Elvis was the ‘King’ but Levi Stubbs was a prince

Jerry Brown, come back! We need a touch of san­ity in Sacra­mento

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS - Wil­liam P. War­ford [email protected] Wil­liam P. War­ford’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Tues­day, Fri­day and Sun­day.

Wed­nes­day was the King’s birthday. Elvis Pres­ley would have turned 85, mean­ing he has now been gone longer (43 years) than he was alive (42 years).

No doubt he was a great one, but I lis­tened to and read about an­other great one the other night — Levi Stubbs.

Stubbs, born a year af­ter Elvis, in 1936, was the lead singer of the leg­endary Mo­town group the Four Tops.

Ac­tive (with Stubbs as lead) from 1954 to 2004, the group sold more than 50 mil­lion records, in­clud­ing hits such “Ber­nadette,” “Stand­ing in the Shad­ows of Love,” “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “Baby, I Need Your Lovin’” and “It’s the Same Old Song.”

I some­times ask Alexa to play Mo­town songs, and of course the Four Tops are promi­nently fea­tured. I re­al­ized I didn’t know much about them and did a lit­tle re­search.

We didn’t have Google when I lis­tened to them in the 1960s.

Stubbs was more than a great singer. He was loyal and true to his roots.

Un­like so many lead singers in those days and ever since, Stubbs re­fused to go out on his own as a solo act.

He even re­fused to take lead billing over his long­time friends and band­mates — there would be no “Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops.”

He re­mained mar­ried to wife Clin­iece for 48 years, un­til his death from can­cer in 2008 at age 72.

Stubbs was born in Detroit and died in Detroit.

Elvis might have been the King, but Levi Stubbs was a prince of a fel­low.

Hear­ing the Four Tops to­day in­stantly takes me back to win­try nights in Cen­tral New York, lis­ten­ing to the top hits on WNDR in Syra­cuse.

Say what you want about Jerry Brown, at least our for­mer gover­nor was a check on the lu­nacy com­ing out of the far-left Leg­is­la­ture.

With Gavin New­som as gover­nor, any­thing goes. New­som signed many mea­sures pre­vi­ously ve­toed by Brown.

It says a lot when Jerry Brown looks like the model of nor­malcy com­pared to what we have now.

Brown would have ve­toed the ab­surd AB 5, the in­tru­sive mea­sure you’ve been read­ing about that makes it im­pos­si­ble for thou­sands of free­lance writ­ers to make a liv­ing.

Un­der the law, which granted ex­emp­tions to lob­bies that ap­par­ently coughed up enough cash in le­gal bribery, em­ploy­ers are lim­ited in whom they can em­ploy as in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors.

The goal os­ten­si­bly was to pre­vent Uber and Lyft from em­ploy­ing driv­ers full-time with­out of­fer­ing them ben­e­fits that full-time em­ploy­ees would re­ceive.

For writ­ers, like me and all the other Val­ley Press con­tribut­ing colum­nists, the cap is 35 ar­ti­cles per year.

Be­yond that and the pub­li­ca­tion must make you an em­ployee with the as­so­ci­ated ben­e­fits.

Ob­vi­ously writ­ten by peo­ple who have never run busi­nesses. I sus­pect many who voted for it have never held what you and I would call real jobs.

As noted in a front-page ar­ti­cle and editorial this week, the free­lancers of the state are su­ing on First Amend­ment grounds, with a hear­ing in March.

At three col­umns per week, the mid­dle of March would have me at my quota for 2020.

As I have a full-time teach­ing job, I nei­ther want nor need full-time em­ploy­ments/ben­e­fits from the news­pa­per.

I just want to write my col­umns.

When I first heard about this last year, I thought it so ridicu­lous it couldn’t pos­si­bly hold up. But here we are in the new year, and as of now, the law stands.

The Val­ley Press pow­ers that be are work­ing on ways that we colum­nists can con­tinue our con­tri­bu­tions and re­main within the law.

But they shouldn’t have to spend time on that.

Ad­mit­tedly, Jerry Brown was a bit out there. But I al­ways rather liked him, and I am con­fi­dent he would never have signed a mon­stros­ity like AB 5.

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