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NAJEE’S NOTES: Obama Boulevard proposed in South Los Angeles

Are you ready for Obama Boulevard? City Council President Herb Wesson has put forth a motion that would direct the city engineer to begin the process of renaming a segment of Rodeo Road — a major east-west corridor in South Los Angeles — as Obama Boulevard. The proposed name change in honor of former President Barack Obama, is a great ideal by Wesson.

The name change would be applied to an approximately 3.5-mile stretch of Rodeo between Arlington Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard on the Culver City border. The street passes directly by Rancho Cienega Park, where then Sen. Obama held his first Los Angeles campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in 2007.

Los Angeles already features a number of streets named for former presidents, including Washington Boulevard, Adams Boulevard and Jefferson Boulevard. That is a fitting tribute to Obama, who was also a student at Los Angeles’ Occidental College from 1979 to 1981, and will likely see a segment of the 134 Freeway renamed in his honor following a vote earlier this year by the state Senate. All the residents I spoke to concerning the change of Rodeo Road to Obama Boulevard are excited and I see how this could reduce confusion between Rodeo Road and Rodeo Drive. I’m looking forward to being at the name dedication in the future. Great job, Council President Wesson.

Comedian Bill Cosby’s legal team was quick to declare victory on June 17 when a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in the aggravated indecent assault case against the 79-year-old entertainer.

The promise by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele that the case will be retried within a year did not seem to upset the Cosby legal team. They acted as if it was expected. But they know they still have an ace up their sleeve. And it’s the power of Cosby’s celebrity status.

The issue of power was indeed at the heart of the sexual assault allegations brought by Andrea Constand over the 2004 incident at Cosby’s suburban Philadelphia mansion. A jury of seven men and five women was asked to determine if Cosby used his power — aided by drugs that he admitted giving Constand — to have a sexual encounter with her without her consent. Based on the questions the jury asked of the judge during 52 hours of deliberations, it appears that one of the issues that led to the deadlock among jurors was the question of consent.

The Constand prosecution began the symbolic quest for justice for more than 40 women who came forward with allegations of having been drugged and assaulted by Cosby as far back as the late 1960s. Although the judge allowed the testimony of only one other accuser, the volume of past accusations against Cosby undoubtedly was not lost on at least some of the jurors.

This is my last word on the Cosby controversy. Cosby did this to himself. He admitted in a prior court deposition that he procured drugs to use to have sex with younger women. So please stop with conspiracy theory.

Cosby deliberately placed himself in a position of high quality, moral standards that told black people who they should be, while at the same time he was lying to his wife, family, fans and the entire black race.

I grew up watching and loving the Cosby show, but Cosby in my opinion is a liar and admitted adulterer. I’m not about to show any support or concern for him when he is retried on this case.

My concern is for more pressing issues, such as the continuation of black people being shot and killed by police nationwide, the fight to save our health care as the Trump administration seems intent on undoing every policy that the first African-American president could establish to benefit all Americans.

So, Cosby and what happens to him is last on my agenda for community concerns.

June is Black Music Month. My friends who truly know me, understand that it’s not too many concerts or music festivals that I miss once summer comes. This weekend, June 24 and 25, I will be in attendance as I have been for the last few years at the 31st annual Long Beach Bayou Festival as they continue its time-honored legacy in the city by the sea.

The Long Beach Bayou Festival offers patrons a weekend filled with cultural music, cuisine, and dance from a place called ‘home’— New Orleans and the Louisiana Bayou Country. I love this festival because it highlights the best parts of Louisiana Bayou and New Orleans Culture with Long Beach.

The food is always a delight with a focus on the specialties of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Rich in cultural music traditions, the Long Beach Bayou and Blues Festival presents a wide range of groups, featuring Cajun, Zydeco and Blues artists. The dance floor is always open. So, if you’re looking for family fun, you should join me at the Long Beach Bayou Festival. For more information http://longbeachbayou.com/.

For news tips, email Brothernajeeali@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter@Najeeali.

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