Dash, Brown pull out of race for Congress

COMPTON — Mayor Aja Brown is withdrawing from the 44th Congressional District race, just one week after actress-turned political commentator Stacey Dash left the race.

Both were running to unseat U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragan, who is both well-funded and well-endorsed in the district, which is largely Democratic.

The district includes Compton, Watts, San Pedro and North Long Beach and several cities in the South Bay. The district is 10.23 percent Republican and 61.2 percent Democratic, according to the California Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections in the state.

Both Brown and Dash cited family as the reason for dropping out the race.

In a statement, Brown revealed that she is expecting her first child with her husband of 14 years.

“I am excited and blessed to announce that my husband and I are expecting our first child,” Brown said. “We are overjoyed at the opportunity to become parents and look forward to starting our family. To date, one of my highest honors has been dedicating my time and life to serving my community. However, at this point in my life, my family commitments supersede my ability to expand my level of service.

“Today, I am announcing that I am withdrawing my candidacy to represent the 44th Congressional District. I am genuinely grateful for the outpouring of support for my candidacy after my initial announcement,” Brown added.

Brown surprised many last month when she announced her run for Congress, citing Dash as a “motivating” factor in her decision.

Stacey Dash

Dash said she was withdrawing due to the rigorous schedule of campaigning and the health and well-being of her family.

“After much prayer, introspection and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my candidacy for California’s 44th Congressional District,” Dash said. “At this point, I believe that the overall bitterness surrounding our political process, participating in the rigors of campaigning and holding elected office would be detrimental to the health and well-being of my family.

“I would never want to betray the personal and spiritual principles I believe in most: that my God and my family come first,” Dash added.

Brown, a Democrat, and Dash, a Republican, will still remain on the ballot, along with Republican businesswoman Jazmina Saavedra of Long Beach.

Barragan said the departure of Brown and Dash from the race would have little impact on her campaign.

“We will continue to reach out to every voter to listen to their concerns and update them on my work in Washington to fight for access to health care, clean air and water, and safe schools,” Barragan said. “At a time when the Trump administration is attacking communities of color, rolling back environmental standards and wanting to arm teachers in schools, I must keep my focus on my constituents.

Nanette Barragan

“It has been a great honor to represent this California district in Congress and I am asking the people in our community to support me once again. We are facing great challenges here at home and an awful president in the White House who has kept our communities and our values under constant assault. We must continue the fight for economic equality, environmental justice, and protections for our dreamers,” she added.

A veteran political strategist said the departure of Brown and Dash from the race won’t change anything.

“I don’t think the entrance of either Dash or Brown had any effect on the contours of that race in the first place,” said Charles Ellison, a principal of Washington, D.C.-based BE Strategy. “The incumbent, Rep. Barragan, looks fairly solid and is somewhat of a Democratic Party establishment favorite.

“Plus, it is a district that is overwhelming Latino, so I’m not sure if any black female candidates would have performed well. Barragan had already soundly defeated a black male candidate in her first election. Plus, both candidates were so polarizing and seemingly so fixated on the other that it wasn’t clear if they’d be that resonant or issue-focused on the campaign trail once it opened up.”

Barragan said she would formally kick off her re-election campaign with an event April 21.



Compton voters to decide on two marijuana measures

COMPTON — Legal sales of marijuana in California began this month, but the city of Compton still bans dispensaries and other marijuana businesses.

However, that could change soon. On Jan. 23, the city is having a special election on marijuana.

Under the new state law — Proposition 64, approved by voters in November 2016 — the use of recreational marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older. It not only makes possession for people 21 and over acceptable, but anyone with a past marijuana-related offense can apply to have it reduced or expunged entirely.

Proposition 64 also allows indoor personal cultivation of up to six plants, prohibits outdoor personal cultivation, allows people to have up to 28.5 grams of plant and 8 grams of concentrate.

It also allows local taxation and regulation.

The two initiatives on Compton’s special election ballot are Measure C, placed by the Compton City Council and Measure I, placed by a petitioners’ initiative.

So what’s the difference between the two?

Measure C permits commercial cannabis activity, has a 10 percent business tax, doesn’t have cultivation revenue, will adhere to state law, has a 30 percent local hiring program and a labor peace agreement and complies with zoning.

Measure I has some exact regulations, but has a 5 percent business tax, cultivation revenue and no local hiring plan.

Measure C allows dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from schools, active churches, parks, child care and community centers.

Measure I would make it 600 feet from public schools and no other locations have been determined.

The measure lets the minimum number of cannabis dispensaries to be seven and maximum to be 10 – it can increase based on population growth.

Measure C would be stricter with a minimum of one and a maximum of 10 – and it would stay at 10. Under this measure, the City Council would have the ability to amend codes to protect public health, safety and welfare.

Under Measure I, the City Council wouldn’t have that power.

Dispensaries — operating prior to Measure I — are eligible to obtain a cannabis license in the city of Compton. Under Measure C, they would not.

Finally, Measure I would allow commercial indoor cultivation — no outdoor. Measure C wouldn’t allow either — the city would have control over the implementation. There would be limited control over the implementation under Measure I.

When it comes to zoning, Measure C offers limited commercial (C-L), while Measure I also allows that and commercial manufacturing (C-M), limited manufacturing (M-L), and heavy manufacturing (M-H).

If the majority votes no on both ballot measures, Compton maintains its ban. Yet, if the majority votes ‘yes’ on either measure, they will both take effect.

Some local residents aren’t anti-marijuana, but don’t favor either measure. The group sent out a newsletter titled: “Compton: People are Talking Marijuana.”

It writes Measure I is for imbeciles and Measure C is for city or corruption.

“The problem with Measure I and Measure C and why the citizens of Compton should wait even if they desire to have marijuana businesses in Compton is because both measures are flawed and badly written and conceived. “

Some of those flaws listed are:

•There is no Compton residency requirement so outsiders may end up owning everything.

•There is no social equity component to guarantee 50 percent minority ownership as other cities have included as remuneration for the war on drugs. Compton suffered horrifically but nothing is included to assure minorities get in on the ground floor of this industry in this city.

•Non-violent drug offenders and parolees cannot be employed, manage, or own in the city of Compton, in an industry they literally created as upwards of 50 percent of black and Latino males perhaps may have a record.

• There are no caps on the number of non-retail businesses so Compton may be over run.

•There are no adequate protections for schools given businesses can be within 600 feet when Compton’s prior law stated 1,000 feet.

The newsletter also claims Mayor Aja Brown is a supporter and advocate of bringing the marijuana industry to Compton. The Wave tried to contact Brown for comment, but she did not respond.

No matter how the vote turns out, residents should still be aware of rules for personal use. You can be drug tested and still be fired by your employer, who can still enforce “zero-tolerance” drug policies.

Driving under the influence is still illegal and consumption in the vehicle is not allowed. Proposition 64 also prohibits public consumption of marijuana.

To read the voter education guide for the January 23 election, visit: http://www.comptoncity.org/civicax/inc/blobfetch.aspx?BlobID=28331

Charges filed in connection with Compton baby’s killing

COMPTON — Shortly after young Autumn Johnson died from a gunshot wound to the head, Mayor Aja Brown issued an emphatic challenge for the capture of the perpetrators who committed the reckless crime of shooting into the year-old infant’s home and mortally wounding the baby as she lay in her crib.

“Let her death not be in vain,” Brown said at the time.

It’s been more than a year since Brown’s declaration. The February 2016 shooting, which occurred in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue, is a step closer to the justice process for Johnson’s family. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last week charged four men in connection with the infant’s murder.

Arraignment for the four suspects, Davion Douglas, Denzell Hull, Ronzay Richards and Ray Patterson, is scheduled for Oct. 13.

“I applaud the hard-working men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and every person from the Compton community that assisted in apprehending the alleged perpetrators that were involved in killing 1-year-old Autumn Johnson,” Brown said in a statement last week after the arrests were reported. “Autumn Johnson’s family deserves closure that can only be achieved by obtaining justice — however long it takes. Only by working together for peace can we root out gang violence and keep our families and community safe.”

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department homicide and Compton Sheriff’s Station Operation Safe Streets investigators were front and center in leading the investigation in the case.

Non-violent rallies in the city have been held by local activists and nonprofit organizations since Johnson’s murder to bring attention to and to help quell the violence. The city of Compton, along with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and FBI offered a $75,000 reward for information leading to Johnson’s killers.

The dogged pursuit of investigators finally caught up with Douglas, 27, Hull, 25, Richards, 25, and Patterson, 24. Patterson was initially charged in the case a year ago, but was released due to lack of evidence. Charged with accessory after the murder, Patterson is currently behind bars in a Nevada state prison on weapons charges.

Douglas, Hull and Richards have been brought up on murder and attempted murder charges. Like Patterson, Douglas and Hull are serving time now. Both men are in a state prison for burglary.