Huffpost Los Angeles

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Morris W. O'Kelly Headshot

Meet Felton Newell and the Dubious LA Political Machine Opposing Him

Posted: Updated:

2010-03-23-avatarfelton600_3.jpgYou have to love politics in all of its gory splendor. The elected officials charged with the stewardship often engage in questionable if not outright criminal behavior. More times than not, these same individuals maintain office for years if not decades, relying more as time goes by on name recognition and press releases rather than substantive and measurable progress.

Then again, maybe I'm just a cynic. Maybe...

In February, the venerable Congresswoman Diane Watson announced her forthcoming retirement, eventually leaving California's 33rd congressional district in the hands of someone new. Her retirement after a long career of public service was not surprising or unexpected. What did raise my eyebrow was that in most of those news reports, it was "suggested" her likely successor would be Karen Bass, Speaker Emeritus for the California State Assembly.

Oddly enough, at that time, Bass had not announced her candidacy. Maybe the press knew something that most of Los Angelenos did not know... meaning, they could predict the future without Bass having yet declared her candidacy, or without even the primary in June.


The Los Angeles Times recorded the moment as follows:

Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles), a prominent African American politician for more than three decades, plans to announce her retirement from Congress on Thursday, opening her seat for a possible run by termed-out state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

If I have this right, (and I do) the Los Angeles Times declared that the Congresswoman "plans to announce her retirement" and that this opens her seat "for a possible run" by Karen Bass.

Yes, and "maybe" the Lakers will win the championship. But let's go ahead and have the playoffs anyway... without outside undue influence corrupting the outcome. Believe it or not, it's the right thing to do.

The article went even further, acknowledging Bass had no comment on her political future.

So if we turn around and check the tote board, not only had Watson yet to retire and Bass yet to declare; the "news" outlet didn't even mention the candidate who was already in the race since April of 2009. It was public information and quite simple to unearth.

Felton Newell.

The news outlet eschewed the one inarguable fact for complete speculation. Well done, Los Angeles Times, well done.

What "news" was being reported and what due diligence did the outlet do before running the story? It is not a rhetorical question. It speaks to the very essence of a political process arguably rife with secret handshakes and backroom deals which brought California and other states to their knees during this recession.

It is not a rhetorical question.

In the aggregation of facts to support a news story on the political future of one of the most prominent congressional districts in California, somehow the Los Angeles Times failed miserably... arguably intentionally. In any discussion as to the future of the congressional district, it would seem an acknowledgment of someone already in the race would be in order.

More expressly, the "handing off" of a constituency from a retiring congresswoman to a then-undeclared candidate is an implied endorsement by both the congresswoman and the news outlet. It reeks of dirty pool, at best.

At best...

To this end, meet Felton Newell, prosecutor and loyal son of Los Angeles who largely has been flying under the media radar, but is quite familiar in the community in which he serves. Today in The Mo'Kelly Report, I take a moment to get the thoughts and perspectives of the one candidate who didn't declare his candidacy as a result of political opportunity or expediency.

Click HERE for audio interview.

Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo'Kelly Report. For more Mo'Kelly, Mo'Kelly can be reached at and he welcomes all commentary.