By Betty Pleasant
THE WORST YET --- If you thought Alex Johnson’s recently lost race for a seat on the LAUSD school board was nasty, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson’s campaign against Prophet Walker for the 64th Assembly District has sunk so low that even Gipson’s campaign manager is reputed to have disavowed it. Mercy!
As every registered voter in the district knows by now, the Gipson campaign has unleashed a barrage of almost a dozen mailings that attack Walker as a dead beat father and that fosters dissension within his family. A candidate for office has always been the target of his opposition, but this is the first time in my long career that I have seen a candidate use his opposition’s wife (or baby mama) and minor child as campaign fodder.
But the Rev. T.W. Tulloss, Walker’s campaign director, had been warned of Gipson’s plans to enter the no-man’s land of political campaigning more than two months ago. Tulloss told the Soulvine that on Aug. 4 at about 1 p.m. during the Baptist Ministers Conference at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, a chagrined Bernard Dory, Gipson’s campaign manager, let him read a series of text messages sent to Gipson’s friends and supporters exhorting them to “find something on Walker’s family that could be used against him,” Tulloss said. “The texts urged them to find Prophet’s baby mama or someone in his family who would say something incriminating against him so they could get Basil Kimbrew to blast it on his website,” Tulloss said.
Tulloss continued: “I was shocked and so was Dory. He told me he did not like this. He said he had nothing to do with it because he does not believe in involving people’s families in political campaigns like that. He agreed with me that campaigns should be about issues, not candidates’ families and he wanted me to be forewarned about what Gipson was after,” Tulloss said.
After obtaining Dory’s phone number from another disavowed Gipson supporter, I called Dory and told him I wanted to talk to him about his discussion with Tulloss about Gipson’s sleazy campaign plans. When I called Dory, he said: “I can’t talk to you now because I’m going into a meeting. Give me your number and I’ll call you back when this meeting is over.” Dory never called me back. The next day I told Tulloss that Dory did not call me. Tulloss said: “That’s because he was busy calling me and asking me if I had given you his telephone number. I told him no, because I couldn’t find it when you asked for it.”
At any rate, Gipson’s anti-family campaign is underway. Gipson’s mailers assert that Walker has not and is not paying child support for his daughter, but the July 7, 2014 letter to Walker from the Los Angeles County Child Support Department reads as follows: “Dear Prophet Walker: This letter is to inform you that as of the above date you no longer have an arrears balance. Your current monthly obligation of $787.00 will continue to be due until your child reaches the age of majority. If you have any further questions please call the number below or you can contact me directly Thank you. Ms. Johnson, child support representative.”
Well, if Gipson wants to talk about Walker’s family money matters, then I want to talk about his. Remember back in April when the U.S. government put a lien of Gipson and his wife Lecresha’s lovely Carson home for the $35,591.62 plus interest they owed for unpaid 2009 and 2010 income taxes? Both these people work in government tax collecting capacities, yet neither husband nor wife seem inclined to pay their income taxes like the rest of us. Gipson slams Walker for his child support debt (which he paid and is continuing to pay), yet Gipson and wife don’t pay their income taxes, which the rest of us cannot avoid. He’s got a lot of nerve.
But wait, the Gipson campaign has gone from the “just mean” to the “utterly ridiculous.” Now he’s sending mailers alleging that Walker is being financed by conservative Republicans “who oppose President Obama and his Democratic agenda” and that Walker “supports the Wall Street takeover of our public schools.” That would be funny if it wasn’t so pitiful. Tell me, how many black 26-year-old ghetto-raised ex-convict right-wing Republicans do you know? Me neither! Gipson and them assert that Walker is being funded by “corporations, billionaires and Republicans who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure Walker is elected, and that if elected, he will represent the interests of Republican billionaires --- not us.”
This is a desperate, blatant, flat-out lie. Walker has very little money and couldn’t even attract that kind of money from those kind of people. Gipson, on the other hand, has a great deal of money. Walker doesn’t know these people; Gipson knows them so well that he cast an abstaining “no” vote when the Carson City Council, spurred on by angry residents, tried to stop Chevron or some such oil company, from fracking in the predominately African American neighborhood in the city. Gipson’s action almost started a riot in the council chamber and people have not forgotten. Now, Gipson is trying to paint Walker with his own brush. Residents worry that if Gipson would vote like that right in front of them, what will he do behind closed doors in Sacramento when his Republican billionaires and corporate leaders come to call?
You know, this is the second time this year that Rep. Janice Hahn and retired Rep. Diane Watson have been on the wrong side of a vicious and losing campaign. And now I hear that Rep. Karen Bass backs Gipson. I must re-evaluate.
KUDOS TO WRIGHT --- Spurred by member Margie Garrett, the Compton School Board hosted a community tribute for former State Sen. Rod Wright this week. Many of the city’s departments and the City Council, as well as Inglewood Mayor James Butts, former Assemblyman Steve Bradford and community groups and residents gathered in the school district’s boardroom to honor Wright for his many years of service in the state Legislature. Wright was extolled and thanked by everyone who lamented his departure and was presented six commendations.
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS --- Still unhappy about the Compton Unified School District’s decision to allow school police officers to carry assault rifles on the city’s campuses, Najee Ali and them led a protest last week in which about 20 people laid down in the street and blocked traffic on Rosecrans and Wilmington avenues.
The protest, organized by Mark-Anthony Johnson, was dubbed a “die-in” and was designed to give people a vivid image of what it looks like when black and brown bodies are sprawled on the ground, explained Johnson. The protesters are particularly upset over the fact that the Compton School Board members did not inform nor solicit parents’ opinions about the issue. “They made a unanimous decision without allowing any feedback from parents as to whether it’s OK to put military assault rifles into our schools with our children,” said protester Jasmine Richards. A special education teacher in the district, Martha Camacho-Rodriguez, expressed a particular concern about the rifles and she worried that her students, some of whom have emotional outbursts and can appear physically threatening. “They don’t go around carrying signs that state ‘I have a disability,’ but I guess they will have to if they are to be safe,” the teacher said.
But on the same token, Compton School Board President Micah Ali sent me an email informing me that the National School Board Assn., of which he is an officer, just voted to sever its fledgling partnership with the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., through which the schools would help promote the tobacco company’s “Right Decisions Right Now” program. Which is more dangerous to children? Tobacco or assault rifle bullets?