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Choice for Chamber Leader Praised : Business: Arnold Bellow of Cincinnati has been named to top office, which was vacated in the wake of bias charges. Selection of black man pleases minority leaders.


PASADENA — After a seven-month search, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has selected a black Cincinnati city official to be its chief executive officer.

Arnold Bellow, assistant city manager for special projects in the Ohio city for the past two years, will assume the leadership of the organization in late August, chamber officials said last week.

The post has been vacant since Bruce Ackerman resigned at the end of 1992.

Ackerman, who held the office for five years, left the chamber after he was charged with racial discrimination and sexual harassment. A discrimination suit brought by former chamber contract employee Allison Bedell is pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bedell charged that Ackerman showed favoritism toward young, attractive white women.

Minority community leaders who led protests against the chamber last year were favorably impressed by the selection of Bellow.

Businesswoman Katherine Luna-Morris, a protest leader, said the appointment showed that the controversy resulted in positive changes.

"Chamber members have told me that the chamber is a better organization than it was a year ago," she said.

The choice of Bellow, Luna-Morris said, "truly reflects the diversity of Pasadena."

Attorney Joseph Hopkins, who had criticized the chamber's policies with regard to minorities in his weekly newspaper, the Pasadena Journal, said he was pleased to hear of Bellow's selection.

"On the surface, it obviously sounds positive that the chamber is going to have a black executive," Hopkins said. "Without knowing him, though, I'd rather not comment further. (Supreme Court Justice) Clarence Thomas is black too. I hope he (Bellow) is a little more sensitive than Clarence Thomas."

Thomas, a Bush appointee accused of sexual harassment during Senate confirmation hearings, was confirmed to the high court in 1991.

Aside from being assistant city manager of Cincinnati, Bellow was head of the city's small-business division.

Between 1983 and 1991, Bellow, who was born in San Francisco, was executive director of the Oakland Business Development Corp. in Oakland. He holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

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