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NAJEE’S NOTES: A post office named in honor of Marvin Gaye

This week, Rep. Karen Bass introduced legislation to designate the post office located at 4040 W. Washington Blvd., in honor of Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Gaye spent the later years of his life in Los Angeles and his family continues to live near the post office to be named in his honor.

“Marvin Gaye’s music has transcended generations and gave 1970s and ’80s a sound,” Bass said. “I’m proud to have introduced this resolution honoring Marvin Gaye and the defining mark he left on not only the greater Los Angeles area, but the country.”

That is great news. I have has always wondered why Gaye hasn’t been recognized yet with the honor of being on a U.S. postage stamp.

Every African-American who has been selected and voted on by the committee who chooses this yearly honor is deserving. But no one can dispute that Gaye, also deserves the honor.

Gaye has been called “The number-one purveyor of soul music.”

In his book, “Mercy Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye,” Michael Eric Dyson described Gaye as someone “who transcended the boundaries of rhythm and blues as no other performer had done before.”

Following his death, the New York Times described Gaye as someone who “blended the soul music of the urban scene with the beat of the old-time gospel singer and became an influential force in pop music.”

Further in the article, Gaye also was credited with combining “the soulful directness of gospel music, the sweetness of soft-soul and pop and the vocal musicianship of a jazz singer.”

His recordings for Motown in the 1960s and ’70s shaped that label’s signature sound. His work with Motown gave him the titles “Prince of Soul” and “Prince of Motown.” Critics stated that Gaye’s music “signified the development of black music from raw rhythm and blues, through sophisticated soul to the political awareness of the 1970s and increased concentration on personal and sexual politics thereafter.”

As a Motown artist, Gaye was among the first to break from the reins of its production system, paving the way for Stevie Wonder.

I want to personally thank Bass, along with several community leaders that include the Rev.K.W. Tulloss, the Rev Kelvin Sauls, Earl Ofari Hutchinson and several thousand Facebook members for supporting the family’s request that the Post Office on Washington which served the Gaye family home on Gramercy be named and dedicated in Gaye’s honor.

This is a fitting tribute to a man whose gift of music to us will live on eternally. Hopefully, once this is done, we can move on to helping ensure the Marvin Gaye postal stamp in the near future.

Who’s the real Mayor of Gardena? Gardena City Councilwoman Tasha Cerda, the runner-up in election night balloting for mayor March 7, vaulted into first place March 10 after about 200 more ballots were tallied.

Former Councilwoman Rachel Johnson, held a 12-vote lead over Cerda March 14. But Cerda picked up a net 42 votes and is now ahead by 30. About 800 late vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remain to be tallied.

Cerda now has 1,039 votes to Johnson’s 1,009, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office. Next week, the registrar’s office will release updated counts on Tuesday and Friday.

The winner will be the city’s first new mayor in more than a decade. Former Mayor Paul Tanaka left office in June after he was convicted of blocking a federal investigation into Los Angeles County jails when he was undersheriff. He’s now serving a five-year prison sentence.

Speaking of that, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was found guilty March 15 in his retrial on obstructing the FBI investigation into corruption within his jails. As crazy as this sounds, he might end up serving prison time with his former aide Tanaka.

Baca was charged with helping to obstruct the 2011 FBI investigation into guards who savagely beat inmates in his jails and lying about trying to obstruct the probe. The former sheriff was found guilty on all three charges that he faced. Baca’s charges carry up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Following the verdict, Baca thanked his family, friends, legal team and supporters.

“I disagree with the particular verdict,” Baca said. “You’ve known me for a long time. I am a faith-based person. My mentality is always optimistic and I look forward to winning on appeal.

“I love the people of Los Angeles County. I love the United States of America and I love diversity,” he continued. “It’s just a privilege to be alive.”

In the two decades I have known him, Baca has always been a progressive leader and friend to our community. There’s no question abuse did happen in the L.A. County Jail under Baca’s watch. But no one will ever convince me that he was a ring leader in it.

I believe him when he said he was unaware of what Tanaka and others who were convicted did to inmates. But my personal beliefs don’t matter. The jury said he was quilty. I’m hoping that Baca receives a lenient sentence. He deserves that much.

Najee Ali

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