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NAJEE’S NOTES: Davis steers New Frontier Democratic Club on right path

New Frontier Democratic Club President Mike Davis continues to lead from the front.

The New Frontier Democratic Club is the oldest and largest African-American Democratic Club in the state. It is fortunate to have most of the region’s African-American elected officials as members.

In 1960, the New Frontier Democratic Club was founded by a few African-American leaders in Los Angeles whose concern was to provide the community with a political vehicle for involvement in the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy. In the 1990s, many of the same issues evident in 1960 demanded that New Frontier Democrats play an even larger role in the community’s fight for increased political and economic power.

Under Davis’s leadership the club continues to thrive and prosper.

On March 31 I had the pleasure to attend with my fellow political activists the New Frontier Democratic Club 59th annual Awards and Installation Luncheon with keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Karen Bass and mistress of ceremonies state Sen. Holly Mitchell. It was a successful event with hundreds in attendance.

Davis also serves as chair of the Los Angeles African American Heritage Month Committee, held in conjunction with the Office of the Mayor and Our Authors Study Club.

Our Authors Study Club started this program in 1948. It is the Los Angeles chapter of Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Davis, who is also an historian, has continued the tradition of featuring internationally recognized achievers, as well as developing a Los Angeles Hall of Fame section of the program recognizing outstanding professional achievers.

Davis chaired African American History Month programs for both the county Board of Supervisors and the California Assembly.

Over the last few years, this writer has served on the committee with Davis and has seen firsthand his dedication and hard work on behalf of the community. Davis doesn’t get the media headlines, spotlight or public accolades, but as an unsung organizer, he just gets the job done.

Davis was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but he has spent his career working as a public administrator in Los Angeles after completing graduate school here. A former assemblyman, Davis was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013 to the Los Angeles Board of Public Works after representing the 48th District in the Assembly from 2006 to 2012.

He served as vice chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and chaired the Select Committee on Rail Transportation. Davis authored legislation on topics including public utilities procurement for minority-owned businesses, career technical education, community service and public service recognition.

Among Davis’ achievements is securing the governor’s signature on AB 868, requiring the California Energy Commission to study whether patrons were getting all the gas they were purchasing.

Prior to assuming elected office, Davis served as a senior deputy to county Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, where he was responsible for South Los Angeles and served as liaison to Public Works. Previously, Davis was also district director for Maxine Waters, first in the state Assembly and later in Congress.

A recipient of many awards over the years, Davis’ recent honors include the Political Achievement Award from the New Frontier Democratic Club in 2012 and the Tom Bradley Award from the American Society of Public Administration in 2011.

Davis received his history degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a master of public administration degree from Cal State Northridge and a master of arts in behavioral science with a concentration in negotiations and conflict management from Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Davis also completed Innovations in Governance Program and State and Local Government Program at Harvard and is the first elected official to obtain the executive master of leadership degree from USC’s School of Policy, Planning and Development.

Davis continues to be a key figure in the Garcetti admistration and a role model for young people in our community. We commend and salute you for your service and leadership.

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My last word on the Jussie Smollet scandal. The charges were dropped by the prosecutors. That doesn’t mean Smollet is innocent. A statement by the Cook County States’ Attorney Office reads in part: “We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett. The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.”

The reality is the charges were dropped but the mayor of Chicago, and its police chief, along with many Chicago citizens, have all come out publicly to say Smollett did stage a racially motivated hoax and he owes the city of Chicago an apology. They won’t get it. But at least this farce is over with and the police can now give their full attention and resources to fighting crime and violence in a city that needs it.

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