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Governor John Kasich talks jobs, education, tax cuts and community-police relations during State of the State address, compliments Black state legislators, speech suggests a run for president, Kasich salutes former state senator Nina Turner

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Pictured are Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH) (wearing brown suit), Ohio state Senator Sandra Williams (D-22) (in Black suit), state Representative Alicia Reese (D-33) (in red blouse), state Representative John Barnes Jr. (D-12) (in gold suit), and Nina Turner (in teal suit), a former state senator and the chair of political engagement for the Ohio Democratic Party

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

Coleman is a community activist and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

WILMINGTON, Ohio-Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave his State of the State address on Feb. 24 at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio to an audience that consisted largely of state legislators and  fellow Republicans, and he utilized the bulk of his 75-minute speech to push his tax plan and education funding proposals. And while political pundits said afterwards that Kasich's speech was directed to state legislators and did not indicate one way or another his intention to run for president next year, it was difficult to ignore the fact that the popular governor closed with 'God Bless America,' a phrase often used by presidents like Barack Obama in State of the Union addresses.

Click here for a transcript of the speech.

"God bless Ohio, God bless America, and God bless you," said Kasich, whose speech repeatedly highlighted job expansion and economic policy, and also covered drug addiction, mental health, and flaws in a legal system under scrutiny, among other issues.

The governor's speech on the state of affairs in Ohio comes on the heels of his reelection last November with a landslide vote over former Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald. It also follows controversial police killings that have put Ohio in the national spotlight

The unprecedented killings, which have spurred racial unrest and ongoing community protests, include the Cleveland police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice , and John Crawford, who was shot dead at a Walmart store in Bevercreek, Ohio for grabbing a fake gun from a store shelf.

Adding further speculation to the general consensus that Kasich will make a bid for president in 2016 was his bipartisan compliments to Black Democratic state legislators, specifically state Rep Alicia Reese (D-33) of Cincinnati,  former state Sen. Nina Turner, who is now the chair of political engagement for the Ohio Democratic Party,  and state Sen. Sandra Williams (D-22) and state Rep John Barnes Jr. (D-12), the three of them of whom are Cleveland Democrats.

Turner also chairs the governor's task force on police-community relations, which he established late last year at the urging of Turner and Williams.

“These events demand our attention as we work to create safer communities and effective law enforcement strategies. We must not be complacent in addressing these issues, as every large metropolitan area of the state has experienced civil unrest centering on police conduct within the past half century,” wrote Turner and Williams in a letter to Kasich.

"Tonight I want to salute Nina Turner," said Kasich.  "She's done a great job on the commission [task force]."

Ohio is a pivotal state for presidential elections and Cuyahoga County, which includes the majority Black city of Cleveland and 58 other municipalities, townships or villages, is the largest of 88 counties statewide, and a Democratic stronghold.

A former congressman in the first year of his second four-year term, Kasich ousted Democrat Ted Strickland in 2010, and Strickland is now fighting back, having announced publicly this week his decision to run next year for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Rob Portman.

The governor wants the state income tax eliminated and said during his speech that to do otherwise merely drives businesses to  other states that do not have an income tax mandate, including Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Nevada.

But Kasich, 63, also urged the Ohio General Assembly to cut the state’s income tax rate by 23 percent and to eliminate it altogether for small business owners, initiatives that are part of his overall agenda to cut taxes by $500 million over a two year period beginning this year.

Kasich talked about what he called a $1.5 billion surplus, and said that unemployment in Ohio is "the lowest in a decade."

Blacks, however, are not at parity with Whites, whether its jobs, education or the manner in which they are treated or mistreated  by the nation's legal system. A Cleveland NAACP study found that the majority White judges of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas hand out harsher sentences to Blacks, and a report released late last year by the U.S. Department of Justice found systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department, including a pattern of excessive force.

Unemployment in Ohio for Blacks harbors at 12 percent, compared to roughly five percent for Whites.

The governor called for a 21st century education system and said that the future of the state is still at risk unless education and jobs are a priority.

"It all starts with job creation and a strong economy," said Kasich.

The Third Grade Guarantee, a program that requires Cleveland kids to repeat the third grade if they are behind in reading, is successful, Kasich said,  a statement that was not data driven, and is questionable.

Kasich commented that education reform of the predominantly Black Cleveland Metropolitan School District is moving forward, though Cleveland students remain at the bottom relative to state mandated standardized testing, along with neighboring East Cleveland.

Kasich advocated for more flexibility in teacher evaluations, and  said that public schools that have more wealth should not expect to be allocated resources by the state commensurate to poor districts. He said nothing though about the continual refusal of the state legislature to revise its unconstitutional school funding system.

The Ohio Supreme Court , in DeRolph vs. State of Ohio, deemed Ohio's method of funding public education unconstitutional in 1997 because it relies too heavily on property taxes and creates property rich and property poor school districts. But  after 12 years of the failure by the state legislature to comply with its order to revise the formula, the high court relinquished jurisdiction or authority over the case in what some say was a slap in the face to poor children, a disproportionate number of them of whom are Black.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 March 2015 19:14 Read more...

Girlfriend accused of killing the brother of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams has died...By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

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Pictured are Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, his younger brother William Williams, 34, who was shot dead on Tuesday, February 24 at his home on the city's east side, and Dana Johnson, Williams Williams live-in girlfriend and the alleged shooter. Johnson allegedly shot herself in the head after fleeing the deadly scene, police said. She died yesterday, and had been on life support at a hospital in Pennsylvania.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

 

Coleman is a community activist and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Dana Johnson, 36, the girlfriend of the younger brother of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams who was accused of shooting and killing her estranged boyfriend and baby daddy on Tuesday with a bullet to the head has died, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed earlier today.

William Williams, 34, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning at the home the couple shared on the city's largely Black east side, and Johnson had been in critical condition and on life support at a Pennsylvania- area hospital after allegedly shooting herself in the head later that day. The tragic incident reportedly followed a routine domestic dispute.

A neighbor reportedly told police that Johnson had allegedly confessed to the killing right after it occurred.

The tragic incident reportedly followed a routine domestic dispute.

William Williams and Johnson had a contentious and sometimes violent relationship, according to police records, though no criminal charges were ever filed.

The estranged couple has two children together, ages 5, and 12, and the younger Williams also has another child by another woman.

Police said that Johnson fled the deadly scene and drove more than 100 miles until Pennsylvania State Police caught up with her on Interstate 76 in Brighton Township, some 36 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. She then allegedly turned the gun on herself as police approached her car, police said.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 00:41 Read more...

Cleveland police union president Steve Loomis, Councilman Reed to host community forum today, February 25 at 7 pm at New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church, 3474 East 147th Street, Black Shield and Hispanic police associations are also affiliates

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Pictured are Cleveland Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed (wearing suit), Black Shield Police Association President Lynn Hampton (wearing grey cap), and Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

Coleman is a community activist and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

CLEVELAND, OHIO- Cleveland Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed and  Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Lommis, whose collective bargaining union represents some 1450 non-supervisory patrol officers, detectives, and radio dispatchers of the Cleveland Police Department, have invited the community to a forum today, February 25, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. at New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church, 3474 East 147th Street.

Cleveland Police Fraternal Order of Police President Brian Betley, whose union represents police supervisors, is expected to attend too, Reed's office said earlier today.

Other police group affiliated with the event include the Black Shield Police Association, which is led by Lynn Hampton, and the Hispanic police association led by Cesar Herrera. Both association groups are nonprofit support organizations for minority Cleveland policemen.

The forum is to hear from the community and to give police a chance to tell what they go through in patrolling urban cities like Cleveland, a largely Black major American City led by Mayor Frank Jackson.

Loomis regained the helm of the powerful union last year by 300 votes for a two-year term, ousting then union president Jeffrey Follmer in a contentious election. Folmer had ousted Loomis two years earlier.

Loomis' win comes on the heels of the police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report released last December of  gross impropriety by Cleveland police from illegal deadly force, to vicious pistil whippings of adults and children, and "cruel and unusual punishment against the mentally ill."

Asked by Cleveland Urban News.Com during a 2012 interview following his loss to Follmer if it were a reflection on whether the union's rank and file support or reject the Jackson administration, Loomis, who joined the force in 1992, said at the time that he could not guess why he lost the union presidency.

"I don't know," said Loomis. "It may not be one way or another, but I like him [Mayor Jackson]."

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 20:39 Read more...

Brother of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams shot dead with gunshot wound to the head, allegedly by live-in girlfriend, who later allegedly turned the gun on herself...By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

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Pictured are Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, his younger brother William Williams, 34, who was shot dead on Tuesday, February 24, and Dana Johnson, Williams Williams live-in girlfriend and the mother of his children. Johnson, 36, is charged with aggregated murder and is in critical condition at a Pennsylvania- area hospital following a purported self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

Coleman is a community activist and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio-The younger brother of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams died of a gunshot wound to the head early Tuesday morning, the apparent shooting by an estranged girlfriend who reportedly is the mother of his two of his three children, and is in critical condition at a Pennsylvania- area hospital  after allegedly shooting herself in the head later that day. The tragic incident reportedly followed a routine domestic dispute.

William D. Williams, 34, was found dead at his home in the 10600 block of Grantwood Avenue on the city's largely Black east side  early Tuesday morning, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said, who ruled the killing a homicide. The incident followed a reported domestic dispute.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Chief Calvin Williams and his family," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press statement. "I ask that everyone respect their privacy during this difficult time."

Dana Johnson, 36, is charged with aggravated murder stemming from the incident.

Police said that Johnson fled the deadly scene and drove more than 100 miles until Pennsylvania State Police caught up with her on Interstate 76 in Brighton Township, some 36 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. She then allegedly turned the gun on herself as police approached her car, police said.

Williams Williams and Johnson had a contentious and sometimes violent relationship,  according to police records.

A 27-year veteran of the police force, Calvin Williams, 50, was promoted last February by Mayor Jackson from deputy police chief to police chief. He is the third Black police chief of the City of Cleveland, a majority Black major American city.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 17:39 Read more...

Oscars 2015 full list of winners, John Legend talks incarceration of Black men and voting rights in his Oscar acceptance speech, Legend also talked voting rights in a one-on-one- interview with Cleveland Urban News.Com in 2012 as he campaigned for Obama

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Pictured are R&B Singer and Songwriter John Legend (without beard) and Hip Hop Artist Common ( wearing beard). Both received an Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards Sunday night for best original song for "Glory," the theme song on the Selma movie soundtrack. Selma lost in the best movie category to Birdman.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

Coleman is a community activist and 21-year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

LOS ANGELES, California-Ohio native John Legend and hip hop artist Common took home the Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards Sunday night for best original song for 'Glory"  from the Selma movie soundtrack, with Legend condemning the high rate of incarceration of Black men during his acceptance speech, and saying that voting rights that Blacks and others fought to gain during the Civil Rights movement have been compromised. The Grammy award winning artist took the same voting rights stance in 2012 during a one-on-one interview with Cleveland Urban News.Com while he campaigned in Ohio for the reelection of President Obama. (Editor's note: Read the full list of the 2015 Oscar winners at the end of this article, and read the one-on-one interview by Cleveland Urban News.Com with Legend, published in 2012, by clicking on the link below)

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH JOHN LEGEND BY CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS AND CLICK HERE TO READ THE ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH JOHN LEGEND BY THE KATHY WRAY COLEMAN ONLINE NEWS BLOG.COM

"We know that the voting rights they fought for 50 years ago are being compromised in this country today," said Legend during his acceptance speech on Sunday, one that drew a standing ovation, as did his moving Oscar performance with Common earlier that night that brought some audience members to tears.

He added that "more Black men are under correctional control today than were in slavery."

Legend's comments on voting were relative to state laws adopted by Republican dominated state legislatures across the country that suppress voting and as to provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that removed barriers to voting in Southern U.S. states, provisions that are facing court scrutiny in recent years to the detriment of the Black community.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2013, struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required federal court approval for state legislatures to adopt or to substantively amend voting rights laws, a previous mandate designed to counter historical racial discrimination in voting in some states. Ohio is not among those discretionary states, though it and others are impacted by the ruling.

A native of Springfield, Ohio, a city 25 miles northeast of Dayton, Legend, 36, earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania before becoming a famous songwriter, musician and R&B singer.

During the interview with Cleveland Urban News.Com, which was published on September 7, 2012, Legend spoke on women's rights, abortion rights, and gay rights, all of which he supports, though he is not gay, and is married to model Chrissy Teigen. And he addressed a number of other issues, including  his professional relationship and friendship with singer Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Voting rights were at the heart of the interview, and Legend is passionate and well versed on the controversial subject.

"As you know Republican dominated state legislatures across the country have passed or are attempting to pass state laws that suppress the Black vote. How do you feel about it?" asked Cleveland Urban News.Com editor-in-chief Kathy Wray Coleman during the 2012 interview with Legend.

"Well, I think it’s a tragedy," said Legend in responding to the question. "Lately, the Republicans have been admitting that they just want to suppress certain votes to win the elections for their side."

Legend said also during that interview that in 'Pennsylvania, you saw that one of the state politicians there stated that the state's voter identification laws would help Mitt Romney win,' and in Ohio, "the state official [Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted] stated that he didn't want to extend voting hours in the Democratic communities because he didn't want to do anything to help Black people vote."

"It’s a clear violation of equal rights," Legend told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper.

Selma was also nominated for best picture but lost Sunday night to Birdman.

Black actors received not one academy awards nomination, prompting widespread criticism, including from Oscar Host Neil Patrick Harris, who joked to the audience that"tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest, I mean brightest.”

A full list of 2015 Oscar winners is as follows:

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 19:26 Read more...

A Black History Moment From Cleveland Urban News.Com: February is Black History Month, Crispus Attucks was the first Black man to die in a major American war, Blacks still feel the vestiges of slavery through high unemployment, high incarceration rates

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Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.

(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio-It’s Black history month, so let's talk a little bit about Black history. Do we really know the true history of the plight of African-Americans and their African ancestors?

History reveals that Black people were enslaved initially by Blacks people in Africa and then sold to be brought to America for further slavery to work our fields and to perform other subservient measures. But remember that it was White men that brought our ancestors to America in chains. Those chains still plague the Black community through high unemployment,  disproportionate incarcerations of Black men and women, and underfunded public school districts that serve majority Black and poor children, among other systemic problems

The very first Black killed in a major American war was a Black man named Crispus Attucks, who died in the Revolutionary War. Hundreds of  Black soldiers were among the casualties at Bunker Hill.

Blacks were at one time, if not even now in some situations, counted as 3/5 of a person. And while the slavery of Blacks is not mentioned in the constitution, it is implicated under the 14th Amendment, which demands equal protection under the law for members of a protected class like Black people, and women.

President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order of The Emancipation Proclamation did not start the American Civil War, but it help to end it. President Lincoln was a Republican, as was Civil Rights activist and historian Frederick Douglas.

Jim Crow laws kept Blacks traditionally enslaved and the Ku Klux Klan was started in part because racist Whites wanted  to keep former slaves in line and were angry that slavery had ended in the official sense.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s served to stop the Jim Crow laws.  King gave his life to better America, and the official holiday named in his honor is well deserved.

The Civil Rights Act of 1965 was signed by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, with some saying he did so solely under threat of an override veto. Still, Johnson pushed the federal act  through Congress, along with Dr. King, and a host of others.

What will children in our schools be taught this month about Black history? Will it be that Michael Jackson was a great man? How do we define greatness? Do we forgive major flaws? Yes we can. Pop singer Michael Jackson knew his craft, and was truly a great musician and song writer of all time.

Some of the other true greats  include the late Carl B. Stokes, the first Black mayor of a major American city, whom Cleveland voters elected in 1967. Stokes later held the post under former president Bill Clinton of U.S. Ambassador to Seychelles and was a Cleveland Municipal Court judge. His older brother, Louis Stokes, is the first Black congressman from Ohio and led the 11th congressional district until his retirement in 1998.

The late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, of Cleveland, the first Black Cuyahoga County prosecutor followed Stokes to congress and was the first Black woman in Congress from Ohio. Her successor is Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge,  who is also Black, and who currently leads the predominantly Black 11th congressional district

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 17:22 Read more...

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The annual11th Congressional District Caucus Parade is Monday, September 2

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress. waives to the crowd last year at the annual 11th Congressional District Caucus Parade.  This year's parade kicks off on Monday, September 2 on Cleveland's east side at 10:00 am from E. 149th Street and Kinsman Road and ends at Luke Easter Park where the picnic will begin. The event will be replete with political speeches and entertainment from various sources, including local musicians and bands. The well-attended caucus parade was initiated by Democrat Louis Stokes, the retired congressman before Fudge, and the tradition was furthered by the late Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudges' predecessor. Stokes was the first Black congressperson from Ohio and Tubbs Jones was the first Black congresswoman from Ohio

Michael Brown attorney to represent family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old whom Cleveland police killed, attorneys call for Mayor Frank Jackson to fire safety director Michael McGrath and former safety director Martin Flask, now a chief assistant to the mayor, attorneys also want community oriented police advisory board and say the family does not trust Cleveland police to indict the White police officer that killed Rice

 

Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice along side Benjamin Crump, Leonard Warner and Walter Madison speaks during a news conference in Cleveland

 

Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Dec. 8, 2014. To the left of Samaria Rice is Rice family Attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represents the families of slain Black unarmed teens  Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.  To the right of Sanaria Rice is Akron based attorney Walter Madison, who will assist Crump in the controversial case that has caused racial unrest in the largely Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland. Photo by Aaron Josedczyk—Reuters