Wednesday, February 14, 2007

LA progressive community gossip

The LA Times discusses the feud between two black activists trying to claim the title of Black Community Leader:
Long Beach was the latest stage for [Najee] Ali and [Eddie] Jones, who seem to turn up whenever issues of race or violence converge with reporters and television cameras.

When racial fights rocked Los Angeles schools, when a Mexican postage stamp was deemed insulting to blacks, when a Latino gang in Harbor Gateway was blamed for a black teenager's death, Jones and Ali were there to convey their outrage with sound bites tailor-made for TV.
The story puts both Ali and Jones in a bad light:
Ali makes no apologies for his in-your-face style. Charming and street-savvy, he's considered an ambulance chaser by some critics, a shameless self-promoter by others. Police Chief William J. Bratton once called him a "nitwit" on national television, then later apologized.

Ali has had public spats not just with Jones but also with Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters. After a confrontation in a church parking lot last fall, Waters and Ali obtained — then later dropped — temporary restraining orders against each other.
Jones' prominence seems to rest primarily on his role as president of the 3-year-old Los Angeles Civil Rights Assn. — a group that he admits has no membership roster, no website, no office.
But this sentence basically sums up the writers' perspective: "Their climb from relative obscurity to being described as 'black leaders' reflects an era of grass-roots activism that relies more on media savvy than intellect or moral stature."

Earlier, the LA Weekly accused grassroots group ACORN of selling out:
ACORN, a Louisiana-based group that leans considerably to the left on most issues, speaks in favor of new affordable-housing projects and against charter schools. Yet it had no problem taking money from Villaraigosa’s lobbying committee, which collected six-figure checks from Republican business executives, charter-school advocates and Westside developers like JMB Realty, which gave Villaraigosa $100,000 and won city approval to build two 47-story luxury condo towers in Century City.


Post a Comment

<< Home