor said. “I also want to thank Citibank and the Citi Foundation for their generous commitment and thank our other incredible partners.”
Garcetti made the announcement at the Yo! Watts-College Center, where he was joined by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, county Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilman Joe Buscaino and Disney and Citibank executives. Garcetti said the expansion fulfills a goal he set when he first assumed office.
“Too often, young people can fall behind during the summer when school is out,” he said. “But our summer jobs program makes sure summer is a time for young people to get ahead by earning a paycheck, job skills and financial education.”
Teen employment dropped 15 percent drop between 2000 and 2012, according to a report released last week by the Brookings Institute.
“That is unacceptable and we are going to change that,” Garcetti said.
March 27, 2014
By Didi Tang
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama spoke to rural Chinese students via web conferencing Tuesday March 25, at her last stop of the six-day China tour focusing on education and cultural exchange.
She was visiting Chengdu No. 7 High School in the southwestern province of Sichuan, an elite school known for its use of distance learning technology to bring quality education to impoverished remote regions in the mountainous province.
Mrs. Obama has largely avoided thorny, political issues on her China trip, although she made a statement that free expressions, choice of religion and unfettered access to information are “universal rights” in a speech at the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing on Saturday.
China has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on Internet discourse. Mrs. Obama’s remarks did not call out China directly and have not drawn any governmental protest. But that part of her speech has been kept out of all official Chinese media reports.
While in Beijing, she also visited an elite high school, where more than 30 American students are studying as exchange students, and she held a private discussion with a handful of Chinese professors, students and parents.
Mrs. Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday March 21, before Xi flew to The Hague for a nuclear security summit and held a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday.
Accompanied by her mother Marian Robinson and daughters Malia and Sasha, Mrs. Obama has toured the former Imperial Palace, the Great Wall in Beijing, and the Terra Cotta Museum in the ancient city of Xi’an.