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Gov. Newsom: “This is not Flint, Michigan. This is the state of California”

CBM photos by Antonio R. Harvey

Daniel Simpson walks past the water storage facility on the property of Monterey Park Tract. Water is transported six miles from the City of Ceres.

By Antonio R. Harvey | California Black Media

Gov. Gavin Newsom is off to an ambitious start as Governor of the fifth largest economy in the world. His first budget proposal set a record $209 billion towards addressing the needs of Californians.

Last month, at the Dr. Martin Luther King celebration breakfast, hosted by the California Legislative Black Caucus in Sacramento, Newsom mentioned visiting Monterey Park Tract located in the Central Valley a few days before the breakfast with members of his administration.

Like Flint, Michigan, Monterey Park Tract residents have a water problem that has existed for decades.

Monterey Park Tract is an unincorporated community in East Stanislaus County, with about 133 residents six miles southwest of Ceres. It's in a remote area surrounded by dairies and acres of land. 

This community was an area that was predominantly inhabited by African Americans. Today many of the black residents still own portions of the community but second and third generations have migrated to other areas.

Daniel Simpson first moved to the area from Richmond, California with his family in the 1950s. He was in attendance when Newsom made his visit days after being sworn into office. He is concerned about the water and the future of Monterey Park Tract.

Simpson, an African American male who moved back to the Tract after his mother passed away, said he spends "about $20 to $30" each month on bottled water.

"I don't know what the future of Monterey Park Tract will be," Simpson said. "There's nothing but love out here. We all live here together. However, I do hope the Governor can help us and other communities in the state that are having the same water problems."

Monterey Park Tract was once populated with black people who migrated to the area in the early 1940s. Those numbers have dwindled over the decades. Only 12.8 percent of the residents are black, according to the 2010 United States Census records.

California cities and communities of color across the state have historically had water access and quality issues. From rural places like the town of Allensworth, now a historic state park located 30 miles outside of Bakersfield to cities like Compton located in Los Angeles County.

In a news story reported by Our Weekly newspaper, Sativa Water District based in Compton made headlines last year when the water district was taken over by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for failing to provide clean drinking water, misappropriating taxpayer dollars, and causing a financial burden on its low-income residents.

Gov. Newsom said, “the Monterey Park Tract situation is an example of why California must get serious about its issues and lock into a commitment to different levels of engagement to solve the problems.”

Monterey Park Tract's water is not safe for drinking, despite a seven-mile pipeline from Ceres, the residents are still worried about arsenic, manganese, and nitrates that have polluted their habitat.

"Literally, dozens of residents can't bathe in water that they are paying for that cost one-and-a-half times more than water cost for customers in Beverly Hills," Gov. Newsom said. "That is a fact in our state. They can't even bathe because they get rashes. This is not Flint Michigan. This is the state of California."

Dale R. Hunter, a founder of the Hunter Group and an expert on water issues for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said "Newsom's visit to Monterey Park Tract was unique. It looks like he's trying to get out in front of it," Hunter told CBM. "Where you live in California dictates what the type of quality of water you are serviced." 

Hunter explained California's water fight dates back to the 1800s during the Gold Rush. As many people migrated to this state and the population continued to grow, a result of this massive growth placed a strain on the government to distribute the water supply by need.  

According to Hunter, there are resources collectively available to deal with some of California's water challenges but acknowledged the lengthy permitting time it takes to get projects completed and smaller districts limited capacity to apply for grants.

"There is about $25 billion in local infrastructure projects that are on the books today," said Hunter. "From San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Central Valley, and the Bay Area."

Newsom addressed some of these issues in his proposed budget released in January for safe and affordable water to help impoverished communities such as Monterey Park Tract. Over $168 million would fund technical assistance, emergency water supply, and safe drinking water projects across the state.

As for Simpson, he recounted great childhood memories growing in this community and how many grandkids spent their summers with grandma hunting, fishing, and playing in the alfalfa fields.

“I was happy to see him come because there are a couple of little ladies dancing in heaven,” said Simpson. “To see the fact that the Governor took the time and really be interested in what is going on.”

 Look for Part II of California Black Media's series on water issues and how they affect the Black community of California.

What Do Measures H and HHH Mean for Homelessness, Skid Row andBlack Community? 

By General Jeff

Skid Row Community Activist

SKID ROW- Last November, voters passed Measure HHH (also known as Triple H), which will generate $1.2 billion dollars solely for housing for homeless individuals and families. In March of this year, voters also passed Measure H (also known as Single H), which is proposed to generate more than  $350 million annually over 10 years (to put it bluntly that’s a little less than $4 billion dollars) solely for services for homeless individuals and families and also for those who suffer from mental illness. To be clear, that’s over $3 billion dollars of NEW funding to help address extremely old issues. This is in addition to the already generated taxpayer funding (in the billions of dollars) that are allocated annually to address the very same issues which include homelessness and mental illness. (For example, the LA County Department of Mental Health has an annual budget of $3 billion dollars). So the question in our community then becomes  “How will all of this money help those in need that it’s supposed to be for?”

As someone who was born and raised in South Central LA, graduated from Crenshaw High School and now chooses to live in Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, I have seen the destruction of lives, the destruction of families, the destruction of communities and know from a firsthand experience the overall devastation caused to poor Black and minority communities suffering from extreme poverty.

In order to properly analyze these issues, we must first put them in proper context; The on-going existence of “industries” that continuously benefit from significant financial gains at the demise of minorities, is prevalent and the primary bottom layer in the foundation of systemic oppression of Blacks and minorities, at the hands of White America. These “industries” include-the education-based oppressive system, the prison industrial complex and the homeless industrial complex. While there are many other systems, such as racism, classism and more, we will only focus on the aforementioned oppressive systems in order to confirm with those who already know or suspect this information, while also bringing those who have been unaware before now up-to-speed, so that we all can begin to communicate with one another on the same spiritual wavelength and with as much real-time information as possible. Let’s begin by understanding that there is a widespread and blatant oppressive infrastructure firmly built into the education-based oppressive system. What’s commonly called the “dumbing down of the masses” begins in the schools. The formulas created to drive the overall school curriculum were created by White America. The formulas pre-determine how many from each community will be exposed to the necessary learning experience which ensures better preparation for a more positive future. It’s commonly known that poor communities have the worse education systems, and have for generations. If minorities don’t connect with (and/or conform to) the school curriculum put before them, percentages say they will lose focus and disengage, thus one of the reasons high-school dropout rates continue to rise. Even middle school dropout rates are also rising.

But without a high-school diploma or a GED, how can our children get a job?

That’s when many turn to a life of crime to try to survive.

That, then, becomes their introduction to the prison industrial complex because it’s only a matter of time before they get caught for a crime and end up in jail. If this criminal road is continued upon, it’s only a matter of time before the jail sentences are “upgraded” to prison.

This is the moment when the intertwining of oppressive systems happens- when the education-based oppressive system “grooms” future clients for the prison industrial complex.

This is the very reason why only a few oppressive     


systems were chosen for this discussion, because we all must be able to clearly see how it is designed and how it intertwines, before we can learn how to properly disrupt and forever end these negative types of oppressive systems which continuously keep Black and minority communities spiritually off balance and in a constant state of confusion.

To further reveal (and/or confirm) how the intertwining extends into Skid Row, if a person is found guilty of committing a crime and receives a sentence of 12 months or less, that time is spent in the county jail. If a person receives more than 12 months, they go to prison (to accommodate their longer stay). Unless an inmate has a family structure or is connected in some way to someone who will provide a home upon their release, the inmate will instantly be homeless once they are released from prison.

This is where the intertwining of the prison industrial complex and the homeless industrial complex happens.

Any just-released prison inmate has 72-hours to report to their parole officer with an address. If a person has been in prison for over a year, how are they supposed to be able to provide an address to their P.O. that quickly?   That’s where non-profit homeless organizations are guaranteed to prosper. They get government funding to house parolees which firmly connect them to both the prison system and the Federal Government. So we can now see how these oppressive systems simply pass people off to another oppressive system which then ensures that each system- and we’re talking about jobs, paychecks and funding- exchanges economic benefits amongst those on the side of the oppressors.

And on the opposite side are those of us who continue to suffer as White America’s network continues it’s stranglehold on our lives, families and communities. How is it possible to end this negatively systemic and oppressive cycle?

THEY wont end it, because they benefit from it. So we MUST learn that while it’s negative for us, at the very same time it’s positive for them.

And when we look at Measures HHH and H and wonder if they’ll truly help, all we have to do is look to see if any systemic oppressive systems are involved and recognize the machine-like operation in which they benefit themselves mightily while only benefiting us as it justifies their reasoning for continuing their systems. So while jobs and economic opportunities continue to benefit one side of America, it is automatic that the other side of America will continue to remain struggling to survive in inhumane conditions. Not only do they benefit before any of us, they also benefit at the same time we demise.

That said, 5 billion dollars will now slowly go down the drain and disappear right before our very eyes.

White America will buy land, build low-income residential units, house poor people and provide services, while all along making sure that only a few make it completely out because their oppressive systems need to continue providing jobs and financial benefits for them, their families and their allies- and some of them are Blacks and minorities from our communities.  To play along and “feed your family” is to sellout your entire race and community. You and your family “eat” while we die in the streets……And you’re okay with that?






LA County Treasurer and Tax Collector Failure to Distribute Public Notices to the Black Press Sends

More Than $400,000 of LA County Jail Released Inmates’ Monies to the General Fund Yearly 

By Gloria Zuurveen


LOS ANGELES—Years ago when I started Pace News the main goal at the time was to be a vehicle to call attention to the flagrant abuse of our children by a white teacher who thought it nothing to call African American middle school youth “wanna be hoochie mamas and gangbangers” even though they were smart and intelligent young people who had hopes and dreams to excel beyond the imagination. It was through the power of the pen that the teacher, after having been exposed, voluntarily resigned after an article was published about her repugnant and repulsive behavior toward our children.

Today, here we are more than 20 years later and we are still fighting and calling attention to flagrant abuse and disrespect when it comes to public notices in Pace News, a legal adjudicated newspaper of general circulation (NGC). California Government Code sections 6000 and 6008 are the two statutes that allow a publication to become adjudicated as a newspaper of general circulation (NGC) in California. This entitles the newspaper to publish legal advertising in its particular jurisdiction of adjudication.

 Pace News is certified as such in both the city and the county. Yet, Pace News, an     African American woman-owned newspaper since 1995 specifically and the Black Press generally, has been consistently and        willfully left out when it comes to public notices. Millions of dollars, if not billions, are consistently being passed over when it comes to the Black community because they do not know about projects and programs that are happening right under their noses on a day to day basis.

The public has a right to know about many of these projects and programs, especially since most of them are funded with public tax dollars, However,  the public that Pace News and t he Black Press serves is consistently left out due to the practice and tradition of the city and county to continue to use the same white-owned newspapers of general circulation, one of them being the Daily Journal, a newspaper that is owned by Charlie Munger, Chairman of Daily Journal Corporation, a billionaire and who is the best friend of Warren Buffet to run public notices. The Los Angeles Daily Journal is a newspaper geared toward lawyers and an annual subscription rate $820.00 for one year. Pace News is free to the public with subscription $26.00 annually. I feel compelled to speak out on this issue of public notices after I received an email recently from one of my sources who operates a group home for young women getting out of prison or jail and they are given room and board as well as help in navigating the system so they can become  healthy and whole citizens again after having been  incarcerated. The email was from the Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector  informing my source about monies that if not claimed in 45 days it will go to the general fund.

The email said, “Consistent with a recent audit finding and to help ensure potential owners are notified of property currently in the County’s possession that may be theirs, as well as provided an opportunity to claim/reclaim this property this notification is being sent to advise your offices (my source’s offices) that the Treasurer and Tax Collector will publish in the Daily Journal, once a week for two successive weeks, the names, dollar amounts, and dates for approximately 8,800 Sheriff’s Department items totaling approximately $420,000. These items are monies left behind by inmates released from custody at Los Angeles County jail facilities, as well as monies no longer needed to be held intact as evidence by the Sheriff's Department. The TTC will transfer to the General Fund monies remaining unclaimed after 45 days from the first publication, as provided for in Government Code 50051. of a warning and a call for released inmates to claim unclaimed properties.”

Government Code 50051 says except as otherwise provided by law, money, excluding restitution to victims, that is not the property of a local agency that remains unclaimed in its treasury or in the official custody of its officers for three years is the property of the local agency after notice if not claimed or if no verified complaint is filed and served.  At any time after the expiration of the three-year period, the treasurer of the local agency may cause a notice to be published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in the local agency.   Now if the Daily Journal is only distributed by subscription to lawyers for $820.00 annually and it is generally not distributed in the zip codes where Pace News is widely distributed weekly and according to the   Inmate Population Graph for 2015 from the Custody Division Year End Review brought to you by Los Angeles Sheriff Department Jim McDonald, 304,288 arrest resulted in 112,538 bookings in the jail system which is comprised primarily of men (87 percent)  and men aged 18-34 is (57 percent)  and the racial demographic of the jail population was 49 percent Hispanic and 30 percent African Americans with 17 percent white. Fifty three percent are pretrial inmates with the average daily inmate population (ADIP) total 17, 900. Even with  statistics like these, it is a sad commentary that released inmates or their family members will leave over $400,000 to go to the general fund all because the public does not know and  the public has a right to know about their monies being given to the general fund. But using the Daily Journal appears to be intentional because if the inmates don’t know to claim their monies, it seems unlikely that they will read a copy of the Daily Journal newspaper to find out about their possessions. Those monies could very well be a life preserver for many released inmates if they only knew they were available. Many released inmates end up in the streets on Skid Row when that money is there and has been there for over three years and instead of using a newspaper of general circulation, like Pace News or other Black newspapers of general circulation that serves the population which is most affected by incarceration, the Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector continues to, as it has been their habit and tradition, for the past 50 years, to use the Daily Journal. It is time to stay woke and watch what is happening to the public dollars and to call attention to, not just released inmates monies that if not claimed  in 45 days, which in all probability will not be claimed based on where the Daily Journal is distributed or should I say not distributed, giving the released inmates equal opportunity to claim what is rightfully theirs yet due to what  is tantamount to discrimination when it comes to public notices, the released inmates monies will be placed in the general fund.  


A Tragic Mother’s Day Story: TV Judge Glenda Hatchett and Son Charles S. Johnson IV Healthy Wife Kyira Dies After Giving Birth at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 

By Gloria Zuurveen


LOS ANGELES— During this Mother’s Day weekend, one family will not get the opportunity to make fun-loving or even laughable moments  of sharing the joys of motherhood.

No, not Charles S. Johnson IV nor his two sons and their grandmother, Judge Glenda Hatchett. Why? Because on April 13, 2016, his wife Kyira Dixon Johnson, the healthy,  vibrant, fun-loving wife of Charles S. Johnson, IV, and mother of two beautiful children ages one and two, tragically died at 2:22 am due to massive blood loss after a scheduled cesarean section delivery of their second son.  Judge Glenda Hatchett and her son Johnson IV held a press conference on Wednesday, May 10, 2016 just days prior to the celebration of Mother’s Day  to call attention to what she described as “medical malpractice and horrible neglect” that caused the death  her son’s wife, who  on April 12, 2016, the two of them presented themselves at  approximately 12:30 p.m. for a repeat elective cesarean delivery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.  Kyira was taken to surgery around 12:30 a.m. on April 13, 2016.  During surgery Kyira was found to have 3 liters of blood in her abdomen; Kyira did not survive the ongoing massive blood loss. Kyira was pronounced dead at 2:22 a.m. on April 13, 2016; The plaintiffs filed a Complaint seeking damages for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress, stating that Kyira’s death was a result of the defendants’ failure to properly and timely respond to her symptoms, and adequately treat her. During the press conference, Michael Oran of Law Offices of Michael Oran, A.P.C. announced the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Arjang Naim, M.D., Benham Kashanchi, M.D, Kathryn Sharma, M.D., Sara Churchill, M. D., Stuart Martin, M.D., and others, for the wrongful death of 39-year old mother and wife, Kyira Adele Dixon Johnson.

The lawsuit was filed on March 22, 2017 in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

"The tragic death of this magnificent young woman who had become my daughter was absolutely so unnecessary. The Complaint speaks for itself and I trust this lawsuit will spare other families the enormous pain that we are suffering," says Judge Glenda Hatchett. Hatchett is the host of the nationally syndicated show, Judge Hatchett, now in its 16th season. 

See Link to Kyira Tribute Video: