Shocker: Steve Bradford Withdraws from 35th District State Race … Wait ‘Til You Hear Why

SOULVINE UNCHAINED-Woe be unto us!  In a year loaded with political shocks, comes now Assemblyman Steve Bradford to give us another one: He announced last weekend that he has withdrawn from the race for state senator of the 35th District, for which Gov. Jerry Brown has set a Dec. 9 primary election date.  

The election is to fill the seat of former Senator Roderick Wright, who resigned the office on Sept. 22 after being convicted on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. The loss of Wright, with his long history of writing more than 300 bills that dealt with the wide range of the needs of his constituents, is the biggest political shock to the people this year.  

However, we the people who have complete control of our brains’ cortex and frontal lobes --- where thinking, problem solving and judgement occurs --- took some solace at Wright’s departure when we learned Inglewood-based Bradford would replace him. Bradford, who has held elective office and done fine work on the people’s behalf for the past 17 years, was viewed as a worthy replacement for Wright, whom everyone regards as a legislative star. 

But no. Bradford gave us a stroke by withdrawing from the race because he wants peace to reign in our political world. 

Bradford told the Soulvine: “I wanted to avoid a bloody battle between the Black Caucus and the Democratic Party. There were other black Democratic legislators seeking this seat and the race for it was going to be nasty,” Bradford said. 

“The black community just finished a nasty school board race and I did not want to be part of another one. So, I took the path of least contention and bowed out so we can maintain unity within the caucus and the party,” he explained. 

Bradford, who has just termed out of his Assembly seat, said he will, nonetheless, continue to work on behalf of the people in the 35th District and throughout the state of California. “And, I might run for office again,” Bradford said. 

I hope so because he’s a classy guy but he has more altruism than I can stand. But in the meantime, Bradford’s withdrawal leaves two candidates seeking to replace the venerable Wright: Assemblyman Isadore Hall and perennial candidate Merv Evans. And that means we will have empty suit wearing Isadore Hall in the Senate and stark naked Autumn Burke in the Assembly. Lord, have mercy.  

PROPHET GAINS --- The young dynamo, Prophet Walker, who is running for 64th Assembly District, picked up some more endorsements since we spoke last week. In addition to the10 organizations and community leaders and officials named last week, he’s been endorsed by the International Long Shore and Warehouse Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18; Elito Santarina, Carson mayor pro tem; Albert Robles, Carson City Councilman, and Isaac Galvan, Compton City Councilman. 

And Walker has also gained a great deal of community support. The Rev. K.W. Tulloss, Walker’s campaign leader said, “We’ve had a surge in volunteers who work for his election during the week as well as on the weekends. The support for our candidate is really building,” Tulloss added. I’m glad to hear it. 

WOMEN AT WORK --- ‘Promise Zone’ warrior, Congresswoman Janice Hahn, expressed her disappointment following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that forces the mayor of a city to support only one Promise Zone application. 

In her comments to HUD, Hahn wrote: “Today’s announcement by HUD is extremely disappointing. A mayor of a large city should be able to support more than one Promise Zone application from his or her city. HUD’s policy penalizes Los Angeles and other large cities that have many areas that are impoverished and in need of help for revitalization. As a result, some impoverished regions of a major urban area might not be considered for much needed federal funding.” 

And right-as-rain, Los Angeles got one new HUD-funded Promise Zone grant of $36 million the other day that went to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s pet organization, the Youth Policy Institute (YPI), whose owner has been Garcetti’s primary fundraiser throughout his entire political career. Hahn is right to be mad. 

Watts and other low-income South LA areas she represents didn’t get a Promise Zone cent last year and, because Garcetti could and did select only YPI, South LA and East LA didn’t get a cent this year either. YPI’s programs target Hollywood, Pico-Union and Koreatown. YPI is handling all of the Promise Zone money except for $94,681 which goes to the Thai Community Development Center so it can promote the East Hollywood Farmers Market. This Promise Zone thing sucks and it ought to be scraped. 

When Hahn was done telling off everybody in the capital, she turned her attention to honoring long-time civil servant Percy Pinkney at the Black American Political Assn. of California’s (BAPAC) 36th annual Political and Religious Hall of Fame banquet. Hahn presented Pinkney with a certificate of Congressional Commendation in honor of his many years of public service. Pinkney has been a political operative in California so long that I can’t remember when he wasn’t. 

The current president of BAPAC, Pinkney is retiring after working 20 years as a senior aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Before that, Pinkney was an advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown and has been responsible for working with and advocating for the African American community across the state. He knows everything about everything and I will miss him. 

Another woman who persists in taking care of business is state Sen. Holly Mitchell, who just had all 12 of her current bills signed into law by Gov. Brown, thus sustaining her 100 percent success rate for enactment of her passed legislation into state law, both as an Assemblywoman and now as a senator. This is the fourth year in a row that Gov. Brown signed all the Mitchell bills sent to him. We’ll look at some of the new Mitchell laws next week. 


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PASSINGS --- The black community lost two of its biggest business giants in less than a week. Comer Cottrell, whose South L.A.-based black hair products company, Pro-Line, became one of the most successful black-own companies in the country (worth $80 million when it was sold in the year 2000), died Oct. 3 at age 82 in his retirement home in Plano, Tex. Cottrell was head of the Los Angeles Black Businessman’s Assn., and in 1989 he became the first African American to own a piece of a major league baseball team when he invested in the Texas Rangers. 

Harold Hambrick Jr., popularly regarded as “the community’s treasure,” died on Oct. 8. He was 81. He was president of the Los Angeles Black Business Expo, which, under his leadership, become the second largest African-American-focused consumer show in the country. The business Expos were held annually from the 1990s to the 2000s and often exceeded more than 400 vendors. In addition to his multiple business interests, Hambrick was active in the community’s health entities, serving in various capacities with the old South Central Multi-Purpose Health Service Center, which became the Watts Health Foundation, which became the Watts Health Systems and he ultimately joined the California Black Health Network and the Community Advisory Council at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. 

May they both rest in peace. 


(Betty Pleasant, a longtime LA observer, columnist and urban voice, writes Soulvine and is a contributor to CityWatch.)





Vol 12 Issue 84

Pub: Oct 17, 2014