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Top Stories of 2016
Published December 29, 2016

Homeless 

homelessness

AP Photo

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This year, the Board of Supervisors declared homelessness an emergency in Los Angeles County. In response to motions by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, City Councilmember’s Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Jose Huizar authored Proposition HHH. The measure which was approved by voters in the 2016 election will build over 8,000 to 10,000 permanent housing units for the homeless for the next decade, amenities and temporary shelters.

Elections 2016

elections-2016

Sentinel File Photo Collage by Brian W. Carter

The 2016 Elections will be a year not soon forgotten as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head with the United States as the battle ground. In an upset that sent shockwaves through the nation, New York real estate millionaire Donald Trump won the White House over former the Secretary of State in the biggest and most stunning upset victory for the White House in modern presidential politics. Although many are still in shock, the road to the White House produced some powerful and memorable moments. This year, three African American women were named to top leadership positions: Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, Donna Brazile, and the Honorable Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio served as leaders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. This year’s convention also brought in over 2,000 delegates representing states from across the nation. On behalf of their constituents, delegates and community leaders pushed social, civic, environmental, fiscal and political agendas on the convention floor to ensure the people that they represent had a say so in the Democratic process. Also, during both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, California saw significant spikes in activity on its online voter registration site. There were a total of 30,240 registrations or updates to registrations conducted online during the Republican convention and 56,594 registrations or updates during the Democratic convention.  The majority of registration activity was by younger Californians ages 17 – 35.

City Council Hate Crime

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Sentinel File Photo

Wayne Spindler, a licensed attorney, was arrested, and later released on $75,000 bail by Los Angeles Police Department on charges associated with graphic drawings and comments passed to City Council President Herb Wesson during a Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhoods Meeting with a drawing of a man (presumed to be Mr. Wesson) being hung by a tree and a Ku Klux Klan member celebrating beside a burning cross. In a showing of community support, Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Publisher and Brotherhood Crusade Board Chairman Danny Bakewell Sr., brought together leaders from an array of community organizations in support of Council President Herb Wesson. Judge Carol Goodson granted a three-year restraining order to Wesson against Spindler for making what many consider to be terrorist threats and hate speech against the council president as well as other members of the city council. As part of the restraining order Spindler was required to surrender all firearms and ammunition to the Los Angeles Police Department.  The Sentinel learned that none of the firearms that had been surrendered to the Los Angeles Police Department were registered to Spindler. Spindler said accusations by public officials and others that he is racist had “destroyed” his life and hurt his business as an immigration attorney and filed two claims against the city alleging $775,000 in damages. Ultimately, the D.A.’s office cited Spindler’s First Amendment rights and insufficient evidence that he violated any of the threat statutes as reasons for not filing a criminal case. It was concluded there was insufficient evidence that Spindler crossed the “somewhat nebulous line between constitutionally protected free speech and punishable `true threat.’”

Tuskegee Airmen 

tuskegee-airmen

Courtesy Photo

The Tuskegee Airmen celebrated 75th anniversary honoring the milestone of the first African-American pilots in U.S. history. The Tuskegee Airmen were composed of both men and women who served as a civilian support staff for the Tuskegee Experience or enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. This year was also filled with mourning of Tuskegee airman and WWII veteran Dr. Roscoe C. Brown who passed away at the age of 94 and the oldest documented Tuskegee airman Walter Crenshaw Jr. who passed away at the age of 106. Tuskegee airman and WWII veteran Wallace Higgins accepted the Congressional Gold Medal for his 70 years of service.

Minimum Wage

minimum-wage

Sentinel File Photo

California was the first state in the nation to approve a statewide minimum wage as high as $15. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 3 after the measure passed the State Assembly and State Senate. The new law will gradually raise the state’ minimum wage each year until it reaches $15 in 2022. SB 3 establishes annual increases capped at 3.5 percent based on the U.S. Consumer Price Index once California’s minimum wage reaches $15.The bill also delays wage increases for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. For those small companies, the first increase to $10.50 will begin in 2018. The new income floor of $15 an hour will be reached a year later in 2023. Recently, across the nation this week, fast food, home-care, child-care and other workers rallied in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis and New York for the implementation of higher minimum wages.

Gangs Unite for Peace

gangs-unite-for-peace

Sentinel File Photo

Members of L.A. Bloods and Crips gangs met in peace under one roof at the Nation of Islam’s meeting on July 17 and forged the “Bloods & Crips 2016 Peace Treaty, July 17th Cease Fire Agreement.” This unprecedented act of peace came after multi-platinum rappers, The Game and Snoop Dogg and Problem, a rapper and Game’s best friend, and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan called on them to open dialogue on how to unite, stop the violence, and make their neighborhood a safe, decent place to live. Gang members, gang interventionists, and families of loved ones victimized by gang violence, filled the Church of Scientology’s three-story Vermont Community Center to hear a host of speakers and weigh-in on next steps.

BLM Sit-in 

blm-sit-in

Amanda Scurlock/ L.A. Sentinel

For over two weeks 60 to 70 members and supporters of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLMLA) held a sit-in outside City Hall demanding Mayor Eric Garcetti fire LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, hold police commission meetings that are open to the community, appoint community advocates to key Commission seats, adhere to quarterly Town Hall meetings structured with the Black community and work in partnership with the Los Angeles City Council to develop reparations policy. BLMLA received supvon Franklin, Jesse Williams, Boris Kodjoe and wife Nicole Parker and more.

Grim Sleeper

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, Lonnie Franklin Jr., who has been dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer, sits during a court hearing in Los Angeles. In May 2016, Franklin was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder for crimes dating back more than 30 years. On Monday, June 6, 2016, jurors recommend the death penalty for Franklin for murdering nine women and a teenage girl. (AP Photo/Nick Ut,File)

FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, Lonnie Franklin Jr., who has been dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer, sits during a court hearing in Los Angeles. In May 2016, Franklin was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder for crimes dating back more than 30 years. On Monday, June 6, 2016, jurors recommend the death penalty for Franklin for murdering nine women and a teenage girl.

Sentinel File Photo

One of South L.A.’s most prolific serial killers known as the Grim Sleeper, was sent to death row for the murder of nine women and one teenage girl. The killings took place from 1985 to 2007. With the trial closed, families can begin to properly grieve over their loved ones.

Inglewood Stadium

inglewood-stadium

Sentinel File Photo

This year, the NFL returned to the city of Inglewood and is the new home to the Los Angeles Rams. The $2.6 billion stadium will be on site of the Hollywood Park racetrack with a projected opening in 2019.

Orlando Shootings

omar-mateen-orlando-shooting

MySpace via AP

Sunday, June 12 marked the day of a horrific tragedy in Orlando, FL. Omar Mateen and walked into Pulse Nightclub with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle killing 49 citizens and wounding 53. Nine African Americans men and women were among the people who were found dead. Mateen was killed in a shootout with local police.

Ex-DEA Agent

Darnell Garcia, LAPD class of November 1977. (Courtesy Photo)

Darnell Garcia, LAPD class of November 1977.

Sentinel File Photo

Darnell Garcia is an ex-Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) that served 21 years in federal prison. In 1988, at 43 years of age Garcia was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and providing intelligence information to a fugitive drug dealer. Garcia was released early in November 2011 after violently appealing to President Obama through the clemency board and the parole board. Garcia revealed exclusive evidence and information during his sit-down interview with the Sentinel that he expressed would once and for all redeem his name and paint the proper picture of the so-called Ex-DEA agent from south central who went rogue. According to Garcia, many of the harsher drug laws that affected minorities are slowly but surely changing. Garcia does, however, feel that his case is a great example of what the justice system could do better.

Michelle King

Los Angeles Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Michelle King is named the district's next superintendent by members of the board of education during a news conference in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. At left, former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Michelle King is named the district’s next superintendent by members of the board of education during a news conference in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. At left, former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

Sentinel File Photo

Michelle King was chosen as Superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education this year. King had been with the district for 31 years as a teacher and administrator. She is the first woman to lead the district in more than 80 years and the first black woman to ever lead the nation’s second-largest district. King’s platform since taking her positions has been to expand efforts to engage parents, LAUSD unions and other stakeholders to take an active effort in moving the district forward and “create new pathways for all students and give them the tools they need to succeed.

Metro/Leimert Station Ground Breaking

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Sentinel File Photo

“Harriet”, Metro’s tunnel boring machine named after the abolitionist and leader of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, broke through Leimert Park underground station. Harriet was lowered into the ground under the future Crenshaw/ Expo Station last winter and began digging to the South in April, according to Metro. It reached the Martin Luther King Jr. Station in August and began excavating the last segment of the one mile tunnel in September. Set to officially open in 2019, the station will become a economic boon to Leimert Park and its surrounding communities. It has already provided and will continue to provide jobs and facilitate transportation allowing people to explore opportunities outside of their neighborhood.

Flint Water Crisis

flint-water-crisis

Sentinel File Photo

The city of Flint, Michigan took center stage amongst many issues this year. The city of nearly 100,000 people has been dealing with lead contamination since switching from Detroit’s water system, which draws from Lake Huron, to the Flint River in April 2014. The short-term move was made to save money, but state regulators failed to require corrosion chemicals, which let toxic lead from old pipes leach into the supply. Flint has since returned to Detroit’s water system.

Sale of Ebony & Jet Magazines

sale-of-ebony-jet-magazines

Sentinel File Photo

Johnson Publishing Co. announced in June that Ebony and digital-only Jet were sold to the African-American-owned publishing business, Clear View Group. The sale of the magazines was closed in May, and no sale price was disclosed. Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and Ebony photo archive. The sale of the magazines allowed the publishing company to reduce its debt associated with the media industry. Ebony magazine was founded by John Johnson in 1945, but had been affected by declining circulation and revenues in recent years as it tried to evolve from print to digital platforms. This was the first investment for Clear View.

Taste of Soul

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Sentinel File Photo

2016 marked the 11th year of Taste of Soul (TOS), presented by Bakewell Media to highlight businesses in the Black community, bringing together people, food and live entertainment. The family festival once again brought in over 350,000 people to Crenshaw Blvd in South Los Angeles from all walks of life. TOS continues to bring community the together and promote unity and brotherhood.

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