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Ferguson Voters Go to Polls to Elect 3 City Council Members

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In this photo made in March 2015, Ferguson Ward 1 city council candidate Ella Jones poses for a portrait in Ferguson, Mo. The city is preparing for an election on Tuesday when three of six city council seats will be decided. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

In this photo made in March 2015, Ferguson Ward 1 city council candidate Ella Jones poses for a portrait in Ferguson, Mo. The city is preparing for an election on Tuesday when three of six city council seats will be decided. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

JIM SALTER, Associated Press
JIM SUHR, Associated Press

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The next Ferguson City Council will face the daunting task of remaking much of the beleaguered town’s leadership, a process that will begin soon after Tuesday’s municipal election.

Three of the six council seats are up for grabs in the St. Louis County town where 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer in August. Officer Darren Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury and the Justice Department, but a separate DOJ report blasted Ferguson for racial bias and profiling in the police department and a profit-driven municipal court system.

Fallout from that report led to the resignation of the city manager, police chief, municipal judge and two police officers. The municipal court clerk was fired for racist emails.

The new city council will be tasked with approving hiring of the replacements.

The scrutiny of Ferguson after the shooting found that the town of 21,000 residents has a mostly white police force and city leadership — the mayor and five of the six council members are white — even though blacks make up about two-thirds of residents.

After Tuesday, the council will add at least one, and maybe two black members.

The lone current black councilman, Dwayne James, is not up for re-election. The 3rd Ward race involves two black men, Lee Smith, 76, and Wesley Bell, 40, guaranteeing that an additional black resident will join the council. That ward includes the Canfield Green apartment complex where Brown was killed.

The 1st Ward features four candidates, two black and two white. The 2nd Ward race involves two white men.

Ferguson is not unique in drawing low turnout for municipal elections. Turnout last April was 12.3 percent, said Eric Fey, director of elections for St. Louis County.

A strong push was made after the shooting to register more black voters, but Fey said just 562 new voters were added to the rolls. In recent weeks, the focus has been on getting those who are registered to vote.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a St. Louis Democrat, was among those going door-to-door over the weekend, encouraging people to vote.

The election is being watched by international media and is drawing get-out-the-vote volunteers involved with several national organizations, including labor unions, groups such as the Organization for Black Struggle, and Working Families Party, a leading voice of the left that helped elect New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last year.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. “80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

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“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”
“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

Washington, D.C.  – Representative Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

“80 years ago, one of the largest invasions in historical warfare—and the start to the end of World War II—took place. Today, we look back to the over 2,400 American lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, remember their stories, and honor their immense bravery.

“My father, Lt. Col. Garvin A. Tutt, was a Buffalo soldier in the 92nd infantry, a racially segregated and Black-only division that was instrumental in the success of Normandy and the Allied advance. Today and every day, I think of him and all of the brave servicemembers who sacrificed for our country, even when our country didn’t love them back.

“D-Day will forever live on in history. May we honor their lives and all who have served by investing in veterans’ health care, economic security, and opportunity when they return home.”

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Community

Public Policy Inst. of California Releases Data on Hate Crimes

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report. The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals.

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By California Black Media

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report.

The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals. Incidents of violent hate crimes including assault grew by 791. The number of property-related hate crimes, including vandalism, increased by 314 incidents. In all the incidents reported, 25% of the hate crimes included the use of weapons including knives, handguns, and clubs.

The report stated that violent hate crimes remain underreported. The California Department of Justice is working on plans to invest more money in facilitating the reporting of hate crimes and supporting communities affected most by these incidents.

According to the report between 2019 and 2022, hate crimes targeting Black people tripled, while incidents against Latinos doubled, and attacks against Asians more than tripled in recent years.

“These increases are overwhelmingly driven by violent rather than property crimes,” the report stated.

In 2022, approximately 75% of all reported hate crimes included violent attacks against Black, Latino, or Asian people.

The state has since passed bills to address current and emerging issues related to hate crimes. The Legislature passed AB 485 in 2020, requiring local law enforcement agencies to post monthly updates of hate crimes online. Legislators passed AB 449 in 2023, a law that requires local law enforcement agencies to report suspected hate crimes and provide information that helps report hate crimes to the state attorney general.

Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the “CA vs Hate” campaign, an educational awareness campaign that includes a hotline and online resources for reporting hate crimes. The campaign also provided funds to community-based organizations supporting victims of hate crimes.

“This potential change in reporting behavior, along with increased media attention to the problem, may be partially responsible for the recent uptick in the number of incidents we report on here,” the report stated.

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