By Joe W. Bowers Jr. and Edward Henderson | California Black Media
(CBM) – Your roundup of stories you might have missed last week.
Karim Webb Elected to Serve as President of Board of Airport Commissioners
On July 13, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) unanimously elected Karim Webb as the group’s President.
Webb is an Entrepreneurial Activist and CEO of 4thMVMT, a Los Angeles-based firm that partners with individuals from underserved communities to own and operate competitive retail businesses.
“It is an incredible honor to serve as President of Board of Airport Commissioners,” said Webb. “An extraordinarily talented group of Commissioners have been assembled to ensure the benefits of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) are realized equitably across our region.
“Collectively, we’ll work to support the LAWA team complete the transformation of LAX while centering the interests of all Angelinos in all we do,” said Webb, who is the son of Reggie Webb, a philanthropist and owner of McDonald’s franchises in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass congratulated Webb on his election to BOAC President.
“I am confident that LAWA will continue to innovate and grow its impact in the region under the leadership of President Karim Webb and Vice President Matt M. Johnson.”
Bass also congratulated Courtney La Bau and Victor Narro on their appointments as new commissioners of BOAC.
L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price Says Charges Are “Unwarranted” as He Makes First Court Appearance
On July 13, embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price made his first court appearance since L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón filed charges against him last month.
Gascón is charging Price with receiving nearly $34,000 in medical benefits for his current wife, Del Richardson Price, between 2013 and 2017 while he was still married to his former wife. Prosecutors also allege that Price made several false statements on forms, including misstating his wife’s income.
Price, 72, who continues to serve his district on the city council, did not speak to reporters at the hearing but released a statement afterward.
“We believe that the charges filed by the D.A.’s office are completely unwarranted and that the facts will bear this out,”
Price said. “I have always conducted myself, in and out of the public eye, with integrity and professionalism.”
If convicted, Price could face 8 to 10 years in prison.
Gov. Newsom Signs Legislation to Speed Up Infrastructure Projects
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an infrastructure package aimed at accelerating construction on projects that will help California meet its 2035 clean energy goals.
The recently approved state budget allocates $180 billion towards related infrastructure development. It is estimated that these projects could create up to 400,000 jobs, according to the Governor’s office.
“For decades, infrastructure projects critical to our future have stalled because of a pervasive mindset of ‘no,’” said Newsom in a press release. “With this legislation, California is saying ‘yes’ to building the clean energy, safe drinking water and transportation projects we need to deliver on our world-leading climate action. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and build California’s future.”
Newsom also signed components of the 2023-24 state budget agreement, which includes $37.8 billion in total budgetary reserves. This represents the largest figure in state history.
In Annual “Top States for Business” Report, California Gets “F” for Cost of Living and Business Friendliness
Every year CNBC releases a “Top States for Business” ranking.
The network evaluated all 50 states on 86 metrics across 10 broad categories of competitiveness. Each category was weighted based on how frequently states used it as a selling point to attract potential residents and businesses. The metrics were scored on a scale of 2,500 points and the states with the highest scores made the list.
California gained top rankings in ‘Access to Capital’ and ‘Technology & Innovation’. However, the state received F rankings in ‘Business Friendliness’ and ‘Cost of Living’. Overall, California ranked number 25 in the study.
“Our overall ranking should come as no surprise to the governor and Legislature, who continue to push higher taxes, fees, and expensive regulations onto businesses,” said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable.
“The governor and Legislature’s policies continue to give clear signals that California is not a friendly place to expand or grow jobs,” Lapsley added.
State Board of Education Votes Unanimously to Adopt Math Framework for California Public Schools
On July 12, the California State Board of Education unanimously passed a new framework for Math instruction.
The nearly 1,000-page document calls for significant changes in instruction, emphasizing approaches that engage students through problem-solving, creating context and relating the subject to their daily lives.
Proponents of the new approach say that the goal is to build a conceptual understanding of the subject matter before introducing the math procedures and algorithms that have traditionally been taught first.
The changes to the mathematical framework in response to declining math test scores, which are largely attributed to outdated textbooks and students struggling to recover from the pandemic and readjust to in-person learning.
Only 33% of students met or exceeded mathematics proficiency standards in 2022.
“The framework’s focus on fundamental concepts, open-ended tasks, justice, student inquiry, reasoning and justification aligns with effective mathematics teaching practices,” state board member Gabriela Orozco-Gonzalez told edsource.org.
U.S. Small Business Administration Gives L.A.-Based Black-Owned Fintech Firm SBA Preferred Lender Status
Last week, Lendistry, a Los Angeles-based fintech firm that administered COVID-19 state grants to small businesses in California, announced that it has been granted Preferred Lender status by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Preferred Lender Program grants SBA lenders the ability to underwrite and approve SBA loans independently without waiting for the SBA to review them, resulting in faster and more flexible decisions for customers, according to a Lendistry press release.
“In a time when stricter lending rules are slowing the flow of capital to businesses and households, we’re determined to keep expanding financing opportunities,” says Everett K. Sands, CEO of Lendistry. “Technology is the key to equitable lending.”
Derek Smith Joins California African American Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
The California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) has unanimously added Derek Smith to its Board of Directors. Smith is the founder and managing member of Marinship Development Interest, a California African American Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) leading heavy building and construction innovation for civil and energy infrastructure projects.
CAACC Chairman Timothy Alan Simon, announced that Smith’s experience, leadership skills, resourcefulness, professional achievements, and ability to approach strategic solutions will prove useful to CAACC’s leadership team and objectives.
Smith said he will help the largest African American, statewide-business organization expand exponentially, increase its professional capacity and enhance its image. He will operate as CAACC’s “spokesperson” and is looking forward to elevating the profile of the organization in California and throughout the country.