Portantino punished, can’t carry resolution for Ralph McKnight

PASADENA
- The fallout from Anthony Portantino’s vote against a
Democrat-backed state budget plan has cost him the chance to push a memorial recognition for a Pasadena civil rights leader.

Portantino,
D-La Canada Flintridge
, said state Assembly leaders won’t accept his
memorial resolution for Ralph McKnight, the Pasadena civil rights
leader who died on July 19.

“When
there are prominent people in the community that you want to
memorialize you put in a request. Ralph was a stalwart activist and a
friend,” he said. “The assembly is not processing any memorial
resolutions from my office.”

Portantino
blasted state lawmakers for playing politics, when they should spend
the energy recognizing McKnight’s accomplishments.

“I personally thinks it’s taking this
issue to a new low,” Portantino said.

At least one local political leader is
lashing back at Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, for his
actions against Portantino.

“I
sent Mr. Perez an e-mail this morning to tell him to leave our
Assemblyman alone,” said Renatta Cooper, PUSD board president. “It
is very small and in some ways he is disenfranchising our community. It’s not up to Mr. Perez to punish our Assemblyman, it’s up to the
constituents to do so.”

Cooper likened the actions of the Assembly Speaker to those of
Congressional Republicans during the debt ceiling debate.

“People
have to be able to vote their conscious and not giving them the
ability to do so is no different than Republicans taken a no-tax
pledge,” she said.

Pasadena
Journal Publisher and Editor Joe Hopkins
applauded Portantino for
standing up to his own party and voting his conscious on the budget.

“Hooray for standing for what’s
right,” Hopkins said. “Now, you no the price for standing
up.”

McKnight was a popular community leader
in Pasadena, who mentored many of the current crop of community
activists, according to Pasadena-branch NAACP President Joe Brown.

Ralph
McKnight
was a fellow that helped us young guys when we entered the
public arena,” Brown said. “He taught me not to worry about being
seen but to be concerned about being heard.”

Meanwhile, plans are in the works for California state Senator Carol Liu will
carry a memorial resolution for McKnight, Portantino said.

He plans to support the resolution.  

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