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Clergyman Denounces Use Of Name On Hit Piece
October 22, 2001
I just had an interesting chat with Pastor Tommie Bradford of the Independent Community Church, 605 South 16th Street, Richmond, CA 94804 (510/235-8688). Pastor Bradford was one of the five pastors of Richmond churches who were represented as having signed "A Letter to the People of Richmond," featured in the now infamous BMW hit piece directed at me.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

"Tom Butt brought ... shame ... loss of honor ... families hurt ... to Richmond's African American Neighborhoods."

"His outrageous lies and allegations of African American leaders taking bribes still resonates."

"The F.B.I. raid precipitated by Tom Butt hurt our City's image by suggesting our leaders are corrupt."

"We hope the lager Richmond Community: White, Latino and Asian can understand the African American Community's pain."

"Please, there are other good choices for Mayor ... Choices that can bring our City together."

"Our City has many cultures ... All must be respected."

"The African American Community can never forgive Tom Butt."

"Please help us."

I was particularly surprised to see Pastor Bradford's name on the letter because I had visited his church only a couple of months ago on August 26. I found him and his congregation to be hospitable, and I found him to be a true gentleman. At his invitation, I briefly addressed the congregation, who welcomed me with applause.

So I phoned Pastor Bradford this evening to see what had changed from the time he had so generously welcomed me to his church. What I found out is that he had never signed such a letter and had no knowledge of it.

Although I have not contacted the other four pastors who were shown as signatories on the most recent hit piece, I recall that a similar letter was included in a hit piece in 1995, supposedly authored by Rev, Orenzia Bernstine and Rev. J.L. Johnson, which stated, "We believe it is important that the people understand that Butt is a thief. As Christians, it is our duty to oppose Tom Butt. We do not believe that Tom Butt can be trusted to represent us on the City Council."

After the election, both Bernstine and Johnson told me that they were not aware that their names would be affixed to such a letter.

This is yet another example of how outright lies are being perpetrated and representations of respected clergymen's own signatures are being stolen to further the nefarious aims of Darrel Reese, who would have the gall to use the same hit piece as an effort to rehabilitate his own sullied reputation.

The Fair Political Practices Commission fined Local 188 $17,000 for Reese's lies on a 1997 hit piece, and the U.S. Government made him a felon for lying about money he received as a lobbyist. Does anyone believe these hit pieces?