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Poll: African-American Voters Feel Democratic Party Takes Them for Granted

DemocratBy Madlen Grgodjaian/California Black Media

A recent poll revealed many Black voters in California strongly identify with the Democratic Party, although 58 percent feel the establishment takes them for granted.

Commissioned by the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation (AAVREP) Project, The California African American Policy Priorities Survey sampled 800 potential African-American voters in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The May 5-17 poll was conducted by telephone. Pollsters targeted registered voters who participated in either of the last two primary or general elections. They asked the survey participants questions on a range of topics, including state ballot initiatives, policy priorities and federal and state election candidates.

Nearly half of the respondents were ages 65 and older, reflecting a higher voter turnout in past elections. The  participants were also Californians who are more likely to vote this election year.

During a telephone press conference, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said this recent poll is a follow-up to others conducted in the past.

“This is a following on some of the polling that we’ve done in the past, measuring the outcome of the African-American voters in the City of Los Angeles and then one in the county of Los Angeles,” he said.

The survey revealed voters over 40 invariably favor Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Presidential nominee. On the other hand, a sizable generational gap reveals Bernie Sanders leads by 16 percent among voters under 40.

A majority of the voters had an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump, and two-thirds are motivated to vote specifically  to keep him from being elected.

The census also explored general perceptions of other leading political candidates on the June 7 Presidential Primary Election ballot. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is viewed favorably by 53 percent of Black voters. Thirty percent of the voters are in favor of U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez, however, many say they are unfamiliar with her or do not know enough about her to offer an opinion.

On November ballot initiatives, participants strongly supported  proposed education bond and gun control measures.. Nearly four-in-five said they would support a $9 billion bond measure to fund improvement and new construction for K-12 schools and community colleges. Over three-quarters supported gun control initiatives that would outlaw large-capacity bullet magazines and require background checks for ammunition purchases.

The marijuana legalization measure was favored by a small margin. Statewide, 52 percent of respondents were for legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.

When asked about policy priorities, Black voters in all of the three major regions in the state identified homelessness as a serious problem. Ninety-three percent recognized it as a high priority for elected officials to address the ongoing epidemic.

Over half of the respondents believe law enforcement agencies should be held accountable for excessive use of force. Other high priority policies included making housing more affordable, improving access to quality health care, and fighting discrimination and institutional racism.  However, climate change and illegal immigration – two issues that poll high with the general population – did not factor as top priorities among Black voters.

Ridley-Thomas said polling is a fundamental feature of the democratic process.

 “The right to vote was hard fought, and continues to be, in terms of every round of debate pertaining to the voting rights,” he said. “And so this is yet another tool to make sure the promises of democracy are properly fulfilled.”




USC Announces New African American Athletic Director

Lynn Swann

Lynn Swann

LOS ANGELES, CA- Lynn Swann will become USC’s next athletic director, effective July 1, 2016, USC president C. L. Max Nikias recently announced. Swann is a legend in Trojan and NFL football, a highly regarded international media broadcaster, an extraordinarily effective leader, and a deeply committed civic figure.  The Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl X, Swann is already well known to the Trojan Family, as well as to individuals around the world.

Swann will replace Pat Haden, who in February announced he will retire as athletic director on June 30.

“To his new role, Lynn Swann will bring the heart and soul of a Trojan,” said Nikias. “He shares our profound dedication to combining academic excellence with athletic excellence.”

In his letter to the USC community, Nikias said he expects Swann to bring his experience, expertise, and sheer love for intercollegiate athletics to important national conversations and reforms, particularly through the university’s leadership in the Pac-12, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the College Football Playoff (CFP) association, and the Olympic movement.

“I am excited about coming back to USC – its growth and success under President Nikias has been phenomenal and my family and I are looking forward to being a part of that,” said Swann.

“As athletic director, my goals for the student-athletes will be to graduate, to win and to experience.”

Swann earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  While pursuing academics at USC, he excelled on the football field, playing on two Rose Bowl teams and a National Championship team in 1972.  He was team captain, most valuable player, and an All-American in 1973.

Cheryl Miller to Coach Women’s Basketball at Cal State Los Angeles


Cheryl Miller

LOS ANGELES, CA- Cheryl Miller is the new head coach of the Golden Eagles women’s basketball program at Cal State LA. Miller has had a stellar career as a player and coach. Considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, she led USC to two national titles in 1983 and 1984 and was twice named NCAA Tournament MVP. She helped guide the 1984 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal and is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Miller comes to Cal State LA from Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, where she led the Lions to a #18 NAIA ranking in two seasons as head coach. Miller was hired at Langston by Cal State LA Executive Director of Athletics Mike Garrett, who previously directed athletics at the historically Black college.

Miller was also the head women’s basketball coach at USC for two seasons from 1993 to 1995, taking the Trojans to the NCAA tournament both years before embarking on a successful career as a television reporter and analyst. She also served as head coach for four years and general manager of the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association, guiding the team to the league finals in 1998.

As a teenager Miller spent summers in the U.S. Olympic development program, held in the Cal State LA gym. “The first college I played at, literally, was Cal State LA. I’m glad to be back,” she said.

Miller brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience to the University—and a clear sense of purpose. “Graduating and developing women of inspiration and substance is my goal,” Miller said. “Cal State LA is the perfect place for that mission.”

Women comprise about 60 percent of the more than 27,000 students at Cal State LA, which fields teams in six women’s sports. Garrett, who first hired Miller at USC, says she will help elevate Cal State LA athletics.

“I’ve known Cheryl as a player, coach and general manager for more than 20 years. She is a world-class talent,” Garrett said. “I came to Cal State LA to win national championships, and Cheryl has done just that. She knows how to get us to where we intend to go.”

Cal State LA President William A. Covino said that “Miller is a winning shot for the University as it drives toward greater achievements in athletics.”

“Cheryl embodies the kind of athlete and human being who will lead our students to successful futures beyond what they’ve imagined,” Covino said.

Said Jose A. Gomez, Cal State LA Executive Vice President: “Los Angeles legend Cheryl Miller is coming back home to coach our students to greater heights—to be champions in the classroom, the community and on the court.”