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NAJEE’S NOTES: Holly Mitchell receives key appointment

State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell continues to impress and without question has been one of the most effective and productive elected officials in our community in recent memory . This week, Mitchell made history by being named chair of the state Senate’s Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

She is the first African American and second woman in the history of the Senate to hold that position. State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, made the historic appointment.

In a statement issued by Mitchell, she said: “I am honored by the confidence that the pro tem has bestowed upon me and am humbled by the tremendous responsibility that comes with crafting a budget that reflects the values of all Californians. The coming year will require the entire Senate Budget Committee to work together to protect the interests of vulnerable Californians. I look forward to leading our work in representing the priorities of the Senate.”

Congratulations go out to Holly, not only one of our most effective legislators in recent history but one of the best sister’s you will ever meet.

Congratulations to LAPD Deputy Police Chief William Scott, who was named this week by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee as the city’s new top cop Scott will take over as San Francisco’s police chief, replacing previous permanent chief Greg Suhr.

Toney Chaplin had been serving as interim chief since May when Suhr resigned following a string of fatal officer-involved shootings in the city. Scott started working in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1989 and was overseeing the department’s South Bureau before his appointment by Lee.

This is a major loss for South Los Angeles. Scott wasn’t just a personal friend of mine. He was friend to all the activists that cared about social justice and bridge building in our community.

Scott’s departure will leave a gaping hole in the South Bureau, one that Chief Charlie Beck will find hard to fill. But I’m not surprised that Scott was tabbed by San Francisco to lead their department. Scott is a hard worker, who is smart, charismatic and a born leader. South Los Angeles will miss him dearly.

RIP Howard  Bingham. Bingham was a professional photographer and one of Muhammad Ali’s best friends.

Bingham was the son of a minister and Pullman porter. After initially failing a photography course, he was hired by a local newspaper. While working there, he met the young Cassius Clay (later to become Muhammad Ali).

The two had an instant rapport, one that led to a lifelong friendship. Bingham went on to create arguably the definitive book of photographs of Ali, “Muhammad Ali: A Thirty-Year Journey.”

Bingham also was one of the first and few black photographers to have his photographs published in magazines and periodicals including: Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, People, Ebony and others.

He was selected as a photographer for the 1990 project “Songs of My People.”

Bingham was noted for interviewing James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., as well as photographing the Black Panthers for Life at various points in his career.

On a personal note, Howard was a dear friend of mine who I first met nearly 25 years ago at our annual Muslim convention in Chicago where he traveled with Ali, who was our guest speaker that year. Bingham was always down to earth and humble. He will be missed by his family and friends.

And finally, It took two years of chemotherapy but I’m finally cancer free. My last treatment was last week. I beat Stage 3 lymphoma thanks to my family and friends who never let me down.

They rallied behind me from day one. I’m sincerely grateful for everyone’s support. And to the haters who wished and hoped I would die, sorry, God isn’t done with me yet. I have lot more work to do in 2017 and beyond. The best is yet to come. Happy holidays, family!

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