December 01, 2022

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

Managing Editor

 

Earl E. Gales Jr., the skillful and creative founder of Jenkins/Gales & Martinez, Inc., has died. According to an announcement by JGM, Jenkins passed away on November 20.

As a premier architect, engineering and construction management professional, Gales and his firm played leading roles in scores of projects in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.  JGM made significant contributions to the building of the L.A. Metro Line, L.A. Community College District and California’s high-speed rail system.

The firm also directed or partnered on civic projects such as the Hollywood Park Development, Banc of California Stadium, Vermont-Adams Shopping Center, L.A. Convention Center and LAX Landside Access Modernization Project.

His passing prompted many of his colleagues to express admiration for his talent, character and business acumen.  Drake Dillard, a Los Angeles-based architect with Perkins & Will, recalled his excitement at meeting Gales many years ago.

“To see another Black person in my profession having a successful business for as long as he did made a great impression on me.  Also, I am involved with NOMA – National Organization of Minority Architects - and whenever we asked him for support or help, he never said no. He gave his time and he also gave money as well,” Dillard said.

According to Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., chairman of Bakewell Media and a longtime friend, “Earl Gales was just an incredible human being.  He was a great businessman, great friend, great father, great husband, great community advocate, just an all around great person. 

“Aline and I, and in fact our entire family, was heartbroken to hear of his passing.  The lights of this city are a little dimmer because of his passing,” said Bakewell, who was also a client of Gales and served with him on the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade.

Referring to Gales as “my esteemed colleague,” architect Virginia Tanzmann said, “We were in friendly competition for many years, and we also collaborated on several large civic projects. His passing — too soon! — is a loss to the entire community.”

Offering similar comments, attorney Rickey Ivie declared, “Earl was a terrific guy. It’s so hard to believe that we’ve lost him.  His intelligence, generosity, love for his community and friendship - Earl was simply one of the best persons I have ever known!”

Although in different professions, Ivie and Gales became close from working together on various community projects. Both were proud Bruins (UCLA mascot) and often collaborated on initiatives to encourage more African American to enroll at the university.

“Earl and I worked to raise funds for UCLA Black Alumni Scholarships. Also, he’s one of the few African Americans who had the vision to start a scholarship for Black students – the Earl Gales Jr. Endowed Scholarship at Cal Poly Pomona, which he did many years ago,” Ivie said.

He added that they joined efforts on several political campaigns as well. “Like me, Earl was keenly aware that the Black community needed and deserved committed and accountable representatives,” noted Ivie. “Earl worked hard and gave generously towards achieving those goals.”

Gales was well known for generously lending his time, talents and treasures to charitable operations. Ivie said, “He made a difference in a tangible way. He stepped up and stepped up good when you went to him for help.  Also, you never heard anybody say anything bad about him and you never heard him say anything bad about anyone else.”

Gales, who also served as chairman of the board of JGM, founded the company in 1981 and guided it to becoming one of the largest minority-owned firms in the field. The statement on JGM’s Linkedin page attributed the firm’s success to Gales “fostering a company culture of comradery (sic) and teamwork, and always making time to say hi, genuinely check in, and get to know each employee. He created a family-like work environment that JGM will carry on.”

“Earl was a good example of a successful Black businessman working in this industry – in design, construction and management of projects. He was an example that people could see,” said Dillard.

He received his Bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Cal Poly Pomona and earned a Master’s degree in architecture and urban design from UCLA.  In addition, Gales advised two U.S. presidents on transportation and infrastructure development and two governors on mentorship and volunteer service.

In addition, he co-authored three books and penned books on African art and architecture, and infrastructure development for various African countries (West and South Africa).  Also, he wrote numerous articles on topics including multi-family housing development, transportation policy and design, correctional facilities, and the delivery of educational planning and design.

Other topics he wrote about included air transportation infrastructure in West Africa, the design of small correctional facilities, the effects of integration on real estate values, and the impact of transportation systems in the minority community.

In the area of community service, Gales served on the Boards of the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Board/Sports Spectacular, UCLA/Graduate School of Arts and Architecture, UCLA Board of Counselors, Loyola Marymount University Engineering School, African American Unity Center, Vermont Village Community Development Corporation. He is also past chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization, Bel Air Chapter.

Funeral services were still pending at press time.

 

Category: News

November 24, 2022

By Devyn Bakewell

Assistant Managing Editor

 

A&R and Producer Pusha Rod is a Los Angeles Native dedicated to shifting the culture.  Known as a former A&R of Urban Music at Interscope Records, the young executive got into the industry by being what he calls a “professional homie”, giving his advice to artists about their music and then working to get their music in the hands and ears of the people.

About a year ago, the Producer left Urban Music at Interscope to start his own recording studio, Creative Soundz Recording, where he hosts a number of very notable recording artist and does A&R work independently. He even recently produced his best friend and Rapper YG’s newest hit album “I GOT ISSUES” .

In an interview with the L.A. Watts Times, Pusha Rod took some time to discuss the path of his career, and how it led to the opening of his own business.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started in the music industry. I just thought I was being a good friend,” Pusha Rod told LAS. “At one point in time, a few of us were all trying to figure out this music stuff, so we were all staying with YG. I had just dropped out of college, and we were all just living at his house.”

Rapper YG is a close friend of Push Rod. Rod shared that, while living with the rapper, he’d already came out with his first project. He’d sit in the back of the studio while YG was recording, not doing too much, until one day they started asking his opinions on the music.

 

“Then that switch happened when someone asked me why I didn’t like the music. I said what I thought and gave my honest opinion, and they’d be like ‘you know what? I feel you. I was feeling the same way.’ And it went from that to starting to ask other questions.”

Pusha Rod assisted Sycamore (the A&R on YG’s album “My Krazy Life”) in finding producers and artist to work on that album, and he was the one who told him the work he was doing was A&R.

“I just thought I was doing what real friends do. I’ve never been a Yes Man in my life, so I just thought I was doing good by my friends…So then, I started trying to play in {A&R] a little more, build my relationships a little more, and then Joiewas actually President of A&R at Def Jam at the time, but he ended up going to Interscope and moving to LA. He told Sycamore he needed someone on the ground, who’s connected with everybody, who could get in contact with the biggest artists to the smallest producers to writers. Sycamore was like that’s Pusha Rod. He’s that guy in LA”

He continued, “I met with Joie and then the rest was history.”

Pusha Rod worked at Interscope for about eight years before he decided to venture out into his own business. He shared that he “learned a lot.”

“I’m very grateful for the time I spent there, but I always at some point felt I was missing something.” He said, “ I wanted to figure out what that next step was in my career, and I have a lot of relationships with a lot of artist that’re signed at different labels across the board, who I give advice to, who call me and might need help getting a feature, so I asked myself what’s something involving music that I can do, but also doesn’t have any specific holes or ties to anybody.”

This led to the start of Creative Soundz Recordings.

“I knew if I opened up a studio, anybody could come. I could go into anybody’s session and talk with anybody for hours. When I left Interscope, I was like ‘alright this was a great chapter of my life, but what’s the level up? I’m not gonna leave Interscope and go be a senior director at a different label. Like that mean’s my life is staying consistent.’”

The recording studio, located on Melrose, was originally the home of Buzzfeed Studios in the early 2000s and 90s, and was already a “landmark” in entertainment. Pusha Rod made it a point to give it a different light.

“I’ve traveled to hundreds of studios, and one thing that I have learned over the years is that a lot of studios that we use as Hip Hop artist aren’t necessarily Hip Hop studios. Studios are made for like pop and rock, and the sound is literally built to build a different type of music.”

Pusha Rod shared that “even the structures of the rooms” aren’t made for Hip Hop music. He also shared that, in some studios, artists are forced to used equipment that’s almost thirty or forty years old.

“Over the years, while working with the artist I’ve worked with, I’ve seen the things that they ask for, and I took that knowledge and brought it to my own because I feel that there’s not too many Hip Hop studios in Hollywood. There’s a lot of beautiful, amazing studios that Hip Hop artist use, but there aren’t too many studios made for us.”

Born and raised in LA, Pusha Rod shares that making this business opportunity in his hometown feels amazing. He’s assisted in bringing out some of the “dopest artists in the West Coast who’ve pushed the culture over the last decade.” He also voiced that he’s an avid advocate of his city.

“I rep LA everywhere I go,” he enthused. “I’m very proud of being from here, and I’m very proud to help shed light on LA because a lot of things get misconstrued. It’s dope to be able to move the way I move throughout the city and throughout the music industry and interchange some of those relationships.”

He continued, “I introduce dope people to other dope people because a lot of times people come out here and they meet the wrong people, and they get the wrong impression of LA. I’m trying to be the correct impression.”

For those looking to follow in Pusha Rod’s footsteps of working in A&R, his key tip is to “lock in with an artist or producer, and really work to understand them.

Help them make the best music possible based on themselves and what they’re willing to talk about. And be honest because, a lot of times, people get into these positions and feel like they have to say yes. But when you say yes to things that you don’t believe in or don’t love, people start to second guess you. So never second guess yourself or your opinion for a like. People are going to respect you for your honest. Not for falling in the room.”

To keep up to date on Pusha Rod, check out his Instagram (@pusharod). You can also visit Creative Soundz Recordings website: https://creativesoundzrecording.com.

Category: News

November 24, 2022

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

Managing Editor

 

Standing before a multi-ethnic group of supporters, Mayor-elect Karen Bass declared her intentions to tackle the city’s most pressing issues on day one of her tenure.

Bass expressed that commitment at her first press conference since being recognized as the winner of Los Angeles mayoral race on Wednesday, Nov. 16.  Scores of advocates and members of the press were invited to the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Mid-City L.A. to hear about the initial plans of the history-maker, who is the first woman and second African American to lead Los Angeles.

Attired in a bright green power suit, the next chief executive of Los Angeles thanked everyone who backed her campaign, then vowed to assemble a team to immediately address the top concerns of the electorate – namely homelessness, housing affordability and crime.

 

Acknowledging the challenges inherent in tackling those problems, Bass alluded to the approach that her colleague, the late John Lewis, often recommended “when facing a difficult situation.”

 

“He said, ‘If you couldn’t feel like you knew how to solve the problem, then it was your responsibility to make a way out of no way.’ That’s the spirit that drove me to run for mayor and it’s the spirit through which I will govern,” insisted the mayor-elect.

She also commended Rick Caruso, her opponent in the race, saying that she had “great respect for anyone willing to put it all on the line to serve the public.”  Caruso phoned Bass on Nov. 15, to concede and congratulate her on the win, a conversation she described as “great.” 

She added, “I know he will continue his civic participation in the city that we both love.  I look forward to working together with him in the future.”

Also, Bass pledged to be the mayor for everyone, “no matter who you voted for,” she said. “I will be the mayor for you,” promised Bass.  “The crisis we face affects us all and all of us must be part of the solution.” Widely labeled as a coalition-builder, Bass said that she will use those skills to “marshal the resources” to solve the plights facing Los Angeles. 

 

People familiar with the many talents that Bass possesses nodded in agreement as she spoke those words and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who attended the event, outlined his reasons for his belief in her capabilities.

“I’ve watched Karen bring people together that wouldn’t be together otherwise, and I’ve seen her put them in the position to do their best work,” Harris-Dawson said. “I think that’s what the city needs right now. This city has great people, great capacity, but we all got to row in the same direction and we’ve all got to be focused on the same goal. I think Karen has the singular ability to allow us to do that.”

 

Wendy Gladney, who has known and worked with Bass for more than 30 years, voiced similar comments. “I think Karen has the power of the people behind her and support across the board. I think her dreams and plans will come to fruition based on her love of the city, her love of the community and her desire to make a difference. Also, she’s humble and not out for any power trip,” noted Gladney.

Gladney’s daughter, Courtney, who was one of the many young adults cheering Bass’ remarks at the press conference, echoed that reflection. 

“I’ve been supportive of Karen since day one. I’ve known her since I was a little girl when she was out in the community with my mom. As young African American woman, it’s important to see yourself in this position and it’s just a very exciting day to see her win.”

According to Pastor Edward Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church in the West Adams District, “Karen Bass represents the best of Black Los Angeles and the hope of many of our ancestors to have a Black woman mayor who have a vision to eliminate homelessness and gentrification and making sure we have living wage jobs.”

Pastor Najuma Smith-Pollard of Word of Encouragement Church in downtown L.A. referred to Bass’ plans as “the agenda for the people” when explaining why she supported the mayor-elect. “I believe in her agenda, I believe in her vision for Los Angeles,” Smith-Pollard said.  “I believe that Karen Bass has what it takes to collaborate and partner with the people of this city to make a difference.”

Category: News

November 24, 2022

By Sophie Austin

Associated Press

 

Democrat Malia Cohen has won the race for California controller, beating out a Republican who gave his party its best shot in years to end its losing streak in statewide elections.

Cohen will become the state's first Black controller, a role that involves disbursing state funds, auditing government agencies and serving on more than 70 boards and commissions. She says her past role leading the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' budget and finance committee makes her uniquely qualified for the job.

“As your controller, I will make sure our tax dollars address the homelessness crisis, protect our environment, and provide access to healthcare and reproductive freedom. Let's build a California where everyone thrives,'' Cohen said in a statement. “We have work to do, and I'm excited to get started.''

Cohen declared victory on election night, but The Associated Press did not call the race until the following Tuesday. Cohen was leading with 55% of the vote after more than 8 million ballots were counted.

Cohen hopes to make it easier for people to report fraud following the more than $20 billion of fraudulent unemployment benefits California gave to criminals during the pandemic. She wants to use her auditing power to identify problems within agencies and push for solutions to prevent them from happening again.

While Cohen had California's Democrat-dominated electorate on her side, Chen's campaign put up a competitive fight. Chen, who's never held elected office, brought in widespread attention, support and money from those in his party both in and out of the state.

He raised $3.3 million in campaign contributions for the year through the October reporting deadline, doubling what Cohen raised over that time period. Chen even brought in more money than Brian Dahle, the Republican candidate for governor.

Chen, a former policy adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, won the June primary, but there were four Democrats running against him who collectively won more votes. He marketed himself as someone who would be an independent watchdog of the state's finances.

Chen said in a statement Tuesday that it became clear he wouldn't win the race, adding that he reached out to Cohen to congratulate her.

“While our campaign was not successful, I am filled with gratitude for my wife, kids and family, whose steadfast support made my candidacy possible,'' he said.

Chen also thanked voters, volunteers and donors who supported his campaign.

Cohen, who serves on a state tax board, will follow a similar path to the role as Democrat Betty Yee, who served on the Board of Equalization before stepping into her role as controller. The board administers tax programs in the state.

Leading up to Election Day, the Chen campaign called into question Cohen's financial history after the Los Angeles Times reported that a condo she bought in 2006 was foreclosed on and a business license was suspended for tax issues. Cohen called attacks about the condo foreclosure exploitative and says the business license suspension resulted from a change of address.

Chen, a policy fellow now on leave at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank, waited until after the primary race to admit that he didn't vote for former President Donald Trump in 2016 or 2020. The Cohen campaign tried to tie him to Republicans pushing for anti-abortion legislation even though he says he supports abortion access, and the controller isn't responsible for pushing abortion policy in either direction.

Category: News

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