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Settlement in Sabbath suit
     (, ) -- After firing a cake decorator who refused to work on a Sunday, one of Michigan's largest retailers pledged to improve the way it accommodates employees' religious practices.
     Meijer Inc., with 157 stores in the Midwest, settled a lawsuit by agreeing to train supervisors to avoid religious discrimination and make shift swaps a possible remedy. If conflicts arise, personnel managers will try to solve them -- not an employee's immediate boss.
     Meijer is making significant changes after having "inadequate" procedures to assist employees whose religious beliefs clash with their work schedules, said lawyer Adele Rapport of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

ADA event recalls civil rights struggle
     (EUREKA,, Calif., , ) -- It was just a quiet little event, but the themes brought up were great: Segregation, fairness, the right to live without being judged or harassed.
     Tri-County Independent Living Center hosted an open house on Monday to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     Attendees also had a chance to learn about the history of disabilities activism. The center showed a video on the 1977 sit-ins in San Francisco and Washington. Those protests by disabled people led to federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first federal civil rights protections for people with disabilities.

Federal ageencies form historic partnership to increase homeownership opportunities for Nnative Americans
     (, ) -- FEDERAL AGENCIES FORM HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR NATIVE AMERICANS HUD, Agriculture, Interior Sign Agreement WASHINGTON - For the first time in history, three federal agencies have agreed to join forces to address housing conditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu signed an agreement with top officials from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior to combine resources to improve housing and homeownership opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
     "With the recent opening of the new National Museum of the American Indian in the Nation's capital, I am pleased to add this partnership to America's tribute to Native Americans," said Liu, who signed the document today at the annual conference of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians in Polson, Mont. "I and my colleagues are proud to be part of this agreement that will help more Native Americans become homeowners."
     Liu, who heads up HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, added his signature to the Memorandum of Understanding to that of Gilbert G. Gonzales Jr., Acting Under Secretary for the Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development and David W. Anderson, Assistant Secretary for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

Mobile park owner faces bias complaint
     (MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass., ) -- The owner of a manufactured-home park tangled in a web of legal issues with the town and several residents is now facing an accusation of racial discrimination.
     Wayne Williams, who owns the Edgeway Mobile Home Park, a 74-unit complex restricted to residents age 55 and older, faces a complaint filed Sept. 29 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. June Abramson, 57, of Wareham, says she wanted to purchase a home in the park, but Williams in September refused to accept her initial application to lease a parcel after park manager Penny Cavacco saw a picture of Abramson's fianc, who is Cape Verdean.
     Williams did not sign the lease and the sale fell through, according to Abramson's complaint, which is under investigation by the MCAD. FULL STORY in The Boston Globe

Target 5 investigates oice Discrimination
     (, ) -- Imagine calling a realtor to buy a home and having your messages ignored. It's a form of racism that's taking place in the Tri-state and it's called voice discrimination, Target 5's Jesse Jones reported.
     What's so troubling about voice discrimination is that it is a subtle difference. Federal Communication Commission regulations prevent media from airing phone calls without the other person's knowledge, so it was impossible to identify the property managers shown in the report.
     When Lee and Tewanna Harvey began looking for a new apartment, they never thought they would become victims of discrimination.

Nebraska ooks For Ways To Honor Malcolm X
     (, ) --
     POSTED: 9:26 am CST February 21, 2005 UPDATED: 9:34 am CST February 21, 2005
     OMAHA, Neb. -- It has been 40 years since a civil rights leader born in Omaha as Malcolm Little was assassinated.
     Recently, things have been done around the city to remember Malcolm X. In 2003, the Omaha City Council voted unanimously to allow 34th Avenue from Evans to Bedford streets to be named Malcolm X Avenue.
     For the past four years, the University of Omaha Black Studies Department has celebrated Malcolm X's life with a festival in his honor. Robert Chrisman, the chair of that department, said it often takes a while for a community to understand what the legacy of someone like Malcolm X means, and to honor that person with statues or landmarks.

Hundreds re-enact Selma Civil Rights March
     (MONTGOMERY, Ala., ) -- Black politicians must urge Congress to extend the Voting Rights Act, civil rights leaders said Saturday at the finale of the re-enactment of the Selma-to-Montgomery march that helped lead to passage of the law.
     The Voting Rights Act of 1965 "was the single most significant piece of legislation in the century," the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told a crowd of nearly 300 marchers at the state Capitol.
     In 1965, no blacks held major office in Alabama, University of Alabama political scientist William Stewart said. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

No Kids allowed? Anti-bias group takes on ln
     (, ) -- NO KIDS ALLOWED? ANTI-BIAS GROUP TAKES ON LANDLORDS Six property owners charged with discriminating against families with children. > By Dan Bell
     Whether it was the thought of crayon on the wainscoting, chewing gum in the keyholes or just the pitter-patter of tiny feet, ads written by six local landlords made their feelings clear: Tenants with children need not apply. What they probably didn’t know was that their posts on Craigslist, an online forum, were breaking the law. On March 14, the Anti-Discrimination Center of New York filed complaints with the New York City Commission on Human Rights against the landlords, charging them with housing discrimination.
     "Clearly we are just dealing with the tip of the iceberg,” said Craig Gurian, executive director of the Anti-Discrimination Center. "Imagine how many landlords harbor the same prejudices, but are less ostentatious in carrying them out."
     The New York Times also receives ads from landlords who don’t want children in their buildings, said a real-estate section staffer who did not want to be named. But according to spokesperson Toby Usnick, the Times does not post them, and informs landlords if they break the paper’s anti-discrimination policy.

Do Zillow.com's estimates violate federal consumer laws?
     (, ) -- Web Property Estimates Violate Federal Consumer Laws?
      Zillow.com offers free, instant online home valuations ("Zestimates") for more than 67 million houses and condominiums. Launched in February of this year, the site already boasts more than 3 million daily visitors.
     On Zillow, visitors can zoom in on a house, check its value, check out the values of other properties on the same street and neighborhood, and see satellite photos of them all. "Zestimates'' can be found not only on Zillow itself, but also on Yahoo.com and real estate brokerage sites.
      While many home buyers consider Zillow a boon, sellers - and mortgage seekers - may be very disgruntled if their Zestimate is lower than they think it ought to be. Zillow does provide one remedy, however: Users can update the property record information listed on the site, which affects the Zestimate.

Enforce fair housing laws
     (SEATTLE, ) -- In a split (5-4) but most predictable decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Seattle and Louisville, Ky., school diversity programs, declaring unconstitutional integration initiatives that explicitly take into account a student's race. No doubt this will make efforts to diversify classrooms and nurture an integrated community in cities across the nation more difficult.
     At the same time, however, five justices asserted that school districts can pursue diversity and can take race into account in doing so. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who concurred with the judgment, also rejected the absolute colorblind position of the plurality when he stated in a separate opinion that "it is permissible to consider the racial makeup of schools and to adopt general policies to encourage a diverse student body, one aspect of which is its racial composition." FULL OPINION in the Seattle Post Intelligencer

Religious workers may Have Discrimination Case
     (USA, ) --

Longmont woman relieved she will not pay extra fees to keep companion cat
     (LONGMONT, Colo., ) -- A Longmont woman said Friday she is relieved to learn that she will not have to pay extra fees to keep her companion animal, an 11-year-old cat named Millie, in her apartment in the Grandview Meadows neighborhood in west Longmont.
     Audrey Warden, 53, said she was asked to pay a $400 pet deposit, a $250 late fee and an extra $25 per month in pet rent to keep her cat in her apartment. Warden disputed the extra charges because she said the cat is a companion animal that helps with the post-traumatic stress disorder that was triggered by an abusive former relationship. She said that the cat, a domestic shorthair she adopted a year ago through an ad on Craigslist, has a calming effect.
     "She gives me
     unconditional love that humans can't even give each other. She just makes me happy. Makes me relaxed. And I don't feel so stressed out when I have her around," she said. FULL STORY at dailycamera.com

Justice reaches $800,000 settlement with Alabama apartment complexes
     (WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 1998) -- The Justice Department on Feb. 19 reached an agreement totaling nearly $800,000 that requires the owners and operators of five apartment complexes in Mobile, Alabama to put in place a new policy preventing discrimination against African Americans seeking rentals.
     The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Mobile, resolves allegations that Springdale Stores, Inc. and related Delaney companies violated the federal Fair Housing Act by engaging in a practice of discriminating against African Americans seeking to rent apartments. Under the agreement, the companies will compensate individuals who were discriminated against and will take steps to prevent future discrimination.
     "No American should be refused a place to call home because of the color of their skin," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We are committed to battling housing discrimination across the country. Today's case demonstrates our commitment."
     Lee noted that the action is the second major rental discrimination case brought in the Mobile area in the past two year. Last year the Justice Department reached a similar settlement with Mitchell Brothers' totaling $1.8 million.
     The Justice Department alleged in a complaint, filed together with today's settlement, that the companies' employees falsely informed prospective African American tenants that no apartments were available while at the same time telling prospective white tenants that apartments were available. It also alleged that the employees steered African Americans toward certain less desirable sections of the complexes. The Justice Department became aware of the allegations during its investigation into discriminatory practices at complexes owned by Mitchell Brothers, Inc.
     Today's settlement also resolves a private class action suit filed by 13 African Americans who had sought housing or lived at the rental properties at issue.
     Upon being notified of the allegations, the companies' owners entered into settlement discussions with the Justice Department and attorneys for the 13 class representatives.
     Lee commended the commitment of the Springdale and Delaney representatives, as well as the class representatives, to resolving this case and to ensuring compliance with the fair housing laws.
     Under today's agreement, the property companies will: pay $645,000 to compensate any persons who are victims of the discriminatory policies; pay $135,000 in attorney's fees; provide fair housing training for their employees and publicize the non-discrimination policy at their apartment complexes and in their advertisements; and, hire an independent third party to test whether non-discrimination policies are being maintained at the properties.
     The properties involved in this settlement are Windsor Place Apartments, Yester Oaks Apartments, Pathways Apartments, Sandpiper Apartments, and Cabana Apartments. "This case demonstrates again that housing discrimination is not only illegal under the Fair Housing Act but also expensive to correct. It's best to just don't do it," said J. Don Foster, U.S. Attorney in Mobile.
     Individuals who believe that they may have been the victims of housing discrimination at these complexes should call the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743 or 202-514-4713.

Arizona family settles advertising suit with newspaper
     (SIERRA VISTA, Ariz., Feb. 19, 1998) -- The owner of a Sierra Vista apartment complex will pay $64,000 and a newspaper will pay $11,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination against a family who wanted to live in a section of the complex designated adults-only.
     Nick Novasic, owner of Plaza Apartments, was accused of violating the 1989 Fair Housing Act by excluding families with children from a section of his complex. The Sierra Vista Herald was accused in the suit of publishing advertisements that included a reference to the reserved adult section. FULL TEXT at the Las Vegas Review-Journal web site

New York State Banking Department Settles Fair Lending Claims
     (ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 19, 1998) -- In a novel state action, The Roslyn Savings Bank ("Roslyn"), a New York State chartered savings bank, and its mortgage banking subsidiary, Residential First, Inc. ("RFI"), agreed to settle fair lending claims brought by the New York State Banking Department ("Banking Department") under New York law prohibiting unlawful discriminatory practices in relation to credit. The action is particularly interesting because it is the first fair lending enforcement claim brought by a state rather than by the Department of Justice. Reprinted by permission of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. FULL TEXT

Feature story: One Nation, Indivisible: Is It History?
     (WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 1998) -- The United States is experiencing its second great wave of immigration, a movement of people that has profound implications for a society that by tradition pays homage to its immigrant roots at the same time it confronts complex and deeply ingrained ethnic and racial divisions. FULL TEXT of feature from The Washington Post

Leadership Council finds high degree of segregation remains
     (CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 1998) -- The Chicago area remains highly segregated despite signs of progress in fair housing and increased diversity in a few communities, according to a report released Feb. 23 by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities in Chicago.
     "Many people don't even realize that segregation is an issue in the Chicago metropolitan area," said Aurie Pennick, president and CEO of the Leadership Council. "Just because the Ku Klux Klan isn't marching every week and a few African Americans live on the North Shore doesn't mean we have achieved housing equality. This study is proof of continued inequality."

Fair housing group settles with news chain over discriminatory ads
     (WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 25, 1998) -- Journal Newspapers Inc., which publishes six newspapers in Washington, D.C., suburbs, has agreed to prohibit customers from placing classified ads that violate federal fair-housing laws by soliciting renters who are white, Christian or single women, a practice that has occurred in the past two years.
     The company said earlier this month it would monitor the advertising as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought against the company by the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington. FULL TEXT at the Washington Post web site.

Shareholders approve bank merger despite advocates' protests
     (Philadelphia, Feb. 27, 1998) -- The shareholders of First Union Corp. and CoreStates Financial Corp. have approved the companies' merger at shareholders' meetings in Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C., despite opposition from labor unions and advocates for the poor.

Foundation report says races becoming more "separate and unequal"
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 01, 1998) -- Thirty years after a presidential commission declared "our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal," that dire warning has become reality, according to a report released Sunday. FULL STORY reported in The Washington Post

USDA head says civil rights fight in his agency is not over
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 02, 1998) -- U.S. Department of Agriculture head Dan Glickman says that while the agency's civil rights record is improving, it still has a long way to go. One of the largest blemishes on the USDA's record has been the more than 800 discrimination complaints from black farmers, some of which go back 40 years, that are still being contested. The farmers claim local USDA officials have unfairly denied loans to black farmers for years. FULL STORY reported by Reuters

Mississippi housing authority target of HUD discrimination probe
     (Gulfport, Miss., Mar. 02, 1998) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating to determine whether Mississippi's largest housing authority has policies that promote segregation of its housing projects. Roy Necaise, director of the Mississippi Region VIII Housing Authority, complained that the investigation was invasive and invited HUD to enlist a proctologist. "If I had my way, they would go ahead and bring one in, so we could say it was complete." FULL STORY reported in the Biloxi/Gulfport Sun Herald

Hate groups spreading the word through Internet, rock music
     (Montgomery, Ala., Mar. 03, 1998) -- Hate groups are on the rise, boosted by the Internet and white-power rock music. In its quarterly report on extremist organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center said Tuesday that it counted 474 hate groups nationwide in 1997, a 20 percent increase over 1996. Some of the groups have Web pages. FULL STORY by the Associated Press, printed in The Washington Post

Anti-gay violence on the rise nationwide, watchdog groups say
     (New York, Mar. 03, 1998) -- As the media focused more attention on homosexuals last year, anti-gay violence and harassment also increased, a gay advocacy group said. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs said Tuesday that the number of such incidents it counted around the country increased by 2 percent in 1997 over the previous year. FULL STORY by the Associated Press, printed in The Washington Post

Proposed budget would open up HUD mortgage program
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 03, 1998) -- A provision in HUD's proposed 1999 budget would make Rural Development Service (formerly Farmer's Home Administration) mortgage loans available to families with higher incomes. FULL STORY reported in the Wichita Business Journal

Gingrich calls job discrimination testing "entrapment" in budget hearing
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 04, 1998) -- House Speaker Newt Gingrich told a House subcommittee he would support President Bill Clinton's request for a budget increase for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as long as it pledged not to use any of the funds for testing of allegedly discriminatory employers. The use of testers would waste time and resources for companies interviewing candidates who were not interested in being employed and would put a government agency "in the business of entrapment," Gingrich said. "It assumes guilt where there has been no indication of discriminatory behavior." FULL STORY by Reuters

High court rules same-sex harassment violates employment law
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 04, 1998) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that sexual harassment in the workplace can violate Title VII, the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination, even if it occurs among members of the same sex. The harassment, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, must be the product of sex-based discrimination to be prohibited by federal law. In other words, the victim must have been treated in a way that a member of the opposite sex would not have been treated.

Change in HUD's Section 8 rules putting squeeze on larger cities
     (New York, Mar. 04, 1998) -- A little-noticed change in federal housing rules announced late last month is likely to sharply reduce the number of poor people who receive help paying their rent in New York and other large cities across the country, city and state housing officials said Tuesday. FULL STORY reported in the New York Times

L.A. City Council withdraws support of pending Fair Housing Act changes
     (Los Angeles, Cal., Mar. 05, 1998) -- The Los Angeles City Council has withdrawn its support of changes Congress is considering making to the Fair Housing Act, but there appeared to be confusion among city council members over whether the council ever supported those changes and, if so, why. FULL STORY from the Los Angeles Times

Fort Worth lenders agree to new programs to settle HUD complaint
     (Fort Worth, Texas, Mar. 05, 1998) -- Three lenders in Fort Worth have agreed to make $1.369 billion in home mortgage loans and spend $6 million on a broad range of programs to increase homeownership by low-and moderate-income families and minorities over the next three years. The lenders agreed to the initiatives to settle a HUD complaint filed by the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission. PRESS RELEASE from HUD with details of the settlement

Group homes organization sues Raleigh over zoning restrictions
     (Raleigh, N.C., Mar. 05, 1998) -- Oxford House, Inc., a Washington, D.C. non-profit organization, has filed suit against the city of Raleigh, N.C., for enforcing its zoning restrictions against a group home for people recovering from substance abuse. The zoning regulation requires that group homes with more than four unrelated residents be located more than 1,125 feet from the nearest group home. The Oxford House facility at issue in Raleigh has nine residents and is 360 feet away from an older group home for people with mental disabilities. FULL STORY reported in the Raleigh News & Observer

Black farmers march on Capitol Hill to protest USDA discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 06, 1998) -- Accompanied by a mule they say symbolizes their determination, a group of black farmers marched up Pennsylvania Avenue to call attention to their continuing fight over claims of government discrimination. FULL STORY reported in The Washington Post

California agency reaches $101,000 settlement with mobile home park
     (Palo Alto, Cal., Mar. 09, 1998) -- Project Sentinel, a Palo Alto-based fair housing agency, has reached a $101,000 settlement of a federal court lawsuit alleging that the managers and owner of El Granada Mobile Home Park in Moss Beach violated federal and state civil rights laws by discriminating against Hispanic residents and Hispanic prospective residents. PRESS RELEASE

Asian tenants sue San Francisco Housing Authority over harassment
     (San Francisco, Cal., Mar. 12, 1998) -- Two legal advocacy groups lodged formal complaints yesterday against the San Francisco Housing Authority, charging that it disregarded earlier allegations of harassment at housing projects. FULL STORY in the San Francisco Chronicle

HUD tells Biloxi housing authority to make $25 million in repairs
     (Biloxi, Miss., Mar. 12, 1998) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has ordered the Biloxi, Miss., Housing Authority to make $25 million in repairs to its public housing. Officials in charge of the authority say the demands are impossible to meet without more financial help from HUD, and they want HUD to take control of the authority. The Biloxi authority is part of the Region VIII Housing Authority, which is already under HUD investigation for allegedly segregating tenants by race. FULL STORY in the Biloxi/Gulfport Sun Herald

Man takes first step to forcing vote on recent changes in city's rights law
     (Ft. Collins, Colo., Mar. 12, 1998) -- A Fort Collins man who describes himself as a "constitutional conservative'' has taken the first step in forcing a vote of the people on the city's controversial gay-rights ordinance. The ordinance, passed by the Ft. Collins City Council on March 3, prohibits, among other things, housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. FULL STORY in the Denver Post

Organization files discrimination suit against Brooklyn realtors
     (New York, Mar. 13, 1998) -- The Open Housing Center of New York has filed a federal class action lawsuit accusing a Brooklyn realty company of illegal housing discrimination against African Americans. In the suit, the Open Housing Center seeks to require the realty firm to stop discriminating and to offer minorities equal opportunity at rental units. It also seeks monetary damages to pay for fair housing training and advertisements in minority media to inform minorities of rental units in the Bay Ridge area. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

HUD begins nationwide investigation of mortgage lending discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Mar. 14, 1998) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is opening an investigation of bias in the home loan industry, its effort spurred by a huge anti-discrimination settlement with three mortgage lenders in Texas.

Kentucky agency settles discrimination suit against Nationwide
     (Lexington, Kent., Mar. 16, 1998) -- Nationwide Insurance Companies has agreed to establish a loan program for home purchases and repairs, hire an additional African-American insurance agent in Lexington and pay $30,000 in legal fees and costs to settle a lawsuit filed by the Lexington Fair Housing Council. The lawsuit alleged that Nationwide agents were engaged in a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in the sale of homeowners’ insurance policies in Lexington. PRESS RELEASE from the Lexington Fair Housing Council

Insurance commissioners support law to protect domestic abuse survivors
     (Salt Lake City, Utah, Mar. 17, 1998) -- he National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has given final approval to a model law aimed at protecting domestic abuse victims from discrimination by insurance carriers. The model legislation, which deals with protecting against discrimination in property/casualty insurance such as auto or homeowner coverage, was developed over the past two years by a Working Group headed by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn. In the meantime, state-level legislation has already been adopted in a handful of states, including Washington, where a bill awaits the Governor's signature. FULL STORY from PRNewswire

Mississippi opens files of former state agency that fought desegregation
     (Jackson, Miss., Mar. 18, 1998) -- After a 21-year court fight, the state of Mississippi on Tuesday unsealed more than 124,000 pages of previously secret files from a state agency that used spy tactics, intimidation, false imprisonment, jury tampering and other illegal methods to thwart the activities of civil rights workers during the 1950s, '60s and early '70s. FULL STORY in the New York Times

Report:  D.C. lenders discriminate against black and Hispanic borrowers
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 25, 1998) -- Washington, D.C.,-area lenders discriminate against two out of five black and Hispanic mortgage applicants, according to a study released on March 24 by the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington.

U.S. Supreme Court takes up questions of workplace harassment
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 26, 1998) -- The Supreme Court on March 25 took up for the first time the question of when an employer should be held financially responsible for the groping, vulgar language or other sexual harassment by its supervisors. The two cases argued before the justices ultimately could affect how both private companies and government employers respond to sexual misconduct, what they do to stop it and how vulnerable they are to victims seeking money damages. FULL STORY from The Washington Post

Study:  Racism is factor in difference between black and white death rates
     (London, Mar. 27, 1998) -- Racism is an underlying factor in why black men in the United States have an overall death rate which is almost 50 percent higher than that of white men, scientists said Friday. "Racism can be considered the 'missing variable' in research on black-white differences in health," George Davey Smith, professor of social medicine at Bristol University in southwest England, said in a study published in The Lancet medical journal Friday.  FULL STORY from Reuters

More people with depression seeking relief from discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 27, 1998) -- A growing number of people suffering from depression are arguing in court, schools and the workplace that they should not be penalized for problems they trace to their mental illness. So far, most such lawsuits have been unsuccessful. But advocates for people with disabilities say the issue is still new to the courts, and they expect that the steady increase in claims will result in a new body of law relating to mental disorders.  FULL STORY from The Washington Post

HUD fires back at downsizing critics with $200,000 consultant's report
     (Washington, D.C., Mar. 27, 1998) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development, under attack for
slashing agency jobs to meet an arbitrary target of 7,500 employees, fired back yesterday with a new consultant's report calling the number "sufficient" if certain management reforms are successfully implemented first.  HUD Inspector General Susan Gaffney criticized the department last year for rushing to reorganize and cut its size without adequate analysis. Within a few months of the reengineering announcement, some 800 employees had accepted buyouts, she said, and the downsizing target had been picked without analyzing HUD's mission or workload.  FULL STORY from The Washington Post

Supreme Court to decide whether HIV is disability under the ADA
     (WASHINGTON, Mar. 30, 1998) -- Complaints about doctors who shunned patients infected with the AIDS virus had been rumbling across the country for years.
     But it took Sidney Abbott's visit to the small Bangor, Maine, office of dentist Randon Bragdon in September 1994 to trigger a case that would reach the Supreme Court. Now, the justices will decide for the first time whether people who have HIV are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of "disability" in dentist offices, hospitals and other places that serve the public. The Court is to hear arguments in the case on Monday.

Justice files suit against Montgomery, Ala., mobile home park
     (Montgomery, Ala., Apr. 28, 1998) -- The Justice Department has sued the owner of a Montgomery, Alabama trailer park who allegedly steered away prospective African American renters and required white residents to agree not to invite African Americans to the park. According to the suit, David Damron, owner and manager of the Bruner Trailer Park, also known as Court Street Trailer Park, conditioned white residents' tenancy upon representations that they would not have African-American visitors. He also allegedly harassed and evicted whites who had African-American visitors and steered African-Americans who inquired about vacancies at Bruner Trailer Park to a predominantly African-American trailer park. Damron also allegedly instructed at least one of his rental agents not to rent to African-Americans. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Plan to put gate in Pittsburgh housing project draws mixed reviews
     (Pittsburgh, Pa., May. 01, 1998) -- In Ohioview Acres, a gate is not just a gate. In fact, depending on who you talk to, it is a cage, a prison, a violation of constitutional rights or a darn fine idea. These diverse definitions stem from a controversy over whether the Allegheny County Housing Authority has the right to install a $65,000 manned security gate at the entrance to the Ohioview Acres public housing project in Stowe. FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ohio high court upholds vote that blocked affordable housing
     (Columbus, Ohio, May. 07, 1998) -- The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on May 6 yesterday to uphold a November 1996 referendum in which Cuyahoga Falls voters blocked the construction of 72 apartments for low-income residents. The lawsuit was filed against the city by the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, which wants to build the complex on Pleasant Meadows Boulevard, west of Wyoga Lake Road and north of East Bath Road. After the project was approved by the city's Planning Commission and the City Council, local residents circulated petitions to place the issue on the ballot. Buckeye said Cuyahoga Falls residents were opposed to the complex, which would be partially funded by $1.2 million in federal tax credits, because of their discriminatory fears about minorities and lower-income residents. FULL STORY in The Akron Beacon Journal

Maryland county to let landlords turn away subsidized tenants
     (Howard County, Md., May. 14, 1998) -- Howard County housing officials are moving to give landlords the power to turn away rental applicants who receive government housing subsidies, a significant change in one of the most pro-tenant local housing policies in Maryland. Howard is one of only two Maryland counties that prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to applicants based on their source of income. But legislation pending before the County Council would allow Howard landlords to refuse to rent to applicants who receive government housing subsidies once 20 percent of an apartment complex is occupied by such tenants. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Judge urges government to settle black farmers' suit
     (WASHINGTON, May. 14, 1998) -- The Clinton administration should settle a $2.5 billion lawsuit filed by black farmers over Agriculture Department discrimination and avoid a costly, time-consuming trial, a federal judge says. ``I've always believed this case would be better solved through some sort of resolution, some sort of settlement,'' U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Wednesday. ``Ultimately, we have to try this case or settle,'' he said. ``Maybe it can get resolved and people will feel that justice is being done.'' The judge heard arguments Wednesday on whether the case -- now expanded to 400 plaintiff black farmers from across the South -- should represent an entire class of farmers estimated at 2,500 who suffered discrimination through denial of farm loans, crop subsidies or other benefits from 1983 to 1997. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

White supremacist arrested in Kentucky
     (Lexington, Ky., May. 20, 1998) -- After a nine-month investigation, federal agents arrested the alleged head of a white supremacist group on charges that he threatened mixed-race couples. Charles Edward Hall Jr., 28, who formed the White Aryan Legion in August 1993, was charged with discrimination in housing and mailing threatening communications. He also was charged with destruction of government property for allegedly ordering someone to fire two gunshots into a post office in January. No one was injured. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Examine criminal justice bias, experts tell race panel
     (Washington, D.C., May. 20, 1998) -- A panel of criminal justice experts urged the president's race advisory board yesterday to examine the racial disparities that permeate the nation's criminal justice system, from black motorists being stopped and searched by police more frequently than whites to the disproportionate number of African American males going to prison.
      But in their discussion of the issue, the experts left a crucial question unaddressed: Are the disparities the result of overt racial discrimination, or are they simply the unfortunate result of otherwise fair practices by police, prosecutors and judges? "I, for one, did not get a complete answer to that question," said John Hope Franklin, chairman of the race advisory board.

HUD issues race, family status discrimination charge in Va.
     (Richmond, Va., May. 21, 1998) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed housing discrimination charges against the owner of a Richmond, VA, apartment house, accusing him of refusing to rent to a woman because she is black and because she has a child, Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced.  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Groups join in asking Ohio court to reconsider decision
     (Columbus, Ohio, May. 21, 1998) -- Home builders, real estate agents and the Ohio Municipal League, a coalition of 600 communities, have joined with a nonprofit developer in asking the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn a recent ruling. In its decision, the Supreme Court voted 4-3 in support of a lower court's ruling that Cuyahoga Falls citizens had a right, guaranteed by the city's charter, to vote to prevent the construction of affordable apartments, even though the building plan complied with all zoning laws.
      The developer, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, had proposed in spring 1996 to build 72 apartments for families living on moderate incomes. At public meetings when the development was discussed, some residents said the apartments would attract "those types of people" who "bring boom boxes, drugs, gangs and too many children." FULL STORY in The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Merged bank pledges $350 billion for community lending
     (Charlotte, N.C., May. 21, 1998) -- Reaction was mixed to a pledge by merger partners NationsBank and BankAmerica to lend $350 billion in the next 10 years to low- to moderate-income and minority customers. Unveiled Wednesday without much fanfare, the pledge from the top executives at the soon-to-be-merged banks features a package of products and services, including mortgages, small business loans and consumer loans. FULL STORY in The Nando Times

L.A. may be added to list of investigated housing authorities
     (Washington, D.C., May. 21, 1998) -- According to Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), chairman of a House subcommittee with HUD oversight, Los Angeles faces the possibility of being targeted for a federal public housing investigation, despite earlier reports that Housing and Urban Development Department investigators had already picked Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco.
      His remarks are likely to continue the controversy over HUD's examination of those cities, all with black Democratic mayors, among mayors groups and Democratic leaders who complained that the selection was politically and racially motivated. If Los Angeles--whose mayor is a white Republican--is selected, it would defuse some of the complaints. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo has criticized the targeting of the original three cities by HUD Inspector General Susan Gaffney, saying it appeared to be "illegal or unethical." FULL STORY in The Los Angeles Times

Community activist goes on hunger strike against merger
     (Raleigh, N.C., May. 27, 1998) -- A community activist started a hunger strike Tuesday to protest the proposed merger between NationsBank and BankAmerica, saying the larger bank would be more prone to overlook the needs of low-income, rural areas.
      Stella Adams, executive director of the North Carolina Fair Housing Coalition, said small communities already starved for cash to create businesses will be left out by the merger.
      "This thing is so big that the small communities are being lost in the shuffle," she said. "When you look at what states comprise this new market, a significant part of it is rural and Southern, rural and poor."

Jury pops life insurance company for $1 million
     (Miami, Fla., May. 28, 1998) -- Jurors awarded $1 million to a couple who were denied life insurance by an Ohio company because they do not speak or read English. ``I'm very, very happy that justice exists,'' the couple's daughter, Lissette Otero, said after Wednesday's ruling. ``Thank God we have a judicial system here that treats everyone the same, no matter where you're from." FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Illinois hotel settles race bias suit
     (Oak Lawn, Ill., May. 30, 1998) -- A Holiday Inn in this Chicago suburb agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the hotel of discriminating against black job applicants and guests. The settlement, announced Friday, will be shared by about 1,000 black people who were turned down for jobs from 1990 to 1995.
     Federal investigators said the motel coded job applications from black people with the number 8, after the black eight-ball in pool. Desk clerks also were told to place blacks in first floor rooms so police ``would be able to get them out quickly if they came to arrest them,'' said Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyer Gregory Gochanour. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Ohio panel sues landlord for discrimination
     (Akron, Ohio, May. 30, 1998) -- The Ohio Civil Rights Commission yesterday sued the owners and managers of two area apartment complexes, accusing them of discriminating against people with disabilities, blacks and renters with children. Farkas Rentals, operating apartments on Swartz Rd. in Akron, was sued in Summit County Common Pleas Court for allegedly failing to rent to blacks and families with children.

Blacks, whites gather in Tulsa to remember race riots
     (Tulsa, Okla., Jun. 02, 1998) -- Mabel Little had something to say to those assembled on the 77th anniversary of one of the nation's worst race riots. ``God bless you wonderful people!'' said Mrs. Little, who lost her church, her business and 35 blocks of her community when white mobs torched it in two days of rioting on June 1, 1921. Hundreds -- both black and white -- attended an emotional ``assembly of repentance'' on Monday in a bare lot where Tulsa's thriving black business district once proudly stood. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Pressure growing for hearing on NationsBank merger
     (Raleigh, N.C., Jun. 02, 1998) -- NationsBank's mortgage lending record is drawing criticism from some low-income housing groups, which are asking federal regulators to block the proposed merger with BankAmerica Corp. The Charlotte-based bank denied mortgage applications in the Triangle from African-Americans four times as often as from whites in 1996, the most recent year for which information is available. While that ratio isn't much different from other local lenders, critics say it is reason enough for the feds to put greater pressure on NationsBank to improve its lending practices.

Akron group complains against Internet provider for discriminatory ad
     (Akron, Ohio, Jun. 04, 1998) -- A private fair housing group in Akron has filed a complaint against an apartment complex and the Internet provider that hosted its web page for an online advertisement that contained the phrase "adult living." "It will be interesting to see who has liability in this case," said Vincent Curry, executive director of the Fair Housing Advocates Association. "If it was a newspaper ad, not only could the housing provider be held liable, but the newspaper itself." The group filed the complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. FULL STORY in The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Employee sues Freddie Mac for race discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Jun. 04, 1998) -- Freddie Mac faces a $15 million race-discrimination lawsuit from a former executive who claims it created a ``hostile work environment'' that subjected black employees to threats and racial slurs. Tony Morgan, Freddie Mac's former director of executive corporate relations, sued Wednesday in U.S. District Court, alleging a ``pattern and practice of intentional discrimination.'' FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD to hold SuperNOFA satellite broadcast
     (Washington, D.C., Jun. 04, 1998) -- The Live Broadcast on the National SuperNOFA will be held this Friday, June 5, from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT. There are several ways to receive the HUD satellite broadcasts:
      1. You can visit a HUD Field Office in your area.
      2. You can call in for an audio-only version at 1-888-618-8003.
      3. You can view live simulcasts or archived broadcasts in streaming video over the web. Streaming web video requiers a special video player. www.hud.gov/nofa/suprnofa/video/videobro.html

Couple settles race discrimination complaint for $65,000
     (Wheaton, Ill., Jun. 05, 1998) -- A Wauconda, Ill., couple who allegedly refused to rent one of their properties to an interracial couple has settled a HUD complaint against them for $65,000. Besides allegedly denying the couple the opportunity to rent a home, the landlords also asked testers assigned to contact them by HOPE Fair Housing Center in Wheaton their race and told testers who said they were black that they would not be shown homes. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Forty percent of housing on Indian reservations deemed substandard
     (Tampa, Fla., Jun. 08, 1998) -- Forty percent of housing on U.S. Indian reservations is substandard, with many homes too crowded and lacking adequate plumbing, the head of the National American Indian Housing Council said Monday. Reservations, on which an estimated 800,000 Indians live, need 200,000 new housing units immediately, Chairman Chester Carl told the group's convention in Tampa.
     "In tribal areas, 40 percent of the housing is considered substandard, compared to 5.9 percent of housing generally," Carl said, adding that 21 percent of dwellings were overcrowded and 16 percent did not have adequate plumbing. FULL STORY from Reuters

Senate subcommittee cuts spending for housing, other programs
     (Washington, D.C., Jun. 09, 1998) -- A Senate subcommittee voted Tuesday to trim President Clinton's planned spending for housing and toxic waste cleanups, signaling election-year spending clashes ahead.
     In February, the administration proposed cutting housing for the elderly by $524 million to pay for a new program that would give rental housing vouchers to many welfare recipients and homeless, elderly and disabled people. The committee ignored the idea. "You shouldn't have to take your walker and hit the streets with your voucher," said Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland. FULL STORY from Fox News

HUD files race charge against agents who refused sale to woman
     (High Ridge, Mo., Jun. 09, 1998) -- HUD filed discrimination charges Monday alleging that a Jefferson County developer refused to sell a house to an African-American couple in two all-white subdivisions.
     Leonard Riebold, an owner of C & R Construction & Development Co. and Home Construction Inc. in Imperial, allegedly told the couple's agent, Mary Reeves, that she should have known better than to have brought blacks to a "redneck area" in High Ridge, said officials of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
     In a prepared statement, Riebold denied the discrimination charges, saying he planned to challenge them. "It is not our practice to discriminate against any minority," he wrote.

Black man dies after being dragged behind white supremacists' truck
     (Jasper, Texas, Jun. 09, 1998) -- A black hitchhiker was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in a racially motivated killing by three white men, two of whom have racist tattoos and may have ties to the Ku Klux Klan, authorities said today.
    The battered body of James Byrd Jr., 49, was found Sunday, the day after he was last seen apparently hitching a ride home from a party. ``All evidence shows it will be racially motivated,'' Jasper County Sheriff Billy Rowles said. He added that Byrd appeared to have been dragged two miles down a road in this East Texas county north of Beaumont.  FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Toledo attorneys seek $1.5 million in fees for insurance case
     (Toledo, Ohio, Jun. 10, 1998) -- Attorneys for the Toledo Fair Housing Center are asking for fees totaling $1.5 million and $350,000 in expenses in connection with the center's lawsuit against two Nationwide Insurance subsidiaries.
     The 5-year-old lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court was settled in April, just before it was to go to trial, with the insurance company agreeing to pay $3.5 million in claims and toward fair housing programs in the area.
     Stephen Dane, lead attorney for the housing center, filed the motion Tuesday, including the hours and billing rates for attorneys in Toledo, Washington, and Milwaukee, totaling nearly $1.7 million. Expenses were itemized at $530,000. FULL STORY in The Toledo Blade

D.C. condo owners to pay $550,000 for failing to stop harassment
     (Washington, D.C., Jun. 10, 1998) -- A south Washington condominium association will pay $550,000 to a black resident who sued the association for failing to put an end to racial slurs directed toward her by a neighbor. The association will also buy back her condo for $52,000. Before the case was settled, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled that condo associations are covered by the Fair Housing Act, signalling to the condo association that they would have an uphill battle to avoid liability. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

State inmates are protected by ADA, high court rules
     (Washington, D.C., Jun. 15, 1998) -- State prison inmates are protected by a federal law that bans discrimination against the disabled, the Supreme Court ruled today. The law applies to any state or local government agency and does not exclude prisons, the court said. The unanimous ruling lets a former Pennsylvania prisoner sue over his exclusion from a boot camp program that could have shortened his sentence. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Mobile home park owner, manager, to pay $27K to settle bias claim
     (Salem, Ore., Jun. 16, 1998) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that an Oregon mobile home park owner and the park's manager have agreed to pay $27,000 to settle housing discrimination charges accusing them of refusing to rent to a couple because the couple had a 4-year-old son.
      Larry Angell, owner of the Scofield Mobile Home Park near Salem, OR, and park manager Hazel Dwigans agreed to make the $27,000 payment to settle the discrimination charges filed by HUD. HUD accused the two of illegally discriminating against Paul and Margo Gibson and their then-4-year-old son, Christopher, by refusing to allow the family to live in the park in April 1997. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Mom wins disability suit against school
     (Tampa, Fla., Jun. 17, 1998) -- A disabled woman whose son was expelled from kindergarten because she missed too many parent-teacher meetings was awarded more than $53,000 by jurors who said her rights were violated. The ruling, made Wednesday, means Reba Alexander will receive $53,500 from the Pinellas County School Board for the district's violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

NJ town to scrutinize group home placements
     (Clifton, N.J., Jun. 17, 1998) -- Saying they fear for their safety, dozens of residents Tuesday night angrily declared their opposition to several group homes for the mentally disabled that have opened here recently.
      The outpouring of criticism at a meeting of the Clifton City Council came two weeks after a mentally ill man from one of the group homes wandered into a schoolyard and touched a youngster on the head. No one was hurt or charged in the incident, but it alarmed parents and focused attention on new group homes that had opened in residential neighborhoods. FULL STORY in The Bergen Record

HUD issues charge in accommodation case
     (St. Petersburg, Fla., Jun. 19, 1998) -- HUD has issued a charge of discrimination against a neighborhood association for failing to accommodate a man who needs to park his recreational vehicle in his driveway, contrary to neighborhood rules. Steve Sidney has a medical condition that requires him to wear an ileostomy bag, and the RV allows him and his wife to travel without having to find a sanitary place to change the bag. The Sidneys say that parking the RV a mile away as required by the neighborhood association will cause them undue hardship. FULL STORY in The St. Petersburg Times

Judge OKs Merrill Lynch gender settlement
     (Chicago, Jun. 19, 1998) -- As many as 2,500 women will be told they might be eligible for compensation from Merrill Lynch & Co. now that a federal judge has given preliminary approval to a settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit.
      Eight female financial consultants sued the nation's largest brokerage firm in February 1997, claiming the company unfairly directed business to their male colleagues. The women won class-action status and represented 2,500 current and former brokers in the lawsuit.
      In a conference call with lawyers from both sides Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said, ``This (settlement) document easily, easily meets the criteria for preliminary approval, and so I am happy to give it preliminary approval today.'' FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Shell settles nationwide ADA suit over gas station access
     (Berkeley, Cal., Jun. 19, 1998) -- Shell Oil Co. and lawyers for the disabled reached an agreement Thursday in a dispute over access at the company's service stations nationwide. Attorneys said the settlement, affecting more than 3,800 gas stations, is one of the most comprehensive under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
      ``We believe it will assist tens of thousands of individuals with mobility disabilities,'' said Jan Garrett, a lawyer with the Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund in Berkeley. ``They should be able to get gas, buy a soda . . . or use a restroom while they're on the road. Those are things people without disabilities take for granted." FULL STORY in The San Jose Mercury News

Report:  Minority homeownership lagging
     (Reno, Nev., Jun. 20, 1998) -- Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White doesn't need a new national study on the state of America's housing to tell him minority home buying levels aren't as high as they should be. ``We have to do a better job educating people about the benefits,'' White said. ``We have to get the word out.''
     The report, released Saturday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting, cites gaps between white and black home purchasing that could supply White and other city officials the grist for a wider dialogue.

ACLU sues Yeshiva over refusal to rent to gay couple
     (New York, Jun. 24, 1998) -- The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Wednesday against Yeshiva University, accusing it of discrimination for barring gay people from living in campus housing with their partners. The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, was brought on behalf of Sara Levin and Maggie Jones, medical students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, which is a division of Yeshiva.
     "New York city and state law simply does not allow this type of discrimination against lesbian and gay couples," American Civil Liberties Union lead attorney Michael Adams told a news conference. "Because Yeshiva University has refused to comply with the law, we have no choice but to take legal action."

HUD, Justice, get involved in university expansion dispute
     (Kansas City, Mo., Jun. 24, 1998) -- Two federal agencies -- the departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development -- have weighed in on the dispute between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and its southern neighbors because of civil rights implications.
      Mike Bates, director of the city's Human Resources Department, said Tuesday that Justice Department officials became involved because of the racial diversity of the neighborhood that UMKC wants to raze. City statistics show the neighborhood is part of an area with a minority population of 44 percent. FULL STORY in The Kansas City Star

HIV a disability at all stages, Supreme Court rules
     (Washington, Jun. 25, 1998) -- HIV-infected people are protected by a federal ban on discrimination against the disabled even if they suffer no symptoms of AIDS, the Supreme Court ruled today. The 5-4 ruling ordered a lower court to reconsider whether a Maine dentist violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when he refused to fill an HIV-infected woman's tooth in his office.
      ``HIV infection satisfies the statutory and regulatory definition of a physical impairment during every stage of the disease,'' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Condo parking case settles for $65,000
     (Alexandria, Va., Jun. 25, 1998) -- Officials representing an Alexandria condominium have agreed to a $65,000 out-of-court settlement in response to allegations that they refused to "reasonably accommodate" a couple's request for a handicapped parking space.
      Under terms of the agreement, Alexandria Knolls West officials do not admit any violation or liability but will pay the couple, Albert and Andrea Leahy, $43,000, the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington $20,000 and Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. $2,000. The state Attorney General's office sued on behalf of the couple and negotiated the settlement. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Another bank merger drawing fire from activists
     (New York, Jun. 25, 1998) -- Community groups who say that Citicorp and Travelers Group don’t do enough business in low-income neighborhoods are lining up to oppose the proposed merger of the two financial giants.
      The latest salvo was fired Wednesday as a national community organization filed complaints in 11 cities with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development against the two companies.
      ACORN and other groups are expected to argue that Citibank, Citicorp’s banking subsidiary, has no better record in poor and minority neighborhoods than Travelers’. “Both parties are poor actors when it comes to servicing low- and moderate-income residents,” said Patrick Woodall, policy director for ACORN. “Here are two entities with bad records serving low-income communities, and it is very poor public policy to put them together.” FULL STORY from ABC News

Arizona town scraps minimum age
     (YOUNGTOWN, Ariz., Jul. 02, 1998) -- Youngtown can finally start living up to its name. The town council has repealed an ordinance that required at least one resident in each house to be 55 or older and banned permanent residents younger than 18. Tuesday's decision came after state prosecutors investigated age restrictions adopted by the town in the 1980s. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Farmers sue USDA for lending discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Jul. 08, 1998) -- A group of 129 black farmers filed a $500 million lawsuit against the Agriculture Department over complaints of discrimination in denial of farm loans and other benefits.
      The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court is intended to protect farmers who came forward with complaints after Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman's admission on February 21, 1997, that there was past discrimination.
      An earlier $2 billion lawsuit filed by 400 black farmers covered only those who had brought complaints prior to that date. Lawyers for the second group say they have been virtually ignored by the Agriculture Department. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Solutions elusive in final race forum
     (Washington, D.C., Jul. 09, 1998) -- The format was more controlled, the talk more sober. But as President Clinton conducted the third and final forum of his yearlong dialogue on race yesterday, he found that the end was much like the beginning: plenty of consensus about the challenges facing a multiethnic America of the 21st century, but painfully few concrete solutions.
     "This," said Clinton, "is tough stuff."

Lawyers Committee attorneys recall movement
     (Washington, D.C., Jul. 12, 1998) -- In 1967, Clarence Dunnaville Jr. left a high-profile New York law job and headed south, planning to help translate new civil rights laws into progress for black people. Soon, when he asked a Mississippi constable for help, he learned the hazards of the legal profession.
     The policeman ``put a shotgun in my face and ran me out of town,'' said Dunnaville, now a private attorney in Richmond, Va. ``It was very tense at the time.''
     Dunnaville and dozens of other attorneys answered President Kennedy's call in the turbulent 1960s and gave up lucrative careers and the comforts of home -- mostly in the North -- to join the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.   FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Colorado town may prohibit some group homes
     (Aurora, Colo., Jul. 13, 1998) -- In a move aimed at quelling residents' complaints, the Aurora City Council is poised to pass a law that would limit new halfway houses and group homes for youths from setting up shop in the city limits.
     The move has raised concerns among mental health and corrections officials, who are worried the city is turning its back on facilities that help rehabilitate troubled children. FULL STORY from The Denver Post

Military "biggest slumlords in the country"
     (Fort Carson, Colo., Jul. 15, 1998) -- Nearly three years after the Pentagon persuaded an alarmed Congress to allow private-sector developers to step in and replace dilapidated military homes, it has spent $37.5 million on consultants without breaking ground on a single new housing unit.
     Only two Navy projects under way before the program began have been funded. Meanwhile, the military says two-thirds of its family housing units are inadequate.
     ``In reality, we're the biggest slumlords in the country,'' said Michael J. Haze, chief of Fort Carson's housing division. ``I have soldiers every day telling me they live in the projects.''  FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Farmers' bias claims get NAACP support
     (Atlanta, Jul. 16, 1998) -- The NAACP today publicly embraced the nation's dwindling corps of black farmers and demanded the federal government compensate them for a long history of racial discrimination that has driven many farmers off their land.
     The nation's largest civil rights group voiced support for a number of measures aimed at clearing the way for the government to resolve lawsuits and other complaints brought against the Department of Agriculture by black farmers in recent years.
     Thousands of NAACP members also heard from Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, who in a speech acknowledged the department's racist past and promised to attack the vestiges of bias that remain within the agency. He also said USDA will compensate farmers who can prove they were discriminated against.

Many blacks lack access to prosperity, Gore says
     (Atlanta, Jul. 17, 1998) -- As his expected presidential bid continues to take form, Vice President Gore did a little preaching to the choir today, telling thousands of NAACP members that too many African Americans are excluded from the benefits of the nation's prosperity.
     Amplifying a theme discussed throughout the NAACP's annual convention here, Gore cited wide disparities in black and white wealth, education and health statistics as causes for concern.  Gore criticized Republicans for opposing Clinton administration efforts to combat racial discrimination and expand opportunities for minority communities.
     He also blamed Congress for cutting proposals to increase after-school programs, provide summer jobs and strengthening civil rights enforcement. FULL STORY from The Washington Post

Lenders object to proposed consumer rights laws
     (Washington, D.C., Jul. 17, 1998) -- Home equity lenders are bracing for a government report expected to tell the U.S. Congress how to crack down on unfair lending practices.
     The most controversial option under review would give consumers the right to sue lenders under federal law for unfair and deceptive practices, an easier legal test than suing for fraud, according to industry lobbyists and consumer activists.
     Banks, finance companies and other lenders say that would lead to an explosion of unnecessary lawsuits over perceived lending problems.
"It's a trial lawyers' dream," said Wright H. Andrews Jr., a prominent Washington lobbyist hired by National Home Equity Mortgage Association.  FULL STORY by Bloomberg

Disabled couple sues village for front drive
     (Wilmette, Ill., Jul. 18, 1998) -- George and Astrid Dadian lived in Wilmette for nearly 40 years until disabilities forced them to think about changing their house and adding a front driveway to accommodate their medical needs and Astrid's wheelchair.
     The neighbors didn't have a problem with it, but the village did.   The couple, now in their 70s, had hoped to tear down their home and build a handicapped-accessible ranch home, complete with ramps, an attached garage and front driveway.
     The couple sued Wilmette in federal court Friday, after the village recently voted against giving them a front driveway permit. The lawsuit claims the village violated state and federal laws--including the Fair Housing Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.  FULL STORY in The Chicago Sun-Times

Condo association wants boy in wheelchair out
     (Jupiter, Fla., Jul. 19, 1998) -- A condominium board has told the family of a 12-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy they have to leave, complaining that his wheelchair damages the property.
     The family of Dorian Couturier had been renting an apartment at the Oceancrest condo for two years, but their lease is up at the end of the month.
     They wanted to buy another unit, but the board voted 6-0 to block the sale last week, saying it had 17 complaints about Dorian from owners and eight complaints by the condo security staff.
     ``Because he's in a wheelchair doesn't give him the right to break the rules,'' board member James Walden said. FULL STORY from The Associated Press

Two neighborhoods feud over future of street
     (Fairfax County, Va., Jul. 20, 1998) -- There's much that separates the single-family homes of Mount Vernon Woods in southeast Fairfax County from the sprawling Sequoyah condominium complex -- an elementary school, a park and some tall fences with barbed wire.
     They also are separated by race and economics. Mount Vernon Woods is a mostly white, largely middle-class neighborhood of modest ramblers.
Many of those who own two-story condominiums in Sequoyah are black or Hispanic, and some residents are renters who receive federal housing assistance.
     The only physical connection between them is Fielding Street. Now, that link may be cut.
     Longtime residents of Mount Vernon Woods have persuaded officials to barricade the road, saying that blocking through traffic will reduce crime in their neighborhood. But the plan has brought charges of racism from some in Sequoyah.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Study: senior housing creates less traffic, not more
     (LOS ANGELES, Jul. 20, 1998) -- It might seem that a housing project full of seniors who need special care would have very few automobiles. Yet critics of new projects often complain that such developments will bring more cars, owned by the employees and relatives who tend to seniors in assisted-living housing.
      But that is not the case, according to a new study conducted by the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), which refutes the belief that assisted-living properties generate high volumes of traffic. Dubbed "Assisted Living Residences: A Study of Traffic and Parking Implications," the study finds lower traffic volume and less parking space demand for assisted living properties compared to single-family homes and apartment communities. FULL STORY in The Los Angeles Times

NAACP names fair housing advocate to board
     (ATLANTA, Jul. 21, 1998) -- NAACP Delegates from across the country elected Edythe Flemings Hall (Member at-large) to the National Board of Directors at the 89th Annual Convention of the NAACP, in Atlanta, July 11-16, 1998.
      Hall is a member of the NAACP Maryland State Housing Committee and Housing Chairperson for the Prince George’s County Branch of the NAACP. PRESS RELEASE from Edythe Hall

Largest apartment builder settles accessibility suit
     (Washington, D.C., Jul. 21, 1998) -- The nation's largest home builder, Pulte Corp., agreed Tuesday to build multi-family housing accessible to the disabled in what Justice Department officials called a "landmark agreement" under the Fair Housing Act.
     The out-of-court agreement calls for Pulte to build accessible housing nationwide, compensate disabled home buyers who were denied housing, and correct design flaws in large housing developments in Florida, Illinois and Virginia.

Fed schedules public hearing on bank merger
     (Columbus, Ohio, Jul. 23, 1998) -- A rare public hearing has been scheduled by the Federal Reserve Board to hear objections to the proposed $29.8 billion merger of First Chicago NBD and Columbus-based Banc One.
     The hearing will be held August 13 in Chicago.
     Suzanne Heffner, spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published today that 41 groups had requested the hearing.
     The merger has been criticized by fair-lending groups as a threat to
competitive lending practices.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Klan must pay $37.8 million in black church arson
     (Manning, S.C., Jul. 24, 1998) -- Ku Klux Klansmen must pay $37.8 million for creating a climate of hate that led to a fire that destroyed a predominantly black church, a jury decided today.
     The verdict went beyond the $25.2 million in damages sought by Macedonia Baptist Church for the June 1995 fire. The jury of nine blacks and three whites deliberated just 45 minutes.
     The verdict includes $300,000 in actual damages and $37.5 million in punitive damages against KKK organizations in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Couple: Race motivated arson that destroyed home
     (Jasper, Ala., Jul. 27, 1998) -- Larry Flemming just wanted what most other husbands and fathers want: a nice home in a nice neighborhood. A place his two sons can grow up calling home. Nothing more, nothing less.
     Flemming's dream was shattered early Thursday morning when his
home of just over a month went up in flames. It was completely destroyed, along with most of the family's furniture and clothing.
     Firefighters ruled the fire an arson. Flemming, who is black, believes it was racially motivated.  FULL STORY in The Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle

DRAC files accessibility suit against developer
     (Las Vegas, Jul. 27, 1998) -- Wheelchair-users Tony Bieszczat, Ronald Ray Smith and not-for-profit Disabled Rights Action Committee (DRAC), have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act against Wheeler Development L.L.C. for its condo project "Mar-A-Lago."
      The lawsuit was filed July 24 by Las Vegas attorney Richard F. Armknecht III.This lawsuit is part of a statewide campaign to bring Nevada's new multifamily housing (i.e.,apts. and condos) into compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act, as amended by the Congress in 1988. PRESS RELEASE from DRAC

Ousted Nebraska judge claims anti-white bias
     (Lincoln, Neb., Jul. 29, 1998) -- An ousted judge who admitted signing papers ``Adolf Hitler'' and tossing firecrackers in a colleague's office says the real reason he was removed from office was that he's fat, diabetic, white and a Christian.
     Former Douglas County Judge Richard ``Deacon'' Jones filed a discrimination complaint Tuesday with the state Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If it is not resolved by the commission within six months, Jones' attorney said, a discrimination lawsuit will be filed.  FULL STORY by The Assocated Press

Family files suit over racially motivated HIV test
     (Chicago, Jul. 31, 1998) -- It began on a summer day with two boys from a dayschool program playing at a public pool in suburban Wheaton. The two -- one white, one black -- shared a snorkel.
      Two years later, the black boy and his mother are suing the program, saying its organizers pressured them into having the child tested for HIV and strep throat after the white boy's mother learned of the shared snorkel.
      The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses Wheaton-based Outreach Community Ministries of racial discrimination, and says the group's officials broke state law by releasing the HIV test results to the other mother. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

U.S. West settles bias claim by black businessmen
     (Englewood, Colo., Aug. 02, 1998) -- U S West has negotiated financial settlements with six of seven black businessmen who filed a lawsuit claiming the communications giant discriminated against them. Terms weren't released.
     The June 1996 lawsuit filed in Denver federal court accused the Englewood-based Baby Bell of a ``pattern and practice'' of denying vendor contracts to black-owned businesses.
     ``We have asserted all along that our company is open to bringing in diverse vendors,'' U S West spokesman David Beiie said Friday. ``The whole issue here was about trying to bring more African-American firms into the company, and we are working with a number of firms to do just that.''   FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Florida condo family files complaint with HUD
     (Jupiter, Fla., Aug. 02, 1998) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating a family's complaint that their son, who uses a wheelchair, has been mistreated by security guards at the condominium complex where they have lived for the past two years. The condominiom's elected board of directors also rejected the family's request to buy a condo unit. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Cuomo says lending discrimination still a problem
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 06, 1998) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said a new report issued today that shows lenders are continuing to turn down minorities more often than whites for home mortgages shows the need for a comprehensive study of mortgage lending discrimination that he ordered in March.
     "The American Dream of homeownership is not reserved for whites," Cuomo said. "We will not tolerate a continued homeownership gap as wide as the Grand Canyon that divides Americans into two societies, separate and unequal. Eliminating housing and lending discrimination is vital to making the opportunity for homeownership a reality for all Americans."
     HUD's study of mortgage lending discrimination, which is being conducted by the Urban Institute in Washington and will be completed by the end of the year, will help HUD intensify its crackdown on mortgage lending discrimination and increase the minority homeownership rate, Cuomo said. The crackdown begun by Cuomo has obtained record commitments from lenders so far this year to make nearly $4 billion in mortgage loans to settle lending discrimination allegations. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Condo board settles suit with disabled residents
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 08, 1998) -- The Villa Ridge condominium association board has agreed to a settlement with a group of disabled residents who filed a discrimination suit over the board's removing all the handicapped parking spaces at the Gaithersburg property.
     When the board made all the condo's parking spots first-come, first-served in December 1996, the disabled residents said in the their
complaint, it often meant long, painful walks from their cars to their homes.
     Under terms of the settlement reached last month, the board, which did not admit wrongdoing, agreed to provide "reasonable" parking accommodation or modification for any disabled residents; to institute an educational program to ensure that Villa Ridge employees know state and federal fair-housing laws; and to pay the plaintiffs $155,000 in damages and court costs.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Jewish Yale students' housing claim dismissed
     (Hartford, Ct., Aug. 09, 1998) -- A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Yale University brought by four Orthodox Jewish students who said the school violated their rights by forcing them to live in coed dorms.
     U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello ruled that the school policy did not impair the students' rights to practice their religion or violate federal housing or antitrust laws.
     "The plaintiffs could have opted to attend a different college or university if they were not satisfied with Yale's housing policy," Covello ruled.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Signs claiming "racist quotas" cause furor
     (New York City, Aug. 09, 1998) -- Signs celebrating New York's "battles for justice" have created a furor of their own because one of them accuses the Housing Authority of using "racist quotas" in Brooklyn to favor Hasidic Jews.
     The sign in the Williamsburg section has sparked several complaints and has twice been yanked down by city officials.
     Its status is up in the air as city officials try to persuade the sponsor, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, to tone down the language.  FULL STORY in The New York Post

INS will now accommodate man with 5 fingers
     (Hartford, Ct., Aug. 11, 1998) -- The Immigration and Naturalization Service will expedite the citizenship application of a disabled man that was delayed for 15 months because he could not give a full set of fingerprints, officials said yesterday.
      Tal Klement, 26, who was born with shortened arms, has three fingers on his right hand and two on his left. His citizenship application was delayed because of an administrative error, INS spokesman Greg Gagne said.
      "We're trying to accommodate his schedule and finish this by the end of the month," Gagne said.

Tenants win $250,000 in Section 8 lawsuit
     (Renton, Wash., Aug. 12, 1998) -- The former owner of a Renton apartment complex has agreed to pay $250,000 in damages to tenants and former tenants after a federal judge ruled low-income residents were discriminated against because they were primarily black women in one-parent households and recipients of federal housing subsidies.
     The money from Avalon Ridge Apartments will be shared among at least 20 households that filed a class-action lawsuit against Sunpointe Associates.
     The women - all beneficiaries of Section 8, a federal housing program that provides monthly rental subsidies to low-income residents - received notices in summer 1996 informing them that they could no longer live at the apartment complex. They reportedly had made their monthly rental payments on time and were good tenants.   FULL STORY in The Seattle Times

Disabled inmates win state protection
     (San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1998) -- The state admitted Tuesday that disabled prisoners had been victims of discrimination and agreed to develop a program to fix the problem.
     The pledge stems from a class-action suit filed two years ago in federal court in San Francisco, accusing the Department of Corrections of failing to protect mentally retarded and developmentally disabled prisoners from harm by other inmates.
     It comes less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prisoners are protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bars discrimination against certain groups.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Regulators hear objections to BancOne merger
     (Chicago, Aug. 13, 1998) -- A panel of federal banking regulators considering a proposed $29.8 billion merger between First Chicago NBD Corp. and Banc One Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, heard allegations Thursday that Banc One's lending practices discriminate against minorities.
     ``Low- and moderate-income groups, blacks and Latinos are not treated well by Banc One,'' said Michael Shea, executive director for the Chicago-based Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
     The Federal Reserve Board must approve the proposed merger before it is presented to shareholders' meetings, scheduled for September 15.
     The merger would create the largest financial institution in the Midwest and the nation's fifth-largest bank with assets of $230 billion.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

EDITORIAL: Bias may cost S.F. HUD dollars
     (San Francisco, Aug. 14, 1998) -- On July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a provision, introduced by Frank Riggs, R-Windsor, that would strip San Francisco of federal housing money, totaling $65 to 265 million. Riggs introduced the measure to punish San Francisco for The City's policy requiring any company with which it does business to offer
domestic partner benefits to employees.
     Riggs' curious message - that equality is an ideal to be fought against vigorously - is a dangerous one. The denial of public funds to San Francisco flies in the face of the right of citizens to enjoy the basic freedoms and benefits afforded by their community without discrimination.  FULL EDITORIAL in The San Francisco Examiner

Judge delays approval of Nationwide settlement
     (Toledo, Ohio, Aug. 14, 1998) -- Two people raised issues yesterday in a Lucas County Common Pleas Court fairness hearing, which delayed court approval of a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against Nationwide Insurance.
      Albert Lloyd told Judge Frederick McDonald that he objected to the agreement because it includes only owner-occupants and that he had to buy insurance on a property on West Bancroft Street, although he lives elsewhere.
     C. Thomas McCarter, a lawyer, told Judge McDonald that a woman had contacted him last week. Although he doesn't officially represent her, he said he wanted to make an appearance to preserve her right to object in the future if it seems appropriate.  FULL STORY in The Toledo Blade

Ohio city marketing white areas to black buyers
     (Parma, Ohio, Aug. 17, 1998) -- Interest is high in a down-payment aid program geared to attract black home buyers to this predominantly white suburb.
     Other efforts to reach out to blacks have achieved mixed results, but the suburb clearly is building bridges to people whom a federal judge said city leaders once tried to exclude.
     Parma is now nearly 15 months into a 24-month dismissal order that will relieve the suburb of federal court oversight of fair housing efforts. The suburb has been under order to remedy fair housing wrongs since 1980.
     Tired of the court-order stigma, city officials crafted a two-year plan with the U.S. Justice Department in November 1996 to market its housing stock aggressively among blacks. Justice officials approved the marketing plan in June 1997.  FULL STORY in The Cleveland Plain Dealer

High court dismisses environmental racism case
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 18, 1998) -- The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a case from Pennsylvania that asked whether private citizens can sue over government agency regulations that allegedly result in racial discrimination.
     Chester, Pa., residents had accused the state of "environmental racism" by placing waste treatment facilities in their mostly black city, and the high court had agreed in June to hear arguments in the case. But the residents asked the justices last month to dismiss the case as moot because a permit for a proposed treatment facility was revoked and the facility will not be built.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Philly fair housing center can sue over ads
     (Philadelphia, Aug. 19, 1998) -- A federal court in Philadelphia has ruled that the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia has the right to sue a newspaper for publishing thousands of discriminatory housing advertisements over the last several years. PRESS RELEASE from the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia

Wisconsin sued over group homes law
     (Milwaukee, Aug. 20, 1998) -- A state law giving communities the power to close group homes for people with disabilities is discriminatory and should be struck down, a federal lawsuit filed against the state contends.
     The law also violates federal laws that supersede it, according to the suit.
     The Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy and three individual plaintiffs also named as a defendant the Town of Pittsfield, challenging the Brown County municipality's plan to hold an August 31 hearing on whether a group home there "poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare" of surrounding residents.
      Under state law, if the group home is found to pose such a threat, the town could order the facility to close unless it gets special zoning permission.  FULL STORY in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Natiowide under fire for insurance bias -- again
     (Akron, Ohio, Aug. 20, 1998) -- A local fair-housing organization filed a federal racial discrimination complaint against Nationwide Insurance and an Akron agent yesterday for allegedly denying a black woman improved coverage on her East Akron home and withholding insurance rate information from a black homeowner.
      The Fair Housing Advocates Association filed the complaint against Nationwide and agent Bill Gearhart with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development in Chicago.
      The organization also plans to register a formal complaint with the Justice Department that contends Nationwide may have violated a 1997 agreement that prohibited using the age or market value of a home as eligibility criteria for insurance coverage. FULL STORY in the Akron Beacon Journal

Chicago sues landlord for bias against children
     (Chicago, Aug. 20, 1998) -- When city worker Timothy Novak and his wife, Susan, faced eviction from their Northwest Side apartment just before Christmas, 1996, they began searching for a new home for themselves and their four kids.
     Many landlords rejected them, including Felix Padlan, owner of a three-bedroom apartment for rent in the 8600 block of Foster Avenue.
     Now the City of Chicago is taking Padlan to court, accusing him of violating the city's fair housing ordinance by discriminating against the Novaks on the basis of parental status.
     In a lawsuit filed this week, city lawyers asked a Cook County Circuit judge to enforce a 1997 ruling by the city Human Relations Commission, which ordered Padlan to pay $21,033 plus interest to compensate the Novaks.
     It is believed to be the first time the city has filed suit to force a landlord to comply with a commission order in a case involving parental status discrimination.  FULL STORY in The Chicago Sun-Times

FCC investigating advertiser discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 20, 1998) -- Federal officials have begun an investigation into whether advertisers have systematically discriminated against radio and TV stations that are owned by minorities or attract large African American and Hispanic audiences.
     For years, minority broadcasters have complained that advertisers consistently pass over their stations or pay far less for commercial air time than on stations reaching primarily white audiences. Although minority broadcasters have offered anecdotal evidence of discrimination, no government agency has previously attempted to study whether a pattern exists. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Amtrak sued for race discrimination
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 21, 1998) -- A group of Amtrak managers filed suit yesterday against the national passenger railroad, alleging that top management there steers African American managers and professionals into jobs with limited opportunity for advancement.
     The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks for an immediate end to what it says is racial discrimination at the railroad.  The plaintiffs also are seeking more than $100 million in back pay and damages on behalf of approximately 3,500 black employees.
     Paul C. Sprenger, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said racial discrimination and a hostile work environment have existed at Amtrak for more than a decade. Sprenger said the suit was filed on behalf of 700 current managerial employees, 300 former employees and about 2,500 African Americans who were turned down for jobs.    FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Advocates for disabled hit group-home policy
     (Trenton, N.J., Aug. 26, 1998) -- Questioning the legality of an interim policy that allows the state to reject group homes in towns that have their so-called fair share, a coalition of advocates for the disabled has demanded that the policy be rescinded.
     In a letter to the state attorney general, the New Jersey Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities charged that the "saturation" policy, which was implemented by former Commissioner William Waldman, "is a discriminatory housing practice violating the federal Fair Housing Act."  FULL STORY in The Bergen Record

DOJ settles Chicago condo construction case
     (Washington, D.C., Aug. 27, 1998) -- A Northern Illinois development company will correct design problems in condominiums that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities, under a settlement reached with the Justice Department.
      The agreement, filed together with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago, resolves allegations that Ranch Development, Inc., of Orland Park, Illinois, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by failing to include particular features in condominiums which would make the units accessible to persons with disabilities. Under the FHA, multi-family housing complexes with four or more units must contain, among other things, accessible routes, doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, reachable thermostats, and bathroom walls equipped with reinforcements so that people with disabilities could install grab bars. PRESS RELEASE from DOJ

Philly housing authority target of disability suit
     (Philadelphia, Aug. 28, 1998) -- Advocates for the disabled on August 27 sued the Philadelphia Housing Authority in federal court, alleging there has been far too little done to make PHA units accessible so that those who cannot walk, see or hear can rent them.
     The suit was filed by Adapt of Philadelphia, an activist group. "Many Philadelphia residents with disabilities continue to live in segregated settings, such as nursing facilities, solely because of the lack of affordable, accessible, and integrated housing," the suit asserts.
     A PHA spokesman couldn't be reached for comment. Adapt's attorney, Stephen F. Gold, contends that the PHA is violating the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Daily News

Florida accommodation issue headed to court
     (St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 29, 1998) -- The long-running battle between a Beacon Woods East couple and their homeowners association will be decided in U.S. District Court.
     The case, filed Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Steve and Michelle Sidney, accuses the homeowners association of discrimination against the disabled in enforcement of its deed restrictions.
     At issue is the development's rule that residents cannot park recreational vehicles in private driveways. The homeowners association has said the Sidneys' RV blocks the sidewalk and inconveniences pedestrians. The association wants the Sidneys to park their RV at a lot for large vehicles about a mile from their home. FULL STORY in The St. Petersburg Times

Oregon mobile park pays $27,000 in HUD case
     (Salem, Ore., Sep. 01, 1998) -- The owner of Scofield Mobile Home Park, near Salem, Ore., and the park's manager agreed to pay $27,000 to settle discrimination charges filed by HUD. They were accused of refusing to sell or rent to a couple that had a four-year-old child in April of 1997.
      The park owner told the Salem Statesman-Journal the site was to be a seniors park, but HUD investigators found the park didn't qualify for Fair Housing Act exemptions for older persons. And there wasn't any advertising denoting the park as for residents 55 or older. HUD found the park didn't meet requirements that 80 percent of the homes must have at least one 55-year-old resident. FULL STORY by Inman News Features

Judge OKs Toledo Nationwide settlement
     (Toledo, Ohio, Sep. 03, 1998) -- A judge has approved a $5.3 million settlement of a lawsuit that accused Nationwide Insurance Co. of discriminating against homeowners in minority neighborhoods.
     The 1993 lawsuit filed by the Toledo Fair Housing Center and
homeowners alleged that Nationwide didn't return phone calls to discourage homeowners in black neighborhoods from buying insurance.
     Mortgage lenders require property and hazard insurance on mortgaged property before approving loans. Nationwide denies the discrimination charge, but said it agreed to a settlement to avoid a legal battle.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

EEOC finds discrimination at Freddie Mac
     (Washington, D.C., Sep. 03, 1998) -- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded there is widespread discrimination against black employees by Freddie Mac, a federally chartered mortgage underwriting company.
     Acting on a complaint filed by Tony Morgan, Freddie Mac's former director of corporate relations, the EEOC issued a finding recently that said the publicly held company has created a ``hostile work environment'' and urged swift corrective action to head off another lawsuit.
     The EEOC filed suit against Freddie Mac last year, but a federal judge dismissed the suit after finding that the company had taken sufficient remedial action.
     But EEOC lawyers said other employees have come forward since then with evidence of a pattern of discrimination against black employees.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Cal. agency says state law covers roommates
     (San Francisco, Sep. 06, 1998) -- With misgivings about invading apartment dwellers' privacy, a California state civil rights agency awarded $2,744.35 in damages to a black Oakland woman rejected as a roommate by two white women because of her race.
     The Fair Employment and Housing Commission said people who rent a house or apartment and seek a roommate are covered by California's law banning racial discrimination in housing.
     While taking part in the 4-0 decision, two commission members said the Legislature should change the law.
     The law ``intrudes too far into individuals' choice of living arrangements, and may also raise constitutional issues of privacy and association,'' wrote commissioners Theron Johnson and Ann-Marie Villicana.

Giuliani suspends firefighters for parade
     (New York, Sep. 12, 1998) -- Reacting to what he called a "a disgusting display of racism," Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani suspended two firemen today and said he will soon suspend a policeman for riding in blackface on a Labor Day float that mocked last June's grisly dragging death of a black man in Texas.
     The Republican mayor, rushing to separate his administration from what he described as the behavior of "a few misguided, possibly sick, individuals," said the three men committed a "vicious kind of stereotypical displaying of African Americans" and "can no longer be trusted to be public employees of the city of New York." Giuliani said all three will likely be fired.

Former Ala. Gov. Wallace dies at 79
     (Montgomery, Ala., Sep. 14, 1998) -- Former Gov. George C. Wallace, who declared ``segregation forever'' and later was paralyzed by a would-be assassin's bullet as he campaigned for the presidency in 1972, died Sunday. He was 79.
     Wallace, who recanted his segregationist stand later in his career and won his final term with the help of black votes, had battled Parkinson's disease as well as the lingering effects of his wounds. He had been hospitalized repeatedly.
     Wallace entered the hospital Thursday, suffering from breathing problems and septic shock caused by a severe bacterial infection. He also had been hospitalized this summer with similar problems.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Shell sued for race bias at gas stations
     (Chicago, Sep. 17, 1998) -- The note posted behind the counter at the gas station was written in Urdu, so customers were not likely to understand it.
     But an employee of the Shell station in Chicago understood and told a Chicago police officer that the sign read, ``Do not release for blacks -- first get the money.''
     That was the first link in a chain of events that led to the filing of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday.
     The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages and an end to what it called a nationwide pattern of discrimination, was filed by Daron Hill, a black Chicago police officer who had learned of the note.
     ``I thought it was disgusting,'' said Hill.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Group homes moratorium spurs lawsuit
     (Salt Lake City, Sep. 18, 1998) -- A six-month moratorium on the establishment of new group homes and residential facilities in Iron County, Utah, illegally discriminates against the disabled, according to the Disability Law Center.
     In a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, the center's lawyers said the Iron County moratorium "clearly violates the express language " of federal and state fair housing laws.
     At issue is "Ordinance No. 159," which bans issuing permits for group homes and residential facilities for six months "or until permanent regulations are adopted, whichever is sooner."
     The Iron County Commission adopted the ordinance on August 10 in response to public concerns over the growing number of group homes, youth homes and other residential facilities in the area, said County Attorney Scott Burns.
     "We have been inundated with group homes and youth homes, and the commission placed a moratorium on permits until we come up with an ordinance that we feel will protect the public," Burns said.  FULL STORY in The Deseret News

Coldwell Banker settles "empty nester" dispute
     (Winnetka, Ill., Sep. 18, 1998) -- On September 4, 1998, Coldwell Banker agreed to a settlement with Interfaith Housing Center in response to a complaint filed with the U.S. Dept. of HUD in February of 1998. The complaint was based upon an advertisement for a unit in a Highland Park complex -- described as an "adult townhome". Interfaith’s contention was that the language in the ad was discriminatory, discouraging families with children from moving to the complex and frustrated the agency’s efforts and activities to ensure open housing in the Northern Suburbs. PRESS RELEASE from Interfaith Housing Center

Panel urges examination of white privilege
     (Washington, Sep. 18, 1998) -- President Clinton's advisers on race, completing their yearlong mission, have concluded that Americans must confront ``this country's history of white privilege'' before its many races can begin to get along.
     The advisory board was urging in its final report today that Clinton take the lead in educating people about that history and how an inferior status was assigned to people of color.
     "It is, we believe, essential to recall the facts of racial domination. ... We as a nation need to understand that whites tend to benefit, either unknowingly or consciously, from this country's history of white privilege,'' the report said.
     Clinton, who was to get the report in a meeting with the board today, planned to use the board's findings as a reference for his own report on how the country can prepare for the day when no racial group is a majority of the U.S. population.

White mob marches on home
     (York, Neb., Sep. 19, 1998) -- It started with a rumor of theft and ended with a mob of white men shouting racial slurs, smashing car windows and attacking the home of a white woman dating a black man -- all under the colors of a Confederate flag.
     What happened Tuesday night has stunned this mostly white city of about 8,100 people in eastern Nebraska.
     ``We have to recognize that we have minorities in the community that have seen these actions,'' Mayor Greg Adams said Friday. ``We need to let them know that we are not going to stand by and let racism happen whether intended or otherwise.''   FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Denver residents protest group homes
     (Denver, Sep. 21, 1998) -- East Denver residents packed into a meeting last week to raise personal - and sometimes panicked - questions about their likely new neighbors.
     Would they be allowed in the nearby park, some asked. What kinds of medications do they take? Do they scream in the night?
     The newcomers - if Denver city officials and the Mental Health Corp. of Denver get their way - will be 12 mentally ill residents of two group homes on south Olive and Poplar streets. The city is scurrying to open those and five other facilities by December 18, the deadline set by a judge in the settlement of a class-action lawsuit. FULL STORY in The Denver Post

Texas comm'n charges anti-children bias
     (Arlington, Texas, Sep. 21, 1998) -- With his wife and infant daughter in mind, Derrick Taylor figured the well-lighted apartments with nearby parking in the front of the north Arlington complex would be an ideal home while construction wrapped up on their house.
     Instead, Taylor said, a Cedar Creek Apartments leasing agent told him the vacant unit was in need of repair and suggested a unit in the back.
     The family settled in, but a survey of his neighbors made Taylor suspicious about the agent's story.
     "It was obvious that nothing but families with children were in back and nothing but adults without children were in front," he said.
     Officials with the Texas Commission on Human Rights began investigating the complex, which is in the 500 block of Green Oaks Circle, after Taylor filed a fair-housing complaint in 1996. The ruling found that apartment workers had discriminated against the family.  FULL STORY in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

19 black colleges receive HUD grants
     (Washington, Sep. 22, 1998) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $6.5 million in grants to help 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) address housing needs and revitalize distressed areas in their communities.
     Cuomo announced the grants at a conference sponsored by the White House Initiative on HBCUs in observance of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, September 20-26.
      President Clinton, who in 1993 signed an Executive Order expanding the role of HBCUs in national affairs, said, "HBCUs are a source of great pride and a symbol of economic, social and political growth."  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

HUD kiosks crisscrossing country
     (Washington, Sep. 23, 1998) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development now has five public information kiosks that are being sent to events across the country to give the public push-button access to a wealth of information about HUD's work.  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

High court to hear student harassment case
     (Washington, Sep. 29, 1998) -- The Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether educators violate a federal law when they fail to stop students from sexually harassing other students.
     The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that barred a lawsuit against a Georgia school district and school officials over the harassment of a girl by a fellow fifth-grader.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

DOJ reaches settlement with housing authority
     (Washington, Sep. 30, 1998) -- The Milford (Connecticut) Housing Authority will follow through on a plan to acquire and/or build twenty-eight units of new family public housing, under an agreement with the Justice Department and the NAACP-New Haven Branch.
     The plan will settle lawsuits that alleged that the Housing Authority's cancellation of a $3.5 million federally-subsidized scattered site housing program violated the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against race and national origin discrimination. A significant proportion of the beneficiaries of the scrapped housing program were projected to be African American or Hispanic.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Editorial:  The Housing Bill
     (Washington, Oct. 01, 1998) -- THE FEDERAL government now spends $28 billion a year on housing subsidies for lower-income people. The amount is large but nowhere near enough to meet the need as federally defined, and how to allocate the aid -- or the shortage of aid -- is one of the major issues remaining in this Congress. Republicans want to give local officials the right to extend the subsidies to upwardly mobile lower-middle-income families even at the possible expense of the poor. The administration and congressional Democrats are willing to do a little of this, but not as much. When the same dispute arose in the last Congress, the legislation died. The giant programs have been administered on a year-to-year basis since.  FULL EDITORIAL in The Washington Post

IG: USDA's civil rights office in disarray
     (Washington, Oct. 02, 1998) -- The Agriculture Department's civil rights office is "in disarray" and making no significant progress toward clearing up a backlog of discrimination complaints by black farmers, the department's inspector general said in a report released yesterday.
     Inspector General Roger Viadero recommended stripping the office of its jurisdiction and creating an outside task force to deal with the problem.
     The civil rights office is "making little attempt to correct the mistakes of the past," Viadero's report said.
     Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman has acknowledged that current and past administrations have discriminated against black farmers.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

High court to hear disability discrimination case
     (Washington, Oct. 05, 1998) -- The Supreme Court accepted a case Monday that would decide how difficult it should be for disabled workers to sue their employers for discrimination after they apply for or receive Social Security disability benefits.
     The justices voted to use the case of a Texas woman fired from her job after suffering a stroke to decide an issue the Clinton administration says has left federal appeals courts "in considerable disarray."

Congress makes public housing changes
     (Washington, Oct. 06, 1998) -- Congress agreed yesterday on legislation that expands the availability of subsidized housing for the first time in five years and allows housing authorities to move more working families into apartments now reserved almost exclusively for the poor.
     The public housing overhaul was attached to the fiscal 1999 spending bill for the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, which was given a $2 billion boost in funding over the current year.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Orange County group files race lawsuit
     (Buena Park, Cal., Oct. 07, 1998) -- The Fair Housing Council of Orange County, Cal., and three individuals have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the owners of the Flowertree Apartments located in Buena Park, California are discriminating on the basis of race or color. The suit, which was filed last Friday, alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as federal and state civil rights laws.
      The lawsuit followed an allegation by a manager at the complex that the owners of Flowertree Apartments had deliberately delayed the applications of two of the plaintiffs because of their race. Results of the Fair Housing Council's testing were consistent with the manager's account of the owners' practices. The manager has since left the company.

N.J. city, mayor settle police hiring bias suit
     (East Orange, N.J., Oct. 07, 1998) -- The city has settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to the forced resignation of its first black police chief and the appointment of a white man who claimed he was the victim of discrimination.
     The settlement announced Tuesday followed a weeklong trial in Capt. Richard Wright's bias lawsuit and came as jurors were to begin deliberations.
     Wright's lawsuit accused Cardell Cooper, who was mayor from 1990 through 1997, of engineering a deal to make sure that then-Lt. Harry Harman, who is black, got the job even though he placed sixth on the exam.
     The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement but agreed to pay about $180,000 in legal fees and back pay to Wright, said municipal attorney Jason Holt.
     The deal also settles the case against Cooper, who helped run President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign in New Jersey and is awaiting confirmation as assistant secretary for community planning and development in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The position oversees cities' grant programs. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Cop fired for riding racist float
     (New York, Oct. 10, 1998) -- Police Commisssioner Howard Safir followed through on his threat Saturday to fire a police officer for riding on a racist Labor Day parade float in Queens.
     ``It is my considered decision that Police Officer Joseph Locurto does not deserve to wear the shield of a New York Police Officer and should, in fact, be dismissed,'' Safir said in a statement issued early Saturday afternoon.
     The city suspended Locurto and two firefighters without pay on September 11 after they were identified as being among the nine people on a Labor Day parade float in Broad Channel, a predominantly white community in an isolated area of southern Queens.
     The men wore blackface and Afro-style wigs, threw watermelon and fried chicken and mocked the bias murder of a black man in Texas, all under the banner ``Black to the Future 2098.''  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Student dies after brutal anti-gay beating
     (Ft. Collins, Colo., Oct. 12, 1998) -- A gay University of Wyoming student died Monday, five days after he was found pistol-whipped and lashed to a fence post in an attack denounced nationwide as a hate crime.
     Matthew Shepard, 21, died while on life support, said the head of Poudre Valley Hospital, Rulon Stacey. Shepard had been in a coma since bicyclists found him tethered to the post in near-freezing temperatures outside Laramie, Wyo., on Wednesday.
     Police have said robbery was the primary motive for the attack. But gay rights groups and others assailed the beating and called on Wyoming legislators to adopt laws to deter crimes against homosexuals.  FULL STORY from The Washington Post

Supreme Court lets Cincinatti law stand
     (Washington, Oct. 13, 1998) -- The Supreme Court allowed Cincinnati to deny homosexuals specific protection from discrimination Tuesday, an order likely to create confusion over government policies on gay rights.
     The action came just two years after the justices struck down as unconstitutional a similar measure in Colorado. Unlike the 1996 ruling, Tuesday's action set no national precedent but caused outrage just the same.
     ``The Supreme Court has given up. That's horrible,'' said Alphonse Gerhardstein, who represented opponents to the Cincinnati city charter amendment. The voter-approved measure bans policies or ordinances that give homosexuals claims for legal protection from discrimination -- in housing, employment or otherwise -- based on their sexual orientation. It also bars ``any claim of minority or protected status, quota preference or other preferential treatment.''  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

D.C. police sued over treatment of deaf suspects
     (Washington, Oct. 14, 1998) -- An advocacy group for the deaf filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against the District's police department, contending that officials routinely have failed to provide sign language interpreters to deaf crime suspects and witnesses.
     The lawsuit cited the experience of Vernon Shorter, a 36-year-old clerk with the Federal Election Commission. Shorter, who is deaf, was arrested as a burglary suspect last year and was held for three days before the case was dropped. According to the suit, D.C. police made no effort to communicate with him or to ensure that he understood the charges.
     Shorter, who joined in the lawsuit filed by the Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington, contends that he could have cleared up a misunderstanding and been released quickly if police had used an interpreter.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

HOME of Richmond suit settles for $480K
     (Washington, Oct. 15, 1998) -- The owners and managers of a Richmond, Virginia, apartment complex who were accused of refusing to rent to African Americans have agreed to a $480,000 settlement - the largest settlement ever in a rental discrimination case in Virginia, the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced.
     The agreement settling the discrimination complaint, which must be approved by a judge, requires the owners and managers of Wedgewood to pay $480,000 in damages, including: $200,000 to compensate any persons identified as victims of the alleged discrimination; $195,000 to Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc. of Richmond (HOME), a fair housing group funded by HUD that tested the apartment complex for housing discrimination; $45,000 to compensate two African Americans who filed complaints; and $40,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. Treasury.

Ohio center files family discrimination suit
     (Dayton, Ohio, Oct. 15, 1998) -- The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the owners, operators, managers, and leasing agents of Huber Home Rentals are discriminating on the basis of familial status. The suit, which was filed on October 15, alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Cincinnati, and three individuals, join the Fair Housing Center as Plaintiffs in the action. The individuals are Ms. Toylyn Caldwell, Ms. Michelle Tolson, and Mr. Danny Tolson. PRESS RELEASE from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center

Casper, Wyo., bracing for funeral protest
     (Casper, Wyo., Oct. 16, 1998) -- Bracing for potential violence, Wyoming officials have brought out bomb-sniffing dogs and banned protests in hopes of protecting the family of Matthew Shepard on Friday, the day of the slain student's funeral.
     Shepard, 21, died Monday at a Colorado hospital, five days after he was found tied to a fence in near-freezing temperatures outside Laramie. The University of Wyoming student had been pistol-whipped and abandoned.
      Two 21-year-old men have been charged with murder in Shepard's death. Police say their primary motive was robbery, but that Shepard was singled out because he was gay.
      Casper has reportedly received threats of violence from groups and individuals protesting Shepard's homosexuality. In addition, an anti-homosexual Baptist group from Topeka, Kansas, has threatened to demonstrate during Shepard's funeral, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Courts ponder job discrimination penality
     (Washington, Oct. 16, 1998) -- Employers who discriminate based on race, religion, national origin or sex violate the law, but federal courts have not agreed how much illegal prejudice should cost the lawbreakers.
     A major bone of contention is which situations should qualify victims of employment discrimination to receive punitive damages, the kind intended to punish and deter wrongdoers. The Supreme Court is being asked to clarify just when such awards can be won.
   Most employees or job applicants who sue over alleged discrimination invoke a federal law known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
     The law did not provide for punitive damages until Congress amended it in 1991.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Court won't ban "racist" school books
     (San Francisco, Oct. 19, 1998) -- A federal appeals court rejected today a black woman's request to remove "Huckleberry Finn" and a William Faulkner story from the required-reading list at her daughter's Arizona high school.
     Courts cannot "ban books or other literary works from school curricula on the basis of their content . . . even when the works are accused of being racist," the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
     The court allowed the parent, Kathy Monteiro, to sue the Tempe Union High School District for allegedly failing to respond to complaints that white students were harassing blacks with racial slurs and graffiti. But the judges said the school could not be required to remove the books as a way to reduce harassment.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

HUD settles SF racial covenant case
     (Washington, Oct. 19, 1998) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development has reached an agreement with the Lakeside Property Owners Association in San Francisco to remove a covenant in its bylaws that barred non-whites from living in the subdivision.
     The covenant, placed in the bylaws of the Lakeside Property Owners Association in 1939, stated: "No person other than one of the White Caucasian Race shall rent, lease, use or occupy any building or lot in said tract...". The covenant provided an exemption for servants.
HUD uncovered no evidence that the racial restrictions had ever been enforced. However, two residents - Dr. Mark Blank and Yumi Blank -- complained because the restrictions remained in the homeowners' association bylaws, which are given to all residents and potential homebuyers in the subdivision. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

DOJ settles accessibility cases in Chicago
     (Washington, Oct. 20, 1998) -- Architects and homebuilders in the Chicago metropolitan area will now provide accessible housing units for individuals with disabilities, under four agreements today filed by the Justice Department. The Department also sued a suburban architect and builder for not providing accessible units in compliance with federal law.
     The lawsuit and settlements, all filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, allege that the companies violated the Fair Housing Act by not providing accessible features such as: doors wide enough for wheelchairs; light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats in accessible locations; and reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow for installation of grab bars.
     Under the terms of the settlements, the architects and builders
have agreed to compensate people affected by the deficiencies, revise plans for unbuilt units to comply with the Fair Housing Act, make changes to finished units to enhance accessibility,build additional units in compliance with the Act even where those units would not be covered by it, train employees, and provide money to fund structural modifications of non-complying units by their owners.  PRESS RELEASE by The Department of Justice

HUD refocuses fraud probe after outcry
     (Washington, Oct. 21, 1998) -- After triggering a racial uproar with a proposed probe of "urban fraud" in three cities with African American mayors, the nation's top housing investigator has retargeted her investigation on rural, suburban and urban areas in five states and the District.
     Inspector General Susan Gaffney of the Department of Housing and Urban Development said yesterday that after receiving a flood of complaints about singling out only three black-led cities for the inquiry, "we had to rethink" the plan. "Otherwise, our ability to conduct the investigation would have been curtailed; people would have been suspicious of our every move," she said.
     The three cities originally targeted were Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Under the new plan, Gaffney will look at housing programs in central California, including Los Angeles and its suburbs; the eastern area of New York, including Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island suburbs; the entire state of Maryland, including Baltimore; and the District of Columbia. Northern Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth, and northern Illinois, including Chicago, also will be investigated.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Anti-bigotry activist to move after threats
     (Philadelphia, Oct. 21, 1998) -- As a foe of bigotry and a member of the Reading-Berks Human Relations Council, Bonnie Jouhari taught others to look for the signs: swastikas, racial slurs, images of violence.
     But she didn't expect this: Since February, Jouhari says, fliers have been strewn on her lawn branding her a "Race Traitor." She has received anonymous phone calls suggesting she write a will. She says a Ku Klux Klan leader took to sitting on the bench outside her Reading office window, clutching a fistful of hate leaflets, and staring at her while she worked.
     Yesterday, in a move that some experts said was unprecedented, the state Attorney General's Office sued the operators of a Web site that had targeted Jouhari.
     But she'd already made up her mind. She's leaving the state.   FULL STORY in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Rate of home ownership hits record high
     (Washington, Oct. 22, 1998) -- The U.S. homeownership rate soared to a record high 66.8 percent in the third quarter of this year. The rate, which measures the percentage of families who own the homes they live in, was up from 66 percent in the second quarter of this year.
     The number of families owning their own homes hit 69.1 million in the third quarter - the highest number in American history, and up from 68.3 million in the second quarter. The third quarter covers July, August and September. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Insurance bias suit nets $100M judgment
     (Richmond, Va., Oct. 26, 1998) -- The first Fair Housing Act lawsuit involving discrimination in the provision of homeowners insurance has resulted in a jury verdict of $100.5 million.
     The case, brought by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Richmond, alleged that Nationwide Insurance discriminated against homeowners in predominantly black neighborhoods in the Richmond area. The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning the verdict after a two-week trial.

Senate confirms top HUD posts
     (Washington, Oct. 26, 1998) -- The Senate has confirmed President Clinton's nominees for five top posts at the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
      Saul Ramirez, Jr. of Laredo, TX, as Deputy Secretary.
      William C. Apgar of Newton, MA, as Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner.
      Harold Lucas of Newark, NJ, as Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing.
      Cardell Cooper of East Orange, NJ, as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development.
      Ira G. Peppercorn of Indianapolis, as Director of the Office of Multifamily Housing Assistance Restructuring.
      "These talented and dedicated public servants will play a key role in helping HUD to succeed in its mission," Secretary Andrew Cuomo said. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Realtors get voluntary diversity training
     (St. Louis, Oct. 28, 1998) -- Letting Saudi Arabians see the soles of your shoes is considered rude. In Australia, it's flashing the thumbs-up sign. In northern Europe, it's standing too close to someone. In the Mediterranean, it's standing too far.
     Those are examples the National Association of Realtors has used in promoting its new "At Home With Diversity: One America" program. The one-day course teaches real estate professionals how to market to the growing number of multicultural and minority home buyers in the United States.
     "If we want to expand our business, we must be able to communicate with and relate to all buyers and sellers, regardless of ethnic and cultural differences," said E'toile Libbett, who heads the Realtors' Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity Committee.  FULL STORY in the St. Louis Business Journal

Affirmative action on ballot in Washington
     (Seattle, Oct. 29, 1998) -- Sometimes the smallest of sparks can ignite the most monumental of firestorms.
     One such spark flickered to life in 1991, when a former soldier got beat out by his wife for a chance at a law enforcement job. Scott Smith wondered why: He and 274 other applicants had ranked higher than she did. When told there was a special program to hire women, he moved on.
     But he didn't forget. When Smith was elected to the state house in 1994, he began a push that has led to a fierce campaign over affirmative action.
     The stakes are high. Initiative 200 on the November 3 Washington ballot bans preferences based on race, ethnicity and gender in government hiring, contracting and education. Its passage could influence the tone of the debate nationwide.   FULL STORY in The Oregonian

Protesters picket site of planned group home
     (Fairfax, Va., Nov. 02, 1998) -- Carrying signs bearing slogans such as "Save Our Neighborhood" and "Coming Soon -- Schizophrenics," about two dozen people gathered yesterday to protest the planned opening of a group home for mentally ill homeless adults in Falls Church.
     The protesters said they were concerned because the eight-bedroom home -- on Glen Carlyn Road, just off Route 7 in Baileys Crossroads -- is across the street from a Catholic grade school. There are also several families with children in the neighborhood.
     "Our concern is not so much that they're providing a shelter for the homeless; it's the structure of the program," said Craig Zamuda, a neighborhood resident who organized the protest. "They can come and go as they please. . . . They can bring in visitors. We're concerned about the safety of our children." FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Washington votes to ban affirmative action
     (Seattle, Wash., Nov. 04, 1998) -- Washington became the second state to ban racial or gender preferences in government hiring and contracting or in college admissions.
     Backers said Tuesday's result showed voters understood that affirmative action programs are unfair.
     ``They are clearly saying `we want to treat everybody equally,''' said Ward Connerly, the California businessman whose organization spearheaded passage of a similar measure in his state. The group also helped plan and finance the Washington campaign.      Former Republican Gov. Dan Evans, a leading foe of the measure, blamed Connerly's ``outside money'' and influence for passage.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Pa. trailer park pays $9,250 for family bias
     (Erie, Pa., Nov. 09, 1998) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that the owners of an Erie, PA, mobile home park have agreed to pay $9,250 to settle housing discrimination complaints accusing them of refusing to permit a family with children to live in the park.  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Washington deals with end of affirmative action
     (Seattle, Nov. 13, 1998) -- Now that Washington voters have approved the nation's second ban on affirmative action, after a ballot campaign as divisive as any the state has ever seen, the real ordeal is just beginning.
     With less than a month to dismantle policies they have followed for decades, many officials here sound uncertain, even defiant, about how they plan to interpret the new law. If carried out to the letter, it will affect hiring and contracting in every state, county and local government agency and admissions at every public university.
     The University of Washington announced a few days ago that it will no longer consider race or gender as factors when choosing students -- an abrupt end to a strategy its campuses have used since the 1960s.
     Across the state, however, some public institutions are hinting that they intend to find subtle ways to circumvent the ban. Others are waiting to take their cue from Gov. Gary Locke, a Chinese American Democrat who campaigned against the ban but now has the responsibility of putting it into practice.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Acorn study: Minority loan rejection high
     (New York, Nov. 13, 1998) -- Acorn, a national organization
of community groups, released a report this week showing minorities were rejected for home mortgages at a much higher rate than white applicants from 1995-1997.
     Rejection rates for minorities rose even as a strong economy, low interest rates, and easy terms allowed many families to buy homes for the first time.
     Acorn (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) studied data filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by 9,041 lenders in 35 cities. During the three years studied, the lenders examined took 4.91 million applications for conventional and government-backed home-purchase mortgages and originated 3.48 million loans.
     Acorn's study found nearly 33 percent of applications from blacks were rejected in 1997, up from 15 percent in 1995. Rejections of applications by Hispanics rose to 28 percent from 22 percent in the same period.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

State Farm can go into S&L business
     (Washington, Nov. 13, 1998) -- After mollifying concerns about lending discrimination, insurance giant State Farm has secured regulators' approval to operate a federal savings and loan.
     The federal Office of Thrift Supervision approved the new charter on Thursday. Approval had been held up for a year partly because of opposition from several community groups, which voiced concern that State Farm might discriminate against low-income borrowers. The company, based in Bloomington, Ill., in the past had been accused of discriminating against inner-city homeowners in underwriting insurance policies.
     Seeking to assuage those concerns, State Farm pledged to make $195 million in loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers in the S&L's first three years of operation. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

DOJ settles familial status complaint in Idaho
     (Washington, Nov. 16, 1998) -- An Idaho landlord, who publicized ads with the words "no children," has agreed to no longer discriminate against families with children, the Justice Department announced.
     The agreement, filed together with a civil complaint in U.S. District Court in Boise, resolves allegations that Marvin A. Gardner, a landlord in Rexburg, Idaho, discriminated against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

HUD to conduct nationwide testing project
     (Washington, Nov. 16, 1998) -- Federal housing officials say a yearlong $7.5 million study will help them crackdown on mortgage lenders, landlords and others who discriminate against minorities.
     The Department of Housing and Urban Development will commission the study, which will take a look at patterns of discrimination in the selling and renting houses and apartments.
     The study will involve people posing as would-be buyers or renters who will report on the reception they receive from real estate brokers, landlords and mortgage lenders. The people doing the testing -- both men and women -- will be from a wide number of racial and ethnic groups, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians as well as a control group of whites.
     The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said it "welcomed" the initiative, but the National Association of Realtors said it felt the money should be used for educational purposes, to make sure that all parties are fully acquainted with the law.
     "We are opposed to the use of federal funds . . . unless there is bona fide evidence of discrimination," said Lee Verstandig, senior vice president for governmental affairs of the Realtors group.

1960s civil rights activist Carmichael dead at 57
     (Conakry, Guinea, Nov. 16, 1998) -- Kwame Ture, who as Stokely Carmichael was a leading civil rights activist in the 1960s and used the slogan "Black power!" to rally blacks to the movement, died of prostate cancer November 15 in Conakry, Guinea. He was 57.
     Mr. Ture was a former president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a mainly 1960s civil rights organization. He also was a former prime minister of the Black Panther Party, the militant organization founded in Oakland, Calif., by Eldridge Cleaver, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
     "He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming America and Africa," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said after hearing of his death. "He was committed to ending racial apartheid in our country. He helped bring those walls down."
FULL STORY by The Washington Post

Lenders launch minority mortgage loan effort
     (Washington, Nov. 18, 1998) -- The mortgage banking industry Tuesday launched an aggressive campaign to expand homeownership among the nation's underserved minorities, a group expected to make up half of the U.S. population by 2010.
     ``The facts are clear, reaching these underserved communities and populations is not only good public policy, it's good business,'' said Donald Lange, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.
     His group Tuesday announced the launch of the Research Institute for Housing America, a nonprofit organization devoted to
expanding housing and mortgage markets to all Americans. FULL STORY by Reuters

Builder sues N.J. town over group home
     (Cresskill, N.J., Nov. 18, 1998) -- Three weeks after it was denied a permit to build a residence for Alzheimer's sufferers, Potomac Group Home Corp. has sued the borough, alleging discrimination against the disabled.
     The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, says Potomac was forced to appear before the Planning Board despite federal laws that say homes for people with disabilities are like any single-family home.
     The suit also accuses the board of unlawfully delaying a decision on Potomac's plans, which call for a 15-bedroom home on a residential stretch of Madison Avenue.  FULL STORY in The Bergen Record

Justice sues Jackson, Miss. apartment owner
     (Washington, Nov. 20, 1998) -- The owner and operators of rental properties in Jackson, Mississippi, were sued by the Justice Department today for allegedly discriminating against African American home seekers.
     The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, alleges that A. Waddell Nejam, who owns and rents townhouses and apartments in the Belhaven neighborhood, leasing agent Ann B. Sumrall, and a former leasing agent, Alice Perry, falsely told African Americans that apartments were not available.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Black farmers consider $125M settlement
     (Washington, Nov. 21, 1998) -- Black farmers said they are considering a deal of at least $125 million to settle their discrimination lawsuit against the Agriculture Department.
     The settlement would give each of the 1,000 plaintiffs about $50,000 and resolve any outstanding debt with the government. The average plaintiff's debt is estimated at $75,000 to $100,000.
     The lawsuit -- claiming discrimination through denial of farm loans, crop subsidies and other benefits -- was filed last year, shortly after the Agriculture Department admitted its own process of resolving discrimination complaints had been in disarray and caused a huge backlog.
     Plaintiffs won a significant victory last month when a judge agreed to certify them as a class. A trial has been scheduled for February 1. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Eddie Bauer settles race discrimination suit
     (Washington, Nov. 24, 1998) -- The Eddie Bauer Inc. clothing company has dropped its appeal of a $1 million federal jury award to three young black men in connection with their treatment during an alleged shoplifting incident, and settled their case for an undisclosed sum, attorneys for both sides said yesterday.
     The racially charged lawsuit stemmed from an October 20, 1995, incident in which Alonzo Jackson, 16 at the time, was confronted by Robert Sheehan, an off-duty Prince George's County police detective working as a security guard at an Eddie Bauer warehouse sale in Fort Washington.
     During the five-day trial last fall in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Jackson testified that he was wearing an Eddie Bauer shirt he had bought at the warehouse the previous day. Jackson and two other witnesses testified that Sheehan made him remove the green-plaid shirt when he couldn't produce a receipt on the spot. Jackson later returned with a receipt showing that he had purchased two items at the store and was given the shirt back, according to testimony.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Coretta Scott King's father dies
     (Atlanta, Nov. 24, 1998) -- Coretta Scott King's father, Obie Scott, a small-town storeowner who provided free groceries to the poor and worked into his 90s, has died of respiratory failure. He was 99.
     Scott, who died Sunday, lived in the small central Alabama town ofMarion, where he owned a store and hauled pulpwood, among other things. He and his late wife, Bernice, raised three children. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

"Eyes on the Prize" filmmaker Hampton dies
     (Boston, Nov. 24, 1998) -- Henry Hampton, 58, who made "Eyes on the Prize," the acclaimed television series about the civil rights movement, died November 22 at a hospital here. He had lung cancer.
     Mr. Hampton first envisioned what would become his masterpiece as he participated in a civil rights march in Selma, Ala., in 1965.
     "A hundred civil rights stories had been told, but it was always black people being saved by whites," he said in a 1993 interview. "In 'Eyes,' we brought our people up in history."  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Mortgages hard to get on reservations
     (Washington, Nov. 25, 1998) -- Chester Carl seemed the ideal candidate for a conventional home mortgage. He owned three thriving small businesses -- a silk-screen printing operation, a television satellite dish company and a shop that manufactured camper shells for pickup trucks -- and he had an excellent credit rating along with a reputation as a solid family man.
     But when he decided to build his dream house in 1982 -- and again 10 years later when he started work on another house -- he did not even bother applying to a bank for a home loan. Instead, he worked on the houses piecemeal, building room by room from check to check as he became able to buy the materials and pay for the labor.
     The reason: Carl is an American Indian and his houses are on the sprawling Navajo reservation that straddles eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. There, as is the case on most of the nation's approximately 550 Indian reservations, obtaining a conventional home loan -- or even a federally backed mortgage -- is easier said than done.   FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Home loans pricier for blacks, NCRC says
     (Washington, Nov. 25, 1998) -- While fairness in mortgage lending improved in recent years, much new lending to blacks appears to come from "subprime" home loans with higher interest rates, a private group says.
     Officials of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, in releasing a study Tuesday, said they were concerned that after a few years of progress starting in 1994, the gap between minorities and whites being denied home mortgages widened again in 1996-97.
     The study was based on data submitted to the federal government by banks, thrifts and mortgage companies. It is consistent with a government survey issued last summer showing that financial institutions are turning down blacks, Hispanics and American Indians for home mortgage loans more often than whites, no matter what their income.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Chicago groups file steering, blockbusting suits
     (Chicago, Dec. 10, 1998) -- Lawsuits were filed Wednesday against two real estate companies, alleging that panic peddling and racial steering is still alive on the Southwest Side.
     The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the Greater Ashburn Planning Association against Quality Realty Inc., 4104 S. Archer, and Rossi Realty Inc., 8511 S. Pulaski.
     Both companies are charged with violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by steering black and white home buyers away from integrated neighborhoods and by using scare tactics to pressure white homeowners to sell.  FULL STORY in The Chicago Sun-Times

Family of racial harasser evicted from housing
     (Boston, Dec. 12, 1998) -- A judge has allowed the Boston Housing Authority to evict a white family whose teen-age boy is accused of terrorizing his Hispanic neighbors.
     Margaret Donovan and a granddaughter have until February 1 to leave her Charlestown apartment, Housing Court Judge E. George Daher ruled. Her 17-year-old grandson, Vincent, already has been evicted because of the allegations against him.
     ``To attack other people because of their color, it's an intolerable situation,'' the judge said.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Noted judge, lawyer Higginbotham dead at 70
     (Boston, Dec. 15, 1998) -- A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., a civil rights defender who was one of the country's most prominent and influential black judges, has died. He was 70.
     Higginbotham, of Newton, suffered several strokes over the weekend before he died at Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday.
     Throughout his life, as a lawyer, judge and scholar, Higginbotham was known as a passionate advocate of civil rights. He received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1995.
     The late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall called him ``a great lawyer and a very great judge.''  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

High Court to decide states' duty to house people with mental disabilities
     (Washington, Dec. 15, 1998) -- The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide whether some mentally disabled people must be given a chance at being placed in group homes or other community-based programs rather than in institutions.
     Lower courts had said that Georgia had to provide that opportunity, a requirement that 22 other states contended would have "catastrophic effects" on their treasuries.

Hotel chain settles disability probe with DOJ
     (Washington, Dec. 17, 1998) -- Three hotel chains are under investigation by the Justice Department over complaints by disabled customers like those that led Holiday Inns to agree to provide guaranteed reservations and mediation of disputes for the disabled.
     A groundbreaking agreement between the department and the nearly 2,000 hotels in the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains was announced Wednesday by acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee and executives of Bass Hotels & Resorts, an Atlanta-based subsidiary of the British firm Bass PLC, which owns, operates or franchises the hotels.
     ``Travelers with disabilities will be able to make reservations for rooms, instead of having reservations about whether the room will be there,'' Lee said at a news conference.
     Disabled people had complained that accessible rooms reserved in advance were not available when they got to the hotel. ``They were giving guarantees, but the guarantees weren't any good,'' said John Wodatch, chief of the disability rights section.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Census chief plans count amid party bickering
     (Washington, Dec. 17, 1998) -- "Let us imagine," said Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt, "there were no politics at all . . ."
     He has something of a wistful look on his face as he describes this scenario, a politics-free zone around his foremost assignment in his new job, planning the 2000 Census. He imagines a census designed and executed by professional statisticians, without political hoopla and interference. "That would be marvelous."
     But that, he knows, isn't going to happen.
     In fact, Prewitt, who was sworn in last month, is taking on one of the most politically encumbered jobs in Washington, planning the next census in the midst of a bitter battle between Republicans and Democrats over how it should be conducted. His predecessor quit in part because of the bruising climate. And now, Prewitt enters when the issue is at the top of both party's agendas and pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will likely rule on the matter early next year.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

HUD probe violated speech rights, judge says
     (San Francisco, Dec. 24, 1998) -- Federal housing officials in San Francisco illegally investigated critics of a proposed low-income housing project and may be personally responsible for damages, says a federal judge.
     The Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation, which included a statement that the critics could be subject to $100,000 in penalties for housing law violations, "chilled [ their ] right to free speech and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances," said Chief U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel.
     The San Francisco HUD office concluded that the three critics who sued to block the project had violated a federal housing discrimination law, but that finding was rejected by HUD's national office.

HUD program to fund 59,000 new home loans
     (Washington, Dec. 24, 1998) -- Ginnie Mae today announced that an initiative that encourages lenders to provide mortgage loans to underserved central city neighborhoods to boost homeownership helped provide $5.3 billion in financing for 59,108 new loans in the 1997 and 1998 fiscal years.
     Ginnie Mae is a wholly-owned government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development that supports federal housing initiatives by providing liquidity to the secondary mortgage market and by attracting capital to the residential mortgage markets. Ginnie Mae programs help increase the supply of affordable housing by guaranteeing securities issued by private lenders backed by pools of residential mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (which is part of HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Rural Housing Service.
     The Targeted Lending Initiative was launched during 1996 with the goal of producing $1 billion of new lending and 15,000 new homeowners in targeted areas each year. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Homeless man prompts shelter's AIDS policy
     (Portland, Maine, Dec. 26, 1998) -- It's been a tough year for Patrick Biggers since he was evicted from a homeless shelter in Ellsworth two days before Christmas 1997 because he had the AIDS virus.
     A chef who worked at some of the nation's finest restaurants, Biggers, 36, remains homeless, has not found work and underwent triple bypass surgery three months ago.
     But he takes comfort in knowing that something good emerged this month from his ordeal: a policy to promote AIDS awareness that he hopes might become a model for shelters across the country.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Death penalty sought for Shepard suspects
     (Laramie, Wyo., Dec. 29, 1998) -- Prosecutors said today that they will seek the death penalty against the two men accused in the beating death of a gay University of Wyoming student.
     Aaron James McKinney and Russell Arthur Henderson, both 21, are accused of luring Matthew Shepard, also 21, out of a downtown bar. Police say the two robbed and pistol-whipped the 105-pound freshman, tied him to a log fence and beat him into unconsciousness. Shepard died five days later, on October 12.
     Prosecutor Cal Rerucha declined to comment on the death penalty plan. His intention to seek it was filed in court papers late this afternoon.

Mentally ill seeking help thwarted in AZ
     (TUSCON, Ariz., Jan. 03, 1999) -- Fewer and fewer people in the Valley are entering the state's mental health system under the category of "seriously mentally ill."
    A crackdown in eligibility by state officials is swamping mental health advocates -- paid by the state to police the system -- and forcing advocates to turn people away, a possible violation of state law.
    Under an increasingly rigid process, even people ordered by Superior Court judges to be hospitalized or treated are not being considered seriously mentally ill, or SMI. FULL STORY from the Arizona Republic

NBC, NAACP set initiatives
     (HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Jan. 05, 1999) -- NBC and the NAACP are set to unveil a series of initiatives Wednesday morning regarding minority hiring and onscreen representation.
    Details of the initiatives were still hazy as of Tuesday afternoon, but the agreements include heightened efforts to include minorities in key roles on primetime series, as well as new programs to bolster the number of minorities on the network's employment rosters.
    NBC president Bob Wright, NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa and National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People chief Kweisi Mfume will outline the network's endeavors at Wednesday's press conference in New York.
    ``In the past you've heard a lot of rhetoric from the networks,'' one network insider said. ``This is a conscious effort to move beyond the rhetoric and do something concrete.''  FULL STORY from Variety

Federal agency finds sex bias at Texaco
     (White Plains, N.Y., Jan. 06, 1999) -- A federal agency has found that TexacoInc., which reached a landmark settlement with black employees in 1997,underpaid some women at offices around the country between 1993 and1996.
      The company, without admitting any violations, has agreed to pay $3.1million to the 186 women, who held managerial and support jobs at its WhitePlains headquarters and elsewhere, company spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew said today. The number is 2 percent of Texaco's female employees.
      The agreement is the largest resulting from an audit by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which monitors affirmative action at companies that do business with the government. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

USDA searching for settlement class members
     (Washington, Jan. 07, 1999) -- A major advertising campaign will kick off soon to locate black farmers who may be eligible to join a multimillion-dollar settlement with the Agriculture Department.
      Attorneys announced late Tuesday that a settlement had been reached in the 1997 racial discrimination lawsuit, ending more than two years of sometimes-contentious negotiations. Black farmers sued because they were denied access to government loans and subsidies.
      A federal judge gave preliminary approval to the deal, which covers black farmers from 1981 to 1996. Final approval is expected at a hearing on March 2. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Cuomo apparently will not seek Senate seat
     (Albany, N.Y., Jan. 09, 1999) -- Federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, the eldest son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has decided not to run for the Senate seat being given up by fellow Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a top adviser said Friday.
      The younger Cuomo plans to remain at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and help Vice President Al Gore mount his presidential campaign.
      "Andrew is not running for the U.S. Senate," former state Democratic Party Chairman John Marino said. "His commitment is to HUD and to the vice president and to the president."
      Cuomo's decision is certain to increase interest in whether Hillary Rodham Clinton might run for the New York Senate seat. She has not ruled out such a move. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Clinton pushes plan to help disabled to work
     (Washington, Jan. 13, 1999) -- President Clinton proposed $2 billion in tax credits, health benefits and other services Wednesday to make it easier for disabled Americans to hold jobs.
      At a White House ceremony, Clinton endorsed legislation being introduced next week by Sens. James Jeffords, R-Vt., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., that would expand federal health coverage for disabled workers.
      ``Americans should never have to choose between the dignity of work and the health care they need,'' Clinton said. ``With this initiative, they'll have a ticket to work, not an impossible choice." FULL STORY by The Associated Press

FCC: Advertisers routinely avoid minority radio
     (Washington, Jan. 13, 1999) -- Advertisers regularly discriminate against minority-owned radio stations and stations that have large African American or Hispanic audiences, a new government study has concluded.
      The study, to be released today by the Federal Communications Commission, offers the strongest evidence yet for a complaint long voiced by minority broadcasters. For decades, they have said advertisers paid disproportionately less for air time on stations reaching largely African American or Hispanic audiences or bypassed their stations altogether, a practice known among ad buyers as the "no urban/Spanish dictate."
      Based on interviews and an analysis of radio industry data for 3,745 stations, the FCC study found that stations owned by "majority" firms collected about 29 percent more revenue per listener than minority-owned stations targeting largely minority audiences. In a survey of 64 minority-owned stations, 91 percent said they had encountered advertiser "dictates" not to buy ads on their stations. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Denny's to televise anti-racism ads
     (Spartanburg, S.C.,, Jan. 13, 1999) -- The Denny's restaurant chain plans to spend $2 million on commercials that might not get people in to buy breakfast but, the company hopes, get them talking about racism.
      ``With the lessons we've learned, we want to help get people talking more about race,'' said Jim Adamson, chief executive of Denny's parent company, Spartanburg, S.C.-based Advantica Restaurant Group Inc.
      Denny's has worked to repair its tarnished image since paying $45.7 million five years ago to settle a discrimination suit by black customers. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Denny's sued for discrimination -- again
     (San Jose, Calif., Jan. 14, 1999) -- The Denny's chain launched a $2 million anti-racism campaign on the same day employees at one of its restaurants were accused of racial discrimination in a lawsuit.
      The suit filed Tuesday in Superior Court accuses employees at a San Jose Denny's of making a group of 17 people, all but one of whom is Hispanic, wait as other patrons were seated, refusing them service and summoning the police to have them ejected.
      The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages for the April incident. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Anchorage landlords' religion claim prevails
     (Anchorage, Jan. 15, 1999) -- Two Alaska landlords who believe that renting to unmarried couples amounts to facilitating sin have persuaded a federal appeals court that state and city laws banning housing discrimination based on marital status are unconstitutional.
      The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion released Thursday, concluded that Anchorage landlords Kevin Thomas and Joyce Baker, both Christians who own several rental properties, have a right to refuse to rent to unmarried couples. The municipal and state laws that prohibit the landlords from inquiring about marital status and refusing to rent to unmarrieds are unconstitutional, the opinion says. FULL STORY in The Anchorage Daily News

High court won't revive redlining lawsuit
     (Washington, Jan. 16, 1999) -- The Supreme Court today refused to revive a massive class-action civil rights lawsuit against many of the nation's largest insurance companies filed on behalf of 93,000 homeowners living in predominantly black neighborhoods of St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.
      The justices, without comment, left intact rulings that threw out the case.
      U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. in Kansas City ruled in 1997 that those who sued ``lack standing to bring claims against defendants against whom they have alleged no direct injury.''
      The judge's ruling left individual homeowners free to sue ``with whom each plaintiff has alleged grievances.'' A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the class action last August. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Clinton announces $6.5B lending settlement
     (Washington, Jan. 18, 1999) -- After knocking down a wall with ``therapeutic'' zeal, President Clinton used Monday's holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to announce a $6.5 billion fair housing settlement reached by enforcing a law passed days after King's death.
      Under the settlement, Columbia, Md.-based Columbia National Mortgage, will make $6 billion in home mortgage loans available over five years to minorities and low- to moderate-income families in the District of Columbia and 26 states where they did business in 1997. The company also will spend $529 million on programs designed to increase homeownership among minority and poor families.
      Columbia National was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act -- which bars discrimination in home sales and rentals -- by making too few loans to minority or low- to moderate-income families. In 1997, its loans to such borrowers totaled only $51.6 million, less than 5 percent of its volume; In 10 states, none of its loans went to minorities or the poor.
      The case was the eighth settlement negotiated by HUD to resolve alleged unfair lending practices uncovered through testing by the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Mississippi Attorney General threatened by KKK
     (JACKSON, Miss., , Jan. 18, 1999) -- Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore said last year that he has one of the more dangerous jobs in state government, and a recent death threat proves him right.
    An Alabama Ku Klux Klan group says on its Web page that Moore deserves a death sentence for his role in the prosecution of an old civil rights case.
    Moore, as the state's chief lawyer, has been active in his three terms in a variety of prosecutions. Among them are the reopening of civil rights cases. He also has taken part in high-profile drug raids.
    A group called the Alabama White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan took issue with Moore for assisting in the 1998 prosecution of onetime Mississippi KKK chieftain Sam Bowers, who is serving a life prison term for murdering a black voting rights advocate more than three decades ago.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Mortgage company denies $6.5B settlement
     (Columbia, Md., Jan. 19, 1999) -- A mortgage company is disputing an announcement by the Clinton administration that it has agreed to a $6.5 billion settlement of discrimination accusations.
      The head of Columbia National Inc. denied that the company, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission reached a settlement.
      Chief Executive Officer Dave Gallitano said the only agreement with HUD is to continue the company's mission to bring home mortgage loans to low-to-moderate income families.
      "The statements released by the White House and HUD are inaccurate and very misleading," Gallitano said in a statement.

Denny's continues its streak of bias suits
     (Helena, Mont., Jan. 21, 1999) -- Denny's is becoming as well known for the variety of discrimination lawsuits filed against it as it is for its Grand Slam breakfasts.
      A Denny's restaurant may have deliberately slipped bacon and ham into the meals of two Muslims who had requested no-pork dishes, an investigator with the Montana Human Rights Bureau says.
      ``The fact that the ingredients for these meals are packaged separately and do not contain any pork products ... implies that these products were placed in the food intentionally,'' according to the investigator's report.
      Two Muslims, Abdussalam Sipes and Clarence Watson, filed a religious discrimination complaint with the bureau, seeking an apology and $1 million each. The investigator's report was made public this week by an Islamic organization.
      Denny's, based in Spartanburg, S.C., settled a $46 million discrimination suit in 1994 filed by black Secret Service agents who complained they were denied service at a Maryland restaurant.
      The restaurant chain recently launched a $2 million anti-racism campaign consisting of a series of TV commercials. The ads were launched on the same day a group of Hispanic patrons sued the chain after employees at a San Jose restaurant refused to seat them and had them ejected. Denny's employees are now also required to undergo anti-discrimination sensitivity training. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Fannie Mae, NAACP team up
     (Washington, Jan. 22, 1999) -- For the Rev. Imagene Stewart, who runs a homeless shelter in the capital city, it was the first time the NAACP ``has reached down to the little people.''
      With great elan, Ms. Stewart interrupted a news conference by officials of the civil rights organization and mortgage giant Fannie Mae to make that statement.
      The reason for her excitement was an announcement about a partnership between the two groups that will that will provide up to $110 million in mortgage financing for black families that can't afford big down payments.
      Under the program, Fannie Mae will provide financing for qualified black borrowers who will be able to put down as little as 3 percent to 5 percent of a home's value. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

FBI: Race common hate crime motive
     (Washington, Jan. 22, 1999) -- More than half the 8,049 hate crimes in 1997 reported to the FBI were motivated by racial prejudice, the bureau said.
      As in 1996, racial prejudice was the most common motivation for hate crimes, accounting in 1997 for 4,710 incidents.
      In order of magnitude, other reported motivations were 1,385 incidents attributed to prejudice about religion, 1,102 sexual orientation, 836 ethnic or national origin, 12 to disability and four to multiple prejudices, the FBI said Thursday.
      The 1997 data come from 11,211 law enforcement agencies in 48 states and the District of Columbia, representing 83 percent of the population. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Trial of dragging suspect to begin
     (JASPER, Texas, Jan. 23, 1999) -- Last June, just hours after the black man's right arm, head and torso were recovered from where they'd scattered as he was dragged two blood-smeared miles behind a pickup truck, investigators zeroed in on three white suspects.
      But despite provocative physical evidence, the trial of the first suspect, John William ``Bill'' King will not be open and shut when it begins Monday with jury selection.
      King, 24, is an ex-convict with a history of involvement in a racist prison gang. But whether he intended to kidnap Byrd and then to kill him will be key in the capital murder case -- and, if he is convicted, to whether he's sentenced to life in prison or put to death. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Boeing settles race discrimination suits
     (SEATTLE, Jan. 23, 1999) -- Rhonda Capps says she had seen so little advancement of fellow blacks during 13 years of work at The Boeing Co. that she recently felt ready to quit.
      But a settlement forged between the aerospace giant and black workers who sued the company for various discriminatory practices has given her hope.
      ``The other day I changed my mind,'' said Capps, an electrical engineer and one of the suit's plaintiffs. ``I want to see this work.''
      Boeing agreed Friday to pay $15 million to settle allegations it discriminated against blacks in hiring, promotions and workplace treatment. The company admitted no wrongdoing. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Black Panthers push community programs
     (OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 24, 1999) -- Thirty years ago, David Hilliard walked the streets of West Oakland with a black leather jacket on his back and an M-1 carbine in his hands.
      These days, the former Black Panther chief of staff makes the trip as a candidate for City Council -- no gun in his grip, less hair on his head, but the same rallying cry: Power to the people.
      ``This is the beginning of trying to really restructure and to rebuild another movement,'' he says. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

High Court rejects census sampling plan
     (Washington, Jan. 26, 1999) -- The Supreme Court yesterday rejected the federal government's plan for using a controversial counting method to estimate portions of the nation's population in the 2000 Census, ruling in a case that carries enormous political and economic consequences for communities around the country.
      By a 5 to 4 vote, the justices said federal law prevents the Clinton administration from supplementing the Census Bureau's traditional procedure of trying to reach every household with statistical estimates that would be used to determine the nation's population and divide seats in Congress among the states.
      But beyond the crucial apportionment purpose of the census, the court did not foreclose allowing "statistical sampling" for other important purposes, such as the drawing of political boundaries within each state and the allocation of federal funds for everything from road construction to housing for the poor. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Race Preference Foes Boost Pressure
     (WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 1999) -- Conservatives who say top U.S. colleges are illegally using racial preferences in admissions are taking their case to the nation's college newspapers.
      The newspaper ads by the Center for Individual Rights, a conservative law firm representing students suing universities, are headlined ``Guilty by Admission'' and charge that nearly every elite college in the United States violates the law.
      But many educators say the law firm has misrepresented 20 years of court rulings and overstated colleges' efforts to bring diversity to their campuses. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Non-discrimination policy may affect group's tenancy in Palo Alto
     (San Jose, Jan. 27, 1999) -- A proposed non- discrimination policy for the city of Palo Alto could jeopardize the Boy Scouts' 40-plus years of tenancy at one of the city's community centers.
     Because some Boy Scout troops have excluded gays, agnostics or atheists from their membership, the proposed policy might prevent the city from continuing to lease part of the city-owned Lucie Stern Community Center to the group. The policy could affect the Boy Scouts, but since it is still being drafted, their fate is unclear, according to City Attorney Ariel Calonne. FULL STORY in the San Jose Mercury News

Cuomo Says 1998 Annual Homeownership Rate Hits Record Annual High
     (Washington, Jan. 28, 1999) -- America's homeownership rate hit a record annual high in 1998, with 66.3 percent of all households owning their own homes, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
     A total of 69.1 million families owned homes at the end of 1998, Cuomo said - 7.3 million more than when President Clinton took office in 1993.
     "More American families owned homes in 1998 than in any year in U.S. history, including more minorities than ever," Cuomo said. "As a result of President Clinton's policies, homeownership has been transformed from an impossible dream into a beautiful reality for millions of our people. All across this country, low interest rates, low unemployment, business prosperity and our homeownership initiatives are turning renters into homeowners." FULL STORY from HUD

Black Couple Sues Neighbor, Homeowners Assoc. for Harassment
     (Washington, Jan. 28, 1999) -- Shirley Dunbar Doka, Mohammed Doka and the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington will file a suit in U.S. District Court for the State of Maryland this Thursday morning against Greencastle Lakes Community Association Inc. (Greencastle Lakes), The Management Group Associates Inc. (Management), and John S. Tuma, seeking redress for racial harassment that has placed the Dokas and their children at risk of physical harm.
     Despite knowing about extreme racial harassment perpetuated against the Dokas by neighbor John Tuma, and despite numerous steps they could have taken to discipline Tuma, Greencastle Lakes and Management did nothing to stop the ongoing harassment.

Fair Housing Center Settles Suit Alleging Racial and Familial Status Bias
     (Miamisburg, OH, Jan. 28, 1999) -- The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) has settled a federal lawsuit alleging that the owners, operators, managers, and leasing agents of a Miamisburg Apartment Complex were discriminating on the basis of race and familial status. The suit, which was filed on May 11, 1998, alleged violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Cincinnati, and one individual, Ms. Cara Miller, joined the Fair Housing Center as Plaintiffs in the action.
      The suit was filed against Audene Norfleet, doing business as Norfleet Properties, Randy Norfleet, and Lisa Hoefling. The parties own multiple rental properties. Norfleet Properties is an Ohio partnership that lists its principal place of business at 9908 Springboro Pike, Miamisburg, Ohio 45342. The property that was the subject of the suit was located on Almedia Court, off Heincke Road in Miamisburg. PRESS RELEASE from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center

Clinton Proposes HUD Spending Hike
     (Washington, Jan. 29, 1999) -- President Clinton said today that America's booming economy presents a unique opportunity to address the nation's problems, and he proposed a $2.5 billion spending increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
      The president announced his proposal in an East Room speech to the nation's mayors, who heartily applauded the initiative. If approved by Congress, it would raise HUD's budget to $28 billion for housing programs for the needy. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

40 disabled protesters disrupt state office
     (DENVER, Jan. 29, 1999) -- About 40 disabled protesters disrupted a quiet Friday at the office of Attorney General Ken Salazar.
      The nearly three-hour sit-in ended when Denver police officers removed the shouting protesters from Salazar's office, 1525 Sherman St., and issued summonses.
      "I thought it would be the usual -- a little photo op and getting their name in the paper," police Sgt. Rich Mahony said. "But I guess it doesn't work that way anymore." FULL STORY at InsideDenver.com

Justice sues theater chain over ADA compliance
     (Washington, Jan. 29, 1999) -- American Multi-Cinema, Inc. and AMC Entertainment, operators of one of the nation's largest chains of movie theaters, were sued today by the Justice Department for not providing stadium style seating to individuals who use wheelchairs.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that the companies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying movie-goers who use wheelchairs or cannot climb stairs equal access to stadium-style seats. Stadium style seats are seats that are placed on risers to provide unobstructed views with improved viewing angles. Except in AMC's largest auditoriums, patrons cannot access stadium-style seats unless they can climb stairs. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Clinton targets abandoned buildings
     (Washington, Jan. 29, 1999) -- President Clinton today will propose spending $50 million next year to knock down abandoned buildings in blighted urban neighborhoods, the Inquirer Washington Bureau has learned.
      The initiative is part of a $2.5 billion spending increase that Clinton will propose for programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in his fiscal 2000 budget, to be announced Monday.
      The abandoned-buildings initiative aims to turn "brown yards into backyards," according to administration budget documents. Up to 1,700 abandoned apartment houses, single-family homes, warehouses and office buildings would be demolished as part of comprehensive plans to redevelop property for commercial or residential use. FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Yankee Stadium Sued Over Its Accessibility
     (New York, Jan. 29, 1999) -- The House That Ruth Built should be renovated to better handle disabled people, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said. Federal officials joined a lawsuit against the New York Yankees and added New York City, which owns the ballpark, as a defendant.
     The lawsuit -- filed in December on behalf of three New Jersey citizens and a Manhattan man, all wheelchair users -- claims the area of Yankee Stadium set aside for them has restricted views. It also says they must pay nearly 100 percent more for their tickets and can only get them by calling the stadium during certain hours. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

7 states ask court to reconsider rental ruling
     (San Francisco, Jan. 30, 1999) -- California and five other Western states have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling allowing religious landlords to refuse to rent to unmarried couples.
    Attorney General Bill Lockyer said Thursday his counterparts in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Hawaii agreed to join him in asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing before an 11-judge panel. The state of Alaska and the city of Anchorage, defendants in the case, also have requested a rehearing. FULL STORY in the San Jose Mercury News

Court rejects cyber-censorship
     (New York, Feb. 01, 1999) -- Saying that a federal Internet censorship law would restrict free speech in the "marketplace of ideas," a Philadelphia court today blocked Congress' second attempt to censor the Internet.
      The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit along with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), hailed the decision as a significant victory in "round two" of their fight against federal online censorship.
      In granting a preliminary injunction against the "Child Online Protection Act," Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr., held that the groups
      are likely to succeed on their claim that the law "imposes a burden on speech that is protected for adults." FULL STORY from the ACLU

Civil rights groups sue over CA admissions
     (Washington, Feb. 02, 1999) -- A coalition of civil rights organizations yesterday opened a new front in the continuing national battle over racial diversity in college admissions, filing a suit alleging that the University of California at Berkeley's new "color-blind" policies discriminate against most minority applicants.
      The suit accuses the university of stacking its admissions process against blacks, Latinos and Filipino Americans by placing undue emphasis on SAT scores and assigning too much weight to honors and advanced placement courses. Those courses are typically more available at high schools with largely white enrollments and students who take them can lift their grade point averages above 4.0. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Budget Includes Discrimination Fund
     (Washington, Feb. 02, 1999) -- Deep within his new $1.7 trillion budget plan, President Clinton has set aside $10 million to respond to his racial advisers' suggestion that he find a way to measure what bigotry does to people's lives.
      Clinton is proposing that the funding be spread among various federal agencies that collect or use population data, from the Justice Department to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so they can begin developing ways to measure discriminatory behavior in sectors from education to housing or employment.
      The goal is to come up with a set of hard facts about racism that can put to rest ongoing myths about the extent of the problem, said Harvard University law professor Christopher Edley, who is advising Clinton as the president compiles his own report on race in America. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Housing group says home insurer discriminates
     (Toledo, Feb. 02, 1999) -- A housing advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, alleging that the nation's third-largest insurer discriminated against homeowners in minority neighborhoods.
    The Toledo Fair Housing Center said Farmers discriminates in its guidelines for issuing policies in older neighborhoods with a high number of blacks.
    Farmers, based in Los Angeles, denied the accusations. Company spokeswoman Diane Tasaka said it ``does not practice nor condone'' discrimination in issuing insurance policies.  FULL STORY on Ohio.com

Fair Housing Act violations claimed in lawsuit
     (Las Vegas, Feb. 02, 1999) -- Justice Department attorneys filed a lawsuit Monday that accuses a Las Vegas builder, an Arizona architect and a Texas corporation of failing to provide accessible housing for disabled people.
      The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, claims the following defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act by engaging in a "pattern or practice" of discrimination based on disability: Camden Property Trust, a Texas real estate investment trust; Camden Subsidiary II Inc., a Texas corporation and operating arm of Camden Property Trust; George Tibsherany, a Scottsdale, Ariz., architect; Robert V. Jones Inc., a Las Vegas builder; and Becker Built, a Las Vegas property development partnership. FULL STORY in the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Fannie Mae exceeds goals, expands minority lending
     (Washington, Feb. 03, 1999) -- Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM), the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages, today said that it exceeded all of its statutory and corporate lending goals in 1998, including a 27 percent increase in its funding of minority households. While one loan in three went to first- time home buyers, 44 percent of the units it financed in 1998 were home to low- and moderate-income households, and over 26 percent were located in underserved areas nationwide.
     Fannie Mae's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Franklin D. Raines noted that Fannie Mae surpassed all of its statutory housing goals in 1998, a year in which historically low mortgage rates created record-breaking volumes of refinancing activity. FULL STORY on Excite.com

President to Establish Race Office
     (Washington, Feb. 04, 1999) -- President Clinton has turned down advisers' suggestion that he create a permanent commission on race relations, preferring to set up a new office in the White House to focus on racial issues.
    The White House Office on the President's Initiative for One America will try to keeping alive the work begun under the yearlong race campaign that ended last September.
    Two senior White House officials, speaking Thursday on condition of anonymity, said the move would be announced today. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court: air workers can sue for disability bias
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 04, 1999) -- Airline and railroad workers can sue for disability discrimination, a federal appeals court ruled in the case of an airline mechanic who said he was fired because he was taking a legal marijuana substitute. In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a federal judge's ruling that would have required the mechanic to pursue his case through a grievance with his union, with limited damages. There is no ceiling on damages in the court suit. The court noted that it had previously allowed federally regulated transportation workers to sue for other types of discrimination even when their union contracts contained grievance procedures for discrimination. The mechanic, Spero Saridakis, worked for United Airlines at San Francisco International Airport from 1984 to 1996.  FULL STORY in the LA Times

Bill aims to protect gays
     (Springfield IL, Feb. 04, 1999) -- Gays and lesbians in Illinois would receive greater protections from job and housing discrimination under newly proposed legislation in the General Assembly.
     The proposal by state Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago), the Legislature's only openly gay legislator, will provide a serious test of Gov. Ryan's commitment to a voting bloc he heavily courted during the fall campaign. FULL STORY in the Chicago Sun Times

Gore announces homebuilding partnership
     (Washington, Feb. 04, 1999) -- Vice President Gore announced today that the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together to build an additional one million new homes over the next 10 years in cities all across America.
    Joining the Vice President for the announcement were Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, NAHB President Charles Ruma, and Michelle Speaks, a single mother who recently purchased a home in one of Baltimore's new housing developments.  FULL STORY from HUD website

Notre Dame Mulls Gays in Clause
     (South Bend, IN, Thursday, Feb. 04, 1999) -- University of Notre Dame trustees are scheduled to meet this week to consider adopting an anti-discrimination policy that some say will compromise a central part of its Roman Catholic mission.
    The university already forbids discrimination based on, among other things, gender and race. It does not, however, ban bias against homosexuals, and campus administrators think it should stay that way.   FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Judge finds city erred rejecting group home
     (Milwaukee, Feb. 04, 1999) -- The City of Milwaukee failed to grant the "reasonable accommodation" required by federal law when it refused to allow a group home for people with disabilities because it was within 2,500 feet of another such home, according to a federal judge. "In essence, the spacing requirement precludes currently institutionalized disabled adults, who cannot live without some support, from residing in residential neighborhoods within the city," Magistrate Judge Patricia J. Gorence wrote in her opinion. FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sacramento allots $100 mil. to urban mortgages
     (Sacramento, Feb. 04, 1999) -- Some 800 moderate and low-income Sacramentans should be able to buy homes -- some near their workplace -- under a variety of subsidy plans announced Tuesday by national and local housing officials.
    Freddie Mac, a mortgage broker chartered by the federal government for affordable housing, will pump $100 million into Sacramento, partnering with the area's redevelopment agency to help revitalize the central city and older neighborhoods. FULL STORY in the Sacramento Bee

Judge rules Montgomery Newspapers did not retaliate
     (Philadelphia, Feb. 04, 1999) -- A federal judge has ruled that Montgomery Newspapers did not retaliate against the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia when the company published articles critical of fair-housing laws and spoke against those laws during legislative hearings.
    U.S. District Court Judge Clarence C. Newcomer last week dismissed the case against Montgomery Newspapers on summary judgment, ruling that the Fair Housing Council, which brought the suit, failed to prove its claim. Newcomer earlier had dismissed a number of other issues related to the case. FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Cuomo says HUD offers improved web site
     (Washington, Feb. 04, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today that HUD has redesigned its World Wide Web site to make it easier to use and to highlight the most sought-after information.
    "The theme of the new HUD budget that President Clinton proposed is 'Opening Doors for More Americans,'" Cuomo said. "Our new web site is opening the door of cyberspace for more Americans to give them faster and easier access to information that will help them benefit from HUD programs."
    On the new web site, which was first posted this week, there is a direct front page link to "homes for sale" - HUD's most requested page - and a daily front page vignette on a successful HUD-assisted locally run program in a community. FULL STORY from HUD website

Cuomo awards lead-based paint grants
     (Washington, Feb. 05, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $56.3 million in grants to protect thousands of low-income children and their families around the country from the health hazards of lead-based paint in their homes.
      Children under age 6 will benefit the most from the grants, because their developing nervous systems are particularly vulnerable to damage from lead. In addition, children's play activities can expose them to lead-based paint hazards such as lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips. FULL STORY at usnewswire.com

Student Pleads To E-Mailing Threats
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 08, 1999) -- A college student pleaded guilty Monday to federal civil rights charges that he e-mailed hate messages to dozens of Hispanic professors, students and officials around the country.
    Kingman Quon, 22, pleaded to seven misdemeanor counts of interfering with federally protected activities.
    He was accused of threatening to use force against his victims with the intent to intimidate or interfere with them because of their national origin or ethnic background.
    It was the second federal civil rights prosecution involving e-mailed threats.  FULL STORY on Yahoo.com

Inaccurate IT systems waste billions at HUD
     (Washington, Feb. 08, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development is wasting billions of dollars because of poor procurement management and an inaccurate financial management system, according to a General Accounting Office report released last month.
    In its report, which is part of a series on "Major Management Challenges and Program Risks" at federal agencies, GAO found that existing information technology systems cannot accurately track the agency's funds or the information reported by clients on which payments are based. HUD also has no reliable process to procure systems and assess their performance. FULL STORY from Federal Computer Week

Fair housing advocates settle with realtors
     (Philadelphia, Feb. 08, 1999) -- The Fair Housing Council and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia settled a housing discrimination case against Real Estate firm that will end a dispute in which the plaintiff, who resides in Camden County, NJ, alleges that she was discriminated against in the rental of a house because she had children. The agreement provides for the Real Estate firm to find the plaintiff a comparable place to live, pay for the move, pay the realty fees the plaintiff's Real Estate agent would have received if the transaction was completed and pay the plaintiff $16,000. The Real Estate firm has also agreed to conduct fair housing training for all of its employees.  FULL STORY from Excite.com

National Council on Disability Commends Transportation Secretary
     (Washington, Feb. 08, 1999) -- The National Council on Disability (NCD) applauds the Secretary of Transportation's announcement today of a series of Administration proposals to advance the civil rights of air travelers with disabilities by, among other things, strengthening the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). These proposals are a welcome and prompt response to recommendations NCD shared with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in advance of the pending release of NCD's extensive study of federal enforcement of ACAA.  PRESS RELEASE on Yahoo.com

Spread of Spanish Met by Unwelcome Signs
     (Atlanta, Feb. 08, 1999) -- As the nation's Hispanic population expands dramatically, with Spanish permeating not only "gateway" cities like Miami and New York but major heartland capitals as well, legislators and civic leaders are confronting new questions about how -- or whether -- to regulate the emergence of Spanish as a lingua franca of American life.
    The debate is moving beyond familiar controversies over bilingual education in states such as Florida and California, and is now washing into small towns and southern cities where Americans until recently have had little direct involvement in arguments over whether the primacy of English matters and why. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

In Jury Rooms, A Form of Civil Protest Grows
     (Washington, Feb. 08, 1999) -- In courthouses across the country, an unprecedented level of juror activism is taking hold, ignited by a movement of people who are turning their back on the evidence they hear at trial and instead using the jury box as a bold form of civil protest. 
    Whether they are African Americans who believe the system is stacked against them, libertarians who abhor the overbearing hand of government or someone else altogether, these jurors are choosing to ignore a judge's instructions to punish those who break the law because they don't like what it says or how it is being applied to a particular defendant.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Civil Rights Lawyer Ben Margolis Dies at 88
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 08, 1999) -- Ben Margolis, 88, a highly regarded California civil rights lawyer who helped defend the accused in two celebrated cases of the 1940s and 1950s -- the blacklisted Hollywood 10 and the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial -- died of congestive heart failure January 27 in Portland, Ore.
    He was a 37-year-old labor lawyer in Los Angeles when a group of Hollywood screenwriters and directors accused of being "card-carrying members" of the Communist Party sought his advice on how to handle their appearances before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the powerful panel created by Congress in 1945 to investigate subversive and "un-American" propaganda and activities. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Public housing moves toward rich, poor together
     (New York, Feb. 08, 1999) -- With its rooftop pool and health club, the Metropolitan is one of the most sought after addresses in Bethesda, Md. Two-bedroom apartments rent for up to $2,000 per month, and at least one couple rents a separate apartment for their children and nanny. But, interspersed throughout the high rise are apartments that rent for as little as $288 per month.
      For the families on public assistance in these apartments, the concept of a nanny is as remote as season tickets to the opera. FULL STORY in the Christian Science Monitor

Meadowlands Announcer Sues Track
     (Newark, Feb. 09, 1999) -- An announcer at one of the nation's top thoroughbred race tracks has sued his employer over job requirements he says could rekindle the gambling fever that nearly ruined his life.
    John Bothe, 43, contends his compulsive gambling is a disability and that the Meadowlands Racetrack management is guilty of discrimination for asking him to handicap races on a daily closed-circuit television show.
    While other workers have won back pay and other claims against employers who fired them for problem gambling, Bothe's lawsuit is believed to be one of the first by someone employed in the gambling industry.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD and MicroStrategy Form Partnership
     (Vienna, VA, Feb. 09, 1999) -- MicroStrategy(R) Incorporated (NASDAQ:MSTR), a leading worldwide provider of mission-critical decision support systems, today announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has selected MicroStrategy's technology as the decision support platform for an agency-wide information system.
    The system will deliver information and knowledge to users throughout HUD and beyond the agency to customers and constituents. The contract, signed in the fourth quarter of 1998, represents a strategic partnership between HUD and MicroStrategy which includes software, maintenance, consulting and training for 1,500 initial users with options to increase this to 20,000 users.  FULL STORY on Excite.com

Girl Sues to Wear Witch Symbol
     (Detroit, Feb. 09, 1999) -- A 17-year-old student has sued her suburban high school, saying it is violating her right to religious freedom by ordering her not to wear the symbol of her faith -- the practice of witchery.
    Crystal Siefferly, a self-proclaimed witch, is at odds with Lincoln Park High School over the pentagram, a five-pointed star symbolic of Wiccan religion. She has worn her pentagram necklace under her clothing since the symbol was banned in October. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Callers allege bias with mortgages
     (Detroit, Feb. 09, 1999) -- Metro Detroiters are hungry for more information after a Detroit News special report on local denial rates for mortgage loans.
    Callers on Sunday swamped a Detroit News hotline, which was staffed by fair housing advocates, bankers and a mortgage discrimination attorney. Comments ranged from concerns of possible racism to questions about credit scoring -- a controversial procedure of rating an individual's credit performance.
    In the special report, The News found that upper-income black Metro Detroiters were more than twice as likely to be turned down for a home loan as their white counterparts.  FULL STORY in The Detroit News

Hawaii considers outlawing sexual orientation discrimination
     (Honolulu, Feb. 09, 1999) -- Thirty-one years ago, a would-be landlord slammed the front door on Carolyn M. Golojuch and her husband, then an Air Force lieutenant, because they were a military couple searching for a home in Amarillo, Texas...
    ...The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday votes on a Cayetano administration bill that prohibits discriminatory practices that deny housing and the use and enjoyment of stores, restaurants and other public accommodations because a person is heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.  FULL STORY in the Honolulu Star Bulletin

Maine Nixes Bill Protecting Bikers
     (August, Feb. 09, 1999) -- A panel of lawmakers unanimously decided Tuesday that bikers do not deserve special protection under the umbrella of the Maine Human Rights Act.
    Motorcycle enthusiasts claim their tough, tattooed and leather-clad appearance often leads to discrimination when they look for a place to dine or spend the night.
    The proposal would have amended the rights act - which bars discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin or disability - to include people who operate motorcycles or who wear clothing displaying the name of a motorcycle group. It was rejected in a Judiciary Committee 13-0.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

EEOC Urges Mediation Of Workplace Disputes
     (Washington, Feb. 10, 1999) -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is urging employers and workers to try to work out their employment disputes through mediation rather than taking them to court.
    The federal agency is spending $13 million to launch a nationwide program to make mediation services available to workers who have brought discrimination allegations to the agency. Participation would be voluntary, confidential and non-binding on the employers and workers.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Employment program valuable for disabled
     (Portland, Feb. 10, 1999) -- Oregonians with disabilities are calling by the dozens to take advantage of a new state program that allows them to be fully employed without losing Medicaid benefits.
    The state Senior and Disabled Services Division has received about 100 calls since early January about the employment initiative program, implemented February 1. FULL STORY in the Oregonian

Waste and fraud rampant in federal programs
     (Washington, Feb. 10, 1999) -- Federal agencies lose more than $30 billion a year due to fraud and mismanagement and shouldn't get more money or start new initiatives proposed by the Clinton administration until they fix the problems, a House committee chairman said Wednesday.
    "HUD needs legislation to streamline its programs," said Susan Gaffney, inspector general at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Powerful interest groups surround HUD. They're not interested in consolidating HUD programs and they influence Congress."  FULL STORY from the Nando Times

Cuomo discusses new HUD budget
     (Washington, Feb. 11, 1999) -- Communities across the nation will get more funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development if a $2.5 billion increase proposed for HUD's budget by President Clinton wins Congressional approval, Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.
    The $28 billion HUD budget for the 2000 fiscal year funds initiatives to revitalize economically distressed communities with new jobs and business growth, to help welfare recipients and others get jobs and become self-supporting, and to increase the supply of affordable housing with 100,000 new rental assistance vouchers and other actions.  FULL STORY from HUD

Tug of War Over Community Reinvestment Act
     (Washington, Feb. 11, 1999) -- Sen. Phil Gramm calls them "extortionists" and likens their work to that of slave owners or bribe-taking "gangsters" who prey on helpless shopkeepers.
    That's tough talk, indeed, even for the Texas Republican who chairs the Senate Banking Committee and who is known for his barbed tongue. Who's the target of Gramm's ire?
    They're community activists around the country whose self-proclaimed mission is to uphold the Community Reinvestment Act. Congress passed the law, known as CRA, 22 years ago to encourage banks to make what now total more than $1 trillion in consumer, small business and mortgage loans to worthy low-income people who traditionally have been shunned by lenders as poor credit risks.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Community at Odds Over Group Home
     (Washington, Feb. 14, 1999) -- There were groans and snickers and eye-rolling, a gavel banging, some unsavory remarks from the audience, and at last the Board of Zoning Appeals decided -- nothing.
    Midland residents, and Kathy and Richard FitzSimmons, will have to sweat it out for a month more as the board tabled the couple's request to open a group home for at-risk youths in the old Somerville Mansion on Midland Road.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Violence against Native Americans high
     (Washington, Feb. 15, 1999) -- American Indians are victims of violent crimes at more than twice the rate of all U.S. residents and in nearly three-quarters of the cases their assailants are not Indian, according to a study released yesterday by the Justice Department.
    In its first comprehensive analysis of Indians and crime, the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that from 1992 through 1996 the average annual rate of violent victimizations among Indians 12 years and older was 124 per 1,000 residents, compared with 61 for blacks, 49 for whites and 29 for Asians. There are about 2.3 million Native Americans in the United States, just under 1 percent of the population. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Would-Be Officers Win Age Bias Suit
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 15, 1999) -- Lee LaGorio was just shy of 60 and eager to take on a new challenge when he entered the Los Angeles Police Academy in 1995. But the challenge turned into an ordeal, beginning with his dismissal from the academy after being accused of sexual harassment.
     The Woodland Hills grandfather, now 63, believes he was the one harassed. With 64-year-old Dumas Robinson--who had also been fired for allegedly groping female cadets during training--he sued the LAPD for age discrimination, and earlier this month a jury awarded the men a total of $2 million. FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Oscars' Minority Shutout
     (Pasadena, Feb. 16, 1999) -- In the past four years there have been two Oscar nominations for black actors, screenwriters or feature film directors.
    This year: zero.
    Last year: zero.
    There has been nothing at all since Cuba Gooding Jr. triumphantly took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing a football star with an attitude in "Jerry Maguire" in 1996. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Housing Center Gets $13,000 for Computers
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 16, 1999) -- The Los Angeles Family Housing Corp., a nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing to families, has received a grant of nearly $13,000 to expand its computer center.
    The grant, from Team TECH Los Angeles, will be used for six computers and educational software at the group's North Hollywood site, said Tracy Wallace, development director for the organization.
    Team TECH Los Angeles, a project coordinated by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, IBM, Microsoft and AmeriCorps/VISTA, offers technology grants to youth-serving agencies.   FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Prosecutor says race murder was publicity ploy
     (Jasper, TX, Feb. 16, 1999) -- The dragging death of a black man behind a pickup truck was a publicity stunt to help found a racist group linked to a white supremacist prison gang, prosecutors said Tuesday in opening arguments of the capital murder trial of John William King.
    Jasper District Attorney Guy James Gray told a jury of 11 whites and one black that writings found in King's apartment showed he was trying to recruit members for a hate group known as the Texas Rebel Soldiers and ``needed to do something dramatic that would attract media attention.''  FULL STORY on Lycos.com

Mother awarded $26,500 for discrimination
     (Winnetka, IL, Feb. 16, 1999) -- Single mother of one, Ms. D., awarded $26,500 by a U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Department Administrative Law Judge after being told by a property manager that they do not rent to families with children. On December 1, 1998, the judge rendered a default judgement against the previous owners and manager of 7920 Caldwell in Niles, IL. After receiving the complaint in October 1996, Interfaith Housing Center assisted Ms. D. in filing a fair housing complaint with H.U.D. H.U.D.'s investigation revealed an admitted policy of not renting to families with children. The respondents were found to have discriminated against the woman and Interfaith Housing Center based upon familial status in violation of 42 U.S.C.§ 3604 (a) and (c). PRESS RELEASE from the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs

MSA Offers Legal Rights Booklet
     (Cherry Hill, N.J., Feb. 17, 1999) -- Legal information regarding the rights of a person with multiple sclerosis is now available in a free booklet offered by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). Titled "MS and the Law," the 32-page publication covers employment rights, Social Security issues, and job discrimination, as affected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, the booklet provides an extensive question and answer section, referral information, and tips on securing legal counsel. To receive a copy, call 1-800-LEARN-MS. The publication is available on the Internet at the MSAA web site, www.msaa.com. FULL STORY on Excite.com

Cuomo Announces Discrimination Charges
     (Washington, Feb. 17, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced housing discrimination charges against the Boston Housing Authority dealing with racial and ethnic harassment from 1992 to 1996, and announced a settlement of housing discrimination charges against an apartment complex in Niles, Illinois.
     "Housing discrimination is an ugly part of our nation's past that has no place in America today," Cuomo said. "We can't allow families to be terrorized by racial and ethnic harassment that prevents them from living in any home and in any neighborhood in this country."

School Desegregation Suit Settled
     (San Francisco, Feb. 17, 1999) -- City schools and the NAACP reached a last-minute settlement over race-based admissions on the same day a federal trial was to begin deciding the constitutionality of San Francisco's school desegregation program.
    The program bars any school from having more than 45 percent of any one racial or ethnic group, a practice the families of three Chinese-American students alleged kept the youngsters out of their preferred schools. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Indian Mascots Brings Justice Dept. to Town
     (Asheville, NC, Feb. 17, 1999) -- Rayne Merzlak never dwelt much on his Lakota Sioux heritage, being a teenager with other things on his mind, until one day at a pep rally for the Erwin High School Warriors and Squaws. As a whooping mascot in a feathered headdress ran out onto the floor, other students chanted about their intentions for the opposing team: "Let's scalp 'em!"
    And, as if he were seeing the scene for the first time, Merzlak said, he felt deeply offended. "They thought it was a joke," said the 1998 graduate, now 18. "But I didn't think it was a joke."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Pitt disregards human rights
     (Pittsburgh, Feb. 17, 1999) -- Universities are supposed to make the world safe for scholarship and inquiry, research and enlightenment. They are not supposed to make it safe for bigotry.
    Nevertheless, the University of Pittsburgh has seen fit to napalm the city ordinance that protects gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and the workplace. Pitt's stated reason - to deflect a lawsuit over same-sex benefits - may be true as far as it goes. It's just not far enough.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

San Francisco Schools Abolish Racial Quotas
     (San Francisco, Feb. 17, 1999) -- San Francisco's public schools agreed yesterday to halt 15 years of race-based desegregation efforts, dropping all ethnic considerations when deciding which students get into which classrooms.
      Under a settlement agreed to by the NAACP, the school system and Chinese American parents who alleged that racial quotas blocked their children from top city schools, San Francisco will now rely on "race neutral" criteria such as economic status and geographic distribution as it attempts to guarantee student diversity. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Council Approves Bonds for Affordable Housing
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 17, 1999) -- The Los Angeles City Council approved $21 million in bonds Tuesday to create additional affordable housing in Pacoima.
    Although the city was required to hold a public hearing on the measure, it will bear no liability for the bond issue, said Bobken Simonians, project finance manager at the city Housing Department. FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Civil rights commission questions housing ads
     (Akron, Feb. 18, 1999) -- A charge of probable discrimination has been filed against an apartment rental agency and an Internet service provider over use of the term ``adult living'' in a housing ad.
    The Ohio Civil Rights Commission recently brought the charge against Castle Apartments and its owner, Gross Family Limited, and LEK Internet Services, both of Akron.  FULL STORY  in the Akron Beacon Journal

HUD opens storefront in Albuquerque
     (Albuquerque, Feb. 18, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today joined Senator Pete Domenici, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, Mayor Jim Baca and other officials to open HUD's new high-tech Storefront Office in Albuquerque, NM, to improve HUD's services to the community.
    The HUD Storefront Office - called HUD Next Door - is a new type of consumer-oriented center that offers a variety of services and information dealing with: buying and building housing, getting home improvement loans, getting rental assistance, filing housing discrimination complaints, opening and expanding businesses, and community revitalization projects. FULL STORY from HUD

Minorities Have It Tough on Wall St.
     (New York, Feb. 19, 1999) -- Thirty-one years ago, Muriel Siebert broke a barrier in becoming the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, joining 1,365 men.
    Since then, the horizon for women and minorities has broadened considerably, though both groups say they are fighting for a fairer share of the financial pie. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

San Francisco may add weight to discrimination
     (San Francisco, Feb. 19, 1999) -- It's against the law in San Francisco to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and place of birth.
    The city may soon make it illegal to discriminate against people who are overweight.  FULL STORY from Spokane.net

First black army officer is pardoned by clinton
     (Washington, Feb. 20, 1999) -- Henry O. Flipper, a onetime slave who became the country's first black Army officer, broke new ground again yesterday, when a long campaign to clear him of an 1882 military conviction culminated in the nation's first posthumous presidential pardon.
    Four generations of Flipper's descendants came from across the country for a White House ceremony in which President Clinton signed papers reversing the conviction, which the Army long ago acknowledged was racially motivated.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Cases at supreme court could affect ADA
     (Washington, Feb. 21, 1999) -- Karen Sutton and Kimberly Hinton are twin sisters whose dream of flying for a big airline has made them a symbol of the legal morass that the nation's disabilities laws have become.
      When the sisters from Spokane applied to be pilots for United Air Lines, they were turned away after the company contended they were both too nearsighted to take a place in the cockpit. So they sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but courts said the law does not cover people who can correct their disability (in their case, with glasses) and get along as well as anyone else. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

NAACP may sue gun makers
     (Washington, Feb. 21, 1999) -- Since gun-related crimes hit minority communities at high rates across the country, the NAACP is considering joining the growing number of cities filing lawsuits against gun makers, NAACP president Kweisi Mfume said.
    ``We represent a significant constituency that is disproportionately affected by gun violence. The time has come for us to look at the proliferation of handguns,'' Mfume said at the association's annual meeting Saturday.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Czech skinhead leaders arrested
     (Prague, Feb. 21, 1999) -- Police have detained the leaders of the most radical skinhead movement in the Czech Republic, causing the cancellation of an international meeting of extremists, the local news agency CTK reported Sunday.
    Police in Plzen, 65 miles southeast of Prague, detained twelve members of the Bohemia Hammer Skin movement prior to a planned meeting Saturday night in the nearby village of Line, the agency said.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Gov't urges advertising fairness
     (Washington, Feb. 21, 1999) -- The government is urging advertisers and broadcasters to adopt a system to prevent advertisers from discriminating against radio stations owned by or geared to minority listeners.
    Vice President Al Gore and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Bill Kennard are making the pitch Monday at an advertising conference in New York.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Ruling undermines fair housing laws
     (Anchorage, Feb. 21, 1999) -- Most Americans would think that two losing legal claims do not make a constitutional right. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - the federal appellate court that covers California, Alaska, and seven other Western states - seems to think otherwise.
    In a startlingly activist ruling last month that threatens fair housing and anti-discrimination laws across the country, a divided panel of 9th Circuit judges struck down Alaska and Anchorage laws that prohibit commercial landlords from discriminating against tenants on the basis of marital status. FULL STORY from the Nando Times

Seniors oppose Portland housing bill
     (Portland, Feb. 21, 1999) -- Proposed state legislation to overturn Portland's new low-income housing ordinance received a strong condemnation Saturday from an organization of elderly called the Gray Panthers.
    Steve Weiss, board president of the Community Alliance of Tenants, said the legislation could jeopardize as many as 5,000 affordable homes in Portland, many occupied by the elderly and disabled.  FULL STORY from Oregon Live

Principal fired for harassment draws disability
     (Washington, Feb. 22, 1999) -- A former Fairfax County principal who was fired for sexually harassing teachers is getting a disability retirement payment of about $38,000 a year from the state -- more than three times as much as a normal pension -- after alleging that his behavior toward women stems from a permanent disorder.
      FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Net banking threatens CRA initiatives
     (Milwaukee, Feb. 22, 1999) -- The Internet is posing a threat to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which requires lenders to reinvest a portion of federally insured deposits in communities where they operate branches.
      For the past 22 years, CRA has pushed banks nationwide to implement affordable housing initiatives, run new branch offices in central cities and make loans to small businesses. CRA is intended to encourage banks to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Business Journal

Developers release details for affordable housing
     (San Jose, Feb. 22, 1999) -- The nonprofit developers who provide affordable housing to low-income families build mostly rental units, including apartments, condominiums and townhouses, which they operate themselves. Developers fund their projects with low-income housing tax credits, which they resell to investors--such as Pacific Gas & Electric and Edison Capital--as a tax shelter, and with tax-exempt bonds.
    The developers say there's not nearly enough state money available for affordable housing projects, and that funding sources have become extremely competitive. FULL STORY in the San Jose Business Journal

Davis forms California housing task force
     (San Jose, Feb. 22, 1999) -- Gov. Gray Davis included in his 1999-2000 proposed budget the formation of a housing task force that will, among other things, investigate the local permitting process and local fiscal issues that tend to discourage housing development.
    It will also explore how the state might establish permanent sources of funding to help low- and moderate-income households close a widening affordability gap. FULL STORY from the San Jose Business Journal

Gore names ED of comm. empowerment bd.
     (Washington, Feb. 22, 1999) -- Vice President Gore announced today that he has named Alvin Brown as Executive Director of the Community Empowerment Board.
     "I am pleased that Alvin Brown -- who has already been hard at work on our team to revitalize America's cities and distressed rural communities -- will be the new executive director of the Community Empowerment Board," Gore said. Brown currently serves as the director of the Special Actions Office within the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. FULL STORY from usnewswire.com

Oregon sued for learning disability bias
     (Portland, Feb. 22, 1999) -- Statewide tests for high school students are the target of a federal suit filed on Monday, which claims the tests discriminate against those with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
    A group of parents sued Oregon's Board of Education on Monday, claiming that the tests, which place emphasis on spelling and punctuation, pose a disadvantage to the learning disabled. FULL STORY from CNN.com

College takes action in bias case
     (Utah, Feb. 22, 1999) -- Snow College has hired an ombudsman and changed staff training procedures in the wake of charges of discrimination by a former student government officer with a mental disability.
    The school created the student advocate's position after former student body president Michelle Larson went to the U.S. Department of Justice with allegations that she was discriminated against by the college for her mental illness, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  FULL STORY in the Deseret News

HUD defends program contested by agencies
     (Waukesha, WI, Feb. 23, 1999) -- While conceding that some changes should be discussed, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday defended a Milwaukee County housing program that Waukesha County officials have argued is wasteful and unambitious.
    In a letter to local housing officials, HUD said the program "is not inconsistent with that vision" of assisting people in relocating from low-income neighborhoods to job-rich areas, such as Waukesha County.   FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Toledo advocacy group fights discrimination
     (Toledo, Feb. 23, 1999) -- A soft-faced woman who grew up dreaming of painting and designing clothing, Lisa Rice found a job she considers even more exciting. She takes on big insurance companies.
    ``They're not being your friend, they're not being a good neighbor and they're not on your side,'' she said, taking a jab at some company slogans.  FULL STORY from Ohio.com

HUD report highlights healthy housing sector
     (Washington, Feb. 23, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today issued a report showing that the American housing sector set a vigorous pace in 1998.
    The report - U.S. Housing Market Conditions for the fourth quarter of 1998 - says housing market activity at the end of the year continued the record-setting pace of the first three quarters.
    "The strong economy, balanced budget and homeownership programs created by President Clinton's policies have helped families around the country become homeowners and have created jobs throughout the housing industry," Cuomo said.    FULL STORY from HUD

Guilty verdict in dragging death case
     (Jasper, TX, Feb. 23, 1999) -- A white supremacist was convicted of capital murder today for chaining a black man to a pickup truck and dragging him to his death in one of the nation's grisliest hate crimes since the civil rights battles.
    Jurors deliberated less than 2 1/2 hours before returning their verdict against John William King, who now faces either life in prison or execution. The panel of 11 whites and one black will decide his punishment after a separate phase of testimony. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Court makes it harder to sue NCAA
     (Washington, Feb. 23, 1999) -- The Supreme Court today made it harder to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association under a law banning sex bias in educational programs receiving federal aid.
    Ruling unanimously, the court said the fact that the NCAA receives dues from federally financed colleges and universities does not open it to lawsuits under the anti-bias law known as Title IX of the Education Acts of 1972.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NJ bill to cut affordable housing assailed
     (Trenton, NJ, Feb. 24, 1999) -- A bill to decrease the number of affordable housing units that towns must build would be the largest setback in decades, advocates for affordable housing said Tuesday.
    The prime sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Paul Kramer, R-Mercer, said he wants to amend the state's 1985 Fair Housing Act to add protection for property taxpayers. FULL STORY in the Bergen Record

Cuomo plans to drive slumlords out of business
     (Washington, Feb. 24, 1999) -- New inspections of low- and moderate-income housing by the Department of Housing and Urban Development will drive slumlords out of business and create better living conditions for residents, Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
      Cuomo announced that the first results of a new nationwide program he initiated to inspect affordable apartment complexes subsidized or insured by HUD show that the vast majority provide good housing for families in need. The inspections show that 83 percent of the first 3,722 privately owned apartment complexes that were inspected were in good or excellent condition. FULL STORY from HUD

Courts seem unfair to minorities
     (Washington, Feb. 25, 1999) -- Too many Americans believe the nation's courts do not provide equal justice for racial minorities, the American Bar Association's president said, as the group released a poll showing nearly half of Americans feel that way.
      ``This is a very serious problem ... we cannot afford to ignore,'' Little Rock, Ark., lawyer Philip Anderson said Tuesday. ``We are concerned that the current perception of bias will eventually erode confidence in our system of justice.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

GU study finds disparity in heart care
     (Washington, Feb. 25, 1999) -- Doctors are far less likely to recommend sophisticated cardiac tests for blacks and women than for white men with identical complaints of chest pain, according to a new Georgetown University study whose authors suggest the differences are the consequences of race and sex bias.
    In tightly controlled interviews about how they would manage simulated patients, 720 primary care physicians said they would refer blacks and women to heart specialists for cardiac catheterization tests only 60 percent as often as they would prescribe the procedure for white male patients.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Court curbs free speech of illegal immigrants
     (Washington, Feb. 25, 1999) -- The Supreme Court sharply limited the First Amendment rights of illegal immigrants yesterday, ruling that people here unlawfully cannot shield themselves from deportation by claiming the government is trying to banish them simply because of their controversial political views.
    The 6 to 3 decision involving a group of Palestinians living in Los Angeles goes to the heart of the American tradition of safeguarding free speech, no matter how unpopular, and offers one of the court's strongest opinions limiting the constitutional freedoms of illegal immigrants. But for the government, the case marks an important victory in its effort to keep immigrants who have no legal right to be here from evading deportation on extraneous grounds.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Agency turns eyesores into 'I own'
     (Los Angeles, Feb. 25, 1999) -- Daniel Argott Jr. grew up on Remmet Avenue. It's the street where his father was born. His grandfather came to Canoga Park in 1919.
    Despite those deep roots, Argott never thought he'd own a home in the community, because of limited income and his big family.
    But thanks to an innovative new program designed to help low-income families own their own houses, Argott recently fulfilled his dream.  FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Pittsburgh demolishes public housing
     (Pittsburgh, Feb. 26, 1999) -- The Pittsburgh Housing Authority has received final approval from the federal government to demolish more than 1,600 public housing apartments and relocate nearly 700 families starting this spring. The authority also received word of a hefty budget cut.
    Most of the relocations this year will be from the 56-year-old Arlington Heights development, east of South Side Slopes, where about 150 people will be forced to leave. Officials said residents would get help in moving.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HUD announces new funding
     (Washington, Feb. 26, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the availability of $2.4 billion in grants to fund HUD programs in communities across the nation this year.
    A Super Notice of Funds Availability (SuperNOFA) issued today by HUD notifies communities and groups around the nation of grants that are available for a broad range of programs to help build affordable housing, boost employment, revitalize distressed public housing, fund fair housing enforcement and provide assistance to homeless people.  FULL STORY from HUD

Racist is sentenced to death
     (Jasper, TX, Feb. 26, 1999) -- John William King, an avowed white supremacist, was sentenced to death today for the racial murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained to a pickup truck in the predawn darkness and dragged on a winding stretch of pavement until his head and right arm were torn off.
    King, 24, one of three men charged in the killing, was convicted of capital murder Tuesday by a jury that deliberated for just over two hours. Today, the same jurors, 11 white men and women and one black man--who was elected foreman--met for three hours before reaching their decision on a penalty. The foreman, a prison guard who went to junior high school with King, passed the verdict sheet to Judge Joe Bob Golden, who looked at it, then at King.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

African Americans hunt for ways to fight AIDS
     (Washington, Feb. 26, 1999) -- AIDS. It's the top killer of black Americans in the prime of their lives, those years between 25 and 44.
    One in 50 black men and one in 160 black women are infected.
    Blacks are diagnosed later than whites, receive worse care, die faster. They make up 12 percent of the U.S. population but a devastating 45 percent of new HIV infections.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Man's torture shocks N.J. town
     (Keansburg, NJ, Feb. 26, 1999) -- They came looking for him at McDonald's, just before he got off work. They invited him to come to a party, where he could meet a pretty girl.
    Clutching the stuffed whale he carried with him everywhere, the 23-year-old retarded man eagerly followed, happy to be included in a circle of people he wanted to call his friends.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Feminist ethics course: no place for men
     (Boston, Feb. 26, 1999) -- Putting her career on the line, a renowned feminist philosopher at Boston College is refusing to accept two male students for a course called "Introduction to Feminist Ethics."
    Mary Daly, a 70-year-old tenured associate professor and self-described radical, contends the young men's presence would be distracting and disruptive to female students engaged in emotional and intellectual feminist debates. In the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s, when she began teaching at the Jesuit college, Daly refuses to back down, opting for a leave of absence in the face of an ultimatum from the administration: Teach men along with women or stop teaching.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

USDA's black staff threaten bias suit
     (Washington, Feb. 26, 1999) -- Black employees at the U.S. Agriculture Department who contend that bosses have ignored blatant racism for decades are taking the first step toward a lawsuit on behalf of 18,000 workers, lawyers said yesterday.
    The action by employees follows last month's multimillion-dollar settlement by the USDA with thousands of black farmers. The farmers fought the department for years over an alleged old boys' network that routinely rejected applications by black growers for loans and disaster payments. FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Inquirer

City attacks Pitt challenge to gay bias ban
     (Pittsburgh, Feb. 26, 1999) -- The University of Pittsburgh's challenge to a law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination is "offensive" to the U.S. Constitution and should be rejected by the city Human Relations Commission, the Murphy administration says.
    In a brief filed with the commission, lawyers for the city have thrown their weight behind a 9-year-old law that has come under attack as part of a case involving Pitt and a former employee who was denied health benefits for her lesbian partner.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

New Spokane rights law under attack
     (Spokane, WA, Feb. 27, 1999) -- Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation would be stripped from Spokane's new human rights ordinance if a citizens group gets its way.
    Equal Rights, Not Special Rights, has filed a proposed initiative with the city asking that the matter be put to the voters.
    The human rights ordinance was adopted by the City Council in January and took effect Friday.  FULL STORY on Spokane.net

N.J. police superintendent is fired
     (Trenton, NJ, Feb. 28, 1999) -- Gov. Christie Whitman fired the head of the New Jersey State Police on Sunday after he said in a newspaper interview that minority groups were more likely to be involved in drug trafficking.
    The Black Ministers Council of New Jersey and the state chapter of the NAACP had been calling for State Police Superintendent Col. Carl Williams' ouster for weeks, saying he was not acknowledging a history of racist procedures on the part of the State Police.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Nationwide settles Cincinnati bias claim
     (Columbus, OH, Feb. 28, 1999) -- Nationwide Insurance's $1.25 million settlement with a Cincinnati fair-housing group is another step for the Columbus company to serve urban markets, the insurer said.
     Housing Opportunities Made Equal sued Nationwide in January 1998, claiming the nation's fourth-largest insurer of homes showed racial bias in the way it wrote and sold homeowners insurance.
     On Friday, the two sides reached a settlement which includes $500,000 for low-interest loans for home buyers and $750,000 for a program encouraging prospective homebuyers to save for down payments.

A history: harassment and the law
     (Washington, Feb. 28, 1999) -- Sex was an afterthought in the 1964 Civil Rights Act--and possibly an effort to defeat the bill. The proposed legislation prohibited discrimination by race, creed, color and national origin, and House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Howard W. Smith (D-Va.) added the word "sex." The bill, amended to include Title VII, passed both House and Senate and entered into law.
    It was feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon who first advanced the theory that unwanted advances might be a form of sex discrimination and popularized the idea in her 1979 book, "Sexual Harassment of Working Women." FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Minorities, mortgages and denial in Kansas City
     (Kansas City, Mar. 01, 1999) -- When the American Dream is denied, society suffers.
    That is the fundamental message revealed by The Kansas City Star's Ted Sickinger in an analysis Sunday and Monday of mortgage lending patterns in the metropolitan area.
    Home ownership is the crucial rung on the ladder to family wealth. It frequently leads to better education for children. It often provides a financial base for starting small businesses. It definitely stabilizes neighborhoods. It makes for better, healthier cities.  FULL STORY in the Kansas City Star

Tipper Gore announces HUD grants in San Jose
     (San Jose, Mar. 01, 1999) -- On behalf of the administration, Tipper Gore today announced $17.5 million in grants to fund housing and community development programs in San Jose, Calif.
      She made the announcement during a visit to the Emergency Housing Consortium, a Silicon Valley homeless program, where she tour the facilities and participated in a roundtable discussion on homelessness, housing, and community development issues. FULL STORY from USnewswire.com

HUD announces new mortgage brokerage policy
     (Washington, Mar. 01, 1999) -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a policy statement designed to save Americans millions of dollars a year by protecting them from excessive mortgage broker fees and by encouraging improved disclosure of mortgage broker fees and services.
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s policy statement deals with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which regulates mortgage loan settlement services. FULL STORY from HUD

Court eyes punishment for sex bias
     (Washington, Mar. 01, 1999) -- People who win job-discrimination lawsuits should not have to prove their employer's conduct was ``egregious'' to collect extra damages intended as punishment, the Supreme Court was told today.
    The federal job-bias law sets standards for forcing an employer to pay so-called punitive damages, and ``egregious conduct'' is not one of those standards, argued attorney Eric Schnapper. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Cross-burning convictions upheld
     (Washington, Mar. 01, 1999) -- The Supreme Court today left intact the cross-burning convictions and prison sentences of three North Carolina men who tried to intimidate their neighbors, an interracial couple.
    The court, without comment, turned away arguments that a federal anti-arson law wrongly was used to add five years to each man's prison term, and that the convictions violated their free-speech rights. A federal appeals court previously had rejected those arguments.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Racism controversy splits Kansas town
     (Turon, KA, Mar. 01, 1999) -- Raymond Hill is a rarity -- a recent arrival in this dying prarie town that has watched its population dwindle and storefronts boarded up.
    But it is Hill's other distinction that has thrust him to the center of a local furor over racism: he is Turon's only black resident.
    Shortly after Hill arrived from California two months ago to marry a local woman, pamphlets began turning up on car windshields, urging locals to ``send California trash back to California.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NYC agencies split over housing bias case
     (New York City, Mar. 01, 1999) -- Two top city housing agencies are taking opposite tacks in addressing charges by lawyers for Hispanic tenants in Williamsburg that Hasidic Jews illegally transferred leases to keep apartments from falling into Hispanic hands.
    The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development has sparked a move to oust as many as 23 Hasidic families from the 532-unit Roberto Clemente Plaza, a federally subsidized development on Division Ave. The complex owners, Kent Village Inc., moved to evict after HPD audited lease transfers that Hispanic critics charge were designed to sidestep waiting lists dominated by minority families. FULL STORY in the New York Daily News

CA grant provides housing for ag workers
     (Sacramento, CA, Mar. 01, 1999) -- An historic partnership will now give California's 1.2 million agricultural workers and their families a glimmer of hope for safe, affordable housing and health programs.
    The California Endowment recently awarded Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) $31 million to address the health care and housing needs of California's agricultural workers. The award includes a 30-year $20 million long-term loan and a $11 million grant.  FULL STORY on excite.com

Milwaukee affordable housing meets resistance
     (Milwaukee, Mar. 01, 1999) -- A proposed Mukwonago housing development -- touted last year as exactly the type of affordable new housing needed in Waukesha County -- has hit a snag because village officials are hesitant to rezone the land.
    "Discussions are continuing, but so far they don't like what we're proposing," said Glen Lewinski, the county's community development block grant manager. "I don't quite understand. . . . (The development) is consistent with the neighborhood."  FULL STORY  in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Some black farmers dislike proposal
     (Washington, Mar. 02, 1999) -- Black farmers opposed to the multimillion-dollar settlement of a discrimination lawsuit against the Agriculture Department are trying to rally support for their cause.
    They planned a protest today outside a U.S. District Court, where Judge Paul Friedman scheduled a fairness hearing to review the deal.   FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Punitive damages in bias suit at issue
     (Washington, Mar. 02, 1999) -- A Justice Department lawyer yesterday urged the Supreme Court to ease the standard for employees to collect large punitive damages for sexual or racial discrimination in a case with significant financial implications for many businesses.
    The case, the latest saga in the extended debate over the breadth of civil rights laws governing the workplace, involves a woman who was passed over for a promotion with the American Dental Association in favor of a man with less experience.   FULL STORY in the Washington Post

New guidance on federal accessibility reqs.
     (Washington, Mar. 02, 1999) -- A multimillion dollar effort to enforce federal handicapped accessibility provisions is currently under way by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To help the apartment industry better understand and comply with these complex regulations, which are often more restrictive than local building codes, the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC), American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and National Apartment Association (NAA) have jointly produced a new Accessibility Review Manual. PRESS RELEASE from the National Multi Housing Council

Court: schools must pay nurses
     (Washington, Mar. 03, 1999) -- Federal law requires the nation's public school districts to pay for professional nurses to accompany some disabled students throughout the school day, the Supreme Court ruled today in the case of an Iowa teen-ager.
    The court, by a 7-2 vote, said such continuous care is not medical treatment, and therefore must be publicly funded under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

USDA bias case pact criticized
     (Washington, Mar. 03, 1999) -- More than 400 people, including a host of civil rights leaders and former agriculture secretary Mike Espy, packed a federal courtroom in Washington yesterday to complain about a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by black farmers against the Department of Agriculture.
    The turnout revealed much dissatisfaction with the terms of the deal, even though it would pay $1 billion or more to black farmers who say they were denied government loans and assistance because of their race. Despite the size of the settlement, numerous speakers said it doesn't do enough to end what they called a history of discrimination by USDA.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Muslims allege bias in dispute over headwear
     (Washington, Mar. 03, 1999) -- Five Muslim women have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying they were fired last week by a Dulles International Airport security firm after they refused to take off their Islamic head scarves.
    The women, all immigrants from Islamic countries, said they could not comply when a supervisor at Argenbright Security Inc. asked them to remove their scarves because covering their heads is a requirement of their faith.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Denver acquires housing for mentally ill
     (Denver, Mar. 03, 1999) -- Denver has acquired all the housing it needs to satisfy a court order to shelter the chronically mentally ill, but the 64 new beds will be empty until the city hires a nonprofit agency to manage them.
    In addition, Southmoor residents are fighting a zoning department decision to permit a group house in their neighborhood. The house on South Narcissus Way is included among the 64 new units.  FULL STORY from InsideDenver.com

Pitt faculty criticizes sexual bias
     (Pittsburgh, Mar. 03, 1999) -- The University of Pittsburgh took it on the chin during a meeting of academics yesterday.
    The remarks came from some of Pitt's own faculty, a group accustomed to choosing words carefully. During a meeting of the university's faculty assembly, a series of speakers took uncharacteristically pointed aim at Pitt's challenge to a city law that protects gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marin landlord draws discovery 'Death Penalty'
     (Marin County, Mar. 03, 1999) -- A federal judge on Tuesday    issued the ultimate sanction for discovery abuses when he entered judgment against an apartment owner in Marin County accused of housing discrimination.
    "It is undisputed that defendant not only failed to produce documents as ordered, but that he misrepresented to both counsel and to the court the very existence of such documents," U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins wrote in issuing civil litigation's version of the death penalty. "No compelling justification has been provided for defendant's false representations and the court is unpersuaded by defense counsel's attempt to minimize the violations by citing to defendant's lack of sophistication for (and/or appreciation of) 'the intricacies' of modern litigation."   FULL STORY from Cal Law

Retirement community to become city of seniors
     (Laguna Hills, CA, Mar. 03, 1999) -- Residents of Leisure World, a retirement community in Southern California, have voted to incorporate as a city -- creating what's being called the first gated municipality in the nation exclusively for senior citizens.
    Residents also voted to rename their community, with Laguna Woods winning out over Laguna Verde. FULL STORY from CNN.com

Plan calls for 40,000 homes on border
     (Austin, TX, Mar. 03, 1999) -- The new executive director of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is proposing a five-year, $2 billion program to build 40,000 single-family homes along the border. It would be the largest housing-assistance program ever undertaken by the state in the border region.
    Daisy Stiner said the program would be an ambitious undertaking to help eradicate substandard neighborhoods known as colonias, where a mostly Hispanic population lives in ramshackle construction with leaking septic tanks and inadequate roads. FULL STORY from austin360.com

HUD announces $300,000 settlement
     (Washington, Mar. 03, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a settlement requiring a North Carolina manufactured home producer to correct construction and safety violations in 275 homes, pay a civil penalty of up to $300,000 and inspect about 600 more homes for possible additional violations.
    The settlement ends a year-long investigation by HUD of Southern Energy Homes of North Carolina, Inc., under the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act. HUD regulates construction and safety standards for manufactured housing under the 1974 law. The Act requires manufacturers to notify homeowners and make corrections to manufactured homes if they have certain kinds of defects or imminent safety hazards. FULL STORY from HUD

McDonald's sued for discrimination
     (San Bernardino, CA, Mar. 04, 1999) -- A black family has sued McDonald's, alleging one of its restaurants denied them service last summer because of their race.
    Melinda Knight and her family claim a manager told them that they were refused service at the fast-food restaurant in Colton because ``we've been having a problem with blacks lately,'' according to court documents filed Tuesday in San Bernardino Superior Court.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Disability ruling impacts community
     (Cedar Rapids, IA, Mar. 04, 1999) -- Garret Frey maneuvers through his high school hallways by blowing into a straw to steer his oversized wheelchair.
    A nurse and teacher's aide are always at his side, looking after a daily care regimen that includes urinary catheterization, clearing his tracheotomy, monitoring blood pressure and responding to alarms on his ventilator.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

New report on female prisoner rights abuses
     (Washington, Mar. 04, 1999) -- Women inmates in the nation's prisons and jails are routinely subjected to sexual abuse by male guards, including groping during body searches and rape, Amnesty International USA found in a report scheduled for release today.
    The report details what is described as common practice: male guards touching prisoners' breasts and genitals during daily pat-down and strip searches, watching women as they shower and dress and, in some cases, selling women to male inmates for sex.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Oregon legislators reject housing statute
     (Salem, OR, Mar. 04, 1999) -- The Oregon House on Wednesday sided with an influential Portland developer and voted to overturn a city ordinance aimed at preventing the conversion of low-income housing to other uses.
    The 36-24 vote to jettison the city ordinance came as Gov. John Kitzhaber waded into the increasingly emotional dispute between Portland and Harold Schnitzer, one of the city's most prominent figures in civic and cultural circles. FULL STORY from OregonLive.com

HUD: strong economy bad for housing crisis
     (Washington, Mar. 08, 1999) -- The strong economy that has improved the lives of most Americans has hurt some of the poorest families by worsening the crisis-level shortage of affordable housing, according to a new Department of Housing and Urban Development report.
     Secretary Andrew Cuomo today released the report - called Waiting In Vain: An Update On America's Housing Crisis. The new report shows that: 1) The time families spend on waiting lists for HUD housing assistance has grown dramatically. 2) Market rents are rising faster than the incomes of poor people. 3) The number of affordable housing units is falling.

Fed. report: U.S. housing crunch hits L.A. hard
     (Los Angeles, Mar. 09, 1999) -- Strong real estate markets are pushing rents beyond the means of low-income Americans, and Los Angeles residents face the longest wait in the country--10 years--for federal subsidies, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    "The rising economic tide is raising many boats, but it is also drowning some," said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo.   FULL STORY in the L.A. Times

Town to annex black areas
     (Trenton, NC, Mar. 09, 1999) -- The all-white town council agreed to annex three black neighborhoods, signaling a possible end to recent racial tension in the tiny Jones County community.
    Following the board's decision Monday night, black activists agreed to call off a boycott of white-owned businesses.
    ``Let's put this ugly thing behind us and all go back to living normal lives where we all speak to each other and are friends,'' said councilman Charles Jones.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Wheelchair mom a hero to activists
     (Sandusky, OH, Mar. 09, 1999) -- Kelly Dillery and her 4-year-old daughter left the house last summer to shop for school clothes.
    Their trip turned out to be far more eventful, however: It ended up prompting a court case and debate over whether local governments provide enough access for the disabled.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Governor's gay-rights bid has family ties
     (Washington, Mar. 09, 1999) -- They grew up together in Florida, but then the brothers' paths diverged.
    Parris N. Glendening went to college and graduate school. He moved to Maryland to teach at the university and eventually become governor.
    Bruce Glendening joined the Air Force, became a communications specialist, served three tours in Vietnam and, for a time, served aboard the fleet of Strategic Air Command bombers that constantly flew above the nation during the Cold War. That was an era of secrets: For the nation, it was defense strategies against the Soviets. For Bruce Glendening, it was his homosexuality, a secret that, if discovered, would have driven him from the military service he loved. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Judge invalidates freshman eligibility standards
     (Philadelphia, Mar. 09, 1999) -- A federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday struck down the NCAA's freshman eligibility standards, saying they violate federal civil rights laws because of their "unjustified" impact on black students.
    If upheld, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter's ruling would mean that the schools at the NCAA's top two competitive levels -- Division I and Division II -- no longer would be subject to rules that had been designed to improve athletes' graduation rates and to prevent the types of academic abuses that embarrassed the NCAA in the early 1980s. Athletes who do not meet the requirements have been prevented from playing or practicing, or receiving athletic scholarships as freshmen.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Lawrence, MA battle over affordable housing
     (Lawrence, MA, Mar. 09, 1999) -- This once-mighty industrial center has become an urban version of the Tantalus myth, a city of have-nots surrounded by suburbs full of haves. Lawrence is the poorest city in New England, a desperate wasteland of abandoned mills and boarded-up crack houses, with million-dollar mansions and high-tech jobs sprouting just out of its reach.
    For years, cities such as Lawrence have complained that their prosperous suburban neighbors don't build enough affordable housing, shoehorning the poor into urban neighborhoods. But now some Lawrence officials plan to take the problem into their own hands. They are trying to buy land in surrounding towns--Andover, North Andover and Methuen--and hoping to build low-income housing there themselves.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Housing group vs. city pol
     (Brooklyn, Mar. 09, 1999) -- Brooklyn housing activists yesterday asked City Council members to override one of their own, charging East New York Councilwoman Priscilla Wooten is costing 19 low-income families an affordable place to live in order to punish the activist group.
    Leaders of ACORN the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now charge Wooten's refusal to write a letter of support is killing the rehabilitation of six abandoned city-owned buildings. They asked Council members to back the plan, as they did with similar buildings in Bushwick and Crown Heights.  FULL STORY in the New York Daily News

Discriminatory lending in Kansas City
     (Kansas City, Mar. 10, 1999) -- Bank regulators have long been aware that minorities, especially blacks, have a tougher time than whites obtaining credit to buy a home. In 1995, for example, a survey by five federal regulatory agencies found that loan applications from blacks were rejected more than twice as frequently as those from whites with similar incomes.
    The Star recently examined the Kansas City-area home-loan market and found a similar pattern. Minorities make up 19 percent of area population, but in 1997 they obtained less than 9 percent of the mortgage money.   FULL STORY in the Kansas City Star

Akron housing program fraud charge
     (Cleveland, , Mar. 10, 1999) -- A suburban woman was charged Wednesday with defrauding $21,861 from a federal housing subsidy program meant to help needy families, a prosecutor said.
    Cynthia Hughes, 45, of Beachwood, was charged with fraudulently receiving the money from December 1997 through last December from the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the city's public housing agency.  FULL STORY from Ohio.com

Cuomo asks for more FHA loans
     (Washington, Mar. 10, 1999) -- In a move to help more families become homeowners, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today asked Congress to let the Federal Housing Administration insure up to $130 billion in home mortgages this year and another $130 billion next year - at no cost to taxpayers.
    FHA's loan volume cap for the current fiscal year is $110 billion. The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Fiscal Year 2000 budget request had sought to increase the cap to $120 billion next year.  FULL STORY from HUD

Case dropped in $2 robbery
     (West Palm Beach, FL, Mar. 10, 1999) -- Prosecutors have dropped their case against a 15-year-old retarded boy who grabbed $2 in lunch money from a classmate, after weeks of defending their decision to treat him as an adult.
    Anthony Laster, who communicates on the level of a 5-year-old, spent four weeks, including Christmas, in a jail for adults because his sister was unable to raise $500 to get him out.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Ag dept. faces discrimination charge
     (Washington, Mar. 10, 1999) -- Black managers working for the Agriculture Department are moving forward with a complaint that accuses the agency of denying them promotions.
    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has scheduled an April 12 hearing on the class action complaint, which alleges that more than 300 black managers at the department's Farm Service Agency were discriminated against. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NCAA seeks stay of order
     (Philadelphia, Mar. 11, 1999) -- The NCAA yesterday asked a federal judge in Philadelphia to issue a stay of his ruling earlier this week that struck down the NCAA's freshman eligibility standards.
    Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter ruled Monday that the NCAA's standards, commonly known as Proposition 48, or in their latest revised form, Proposition 16, violate federal civil rights law because of their "unjustified" impact on African Americans. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed on behalf of four black students who failed to achieve the minimum standardized-test scores they needed under Proposition 16.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Group home case settled in Milwaukee
     (Milwaukee, Mar. 11, 1999) -- Greenfield and Greendale have agreed to pay $275,000 to a group home operator to settle two lawsuits filed over their rejection of proposed group homes, officials said Wednesday.
    The municipalities also have decided not to appeal U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Curran's September decision striking down a state law allowing municipalities to require 2,500 feet between group homes for adults with disabilities, said Mark A. Peterson, the attorney for the plaintiff, Oconomowoc Residential Programs Inc.
    Peterson said his client still planned to open the homes in the communities. Six or fewer developmentally disabled adults would live in each home, according to Curran's decision.  FULL STORY from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Washington U looks for ways to diversify
     (Seattle, Mar. 12, 1999) -- Ever since Washington State voters banned the use of race in college admissions last fall, Tim Washburn has searched for other ways to maintain racial diversity in the state's largest public university. Among his ideas: accepting all applicants in the top 10 percent of their graduating class and accepting more students from schools in poor areas.  FULL STORY from U.S. News

Wheelchair mom found innocent
     (Sandusky, OH, Mar. 12, 1999) -- With her 5-year-old daughter sitting on her lap, Kelly Dillery rolled her wheelchair out of the courtroom as the cheering from her supporters grew louder.
    Ms. Dillery was acquitted Thursday of charges that she endangered the child by riding along streets with the girl strapped to her lap.
    Disability activists had rallied to her defense and railed against prosecutors for bringing the case. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Leprosy patients protest ouster
     (Carville, LA, Mar. 12, 1999) -- The last remaining people hospitalized for leprosy in the United States demonstrated yesterday to be allowed to stay at the federal institution that was once their prison and is now their home.
    Nearly all of the 69 remaining patients at the Gillis W. Long Hansen's Disease Center in Carville, La., walked, rode three-wheeled bikes and motorized scooters or were pushed in their wheelchairs from the wrought iron fence that once kept them from the world to the tiny cemetery at the facility where many of their relatives and friends are buried. The stigma of leprosy is so great that most of the graves are numbered and anonymous.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Multifamily housing a hot topic in Milwaukee
     (Grafton, MN, Mar. 12, 1999) -- The question of whether Grafton should halt further multifamily housing being constructed in the village dominated a candidates' forum Thursday night.
    About 35 residents attended the two-hour forum at the Rose-Harms American Legion Post. They heard from the two candidates for village president, Trustee Rick Leach and incumbent Rodney Schroeder, along with six people running for three at-large village trustee seats. The election is April 6. FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Segregation memos may be released
     (Jackson, MS, Mar. 14, 1999) -- The long-secret files of Mississippi's old segregation spy agency were unsealed with much fanfare. Reporters converged from all over for a chance at boxes of reports and yellowed newspaper clippings collected by the once-feared Sovereignty Commission.
    The enthusiasm quickly fizzled with the realization someone had gotten there first -- the agency's censors. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Gay rights battle moving to state legislatures
     (Washington, Mar. 14, 1999) -- State legislatures have become ground zero in the cultural war between gays and lesbians looking for protection against discrimination and conservative religious activists against public acceptance of homosexuality.
    Activists on both sides of the controversy say attention has shifted away from Washington and to state capitals, where there has been a steady rise in legislation on issues ranging from gay marriage to employment discrimination to hate crimes.  FULL STORY from the Nando Times

AARP supports CA age bias legislation
     (Sacramento, Mar. 15, 1999) -- AARP and the coalition of organizations that last year lobbied for legislation to ensure the workplace is fair to older workers will renew their efforts in the 1999 session by endorsing SB 26.
    "Governor Pete Wilson's veto of AB 1643 last August motivated AARP to reaffirm its commitment this year to public policy that protects workers from age discrimination," said Gerald McDaniel, member of AARP's State Legislative Committee. "More than one third of our members are working full or part-time. AARP believes that SB 26 will improve the marketplace and the working environment for older workers by reducing the prospect of discrimination in employment based on age," McDaniel added.   FULL STORY from PRNewswire

Billings school district settles discrimination case
     (Billings, MT, Mar. 15, 1999) -- Trustees of Billings School District #2 voted this evening to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by former Billings West High School Principal, Monica Kittock-Sargent. The Board will pay Kittock-Sargent $300,000, bringing to a close a case that began nearly six years ago. The settlement comes less than a month before the case was scheduled for trial before a Montana Human Rights Commission Hearing Examiner. The payment to Kittock-Sargent is believed to be the largest settlement amount of an individual sex discrimination claim in Montana. PRESS RELEASE

Guilty verdict in immigrant killing
     (Denver, Mar. 16, 1999) -- An alleged skinhead is facing life in prison for gunning down a West African immigrant and leaving a bystander who tried to help paralyzed.
    Jeremiah Barnum's face went white after he was convicted Monday of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder for the 1997 shootings. The Denver District Court jury had deliberated less than two days. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Communities sue over crack epidemic
     (San Francisco, Mar. 16, 1999) -- City residents who say federal authorities did nothing to stop crack cocaine sales in their neighborhoods in the 1980s have sued the CIA and Justice Department.
    The complaints were filed on behalf of mostly black residents whose babies were born addicted to crack, whose relatives died in drug-related drive-by shootings and whose communities were affected by crowded emergency rooms and gutted business districts, the lawsuit said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

DC - changes demanded on group homes
     (Washington, Mar. 16, 1999) -- "We can no longer make excuses," D.C. Council member Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8) yesterday told officials of the Department of Human Services and Department of Health, expressing outrage at the neglect and abuse of mentally retarded people in the District's care detailed in a Washington Post investigation that appeared in the paper Sunday and yesterday.
    City officials at the hearing acknowledged "severe" deficiencies in their monitoring of care given to the city's retarded and said that they would work diligently to reverse the damage of "decades of inattention."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Village rezoning to thwart senior housing fails
     (Milwaukee, Mar. 16, 1999) -- Residents of Hawthorne Drive could not persuade a supermajority of seven of nine village trustees to block senior citizen housing on the site on Division Road, between Ashbury Circle and Hawthorne Drive.
    They gained only five votes in support of the move.
    Village President Charles Hargan opposed the rezoning. He was joined by Trustees Michael Stone, Robert Lalk and James Brzezinski.
    Voting to change the zoning were Trustees Rocco Vento, Melvin Ewert, Thomas Stauffacher, Ronald Johnson and Thomas Kempinski. FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

County puts housing agency on probation
     (Pittsburg, Mar. 19, 1999) -- The Allegheny County Housing Authority has placed on probation and threatened to cancel the contract of an agency established by a federal judge to help public housing residents move to new neighborhoods.
    The action last month by the housing authority against the Fair Housing Services Center comes at a time when the agency is undergoing internal strife. Some board members of the center's parent agency, the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh Inc., are discussing whether to fire the center's director, Lisa Dickerson. The discipline could occur today.  FULL STORY from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NYPD on defensive over civil rights
     (New York, Mar. 29, 1999) -- They were both unarmed immigrants with black skin. They both ran afoul of police officers with white skin. Abner Louima survived to tell his tale; Amadou Diallo was not so fortunate. But now the two victims have been paired by politics, as exhibits A and B in an explosive political campaign against Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and the New York Police Department.
    In a painful convergence for Giuliani and the NYPD, jury selection began today in the trial of four officers charged with the August 1997 torturing of Louima just as indictments were announced against four officers who gunned down Diallo last month. The fiery Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading daily protests ever since the Diallo shooting, wasted no time trying to link the two cases into a larger chain of police brutality and racism.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Foreclosure threatens Cleveland projects
     (Cleveland, Mar. 29, 1999) -- Disputes over thousands of dollars in unpaid bills could unravel a confidential deal designed to avert foreclosure on the 94-unit Park Village Apartments and two other projects on Cleveland's East Side that government records show fell into disrepair under the control of Associated Estates Realty Corp.
    If officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are forced to foreclose on Park Village, Longwood Estates and Rainbow Terrace Apartments, all of which have federally insured mortgages, that could force out the 1,400 families living there.  FULL STORY in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

HUD Native American development initiative
     (Washington, Mar. 29, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo will address a meeting of hundreds of representatives of Indian tribes from around the nation at 9 a.m. CST, Tuesday, March 30, in Chicago. He will announce a new Native American Housing and Economic Development Initiative to improve life on reservations by creating more jobs, affordable housing and homeownership.
    The three-day Summit on Native American Homeownership, Legal and Economic Development was organized by HUD's Office of Native American Programs.

Klan not allowed to adopt road
     (Annapolis, Mar. 31, 1999) -- Anne Arundel County has scrapped its adopt-a-road program rather than let the Ku Klux Klan participate and have its signs posted along a mile of roadway.
   County Executive Janet Owens said she did not want highways to become forums for political statements, especially by organizations ``that have a history of racism and violence.''
    The Klan was more interested in attention than picking up trash in the county east of Washington, D.C., she said Tuesday.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Airport boots customs supervisor
     (Atlanta, Mar. 31, 1999) -- The U.S. Customs Service transferred a white supervisor after allegations that black passengers were unfairly targeted for inspections at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, according to a published report.
    Dale O'Connor, the white supervisor of the passenger inspection team, is being transferred to the cargo division, while Robert White, a black supervisor, is being shifted from another division to head the 16-member inspection team, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

California town sees rash of hate crime
     (Lancaster, CA, Mar. 31, 1999) -- This Los Angeles suburb of perpetual sun, affordable houses and streets lined with palm trees is now attracting large numbers of minorities, and the mix has proved combustible.
    Lancaster, considered one of the safest cities in America, has counted seven hate incidents so far this year, and minority residents are on edge.
    In the most recent incident, two men accused of belonging to a neo-Nazi group attacked a 20-year-old black man with a hammer in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart after he spoke to a white woman. He suffered minor shoulder injuries. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judge rules against gay couples in housing suit
     (New York, Apr. 02, 1999) -- A Manhattan judge has ruled that the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has the right to bar two lesbian students from living with their lovers in school-subsidized housing.
      State Supreme Court Justice Franklin Weissberg dismissed a lawsuit in which the women alleged that the school's housing policy discriminated against them on the basis of their marital status and sexual orientation.
      "The plaintiffs' real complaint lies not with the defendants, but rather with the refusal of the New York State Legislature to sanction same-sex marriages," Weissberg said. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD Empowerment Zone audited
     (Washington, Apr. 02, 1999) -- The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a multi-location audit of the Office of Community Planning and Development's oversight of the Empowerment Zone Program.  OIG concluded that HUD did not have an adequate system of oversight and control for the Empowerment Zone Program.
    HUD did not effectively assess the progress and status of the
Empowerment Zones. The Headquarters' EZ/EC (Enterprise Community) Team did not confirm the appropriateness of the use of Empowerment Zone funds, nor did it confirm that the use of funds complied with the Cities' Strategic Plans. The team also did not ensure that Performance Reviews submitted by the cities were verified for
accuracy. FULL STORY from U.S. Newswire

Lawyer sues developer for discrimination
     (Bakersfield, CA, Apr. 03, 1999) -- Timothy Liebaert and his wife thought their seven-month search for a new home was over.
    But the couple was crushed later when they learned the dream house was no longer theirs.
    All, says Liebaert, because he's a lawyer.
    Liebaert has sued Burlington Homes, claiming the Bakersfield developer discriminates against lawyers in violation of state civil rights laws.
    He said he had put a deposit on a lot in a Burlington subdivision for a five-bedroom house. During a meeting with a company employee to discuss color schemes, kitchen tiles and similar items, Liebaert said he casually mentioned his law practice.
    Shortly after that, the company canceled his contract, he said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

UNM age case goes to high court
     (Albuquerque, Apr. 03, 1999) -- What started out as a case of a former University of New Mexico employee suing UNM for age discrimination could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
    The case has ballooned into a review of a federal law that protects older workers from job discrimination.
    UNM claims individuals cannot sue the university or any other state agency in federal court for alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. FULL STORY from the ABQ Journal

Cleveland tenants rally over troubled housing
     (Cleveland, Apr. 04, 1999) -- Undaunted by news that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to sell the troubled Belvoir Cliffs Apartments to a private landlord, neighbors in Euclid Park are hoping the complex will be razed for single-family houses.
    "They've had their chance. We don't want this anymore," said Doreen Perry, a neighbor and one of about 30 protesters who gathered outside the apartment complex yesterday morning.  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Empowerment zones fallout in Atlanta
     (Atlanta, Apr. 05, 1999) -- The investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has recommended that the agency review the progress of the Atlanta Empowerment Zone and three other big city zones after federal administrators failed to follow up on shortcomings cited six months ago.

A report issued last week by the HUD inspector general said the federal housing agency has not established "adequate controls" over the zones to ensure that they are making progress.

But Joseph Reid, executive director of the Atlanta zone, said Monday that his agency is moving forward despite some past missteps. FULL STORY in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Clinton backs broader hate crimes law
     (Washington, Apr. 06, 1999) -- President Clinton plans to endorse a bill today that would expand federal hate crime laws to include offenses based on sexual orientation, White House officials said. Congress failed to act on similar legislation last year.
    Clinton will direct that colleges be required to report hate crimes annually and will announce a public-private partnership to educate middle-school students against intolerance.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

TAC-CCD report: housing shortage for disabled
     (Washington, Apr. 06, 1999) -- Americans with disabilities face a shortage of affordable housing, often forcing them to accept substandard dwellings.
    A collaborative report released yesterday by two national organizations says this failure is due to the unwillingness of many housing officials to acknowledge or address the real housing needs of these citizens.
    The Technical Assistance Collaborative Inc. (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force, based in Washington, D.C., provide details on this situation in Priced Out in 1998: The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities. The full report is available at http://www.tacinc.org/Docs/HH/PricedOutin1998.pdf .

Plea averts 1st trial in slaying of gay student
     (Denver, Apr. 06, 1999) -- Facing the parents of Matthew Shepard in a Laramie, Wyo., court on Monday, Russell Henderson admitted in graphic detail his part in Shepard's brutal murder last October and pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain that spared him a possible death sentence.
    Henderson's trial had been scheduled to begin today. But in a hastily called hearing the 21-year-old high-school dropout pleaded guilty to felony murder and kidnapping, each carrying a life sentence without possibility of parole. The plea averted Wyoming's first capital murder trial in 20 years. FULL STORY in the L.A. Times

"The Denny's Turnaround"
     (Washington, Apr. 07, 1999) -- Sporting one of the worst shiners in American corporate history, Denny's is trumpeting what it calls a top-to-bottom makeover.
    In recent weeks, Denny's corporate parent, Advantica Restaurant Group, has purchased television time for a 27-minute, company-produced documentary titled "The Denny's Turnaround." The program, which has aired in Washington and New York and just landed in reporters' mailboxes, is part of a multimillion-dollar image-polishing campaign designed to persuade minorities that these days, Denny's is different. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Team names go to court
     (Washington, Apr. 07, 1999) -- For decades, Suzan Shown Hartjo, a Cheyenne, fought to change the name of Washington's football team, arguing that "Redskins" is a racial slur. The District resident wrote impassioned letters to the team owners and tried to rally public support.
    Then, in 1992, she got a call from a young Minneapolis lawyer who was researching trademark law. The lawyer, Stephen R. Baird, asked if she had considered challenging the Redskins under the 1946 Lanham Act, which bars registered trademarks that are disparaging, scandalous or contemptuous.
    Such an unusual legal strategy had never occurred to Hartjo or her supporters. "By the end of the day," she said, "I had asked him to be my lawyer."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Lawsuit claims MCI discriminates
     (Los Angeles, Apr. 07, 1999) -- MCI WorldCom Inc. discriminates by preventing customers from making international calls from predominantly minority neighborhoods designated as ``high fraud'' areas, according to a lawsuit.
    ``This is redlining at its worst,'' said Raymond Boucher, who filed the lawsuit in Superior Court on Tuesday on behalf of Darren Haylock.
    Haylock attempted to make a calling card call last week from his mother's home in South Central Los Angeles to relatives in Belize after a family member died. MCI refused to let the call go through even after he provided his mother's maiden name and his Social Security number for identification, the lawsuit said.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Anti-gay attacks drop, but severity increases
     (New York, Apr. 07, 1999) -- Anti-gay attacks in the United States dropped 4 percent last year, but the assaults were more violent and led to more hospitalizations, an advocacy group says.
    A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released Tuesday showed the number of attacks dropped from 2,665 in 1997 to 2,552 in 1998.
    However, the number of victims requiring inpatient hospitalization more than doubled, from 53 in 1997 to 110 last year. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD and NH sign housing preservation agreement
     (Nashua, NH, Apr. 07, 1999) -- The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority today became the first housing agency in the nation to sign an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in a program designed to preserve privately owned affordable housing subsidized by HUD.
    New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Claira Monier and HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing Assistance Restructuring Director Ira Peppercorn signed a participation agreement this afternoon in a brief ceremony at the New Hampshire State Housing Conference. FULL STORY from PRNewswire

Avis Rent-A-Car discrimination suit settled in PA
     (Harrisburg, PA, Apr. 07, 1999) -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher's Civil Rights Enforcement Section has reached a $200,000 settlement in a suit against Avis Rent-A-Car and a Dauphin County Avis franchise, which was accused of discriminatory practices aimed at African- Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.
    "Discrimination is wrong. It's against the law. And it will not be tolerated in Pennsylvania," Fisher said. "We sought equal treatment for customers in this case, and I believe we accomplished that goal."  FULL STORY from PRNewswire

Labor dept.,  EEOC reach pay discrimination agreement
     (Washington, Apr. 07, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have approved two Memoranda of Understanding that will enable them to better enforce the laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, particularly laws that prohibit discrimination in compensation.
      The memorandums establish better coordination and communication between the two agencies and training to increase staff awareness of potential compensation discrimination cases. These efforts will increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations. FULL STORY from U.S. Newswire.com

Grant awarded to support elderly housing website
     (Milwaukee, Apr. 08, 1999) -- Anyone who has scrambled on short notice to find appropriate long-term living arrangements for an elderly or frail family member knows the frustration of trying to make an informed choice under pressure. That dilemma is worse for long-distance caregivers who cannot personally evaluate a nursing home, group home or other facility.
    A $40,000 grant announced Wednesday aims to alleviate the problem by supporting a new Internet-based information service offering "one-stop shopping" for housing consumers in southeastern Wisconsin.  FULL STORY from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

HUD faces continued difficulties in Pittsburgh
     (Pittsburgh, Apr. 09, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says it can find only $250,000 out of more than $4 million needed to buy the remaining 35 homes required as part of the Sanders desegregation lawsuit.
     That means that most of the 35 homes, including nine that are under sales agreements, will not be purchased unless an alternative source of cash is found.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Minnesota conflict over transgender protected class
     (Minneapolis, Apr. 09, 1999) -- It is illegal in Minnesota to fire a worker because of race. Sandy Crosby has no problem with that. Nor can someone be axed because he or she is gay. Crosby is OK with that too.
    But Minnesota is also the only state in the nation to protect transgender residents against discrimination. Employers cannot fire people for presenting an "identity not traditionally associated with [their] biological maleness or femaleness."  FULL STORY from the Los Angeles Times

Judge protects Black College Reunion traffic in FL
     (Orlando, Apr. 09, 1999) -- A federal judge has thrown out Daytona Beach's plan to restrict traffic during this weekend's Black College Reunion, saying it is unconstitutional.
    U.S. District Judge Patricia Fawsett agreed with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and three Daytona Beach residents that the city unfairly singled out the event.
    An estimated 100,000 people are expected for the weekend gathering, where crowds transform the main beachside road into a street party.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Md. gay rights bill dies in Senate committee
     (Annapolis, Md., Apr. 13, 1999) -- Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening made one final push Monday to enact a statewide ban on discrimination against gay men and lesbians. But it wasn't enough.
     It had become Glendening's personal crusade on behalf of his brother, Bruce, who for years was forced to hide his homosexuality for fear of being kicked out of the Air Force. Glendening wanted to correct a wrong for a brother, an AIDS patient who died in 1992.
     But the measure died in the Maryland Senate without so much as an up or down vote in committee. Opponents simply stalled and talked the measure to death.   FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Gay man loses ADA suit against dentist
     (Washington, Pa., Apr. 15, 1999) -- On February 9, 1995, Thomas Merchant walked into his dentist's office in Washington, Pa., to get his teeth cleaned. Instead he walked out with a prescription for an HIV test.
     It wasn't the first time, as a gay man, Merchant, 47, of Washington, who hastested negative for the virus that causes AIDS, has felt discrimin ated against because of his sexual orientation. He has lived in Washington, which he calls a small, conservative town, all of his life.
     But this time, he said he wanted to make it right, so he filed a federal lawsuit.
     Yesterday, a U.S. District Court jury disagreed with him. The jury ruled that Dr. William Kring, 57, of Washington, did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act when he told Merchant to get an AIDS test.   FULL STORY in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh mobility program attacked in court
     (Pittsburgh, Apr. 16, 1999) -- An attorney for the Allegheny County Housing Authority suggested yesterday than an agency charged with moving low-income people into new homes be eliminated.
    The suggestion concerning the Fair Housing Services Center was made by Raymond N. Baum during a hearing in U.S. District Court. Baum represents the Housing Authority in the Sanders housing discrimination case.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Clinton to seek ban on job bias against parents
     (Washington, Apr. 17, 1999) -- The Clinton administration is drafting legislation that would ban workplace discrimination against parents, a proposal that would extend to millions of workers new grounds for suing employers who deny them jobs or promotions because they spend time on family matters.
    The initiative, to be introduced in the Senate in a few weeks, would treat parents "as a protected class with respect to employment discrimination," according to draft language provided by White House aides. It would, for example, prohibit employers from "taking a mother or father off of a career-advancing path out of a belief that parents cannot meet requirements of these jobs." FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Supreme court to hear disabled care case
     (Washington, Apr. 19, 1999) -- ... She is one of two plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case that could decide whether the Americans with Disabilities Act should force states to place mentally disabled patients into community settings, not hospitals.
    L.C. vs. Olmstead, which Ms. Wilson joined in 1996, will be argued Wednesday.
    The state's handling of Ms. Wilson's care, while not malicious, ``was a pretty studied lack of effort that in our view was definitely inexcusable,'' said Sue Jamieson of Atlanta Legal Aid, who filed the suit for Lois Curtis and then added Ms. Wilson. ``These two women were just stuck in a place where they didn't belong for as long as three years.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Teacher called racist for essay
     (Tallahassee, FL, Apr. 19, 1999) -- He's been called a racist, shunned by fellow professors and threatened for his beliefs. But psychologist Glayde Whitney says his theory must be heard.
    The professor at Florida State University has long believed that blacks are generally less intelligent than whites. He has expressed his views in academic papers but it wasn't until he wrote the foreword for a book by a former Ku Klux Klan leader that people on campus seemed to notice.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD distributes claim filing booklet
     (Washington, Apr. 19, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development is distributing more than 100,000 copies of a new booklet around the country to make it easy for people to file claims of illegal housing discrimination, Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
    "Housing discrimination is an ugly part of our past that has no place in our nation today," Cuomo said. "The United States government is dedicated to finding it, fighting it and ending it. Our new booklet will make more people aware of their right to report this kind of illegal discrimination, and will make it easy to file a discrimination claim."
    The announcement is part of HUD's commemoration of Fair Housing Month in April. The month marks the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, which outlawed housing discrimination.

Worker bias lawsuits flood agriculture dept.
     (Washington, Apr. 20, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is grappling with a flood of discrimination complaints from minority and female employees who describe the agency as a hotbed of racial bias and harassment, where women assigned to remote work crews are physically threatened by male colleagues and minorities are routinely passed over for promotions.
    Minority and women employees have long complained about what they call a deeply entrenched culture of discrimination at the sprawling federal agency, which is often derided as "the last plantation." The problems have intensified in recent months as more employees have stepped forward with formal complaints, even as top USDA officials have acknowledged longstanding civil rights problems. Earlier this year, the agency agreed to a huge court settlement that could result in hundreds of millions of dollars being paid to thousands of black farmers for past discrimination. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Black men allege bias at SSA
     (Washington, Apr. 20, 1999) -- "Black males, in general, do not have a career at Social Security . . . they have a job. There's a difference between the two," Harry Dunbar told a news conference. He was among scores of black men who work at Social Security headquarters near Baltimore who traveled by bus to the media event outside the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's offices in Washington.
    Dunbar and two others filed a class action complaint with the EEOC in 1995, alleging that black men get fewer promotions and more unsatisfactory job evaluations than warranted by their numbers at SSA headquarters.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Record numbers of blacks, Hispanics buying homes
     (Washington, Apr. 21, 1999) -- America's homeownership rate rose to 66.7 percent for the first quarter of 1999, including a record number of African American and Hispanic families, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.
     New statistics released today by the Census Bureau showed that the homeownership rate - the percentage of families owning their homes - rose three-tenths of a percentage point in the first quarter of this year, up from 66.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 1998.
     A total of 69.6 million American families owned their own homes in the first quarter of this year - more than at any time in American history. This was 7.8 million more families than when President Clinton took office in 1993, when the homeownership rate stood at 64 percent. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Justices weigh rights of people with disabilities
     (Washington, Apr. 22, 1999) -- The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday over whether federal law requires states to place mentally disabled people in community homes instead of hospitals, in a case that cuts to the heart of how many disabled live.
     The dispute is one of a record five cases the court is considering this term on the breadth of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, which is meant to open doors to the nation's disabled, provide them with jobs and greater access to public buildings, and engender dignity. Unlike the four other cases that relate to job discrimination, yesterday's dispute dealt with services that states provide to the mentally disabled.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Coca-Cola sued for race discrimination
     (Atlanta, Apr. 23, 1999) -- Four past or current black employees of Coca-Cola Co. have filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court charging the soft-drink giant with discrimination.
     Their complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, alleges the company pays black employees less, offers them fewer promotions and gives them lower performance evaluation scores than whites.
     ``Not only do barriers exist for African-American employees seeking upward advancement within the company, but similar barriers virtually segregate the company into divisions where African-American leadership is acceptable and divisions where it is not,'' said the suit.
     Coca-Cola spokesman Rob Baskin said today the company's attorneys hadn't yet received a copy of the lawsuit and couldn't comment directly on it.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Hyundai unit loses bias lawsuit
     (Santa Ana, CA, Apr. 24, 1999) -- A division of Korean giant Hyundai Group must pay $9.5 million to a corporate headhunter fired for refusing to discriminate against minorities and women, a jury decided.
    Hyundai Semiconductor America Inc. lost Friday in a lawsuit filed by Jeff Abraham, owner of Technical Resources Inc.
    In addition to Hyundai's payment, the jury ruled that James F. Menzie, a Hyundai human resources manager, must pay Abraham nearly $500,000.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Black workers refuse $15m Boeing deal
     (Seattle, Apr. 24, 1999) -- A proposed $15 million settlement in a racial discrimination lawsuit against The Boeing Co. is insufficient and won't improve race relations at the nation's largest aerospace company, a lawyer for black workers told a judge.
    In a memorandum filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Alan B. Epstein of Philadelphia, a lawyer for more than 2,000 black Boeing workers, told Judge John C. Coughenour that lawyers who represented his clients could have won far better terms. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Supreme Court to hear discrimination case
     (Washington, Apr. 26, 1999) -- The Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether a federal anti-discrimination law on the right to enter into contracts protects people who are not U.S. citizens.
     The justices said they will review the New York City case of a man ousted from his job as a labor union officer after it was discovered he is a legal alien, not a citizen.
      A 133-year-old civil rights law originally aimed at protecting newly freed slaves says all people ``within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every state and territory to make and enforce contracts ... as is enjoyed by white citizens.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD to fund minority work study graduate program
     (Washington, Apr. 26, 1999) -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $2.9 million in grants under a work-study program to help pay college expenses of more than 100 low-income and minority graduate students preparing for careers in community planning and development.
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Work Study Program will fund two-year grants to institutions of higher education, and regional planning organizations. The grants will be used to provide up to $15,000 per year in work stipends to individual students for two years to help pay for college tuition, travel and books.
    The grants will go to 24 colleges and universities and one metropolitan government organization in: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.   FULL STORY from HUD

Representative favors wife's housing agency
     (Washington, Apr. 26, 1999) -- Rep. Bob Barr (R., Ga.) has quietly amended a housing bill for the homeless to give a Cobb County housing group headed by his wife, Jeri, preferential treatment in the way federal funds are handed out.
    Barr, a self-styled GOP ethics watchdog who helped prosecute President Clinton during the impeachment trial this year, defended his intervention as an attempt to resolve a long-standing feud between housing groups in his district and an Atlanta-based homelessness task force responsible for distributing federal funds in Georgia.
    He said in an interview late last week that his wife's role was "irrelevant" to the need for the amendment, which he said was brought to his attention by Cobb County housing authorities.  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Daily News

Supreme Court to clarify scope of ADA
     (Washington, Apr. 27, 1999) -- Vaughn Murphy controls his high blood pressure with medication. When UPS fired him as a mechanic and driver, saying his condition made him unfit to drive, he sued under the law protecting the disabled.
    But is he really disabled?
    This week, the Supreme Court considers whether Murphy, and workers in two similar cases, are protected by law from discrimination even if they have corrected their conditions with, say, medicine or eyeglasses.
    The court’s eventual rulings will define who is protected under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act: just the severely disabled, or millions more with contact lenses, diabetes or hearing aids.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Muslim women settle with Dulles in scarf case
     (Washington, Apr. 28, 1999) -- Seven Muslim women who said they were fired from their jobs with a Dulles International Airport security firm for refusing to remove their Islamic head scarves have reached a settlement with the firm, attorneys for both sides said yesterday.
    The settlement ends a religious discrimination complaint filed by the women against Atlanta-based Argenbright Security Inc. with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which negotiated the settlement.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Court reviews federal disability laws
     (Washington, Apr. 28, 1999) -- The Supreme Court is using cases involving two nearsighted pilots, a truck driver blind in one eye and a mechanic with high blood pressure to clarify the scope of a federal law that bans discrimination against the disabled.
    At issue: Does the law protect people whose conditions can be corrected with medication or a device such as eyeglasses?
    Today, the court was considering whether the Americans With Disabilities Act's protections extend to two nearsighted women who unsuccessfully applied to be pilots for United Air Lines and an Oregon truck driver who is almost blind in one eye. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Cuomo's address to the National Press Club
     (Washington, Apr. 28, 1999) -- Excerpts:
      "...An editorial once said this about the HUD secretaryship. And I quote, just to make sure I get the quote right: 'A job that has zero glamour, no prospects for an infusion of new federal money, a neglected constituency with little power and virtually no urgency on the White House domestic agenda,' closed quote..."
      "...I have been to the other America, if you will. I have seen the dual reality of the time that we live in. And I can tell you that the poverty, the despair, is just as bad in some places as it has ever been. And the sense of hopelessness is just as bad as it has ever been. For all the progress we've made, Lord knows we have longer to go..."
      "...Today we're releasing a report called {"Now Is The Time"} that talks about the places that the economy forgot. Please allow me to make a slide presentation that has some of the relevant numbers, make some general points, and then it would be my pleasure to take your questions..."
      "...First finding: High job loss, unemployment. One in six central cities have unemployment 50 percent higher than the national rate. Eighty percent, 80 percent of the new jobs that have been created between 1994 and 1995 were created in the suburbs. That statistic tells the story..."
      "...Second finding; a significant population loss. At a time when the nation's population grew about 17 percent, these cities, one in five, lost 5 percent or more of their population. Detroit, Michigan is the picture here. It made the automobile. Automobile manufacturing was reduced as we went overseas for part of the market, moved out to the suburbs. The population dropped 17 percent..."
      "...Finding number three: High poverty, which we define as 50 percent or higher than the national rate, and one out of three cities falls into that category. And these are all connected phenomena. As the jobs leave, as the people leave, the people who remain behind tend to be those people who didn't have the resources to go out to the suburbs. They tend to be poorer. The city winds up concentrating more poverty..." FULL TRANSCRIPT

Franklin Covey comp. charged with infertility bias
     (New York, Apr. 29, 1999) -- In a ground-breaking decision, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a Determination on April 27, 1999 in favor of Rochelle Saks after conducting an investigation into charges of discriminatory practices by the Franklin Covey Company in their denial of medical coverage for infertility treatments. The Determination found that Franklin Covey discriminated against Ms. Saks on the basis of sex, pregnancy and disability in violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by maintaining a self-insured health benefits plan that excludes virtually all medically necessary treatments for women suffering from the illness of infertility. The EEOC also found that Franklin Covey's plan adversely affected a class of individuals beyond Ms. Saks, suffering from the same medical condition of infertility. Ms. Saks is represented by the law firm of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm.  FULL STORY from Excite.com Business Wire

Supreme Court still wrestling with disability laws
     (Washington, Apr. 30, 1999) -- The Supreme Court, trying to define the scope of a federal ban on discrimination, struggled yesterday with a basic question: Who is disabled?
    As the court heard arguments about two nearsighted women who want to be United Air Lines pilots and a truck driver blind in one eye, some justices questioned whether poor eyesight is a disability protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    "I have difficulty reading restaurant checks in dim light," said Justice David Souter, who spoke of being "at sea" in trying to interpret the law.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

'Affirmatively Furthering' language in question
     (Washington, Apr. 30, 1999) -- THE LAW REQUIRES that cities and other recipients of federal housing and community development grants "affirmatively further fair housing." The requirement has never been much enforced and has been honored mainly in the breach. Last year the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a proposed regulation reaffirming it. The National League of Cities, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and other groups protested that the proposal was at once too vague as to what was required and too rigorous in the fund cutoff that it threatened for failure to comply. Civil rights and other advocacy groups, meanwhile, also complained that the rule was too vague but favored strengthening it.
    The administration has now responded by withdrawing it. Department officials insist they were not capitulating to political pressure. They withdrew a defective proposal in order eventually to strengthen it, they say -- make it more specific. The League of Cities likewise describes itself as devoted to civil rights; its history and membership suggest that is so.  EDITORIAL in the Washington Post

HUD attempts to preserve affordable housing
     (Washington, Apr. 30, 1999) -- In a move that drew bipartisan Congressional support, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced actions to preserve affordable housing for thousands of poor families around the country.
    "This is an important reform that will help protect families who need and deserve decent housing, at a fair cost to the American taxpayer," Cuomo said.
    Cuomo also released a report that documents the magnitude of the risk to the Project-Based Section 8 Rental Assistance Program and lays out a set of principles to guide a more permanent, comprehensive solution to the problem. Titled Opting In: Renewing America's Commitment to Affordable Housing, the report quantifies the number and locations of subsidized units that are threatened by impending contract expirations. FULL STORY from HUD

Rubin named director of HUD Office of University Partnerships
     (Washington, Apr. 30, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that Dr. Victor Rubin of the University of California at Berkeley will serve for a year as director of HUD's Office of University Partnerships.
      "Victor Rubin will help the Office of University Partnerships build on its record of success," Cuomo said. "We're helping to make colleges and universities the gateway to the American Dream -- not just for their students, but for their neighbors."
      The Office of University Partnerships helps colleges and universities revitalize distressed low-income neighborhoods near their campuses and bring new opportunity to people living there. The colleges and universities provide job training and counseling, as well as economic development, crime prevention, and housing assistance to people in nearby neighborhoods. FULL STORY from U.S. Newswire

Philadelphia group home suing over evictions
     (Philadelphia, May. 01, 1999) -- With apartment rents climbing in the booming Center City housing market, the efficiency-style rooms at the Adelphia House had been a godsend for some clients of Sister Mary Scullion's Project HOME.
    But the Adelphia House, at 13th and     Chestnut Streets, changed hands last fall, and the new owner wants the 37 Project HOME clients -- who have mental illnesses but are capable of living on their own -- out of the building.
    Yesterday, Project HOME filed a lawsuit in federal court contending that the new owner, Philadelphia Management Corp., had violated the federal Fair Housing Act.  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Salt Lake City minority lending success story
     (Salt Lake City, May. 01, 1999) -- Medrado "Mickey" Gill had just begun a job as a home loan officer when he convinced his employer to run advertisements on a Spanish-language radio station inviting Latinos to apply for home loans. That was three years ago.
    Today, Gill and fellow loan officer, Hector Dominguez, close as many as 20 home loans a month with Spanish-speaking clients at Premier Mortgage in Salt Lake City. "The response [from the Latino   community] has been pretty amazing," Gill said. "A lot of people stop by thinking there is no way they can qualify for a home loan, but many of them can."  FULL STORY in the Salt Lake Tribune

HUD to boost housing subsidies in L.A.
     (Los Angeles, May. 01, 1999) -- Alarmed by a shrinking number of subsidized units for poor families, the nation's major housing agency said it will boost subsidies in an effort to preserve thousands of low-income rental units throughout Orange County and Southern California.
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development said it hopes the higher subsidies will curb the growing number of property owners who are pulling out of the subsidy program in favor of the higher rents of the open market.
    HUD will spend $30 million more on subsidies nationwide in coming months, agency spokesman Lemar Wooley said. The money will be earmarked for units considered most likely to be removed from the program. FULL STORY in the L.A. Times

GAO blasts design of HUD grant system
     (Washington, May. 03, 1999) -- A 3-year-old system used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to distribute billions of dollars in grants and to collect information on the use of those funds is plagued with design flaws and could be a candidate for replacement, according to a General Accounting Office report released last week.
    The Integrated Disbursement Information System (IDIS), developed by HUD and Computer Sciences Corp., provides the information needed to help HUD run its Grants Management System, which disburses about $6 billion in grants annually, or about one-quarter of HUD's budget.
    The system is used by recipients and managers of federal money that flows through the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Home Investment in Affordable Housing program, the Emergency Shelter Grants Program and the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program.  FULL STORY from Federal Computer Week

Housing Authority fires, sues agency
     (Pittsburgh, May. 04, 1999) -- The Allegheny County Housing Authority yesterday filed suit against the nonprofit agency it had hired to place public housing tenants in new homes, charging breach of contract.
    The authority also announced that the agency, the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, had been fired.
    In 1996, the authority gave the Fair Housing Services Center, the placement arm of the partnership, $300,000 in start-up money.
    But the agency has been a failure, based on housing authority audits done in December and last month, according to the suit that was filed yesterday in Common Pleas Court.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ex-foes unite against Pittsburgh consent decree
     (Pittsburgh, May. 04, 1999) -- Former foes have become allied against the Sanders Consent Decree, the controversial housing discrimination settlement.
    The consent decree, signed in 1994, is the result of a lawsuit filed in 1988 on behalf of lead plaintiff Cheryl Sanders of Braddock, who charged that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development had discriminated against black tenants by placing them in segregated housing complexes in Allegheny County's poorest neighborhoods.
    The consent decree ordered HUD, through the Allegheny County Housing Authority and the Sanders Task Force, to buy homes in better off, predominantly white neighborhoods and relocate the displaced public housing tenants to them.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Opening statements in Louima brutality case
     (New York, May. 04, 1999) -- It began with accusations of unthinkable horror in an unlikely setting: the bathroom of a Brooklyn police station.
    Now, nearly two years later, a seven-man, five-woman jury is set to decide the legal fates of five white police officers charged in the alleged torture of Abner Louima, a black Haitian immigrant whose case has come to symbolize police brutality against minorities.
    Judge Eugene Nickerson was to give preliminary instructions to the anonymous jury -- made up of eight whites, three Hispanics and one black -- this morning in Brooklyn federal court before opening statements by prosecutor Kenneth Thompson and all five defense attorneys. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Bradley pinpoints race as a campaign issue
     (New Jersey, May. 05, 1999) -- In 1988, New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley was in Missouri visiting an elderly aunt, who was like a second mother to him. Out of the blue she told him she was glad he didn't run for president and win that year. He asked her why, and this, he says, was her response:
    "Because you would have probably chosen somebody like Jesse Jackson as your vice president and then the blacks (she used another word) would have killed you (so Jackson could become president)."
    Recounting this frank tale of racism within his own family, now-presidential hopeful Bill Bradley pledged to bring to the forefront of the 2000 campaign one of America's most painful and divisive social issues - one that throughout history has both marred and distinguished presidential politics. FULL STORY from the Nando Times

Duke resolves women's sports discrimination complaint
     (North Carolina, May. 05, 1999) -- Duke University has settled a complaint it discriminated against its female athletes, saying it will add 10 scholarships by the 2001-2002 school year for its new women's rowing team. The school reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
    Duke was one of 25 U.S. colleges and universities accused by a legal advocacy group of failing to give female athletes their fair share of scholarship money.
    In 1997, the National Women's Law Center filed complaints with the government charging that the 25 schools were violating Title IX, the law forbidding sex discrimination at schools that get federal money. Federal rules say the proportion of scholarship dollars going to women must nearly equal the percentage of the school's athletes who are women. FULL STORY in the Nando Times

U.S. Attorney in MA settles suit against Worcester Realty
     (Worcester, MA, May. 05, 1999) -- The United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts has entered into a consent court order, which settles a civil housing discrimination suit against a Worcester rental agency. The Consent Order, which includes a $30,000 payment by the rental agency, has been submitted to the Court for its approval.
      United States Attorney Donald K. Stern announced today that the U.S. Attorney's Office has resolved a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act against CHOICE PROPERTY CONSULTANTS, INC. ("CHOICE"), a Worcester rental agency that once described itself as "Worcester's #1 Leasing Company," and its president KAREN SOUCIE. CHOICE systematically violated the civil rights of potential tenants by recording on internal documents terms indicating that certain landlord clients did not wish to rent to African American or Hispanic tenants, or to tenants with children. CHOICE then honored those discriminatory preferences by refusing to show certain apartments to minority apartment seekers and apartment seekers with children. The investigation into the conduct of those landlords is ongoing. PRESS RELEASE

NCRC: Senate Republicans hurt CRA
     (Washington, May. 06, 1999) -- The following was released today by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition:
    "The U.S. Senate punched hard against the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and struck against the hopes of millions of working class and minority Americans for owning their first home or small business. The Senate has wounded the most effective fair lending law of the last 25 years," exclaims John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).
    ...The Senate is about to approve S. 900, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, that tears down the walls separating banks, securities firms, and insurance companies. At the same time, the Senate approved anti-CRA provisions that would cripple the effectiveness of the law. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is an anti-redlining law mandating that banks have an affirmative obligation to serve all the communities, including low- and moderate-income communities, in which they are chartered and from which they take deposits. CRA has leveraged impressive amounts of loans and investments for traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
In 1997, for example, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods received 32.5 billion dollars in home mortgage loans. PRESS RELEASE on PRNewswire.com

GAO on Sprawl: 'A Definitive'Unclear'
     (Washington, May. 07, 1999) -- In a town that worships strong opinions and ruthless certitude, where even pundits who have no clue speak as if they do, the General Accounting Office just spent 11 months checking out one of the big-buzz topics of the day and concluded, quite firmly: Um, beats us.
    Several lawmakers had asked the GAO to look into whether federal policies encourage sprawl, the steady seepage of humanity into open spaces around cities.
    In an 81-page report released Friday, the agency announced--right on the blue cover, in big white letters--its finding: "Unclear."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Contractor for retarded accused of cheating D.C.
     (Washington, May. 07, 1999) -- One of the District's largest providers of services to the mentally retarded was arrested yesterday on charges that she cheated the city out of $1.6 million and then used much of the money for personal expenses, including a grand piano, a deluxe home entertainment center and a pool table.
    Denise Braxtonbrown-Smith was taken into custody at her home in Mitchellville after a federal grand jury indicted her on 16 felony charges, including allegations she submitted claims for psychoanalysis for patients who were too profoundly retarded to benefit from such treatment.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Tornados create widespread homelessness in OK
     (Moore, Okla., May. 07, 1999) -- As many of her bewildered neighbors staggered through the halls of First Baptist Church this morning in search of aid, Lisa Carter hunched over a phone and kept dialing. She said the same thing, over and over: "Do you have anything?" she cried. "Anything at all?"
     But she could not find any hotels with empty rooms. No vacant apartments, either. Nothing.
     "They're coming to bulldoze what's left of my house this afternoon," Carter said as she scratched a line through another address scribbled in a tattered notebook. "I have no idea what we're going to do next."
     The worst is over in this town and others around Oklahoma City that were ravaged Monday night by the most powerful batch of tornadoes to strike here in half a century. Most of the 41 dead have been identified, all but 10 of the missing have been found, and today the skies over the plains were bright and clear.
     But the next crisis for much of the metropolitan area is already in full view: homelessness. FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Disabled activists say, 'Integration, not segregation'
     (Washington, May. 10, 1999) -- Not since the days of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace have states fought so hard to prevent integration. What is different in 1999 is the target group the states are trying to segregate -- disabled and older Americans.
      Beginning today more than 1,000 disability rights activists are in Washington, D.C., this week to tell the states, Congress and the Supreme Court, loud and clear, "Integration, not Segregation!" Members of ADAPT, a national grassroots disability rights group will engage in a series of demonstrations demanding reform of federal Medicaid policy, and supporting the recently challenged "integration mandate" of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). PRESS RELEASE on PRNewswire.com

Hundreds protest police in California
     (Riverside, Cal., May. 10, 1999) -- Hundreds of protesters gathered at City Hall today to denounce a decision not to prosecute four police officers who shot to death a 19-year-old black woman who was in sitting in a car with a gun in her lap.
     The decision by the Riverside County district attorney last week has angered supporters of the woman, Tyisha Miller, a victim they say of police racism and brutality. Today's protesters included members of her family and religious leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, the New York civil rights activist.
     Protesters denounced police and called for civil disobedience, but organizers urged everyone to keep calm and avoid clashes with police.
     '`We're not here to riot or to disrupt. We're here to demonstrate and to protest,'' the Rev. Ron Gibson told the crowd. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Justice settles AZ workplace discrimination complaint
     (Washington, May. 11, 1999) -- A Scottsdale, Arizona personnel company, Olsten Staffing Services, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $2,000 in back pay and civil penalties to settle allegations of workplace discrimination under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The agreement resolves a federal complaint filed with the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) by Garier Grau, a U.S. citizen born in Puerto Rico. Mr. Grau presented Olsten Staffing, Inc. with a Social Security card along with his driver's license and birth certificate. Although he had presented more than enough legal documents to verify his identity and employment eligibility, Olsten refused to permit him to fill out a job application. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

HUD plans new housing for Indian reservations
     (Washington, May. 11, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a plan to finalize environmental reviews for new subsidized housing on Indian reservations - ending a crisis that could have cost tribes millions of dollars and deprived families of needed homes.
    Cuomo said that under the four-point plan, HUD will work in partnership with tribes to ensure that environmental reviews are properly completed and submitted for proposed HUD-subsidized affordable housing on reservations. FULL STORY from HUD

Hate crime charges filed in L.A. dog attack
     (Los Angeles, May. 11, 1999) -- Federal hate crime charges have been filed against a Sun Valley man who allegedly turned his Rottweiler on an African American man at a neighborhood service station.
    Prosecutors said Rick L. McConnell, 37, shouted racial slurs as the snarling dog came within inches of biting Robert Lee Gable on March 8 at a self-service gas station on Sunland Boulevard.
    Gable was not bitten, but authorities said McConnell shattered his car's windshield with a beer bottle.   FULL STORY in the L.A. Times

Brothers in L.A. accused of bilking HUD for $30 mil
     (Los Angeles, May. 12, 1999) -- Federal agents arrested two brothers from Yorba Linda on Tuesday, accusing them of fraudulently obtaining $30 million in government-backed housing loans.
    Danilo Torres Guinto, 40, and Edgardo Torres Guinto, 39, will face mail-fraud charges, FBI officials in Los Angeles said.
    The Guintos' arrests constitute the latest phase in the FBI's two-year "Mortgage Mill" operation, aimed at dismantling the largest fraud scheme ever perpetrated against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    Seven other Southland residents have already pleaded guilty in a related scheme, which involved more than $60 million in loans. They await sentencing.   FULL STORY in the L.A. Times

HUD to plant trees in Syracuse
     (Washington, May. 12, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and Congressman James Walsh today announced that federal assistance will help provide Syracuse, NY, with 1,000 mature trees to replace trees felled by the 1998 Labor Day windstorm. The announcement was made in a telephone conference call with Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi.
    Bernardi asked Cuomo and Walsh for help two weeks ago in getting the trees, when the Secretary and the Congressman spent a day in Syracuse along with other top HUD officials. Today's announcement is a direct outgrowth of the Mayor's request. During his visit to Syracuse, Cuomo announced $18 million in HUD assistance to strengthen the city's economy.
    With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, the planting of 1,000 new trees on city-owned property in Syracuse is slated to begin as early as next week and continue throughout the spring planting season and into the fall. Completion of the tree planting is scheduled for next spring. The trees range in height from 8 to 12 feet. FULL STORY from HUD

Disabled activists march to Supreme Court
     (Washington, May. 12, 1999) -- While the Supreme Court weighs the arguments set forth in several Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits, the one known as L.C. & E.W. vs. Olmstead has caused outrage and enormous concern among disability rights activists across the nation.
      The Georgia lawsuit challenges the integration mandate, which required states to provide services in the "most integrated setting" appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities. FULL STORY on USNewswire.com

Lawmakers debate hate crimes bill
     (Washington, May. 12, 1999) -- ...Opponents say the bill is unnecessary because states have not avoided prosecuting such crimes. One of the two men charged in Shepard’s death pleaded guilty to murder last month and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.
    Critics also say the bill itself would discriminate by creating special classes of victims such as gays, would greatly expand the federal government’s power and jurisdiction and would have a 'chilling effect' on free speech. FULL STORY from ABC News

Payout ready from Toledo Nationwide lawsuit
     (Toledo, May. 12, 1999) -- A $2 million fund is in place to pay the claims of people covered by last year's settlement of a lawsuit the Toledo Fair Housing Center won against Nationwide Insurance.
    Stephen Dane, an attorney who represented the center, said yesterday the fund and payments will be handled by a professional claims administration firm in Minnesota.
    He said the firm's decisions will be reviewed by a local committee that will be named later. Mr. Dane said those named plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the insurance company have been paid.  FULL STORY in the Toledo Blade

NAACP and Cendant settle loan bias case
     (Philadelphia, May. 13, 1999) -- The Philadelphia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Cendant Mortgage yesterday announced the resolution of a lawsuit over allegations that the lender excluded African-American neighborhoods from its marketing and rejected black applicants twice as often as it turned away whites.
    The settlement commits Cendant and the local NAACP to an "affinity relationship" that is expected to result in at least $15 million in mortgage loans being released over the next three years. Cendant has promised to provide mortgage services to loan candidates assisted by the Next Generation Community Development Corp., an entity set up by the local NAACP.  FULL STORY from The Legal Intelligencer

HUD to make big changes to rent assistance program
     (WASHINGTON, May. 14, 1999) -- HUD is proposing major changes in the operation of the Section 8 program, a program that offers rental assistance to low-income families.
      The changes include combining the voucher and certificate programs into one "Housing Choice Voucher Program" and changing the way the level of the rental assistance is calculated, according to a May 14 Federal Register notice.
      Public comments on the proposed changes, which take effect Aug. 12, are due on July 13. NOTICE from the May 14, 1999, Federal Register

HUD - San Francisco off 'troubled list'
     (San Francisco, May. 14, 1999) -- In a startling turnaround, San Francisco's Housing Authority, once considered among the nation's worst public housing agencies, scored high marks in its most recent federal review.
    "We're off the troubled list," said Housing Authority spokesman Ron Sonenshine, "which means less (federal) scrutiny and in the eyes of HUD we're considered a standard performer."  FULL STORY from the San Francisco Examiner

Book Review: "Social Perceptions of People with Disabilities in History"
     (Prague, May. 14, 1999) -- "Gimp!" "Cripple!" The critical epithet often betokens the scorn and fear that disability provokes in the onlooker. Indeed, the human perception of illness is based as much on the dreaded functional consequences of the sequelae of disease as on mortality. An investigation of the historical change of such perceptions thus is fundamental to our understanding of medicine and disease in society. BOOK REVIEW in the New England Journal of Medicine

Black farmers not satisfied with USDA settlement
     (Kansas City, May. 14, 1999) -- The legal battle is over and a settlement is at hand, but black farmer George Hildebrandt isn't feeling settled.
    He is resigned to the fact that the agreement forged between attorneys for black farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination by the USDA is the best they will get. FULL STORY in the Kansas City Star

Suit alleges bias in Virginia sheriff's dept.
     (Washington, May. 15, 1999) -- As a black sheriff's deputy in the 1990s, Jabar Shabazz never expected to be denied access to a bathroom used by white co-workers, especially inside the Fairfax County jail. Fellow deputy Robert Cutts, also black, never thought he'd see a job posting in 1997 seeking "two white m  ales" for a plum travel assignment.
    Those and other allegations were included in a race discrimination lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court by Shabazz, Cutts and a third deputy, Gwendolyn Bell. The officers say they filed repeated complaints to Fairfax County Sheriff Carl R. Peed, and Shabazz and Cutts say they were fired as a result. The lawsuit filed in Alexandria asks the court to reinstate them and to halt any illegal practices in the department.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

History of desegregation rulings
     (Washington, May. 15, 1999) -- In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court began confronting the legality of racial segregation in a case from Louisiana. More than half century later, the high court ended publicly sanctioned school segregation with its ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD releases report on Boston Housing Authority
     (Boston, May. 15, 1999) -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo today released a report that concludes the Boston Housing Authority has made significant progress since 1996 responding to racial and ethnic harassment in housing authority properties, but that troubling problems persist in some areas. The HUD report includes over 50 recommendations for improvements in BHA operations to address continuing problems.
      "HUD's report shows that, under Mayor Menino's leadership, the City of Boston and the Housing Authority have done a great deal to address problems of racial and ethnic harassment since 1996," Cuomo said. "But as the report points out, there is also still more to do to ensure all BHA residents live in a home free of bias. PRESS RELEASE on U.S. Newsire.com

Death threat case filed in Philadelphia
     (Philadelphia, May. 15, 1999) -- With a masters' degree in human relations, Kimberly A. Lane tackles personnel issues for a clothing distribution company in Northeast Philadelphia.
    According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court, Lane, who is white, encountered an altogether different type of human relations problem when she rented a $400-a-month apartment in Port Richmond, a virtually all-white neighborhood.
    Shortly after Lane moved in in mid-March, the landlord, John Cole, allegedly threatened to kill her because Lane, 28, had allowed a close friend, a black woman with two young children, to stay with her overnight on several occasions.  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Daily News

HUD to crack down on high-delinquency lenders
     (Washington, May. 15, 1999) -- In a move that could provide stronger consumer protections for more than 1 million new-home buyers a year, the federal government plans to take a novel get-tough approach with lenders: It's going to hold thousands of banks and mortgage companies directly responsible for the number of home buyers they finance who fall into default or foreclosure within the first 24 months after loan closing.
    For those lenders deemed to have too many seriously delinquent new customers on their books, the government plans to pull the plug--cutting off the lenders' rights to receive federal mortgage insurance to back additional home loans.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

USDA woes continue: now target of bias action
     (Washington, May. 15, 1999) -- Lawyers have filed a class-action complaint against the U.S. Agriculture Department on behalf of nearly 12,000 black workers, saying that the department has wrongly tolerated racism and destroyed careers.
    Employees say they were passed over for jobs, promotions and raises, and were the target of racial slurs by coworkers and managers.
    The complaint, filed late Thursday, seeks an unspecified amount of back pay, promotions and financial damages. It also demands the USDA adopt stricter policies against discrimination. FULL STORY from Reuters

Problems plague Cleveland housing projects
     (Cleveland, May. 16, 1999) -- Federal housing officials regularly ignored their own regulations designed to protect residents at three government-subsidized housing projects that have health and safety problems, The Plain Dealer reported Sunday.
    The apartments' landlord, Associated Estates Realty Corp. of suburban Cleveland, has been able to collect government-funded rent subsidies with little monitoring, which has led to bad conditions, the newspaper said, citing interviews and a review of documents.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

O'Connor calls for 'concrete action' to fight bias
     (Washington, May. 16, 1999) -- Pointing to a new survey that says most blacks believe they receive worse treatment from America's courts than do other people, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor yesterday called on judges nationwide to ensure fairness for all.
      She noted that the survey found a significant percentage of whites also believe that African Americans are not treated equally.
      "Clearly this is a problem that has to be addressed," O'Connor said in a speech to a national conference studying public confidence in the courts. "Concrete action must be taken" to erase racial bias, she said. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Survey: gender inequity remains in athletics
     (Washington, May. 16, 1999) -- The number of women participating in major-college athletics and the amount of athletic scholarship money being given to women are continuing to increase, but participation and financial disparities between men's and women's teams persist, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
    The survey, which covers the 1997-98 academic year, was based on reports schools must prepare annually under the federal Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act. The Chronicle obtained reports from 306 of the NCAA's 310 Division I member schools.   FULL STORY in the Washington Post

HUD: Indian families won't pay for SNAFU
     (Seattle, May. 17, 1999) -- Three Northwest tribes won't have to repay millions of dollars to the federal government for failing to file a two-page form, officials say.
    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo last week announced that his agency would drop $5 million in proposed penalties and let the tribes correct the paperwork snafu.
    His decision means families soon will be able to move into dozens of nearly completed houses that have sat empty since early this year, when the regional HUD office in Seattle froze funding for new developments at the Yakama and Lower Elwha Klallam reservations in Washington and the Coeur d'Alene reservation in Idaho.
    HUD staff members told tribal officials they couldn't have any more money for the projects and had to repay money already spent, all because they hadn't filed a form certifying they had completed an environmental analysis before construction began. FULL STORY from Knightridder News Service

Handicapped battle hotels on equal access
     (Orlando, May. 18, 1999) -- Frustrated with front desk counters they can't reach, parking spaces they can't find and restroom doors too small for a wheelchair, an Orlando man and a statewide advocacy group for the handicapped are fighting back.
    They simultaneously have filed 13 separate federal lawsuits against metro Orlando hotels, alleging a laundry list of violations of federal law ensuring the handicapped could enjoy equal access to buildings.
    The suits were filed by John W. Fries, an Orlando resident with a disability, and Advocates for the Disabled Inc., a 2-month-old Miami corporation. FULL STORY in the Orlando Business Journal

Modern Talladega, AL recalls bitter past
     (Talladega, AL, May. 18, 1999) -- The latest racial conflict in this town of 20,000 began, as these things often do, with an unfortunate--and, some believe, far too telling--remark.
    At a recent private meeting, where city officials were discussing what to do about an alleged drug house, white city council member James Armstrong, 79, reportedly said, "I don't care what you do about those n--s. Just get them out of there."
    With that, the veneer of conciliation that had marked Talladega's race relations cracked. Black residents, already smarting from the fatal shooting last July of a black man by a white police officer, formed an "Our Fair Share" movement, presented a list of demands at city hall, and vowed, this time, not to be silenced.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Worries overshadow civil rights anniversary
     (Washington, May. 18, 1999) -- A wide array of civil rights leaders met in the shadow of the White House yesterday to recognize the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation in the nation's public schools, a decision widely viewed as the most important in civil rights history.
    But rather than celebrate their victory in Brown v. Board of Education, the civil rights leaders were burdened by new concerns: The gains they assumed would be ensured by the Brown decision are eroding, as many of the nation's schools and neighborhoods are again becoming as racially exclusive as they were 45 years ago. Worse, from the activists' perspective, they feel they have lost the moral high ground that once allowed them to set the terms of the debate around racial issues, as many people -- including some minorities -- are abandoning school integration and supporting efforts to roll back affirmative action programs.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Training video points out pitfalls in rental housing
     (Los Angeles, May. 18, 1999) -- As the federal government cracks down on housing discrimination, an Orange County executive has produced a video that teaches those in the rental housing business how to comply with current laws.
    "No one will be immune, and the penalties for offenders are increasingly severe," said Stacy Waddell, a training director at the Sares-Regis Group, a housing development company in Irvine. Waddell teamed up with attorney Laurence Harmon and housing consultant Kathleen McKenna-Harmon to produce the training program, called "Understanding Fair Housing."  FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Attorney discrimination case goes to trial
     (San Francisco, May. 19, 1999) -- Timothy Liebaert and his wife, Kelly, were smitten by a spanking new Fairway Oaks house with eye-catching baubles, pleased to end a seven-month search for their first home.
    As the couple toured the model home for the last time, picking out carpet and tile colors, Liebaert casually mentioned that he was a lawyer. The sales agent blanched. Sometimes, she said, the Burlington Homes builder didn't like to sell to attorneys. In the developer's view, lawyers tend to be an expensive hassle, more likely to threaten legal action than other customers.
    The next day, the Liebaerts got a nasty shock. The builder had canceled the sale and would return their $3,000 deposit. Timothy Liebaert, who received the fateful call, , said he felt the color rise to his face and his hands shake with anger.  FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

Feds need more tools to fight hate
     (San Francisco, May. 20, 1999) -- IT'S TIME to take a strong, collective stand against hate crimes. The brutal murders last year of an African American, James Byrd, in Texas and a gay man, Matthew Shepard, in Wyoming are tragic examples of why we need to expand the current federal hate crimes legislation.
    Even recent events in Littleton had overtones of racial violence.
    These are truly among the ugliest of crimes, in which the perpetrator thinks the victim is less of a human being because of his or her skin color, religion, sexual orientation or disability. EDITORIAL from the San Francisco Chronicle

Mentally ill demanding help in the workplace
     (San Francisco, May. 20, 1999) -- Companies that have installed ramps, extra-wide restroom stalls and automatic doors are still struggling when it comes to accommodating people with a less visible disability -- mental illness.
    Failure to accommodate workers' psychological problems has overtaken bad backs as the fastest-growing area of workplace-discrimination complaints filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
    "Everybody understands in 1999 that you can't discriminate against race or sex. They still may be doing it, but they know it's wrong," said Bill Cash, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney in Memphis, Tenn. "But I don't think you have that when you're talking about someone with a mental disability." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Insurer settles discrimination claim for $4.25M
     (Milwaukee, May. 20, 1999) -- Liberty Mutual, a large national insurance firm, will pay $4.25 million in Milwaukee over the next two years to settle a charge of discrimination against central-city homeowners.
     The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, which brought the federal discrimination complaint in 1997, will use the money to help homeowners by making loans and grants for emergency repairs, rehab work and down payments, and to develop programs encouraging integration of neighborhoods.  FULL STORY in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Breastpumping bias suit dismissed
     (New York, May. 20, 1999) -- A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a discrimination lawsuit brought against MSNBC by an employee who alleged the cable network failed to provide adequate accommodations for her to pump breast milk at work.
    U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said that federal anti-discrimination laws do not require employers to make such provisions.
    MSNBC is a 24-hour, all news cable television network launched in 1996 by the National Broadcasting Co. (NBC), which is owned by General Electric, also a defendant in the case.
    The suit was filed in Manhattan federal court by Alicia Martinez, who had worked as a producer. Her core allegation was that MSNBC provided insufficient accommodations for her to pump breast milk in the office.  FULL STORY from Reuters

President names Miller to EEOC Commissioner
     (Washington, May. 20, 1999) -- The President today announced his intent to nominate Paul S. Miller to serve as a Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. FULL STORY from U.S.Newswire.com

Pittsburgh: consent decree drama continues
     (Pittsburgh, May. 21, 1999) -- A federal judge yesterday stopped the Allegheny County Housing Authority's state lawsuit against a local fair housing organization and ordered the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate the group and file a report with him in 30 days.
    During a hearing in which he took nearly all the parties in the Sanders housing discrimination case to task over different issues, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Gustave Diamond also indicated that in the future he may deal with municipalities that have opposed the location of public housing in their communities.  FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Suit claims race bias at Florida hotel
     (Daytona Beach, FL, May. 21, 1999) -- Five African Americans alleged in a discrimination suit filed yesterday against Adam's Mark Hotels & Resorts that the chain's Daytona Beach, Fla., property required them and other black guests to wear neon-orange wristbands and pay higher room rates than whites during spring break events last month.
    The complaint contends that the Adam's Mark Hotel tried to deter African Americans from staying at the hotel by forcing black guests, but not whites, to prepay their hotel bills, pay inflated rates and wear the wristbands -- for which they were charged $25 a day -- during "Black College Reunion" weekend, April 9-11. The suit, filed by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in U.S. District Court in Orlando, seeks class action status for all African Americans who stayed at the hotel or attempted to visit friends there during that weekend.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Two allege racial bias by customs
     (Washington, May. 21, 1999) -- Janneral Denson, an African American woman returning from Jamaica to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was pulled out of the airline passenger arrival line by U.S. Customs Service agents, detained and then taken to a Miami hospital, where she was handcuffed to a bed rail and not allowed to call her mother.
    She was nearly seven months pregnant at the time, and she said doctors told the Customs agents they believed "I didn't have anything inside of me" other than her baby. But the agents apparently suspected her of swallowing packets of illegal drugs, a common practice of smugglers, and Denson said the agents forced her to drink four cups of a laxative.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Court makes disabled workers' suits easier
     (Washington, May. 24, 1999) -- The Supreme Court made it easier today for disabled workers to sue their employers over alleged discrimination after they apply for or receive Social Security disability benefits.
      The justices, voting unanimously in a Texas case, said courts cannot presume that people who apply for such benefits are, in essence, admitting to be unqualified to hold a job and therefore cannot invoke the protection of a key anti-bias law, the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    The ruling is a victory for Carolyn Cleveland, a stroke victim who was fired after attempting to return to work. Today's decision reinstates her lawsuit. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Schools may be liable for student sexual harassment
     (Washington, May. 24, 1999) -- Educators who fail to stop students from sexually harassing other students may be violating a federal anti-bias law and can be forced to pay the victims, the Supreme Court ruled today.
      The 5-4 decision in a Georgia case is enormously important for all schools -- from elementary to university levels -- that accept federal money.
      The court ruled that a Georgia school district can be held financially
      responsible for the sexual harassment of a fifth-grade girl if officials with the authority to help her knew about the harassment but were ``deliberately indifferent'' to it.
      Such harassment has to be severe and pervasive, the court said as it revived a Georgia girl's lawsuit against her school district and sent the case back to a lower court for more study. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Supreme Court rejects dentist's appeal
     (Washington, May. 24, 1999) -- The Supreme Court Monday rejected the appeal of a Maine dentist successfully sued after he would not treat in his office a woman infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
    The justices, without comment, turned away Randon Bragdon's contention that filling a cavity in Sidney Abbott's tooth at his office would have posed a "direct threat" to his health and safety.
    Lower courts had rejected that claim when they ruled for Abbott without even holding a trial on her claims of discrimination.
    Bragdon had urged the nation's highest court to use the case to clarify when disabled people can be treated differently under a federal anti-bias law, the Americans with Disabilities Act.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD looking for fraud in Cleveland
     (Cleveland, May. 25, 1999) -- Federal housing officials will review subsidy payments made to the owner of Rainbow Terrace Apartments on Cleveland's East Side to see if the company billed taxpayers for apartments that were vacant and not ready to be occupied.
    Officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday said they were taking the action in response to stories published by The Plain Dealer on May 16. The stories revealed that Associated Estates Realty Corp., the owner of the 484-apartment complex, in January 1996 had billed HUD for an empty Rainbow Terrace apartment.  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Idaho millionare nailed for discrimination
     (Boise, ID, May. 25, 1999) -- Millionaire Duane Hagadone and the owner of a Canyon County mobile home park have agreed to pay damages to settle housing discrimination complaints against them, the Department of Justice has announced.
    In a statement issued on Monday, Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, said Duane Hagadone of Coeur d'Alene will pay $105,000 to settle complaints that his Lake Villa Apartments discriminated against families with children.
    And Lee said Jerry and Marlene Harlan agreed to pay $92,500 to settle charges that their Golden Gate Mobile Home Park in Caldwell discriminated against Latinos.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court rejects challenge to rent control law
     (Washington, May. 25, 1999) -- The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to California cities' power to limit rents without having to prove at trial that the controls are achieving their goals.
    The justices, without comment, let stand a California Supreme Court ruling that leaves it to the state Legislature to decide whether rent control laws need to be changed or repealed.
    The state court ruling, reached by a 4-3 vote last January, upheld a voter-approved 1979 rent control ordinance in Santa Monica, one of the state's toughest. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

White House seeks mental health coverage
     (Washington, May. 26, 1999) -- The White House will require health insurance plans for federal employees to provide equal coverage for mental and physical illnesses, administration officials said yesterday.
    The plan to mandate that insurance coverage of mental illness be comparable to that for physical ailments will be announced next week at a White House conference on mental health chaired by Tipper Gore, the vice president's spouse.
    Administration officials said their goal is to drive down the relatively high out-of-pocket costs that federal workers and retirees face when they need mental health treatment. Many federal employees now pay more to be hospitalized for depression than for surgery, they said. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

School sex harassment ruling may change little
     (Washington, May. 26, 1999) -- The Supreme Court ruling that exposed schools to lawsuits for student-against-student sexual harassment is so narrowly defined that some legal experts say it may have limited impact in the courts, and even less effect on America's playgrounds.
    School boards can be held liable, but only if officials deliberately ignored sexual harassment so severe and pervasive that it deprived a student of his or her right to an education, according to Monday's 5-4 high court ruling.
    ``This is a very high standard,'' said Catherine Fisk, a law professor at Loyola University in Los Angeles who has written extensively on sexual harassment. ``I don't think it is a big change in what most people thought the law was.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Chi. Housing Authority back under local control
     (Chicago, May. 27, 1999) -- Officials of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of Chicago today signed an agreement that returns the Chicago Housing Authority to local control, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced.
    Under the agreement, Mayor Richard M. Daley will nominate a 10-member Housing Authority Board of Commissioners by July, including three public housing residents selected by resident groups. Board members will need the approval of the City Council to take office.
    "The signing of this agreement represents a major accomplishment for Mayor Daley, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Housing Authority," Cuomo said. "Our action is a vote of confidence in the good work that Mayor Daley and the CHA have been doing to improve living conditions for residents of public housing in Chicago." FULL STORY from HUD

Groups call for full HUD funding
     (San Francisco, May. 27, 1999) -- Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties and the National Community Development Association today called on Congress to fully fund President Clinton's proposed $28 billion budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including $4.775 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program.
    HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo joined members of the groups in San Francisco today to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. Cuomo said HUD's programs, which are helping to improve the lives of millions of Americans, will be able to help even more people with the $2.5 billion budget increase proposed by President Clinton for Fiscal Year 2000. This includes a $25 million increase for CDBG.
    Congress is considering proposals to cut HUD's budget next year. FULL STORY from HUD

Former congressman laments discrimination
     (Kansas City, May. 28, 1999) -- Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes was in Kansas City on Thursday to talk about housing discrimination in terms the banking community best understands: It costs everyone, including mortgage lenders, money.
    According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2.5 million instances of housing discrimination occur against minorities every year. Congress has earmarked $47 million for fiscal 2000 to root out those practices.
    "That's $47 million right there, right off the top, that it's costing Americans," Stokes said. "I think that figure would appeal to mortgage lenders, particularly when they're making more money than ever."  FULL STORY in the Kansas City Star

Senators agree on health benefits for disabled
     (Washington, May. 28, 1999) -- Key senators reached agreement yesterday on major elements of a bill allowing disabled Americans to keep their government-financed health benefits when they take jobs, boosting prospects for passage of the measure this year.
    But the Senate left for a weeklong Memorial Day recess without acting on the measure after a last-minute dispute arose over how to pay for it. Although targeted at only a few million people, the legislation represents a hallmark of bipartisanship in a Congress that has been fraught with partisan and ideological differences. Conservatives like it because it puts people to work; liberals like it because it helps people who need help.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Commentary: CRA lacks punch for communities
     (Spokane, Jun. 01, 1999) -- The Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium recently surveyed its member agencies and got, in reply, a powerful testimonial for an endangered federal law.
     The members added up some $33 million in private-sector investment that has gone into low-income housing here in the past five years, thanks largely to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act.
     That act obliges banks to loan some of their deposits back into their communities, including the low-income and minority sectors that might otherwise be neglected.
    This valuable law could be diluted by the timeCongress completes a major overhaul of legislation  governing financial institutions. The main objective is to get rid of the Depression-era bans on cross-ownership among banks, investment houses and insurance companies. EDITORIAL in The Spokane Spokesman-Review

Study finds gap has vanished in male-female pay
     (Philadelphia, Jun. 02, 1999) -- The gap in gender pay equity is over.
    At least that's what a study by a conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute, contends.
    According to the study by Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Christine Stolba, women's earnings have virtually reached parity with men's. In fact, they argue that earnings statistics show that discrimination against women in the workplace is largely disappearing.
    "Women have achieved equal opportunity in terms of education and workplace status," said Furchtgott-Roth, the principal author of "Women's Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women in America."
    She added, "While discrimination still exists, it is not systematic throughout the workplace."  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Daily News

Fair-housing oversight quietly ends for Parma
     (Parma, OH, Jun. 02, 1999) -- City leaders are quietly celebrating the end of a court battle over housing discrimination that has defined the suburb's image for nearly three decades.
    "I believe in 26 years the world has changed. Parma has changed," said Law Director Timothy Dobeck. "I'm happy to be done with the lawsuit."
    The Justice Department filed suit against Parma in 1973, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. A federal judge in 1980 found that the city acted "to exclude blacks from residing in Parma" and ordered changes.  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Nevada gay job rights bill made law
     (Carson City, NV, Jun. 02, 1999) -- Republican Governor Kenny Guinn on May 29 signed into law a prohibition against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, making Nevada only the 11th U.S. state to offer such civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. Guinn said, "Signing this bill was a matter of fairness and doing what's right for the people of Nevada. Discrimination based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation is wrong and I hope this law sends that message loud and clear." AB 311 was introduced by openly gay Assemblymember David Parks (D-Las Vegas), who said he hoped it would have a significant positive impact across the state. It passed the Nevada Assembly on April 1 by a vote of 30 - 11 and the state Senate on May 20 by a vote of 13 - 8. It will go into effect on October 1. FULL STORY from Planet Out

Community Reinvestment Act comes under attack
     (Washington, Jun. 03, 1999) -- Tributes to the Community Reinvestment Act read like a rerun of the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life." The law, passed in 1977, earns plaudits for getting banks to lend money in the low- and middle-income neighborhoods where they gladly take deposits.
    But depending on who's rewriting the script, banks and their customers may not get the happy ending they want from community reinvestment and Congress this year.
    ...Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, for one says the statute makes banks pay "kickbacks and bribes" to community activists, whom he likens to "extortionists."  FULL STORY from Nando Media

Court rejects coach's equal pay suit
     (San Francisco, Jun. 03, 1999) -- A federal appeals court rejected an equal-pay suit Wednesday by Marianne Stanley, former women's basketball coach at the University of Southern California, saying USC was entitled to pay the men's coach more because he had more experience.
    The long-awaited ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sidestepped the most hotly disputed issue in the case: whether the higher revenue, greater publicity and resulting increased pressure to win in a men's program justified a higher salary.
    Stanley, now the women's coach at the University of California, contended those disparities reflected the university's discriminatory treatment of the women's program. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission backed her request for a trial of the suit. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

CA assembly expands scope of hate crime laws
     (Sacramento, Jun. 03, 1999) -- California's hate crime law would get beefed up for murderers of gays, lesbians and the disabled under a measure approved by the Assembly with strong Republican support.
    Current California law requires a sentence of life in prison without parole or the death penalty for anyone who deliberately sets out to kill someone because of race, color, religion or nationality.
    A measure written by Assemblyman Wally Knox, D-Los Angeles, would add disability, gender and sexual orientation to that list - with one important caveat: It would not give jurors the option of imposing the death penalty in such cases. FULL STORY from the San Francisco Examiner

CA ruling finds bias against older workers
     (Sacramento, Jun. 03, 1999) -- A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a California law discriminates against older state workers who are injured on the job but receive lower disability benefits than their younger colleagues.
    The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco held that the law violates federal rules prohibiting age discrimination. This 19-year-old law spells out how benefits should be calculated for injured police officers, firefighters and other so-called safety employees. FULL STORY in the Los Angeles Times

Stanford students bombed with racist spam
     (San Jose, Jun. 03, 1999) -- Stanford University police are following electronic trails and other clues to find out who sent out racist e-mail messages to 25,000 campus computer users last weekend.
    University officials have also moved quickly, shutting down the computer mechanism used to send the messages. Investigators believe the student whose name appeared as the originator of the messages did not send them.
    The paragraphlong message accused university officials of giving campus housing preference to non-whites, said School of Education Professor Rachel Lotan, who was one of many who received the e-mail. The message was so racist ``it took my breath away,'' she said. ``It must be someone very angry.''  FULL STORY in the San Jose Mercury News

Hiring rules to change for mentally disabled
     (Washington, Jun. 04, 1999) -- President Clinton will issue an executive order today that makes it easier for the federal government to hire people with psychiatric disabilities, officials at the Office of Personnel Management said yesterday.
    The executive order will change decades-old civil service rules to give persons with psychiatric problems the same employment opportunities currently provided to persons with severe physical disabilities or mental retardation, the officials said.
    Today's announcement comes just days before the White House convenes a conference on mental health to be chaired by Tipper Gore, the vice president's spouse, and follows the recommendations of the administration's Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

New employment standards for mentally disabled
     (Washington, Jun. 04, 1999) -- Saying "mental illness is not a character flaw it is a disability," President Bill Clinton issued Friday an executive order removing the federal government's strict hiring and promotion standards for the mentally disabled.
    Clinton directed "all federal agencies to provide applicants with mental illness the same opportunities as other applicants with disabilities." FULL STORY from AllPolitics

CA gay-bias ban fails
     (Sacramento, Jun. 04, 1999) -- After hours of biting and highly emotional debate, the fate of a controversial legislative measure to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in California's public schools and community colleges went down to the wire late Thursday night.
    Shortly before midnight, the state Assembly was one vote short of passing the bill, considered a seminal piece of legislation by gay-rights advocates in their campaign for expanded civil rights protections. Similar legislation has failed twice in the Assembly in recent years.
    The initial roll call on the measure stood at 40-37 -- one vote shy of passage -- forcing Democrats to retreat into a private meeting in a last-minute effort to obtain the single vote.  FULL STORY in the San Jose Mercury News

Housing authority settles software-piracy case
     (Jersey City, NJ, Jun. 04, 1999) -- The Jersey City Housing Authority agreed Thursday to pay $175,000 to a Washington-based trade association to settle claims that it used unlicensed computer software for 15 years.
    The deal releases the housing authority from possible criminal or civil liability for copyright infringement, while warning other public agencies they are not immune from the law, said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement for the Business Software Alliance, which had charged the authority with software piracy.
    The housing authority agreed also to destroy any unlicensed software it has and to strengthen software management policies, Kruger said.  FULL STORY in the Bergen Record

Judge rules 'babe' is fraught with bias
     (Washington, Jun. 05, 1999) -- When Alan Harris was young, there were a couple of big Babes around.
    One was baseball hero Babe Ruth. The other was Olympic champion Babe Didrickson.
    Harris, a 69-year-old Baltimore lawyer, says that's who he had in mind when he called a fellow lawyer "babe" during a legal proceeding five years ago. A Maryland appeals court judge didn't buy it.
    Calling Harris's argument "singularly unpersuasive," Judge Sally Adkins ruled this week that lawyers can't go around calling each other babe in the halls of justice.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Racial suit divides Boeing workers
     (Wichita, KA, Jun. 06, 1999) -- A racial discrimination lawsuit that once united Boeing's black workers has now divided them, the result of a $15 million settlement labeled fair by one side, unjust by the other.
    ``The reason I gave up $30,000 is because it didn't give me any remedy to what was going on,'' said Kevin Biglow, a Boeing worker who opted out of the settlement. ``And you can't buy me off.''
    Racial discrimination concerns in 1996 led to a class action lawsuit against Boeing, whose black workers claimed they were passed over for promotions and were later threatened for complaining about it. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Clinton proposes study of mentally ill
     (Washington, Jun. 07, 1999) -- President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and their wives are convening the first White House conference on mental illness, an effort to dispel myths about people who suffer from depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric problems.
    Clinton was using the gathering today to announce a $7.3 million study by the National Institute of Mental Health to explore mental illness and putting the 285 health plans used by federal employees on notice that they must cover mental illness and substance abuse.
    Additionally, the administration was pressing Congress to pass a bill to stop forcing people with disabilities who are receiving Medicare or Medicaid to give up their benefits to go to work. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

New initiatives announced in housing for mentally ill
     (Washington, Jun. 07, 1999) -- At the first ever White House Conference on Mental Health, the Clinton-Gore Administration today announced two new initiatives to increase housing opportunities for Americans with mental illness.
    Tipper Gore, the President's Mental Health Policy Advisor and a well-known advocate for people with mental illness, chaired the White House Conference on Mental Health, where the initiatives were discussed today.
    One initiative will help create more Safe Havens where homeless people with mental illness can stay and get food, clothing and showers. An estimated 25 to 33 percent of the roughly 600,000 Americans who are homeless on any given night suffer from severe mental illness.  FULL STORY from HUD

Army wiccans test military religious tolerance
     (Killeen, TX, Jun. 08, 1999) -- Every full moon for the past two years, a few dozen off-duty soldiers have gathered at an open campsite at Fort Hood, America's largest military post. By day, they are privates and sergeants in the U.S. Army, training for deployment to Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo. But at these lunar assemblies they trade in their Army fatigues for hooded robes, chant to the lead of their chosen high priestess and dance around a fire well into the night.
    They are America's first official Army witches, with all that double duty implies: buzz cuts and pentagram rings, moon tattoos under uniforms. One typical dog tag reads: NAME: Philip Campanaro. UNIT: USAG III Corps. RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Wicca. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Yet another Denny's lawsuit
     (Baltimore, Jun. 08, 1999) -- A group of 30 black middle school students and their chaperones are suing Denny's for racial discrimination, saying they were mistreated at a Florida restaurant.
    The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, says the group from Ashburton Elementary-Middle School had to wait an excessive amount of time to be seated and served during a visit to a Denny's in Ocoee, Fla., in April 1998.
    Some members also received drinks in dirty glasses, including one that appeared to have spit in the bottom, according to the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Senator blasts HUD over 'smoke shop' grant
     (Reno, NV, Jun. 08, 1999) -- A federal grant slated for an American Indian tribe's discount smoke shop is an example of the Clinton administration undercutting efforts to stamp out teen smoking, a Senate subcommittee chairman says.
    "These smoke shops, which are selling discounted cigarettes and other tobacco products, will, in all likelihood, encourage teen smoking," Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., said Monday.
    Bond, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee, raised his concerns in a recent letter to Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo.
    At issue is the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $450,000 community development grant to the Reno Sparks Indian Colony in 1997. FULL STORY from the Nando Times

3 Acquitted, 1 convicted in Louima case
     (New York, Jun. 08, 1999) -- The racially explosive Abner Louima torture trial ended today with an uneasy mixed verdict.
    A federal jury acquitted two officers accused of beating the Haitian immigrant in a patrol car, but convicted another for assaulting Louima and then holding him down while he was brutalized in a station house bathroom. A fourth officer was acquitted of coverup charges.
    The main culprit in the August 1997 incident, Officer Justin A. Volpe, pleaded guilty two weeks ago. After that, the rest of the trial was expected to be anticlimactic. But today's split decision created an emotional furor outside the Brooklyn courtroom and seemed certain to reignite the smoldering debate over charges of racism and brutality in the New York Police Department.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Court rejects sex orientation harassment case
     (New York, Jun. 09, 1999) -- For the third time since the U.S. Supreme Court announced that federal anti-discrimination laws cover same-sex harassment, a federal judge has tossed out a harassment case brought on the basis of sexual orientation.
    A former postal worker who claimed he was subjected to incessant harassment by his co-workers based upon his homosexuality cannot go forward with a federal employment discrimination claim, said U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler of the Southern District of New York.
    While calling the alleged conduct "offensive," Wexler said he was "constrained" to hold that discrimination based upon sexual orientation is not discrimination "based upon sex" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.   FULL STORY in the New York Law Journal

Liberty Mutual settles with NFHA for $3.25M
     (Washington, Jun. 09, 1999) -- Liberty Mutual Group, a Boston-based insurance company, said yesterday that it will pay $3.25 million to a Washington fair-housing group to settle charges by housing organizations that it discriminated against residents of poorer, urban neighborhoods in providing homeowners insurance.
    The civil settlement, part of the largest ever by an insurance company of a fair-housing matter, results from a 1997 complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington-based group comprising 80 nonprofit housing organizations throughout the country, charged the company with redlining -- or discriminating against some neighborhoods.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Clinton order targets race profiling
     (Washington, Jun. 10, 1999) -- President Clinton's order for federal law enforcement officers to document the race and gender of those they arrest or detain could bring relief to travelers who have long complained of racial harassment in airports.
    Clinton issued an executive order Wednesday for the Treasury, Justice and Interior departments to develop, within 120 days, a plan for collecting data on the race, gender and ethnicity of people agency officers stop to question or arrest. Field tests on those plans would begin within 60 days after that. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD launches homebuyer protection initiative
     (Washington, Jun. 10, 1999) -- In a move to protect consumers from buying homes with major undetected defects, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a Homebuyer Protection Initiative to improve home appraisals for over 1 million families who purchase homes each year with HUD-insured mortgages.
    The landmark initiative will be phased into effect nationwide over the next few weeks to give families with mortgages insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration a higher level of protection against appraisals that fail to uncover the need for major repairs in homes up for sale.  FULL STORY from HUD

KY schools remain under 1975 integration order
     (Louisville, KY, Jun. 11, 1999) -- A federal judge in Louisville has ruled that some parts of a 1975 school desegregation decree in Jefferson County, Ky., are still in effect and that the Board of Education remains obligated "to operate a school system free from the vestige of racially identifiable schools."
    While the judge, John G. Heyburn II, found no fault with the current student-assignment plan -- which uses guidelines based on race -- he opened the door for people to come forward and challenge the remaining portion of the decree.  FULL STORY in the Louisville Courier Journal

FHA to get tough with appraisals
     (Washington, Jun. 12, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that appraisals for houses being acquired with FHA mortgages will be tightened in an effort to protect home buyers, save them money and, hence, increase homeownership throughout the country.
    Cuomo said at a news conference that appraisals for mortgages from HUD's Federal Housing Administration will become more thorough to uncover defects in homes before they are purchased.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Housing for retarded at issue in appeals court
     (Cincinnati, Jun. 14, 1999) -- Lawyers argued before a federal appeals court Monday in the latest round of a 19-year battle over how Ohio houses and provides treatment for mentally retarded people.
    Lawyers representing mentally retarded clients who receive state services told the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Ohio has failed to comply with a lower court order to evaluate as many as 200 people and relocate them into treatment programs that meet their needs.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD to host a "Bridging the Divide Summit"
     (Washington, Jun. 15, 1999) -- Local government leaders across the nation are in broad agreement on the existence of significant untapped economic potential in their communities and on the need to approach the challenges they face at the regional level, according to a survey released today in New Orleans by the U. S. Conference of Mayors and the National Associations of Counties. The mayors' organizations is in New Orleans this week for its 67th annual conference.
      U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said HUD will host a "Bridging the Divide Summit" between members of the Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties later this year to discuss steps communities can take to increase regional cooperation. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Cleveland area realtors sign agreement against bias
     (Cleveland, Jun. 15, 1999) -- The Lake County Association of Realtors and the federal government have signed a voluntary joint agreement to promote fair housing.
    Representatives of the trade group and the Department of Housing and Urban Development met yesterday in Cleveland to sign the "Best Practices Agreement," which was sparked by criticism of minority access to Mentor's housing market. HUD has one other such arrangement in Northeast Ohio, with the Cleveland Area Board of Realtors.  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Justice sues GA city, county
     (Washington, Jun. 15, 1999) -- A city and county in Southern Georgia were sued today by the Justice Department for discriminating against women in their fire department hiring process.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Georgia, alleges that the City of Alma and Bacon County, through a jointly operated entity known as the Alma-Bacon County Fire and Emergency Medical Service, failed or refused to hire women into full-time Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician or Firefighter/Paramedic positions because of their gender. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

IL developer, architect settle with Justice
     (Washington, Jun. 15, 1999) -- An Illinois architect and housing developer will now provide accessible housing to residents with disabilities, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, resolves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in November 1997 alleging that Eagle Ridge II, a residential development consisting of single-family homes, town homes and condominiums in Orland Park, Illinois, violated the Fair Housing Act by not providing accessible housing units to persons with disabilities. The Eagle Ridge II development was built by the Clearview Construction Company, an Illinois corporation, and the condominium units were designed by architect Mark A. Smetana, a licensed Illinois architect. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

DRAC sues Boyd Gaming Corp.
     (Las Vegas, Jun. 15, 1999) -- DISABLED RIGHTS ACTION COMMITTEE (DRAC) announced Tuesday the filing of lawsuit CV-S-99-0755-PMP-RJJ, another in a continuing series of federal civil rights lawsuits in U.S. District Court.. The named Defendant is BOYD GAMING CORP. (NYSE: BYD).
      Plaintiffs are Ronald Ray Smith, DRAC's volunteer Technical Advisor and DRAC.
      BOYD is a Nevada-based gaming corporation. Among BOYD's major Nevada properties are SAM'S TOWN, BOURBON STREET, MAIN STREET and the STARDUST in Las Vegas and the ELDORADO in Reno.
      DRAC and Smith are requesting an injunction from the court ordering Defendant BOYD to cease operation of its fixed-route shuttle bus systems in Las Vegas and Reno until such time as it and/or its contractor(s) can deploy accessible buses that offer "ready access" to those who use personal mobility devices.

1966 Mississippi Klan murder case ends in mistrial
     (Hattiesburg, MS, Jun. 16, 1999) -- A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the case of a Mississippi businessman charged with the murder of a civil rights leader who died 33 years ago protecting his family from a firebombing by Ku Klux Klansmen.
    Circuit Judge Richard McKenzie granted the mistrial at the request of attorneys for 56-year-old Charles Noble, who was charged with arson and murder in the 1966 death of Vernon Dahmer, a farmer who was an NAACP leader during the civil rights era.
    Prosecutors chose to reopen the case after new witnesses emerged last year with enough evidence to lead to the indictment of Noble and two other men.  FULL STORY from Reuters

KY court asked to end school case
     (Louisville, KY, Jun. 16, 1999) -- The first step in what could be an extended, community debate was launched yesterday when a lawyer for a parents' group asked a federal judge to sweep away the remaining portions of Jefferson County's school-desegregation decree.
    The request comes in response to U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II's ruling last week that parts of the 24-year-old decree remain in force. Heyburn's ruling set a July 12 deadline for anyone interested in preserving or scrapping the desegregation decree to put arguments before his court.  FULL STORY in the Louisville Courier-Journal

Court rules for disabled workers
     (Denver, Jun. 16, 1999) -- A federal appeals court has ruled that companies are obliged to reassign disabled employees who can no longer do their original jobs to vacant jobs they can perform.
    The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 9-3 Tuesday that the Americans With Disabilities Act requires employers to do more than simply ``consider'' disabled workers for reassignment to jobs for which they are qualified.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Book review: "Accessible Home Design: Architectural Solutions for the Wheelchair User"
     (Washington, Jun. 17, 1999) -- From the front door to the bathroom rug, a home can be filled with hurdles for those with disabilities. A practical new book from the Paralyzed Veterans of America helps make both new homes and existing structures easier to navigate.
    "Accessible Home Design: Architectural Solutions for the Wheelchair User" offers tips for entrances, bathrooms, kitchens and more. The 66-page guide addresses layout, plumbing fixtures, floor surfaces and other design features.   BOOK REVIEW in the Washington Post

Senate approves disabled health-care bill
     (Washington, Jun. 17, 1999) -- By a vote of 99-0, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would expand Medicaid and Medicare so that hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities could retain their health benefits when they return to work.
    The House is well on its way to passing similar legislation. President Clinton hailed Wednesday's vote and prodded Congress to finish work on the bill as quickly as possible.
    The bill would be the most significant health-care legislation approved by Congress this year, and the most important measure for disabled people in nearly a decade.  FULL STORY from the New York Times

Hilton bar accused of discrimination
     (Boston, Jun. 18, 1999) -- Many Irish immigrants looking for work at the start of the century encountered signs in the city that read: ``Irish Need Not Apply.''
    Times have changed, say three waitresses who accused Hilton Hotels Corp. in a discrimination complaint of squeezing them out of their jobs so Irish natives can work in the hotel's planned Irish pub.
    ``They're trying to push us out. And why? Because we don't speak with an Irish accent,'' said Gloria DiMartino, 55. ``It's discrimination, pure and simple.''   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Cartoonist confronts race issues
     (Chattanooga, TN, Jun. 18, 1999) -- Five rich, white people wait for a train. One holds a newspaper that reads, ``Iverson Ignites City.'' Their hair is in corn rows.
    The editorial cartoon was intended as a critique of whites' belated embrace of Allen Iverson, a black basketball star for the Philadelphia 76ers with a bad-boy reputation.
    Not everyone got the message. A black reader wrote to say focusing on black hairstyles was racist, and the cartoonist, who is white, wasn't surprised by the reaction.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

3 synagogues on fire in California
     (Sacramento, CA, Jun. 18, 1999) -- Fires broke out at three synagogues in the Sacramento area today, and arson was suspected.
    One person was in custody, and at least three others were being sought, authorities said. Officers said that because of the timing and spacing of the synagogues, one person could not have set all three fires.
    The first blaze was reported at 3:25 a.m.
    All the fires were quickly brought under control, and arson investigators were being called in, said Matt Shank at the city's Emergency Regional Communications Center. There was no immediate word on the extent of damage.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Activists team up against "Redskins"
     (Washington, Jun. 20, 1999) -- Suzan Shown Harjo, a Cheyenne, can barely bring herself to say it. The word that is the name of a beloved football team to thousands is, to her, a hideous racial slur.
    Yesterday, she and several dozen others gathered to rally support in the fight against the word: Redskins.
    "Change the Name! An Interfaith Gathering to End Racism in Sports," held at the National City Christian Church in Northwest Washington yesterday, featured emotionally charged testimonials, poems, songs and prayer.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

HUD delivers $3M to CA town Empowerment Zone
     (Santa Ana, CA, Jun. 21, 1999) -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today delivered a $3 million grant to the City of Santa Ana, CA, to begin implementing its plan for a new Empowerment Zone designed to help revitalize some of the poorest areas of the city.
    Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido joined Cuomo at a ceremony in which they signed an agreement conveying the $3 million to the city to implement the strategic plan that it prepared for its Zone. The State of California is also a party to the agreement. The strategic plan is a roadmap for community revitalization that the city, businesses and community groups will follow to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the Zone. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Oregon comp. settles workplace discrimination case
     (Washington, Jun. 21, 1999) -- An Oregon food processing plant has agreed to pay more than $45,000 in back pay and civil penalties to settle allegations of workplace discrimination, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The agreement settles allegations that Agripac Inc., based in Salem, Oregon, engaged in workplace discrimination by subjecting individuals who were seeking employment to different hiring procedures if they looked or sounded "foreign." Agripac refused to hire legally authorized workers based upon their appearance, national origin, accent or perceived citizenship status. In some cases, they made it more difficult for them to obtain employment applications. In addition, Agripac more closely scrutinized valid work documents presented by such individuals compared to those they felt were U.S. citizens. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Justice sues three complexes for race discrimination
     (Washington, Jun. 21, 1999) -- The owners and managers of three Parsippany, New Jersey, apartment complexes were sued today by the Justice Department for allegedly refusing to rent to African Americans.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, alleges that Garden Homes Management and the owners of Lakeview Garden Apartments (214 units), Westgate Garden Apartments (152 units), and Redstone Garden Apartments (92 units), told African Americans that apartments were not available while telling whites that apartments were available. Garden Homes Management, Corp., Westbound Homes, Inc., Redstone Garden Apartments, Inc, Joseph Wilf, and Cathy Rosenstein are named as defendants.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

HUD: New housing opportunities for senior citizens
     (Santa Monica, Jun. 21, 1999) -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today said older Americans would gain new opportunities for improved housing under a Clinton-Gore Administration initiative, as he visited the future site of a HUD-funded subsidized apartment building for senior citizens with very low incomes.
    Cuomo was accompanied by Congressman Henry Waxman and Santa Monica Mayor Pamela O’Connor on the visit to the site of Upward Bound Senior Villa, a three-story apartment building that will contain 69 one-bedroom apartments.
    The project will be built with $12.1 million from HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program – $7 million to help fund construction and $5.1 million to subsidize rents for 20 years. The HUD funding will leverage an additional $6 million in investment in the project by Santa Monica Bank ($3.5 million), the City of Santa Monica ($1.9 million), the Federal Home Loan Bank of California ($560,000), and Upward Bound House ($100,000).  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

EEOC issues guidelines on harassment liability
     (Washington, Jun. 22, 1999) -- Firms are liable for supervisors' acts of harassment if the behavior results in a "tangible employment action" such as a demotion or firing, or if the harassment is deemed sufficiently pervasive to create a hostile work environment, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines issued yesterday.
    The new EEOC guidelines spell out the principles laid down in two major Supreme Court decisions last year that said employers are legally responsible for the sexual misconduct of supervisors, even if they knew nothing about the behavior. The decisions made it clear that workers need not prove that an employer knew or should have known about sexual harassment and failed to stop it in order for the employer to be liable for the conduct.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Homelike settings for mentally ill
     (Washington, Jun. 22, 1999) -- States may have to place people with mental disabilities in homelike settings if they can fare just as well there as in state hospitals, the Supreme Court said today in a narrow, middle-of-the-road ruling.
    By a 6-3 vote in a Georgia case, the court said a federal anti-bias law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, requires such community placement of the mentally disabled whenever appropriate. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD: loan guarantees for Sacramento synagogues
     (Sacramento, CA, Jun. 22, 1999) -- After meeting today with California Governor Gray Davis and leaders of three synagogues damaged in arson attacks Friday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced the synagogues are eligible for HUD low-interest loan guarantees to help them rebuild.
    Speaking at Congregation B'nai Israel - the most severely damaged of the three Sacramento area synagogues - Cuomo said the loan guarantees will be available under the Church Arson Prevention Act that was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Ruling extends rights of mentally disabled
     (Atlanta, Jun. 22, 1999) -- Ruling Tuesday in a Georgia case, the U.S. Supreme Court extended the rights of people with mental disabilities, giving them a greater voice in deciding when they can transfer from state institutions into homelike settings.
    By a 6-3 vote, the high court gave a qualified victory to two Georgia women who sued the state, seeking to transfer from Georgia Regional Hospital in DeKalb County and to receive continued treatment at state expense in a group home.
    The Americans With Disabilities Act requires states to move the mentally disabled into more homelike settings when they are deemed ready for release from mental institutions and when the state has the resources to accommodate it, the court said. FULL STORY in the Atlanta Journal Constitution

San Francisco off HUD black list
     (San Francisco, Jun. 22, 1999) -- Three years after the federal government was forced to step in to bring order to San Francisco's Housing Authority, Mayor Willie Brown announced the agency has been officially removed from the federal "troubled" list.
    Improvements at The City's 43 public housing developments rated a score of 84 out of 100 in the most recent review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a dramatic increase from the dismal 51 it earned in 1996.  FULL STORY from the San Francisco Examiner

Court aids discrimination victims
     (Washington, Jun. 22, 1999) -- The Supreme Court made it somewhat easier Tuesday for victims of job discrimination to force their employer to pay extra damages as punishment, a decision advocates for both employers and employees found reason to praise.
    Ruling 7-2 in the case of a woman denied a promotion because of her sex, the court said job-bias victims can collect so-called punitive damages without having to show their employer's conduct was ``egregious.''
    But by a separate 5-4 vote in the same case, the justices said employers cannot be forced to pay such damages if a manager's discriminatory conduct runs counter to the employer's good-faith efforts to run a bias-free workplace. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court limits ADA protections
     (Washington, Jun. 22, 1999) -- The Supreme Court excluded more than 100 million Americans with physical impairments from the protection of a key anti-discrimination law Tuesday, ruling the law generally does not cover people with poor eyesight or other correctable conditions.
    But the court said the same law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, may require states to take mentally disabled people out of hospitals and let them live in homelike settings. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

High court rulings a blow to disabled
     (Washington, Jun. 23, 1999) -- The Supreme Court yesterday excluded more than 100 million Americans with physical impairments from the protection of a key anti-discrimination law, ruling the law generally does not cover people with poor eyesight or other correctable conditions.
    But the court said the same law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, may require states to take mentally disabled people out of hospitals and let them live in homelike settings.
    Moving toward today's conclusion of its 1998-99 term, the nation's highest court offered dramatic new meaning - in four separate decisions - to a federal law best known for requiring handicap access ramps at public buildings. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

A narrower definition of 'disabled'
     (Washington, Jun. 23, 1999) -- People with correctable physical limitations, like poor eyesight or high blood pressure, may not seek the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the US Supreme Court ruled June 22.
    In three different cases, the high court adopted a narrow view of the federal civil rights law aimed at opening workplace doors to all Americans who are able and willing to work despite a disability.
    At issue in the case was who is considered disabled under the ADA. The court ruled that mitigating factors that help an individual overcome a physical impairment - like the use of eyeglasses for someone who is nearsighted - should be considered when determining who is disabled.  FULL STORY in the Christian Science Monitor

Group: hate against Hispanics rising
     (Houston, Jun. 26, 1999) -- Hate crimes against Hispanics are on the rise, underscoring a troubling pattern of harassment against the nation's fastest-growing minority group by law enforcement and extremists, the National Council of La Raza said today.
    ``It seems that open season has been declared on our community,'' President Raul Yzaguirre said at the annual convention of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group. ``Private citizens and law enforcement officials feel they can harass or attack Hispanic Americans with almost complete impunity.''
    A report released by the group, ``The Mainstreaming of Hate,'' chronicles allegations of hate crime violence, church burning and law enforcement abuse. Although the authors rely heavily on anecdotal evidence, they say the study gives a first-of-its kind look at an emerging pattern of hate activity against Hispanics.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Another new start for CHA
     (Chicago, Jun. 28, 1999) -- Last week, a Chicago mayor once again established a Chicago Housing Authority board that he hopes will transform the agency's image.
    Mayor Daley a month ago regained the reins of the CHA, which were stripped from the city by the federal government in 1995 after years of chronic mismanagement, scandal and constant feuding with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    As he took over the agency, his first move was to tap Phillip Jackson, a 48-year-old workaholic who was Paul Vallas' chief of staff for the Chicago Public Schools. Daley hopes Jackson's energy can work magic for the CHA, attracting national headlines that will make Chicago a leader rather than the laughingstock of public housing. FULL STORY from the Chicago Sun-Times

Bay area residents want smoke-free apartments
     (San Francisco, Jun. 28, 1999) -- The movement that has banished smoking from California workplaces and bars is spreading to the last bastion of freedom for some smokers -- their own apartments or condominiums.
     Nonsmokers in the Bay Area are complaining to county health agencies that second-hand smoke from neighbors' units penetrates into their homes via vents and windows and causes health problems, such as asthma, allergies or headaches. County health officials are responding by looking at ways to restrict smoking in multiunit dwellings.
     ``It's probably the second-highest complaint after complaints about smoking in bars,'' said Scott Morrow, health officer for San Mateo County.  FULL STORY in The San Francisco Chronicle

Judge: Township has no right to sue
     (Pittsburgh, Jun. 29, 1999) -- A federal appeals court has upheld a decision dismissing South Fayette's attempt to stop the Allegheny County Housing Authority from putting scattered-site public housing in the township.
     The appeals court said U.S. District Senior Judge Gustave Diamond was right to dismiss South Fayette's lawsuit because the township lacked legal standing in the federal housing discrimination case filed by former residents of Talbot Towers housing project in Braddock.
     The opinion, filed Thursday, was written by Judge Carol Los Mansmann for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and joined by Chief Judge Dolores K. Sloviter and District Judge Robert J. Ward of New York, sitting on the court by special designation.
     Mansmann wrote that Diamond correctly dismissed the case because South Fayette was not a party to the original Sanders consent decree, in which the housing authority agreed to scatter public housing throughout the county. The opinion also said the township had adequate time to submit its comments to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  FULL STORY in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

VA management company rescinds curfew
     (Hilton Head Island, SC, Jun. 30, 1999) -- Property managers who tried to impose a curfew on residents of a local low-income housing complex to fight crime promised Wednesday to other ways to improve conditions after a meeting with residents, a local civil-rights group and city officials.
     "The only way to solve the problems is one at a time," Brian Quigley of Frye Properties said Wednesday.
     The company, based in Norfolk, Va., had set a curfew at Hilton Head Gardens to curb crime at the subsidized complex. But that ended last week after the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it violated civil rights of residents who already have to endure carpets soaked with raw sewage, crumbling walls and drug dealing. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Many kids live with grandparents
     (Washington, Jul. 01, 1999) -- Nearly 5.5 American million children live with their grandparents, the Census Bureau reports.
     "It's not like grandparents are going, `Oh, God, I want to raise another family - let me go out and grab some kids.' It's definitely in response to a need,'' said Margaret Hollidge, who runs the American Association of Retired Persons' Grandparent Information Center. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boy Scouts religious discrimination complaint dropped
     (Philadelphia, Jul. 01, 1999) -- It is up to the Boy Scouts to determine qualifications for membership, including whether to exclude atheists, according to a decision by a state commission.
    The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission voted, 7-2, Monday night to dismiss a complaint filed by Pocopson resident Margaret Downey arguing that the Boy Scouts organization is substantially public and should therefore be held to state anti-discrimination laws.
    The commission, which heard arguments in Chester County Court in May, made its decision "on the basis that Boy Scouts did not fit the definition of a public accommodation under the state's Human Relations Act," said Laura J. Treaster, a spokeswoman for the commission.  FULL STORY in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Miami: HOPE advocate gets six years for defrauding clients
     (Miami, Jul. 01, 1999) -- She stole their money and their trust. On Tuesday, Harriette Simmons paid the price: six years in prison.
    Formerly the No. 2 in charge of HOPE Inc., a nonprofit that's supposed to stand up for victims of housing discrimination, Simmons pleaded guilty to defrauding two clients.
    One is a 62-year-old retired Hialeah nurse. The other is a single mother of six. Both fell behind in their mortgage payments. Both turned to Simmons for help. She promised it -- vowing to deal with lenders, vowing to forward their mortgage payments.  FULL STORY from the Miami Herald

Sanders saga continues with release of HUD report
     (Pittsburgh, Jul. 01, 1999) -- Federal housing investigators have concluded a local organization that is rife with mismanagement, personnel squabbles and incompetence has slowed an effort to desegregate Allegheny County's housing and should be replaced.
    In a 24-page report made available yesterday, investigators from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suggested that the Allegheny County Housing Authority ask for new bids on the contract to run the Fair Housing Services Center.
    The nonprofit Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh Inc. has contracted with the housing authority to operate the center since December 1996. FULL STORY in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Guarding fairness in lending practices
     (Cleveland, Jul. 01, 1999) -- It took two years for Cynthia Russell to buy a new home. The problem was not finding a house, but getting a mortgage.
    Since February, she has owned a house on E. 118th St. in Cleveland because of the Community Reinvestment Act. The federal law was designed to stop redlining, a discriminatory practice in which banks systematically denied mortgages, loans and financial services to the inner city. Because of the law, passed in 1977, Cleveland has reached agreements with banks to provide mortgages for low- and moderate-income home buyers like Russell.
    Supporters fear a bill the House is scheduled to vote on today could weaken the law. The bill, and one the Senate passed in May, are part of a proposal to eliminate barriers that prevent banks, security firms and insurance companies from owning each other.  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

President names Gregory Stewart EEOC General Counsel
     (Washington, Jul. 01, 1999) -- The President today announced his intent to nominate Clifford Gregory Stewart to serve as General Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
      Greg Stewart, of Trenton, N.J., has served as General Counsel of the EEOC since June, 1995. From 1990-1995, he served as Director of the Division on Civil Rights for the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety. From 1984-1990, Stewart served as the Assistant Deputy Public Advocate at the Department of Public Advocate for New Jersey, where he supervised and conducted complex litigation involving employment, education, and housing issues. He began his career in civil rights as a staff attorney at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. PRESS RELEASE from U.S. Newswire

Columnist sues paper for discrimination
     (Chicago, Jul. 02, 1999) -- Carl Rowan, who wrote his column for the Chicago Sun-Times for 32 years, is now embroiled in a nasty lawsuit against the newspaper.
    Rowan, 73, says the tabloid forced him out last year in the wake of an ownership change at the paper. In a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, Rowan says that management found him too liberal, too black and too old.
    "It was very clear to me that this was a very conservative group and they were trying to goad me into retiring after 30-some years," Rowan says. "This is very destructive of all the efforts that I and others have been making to achieve diversity in the newspaper business." FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Amtrak settles discrimination suit
     (Washington, Jul. 02, 1999) -- Amtrak has agreed to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by black management employees and applicants for management positions.
    The settlement, announced Thursday, would create an $8 million fund to provide economic relief for the employees who sued. The national railroad also agreed to changes in its human resources and equal opportunity procedures.
    Under terms of the settlement, Amtrak did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to extensive changes in corporate practices designed to prevent race discrimination. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HOPE of Wheaton, IL settles family status complaint
     (Wheaton, Illinois, Jul. 02, 1999) -- HOPE announces settlement of family status discrimination complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD]. The owner of 7 apartments and additional commercial property located in River Forest, Illinois pays $20,000 to settle a family status discrimination complaint. The owners allegedly refused to rent a 2 bedroom apartment to a mother and her 3 children. One owner also allegedly told HOPE Fair Housing Center investigators that she would not rent to families with children. PRESS RELEASE from HOPE

75 arrested in expressway protest
     (Atlantic City, NJ, Jul. 03, 1999) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton and 75 other people were arrested Saturday when they converged on the Atlantic City Expressway to protest racial profiling by state police.
    Sharpton arrived with five busloads of protesters wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ``New Jersey, the Police State'' on the front and ``Stop the Korrupt Kop Killers, Christine Whitman and her Hitmen'' on the back.
    The protesters knelt on the roadway and put up no resistance when they were arrested. They were taken away in police buses. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Panel finds bias in NJ state police
     (Trenton, NJ, Jul. 03, 1999) -- A state panel that concluded some State Patrol officers target drivers on the basis of race has found that minority and female troopers are mistreated by their own colleagues.
     Attorney General John Farmer said the report found that minority and female troopers often did not receive ``fully respectful,'' treatment -- and that there were enough stories and lawsuits alleging discrimination or harassment to cause concern.
    Supervisors and troopers themselves have done too little to address the problem, Farmer said Friday. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Hate shootings spree ends in suicide
     (Chicago, Jul. 05, 1999) -- A former Wilmette resident and disciple of a white supremacist group wanted in connection with a two-state hate-crime shooting rampage apparently fatally shot himself late Sunday.
    A man fitting the description of Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, 21, allegedly carjacked a van in Downstate Ina on Route 37. A chase with police ensued, and Marion County sheriff's police caught up with the man near Salem.
    The man had shot himself. He was taken to Salem Township Hospital where he later died.
    Police believe he was linked to what appear to be racially motivated shootings that started Friday night in West Rogers Park and left two dead and eight wounded.  FULL STORY from the Chicago Sun Times

No gay man deemed fit to give blood
     (Washington, Jul. 06, 1999) -- When a blood drive came to his office at the Library of Congress, Charles McMoore considered it his civic duty to make a donation.
    He never got the chance. As soon as a blood collection worker looked at his questionnaire, he said, she curtly declared that he was unsuitable and told him to leave.
    McMoore had answered yes to Question No. 14: Are you a male who has had sex, even once, with another male since 1977?
    It didn't matter that he is HIV-negative and "healthy as a horse," said McMoore, 32, of the District.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

GAO audit report of EEOC
     (Washington, Jul. 06, 1999) -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fails to monitor basic job discrimination trends among federal workers, and what data it collects are often flawed, according to a recent General Accounting Office report.
    While federal workers lodged 28,947 discrimination complaints in 1997, the agency cannot say how many individuals were involved, whether bias was based on race, sex, religion or other factors, or what actions triggered the allegations, the GAO said.   FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Unemployment increasingly a problem for the blind
     (Atlanta, Jul. 06, 1999) -- In a labor market so tight that many employers are begging for workers, 70 percent of blind Americans who want jobs can't find them.
    Advocates point to discrimination, a drop in Braille literacy and, perhaps most important, the computer mouse.
    With the nation's overall unemployment rate at close to a 29-year low of 4.3 percent, the jobless rate among the blind has remained stagnant for a decade, according to the U.S. Labor Department. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

A taste of slavery has tourists up in arms
     (Williamsburg, VA, Jul. 07, 1999) -- As America's premier pre-Revolutionary tourist attraction, Colonial Williamsburg is known for its sanitized and rather bloodless version of history -- white men in breeches making speeches while white women in aprons churn butter. It is a history of good Patriots vs. evil Redcoats, of freedom vs. oppression. Choosing sides has been easy.
    But a gripping program unveiled here a few months ago, called Enslaving Virginia, weaves the shameful history of human bondage into the fabric of storytelling at Williamsburg, underscoring a Revolution fought for the liberty of some, but not all. This edgy new representation of Colonial life casts costumed actors as slave leaders and slave owners while paying tourists find themselves in the roles of slaves.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

HUD grants $3M empowerment zone dollars to East St. Louis
     (East St. Louis, IL, Jul. 07, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo joined President Clinton today in delivering a $3 million Empowerment Zone grant to East St. Louis, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; Wellston, Mo.; and St. Louis County, Mo., to help revitalize some of the poorest neighborhoods in the communities.
    The communities were jointly named as a Regional Urban   Empowerment Zone by Vice President Al Gore in January. The $3 million grant they will share will enable them to implement the strategic plan they prepared -- a roadmap for community revitalization that local governments, businesses and community groups will follow to stimulate economic growth and job creation. The communities will work together to find regional solutions to challenges facing the metropolitan area.   PRESS RELEASE from U.S. Newswire

FBI examines link between hate shootings and CA arsons
     (Sacramento, Jul. 07, 1999) -- The FBI is probing whether a white supremacist group linked to a gunman who killed two people in a Midwest shooting spree over the weekend is also connected to a series of arson attacks in California, officials told APBNews.com today.
    The group, the World Church of the Creator, was founded in 1973 and is cited as being among the most dangerous hate groups in the nation.
    One of the group's highly visible members, 21-year-old criminal justice student Benjamin Smith, embarked on a 36-hour shooting rampage in Illinois and Indiana on Friday that left two people dead and nine others wounded. FULL STORY from APBOnline.com

HUD and Clinton trying to improve reservation life
     (Pine Ridge, SD, Jul. 07, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development will work with Indian tribes and outside businesses to implement initiatives announced by President Clinton today to improve housing, increase homeownership, create jobs and educational opportunities, and spark economic development on reservations across the United States.
    President Clinton, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and other federal officials visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota today - home of the Oglala Sioux Tribe - and spoke to a Native American Homeownership and Economic Development Summit about the initiatives. FULL STORY from HUD

NY: Discrimination against gay man ruled equal rights violation
     (New York, Jul. 07, 1999) -- In a ruling believed to be one of first impression, a federal judge in Uniondale, N.Y., has found discrimination against homosexuals in an employment context to be actionable as an equal protection violation.
    U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt issued the ruling in upholding a $380,000 verdict that a jury awarded two weeks ago to a former Nassau County police officer who claimed he had been hounded out of his job by his fellow officers and supervisors after they learned he was gay.
    The officer, James M. Quinn, resigned after enduring nine years of taunts that included the prominent posting in his stationhouse of cartoons labeling him a child molester, a transvestite and a sadomasochist. FULL STORY from the New York Law Journal

EEOC sues Boeing for disability discrimination
     (Seattle, Jul. 08, 1999) -- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Boeing, claiming the huge aerospace manufacturer unfairly withdrew job offers to applicants it believed had disabilities.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court here, alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the cases of four Boeing job applicants.
    EEOC lawyer Michelle Gonzalez contended that in each case, Boeing declined to hire the applicant after a company-sponsored physical exam found evidence of some disability.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Fear of a mega-bank
     (Boston, Jul. 08, 1999) -- Lunita Mustafa burst into tears as she spoke of her fear that the acquisition of BankBoston by Fleet would result in a mega-bank uninterested in providing services to people in low-income neighborhoods.
    Rarely does a discussion of banking inspire such emotion, but Mustafa worries that a decline in low-income mortgages would cut the number of homeowners working to keep the neighborhood safe and vibrant. Crime and violence can plague neighborhoods of renters who don't live in one place long enough to take pride in it, she said.
    "Five years ago there was a wild beast in our community, and it was devouring our children," said Mustafa, of Boston's Mattapan neighborhood. "Today, I hear they're going to unleash that beast again."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

LA police killing of black woman probed
     (Los Angeles, Jul. 08, 1999) -- Federal prosecutors have opened a civil rights probe of the Riverside Police Department, which is already under investigation in the shooting death of a black woman last December.
      The Justice Department said today the probe will determine whether the department "has engaged in a pattern or practice of law enforcement misconduct, including using excessive force and discriminating in the way it provides police services."
      Officials would not discuss the complaints that led to the probe but said they involved incidents in the city before and after the shooting of Tyisha Miller.

HUD enters finance agreements in 27 states
     (Washington, Jul. 09, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development has entered into agreements with housing finance agencies and private groups in 27 states and the District of Columbia that will save taxpayers millions of dollars and preserve affordable housing for thousands of low-income families.
    HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing Assistance Restructuring (OMHAR) said today that it has entered into the portfolio restructuring agreements with 18 state or local housing finance agencies, along with three non-profit and private firms covering properties in nine additional states.
    The 18 state or local housing finance agencies entering agreements are: Jefferson County, AL; District of Columbia; Florida; Chicago; Kentucky; Louisiana; Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties, MD; Missouri; New Hampshire; Ohio; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Washington State; Kitsap County, WA; and West Virginia. Between the 18 state or local housing finance agencies, 196 mortgages will be restructured. FULL STORY from HUD

HUD announces formation of Peacemaker Corps
     (Washington, Jul. 09, 1999) -- U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the creation of the Peacemaker Corps - a new youth education program designed to foster cultural and racial tolerance among high school students.
    The announcement came as President Clinton visited Los Angeles on the fourth and final day of his New Markets Tour of six urban and rural communities where unemployment is too high and jobs are too scarce. Corporate and governmental leaders joined the President on the tour, during which he announced new initiatives to bring economic opportunities to places left behind.
    The Peacemaker Corps is a joint initiative sponsored by HUD, the Simon Youth Foundation and the Friends of the United Nations. It will teach teen-agers how to understand and deal with cultural and racial differences, how to manage aggression, and positive alternatives to violence. HUD will provide $1 million in funding for the program, and the Simon Youth Foundation will provide facilities, materials and food worth $700,000. FULL STORY from HUD

Hearing on Cisneros tapes to conclude next week
     (Washington, Jul. 10, 1999) -- An acrimonious three-week hearing to determine whether secretly taped phone conversations can be used in a trial of former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros neared an end Friday as lawyers agreed to wrap up next week. 
    "We can stop the bombing now," U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin announced.
    The judge set Thursday for final testimony and closing arguments on whether portions of the tapes should be played to jurors who will hear the conspiracy case against the former San Antonio mayor. FULL STORY from the San Antonio Express News

Civil rights leader James Farmer dies
     (Washington, Jul. 10, 1999) -- James L. Farmer, 79, the founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and the moving force behind some of the most dramatic episodes of the civil rights era of the 1960s, died yesterday at a hospital in Fredericksburg, Va.
    No further details were available, but Mr. Farmer had diabetes, which led to the amputation of his legs.
    Mr. Farmer was a preacher by training, a pacifist by conviction and a union organizer by profession. In the Nixon administration, he served as an assistant secretary in what is now the Department of Health and Human Services. He also was an author and lecturer. In later life, despite his ailments and the loss of his eyesight, he became one of the most popular professors in the history of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Hate crimes summit planned
     (Washington, Jul. 12, 1999) -- Supporters of legislation that would expand federal civil rights law to cover gay people believe Congress may be more receptive to the idea now, a year after a similar bill died.
    A string of tragic incidents, including a white supremacist's weekend shooting spree, has increased the pressure on the federal government to act, they said. Representatives from dozens of civil rights groups plan to meet at the White House on Monday to plan strategy.
    ``I think the prospects for the bills now are better now. These regrettable incidents demonstrate why they are necessary,'' said Richard Socarides, President Clinton's civil rights adviser. ``With each publicized incident more and more pressure is put on the opposition and those who say that this is not a problem.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Bankers build cases in discrimination complaint
     (Milwaukee, Jul. 12, 1999) -- Loretta Bruce has heard from lots of consumers who say they have been victims of discrimination from banks since the Milwaukee Realtist Association filed a discrimination complaint with federal regulators against 60 banks doing business in the Milwaukee area.
    The problem for Bruce, vice president of the Realtist Association and executive director of Milwaukee's Fair Housing Coalition, is that few of those with complaints will document their experiences in writing.
    "Some people are just afraid to step forward," Bruce said. "They know the banks have a lot of information about them, and they need banks even if they are not treated with respect." FULL STORY in the Milwaukee Business Journal

An end to redlining
     (San Francisco, Jul. 12, 1999) -- FOR OVER 20 years, the Community Reinvestment Act has generated thousands of loans to build housing, start small businesses and aid home purchases in areas that banks once red-lined as too risky. Lending institutions learned there was money to be made, and overlooked communities benefitted from the financial infusion.
    A major congressional revision of banking and insurance rules may undo this useful law. The Senate wants to end the CRA rules in the name of deregulation, while a House version of the measure keeps the lending policies. A conference committee will work out the difference between the two this month. EDITORIAL in the San Francisco Chronicle

Agencies, industry aim to narrow 'digital divide'
     (Washington, Jul. 12, 1999) -- More Americans than ever are using computers and connecting to the Internet, but a significant portion of the population - particularly minorities and those in rural areas - lacks access to basic information technology tools, so the federal government should partner with the private sector to narrow the gap, according to a report released last week by the Commerce Department.
    The report shows that computer and Internet access varies widely, depending on income, education, race and geography. For example, households with an income of $75,000 or more are 20 times more likely to have access to the Internet than households at low income levels and are nine times as likely to have a computer.  FULL STORY in Federal Computer Week

University of Georgia scolded over admissions
     (Atlanta, Jul. 13, 1999) -- The University of Georgia wrongly awards ``racial bonus points'' to minority applicants, but didn't discriminate against a white student whose application was rejected in 1997, a judge has ruled.
    U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield said Craig Green would not have been admitted regardless of race, due to his academic record. But Edenfield also said the university ``cannot constitutionally justify the affirmative use of race in its admission decisions.''
    ``The record shows, quite simply, that ... UGA prefers one applicant over another based solely on race,'' Edenfield wrote in his July 6 ruling. ``UGA officials evidently employed racial preferences first and asked questions later.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Mall discrimination in Columbus
     (Columbus, Ohio, Jul. 13, 1999) -- A retailer at Northland Mall was evicted three years ago because his business attracted too many young black men as customers, according to a tape-recorded phone conversation that was read in federal court yesterday.
    The 1996 phone call was between Sheldon Bloomfield, a short-term-lease executive with the Richard E. Jacobs Group of Cleveland, and Harry J. Biddle, who owned a kiosk that sold pagers, cellular phones and related equipment at Northland. The Jacobs organization owns Northland and is being sued by Biddle and his 45-year-old brother, David, who claim racial discrimination. The Biddles, who are white, filed the lawsuit on October 22, 1997.
    Harry Biddle, 51, of Cincinnati, wanted to know why his business was being evicted. Bloomfield was not aware that the conversation was being recorded.  FULL STORY in the Columbus Dispatch

HUD puts computers in public housing complex
     (Dallas, Jul. 13, 1999) -- Netier Technologies, a developer of end-to-end server-based computing solutions, has been selected to equip the once crime-ridden Edgewood Terrace public housing complex in northeast Washington, D.C., with its NetXpress(TM) SL1000 thin-client computers.
    Each of the 884 apartments will receive a computer as part of a model program to transition at-risk residents from welfare to work status.
    Netier's thin clients were chosen for their highly secure, customizable and upgradable capabilities. After graduating from a basic computer class, each resident will carry home a computer and 15-inch color monitor offering word processing and spreadsheet capabilities and high-speed Internet and email access. Netier donated a portion of the total purchase made by the Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC), a nonprofit developer and provider of community service programs.   FULL STORY from Business Wire

Cuyahoga Falls, OH duplex owners protest ruling
     (Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Jul. 14, 1999) -- The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has found probable cause that the owners of a duplex in town violated state law by refusing to rent to a family with children.
    But the couple who own the rental property denied the allegation, saying they ended up renting the unit to another family with two children.
    The commission issued its finding July 1 against Micheline and Richard Scarpitti, who own and operate a rental unit on Third Avenue in the Falls.  FULL STORY in the Akron Beacon Journal

Making cell phones disabled-friendly
     (Washington, Jul. 14, 1999) -- Cellular phones that provide clear sound over hearing aids or "speak" usage instructions to the blind could become commonplace under rules that federal regulators plan to enact today.
    The new rules to be ordered by the Federal Communications Commission would require that new telecommunications products and services be usable by people who are physically disabled, and could ultimately transform the telephones and services used by every American, said FCC Chairman William E. Kennard.
    "This action represents the most significant opportunity for people with disabilities since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990," Kennard said, calling the new regulation "the ADA for the information age."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

FL woman allowed to adopt black child
     (West Palm Beach, FL, Jul. 14, 1999) -- The state has let a white woman adopt the 4-year-old black boy she has raised since birth, ending a long case by also agreeing to pay her $135,000 in legal costs for the discrimination lawsuit she filed.
    Under a settlement approved Monday, the Florida Department of Children and Families also apologized to Shirley Fitzgerald and acknowledged it made a mistake in trying to place the boy with black relatives whom Fitzgerald said ignored his medical needs.
    The boy, named Shaq (pronounced ``Shay''), was born to a drug-addicted woman and has asthma, epilepsy, damaged hearing and delayed speech development. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NAACP to probe lending practices in NYC
     (New York, Jul. 15, 1999) -- The NAACP is investigating apparent racial disparities in the lending practices of major banks and mortgage companies, the latest example of its focus on consumer issues.
    Federal data indicate that lenders discriminate against minority applicants, President Kweisi Mfume said in an interview during the group's annual convention.
    "We've been looking at the data for the last three years, and every year it suggests the same thing: People of color are being denied home mortgages at a higher rate."
    In a similar analysis, The Detroit News found last February that upper-income blacks in Metro Detroit were denied mortgages at more than twice the rate of whites at the same financial level.
    The 1997 data, the most recent available, show that 14 percent of Metro Detroit blacks earning more than $64,000 a year had home loan applications rejected, compared with 6 percent of whites in that category.  FULL STORY in the Detroit News

NAPA: HUD managing better
     (Washington, Jul. 15, 1999) -- "HUD has made major progress in the past year" in improving its management performance and planning to achieve its strategic objectives, according to a report issued today by the independent National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).
    "Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, the department leadership team, and staff deserve commendation for this substantial progress," the NAPA report says. "This report tells the story of how HUD has moved from criticism to commendation" as a result of reforms initiated by Cuomo.
    NAPA is recognized for its expertise in management of public organizations. It employs former top-level federal government executives to evaluate the performance of federal agencies. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

HUD and Justice announce lead poisoning settlements
     (Washington, Jul. 15, 1999) -- Attorney General Janet Reno and Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced multiple court actions of over $1 million against landlords who violated federal law by failing to warn their tenants that their homes may contain lead-based paint hazards. These actions, the first ever filed under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, include four settlements totaling more than $1 million worth of lead paint abatement and $259,000 in fines and other commitments. In addition, HUD has undertaken 45 administrative enforcement actions under the Act in 20 cities.
    Together, these cases signal the Administration's stepped up effort to protect children and others who are vulnerable to suffering from exposure to lead-based paint. The nationwide enforcement effort involves the cooperation of DOJ, HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency, and state and local governments around the country. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

House passes religious rights bill
     (Washington, Jul. 16, 1999) -- The House yesterday overwhelmingly passed a bill designed to protect religious practices from government interference, affirming the right to exercise faith even in cases where it might conflict with state or local laws.
    Spurred by gripping tales of prisoners barred from receiving Holy Communion, students disciplined for wearing yarmulkes in school and houses of worship frozen out of residential neighborhoods by zoning laws, the Republican-controlled House passed the Religious Liberty Protection Act by 306 to 118. The bill is a slightly narrower version of a law the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional in 1997.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

NAACP wants boycott of South Carolina
     (Columbia, SC, Jul. 16, 1999) -- The NAACP wants blacks to avoid vacationing in South Carolina until the state removes a Confederate Flag flying from its statehouse.
    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Thursday approved the boycott at its national meeting in New York. The resolution must still be ratified by the national board in October.
    ``We're asking African Americans and others who believe in fairness to consider relocating their family reunions, conventions, church groups and other meetings outside of the state as long as the Confederate flag is flown over the state Capitol,'' said James Gallman, president of the group's South Carolina chapter. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Coke motion on bias suit denied
     (Atlanta, Jul. 16, 1999) -- Lawyers for four former and current Coca-Cola employees suing the company have won the right to continue trying to get the case to cover 1,500 black salaried employees.
    Now, they are faced with going through reams of material and deciphering computer data before a case can be made that the four plaintiffs represent all black salaried employees at the Atlanta-based soft drink giant.
    A federal judge on Thursday denied a request by The Coca-Cola Co. that would have barred class action status. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Woman flees after threats from hate groups
     (Seattle, Jul. 18, 1999) -- A year ago, Bonnie Jouhari was busily involved in her community in Pennsylvania - working for fair housing and battling hate groups. Now the 42-year-old, single mother and her 17-year-old daughter, Dani, are hiding in the Seattle area, trying to escape harassment by people who consider her "a race traitor" to fellow whites.
     She accuses the federal government of foot-dragging that she says has left her without protection or assistance.
     After getting TV and newspaper coverage last year in Pennsylvania, Jouhari said she wanted to stay out of the public spotlight in Washington for her daughter's sake. But she contacted the Seattle Post-Intelligencer out of frustration after her harassers found their temporary home in Silverdale, across Puget Sound from Seattle.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD conference puts KC public housing in spotlight
     (Kansas City, Mo., Jul. 20, 1999) -- Brightly painted Guinotte Manor homes beckon from their Columbus Park enclave to Interstate 35 passers-by. A previously neglected stage at Theron B. Watkins now holds youth performances. And Choteau Court residents invited their beat cops to this year's Fourth of July celebration.
     Indeed, times are changing in Kansas City's public housing. "It's come a long way," said Connie Flowers, the resident council president.
Kansas City has gotten a chance to showcase its public housing beginning Tuesday, the start of a four-day national conference that will bring more than 3,000 housing experts, including top officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
     In Bartle Hall, visitors will discuss topics from crime-stopping techniques to public-private partnerships for affordable housing. During tours around town, visiting officials will also get a chance to see Guinotte Manor's yellow paint and white porches, Theron B. Watkins' youth programs and the career center in Riverview Gardens. FULL STORY in The Kansas City Star

Time-shares shun some nationalities
     (Orlando, Fla., Jul. 22, 1999) -- Resorts in this popular vacation city have long offered discounted theme park tickets to get tourists to listen to sales pitches for time shares. It's just that not everyone is eligible.
     ``No single Brazilians'' and ``No Portugal'' warns a document from the Palms Resort & Country Club that was obtained by The Wall Street Journal. An accompanying list of some 130 qualified countries, including Swaziland and Vanuatu, advises: ``If a country is not on this list, please call!''  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Senate passes broadened hate-crimes bill
     (Washington, Jul. 23, 1999) -- President Clinton is calling on the House to mimic the Senate's passage of legislation expanding the government's power to pursue perpetrators of hate crimes.
     Without debate or even public mention of what it was doing, the Senate used a voice vote late Thursday to approve legislation adding sexual orientation, gender and disability to the categories of people protected under federal hate-crime law. Currently, the law only covers race, color, religion or national origin.
     ``I call on the House of Representatives to meet its responsibility in
combating violence that is fueled by hate,'' Clinton said in a written statement.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD announces 'Best Practices' awards
     (Washington, Jul. 24, 1999) -- Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced Best Practices Awards to 100 organizations and projects around the nation for their outstanding and innovative use of HUD assistance to better serve families and communities.
    "These are HUD's equivalent of the Academy Awards, given for an outstanding performance in service of the American people," Cuomo said. "The award winners can serve as models to groups in other communities working to build affordable housing, spark economic development, create jobs, fight housing discrimination, expand homeownership, and help homeless people become self-sufficient." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

CBS defends its record on race
     (Pasadena, CA, Jul. 26, 1999) -- With minority characters featured in 12 of 19 programs in its fall lineup, CBS has worked harder than other networks to include non-whites, network executive Leslie Moonves said.
    ``We can, we will do more ... but CBS stands alone as the No. 1 network aware of its responsibility in this area,'' Moonves said Sunday during the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association.
    The four major networks, including CBS, have come under fire from minority groups for fielding a nearly all-white lineup of new fall shows. CBS executives will meet next month with the NAACP to discuss the issue, said Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boston to settle housing discrimination charges
     (Boston, Jul. 26, 1999) -- Boston will pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of black and Hispanic residents of four public housing projects who were subjected to racial harassment and violence, the Justice Department said Monday.
     The settlement would resolve a lawsuit brought against the Boston Housing Authority by the Justice Department under the Fair Housing Act.
     The agreement, which requires the approval of a federal judge, would also resolve a separate private class action brought against the BHA in 1996, the Justice Department said.
     The BHA was accused of failing to protect 13 black and Hispanic residents from ``pervasive and violent racial harassment'' at BHA developments in the working class South Boston and Charlestown neighborhoods, the Justice Department said.

Cuomo calls on Congress to reject HUD budget cuts
     (Washington, Jul. 26, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Andrew Cuomo called on the House and Senate to reject $2 billion in cuts to HUD's proposed Fiscal Year 2000 Budget that were approved today by a House subcommittee.
      The Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies made the cuts to the $28 billion budget President Clinton proposed for HUD, wiping out most of the $2.5 billion increase that the President requested. The action follows severe budget restrictions imposed by the Congressional Budget Resolution.
      "Today's action strikes a terrible blow against families and communities in need, ensuring that those left behind on America's road to prosperity will fall even further back," Cuomo said. "I call on the House and Senate to reject these devastating cuts and improve funding levels for HUD." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Lawsuit mark disabilities act anniversary
     (Austin, Jul. 27, 1999) -- The Hill Country Flyer, a Best Western hotel in Round Rock and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation were on a list of nine lawsuits filed Monday to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    The suits, all alleging noncompliance with the law requiring that public facilities be accessible to people with disabilities, were filed in federal and state courts in South, Central and East Texas.  FULL STORY from the Austin American-Statesman

HUD may consider gun suit
     (Washington, Jul. 28, 1999) -- Clinton administration officials said Wednesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development may consider suing the gun industry, but they emphasized there are no plans to bring such a lawsuit.
    One official strongly doubted that such a civil lawsuit against the gun industry would ever be brought, but would not flatly rule it out.
    ``I can't say we will never do it. Events change. But right now, there are no plans to do it. There is a high likelihood we won't do it,'' the official said.
    The Wall Street Journal reported that one possible approach HUD is weighing is to arrange for a lawsuit to be brought on behalf of some or all of the 3,400 public-housing authorities that receive federal funding.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Unsettling dissent at Boeing
     (Washington, Jul. 28, 1999) -- Early this year, Jesse L. Jackson appeared in Seattle with Boeing Co. chief executive Philip Condit to announce a $15 million settlement of a discrimination suit filed by Boeing's African American employees. Jackson called it "a significant step in the long journey to making Boeing the best that it can be."
    Now, however, about 1,600 of Boeing's minority employees are challenging the settlement and questioning whether Jackson was aggressive enough in his talks with Condit preceding the actual negotiations. Instead of bringing pressure to win worker concessions, as Jackson has done on behalf of black workers at several other major corporations, the employees say he became too cozy with management in order to push his own agenda.
    "He takes our problem and uses it for his benefit. But our problems haven't been solved," said Kevin Biglow of Wichita, one of the employees objecting to the settlement.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Civil rights Judge Johnson eulogized
     (Haleyville, AL, Jul. 28, 1999) -- Frank M. Johnson Jr. was laid to rest in the same northern county where as a boy he gained the independence and strength to later confront racism as a federal judge.
    Despite threats and social ostracism, Johnson fearlessly issued rulings in the 1950s and '60s that ended the era of segregated buses, schools, parks and restaurants in Alabama.
    ``Frank Johnson spent his life vindicating American values and the values of these hills,'' U.S. Attorney Redding Pitt said Tuesday after a graveside service held under a scorching summer sun. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD statement on Boston Housing Authority settlement
     (Washington, Thursday, Jul. 29, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today issued the following statement in response to the $1.5 million settlement of a lawsuit against the Boston Housing Authority, in which 13 minority tenants said they were racially harassed:
    "In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a report that made 53 recommendations for improvements in Boston Housing Authority (BHA) operations. At that time the BHA and the City of Boston agreed to implement each and every recommendation within the year, including most importantly the settlement of the lawsuit. In announcing the settlement, they have taken a significant step: the law has been enforced, dignity has been restored. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

FBI eyes racial motive in TX killing
     (Emory, TX, Jul. 29, 1999) -- At the behest of the NAACP, federal investigators are probing whether the slaying of a black man in rural Rains County was motivated by racial hatred, officials said today.
    Authorities charged a white 16-year-old boy from Lone Oak with murder June 3, the day after authorities found the body of 53-year-old H.W. Walker of Greenville in a heavily wooded area roughly 50 miles from Dallas.
    "We want it investigated till the end," said Bill Glenn, a private investigator who is the Northeast Texas regional representative for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "If it's a truly thorough investigation, we'll have no choice but to accept the findings."  FULL STORY from APBonline

UCLA athletes abuse parking for persons with disabilities
     (Los Angeles, Jul. 29, 1999) -- Nine UCLA football players will be suspended for two games after being accused of claiming fake disabilities to get handicapped parking permits.
    Seven of those players, along with two former players, pleaded no-contest Wednesday to illegally using the placards, and apologized as disabled activists booed. Five other players, including two current teammates, will be arraigned August 25.
    "This behavior is particularly insensitive because it was carried out by student athletes, for they are among the most able-bodied of all,'' Chancellor Albert Carnesale said. FULL STORY from Fox Sports

President meets gay officials
     (Washington, Jul. 29, 1999) -- The first White House meeting between a president and gay elected officials took place yesterday, as President Clinton hosted 11 officeholders from throughout the nation who want "gay and lesbian Americans [to] gain an equal place at the table of public policy," according to the group's statement.
    The group came to Washington in part to highlight two issues before Congress that Clinton supports: banning job discrimination based on sexual orientation and defining "hate crimes" as including violent acts committed against homosexuals.
    White House officials said the 90-minute meeting was typical of the occasional sessions that Clinton holds with various interest groups.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

HIV-positive worker loses court award
     (West Palm Beach, FL, Jul. 29, 1999) -- A federal appeals court has overturned a jury's award of $382,000 to a man who sued his employers on the grounds that he was discriminated against because he is HIV-positive.
    Roger P. Kwiatek Jr., who worked in the support services office at the West Palm Beach branch of AT&T Wireless, said he was reprimanded and harassed soon after telling his bosses in 1993 that he has the virus that causes AIDS.
    In December 1997, a jury decided he should receive $1.3 million. Circuit Judge Kenneth A. Marra then reduced the award to $382,000.
FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Feds take on high-rate lenders
     (Washington, Jul. 29, 1999) -- The Federal Trade Commission today was announcing the first wave of settlements against lenders accused of violating a 1994 federal law that tightens restrictions on pricey loans of the type Nicholson got. Seven lenders are involved in the settlements and more are being investigated.
    Homeowners who may not qualify for conventional loans but want money for house repairs or emergencies have helped fuel the high-interest home-equity loan market. But this surge has come with an explosion of deceptive business practices that cost consumers who can least afford it thousands of dollars, say federal regulators. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Cuomo calls on Pres. to veto HUD budget cuts
     (Washington, Jul. 30, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said he will recommend that President Clinton veto legislation setting HUD's Fiscal Year 2000 Budget if it remains in the form being considered today by the House Appropriations Committee.
     The HUD Budget is part of a bill that also covers the Department of Veterans' Affairs, NASA and other agencies. The House Appropriations Committee was considering $2 billion in cuts to the HUD Budget below the level proposed by the President. The cuts were approved by a subcommittee earlier this week.
     "It is bizarre to favor a tax cut for the richest of the rich while cutting crumbs for the poorest of the poor," Cuomo said. "I will urge the President to veto this bill." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Bridgeport, CT: Catholic church settles complaint for $10,000
     (Bridgeport, CT, Jul. 31, 1999) -- In order to resolve a housing discrimination complaint filed against them, St. Raphael's church of Bridgeport, Ct has agreed to pay $10,000 to a divorced mother of three who alleges she was denied an opportunity to rent an apartment due to her marital status. In exchange for the monetary considerations, Natalie Al Kasas of Stratford has agreed to withdraw her complaint filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in November of 1998 and "waives her rights to pursue any further legal proceedings" against the church.
      Stipulations in the agreement, which was signed by all parties in May of this year, indicate that the money is to be paid in four installments over a period of three months with the final payment of $2,500 to be paid on or before August 15, 1999. It is also made clear in the agreement that the settlement does not constitute an admission by St. Raphael's that they have violated any fair housing laws. There is a further clause in the agreement, however, that states that the church will "take all reasonable actions to make certain that their agents and/or each of their full and/or part-time employees are aware of the provisions of the CT Fair Housing Statutes and that they will take all reasonable actions to require compliance with the statutes." PRESS RELEASE from Bridgeport Fair Housing

Workers with disabilities continue to fight for employment
     (Kansas City, Aug. 02, 1999) -- The ADA guarantees workers with disabilities the right to "reasonable accommodation" to help them perform the essential functions of their jobs.
    Because of publicity about big-dollar discrimination lawsuits and expensive work site accommodations, advocates for workers with disabilities say most employers fear recruiting or hiring employees with physical or mental impairments.
    Despite record low unemployment rates and high turnover among nondisabled employees, workers with disabilities continue to have a "staggering" unemployment rate, said Tony Coelho, chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, who previously introduced the ADA as a congressman. FULL STORY in the Kansas City Star

Study: women of color rare in upper management
     (Seattle, Aug. 02, 1999) -- A New York-based research group, Catalyst, recently unveiled the findings of the first ever study on women of color in corporate management. The three-year survey showed that the progress of women in business has largely been the story of white women, despite increasing diversity in the general labor pool.
    Caucasian women make up nearly 78 percent of the overall female work force. Of the women who hold managerial and administrative positions in the private sector, 86 percent are white, according to the Catalyst study. FULL STORY in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Federal observers monitor MS elections
     (Washington, Aug. 02, 1999) -- In an effort to preserve the integrity of the voting process, the Justice Department will dispatch 158 federal observers to 14 Mississippi counties to monitor Tuesday's primary election for state and county offices.
    Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of Americans to participate in the electoral process without discrimination , the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered by the Act.
    In nine counties, 141 observers will monitor the treatment of African American voters, including whether they are able to receive assistance from the person of their choice and whether they are improperly turned away by poll workers. The counties include: Amite (17); Chickasaw (19); Coahoma (17); Covington (10); Humphreys (13); Marshall (17); Noxubee (8); Quitman (14); and Tunica (26).  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Judge hampers FH in discrimination suit
     (Nevada, Aug. 02, 1999) -- A federal judge in Nevada is making it tougher for fair housing groups to successfully charge real estate companies with discrimination, according to a report in the current issue of Real Estate Intelligence Report.
    According to the newsletter, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Johnnie Rawlinson first finds that if individual members of fair housing groups do not have standing to sue, then neither do the associations behind them; and, second, that groups cannot demand compensation for injury if the only injury is the money it cost them to file the lawsuit.
    The newsletter suggests that a side effect may be to make fair housing groups think twice about demanding huge out-of-court settlements in exchange for not taking companies to court, where outcomes are suddenly less predictable. FULL STORY from Realty Times

FBI probes SF Human Rights Commission
     (San Francisco, Aug. 03, 1999) -- The FBI's investigation into allegations of corruption within San Francisco city government took a new twist yesterday with word that federal agents are looking into operations at the Housing Authority as well as at the Human Rights Commission.
   FBI agents moved on yet another location yesterday, carting away documents from the Human Rights Commission's satellite office at San Francisco International Airport.
    They also began questioning commission workers about how the city goes about certifying minority contractors to work on city and federally funded projects. FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

Autopsy may prove hate crime in Texas
     (Emory, TX, Aug. 03, 1999) -- Authorities aren't sure whether the killing of H.W. Walker - a black man allegedly tied to a tree and burned by a white teen-ager - was a hate crime.
    Walker's family believes it was. So does the NAACP, which persuaded federal authorities to investigate. But to some of the 1,000 people living in Emory, a hate-crime designation doesn't make any difference. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Police brace for neo-nazi rally
     (Washington, Aug. 03, 1999) -- Police in the nation's capital said Tuesday they are braced for a neo-Nazi rally and counterdemonstrations scheduled Saturday in front of the White House.
    U.S. Park Police said Tuesday they expect about 300 people to participate in the American Nationalist Party-sponsored four-block march along Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park and about 500 counterdemonstrators.
    Commander Michael Radzilowski of the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department, said his entire unit will be working Saturday. Overall, Assistant Police Chief Terrence Gainer estimated 80 percent of the capitol city's force would be on the job. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court: judge can bar bigoted speech
     (San Francisco, Aug. 03, 1999) -- A judge's order prohibiting an Avis supervisor from using ethnic slurs has been upheld by the California Supreme Court, despite a scorching dissent.
    ``A government that tells its citizens what they may say will soon be dictating what they may think,'' said Justice Janice Rogers Brown, one of the dissenters in Monday's 4-3 ruling.
    But the majority said free expression isn't violated by an injunction against bigoted speech that has already been found, by a jury, to be so extreme and pervasive that it causes a hostile and discriminatory work environment.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Group wins lawsuit against school board
     (New Orleans, Aug. 03, 1999) -- A federal judge ruled Monday that the St. Tammany Parish School Board cannot enforce a policy that forbids groups from holding religious meetings at schools after classes end.
    U.S. District Judge Morey Sear's decision in a lawsuit filed by the state branch of the Christian Coalition means the school board must write a new policy either allowing or denying use of school buildings to all groups, said Stuart Roth, the lawyer representing the coalition.
    ''This sends a strong message that religious discrimination won't be tolerated,'' said Roth, who also is director of the Southeast regional office of the American Center for Law and Justice. ''When the government permits using facilities for wide range of community uses, it can't deny speakers using the facility because the speakers want to engage in freedom of speech.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Savannah: workers given right to sue
     (Savannah, GA, Aug. 05, 1999) -- For two days in mid-April, more than a dozen former employees of Kemira Inc.'s process control labs in Savannah sat down with company officials, attorneys and mediators from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in rooms at the EEOC's Savannah office.
    Most of the employees had one simple aim, according to their attorney: to get their old jobs back.
    The former lab workers, almost all of whom are black, were among 20 who lost their jobs December 1, after being told that the company had raised the minimum requirements for their job to a bachelor's of science degree in a science field. None of the employees, who had been making $11 to $14 an hour, had such a degree.  FULL STORY in the Savannah Morning News

Federal hate crime bill closer to passage
     (Washington, Aug. 05, 1999) -- After several years of lobbying, supporters of a bill to increase the government's power to prosecute hate crimes say that they are closer than ever to seeing it passed by Congress and signed into law.
    Two weeks ago, the Senate approved the bill without debate, and added it to its version of a government-spending measure for the fiscal year that begins October 1.
    The House Judiciary Committee followed yesterday with a hearing on the subject.
    "This is the furthest that the Hate Crimes Prevention Act has ever come, and we're quite hopeful that wisdom will prevail as it has in the Senate," Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian and gay political organization, said during a break in the House hearing. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boy Scouts can't ban gay scoutmasters, court says
     (Trenton, NJ, Aug. 05, 1999) -- The Boy Scouts of America's ban on homosexuals is illegal under New Jersey's anti-discrimination law, the state Supreme Court ruled today.
    The Boy Scouts vowed to appeal the court's ruling, which upheld a state appellate court decision, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court, in a unanimous decision, sided with James Dale, a Matawan assistant scoutmaster who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts nine years ago when leaders found out he is gay.
    The court said the Boy Scouts organization constitutes a "place of public accommodation" because it has a broadbased membership and forms partnerships with public entities and public service organizations.
Thus, the court said the Boy Scouts fall under New Jersey's anti-discrimination law and cannot deny any person "accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges" because of sexual orientation. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Transfer offered AF officer who feared silo sex
     (Washington, Aug. 05, 1999) -- The Air Force offered a transfer and "a new career field" to a lieutenant who refuses to work with women in an underground nuclear missile silo on religious grounds. But the officer says he still feels he's the target of discrimination.
    "I love my church, I love being in the military, I love my wife, I love my child," 1st Lt. Ryan Berry told a news conference yesterday. "I'm not being allowed to combine those loves. I have to sell one of them short."
    Berry, 26, who is stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, complained last month that he was being disciplined by higher-ups for what he says are his strong Roman Catholic beliefs.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Blacks' rooms vandalized at young marines camp
     (Camp Lejune, NC, Aug. 05, 1999) -- For Anthony Matthews, a 13-year-old Young Marines summer camper from Temple Hills, they were symbols of racism unlike anything he had ever seen: His mattress ripped, his military boots stolen, his wooden locker covered with racial epithets scribbled in toothpaste.
    The vandalism -- the worst of three such incidents on consecutive days -- sent chills through Matthews and more than two dozen black Washington area youths in the barrack at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during a week-long military camp sponsored by the Young Marines.
    Two weeks later, the humiliation is still fresh on the minds of adult leaders of the D.C. group, who said they are frustrated not only that the vandalism occurred, but also that officials running the camp did not do more to prevent it and respond to it.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

HUD won't sue gun manufacturers
     (Washington, Aug. 05, 1999) -- Federal housing officials could end up supporting or joining one of a string of lawsuits filed against gun manufacturers over the damages firearms cause, a government lawyer says.
    But the Department of Housing and Urban Development has no plans to file such a suit on its own, HUD General Counsel Gail W. Laster told a House subcommittee Wednesday.
    Laster's remarks before the House Government Reform Committee's panel on criminal justice drew angry responses from House Republicans who said it was preposterous to blame the gun industry for the acts of criminals.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NAACP stokes flag controversy
     (Columbia, SC, Aug. 05, 1999) -- The NAACP, which wants tourists to avoid South Carolina because the Confederate flag still flies over the Statehouse, is targeting companies who support pro-flag lawmakers.
    The civil rights group has amassed campaign records to learn which companies have donated money to those legislators. Supporters say the flag represents South Carolina's heritage and honors its war veterans; the NAACP considers it a symbol of slavery and racism.
    ``We're looking at all of them, but especially those who have taken a public position in favor of leaving the Confederate battle flag flying,'' said Dwight James, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's South Carolina branch. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Bradley preaches unity to civil rights group
     (Chicago, Aug. 06, 1999) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley preached racial unity to Jesse Jackson's civil rights group Thursday, and drew applause for his positions on child poverty, health insurance and gun control.
    ``Racial unity is not a project. It's not a political position. It's part of me,'' Bradley said in a well-received speech to the annual convention of Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
    Bradley said he would put ``the full force of the presidency'' behind breaking down racial barriers if elected in 2000.  FULL STORY from Reuters

National Urban League to webcast conference
     (Houston, Aug. 07, 1999) -- Following the success of the Internet broadcast of its annual conference last year, this year the National Urban League (NUL) will again broadcast portions of its 1999 Annual Conference live over the Internet. Web surfers interested in ``virtual participating'' in the Conference are invited to visit the League's Web site at www.nul.org. The entire Internet broadcast is sponsored by Broadcast.com. PRESS RELEASE from the National Urban League

1,500 DC cops, 4 neo-nazis show up for march
     (Washington, Aug. 08, 1999) -- Almost 1,500 police officers in riot gear along Pennsylvania Avenue. Hymns and invocations to "stop racism now" at the Lincoln Memorial. Raucous demonstrators at Lafayette Square carrying signs and speaking out against the growth of white supremacist groups in the United States.
    Everybody showed up yesterday. Except for the instigators: the American Nationalist Party, a k a the Knights of Freedom, a self-styled neo-Nazi group.
    The group, which applied for the permits to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and to rally in front of the White House as part of an "anti-government protest," told D.C. police to expect 150 to 300 demonstrators. Only four showed up at a staging area prepared by police, and they decided to call off the march.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Empty nesters flock together in Maryland
     (Washington, Aug. 08, 1999) -- Frank Maresca was 12th in line the first day houses went on sale. He and his wife, Carol, knew before they even heard the sales pitch that western Prince William County would be their new home.
    "When we were standing there waiting for the doors to open, we began chatting with the people in line," said Frank Maresca. "Right from there we knew we were going to like the place."
    Empty nesters entering their sixties, the Marescas were looking for far more than real estate. For about $300,000, they wanted to live in a community of like-minded folks--older but still active, many with children living in the area. The Marescas had lived in Fairfax County for 18 years, but the population there was so transient, they hardly knew the people living next door.  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Civil rights suit against Nation of Islam dismissed
     (Cambridge, MA, Aug. 09, 1999) -- A lawsuit accusing the Nation of Islam of discrimination for barring women from a public speech by leader Louis Farrakhan was dismissed on Monday.
    Judge Regina Quinlan ruled that the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion took priority over anti-discrimination laws.
    "Freedom of religion and freedom of religious expression, which traditionally will exempt a religion from certain discrimination laws, is applicable here," Quinlan said from the bench. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

ADA may expand to recreation
     (Honolulu, Aug. 09, 1999) -- In July, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board -- aka the Access Board -- published draft guidelines for access to amusement rides; boating facilities; fishing piers and platforms; golf courses; miniature golf courses; exercise equipment; bowling lanes; shooting ranges; swimming pools; wading pools; spas; saunas; steam rooms; boat and ferry docks; and benches. In the works are access guidelines for parks, hiking trails and beaches.
    The 10-year-old ADA now requires that businesses and government provide disabled people with access to places of business and public buildings.
    The law has not addressed places of recreation -- until now. The proposed rules, based on years of surveys, discussions and recommendations, would lay down specifications measuring details like fishing pier railing heights to the exact inch. FULL STORY in Pacific Business News

Ginsburg becomes first woman to receive Marshall Award
     (Atlanta, Aug. 09, 1999) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become the first woman to receive the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award for her contribution to gender equality and civil rights.
    Ginsburg, who accepted the award Saturday at the ABA's annual meeting, became the second woman on the court when she took office in August 1993.
    The award was established in 1992 to recognize contributions to civil rights, civil liberties and human rights.  FULL STORY from Reuters

University of Alabama settles sex harassment case against head football coach
     (Tuscaloosa, AL, Aug. 09, 1999) -- Alabama reached a $350,000 settlement with an employee who had accused coach Mike DuBose of sexual harassment, and DuBose apologized Thursday for embarrassing the university.
    An emotional DuBose, reading a brief statement, said he had reached a settlement in the case but did not disclose any details.
    School officials said DuBose's salary will be cut by $360,000 in the next three years, almost the same amount being paid to the university employee who filed the complaint against him. FULL STORY from Fox Sports

In Mississippi, a windfall for segregation
     (Tunica, MS, Aug. 09, 1999) -- It seems such a wonderful opportunity. Tunica County, Miss., once the poorest county in America, is awash in new money generated by the area's booming casino industry.
    The county's school system, once among the poorest and most segregated in the country, is proposing to establish a spanking new state-of-the-art school facility at Robinsonville, in the shadow of the casino hotels along the Mississippi River. So why aren't the black residents of Tunica County grinning all over themselves?
    Because, says Rep. Bennie Thompson, the black congressman whose 2nd District constituency includes Tunica, the only effect the new school would have on Tunica's poor black children is to lock them in the inferior and segregated schools they have attended since whites fled the system to avoid racial integration.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Bar Association comes out against racial profiling
     (Atlanta, Aug. 10, 1999) -- The American Bar Association today threw the weight of the nation's lawyers against "racial profiling," the controversial police practice of stopping and questioning minority motorists based on their race.
    In a unanimous voice vote, the governing body of the ABA, holding its annual convention here, approved a measure calling for state and local municipalities to collect data about police traffic stops to determine whether minorities are regularly pulled over because of their skin color. If authorities are disproportionately targeting minorities, the resolution said, the nation's agencies of justice should "identify the most efficient and effective methods of ending such discriminatory practices as they find exist."  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Gunman opens fire at L.A. Jewish center, five hurt
     (Los Angeles, Aug. 10, 1999) -- A man opened fire at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles Tuesday, injuring at least five people before fleeing, police said.
    A police spokesman said that the man had opened fire at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, a Los Angeles suburb. There were no reports of deaths.
    The spokesman said the suspect fled after the shooting and officers carrying rifles were searching for him in the surrounding area. He said no motive for the shooting was immediately known.
    A Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said they had received reports of five people wounded, including two children, ages 8 and 6.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Hearing opens in army murder
     (Fort Campbell, Ky., Aug. 10, 1999) -- A military proceeding that began August 9 in the bashing death of Private First Class (PFC) Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, provided more details of events but no indication that the murder was motivated by homophobia or even that Winchell was gay. A number of servicemembers had contacted national gay and lesbian organizations with the suggestion that the slaying was a hate crime -- although military law does not recognize hate crimes -- but even their continued investigations have not solidly established that. The hearing, which continues August 10, is considering the case against PFC Calvin Glover, accused of pre-meditated murder; on August 14, a similar hearing will consider the case against accused accomplice after the fact Specialist (Spc) Justin Fletcher, Winchell's roommate. All three men were serving in the 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion. FULL STORY from PlanetOut

2 NASCAR crew members fired for racial prank
     (New Hampshire, Aug. 10, 1999) -- NASCAR stars Terry Labonte and Derrike Cope fired two employees for a racial prank in which one of their workers wore a sheet over his head like a Klansman and confronted a black colleague.
     Witnesses characterized the July 8 episode at the New Hampshire International Speedway as a joke by two white motorcoach drivers that went too far.
    It just needs to be understood that there is a line that cannot be crossed, joking or otherwise, said Kevin Triplett, NASCAR’s director of operations.
    Because the two motorcoach drivers were not employed by NASCAR, the sanctioning body could only suspend their licenses, which is the most severe punishment within its power. That means the two men cannot enter any area of a track over which NASCAR has jurisdiction.
    NASCAR did not announce the suspensions until its investigation was complete.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

USDA probes discrimination charges
     (Washington, Aug. 11, 1999) -- Agriculture Department officials are checking discrimination complaints by black farmers who say they were improperly denied disaster assistance in Arkansas and Georgia.
    If confirmed, the allegations would be a setback for a department that settled a multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit earlier this year and is trying to overcome a reputation for treating minority farmers unfairly.
    The complaints involve three of the Farm Service Agency's county offices in Arkansas and two in Georgia. A team from USDA's civil rights office was in Georgia last week, officials said Tuesday.
    Rosalind Gray, director of the civil rights office, said the department would ``take appropriate action'' when the investigations are completed.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Federalize hate crimes, say Specter, Kennedy
     (Washington, Aug. 11, 1999) -- There is new impetus for a federal hate crimes law in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Jewish day care center shootings, which some authorities have speculated may have been motivated by hatred.
    But passage of such a law is far from certain; federalizing state offenses is highly controversial.
    The suspect in custody in the injuries to five people at the center, Buford O. Furrow, 39, a white man, reportedly had a book written by the American Nazi Party in his van and sympathizes with white supremacists. Convinced that the motivation for the crime was prejudice, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has warned member synagogues around the nation to be careful.  FULL STORY from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pontiac, MI targets police discrimination
     (Pontiac, Mich., Aug. 11, 1999) -- A group of Oakland County, Mich., officials pledged Wednesday night to draw up a plan that will combat racial discrimination by police officers and ask police chiefs for a promise to implement it.
    The idea was hatched during a meeting between Oakland County Democratic commissioners, Oakland County Prosecutor Dave Gorcyca, NAACP of North Oakland County lawyer Wallace Parker and Southfield Police Chief Joseph Thomas.
The meeting was called to discuss racial discrimination by police, a hot topic after a recent encounter between police officers in Royal Oak and Dennis Archer Jr., son of the Detroit mayor, and Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Roberta Orr. FULL STORY in the Detroit News

Austin tech executive files re
     (Austin, Texas, Aug. 11, 1999) -- A former tech company executive has filed a federal lawsuit and a human rights complaint against an Austin software company, accusing it of securities violations and religious discrimination.
    Frank Jackson, a former vice president at Epicron Inc., claims in his filing that he was fired in May because of a pattern of religious behavior that favored Presbyterian church-goers over other employees. His discrimination complaint, currently under investigation by the Austin Human Rights Commission, likely will be added to the federal suit within months, attorney Chris Bourgeacq says.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, claims Epicron executives wooed Jackson to their company from Oregon with promises of some 200,000 Wintel Inc. stock options. Wintel is identified in the filing as the predecessor or an affiliate of Epicron Inc.
FULL STORY in the Austin Business Journal

RI Boy Scouts issue 'don't ask
     (Providence, R.I., Aug. 11, 1999) -- A local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America has acknowledged that a Scout can remain a Scout even if he's gay, as long as he isn't open about it.
    The Narragansett Council of the Scouts issued a written statement late Tuesday in response to controversy over a 16-year-old Eagle Scout who has threatened legal action, claiming he was discriminated against because he is a homosexual.
    The statement, similar to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, reaffirmed the group's position that being gay is "inconsistent with" the oath all Scouts must take in which they vow to be "morally straight" and "clean in thought, word and deed." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jewish Center Shooter surrenders
     (Las Vegas, Aug. 11, 1999) -- The white supremacist wanted in the shooting of five people at a Los Angeles Jewish community center fled to Las Vegas in taxis, walked into an FBI office and confessed Wednesday, saying he wanted his act to be "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews," authorities said.
    Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr., 37, also will be charged in the slaying of a postal worker who was shot Tuesday near the community center, authorities said.
     Los Angeles police and federal agents poured into Las Vegas to question Furrow. He has ties to hate groups in the Northwest and had tried to commit himself to a psychiatric hospital last year.
     "He certainly had the wherewithal to create a greater tragedy than the one we had," Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks said.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Michigan lawsuits seek to eliminate affirmative action
     (Ann Arbor, MI, Aug. 11, 1999) -- When new students arrive at the University of Michigan in a few weeks, about a quarter of them will be minorities -- a freshman class selected through the kind of race-based admissions system despised by opponents of affirmative action.
      Two lawsuits against Michigan seek to eliminate race from the admissions process. While similar struggles have played out in other states -- California, Texas and Washington -- experts say the fight in Michigan could be decisive for the nation.
      ``It is a case that very well may go up to the Supreme Court,'' said Gary Orfield, a Harvard University professor of education and social policy. ``It has every possibility of being truly historic.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Kennedy, students discuss bias against the disabled
     (Columbus, OH, Aug. 12, 1999) -- Discrimination against people with disabilities is the same as racial and ethnic discrimination, even though the intentions of each may be different, Ted Kennedy Jr. said yesterday in Columbus.
     "A lot of the discrimination we face is well-intentioned, as opposed to hate discrimination,'' Kennedy said. "Even though it's unintentional, the result is the same -- it's keeping people with disabilities from their full potential.''
    Kennedy, who had a leg amputated because of cancer when he was 12, was the keynote speaker for the Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities luncheon at the Hyatt on Capitol Square.
    Twenty-three high school juniors and seniors with disabilities attended the three-day forum. They listened to several speakers talk about their experiences with disabilities and also discussed ways to make people aware of people with disabilities. Other speakers included a blind attorney and a deaf disc jockey.  FULL STORY in the Columbus Dispatch

TX town to protect illegal immigrants
     (El Cenizo, TX, Aug. 13, 1999) -- A community on the Mexican border has declared itself a "safe haven" for illegal immigrants and passed an ordinance making Spanish the town's official language. Any city worker who helps the U.S. Border Patrol uncover illegal immigrants will be fired, Mayor Rafael Rodriguez said.
    El Cenizo is an impoverished town with a high population of first-generation immigrants, both legal and illegal.
    Rodriguez does not speak English and says it's discrimination in City Council meetings "not to speak Spanish and explain what is going on." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Justice fines MD food processing plant for job
     (Washington, Aug. 13, 1999) -- A Maryland food processing plant was ordered to pay more than $380,000 for discriminating against work-authorized immigrants, the largest civil penalty ever imposed for discrimination under federal immigration laws, announced the Justice Department.
    Townsend Culinary Inc., of Laurel, Maryland, was ordered by Administrative Law Judge Joseph E. McGuire to pay $367,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. Treasury and more than $13,400 in back pay to two work-authorized, non-U.S. citizen discrimination victims. The judge also found that the company illegally imposed harsher hiring requirements on 660 other non-U.S. citizen employees discovered during the Justice Department's investigation. The treatment of those employees, who were not fired, establishes a pattern of misconduct by the company.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

American Airlines sued for racist incidents in LA
     (Los Angeles, Aug. 15, 1999) -- Just short of turning 58, Charles L. Walker is old enough to have painful memories of segregated bathrooms and whites-only water fountains he encountered as a youth in his native West Virginia.
    But the View Park, Calif., resident said the racism he encountered during the past few years as a mechanic for American Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport is "the worst thing that ever happened to me."
    When he entered a restroom at American's maintenance facility at the airport one day in 1996, Walker was greeted by a handwritten sign proclaiming "All Blacks Must Die."
    Later in the same restroom, which is also used by supervisors, he found his name scrawled on the wall next to a Nazi swastika and discovered a cartoon depiction of himself with the words "N---, N---, N---" written under his head. And he encountered a hangman's noose -- a symbol of lynchings -- dangling in the main walkway leading to the nerve center of American's servicing and repair facility. FULL STORY from the Los Angeles Times

Continental airlines charged with discrimination
     (Washington, Aug. 17, 1999) -- The government charged Continental Airlines with discriminating against disabled passengers and sought a $250,000 penalty against the fifth largest U.S. carrier. The Department of Transportation said the charges stem from official complaints filed by air travelers with the government about inadequate assistance to wheelchair-dependent passengers on Continental flights during 1997 and 1998. FULL STORY from Reuters

Most young adults polled OK with racial separation
     (Washington, Aug. 17, 1999) -- Most white 18- to 29-year-olds are comfortable with people of different races and don't mind affirmative action, but it wouldn't bother them if blacks and whites go their separate ways as long as opportunities and access are equal, a new national poll released yesterday suggests.
    The study, conducted by Zogby International for Hamilton College of Clinton, N.Y., and the NAACP, indicates 52.3% of whites in this age group think a separate-but-equal doctrine is all right. And two-fifths of black respondents agreed.
    Overall, half the respondents were amenable to the separate-but-equal social doctrine established in the 1896 Supreme Court decision Plessy vs. Ferguson. The court overturned it in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education.  FULL STORY from Gannett News Service

Affirmative action challenge in Georgia
     (Atlanta, Aug. 18, 1999) -- A conservative legal foundation that has used lawsuits to get rid of affirmative action programs around the South has trained its sights on Atlanta, the very symbol of black economic achievement.
    Unlike some of the Southeastern Legal Foundation's previous targets -- which surrendered rather than fight -- Atlanta's black politicians have angrily defended the system that requires that one-third of the companies doing business with the city be minority- or female-owned.
    Mayor Bill Campbell, who as a child was the first black to integrate a North Carolina school system, vowed to ``fight to the death'' to keep the set-aside program. He has likened the foundation to the Ku Klux Klan. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

New Mexico housing complex settles with Justice
     (Washington, Aug. 18, 1999) -- After a year of litigation, the owner and former manager of an Albuquerque, New Mexico, apartment complex have agreed to pay $75,000 to resolve allegations that they refused to rent to African Americans and families with children, announced the Justice Department today.
      The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, resolves a civil rights complaint filed by the Justice Department in July 1998, alleging that Anita Schikore, former manager of Monterey Manor Apartments in Albuquerque, violated the federal Fair Housing Act by falsely informing African American apartment seekers that there were no apartments available and unlawfully discouraging people with children from living in the complex. Under the agreement, Schikore has admitted to engaging in discriminatory practices. The owner of Monterey Manor, Henry K. Vernon, and Schikore have agreed to compensate individuals whom the complex discriminated against and pay civil penalties to the U.S. Treasury. Vernon must also take steps to prevent future discrimination. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Bill Lan Lee visits Sacramento
     (Sacramento, Aug. 18, 1999) -- When Bill Lann Lee appears with Sacramento leaders at three synagogues burned by arsonists two months ago today, the nation's top civil rights officer will spend another day working at the heart of America's racial divide.
    Lee, acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, is a Chinese American who made his name working for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
    Local officials said they hope his visit today will focus increased attention on hate crimes and anti-Semitism. Lee said he will work to assure the community that his office is following the synagogue burnings closely.  FULL STORY in the Sacramento Bee

Editorial: white hate criminals slip through loopholes
     (San Francisco, Aug. 19, 1999) -- In Novemeber 1998, Buford O. Furrow pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in Seattle.
      This was a felony offense, yet he received a hand-slap sentence of five months probation, even though it was known that he had cavorted with ``The Order,'' one of the nation's most murderous white supremacist groups. Furrow then skipped off to Los Angeles to send his ``wake-up call to America to kill Jews.''
      But his is hardly a unique case. In April, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold delivered their own terror-filled wake-up call with their murderous rampage at Columbine High School in Colorado. The next month, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith did the same with his murder spree in Illinois and Indiana. EDITORIAL in the San Francisco Chronicle

Bomber testifies about 1963 blast
     (Birmingham, AL, Aug. 19, 1999) -- Two white supremacist leaders during a period of Ku Klux Klan violence went before a federal grand jury investigating the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four black girls.
    Robert Shelton, former head of the United Klans of America, entered the federal building today for his appearance and declined to comment as he walked past reporters.
    On Wednesday, the first to testify was J.B. Stoner, who was convicted in 1980 for an earlier bombing of a black church, a nonfatal 1958 blast at Birmingham's Bethel Baptist Church. He served most of his 31/2 years in prison with Robert Chambliss - the only man convicted so far for the deaths of four little black girls in the September 15, 1963, explosion at Sixteenth Street Baptist.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Vandy track coach sues under Title IX
     (Nashville, TN, Aug. 19, 1999) -- Vanderbilt women's track and cross country coach Paul Arceneaux has filed a lawsuit claiming the school does not properly fund the program and does not pay him as much as coaches of male athletes.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, claims Vanderbilt discriminated against Arceneaux ``on the basis of the student-athletes he coaches, in violation of Title IX,'' which guarantees equality in men's and women's athletics.
    Vanderbilt officials declined to comment. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

LA governor fined for payments to David Duke
     (Baton Rouge, LA, Aug. 19, 1999) -- Gov. Mike Foster was fined $20,000 Thursday by the state Board of Ethics for failing to report more than $150,000 in payments to ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for a computerized voter list.
    Foster had no immediate comment.
    In a consent opinion negotiated between Foster's lawyers and the board, Foster was found to have twice violated the state's campaign finance disclosure law.
    The first time was during the 1995 governor's race when he failed to report a $103,000 payment for a computerized ``list of conservative voters,'' the board said. The second was in 1997 when he paid $52,000 for the right to continue to use the list.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

SF housing official faces jail: lying charged
     (San Francisco, Aug. 21, 1999) -- A top manager of the San Francisco Housing Authority, who lied on his resume to get his job, could face up to three years in state prison, after being arrested this week for allegedly faking his credentials to work as a social worker on a previous job.
    Buddy Tate Choy, who was hired as the Housing Authority's deputy administrator for social services a year ago, now faces charges stemming from his claim, on an earlier job, that he was a clinical social worker.
    Choy worked for more than a year as a social worker for the nonprofit Tenants & Owners Development Corp. before joining the Housing Authority management staff, where he portrayed himself as a social worker on his application there. But state investigators say he has never held the required certification to be a social worker. FULL STORY in the San Francisco Examiner

Hundreds march against hate in LA
     (Los Angeles, Aug. 21, 1999) -- Hundreds of people of different nationalities, ethnicities and faiths participated Sunday in a March Against Hate following the recent shooting rampage at a Jewish community center.
    ``We want to build unity across perceived groups -- race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability -- so that we all respond to every hate crime no matter who that hate crime is perpetrated against,'' said Jean Morrison, spokeswoman for the march.
    In the wake of the North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting that left an adult woman, a teen-age camp counselor and three children injured, the March Against Hate drew about 500 people who united to help eliminate hate-based violence. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Pizza Hut settles discrimination suit for $160,000
     (Chicago, Aug. 21, 1999) -- Pizza Hut Inc. will pay at least $160,000 and provide racial-sensitivity training to tens of thousands of employees nationwide as part of the settlement of a racial discrimination lawsuit, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.
    But a company officer disputed that the sensitivity program was part of the settlement.
    The suit was filed by a black family who claimed they were not allowed to celebrate a child's birthday in June 1996 at a Pizza Hut restaurant in suburban Midlothian, Ill. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Santa sues Wal-Mart for sexual discrimination
     (Louisville, KY, Aug. 23, 1999) -- A woman who lost her role as Santa Claus at Wal-Mart when a customer complained it was a man's job is seeking $67,000 from the nation's biggest retailer for lost wages and pain and suffering.
    The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights heard arguments today in the sex discrimination complaint of Marta Brown against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
    "Mrs. Brown proved she could play the role of Santa, but she was rejected based on her female status," said her attorney, Alteata McWilliams. "Mrs. Brown was totally humiliated."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Toledo enters accessibility agreement with Justice
     (Washington, Aug. 23, 1999) -- The City of Toledo, Ohio, will make significant changes to its policies and facilities to provide greater access for persons with disabilities, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The out-of-court agreement resolves allegations that the city of Toledo violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to take the steps necessary to ensure that its programs are accessible to persons with disabilities. The comprehensive agreement covers more than 50 city facilities, including police and fire stations, municipal courts, parking garages, community centers, parks, and sports facilities. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Washington state company settles workplace discrimination complaint with Justice
     (Washington, Aug. 23, 1999) -- A suburban Seattle food service contractor has agreed to pay more than $12,000 to settle allegations of workplace discrimination, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
     The agreement resolves a complaint filed by Un Kyong Roberson, a native of South Korea and a legal permanent resident of the United States, with the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC).
     In her complaint, Roberson alleges that in February 1999, D.E.W. Management Services, Inc. based in Arlington, Washington, retaliated against her when she insisted her Resident Alien Card was valid. D.E.W. had originally challenged the validity of the card because it did not have an expiration date.
     Ms. Roberson brought in documentation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service's website that showed her card was valid. Shortly thereafter, she was informed that she would not be hired by the company. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

LA jury awards $132,000 in harassment case
     (Los Angeles, Aug. 24, 1999) -- An Orange County jury has awarded $132,000 to a former employee who sued St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton for discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination.
    The jury found the hospital violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Family Rights Act by not acting properly when Lisa A. Grant complained about sexual harassment.
Grant's lawsuit, filed in April 1998 in Orange County Superior Court, said the hospital ignored her sexual harassment complaints against a male co-worker. The co-worker asked Grant for two dates but she declined, according to the suit. Then he told Grant of his sexual experiences and fantasies. One day he cornered her in the file room and tried to kiss her. Finally, he wrote her a sexually suggestive poem on Valentine's Day, the suit said.
    The man is still employed at St. Jude, said Grant's attorney, Jack Anthony. FULL STORY from the L.A. Times

SF firefighter newsletter demeans women,
     (San Francisco, Aug. 24, 1999) -- Calling it a ``sick hate crime,'' Supervisor Tom Ammiano yesterday asked the district attorney to investigate the origins of disturbing newsletters that are being sent anonymously to San Francisco firefighters.
    The ``Smokeater's Gazette,'' which has been mailed monthly to fire stations for about a year, demeans minority and women firefighters. One issue of the newsletter says that ``we have minority captains who don't know the difference between cardiac and Cadillac'' and calls women firefighters ``fire watchers,'' most of whom ``can't do the job and in many instances refuse to enter a fire building and if they do, they run out on their comrades in order to hydrate or to get in touch with their feelings.''
    The same issue refers to Chief Bob Demmons, who is black, as ``Boob Demmons.''  FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

Ritzy NYC restaurant faces discrimination suit
     (New York, Aug. 24, 1999) -- The state has filed sex discrimination charges against the family that owns the Rainbow Room and other ritzy Manhattan restaurants, saying they only hire men at some locales.
    Two of the Cipriani family's restaurants, Harry Cipriani on the Upper East Side and Downtown in Soho, hire only men for lucrative positions as waiters and other floor staff, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said in a complaint filed Tuesday.
    Spitzer said the jobs are often the first step to management positions.

Iraqi workers awarded $30,000 in discrimination
     (Lincoln, Neb., Aug. 24, 1999) -- Five workers who claimed they were harassed by a supervisor because they were from Iraq have won about $30,000 in a federal discrimination lawsuit.
    The men worked as meat cutters at M.I. Industries in Lincoln making pet treats from animal byproducts. They claimed in the lawsuit that they had been fired because their boss did not like Iraqis.
    Kathleen Neary, their attorney, said they were told to take dog food home for their friends to eat, denied medical attention after being injured at work and assigned duties in the most dangerous part of the plant. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD speaks out against budget cuts
     (Washington, Aug. 25, 1999) -- In February of this year, the President submitted to Congress a budget to build on last year's bipartisan budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The President's budget would have increased vital investments in families and communities by $2 billion. In July of this year, the House of Representatives completed a "mark-up" of the HUD budget rendering deep cuts in funding that would hurt our Nation's ability to provide safe, affordable housing and economic opportunities for all Americans. For example, the House Appropriations Committee's mark-up of the FY2000 HUD/VA bill would fail to fund any incremental housing vouchers and would impose a 5 percent cut in the critical Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program. If passed by the full Congress, these cuts would have a devastating impact on families and communities nationwide. Overall, the cuts represent: an estimated 156,000 fewer housing units for low-income families in America at a time when worst case housing needs are at an all-time high; 16,000 homeless families and persons with AIDS who will not receive vital housing and related services; and 97,000 jobs that will not be generated in communities that need them. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Allegations of bias hurt case against spy suspect
     (Washington, Aug. 25, 1999) -- After a three-year FBI investigation and months of highly charged political debate about China's alleged theft of nuclear secrets, the government's legal case against its prime suspect appears to be falling apart.
    Federal officials conceded weeks ago that the espionage case against Wen Ho Lee, a Chinese American physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was circumstantial and that they did not have enough evidence to charge him with spying.
    The Justice Department, however, is still considering whether to charge Lee with a lesser felony, mishandling classified information. Now, even that case has been damaged, say some legal experts, by the public declarations of three participants in the probe who maintain that Lee was singled out for investigation because he is of Chinese descent. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Az. lawmaker probed on same sex remarks
     (Phoenix, Aug. 25, 1999) -- A state lawmaker who also is a member of the Army Reserve is under military investigation regarding comments he made about a same-sex benefits bill the legislature was considering.
    In February, Rep. Steve May, R-Phoenix, denounced a bill proposed by Rep. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, that would have prohibited using public money to pay for benefits for same-sex couples.
    In response to Johnson's remark that homosexuality was ``at the lower end of the behavioral spectrum'' and a threat to society, May told a House panel: ``You can hate me. You can discriminate against me. You can be as bigoted as you want to be. But treat me fairly under the law.''
    Now Army Reserve officials are investigating May under a ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy, governing homosexuals in the military, established in 1993. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Housing secretary blasts GOP plan to cut budget
     (Washington, Aug. 26, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo Thursday blasted congressional Republican efforts to slash HUD's proposed year 2000 budget by $1.6 billion while pushing what he claimed was an "irresponsible" tax cut.
    Cuomo said the Republican tax cut would aid the wealthy while cutting programs for the poor. FULL STORY from CNN

Minn. school districts loosening desegregation rules
     (Minneapolis, Aug. 26, 1999) -- When the Legislature decided 26 years ago it wouldn't tolerate segregated schools, it created a rule that forced the most racially diverse districts to integrate.
    But for the first time since 1973, those districts are beginning a new school year with a modified desegregation rule that is more flexible and, some might argue, more forgiving.
    This summer the state Department of Children, Families and Learning altered the rule, which required districts with large numbers of minorities to move students around to achieve specific racial balances.  FULL STORY from Channel 4000

Atlanta sued over affirmative action
     (Atlanta, Aug. 27, 1999) -- A conservative legal foundation yesterday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city of Atlanta's policy of setting aside one-third of its contracts for minority and female-owned firms, jeopardizing an affirmative action program long hailed by minority business advocates as a national model.
    The lawsuit, filed in Atlanta by the Southeastern Legal Foundation, calls the city's minority and female business enterprise program "illegal and unconstitutional" because it considers race and gender as factors in awarding contracts.
    "We are filing the lawsuit because the city of Atlanta is breaking the law," said Matthew J. Glavin, president of the Atlanta-based foundation. "The city has a program that provides benefits to one group of people over another group of people because of the color of their skin, their ethnic heritage or their gender."  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Norway court OKs housing discrimination
     (Oslo, Norway, Aug. 27, 1999) -- Norway's Supreme Court declared Friday it was legal to use such discriminatory statements as ``foreigners unwanted'' and ``whites only'' in real estate listings -- a precedent that worries human rights activists.
     In July 1998, the Institution Against Public Discrimination filed a police complaint against the Eindoms Service real estate brokerage in Oslo on charges of violating Norway's anti-racism laws in lists of apartments for rent.
     Listings included such statements as ``only for whites,'' and ``only for Norwegians with regular jobs,'' according to the group.
     But on Friday, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the rulings of two lower courts that Norway's current law on racism and discrimination does not cover private real estate rentals.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Black farmers to hold prayer vigil in Va.
     (WARSAW, Va. , Aug. 30, 1999) -- John Boyd and the National Black Farmers Association will lead a prayer vigil and protest rally on Tuesday, August 31, at 1 p.m. in front of the Northern Neck Farm Service Agency Office, located at 5559 Richmond Road in Warsaw, Va.
     Boyd, local farmers and members of local churches will be protesting the conduct of the county supervisor, John Price. Price, who is a White male, brandished two Black farmers with a loaded handgun while they were in a federal government building seeking information about USDA loan programs. PRESS RELEASE from the National Black Farmers Association

Justice awards fair hiring grants
     (Washington, Aug. 30, 1999) -- Thirteen nonprofit organizations in eight states will receive nearly $750,000 to conduct public education programs for workers and employers about immigration-related employment discrimination, the Justice Department announced today.
     The grants, awarded annually by the Civil Rights Division's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), will assist organizations serving both employers and workers in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
     "Grants to community-based and professional organizations enable us to better educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities under our immigration laws," said John Trasviña, Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices.
     "Immigrant civil rights issues are no longer limited to border states. These grants will respond to the needs of emerging immigrant communities." PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Judge rules for Million Youth March
     (New York, Aug. 31, 1999) -- A judge ruled Tuesday that the Million Youth March can go forward in Harlem this weekend over the city's objections because the First Amendment protects even offensive speech.
    U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said that many statements made by the event's organizers, including Khallid Abdul Muhammad, were ``bigoted, hateful, violent and frightening.'' But he said that did not justify denying a permit for the rally.
    The right to free speech ``applies not only to politically correct statements but also to statements with which we may disagree and, indeed, abhor,'' he wrote.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Advocate for the disabled Beverly Lutz Price dies
     (Washington, Aug. 31, 1999) -- Beverly Lutz Price, 79, an advocate for the handicapped who was instrumental in providing independent living facilities for people with severe physical disabilities, died of cancer August 27 at home in Washington.   FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Islamic advocacy group releases civil rights report
     (Washington, Aug. 31, 1999) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, has released its 1999 report on the status of American Muslim civil rights, called ``EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH.'' The report showed an increase in the number of prayer-related incidents in schools and in the workplace. These and other denials of religious accommodation comprised half of the complaints, a 40 percent increase over 1998 figures.
      The 35-page report details more than 280 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination, stereotyping, bias, and harassment. Eighty percent of the incidents took place in 14 states and the District of Columbia, where the American Muslim population is concentrated. PRESS RELEASE  from the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Woman sues disney for 'black mammy' portrayal
     (Selma, AL, Sep. 01, 1999) -- A woman is seeking $8 million in damages over a Disney TV movie that she contends inaccurately portrays her as a ``black Mammy'' during the civil rights era.
    Amelia Boynton Robinson was heavily involved in the Selma civil rights movement during the 1960s and was an identified character in the movie ``Selma, Lord, Selma.''
    She was depicted as a stereotypical ``black Mammy'' whose main function was to make religious utterances and to participate in singing spirituals and protest songs, said Bruce Boynton, her son and an attorney.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Department of Labor predicts increased workplace
     (Washington, Sep. 02, 1999) -- Pressure to correct lingering disparities in employment opportunities and pay between white and minority Americans will increase as the population grows and changes over the next 50 years, the Labor Department predicts.
    By 2050, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 50 percent with immigration accounting for almost two-thirds of that growth, the agency said in a new report on future workplace trends.
    By then, about half of all Americans will belong to what are now considered minority groups, compared with slightly more than a quarter today. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD cuts through red tape to get townhouse for kidney donor
     (Washington, Sep. 03, 1999) -- Marian Neal is moving out of a homeless shelter thanks to an outpouring of help when people learned her plight after giving her kidney to a 7-year-old neighbor.
    Neal, 40, will get the keys Friday to a recently renovated one-bedroom townhouse in the nation's capital.
    "She was a heroine who should be treated decently," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who directed his staff to cut through the normal red tape and find her a house. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Ginnie Mae REMIC transactions set records
     (Washington, Sep. 03, 1999) -- Ginnie Mae this week closed its largest REMIC transaction ever. Ginnie Mae REMIC 1999-29 was issued at $1.8 billion, exceeding the previous record set last month by $460 million. Salomon Smith Barney is the sponsor of both the largest transaction and the second largest transaction.
    On the strength of this transaction and four other REMICs that closed this week, Ginnie Mae exceeded its previous one month record issuance volume by $900 million. The month of August ended with a total of $4.8 billion in Ginnie Mae REMIC transactions due to the support of PaineWebber Incorporated; Lehman Brothers; Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.; Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; Blaylock & Partners; Myerberg & Company; and Utendahl Capital Partners.
    REMIC, a type of mortgage-backed security, stands for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

ACLU sues Ca. school over donated texts
     (McKittrick, Ca., Sep. 07, 1999) -- Principal Steven Wentland says he just wanted to give his students at the Belridge Elementary School here in the central California oil patch the best textbooks he could find.
    But the textbooks, donated by a patron whom Wentland will not name and published by a Florida company that describes itself as "unashamedly Christian and traditional in its approach," contained such overtly religious material that Veronica Van Ry decided she should contact the American Civil Liberties Union and pull her 12-year-old daughter, Rita Elliot, out of the school. Rita will not be attending this fall.
    The family's problems with the books?
    They are filled with biblical references and quotes, dismiss non-Christians as those denied a place in heaven and describe mathematics as "part of the truth and order that God has built into reality."  FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Black leaders criticize Bush
     (Simpsonville, SC, Sep. 07, 1999) -- Black leaders criticized Texas Gov. George W. Bush for trying to woo white South Carolina voters by dismissing an NAACP national tourism boycott of the state to force down the Confederate flag from the Statehouse.
    Bush, while campaigning in the state Monday, declared that outsiders should ``butt out'' out of the issue.
    His stance shows he ``is wooing the white voters of South Carolina to support his candidacy,'' said the Rev. H.H. Singleton, president of the Conway branch of the NAACP. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Akron, Oh. apartments charged with discrimination
     (Akron, Oh., Sep. 08, 1999) -- Complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by three families and the Fair Housing Advocates Association of Akron allege that the owner and operator of an Akron apartment complex engage in practices that discriminate against African-American families and children.
    An investigation conducted by the fair-housing group alleged that ``it appears that Waterford at Portage Trail Apartments engages in a pattern and practice of subjecting families with children to different terms and conditions by placing undue restrictions on them,'' according to Vincent B. Curry, the group's executive director. FULL STORY from the Akron Beacon-Journal

Cisneros pleads guilty to one charge
     (Washington, Sep. 08, 1999) -- In a stunning conclusion to a four-year, $10 million investigation, former Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros pleaded guilty yesterday to a single misdemeanor for lying to the FBI about the extent of payments he made to a former mistress.
    Cisneros' admission came on the day he was to stand trial on 18 federal felony charges of conspiracy and lying to the FBI. In return for federal prosecutors' dropping those charges, he agreed to pay a $10,000 fine. He will face no jail time or probation.  FULL STORY from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Teen athlete's lawsuit pushes disability law
     (Chicago, Sep. 10, 1999) -- A high school basketball player who was dropped from the team for drinking says he is an alcoholic and is suing for reinstatement under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
    The case could test the scope of the federal law, which is still being deciphered almost a decade after its passage.
    Last spring, Rickey Higgins, 17, helped lead his suburban Warren Township High School team to second place in the state basketball tournament. Then Rickey, a 5-foot-11 guard, was arrested for two alcohol-related offenses, including drunken driving, and was told that his high school sports career was over.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Civil rights leaders announce new civil rights organization
     (Washington, Sep. 14, 1999) -- Civil rights leaders will gather in Washington on Thursday to announce the creation of a "one stop" civil rights organization that will address discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.
     The center is the result of the combination of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, the Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington, and the Civil Rights Council of Greater Washington.  PRESS RELEASE from the Equal Rights Center

More UCLA football players charged in parking scam
     (Los Angeles, Sep. 14, 1999) -- Cade McNown and two other recent UCLA football stars are now officially part of the school's handicapped parking scandal.
    McNown, a Chicago Bears quarterback, Skip Hicks of the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs' Larry Atkins stand accused of illegally using handicapped parking space placards while they were star athletes at UCLA.
    Also named Monday in new charges were former UCLA linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and current UCLA player Eric Whitfield. All five were expected to enter pleas today in Los Angeles Municipal Court on the misdemeanor charges.
    The City Attorney's Office has brought charges against a total 19 current or former Bruins alleged to be part of the disabled parking scam. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Idaho HRC wants more power to fight housing discrimination
     (Boise, Sep. 14, 1999) -- The Idaho Human Rights Commission has agreed to seek approval from government leaders before pursuing legislation that would give the group more power to investigate housing discrimination.
    The commission wants to expand Idaho's laws and its own authority to match federal standards for housing discrimination cases.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

First charge made in S.F. housing probe
     (San Francisco, Sep. 14, 1999) -- A government informant who authorities say backed out of a deal to cooperate in the widening probe of the San Francisco Housing Authority was charged yesterday with bilking the government out of $33,552 in housing subsidies.
    Tracy Lynell Baker, 35, is the first to be charged in the long-running investigation into allegations that workers at the Housing Authority are selling Section 8 rent vouchers to the highest bidders.
    Baker is accused of falsifying documents to qualify for the subsidy program, which pays as much as 70 percent of a person's rent. But sources say Baker is just a small player in a system possibly plagued by corruption. FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

New HUD report documents lending discrimination
     (Washington, Sep. 15, 1999) -- Minorities trying to buy homes continue to face discrimination from mortgage lending institutions, according to a new report prepared by the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    The Urban Institute report issued today says that "not all Americans enjoy equal access to the benefits of homeownership, in part because of unequal access to capital." It also says that "minorities are less likely than whites to obtain mortgage financing and, if successful in obtaining a mortgage, tend to receive less generous loan amounts and terms." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Cops learn about hate crimes at national conference
     (Sacramento, Sep. 15, 1999) -- Some 500 law enforcement personnel from around the region continued their crash course in how to better identify and respond to hate crimes Tuesday during the second day of a national conference on the topic being held in Sacramento.
    In the process, participants heard two bits of conventional wisdom shattered: They learned that the vast majority of hate crimes are committed by independent operators -- not members of established groups -- and that such groups don't attract only misfits and losers.
    "Matt Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator, is a law school graduate," said Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York. "His father was a cop. He came from a good family. He is an American success story."  FULL STORY in the Sacramento Bee

Jackson says network boycotts not enough
     (Washington, Sep. 15, 1999) -- Media ownership is more effective than boycotting television networks, a longtime civil rights leader told black broadcasters Wednesday.
    ``It's not enough to talk about the image on TV. We've got to get behind the question of ownership and control,'' the Rev. Jesse Jackson said as the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters opened their fall conference.
    Jackson said minorities need a voice because the media can ``control character and minds, who is friend and who is enemy.''
    This month, the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization, asked minorities not to watch the four major networks - ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC - because the group found just one leading Hispanic role among the 38 shows premiering this fall. Other organizations, including the NAACP, also are pressuring the networks to feature more minorities in prominent roles.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Advisory commission says English-only tests unfair
     (Washington, Sep. 15, 1999) -- English-only tests that determine whether a student moves ahead or even graduates may violate millions of Hispanic children's rights, a presidential panel said Wednesday. It urged the Education Department to investigate.
    ``State education leaders have compromised the future of Hispanic students by making high stakes decisions based on inaccurate and inadequate information,'' said the report by the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
    The Education Department does investigate such cases, said Rodger Murphey, a spokesman for the civil rights branch. About 20 percent of the 5,000 cases filed each year specifically relate to laws that prohibit racial discrimination against students, he said.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Gore argues case for affirmative action
     (San Diego, Sep. 16, 1999) -- Speaking before an audience of Latino business executives, Vice President Gore today offered a passionate defense of affirmative action, saying past injustices and discrimination did justify programs to lift more minorities into positions of power and affluence.
    At the town hall forum of the type so popular with President Clinton, a questioner asked Gore how many Hispanics a Gore administration would appoint to high office. The Democratic front-runner said it was natural for all citizens--of all races and ethnicities--to seek out those who look like they do. But that as Americans, Gore said, we must "break loose those blinders" and "break down the barriers."
    "Affirmative action is really good for our country," Gore said. "That's the strength of the United States of America," and his closing remarks were followed by a standing ovation.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Bradley would expand Civil Rights Act to gays
     (Washington, Sep. 16, 1999) -- Lining up more closely with the homosexual community's agenda than Vice President Al Gore, Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley called for expanding the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect gays and lesbians.
    Bradley also rejected the Clinton administration's ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy for the armed services and said, ``We ought to get to a time when gays can serve openly in the military.''
    The former New Jersey senator, in a gay and lesbian newsmagazine interview due on newsstands September 28, went on to criticize a California anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judge frees Cisneros' ex-lover
     (Lubbock, Texas, Sep. 16, 1999) -- The former lover of ex-Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros has been freed a week after Cisneros was fined but given no jail time for lying to the FBI about payments to her.
    Linda Jones was released Thursday. Her 31/2-year sentence was reduced to time served - nearly 18 months - for her cooperation in the Cisneros case, according to court documents filed in federal court in Lubbock.
    Ms. Jones, 50, was to be the star witness in the government's prosecution of Cisneros. But Cisneros pleaded guilty last week to a single misdemeanor count of lying to the FBI in a plea deal. The agreement, which included a $10,000 fine, called for no prison time or probation.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Freddie Mac offers mortgage relief to victims of Floyd
     (McLean, Va., Sep. 17, 1999) -- Some mortgage borrowers may qualify for short-term mortgage relief depending upon the extent to which storm damage from Hurricane Floyd affects their ability to repay their Freddie Mac-owned loan, Freddie Mac officials said today. PRESS RELEASE from Freddie Mac

USCCR releases report on education discrimination
     (Washington, Sep. 20, 1999) -- The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today released a major report on the impact of ability grouping practices on minority students in the nation's schools. The report is the fourth in a series investigating various educational practices and programs relating to minority and female students. USCCR Chairperson Mary Frances Berry noted that the series ``reflects the Commission's long-standing commitment to ensuring that all children in this country are afforded equal educational opportunity.''
    For centuries, members of minority racial and ethnic groups have struggled to secure a quality public education. Today, this battle is fought against discriminatory barriers that have created racially identifiable classrooms within ``integrated'' public schools.
    The report, Equal Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination for Minority Students: Federal Enforcement of Title VI in Ability Grouping Practices, examines the U.S. Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it relates to tracking and ability grouping practices. It is the first report in 22 years by the Commission focusing on within-school discrimination.  PRESS RELEASE from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Minority group challenges graduation requirements in Tx.
     (San Antonio, Sep. 20, 1999) -- An academic skills test Texas students must pass to receive a high school diploma discriminates against Hispanics and blacks and contributes to higher minority dropout rates, a Latino rights group lawyer told a federal judge today.
    Use of the exit-level Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test also increases the retention of minority students in the ninth grade and "has turned the schools into TAAS preparation classes instead of classes," said attorney Al Kauffman.
    "This indeed is the ultimate high-stakes test," said Kauffman, representing the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The organization is suing the state and wants the standardized TAAS test banned as a requirement for a diploma. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Blacks likelier to have bad credit, survey finds
     (Washington, Sep. 21, 1999) -- Nearly twice as many blacks as whites have bad credit, mortgage lender Freddie Mac said Tuesday as it began an initiative with several black colleges to get teenagers and young adults started on a better track.
    "This initiative furthers our mission to help make the American dream of decent, accessible housing a reality," said Freddie Mac chairman and CEO Leland C. Brendsel.
    "Increasing the pool of qualified minority home buyers will play an important role in future expansion of the home mortgage industry," Brendsel said. "This initiative is not only good for our nation, but makes good business sense."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

New trial ordered in UDF discrimination suit
     (Columbus, Ohio, Sep. 22, 1999) -- A mother and son will get a second chance to prove they were victims of discrimination when they were fired from a United Dairy Farmers store.
    Judge Algenon Marbley ordered a new trial Tuesday in the $17 million lawsuit after determining a videotape used by the convenience store chain in its defense was a hoax.
    The jury ruled October 6 that the Cincinnati-based convenience chain and two supervisors did not discriminate against Maudie Williams and her son Michael, who are black, when they were fired from the store in 1995. The company said they were fired because they violated cash-handling policies.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Disney boycotted by Arab-American groups
     (Orlando, Fla., Sep. 22, 1999) -- A coalition of Arab-American groups is calling on "peoples of conscience" to give up their Walt Disney World theme park tickets, pass on buying that Tarzan doll and avoid Disney-made movies.
    Leaders of the groups called Tuesday for the boycott because of a planned exhibit at Disney's Epcot centre that they say depicts east Jerusalem as part of Israel, designates Jerusalem as the country's capital and marginalizes the roles of Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem.
    "We don't expect a cultural icon like Disney to embroil itself in Israeli propaganda by propagating the Israeli myth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," said Khalid Turaani, executive director of Washington-based American Muslims for Jerusalem. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Princeton professor sparks protest
     (Princeton, N.J., Sep. 22, 1999) -- More than 250 demonstrators protested the first day of classes of a Princeton University professor who says parents should have the right to euthanize newborns with severe handicaps.
     The protesters - including about 60 people in wheelchairs - surrounded the school's administration building. Fourteen people were arrested when they refused to stop blocking the entrances.
    Police who guarded the classroom where bioethics professor Peter Singer was teaching said they will continue to do so as long as they feel it was necessary. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

White House threatens to veto housing bill
     (Washington, Sep. 22, 1999) -- The White House Wednesday threatened to veto one of the biggest spending bills Congress passes annually to fund domestic programs as lawmakers scrambled to avoid a budget showdown with President Clinton.
    The White House cited ``significant problems'' with a $97 billion Senate bill for low-income housing, veterans, the environment and space exploration that senators said they had crafted to try to please Clinton. Earlier, it issued a harsher veto threat of the House-passed version of the bill.
    With time running out before the October1 start of the new fiscal year and Congress' scheduled adjournment in late October, each veto threat increases chances that the Republican-led Congress will be forced into a last-ditch budget deal with Clinton that Republicans want to avoid.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Feds charge 25 in SF Housing Authority case
     (San Francisco, Sep. 22, 1999) -- Federal agents, leading a bribery investigation at the San Francisco Housing Authority, have arrested the head of the agency's relocation office and her former deputy.
     Patricia Williams of San Francisco and Yolanda Bradley of Richmond were arrested Tuesday along with six others in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud a rent subsidy and relocation aid program for poor tenants.
    Williams, 57, head of the Housing Authority's relocation office, and Bradley, 39, her former aide, were accused of taking payments in exchange for federal rent-subsidy certificates. FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

HUD ends backing for 27 lenders
     (Washington, Sep. 22, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced yesterday that it is cracking down on mortgage delinquencies by striking 27 lenders from the list of those eligible to receive federal mortgage insurance to back home loans.
    The 27 lenders were the first to feel the effects of HUD's Homebuyer Protection Plan, announced in April.
    The move targets specific branch offices of mortgage lenders where default and foreclosure rates have reached as high as three times the regional average. It prohibits the branches from insuring loans with the Federal Housing Administration effective immediately.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Jury tampering investigated in trial of civil rights leader
     (Atlanta, Sep. 22, 1999) -- Investigators are looking into whether civil rights activists tampered with the jury in the trial of a former state senator accused of cheating the state out of expense money.
    The theft case against Ralph D. Abernathy III, the son of a renowned civil rights leader, ended last week in a mistrial.
    However, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked by the judge to look into an encounter between jurors and a group of civil rights leaders that included Coretta Scott King, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said Tuesday.
    Mrs. King, New York activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, state Rep. Tyrone Brooks and others intercepted the jurors as they were going to lunch, according to law enforcement personnel.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Seafood company settles discrimination suit for $1.25M
     (Seattle, Sep. 23, 1999) -- A seafood company has agreed to pay $1.25 million to Vietnamese boat workers who complained of racial discrimination and inhumane treatment after they got the flu aboard a fishing ship.
    The settlement involving American Seafoods was announced Wednesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
    Agency Chairwoman Ida Castro said the case involved "egregious types of discrimination," with Vietnamese Americans singled out because of their nationality. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD terminates contract with InTown Management Group
     (Washington, Sep. 23, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced HUD has terminated a management contract with InTown Management Group because the company did a poor job managing and marketing about 25,000 homes that HUD acquired through foreclosure.
     The terminated contracts cover properties in Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington State and West Virginia.
     "HUD sets tough standards for its contractors as part of our effort to wipe out waste, fraud and abuse involving our funds," Cuomo said. "When contractors fail to meet our standards, we replace them." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Second man sentenced to death in Jasper trial
     (Bryan, Texas, Sep. 23, 1999) -- A jury Thursday decided racist ex-convict Lawrence Russell Brewer should pay with his life for the dragging death of a black East Texas man, sending Brewer to death row where he joins a buddy who also was condemned for the attack.
    After some 14 hours of deliberations over two days, the Brazos County jury decided on a death sentence for Brewer, 32, rejecting arguments from his attorneys that he should be given a life prison term -- the only other choice the jury had.
    Brewer's former prison pal, John William King, 24, already is on death row, convicted and condemned in February for the murder of James Byrd Jr., who was chained at the ankles to a pickup and dragged to his death 15 months ago in a crime that shocked the nation.
FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Booster club denies excluding woman
     (Lubbock, Texas, Sep. 24, 1999) -- They hoot when the Red Raiders win and holler like maniacs after a loss.
    For 64 years, the rowdy and raucous Texas Tech Saddle Tramps have been known across West Texas as a famed and exclusive spirit club. And as far back as anyone can remember, the Tramps have only been men.
    Then came Jennifer Slattery, the first woman ever to apply for membership. The Saddle Tramps say she wasn't denied admission this spring because she's a woman. But the 50-member group has applied for male-only legal designation that would exempt it from an anti-discrimination law. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Baptists defend attempted conversion of Jews
     (Nashville, Sep. 24, 1999) -- Southern Baptists aren't backing down on their desire to convert Jews.
    Their president, Paige Patterson, this week reaffirmed the stance in a letter to a Jewish leader, despite denunciations from Jews and some Christian groups.
    "We do not believe in coercion. We do not believe in deception in evangelism. But we do believe in witnessing to everybody," Patterson told Associated Baptist Press.
    Near the start of the Jewish New Year this month, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a booklet urging prayer that Jews will convert to Christianity. FULL STORY from the Tennessean

DNC rebukes Bradley's civil rights plan
     (Washington, Sep. 24, 1999) -- Bill Bradley's suggestion that the 1964 Civil Rights Act be expanded to include sexual orientation drew a rebuke Friday from the head of the Democratic National Committee's black caucus, who called the suggestion ``ill-advised.''
      Texas state Rep. Al Edwards of Houston, head of the DNC caucus, asked the party's executive committee to pass a resolution against reopening the 1964 law, and they did so unanimously late Friday.
      ``The DNC would urge that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which is the benchmark for all other civil rights bills, not be reopened for debate or amendments that diminish its existing protections,'' the resolution said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Muslim cadets charge abuse
     (New York, Sep. 26, 1999) -- Twenty-one Muslim cadets from the Middle East, who said they were harassed and even beaten by their classmates at the State University of New York Maritime College, left the college and moved to a hotel Friday night. The students had refused to attend class since Tuesday.
    The departure of the Muslim freshmen, and the dispiriting circumstances surrounding it, sent ripples of introspection through the barracks under the Throgs Neck Bridge in the Bronx.
    Cadets at Maritime train for careers in the shipping industry in a four-year program that resembles that of the U.S. Naval Academy. Set against a tidal passage and within a pre-Civil War shore battery, the college is rooted in nautical tradition, with cadets sporting crew cuts and khaki uniforms.  FULL STORY from the New York Times

Univ. of Virginia seeks to end using race in admissions
     (Arlington, Va., Sep. 27, 1999) -- Members of the University of Virginia's governing board say the school needs to stop using race as a factor in student admissions, a warning that has drawn criticism from some U-Va. faculty and educators at other colleges.
    The Board of Visitors has reached a consensus that the school's affirmative action program must be changed in light of recent federal court rulings, said Terence P. Ross, a board member who heads a special committee that has been studying the U-Va. policy since January. "The problem is we have used what some people describe as racial preferences," said Ross, a lawyer living in Alexandria.
    Although the board has not voted on the issue, the trustees have told the admissions office that the school's policy probably could not survive a legal challenge. The trustees also have urged university officials to take steps to attract more low-income applicants of all races. FULL STORY in the Washington Post

Sheriff attacks gays, atheists with official website
     (Fort Myers, Fl., Sep. 27, 1999) -- An outspoken Florida sheriff, who is no stranger to controversy, is using his department's Web site to air his personal views to criticize abortion, gays, atheists, feminists and the American Civil Liberties Union.
    In the attack on civil rights and groups supporting a number of different lifestyles and beliefs, Lee County Sheriff John J. McDougall accuses these "diabolical forces" of seeking to undermine America and working behind the scenes to morally corrupt the nation. FULL STORY from APB Online

Black stuntworkers complain of hiring discrimination in Hollywood
     (Los Angeles, Sep. 28, 1999) -- Minority stuntworkers are accusing Hollywood of discrimination, saying the industry is hiring whites to stand in for black actors such as Eddie Murphy, Samuel Jackson and Louis Gossett Jr.
    At a news conference Monday, several stuntworkers asked viewers to boycott all Viacom products October 8-10. Viacom owns CBS, MTV, VH-1 and Nickelodeon, as well as the Paramount studios and the Blockbuster chain of video-rental stores. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

House bill boosts housing for elderly, disabled
     (Washington, Sep. 28, 1999) -- Democrats and Republicans alike are praising a House-passed bill that could reverse a national trend pushing the elderly and disabled out of government-subsidized housing.
    Rep. Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., the bill's author, said Monday it is necessary because tens of thousands of tenants across the country are losing subsidized housing, or being threatened with its loss, as landlords drop out of the federal program known as "Section 8" to seek higher rents on the open market.
    According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., "there are over 1 million elderly families in this country with 'worst-case' housing needs."
    The bill, passed 405-5 on Monday, increases funding for housing programs by $71 million and seeks to modernize the program and provide incentives to entice building owners to stay with it. One provision would forgive building owners' outstanding government loans, which would give nonprofit groups relief from heavy debt service. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Anti Defamation League settles spying case
     (New York, Sep. 28, 1999) -- The Anti-Defamation League has reached a final settlement with Arab American and other ethnic groups that filed a class-action lawsuit in 1993 accusing the Jewish defense organization's California office of spying on them and their members.
    Under the settlement reached in a federal court in Los Angeles on Monday, the parties agreed to an injunction whereby the ADL will purge certain information, such as criminal arrest records and Social Security numbers, from any files it holds on the plaintiffs.
    The ADL also agreed to pay $175,000 for the plaintiffs' legal fees and contribute $25,000 toward a community relations fund to be jointly administered by representatives of its organization and the plaintiffs. The fund will support projects aimed at improving relations among Jewish, Arab American, African American and other minority communities. FULL STORY from JTA

GSA shift hurts nonprofits, blind workers
     (Washington, Sep. 28, 1999) -- A decision by the General Services Administration to close eight supply centers has spilled into the nonprofit sector and put more than 1,000 blind workers at risk of being laid off, according to nonprofit group officials.
    GSA officials said they did not intend to throw blind workers out of jobs but acknowledged it was possible that nonprofit organizations have lost sales as GSA warehouses reduce their stocks in anticipation of closing.
    "We are going to look at that hard and make sure we didn't do anything inadvertent," GSA Administrator David J. Barram said yesterday.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

FHCGW releases report on rental insurance discrimination
     (Washington, Sep. 29, 1999) -- Nearly half of Washington area African Americans and Latinos seeking apartment insurance may be encountering discrimination, according to a report released yesterday by the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington.
     Testers for the nonprofit group called more than 60 insurance offices and sought information about renters insurance. In 150 cases, responses to black and Latino callers were compared with responses to white callers, and 45 percent revealed discrimination, the report said.
     "That number is totally unacceptable," said David Berenbaum, executive director of the Equal Rights Center, which runs the council. "Discrimination in the marketing of tenants insurance is commonplace, is an accepted business practice and can be so subtle and sophisticated that potential policy holders are unable to detect it."

Airline fined for moving blind passenger
     (Washington, Sep. 29, 1999) -- America West Airlines has been slapped with a $1,000 fine because it placed a blind passenger and her seeing-eye dog in coach after a first-class passenger objected to sitting next to the dog.
    The Transportation Department levied the penalty because its rules state that under such circumstances, airlines should instead move the objecting passenger or kick him off the airplane.
    "We will work with the carriers to ensure that our air transportation system is inclusive in its service and, therefore, accessible to all travelers," Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said Tuesday in announcing the settlement. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Disabled access extends to pulpit
     (Washington, Sep. 29, 1999) -- When it comes to who can speak from the pulpit, separation of church and state may compel the government to steer clear of what is said, but a current St. Mary's County case illustrates that the state of Maryland very much wants to be involved with who has access to the speaker's stand.
    State officials have ruled that the St. Mary's Church of Christ must comply with strict Maryland regulations and provide a ramp -- access for the disabled -- to the pulpit of its new $963,000, 11,880-square-foot church under construction in the town of California.
    Although the rest of the new building complies with federal and state access requirements, the church recently sought a waiver to avoid building a ramp to the pulpit. The Rev. LeRoy Finto, church pastor, said only he and perhaps an occasional guest speaker would need access to the pulpit, noting that "at present it's not a factor." FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Bank settles 'unfair lending' claims
     (Nashville, Sep. 30, 1999) -- First American Corp. will pay $3 million to settle charges involving unfair lending practices by a Mississippi-based bank it acquired last year.
    The settlement agreement between Deposit Guaranty National Bank and the U.S. Justice Department was filed yesterday with a Jackson, Miss., court.
    It relates to allegations that Deposit Guaranty violated federal laws by practicing racial discrimination in making home improvement loans between 1995 and April 1998.  FULL STORY from the Tennessean

HUD has three weeks to find $3.75 million to buy houses
     (Pittsburgh, Sep. 30, 1999) -- A federal judge yesterday gave the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development a three-week reprieve to find the $3.75 million necessary to buy 33 homes by the end of the year to comply with terms of the settlement in the Sanders housing discrimination case.
    In April, Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond told HUD it needed to find the money to buy the homes after he learned that a $6.9 million pot reserved five years ago to buy the homes was about to run out. Housing officials blamed inflation and increased housing costs for the shortfall.
    HUD is required under the 1994 Sanders settlement to provide funding for 100 units of new public housing. The provision of the court-approved settlement has proven controversial, prompting protests from suburban Allegheny County municipalities where homes have been bought in the last three years.  FULL STORY from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Greyhound to provide better service to passengers with disabilities
     (Washington, Sep. 30, 1999) -- Greyhound Lines Inc., will improve the availability and quality of accessible bus service for persons with disabilities, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The out-of-court agreement resolves a number of complaints filed with the Justice Department alleging that Greyhound drivers and employees violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against passengers with disabilities. Although the complaints alleged a range of problems, most involved the denial of boarding assistance, injuries sustained while passengers were physically carried on and off buses, or other mistreatment. While current Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations permit carrying, 1998 regulations require Greyhound and other intercity bus companies to provide lift-equipped bus service in the future. These rules do not apply to Greyhound until October 2001.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

NJ high school students admit to two-year hate spree
     (Mount Holly, Nj., Sep. 30, 1999) -- Three members of a hate group have pleaded guilty to a string of racist pranks around Burlington County -- from carving a swastika in a cornfield to harassing minorities.
    They were the last members of The Crew to admit their guilt in the case. The three were scheduled to stand trial next week for the offenses, which occurred over a two-year period.
    Authorities charged 11 suspects with the hate crimes, which also included making prank telephone calls, painting the letters "KKK" outside a black family's home, throwing paint at the home of a disabled man, and pelting two Asian-Indian gas station attendants with eggs.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NYC nixed harassment claims
     (New York, Oct. 01, 1999) -- The city violated federal law when it turned away women who claimed they were sexually harassed by supervisors in the city's welfare-to-work program, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says.
    The agency finding came in the case of a homeless mother of two who said her supervisor made unwanted sexual advances toward her in the weeks after she was selected for the program in 1997. She said that after she refused his advances, she lost her job and had to fight to keep her benefits.
    The commission is investigating as many as 10 such other cases, lawyers said at a news conference Thursday. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Coca-Cola denies shredding evidence
     (Atlanta, Oct. 01, 1999) -- Coca-Cola officials did not shred potential evidence in a discrimination lawsuit against the soft drink giant, though they did consider the idea, company lawyers said.
    Allegations of document-shredding were raised two weeks ago by lawyers for four current or former black Coca-Cola employees who maintain the company racially discriminates within its ranks. Coca-Cola denies the charge.
    In a motion filed in U.S. District Court, the attorneys said they had "substantial evidence" that the so-called "war room" where Coca-Cola was working on the suit contained shredders that destroyed information. The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Richard Story to order additional depositions and to punish Coke for any misconduct. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judge approves Boeing discrimination settlement
     (Seattle, Oct. 01, 1999) -- A $15 million settlement of a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Boeing Co. is adequate, despite the strident objections of a number of employees in the dispute, a judge has ruled.
    "The Court has heard a series of powerful arguments ... from objectors in this case," U.S. District Judge John Coughenour wrote Thursday.
    "Several consider the amount of damages awarded to be an insult. And even more view Boeing's promises of future reforms with skepticism. The Court finds it difficult to reconcile these compelling personal statements with the more positive view of the settlement expressed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other experts."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Discrimination suit filed against California landlord
     (LOS ANGELES, Oct. 01, 1999) -- At a Friday press conference, former apartment managers Matt and Michelle Spencer, together with their attorneys, announced they have filed suit against their former employer, Daniel Conway, alleging housing discrimination along with other claims.
     Specifically, the suit alleges they were wrongfully fired when they refused to comply with Conway’s instructions to discriminate when selecting new tenants for the Conway Selective Living Apartments, located in Lake Forest, California. Additionally, the suit claims that Michelle Spencer was hit in the jaw by Conway after the firing, a few days before the Spencers were to move from the complex.

Race strongly affects chances for success, study finds
     (BOSTON, Oct. 02, 1999) -- Race continues to play a powerful role in the chances for success in America, from job opportunities to education to housing, according to a sweeping five-year study of Boston, Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles.
    The Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality, released Friday, found that racial stereotypes and attitudes heavily influence the labor market, with blacks landing at the very bottom.
    The mammoth, seven-volume survey was sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation, a private center that researches social policy, and the Harvard University Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. It looked at 9,000 households and 3,500 employers in the four cities.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

'America's Largest Problem' Is Hate, President Tells Gay Group
     (BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Oct. 02, 1999) -- Preaching the cause of tolerance, President Clinton tonight told hundreds of gay and lesbian supporters gathered here that it is time for the nation to rise up more vigorously against all forms of hate, which he called "America's largest problem."
    In an address interrupted often by rousing cheers, Clinton told a packed ballroom inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel that even in a time of astounding technological advances and economic prosperity, the country is still being undermined by all too many acts of violent bigotry.
    "I am going to do everything I can, every day that I have, to remind people of that--that we have to be one America," the president said. "And we cannot be under the illusion that either material prosperity or technological breakthroughs alone can purge the darkness in our hearts." FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Mother launches anti-harassment ads
     (ATLANTA, Oct. 03, 1999) -- The mother of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was beaten and left for dead, launched a public service announcement Sunday aimed at curbing anti-gay taunting.
    It begins airing this month on MTV.
    In the announcement, high school boys in a locker room shout anti-gay insults. Then Judy Shepard says: "The next time you use words like these, think about what they really mean." A photo of her son flashes on the screen with the dates 1976-1998. Then the words "Murdered" and "Hate" are followed by a shot of Mrs. Shepard with her head bowed.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

California governor signs gay-rights bills
     (SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 03, 1999) -- Gov. Gray Davis on Saturday signed landmark legislation to outlaw the harassment of gay students and teachers in public schools and colleges, calling the action an attempt to ``beat back the forces of hatred.''
    The Democratic governor also signed into law a new state domestic partners registry for couples who are gay or over age 62, extending to them hospital visitation rights and allowing state and local government workers to get health benefits for their partners.
    And in the third of three gay-rights bills, the governor signed legislation to block job and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill places authority over the cases with the state's Fair Employment and Housing Department, a key state civil rights agency.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Congress attacks Freddie Mac credit study
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 05, 1999) -- A Freddie Mac study concluding that far more black people have bad credit than white people, even when both have the same incomes, has come under attack in Congress, and some experts have questioned whether it oversimplifies a complex issue.
      The study's authors defended their conclusions but said they probably should have chosen language other than "bad credit" or "good credit" because they were trying to say whether people had trouble paying their bills.

Fired N.J. police superintendent claims discrimination
     (CHERRY HILL, N.J., Oct. 05, 1999) -- A State Police superintendent who was fired for saying minorities were more likely to be involved in cocaine and marijuana trafficking is suing the state for discrimination.
    Carl Williams' lawsuit, filed Friday, seeks more than $21 million.
    It claims that Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former Attorney General Peter Verniero, now a state Supreme Court justice, fired Williams in February "because of his status as a white male, age 59, in order to replace him with a black superintendent."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

DC residents sue Domino's Pizza
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 05, 1999) -- To Domino's Pizza drivers, Q Street SW is a dangerous place. If you live on Q Street and order a large pepperoni, you can expect the delivery person to sit tight behind the wheel as you walk into the street to pay. Day or night, sunshine or rain, the drill is the same.
      Jim and Wesley Bell know this, as do neighbors Dino Roach and Kerry Hudson. The four men calculate that they have exited their middle-class homes more than 200 times to wait while the pizza man counted their money.
      The way they see it, something isn't right. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

NAACP joins Cracker Barrel discrimination suit
     (ATLANTA, Oct. 06, 1999) -- Decrying what it called a "concrete ceiling" of racism in corporate America, the NAACP announced yesterday that it had joined a class-action lawsuit against the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, charging that the company discriminated against African Americans in its hiring and promotion practices.
    The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Rome, Ga., in July, alleges that the Lebanon, Tenn.-based company tolerated, and, in some cases, promoted a company-wide culture of racial discrimination. It contends that Cracker Barrel, which operates more than 400 locations in 38 states - including 15 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania - denied bonuses and job advancement to its black employees while extending preferential treatment to whites.
    While Cracker Barrel officials vehemently denied the allegations, the suit is another public relations blow to a company still reeling from its controversial 1991 declaration that it would not employ gays and lesbians.  FULL STORY from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Bridgeport Fair Housing claims Section 8 victory most significant
     (BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Oct. 07, 1999) -- In response to a State Supreme Court decision handed down earlier this week on the side of Section 8 recipients reaffirming their protection under the state's housing discrimination statutes, Bridgeport's Fair Housing Director indicated it was not only a solid victory for Connecticut's lower-income families but also a solid victory for the state as well. Joe Wincze, who besides being the city's Fair Housing Officer is also President of the Fair Housing Association of Connecticut, stated, "This most important decision now shows that "Fair Housing" is alive and well in Connecticut!" PRESS RELEASE from Bridgeport Fair Housing

Supreme Court hears race, voting rights cases
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 07, 1999) -- The Supreme Court heard two cases yesterday that involve narrow disputes but offer the potential for broad rulings on racial discrimination and voting rights.
    One case concerns a Hawaiian law that allows only persons of Native Hawaiian ancestry to vote for the trustees of an agency that provides benefits to descendants of the original islanders. Harold F. Rice, who was born in Hawaii but who is white, challenged the voting requirement as unconstitutionally based on race.
    The other dispute comes from Bossier Parish in Louisiana, where the Justice Department has taken exception to the school board's proposed redistricting plan, because all 12 voting districts would have white majorities, even though about 20 percent of the population is black.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Auditors criticize Community Builders program
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 07, 1999) -- Government auditors say a housing program championed by the Clinton administration is a poorly conceived, poorly run waste of money that is tainted by politics, and they have recommended that the Department of Housing and Urban Development shut it down.
    But HUD officials said a report critical of the Community Builders program is itself a one-sided political document timed to strengthen the Republican position as the government scrambles to finish the federal budget for the fiscal year that began October 1.
    "Clearly, this isn't about the merits of the Community Builders program," David Egner, a HUD spokesman, said Wednesday. "It's just about scoring partisan political points."   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Hill negotiators settle on HUD-VA spending bill
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 08, 1999) -- Congressional negotiators agreed yesterday to restore money for housing, space exploration and science as part of a final pact on a major fiscal 2000 spending bill that funds the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and several independent agencies.
      The agreement produced the first real evidence of cooperation between the White House and Republican congressional leaders as they work through the remaining spending bills and try to avert a year-end crisis.
      Republicans claimed a major victory in boosting spending for veterans health care programs $1.7 billion above President Clinton's request, while the White House won last-minute concessions to fund 60,000 new housing vouchers and to boost spending for the National Science Foundation, NASA, fair housing programs, enterprise zones and other priorities. The measure also includes $2.5 billion of emergency spending to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Elgin, Illinois to settle discrimination complaint
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 08, 1999) -- Elgin, Illinois will change the way it inspects homes for occupancy code violations and will pay seven Hispanic families a total of $10,000 to settle housing discrimination complaints, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
    The complaints - filed with HUD by the families between October 1998 and May 1999 - allege that the City of Elgin targeted Hispanic families for selective enforcement of occupancy standards that limit the number of people who can live in a home.
    The City of Elgin agreed to conciliate the case before more investigation was required, and admits no wrongdoing in the settlement.  PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Dayton newspaper, realtors settle discrimination case
     (DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 11, 1999) -- The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) has settled a federal lawsuit alleging that The Dayton Daily News, Irongate Realtors and its agent, Ray J. Roudebush were engaging in acts of illegal housing discrimination based on familial status. The Complaint, Answers, Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements in the case were all filed on October 8, 1999. The Complaint was brought by Maisha Smith, a single mother, and the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center.
      The suit was filed against Irongate, Inc., db, Irongate Realty, Ray J. Roudebush, a real estate sales and leasing agent employed by Irongate, Dayton Newspapers, Inc., and the owner of the property involved.
      The property that was the subject of the suit was located on Northwood Avenue in Dayton. PRESS RELEASE from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center

Insurer agrees to rate changes to settle case
     (NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 11, 1999) -- The Tennessee Fair Housing Council ("TFHC") and Metropolitan Property and Casualty have reached a settlement in a complaint of race discrimination in the provision of homeowners insurance in Nashville. The TFHC filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in late 1995.
      Under the settlement, Metropolitan has already adjusted its homeowners insurance premium rates in the central part of Nashville to bring them more into line with the surrounding areas. The insurer also will pay the TFHC $75,000 as compensation for its attorney's fees and
      expenses in connection with the case and will offer a 10% discount to prospective customers who complete a home maintenance training program, which the TFHC hopes to establish in cooperation with a local housing counseling agency. PRESS RELEASE from the Tennessee Fair Housing Council

Housing crunch worsens for poor
     (ST. LOUIS, Oct. 12, 1999) -- Audra Bean has some serious problems with her apartment. It has roaches, but no heat or air conditioning. The closet doors are busted. The landlord is abusive. And the rent is crazy: $460 for a tiny one-bedroom in a converted welfare motel.
     Right now, though, Bean's most serious problem with her dingy apartment is that she might lose it. She fell behind on her rent in August after she was fired from her job as a health aide: Her 2-year-old son was having seizures, and she kept missing work to take care of him. She quickly found a new job as a cashier on a riverboat casino, but her landlord is trying to evict her anyway. She wouldn't mind, if only she could find a new place she could afford.
     "Finding a job, that's easy. But it's impossible to find an apartment," she says. "I can't even find another nasty place. I can't find anything at all."  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Drugs, alcohol at issue in Shepard murder trial
     (LARAMIE, Wyo., Oct. 12, 1999) -- Whether or not Aaron McKinney helped pistol-whip a gay student, leaving him to die in the freezing prairie, is not in dispute.
     At the opening of McKinney's murder trial on Monday, his lawyer said he would not contest that McKinney played a role in the fatal beating of Matthew Shepard last October.
     However, attorney Dion Custis told prospective jurors that drugs and alcohol spurred McKinley's actions, and his client's use of those substances would be a core part of his defense.
     "What you have to decide in this case is basically a question of why," Custis said.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Brazilian wins bias suit in Japan
     (TOKYO, Oct. 12, 1999) -- A Brazilian woman who sued a jewelry shop owner for barring foreigners from his store was awarded $14,000 in compensation by a Japanese court today, an official said.
      A Shizuoka District Court judge ruled that Ana Bortz, 35, suffered discrimination when the shop owner asked her to leave because of her nationality, a court spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
      Bortz claimed the owner, Takahisa Suzuki, pointed to a notice posted in the store that read: "No foreigners admitted," and shoved a police notice cautioning business owners about shoplifting in her face.
      "This was an illegal act against an individual. Ejecting the plaintiff from the store merely because she was a Brazilian was unfair," Judge Tetsuro So was quoted as saying by Kyodo News agency. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

15,000 black farmers try joining USDA suit
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 1999) -- Around 15,000 black farmers have applied for the multimillion-dollar settlement of a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Agriculture Department.
     The total could reach 18,000 if a judge agrees to extend the deadline for filing claims to October 29, said Alexander Pires, the lead attorney for the farmers. The deadline was Tuesday.
     Farmers in North Carolina and South Carolina who were victims of Hurricane Floyd haven't had time to file yet, and large numbers of last-minute filings in Alabama and Mississippi have delayed claims as well, Pires said. Eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus joined in requesting the extension.
     Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman doesn't think a court-ordered extension is necessary, USDA spokesman Andy Solomon said, because the settlement already allows the judge to accept late claims by farmers who couldn't file in time due to uncontrollable circumstances. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

High court considers age bias cases against states
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 1999) -- The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in an age discrimination case that ultimately could have wide ramifications for how civil rights laws are enforced in the states.
     The case, brought by a group of professors at Florida state universities who claim they were unfairly denied raises, will determine whether public workers can sue the states that employ them for violations of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers who are 40 or older.
     The dispute, along with two related cases from Florida and Alabama, gives the court an opportunity to continue its pattern of bolstering states' rights at the expense of congressional power. As one element of that trend, the court has limited individuals' ability to sue when states violate their rights under federal law. FULL STORY from The Washington Post

Congress questions HUD contracts with attorneys
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 1999) -- Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development spent about $100,000 to hire outside lawyers to investigate allegations of racial discrimination inside the agency when a routine HUD probe would have cost only $3,000, congressional investigators said yesterday.
      In their report, investigators at the General Accounting Office said HUD bent government procurement rules in selecting the lawyers and deviated from standard procedures for handling a bias complaint lodged against HUD's inspector general. The GAO charges were vigorously denied by HUD.
      But the GAO report, released by Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.), was about much more than arcane aspects of federal regulations. It rekindled a long-running feud between senior HUD officials and the inspector general, Susan Gaffney, sparking accusations that aides to HUD Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo manipulated the contract awards.

HUD homeless aid program honored
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has come under fire from congressional investigators as a "high risk" agency vulnerable to waste and fraud, was honored yesterday by the prestigious 1999 Innovations in American Government competition for its program to help 300,000 homeless people move into permanent housing.
     HUD's Continuum of Care was one program that won $100,000 in the competition sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. Eight other $100,000 winners were picked from among Indian, state and local governments around the country.
     The HUD program, launched in 1995, restructured the relationship
between federal, state and local government services to provide better
planning and coordinated help for homeless people. It aims to ensure that the homeless are not only given a bed for the night but are also assisted in their search for permanent housing.  FULL STORY by The Washington Post

USDA trying to root out problem employees
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 1999) -- Thousands of claims that black farmers are filing in the settlement of a civil rights lawsuit will be investigated to determine which Agriculture Department employees may have been involved in the discrimination, an official said.
     "In appropriate places, we will recommend disciplinary action," said Rosalind Gray, the department's civil rights director.
     The lawsuit, which was settled in April, alleged that the department for years systematically denied loans and other assistance to black farmers.   Some 15,000 people have filed claims so far. Lawmakers and lawyers have estimated the settlement could cost $2 billion.
     Over the past two years, five workers have been fired as a result of
discrimination complaints and 41 others disciplined.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Clinton pushes diversity acceptance
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 1999) -- Of all the challenges the United States will face in the next century, by far the most important is building "one America out of this crazy quilt of all of us who live here," President Clinton told an Italian-American audience Saturday night.
    Too many people at home and abroad will enter the next millennium caught "in a conflict between modern possibilities and primitive hatred," unable to grasp the fact they share "a common humanity," Clinton said.
    Solve the problem of prejudice and group hatred, Clinton said, "and we'll find a way to deal with all the rest of our problems."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NAACP OKs tourism boycott of SC
     (LINTHICUM, Md., Oct. 16, 1999) -- The NAACP's national board on Saturday approved a tourism boycott of South Carolina until the state removes the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome.
    "The ratification officially mobilizes all of our chapters and members to not visit or spend dollars in South Carolina until the flag is removed," said NAACP spokeswoman Sheila Douglas.
    A spokeswoman for Gov. Jim Hodges said the boycott decision will make it harder to get a compromise to resolve the issue. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

GOP wants gay rights out of hate bill
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 1999) -- Republicans would like to remove legislation that would expand federal civil rights law to cover homosexuals from a larger bill, but Democrats say they'll fight to keep it in.
    "Hate crimes are modern-day lynchings," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said Wednesday. "Congress has a responsibility to act this year."
    Senate Democrats succeeded in July in adding the measure to a spending bill for the Commerce, Justice and State departments. The House version of the bill does not include the gay rights measure. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Clinton to aid disabled workers
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 1999) -- In his weekly radio address, Clinton said the federal government, the largest U.S. employer with almost 1.8 million workers, will increase recruiting efforts for disabled workers, open up opportunities for disabled employees and students and provide them with reasonable accommodations.
    The plan, which Clinton directed the government to implement immediately, also called for the government to collect and maintain data to monitor the success of people with disabilities in the federal work force. FULL STORY from Reuters

Tenants tell PHA of sexual harassment
     (PATERSON, N.J., Oct. 19, 1999) -- Two female tenants of a city housing development said Monday night that they have been repeatedly harassed and propositioned for sex by a maintenance worker who was supposed to make repairs to their apartments.
    Instead of fixing a clogged toilet and other problems in their Alexander Hamilton Housing Development apartments, the worker allegedly exposed himself to one woman, offered upward of $150 for sex with the other, and repeatedly badgered both for sexual favors over a period of two months.  FULL STORY from the Bergen Record

Lawmakers drop hate crime bill
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 1999) -- A Republican decision to drop an expansion of federal hate crimes from a spending bill seems to leave little chance that Congress will broaden the statute's protections this year.
    House-Senate bargainers dominated by Congress' majority Republicans on Monday completed a compromise measure financing the departments of Commerce, Justice and State. It omitted language approved by the Senate in July that would have widened the definition of federal hate crimes to include incidents motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, gender or disability.
    "That was one elephant too much for this boa constrictor," said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said of the spending bill and its wide-ranging provisions. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Justice sues Dallas for retaliating against employee
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 1999) -- The city of Dallas was sued today for retaliating against an employee who filed an allegation of discrimination against the city's police department, the Justice Department announced.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, alleges that the Dallas Police Department retaliated against Corporal Lee A. Bush after he filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Bush filed charges with EEOC's Dallas office in August and November of 1998. Bush claimed that the department retaliated against him for previously filing charges of discrimination with the EEOC and raising an internal grievance alleging race discrimination in the department. After the charges were filed, it is alleged that he was subjected to adverse personnel actions, including being suspended for two days, and being denied a promotion to the rank of sergeant at least twice. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Clinton signs new HUD budget into law
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 1999) -- The landmark $26 billion Department of Housing and Urban Development budget for Fiscal Year 2000 signed into law by President Clinton today will expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing, benefit senior citizens, create jobs, and help revitalize communities.
    "This legislation is important and not just for what it will achieve but for how it was achieved," President Clinton said. "It was achieved because members of Congress chose to put aside partisanship and work with us in good faith, on matters crucial to the future of our nation."
    HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo joined the President in saying the HUD budget was a model of how bipartisan cooperation can be used to resolve remaining budget disputes. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Utah apartment complex settles disability discrimination case with Disability Law Center
     (SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 20, 1999) -- In the spring of 1998, a member of the Disabled Rights Action Committee ("DRAC") experienced discrimination when she went to the brand new, 264 unit River Run condominium complex. This DRAC member was looking for housing where a person using a wheelchair could live independently, without needing a family member to pick her up and carry her over steps or through the doorways. DRAC regularly surveys housing, searching for accessible places for its members to live.
      Unfortunately, this DRAC member's efforts were immediately stymied - she faced 5 steps into the sales office. In addition, the River Run sales agent told this DRAC member that numerous ground floor condominiums were available but that they all had several steps into the front door. There was nothing there for a person who uses a wheelchair to see. PRESS RELEASE from the Disability Law Center

House passes job benefit for disabled
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 1999) -- The House gave overwhelming approval yesterday to a bill designed to let disabled people keep their government health benefits when they go to work, reducing what critics of the current system call a "perverse incentive" that keeps many disabled people unemployed.
    The House's 412 to 9 vote was an important advance for the Work Incentives Improvement Act, a version of which has already passed the Senate on a 99 to 0 vote. But the legislation still faces considerable hurdles before enactment, most of them over how to pay for the measure.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Citadel sex bias suit to go forward
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Oct. 20, 1999) -- A judge has ruled that The Citadel can be held liable if it is proven that five former students harassed a female cadet at the state-supported military college.
    U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson ruled Tuesday that The Citadel can be tried for sexual discrimination since schools that receive federal funds can be sued under Title IX if one student sexually harasses another.
    Jeanie Mentavlos, one of four women admitted to the formerly all-male school in 1996, sued five former cadets, alleging she was hazed and harassed before she dropped out after one semester. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NYC AIDS background checks halted
     (ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 20, 1999) -- A New York City policy that required people with AIDS to go through special anti-fraud checks to obtain welfare benefits has been struck down by the state's highest court.
    In a 7-0 decision, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that using "eligibility verification review" (EVR) procedures for the ill New Yorkers is incompatible with a 1997 city law requiring poor people with the HIV virus and AIDS to get welfare benefits as easily as possible.
    "We think it's a major defeat for the Giuliani administration and a major victory for New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV," said Michael Kink, a spokesman for Housing Works, a group which represented HIV-infected plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "It says that the courts won't stand for the mistreatment of people with disabilities, even if local governments will."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

ABC Food Lion verdict reversed
     (RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 21, 1999) -- First Amendment advocates cheered the reversal of a jury verdict that found ABC committed fraud by sending undercover journalists to do a hidden-camera expose of a supermarket chain.
    "This lawsuit was an attempted end-run around the First Amendment," Floyd Abrams, a New York media lawyer, said following the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Wednesday.
    The appeals court threw out a $315,000 judgment in punitive damages against ABC over a 1992 "PrimeTime Live" story about the Food Lion chain, an award that a judge had earlier reduced from $5.5 million. The ruling left only $2 of the jury's original award. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judges allow KKK hoods at NYC rally
     (NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 1999) -- A federal judge has rebuffed the city's attempt to keep the Ku Klux Klan from rallying in downtown Manhattan this weekend, ruling the group's wearing of hoods enjoys First Amendment protection.
    The two-hour rally scheduled for Saturday in front of the Manhattan Courthouse will likely be held with Klansmen in trademark white regalia unless the decision is reversed. City lawyers say an appeal of Thursday's ruling was planned.
    The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of the KKK this week after the city denied the Klan's application for a permit. Officials cited a rarely used state law preventing groups congregating in public places in masks or with disguises, except for authorized masquerade parties or other entertainment. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

South Carolina NAACP president holds on boycott
     (CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 22, 1999) -- The South Carolina NAACP chapter is not stepping up the boycott of its home state, but its president promised it would not meet again at home until the Confederate battle flag atop the Statehouse comes down.
    The boycott over the flag, called by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People this summer, has so far persuaded more than 40 groups nationwide to cancel plans to come to South Carolina.
    State leaders of the civil rights group have raised the possibility of extending the boycott to South Carolina products such as such as BMW cars and Michelin tires. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boston teens guilty of race attacks
     (BOSTON, Oct. 22, 1999) -- Two white teenagers whose families were evicted from a housing project after the men were arrested for race-related attacks have pleaded guilty to terrorizing their Hispanic neighbors.
     Michael Day, 19, was sentenced to 2½ years in jail after pleading guilty Thursday to assault and battery, civil rights violations and destruction of property in two 1997 attacks. His plea came a few hours before he was scheduled to go to trial.
     Sean Beatty, 19, pleaded guilty to assault and battery and destruction of property and was sentenced to one year in jail. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Two men arrested for cross burning in Gary, Indiana
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 1999) -- Two Indiana men were arrested today for allegedly burning a cross on the property of a black family in Gary, Indiana, announced the Justice Department.
    On October 20, 1999, Michael E. Riley, 36, from Gary, Indiana, and Ricky Lee Cumbow, 34, from Hammond, Indiana, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Hammond for conspiring to violate the civil rights of the victims. The indictment, unsealed today, alleges that in the early morning hours of May 3, 1998, Riley and Cumbow built a seven-foot-tall wooden cross and burned it in the backyard of a black couple, Ulysses Lacy and Carmen Estelle. The couple's seven-year-old son discovered the cross.
    "We remain deeply committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting arson attacks against individuals," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We will not let up until all perpetrators of racial violence are brought to justice." PRESS RELEASE from the Justice Department

Jackson urges postponement of NMSCD vote pending further study
     (CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 1999) -- Today, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition released the following statement on efforts to reduce 51 percent certification for minority businesses. The controversial ``National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Growth Initiative'' would affect how minority firms are defined and how they conduct business with Corporate America. Jackson's statements come the week of the NMSDC vote on the rule at its annual conference in Arizona.
    ``Because this issue is so divisive I support Andrew Brimmer's position that we need more time for the study of the ramifications of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) proposal to reduce the 51 percent certification for minority-owned businesses.
    ``I also agree with many of my colleagues in the civil rights and minority business community (that) NMSDC should briefly postpone approval of its proposal to amend the definition of 'minority business enterprise' (MBE) in order to permit careful review. The purpose of the review should be to ensure that we preserve the basic definition of an MBE, but permit exceptions that will allow controlled companies to gain mainstream access to capital.  PRESS RELEASE from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition

MO Governor exposed over 1960 blackface act
     (SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 25, 1999) -- Missouri Republicans, upset over charges of racism against Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R-Mo.), are circulating a 1960 photograph of Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) in blackface makeup performing in a Kiwanis minstrel show.
    Carnahan is challenging Ashcroft for his Senate seat next year.
    The issue of race arose after Ashcroft voted October 5 to help defeat the nomination of Ronnie White, the first black Missouri Supreme Court judge, to the federal bench.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Zagat: sexism on the menu in New York
     (NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 1999) -- Sexism is being served up at New York eateries, according to a survey released today.
    Eighty percent of the diners surveyed for the 2000 edition of the Zagat New York City Restaurant Survey said they think men are treated better than women in restaurants.
    The results suggest that men, when dining in mixed company, are targeted as primary check payers by restaurant staff, who lavish better service their way, says the restaurant guide.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Female golfers sue country club, receive $2 million
     (BOSTON, Oct. 27, 1999) -- Nine female golfers who said they were given terrible tee times and denied other country club benefits because of their gender were awarded nearly $2 million today by a jury of seven men and seven women.
    "I think it's a case which puts country clubs and other institutions on notice that women have a right to the same opportunities as men," said assistant attorney general Anthony Rodriguez, representing the women.
    Henry Owens, the attorney for the Haverhill Country Club, said there was no discrimination at the club, called the damages excessive and promised to appeal.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

President presses hate crimes issue
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 1999) -- President Clinton is using his 11th-hour budget battle with Congress to try to broaden the federal "hate crimes" law, primarily by adding homosexuals to its category of protected groups.
    The proposal, a goal of many gay rights groups, would authorize federal prosecution of persons accused of violent crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, gender or disability. Currently, only a victim's race or religion can trigger a federal intervention. The proposed legislation would also broaden the circumstances under which federal prosecutors could get involved in cases classified as hate crimes, typically when local prosecutors either invite them in or, conversely, decline to prosecute an alleged crime themselves.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

EEOC helps undocumented workers
     (CHICAGO, Oct. 27, 1999) -- Illegal immigrants, long with little recourse against workplace discrimination or harassment, will no longer have abuse claims hampered by a lack of citizenship, federal officials say.
    "If you violate civil rights laws and you discriminate against undocumented workers, we will apply the full force of the law," Ida Castro, chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said Tuesday.
    Previously, the commission's role was limited in cases of illegal workers. But EEOC officials announced the agency will no longer consider citizenship status in seeking redress from employers who discriminate. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Bradley seeks better race relations
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 1999) -- Democrat Bill Bradley has placed improving race relations at the center of his campaign for the White House, highlighting a career in professional basketball and calling racial unity "the defining moral issue of our time."
    Yet his appeal seems not to be resonating among one seemingly ripe audience.
    Numerous polls show Vice President Al Gore holding a bigger lead over Bradley among black voters than among Democrats overall. One recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press gave Gore a 3-1 lead among black voters.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Purchase of King papers negotiated
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 1999) -- The family of Martin Luther King Jr. has indicated a willingness to sell 80,000 pages of the slain civil rights leaders' papers to the Library of Congress for $10 million below their appraised value, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus says.
    Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Tuesday he's discussed the purchase of the papers from the final six years of King's life with his widow, Coretta Scott King, and his sons, Dexter King and Martin Luther King III. And he's introduced legislation authorizing the purchase.
    "All three seem willing to pursue that course," he said. "We are still in negotiation but I feel relatively sure that if we can get the authorization done, we can move forward and get a number we can ask Congress for." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Akron landlord fined $490,000 for sexual harassment
     (AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 27, 1999) -- An Akron landlord's habit of sexually harassing his female tenants cost him and his company $490,000.
    A U.S. District Court jury in Cleveland awarded the money to 16 women and a fair housing agency yesterday after determining that Paul F. Crawford, the owner of Crawford Lumber Co., had harassed the tenants.
    Crawford, 78, had no reaction as Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley read the verdict. Afterward, he quickly left the courthouse. His attorney, Aretta K. Bernard, declined to comment except to say, "There are issues we will have to address on appeal."  FULL STORY from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Testimony from the legislative hearing on the "Justice in Fair Housing Enforcement Act of 1999"
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 1999) -- Click on any of the links below to read the subject's prepared testimony regarding the justice in Fair Housing Enforcement Act of 1999.

Homeownership at record high
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 1999) -- America's homeownership rate hit its highest point in history in the third quarter, with 67 percent of the nation's families owning their homes, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday.
    The homeownership rate for African Americans rose to a record in the quarter, with 47 percent owning, up from 45.8 percent the previous quarter.
    American cities saw their homeownership rate rise to 50.5 percent, tying the record set in the third quarter of last year. The rate among minorities and in cities grew at a faster rate than among whites and residents of suburbs, although still lagging far behind.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Fair housing enforcement sought
     (WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 1999) -- Advocates for the disabled asked Congress to reject legislation that would protect some builders from prosecution for unknowingly violating laws requiring them to make new housing more accessible to the handicapped.
    ``Companies that broke the law by refusing to build accessible housing do not deserve a 'Get out of jail free' card,'' Christopher Anders, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a written statement.
    But a North Carolina builder said he was in jeopardy of losing his business because the Justice Department cited him for violating a law he was unaware of. Len Tozer, a licensed general contractor from the Winterville, N.C., area, said once he found out about the law, he found he supported it.
    ``To have the guns of the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at me was very disturbing,'' Tozer told the House Judiciary Committee's panel on the Constitution on Thursday. ``I feel I have been treated unfairly.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Macy's loses lawsuit over access for disabled
     (SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 29, 1999) -- Macy's flagship Union Square store violates state and federal laws requiring access for disabled people from its entrance and aisles to its dressing rooms and cash registers and must make the store easier to navigate, a federal court judge ruled Thursday.
    The decision by Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court applies only to the chain's main San Francisco store and its Men's Store, but advocates for the disabled hailed it as a victory with greater influence.
    ``This is a case of nationwide importance,'' said Larry Paradis, executive director of Disability Rights Advocates, the non-profit legal advocacy group that filed the suits against Macy's. (The judge) sent a very clear message to the entire retail industry that the Americans with Disabilities Act really does have to be followed and really requires changes from business as usual.''  FULL STORY from the Los Angeles Times

Edison bias suits settled
     (DETROIT, Oct. 29, 1999) -- Arbitrators on Thursday ordered Detroit Edison to pay 1,400 current and former salaried employees $45.15 million to settle three class-action lawsuits based on age and race discrimination.
    Plaintiffs in the lawsuits say they were fired or demoted because of their age or race.
   Detroit Edison and the plaintiffs agreed in February 1998 to settle the lawsuits for a sum between $17 million and $65 million. They agreed also to let arbitrators decide the final amount.  FULL STORY from the Detroit Free Press

Activists protest funding of disabled care in Ohio
     (COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 01, 1999) -- About 200 activists for the disabled occupied two floors of a downtown state office building Monday, limiting access to the offices of the governor and the speaker of the House.
    Beginning about 10 a.m., members of Denver-based ADAPT crowded into the lobby of House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson's 14th floor office and Gov. Bob Taft's 30th floor office, both in the Riffe Center across from the Statehouse.
    The group was protesting the way long-term care for the disabled in Ohio is financed, saying 89 percent of the state's long-term care dollars pay for nursing homes.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Wyoming judge bars 'gay panic' defense
     (LARAMIE, Wyo., Nov. 01, 1999) -- A judge today barred defense lawyers from using a ``gay panic'' defense in the murder trial of a man accused of beating gay college student Matthew Shepard.
      State District Judge Barton Voigt told lawyers for Aaron McKinney that the strategy was, in effect, a temporary insanity or a diminished capacity defense, both of which are prohibited under Wyoming law.
      Afton N. Timothy, McKinney's stepsister, testified that she learned of the beating from McKinney's then-girlfriend, Kristen Price, who said he and an accomplice planned to pose as homosexuals and rob Shepard. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Berkeley considering 'shaming' slumlords
     (BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 01, 1999) -- Like other cities running out of patience with slum landlords, Berkeley is considering a new law that would publicly shame owners who have neglected their properties.
    The proposed ordinance, to be considered by the City Council tomorrow night, would allow the city to post signs in front of blighted residential and commercial properties -- stating the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their owners.
    Similar to a program recently adopted in Oakland, the measure would be considered the last resort against property owners who have not corrected building- and health- code violations despite repeated demands by the city.  FULL STORY from the San Francisco Chronicle

ADAPT members arrested in second day of protests
     (COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 02, 1999) -- Activists for the disabled protested Tuesday at a second downtown state office building, criticizing the way Ohio finances long-term care.
    Several demonstrators were arrested after the State Highway Patrol ordered them to leave. Protesters in wheelchairs were loaded into six vans pulled up outside the building.
    Beginning about 1 p.m. Tuesday, about 100 members of Denver-based American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today tried to enter the Rhodes State Office Tower across from the Statehouse.
    ADAPT organizers said they went to the Rhodes Tower hoping to arrange a meeting with Jacqueline Romer-Sensky, director of the state Health and Human Services Department.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jury deliberations begin in Shepard murder trial
     (LARAMIE, Wyo., Nov. 02, 1999) -- The jury in the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard began deliberating Tuesday following a defense attorney's argument that the man on trial flew into a rage when a sexually aggressive Shepard grabbed his crotch.
    Shepard "was innocent, but he was also forward, and people reacted to that," attorney Dion Custis said. "We know you people may not like us trying to demean Matthew Shepard in any way, but don't hold that against Aaron McKinney."
    Prosecutor Cal Rerucha countered: "Matthew Shepard was not an animal to be hung on a fence."
    Shepard, a 21-year-old freshman at the University of Wyoming, was robbed of $20, lashed to a fence on the freezing prairie and pistol-whipped in the head last year in a case that led to calls for hate-crime laws that protects gays. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

AOL addresses hate speech - maybe
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 02, 1999) -- America Online is downplaying expectations that a previously scheduled meeting with a gay rights group will address the controversy over its policies regarding hate speech. AOL is declining to commit to an agenda for the meeting and won’t say who has been invited.
    The meeting comes on the heels of claims that AOL arbitrarily enforces its rules regarding hate speech. Gay rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and an anti-hate speech organization recently decried a move by AOL to delete a gay member’s self-authored online profile because it included the phrase "submissive bottom."
    That action prompted Wired Strategies, an online watchdog group, and Hatewatch.org to investigate just how well AOL was enforcing its TOS. The groups found a hundred or more examples of profiles that contained anti-gay, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian messages.
    AOL said the phrase violated the conditions of its "terms of service" (TOS) contract with subscribers that, among other things, prohibits sexually explicit language, as well as hate speech, from being entered on its system. FULL STORY from MSNBC

NAACP plans TV network boycott
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 03, 1999) -- Claiming there is an ongoing "whitewash" at the four major TV networks, the president of the NAACP on Wednesday announced plans for a viewer boycott that would single out the worst offender.
    Kweisi Mfume condemned "the dearth of blacks and other minorities both in front of the camera and behind the scenes" and pledged "to begin the new century with old-fashioned activism."
    The nationwide boycott would hit one network -- ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox -- from New Year’s Day through the February ratings sweeps, a period when audience numbers are used to set advertising rates.
    "Nothing short of a real and measurable effort by the networks will prevent us from going forward," Mfume said Wednesday. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Lawmakers question HUD contracts
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 04, 1999) -- Lawmakers are asking government auditors to find out why the nation's top housing officials awarded multimillion-dollar property management contracts to a firm that apparently couldn't handle them.
    At a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Rep. John Mica said he wanted to know why the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the contracts to InTown Properties Inc. in March to manage, market and sell 25,000 homes in 25 states that came under HUD ownership after foreclosure.
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that InTown's head, Melton L. Harrell, was imprisoned from 1975 to 1978 after being convicted of four counts of forgery. The newspaper also said court records show that Harrell had been affiliated with more than a dozen companies and partnerships that filed for bankruptcy court protection in Atlanta between 1987 and 1990. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

McKinney gets two life sentences in slaying
     (LARAMIE, Wyo., Nov. 04, 1999) -- The man convicted of killing gay college student Matthew Shepard was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life sentences, accepting a deal with prosecutors to spare his life.
      Aaron McKinney, 22, was one of two men arrested in the slaying of the University of Wyoming student. Shepard was lured last year from a bar, lashed to a fence, bludgeoned in the head with a pistol and left to die on the cold prairie in a case whose brutality led to demands for hate-crime laws across the country.

Soccer league kicks out boy who needs walker
     (LAWTON, Okla., Nov. 04, 1999) -- Ryan Taylor, a 9-year-old with cerebral palsy, played two soccer games and got in a few kicks before he was barred from the field. The reason: His steel walker was deemed a hazard to others.
    The dispute has raised questions of discrimination, and parents and kids have rallied to Ryan's cause.
    "My life has been pure heck the last few weeks," said David Dalton, volunteer president of the Lawton Optimist Soccer Association league. "We're not picking on the kid. It's just the walker."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Oregon medical practices settles discrimination suit
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 04, 1999) -- An Oregon obstetrics practice will now provide sign language interpreters to patients and their partners whenever either person is deaf, under an agreement reached November 4 with the Justice Department.
    The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, resolves allegations that Perinatal Associates, P.C. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to provide an interpreter to an expectant father who was deaf. The ADA requires that private doctors take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with patients and their partners unless doing so would result in an undue burden.
    The Justice Department became involved in this case in August 1999, when it joined a private lawsuit filed by Jennifer Drew and Brian Morace and the Oregon Association of the Deaf. Drew and Morace filed their lawsuit after Perinatal Associates informed them they would not provide a sign language interpreter to Morace, who is deaf, because he was not the primary patient. This case was settled through voluntary alternative dispute resolution.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

National Federation for the blind sues AOL
     (MASSACHUSETTS, Nov. 04, 1999) -- The National Federation of the Blind on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the veritable Goliath of the Web, America Online, charging that its Internet service directly violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    Unlike other service providers, AOL's Internet service is incompatible with the screen access software programs that enable blind people to use the Internet, the NFB alleges. The group filed suit to get AOL to correct this. NFB asks the court to order AOL to effectively redesign its service.
    "It's the biggest company and the least accessible," says Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.  FULL STORY from PC World

Sharpton convicted of obstructing traffic
     (ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Nov. 05, 1999) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton yesterday vowed to go to jail rather than pay any fines or restitution after a judge convicted the civil-rights leader of obstructing traffic during a July 3 protest against racial profiling by the New Jersey State Police.
    "If Atlantic City thought they saw something July 3, wait until I go to jail and they have daily protests and every single civil-rights leader in the nation comes to visit me," Mr. Sharpton said outside court after Atlantic City Municipal Court Judge Bruce Weekes found him guilty.
    "It's great for the movement," he said.
    Mr. Sharpton, 45, was convicted of two counts of obstructing traffic during the protest, which shut down the Atlantic City Expressway and clogged local streets during the busy holiday weekend. One count referred to him as a leader of the protest.   FULL STORY from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Justice sues Tennessee over ADA violations
     (JACKSON, Tenn., Nov. 05, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Justice charged Tennessee and Weakley County with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act in a lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court.
    Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers said he agreed with the Justice Department, and wouldn't challenge its position.
    At issue are five state laws that prohibit people with "any apparent mental disorder" from holding a variety of jobs, including public safety dispatcher, police officer, corrections officer, youth service officer and sheriff.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Disabled USOC official files suit against employer
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 05, 1999) -- A U.S. Olympic Committee official is suing his employer as a last resort to correct discrimination against him and other disabled athletes.
    Mark Shepherd, manager of the committee's Disabled Sports Services and a medalist in wheelchair basketball in the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, filed his lawsuit October 22 in U.S. District Court in Denver. He said yesterday the decision to sue was difficult.
    "I've risked pretty much everything, and I'm not a crusader," Shepherd said. "But if I don't take this on, who would? I'm hopeful that this will be a wake-up call to the USOC. I tried other methods, but they didn't seem to work."   FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Ohio physicians settle case with HUD
     (CANTON, Ohio, Nov. 05, 1999) -- Three doctors who were part of a physicians group that had operated the McKinley Life Care Center are paying $11.7 million to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for violating a loan agreement they had with the agency.
    Canton-area physicians Franklin W. Griff, Samuel L. Hissong and Alan Kamen each paid $862,253. In addition, the nursing home at 800 Market Ave. N. was sold to McKinley Building for $9.1 million, and the money from the sale will go to HUD as part of the settlement.
    The sale of the nursing home property closed Tuesday. The new operator of the 214-bed nursing home is McKinley Health Care Center.
    According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kent W. Penhallurick of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, the three doctors violated the terms of a regulatory agreement with HUD by ``taking out income from the nursing home project when the project was in default status.''
FULL STORY from the Akron Beacon-Journal

Philadelphia bidder sues transportation authority, alleging bias over race
     (PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 05, 1999) -- A prominent Bala Cynwyd political consultant filed a reverse-discrimination lawsuit against SEPTA in federal court yesterday, alleging that his firm was denied a potential $4.6 million community-relations contract because he is white.
    Larry Ceisler and his partners, who include former City Commissioner Maurice Floyd, allege that the transportation authority's board violated their civil rights by awarding the contract to two African American women, although SEPTA officials originally recommended Ceisler's proposal.
    "I won this contract fair and square, and on merit," said Ceisler, a Democrat. "They wanted a minority to have this. That was very clear."
    The contract, awarded on February 26, was to promote awareness in West Philadelphia about the progress of the $370 million reconstruction of the Frankford-Market El between 46th and 69th Streets and to assist residents and businesses affected by the rebuilding.  FULL STORY from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Ohio landlord must give up management
     (AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 06, 1999) -- A Fairlawn landlord -- convicted last month of sexual harassment and intimidation against more than a dozen of his current and former tenants -- will no longer be involved in the management of his more than 65 rental properties in Akron.
    The hands-off management was part of a federal consent order made public yesterday in the case of Fairlawn landlord Paul F. Crawford. The order was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley and agreed upon by all parties.
    Crawford agreed to hire Century 21 Twin Oaks Realty as the management firm to oversee the properties owned by him and his company, Crawford Lumber. It was agreed that Century 21 would not use or employ any individual or company related to Crawford by blood or marriage. FULL STORY from the Akron Beacon-Journal

Miami restaurant accused of discrimination
     (MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Nov. 06, 1999) -- When Charles Thompson received his bill at an upscale restaurant recently, he was surprised to see a 15 percent tip added.
    Thompson, who is black, had dined at Thai Toni frequently and had never seen such a charge before. He looked at the bill of two white customers sitting nearby, and their total did not include the gratuity.
    Thompson then confronted owner Hiromi "Toni" Takarada about the $7.65 service charge added to his $51 bill.
    "He blatantly said 'Because you people don't tip well,'" said Thompson, a 40-year-old American Express employee. "I said 'Excuse me?' And he said 'You black people don't tip well.'" FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Scottish cardinal backs gay discrimination
     (EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 07, 1999) -- Cardinal Thomas Winning, leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, said in an article Sunday it is legitimate to stop homosexuals from adopting or fostering children, and to discriminate against them in the recruitment of teachers, sports coaches or soldiers.
     Scotland's new Parliament, which inherited power over most domestic matters from the House of Commons in London, intends to repeal a British local government law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
     "While denouncing homosexual activity, the church also defends homosexual persons from those forms of discrimination which are unjust and seeks to help them find joy and peace living in the joy of chastity," the cardinal wrote in a weekly newspaper, Scotland on Sunday. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

First lady calls for hate laws
     (GRANADA HILLS, Calif., Nov. 08, 1999) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton Friday called on Congress to act quickly in passing new gun control and anti-hate crime legislation during a visit to the Jewish center where five people were shot by a white supremacist during a bloody rampage in August.
    Clinton, who is considering a run for Senator from New York, told an audience at the North Valley Jewish Community Center that more laws were needed to keep guns out of the hands of those who would commit violence.
    "Before Congress goes home, all of us here hope it will act to protect our homes and our communities and pass common sense legislation to keep guns out of the wrong hands," she said. "We have to say: 'Enough is enough,"' she said.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Matthew Shepard's parents lobby for hate-crimes law in D.C.
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 08, 1999) -- The parents of slain college student Matthew Shepard visited the White House on Monday to express support for hate-crime legislation.
    Dennis and Judy Shepard met with White House chief of staff John Podesta. They said afterward that Podesta assured them President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are "firmly behind this legislation" and plan to do all they can to get it passed.
    Clinton did not meet with the Shepards. But in comments to reporters later, he expressed "personal appreciation" for their efforts to lobby Congress and said: "We must pass strong hate-crimes legislation." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Supreme Court to rule on age-discrimination proof
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 08, 1999) -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide how much proof a worker must provide in order to prove illegal age bias by an employer. At issue is whether an employee told by a supervisor he "must have come over on the Mayflower" must show his firing was sparked by a discriminatory motive.
    Roger Reeves says a supervisor made the Mayflower comment and said he was "too damn old to do the job" several months before he was fired from his job at a toilet-seat manufacturing company in Mississippi.
    He was awarded $98,490 after a trial. But a federal appeals court threw out the award, saying Reeves did not prove his firing was the result of discrimination.
    The Supreme Court is expected to rule by July whether people who sue under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act must provide direct evidence of discrimination to win their cases. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Unearthing ugly history in Tulsa
     (TULSA, Okla., Nov. 08, 1999) -- Dick Rowland had good reason to be in the elevator one fateful day in 1921. He needed to use the bathroom.
    For blacks in segregated Tulsa, that meant a trip to the top floor of the Drexel Building. Other public toilets downtown were for whites only.
    But Rowland, 19, never got there. The elevator lurched, a 17-year-old female elevator operator screamed, and thus began one of the worst race riots this country has ever seen.
    "The whites was saying, ‘This was a rape and somebody’s going to pay,’" recalls 96-year-old riot survivor Otis Clark. "The colored folks was saying, ‘The poor boy just stepped on the white girl’s foot.’"
    A group of black World War I veterans came to the courthouse offering to protect Rowland, who had been taken into custody, and confronted a white mob outside the courthouse jail on May 31. Within hours, Tulsa would explode. Twenty-three churches and more than a thousand homes burned, in what had been one of the most prosperous black communities in America. FULL STORY from ABC News

HUD invites agencies to apply for gun buyback funds
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 08, 1999) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin accepting applications this week for $15 million in grants to fund the purchase of up to 300,000 guns from people around the country, in the largest gun buyback program in American history.
     HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo today invited public housing authorities - in partnership with police and sheriff's departments - to apply for the grants, which will be used to buy back guns for about $50 each.
     Each housing authority and law enforcement agency applying jointly for a grant will be eligible to get up to $500,000 in HUD funds - enough to purchase up to 10,000 guns at $50 each. While some large cities are expected to seek maximum funding, smaller cities are expected to operate smaller buyback programs. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Racist e-mail hits Penn State computers
     (STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 08, 1999) -- Investigators at two university campuses are still trying to figure out who sent at least 68 racist e-mail messages -- apparently from a computer lab at Temple University -- to minority students at Pennsylvania State University.
    The messages, signed by "the Patriot," were sent between 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. November 2 -- Election Day.
    Authorities said there were a number of different messages, but all had the same racist theme: "Your time is limited," read one. "We are watching you," said another. "Face it, your numbers are dwindling and your days are numbered," says still another. The messages ended with "Long Live AmeriKKKa." FULL STORY from APBnews

Cross dressers' rights debated
     (BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 09, 1999) -- Men and women who cross dress soon may have protection in Boulder through a proposed revision of the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.
    Boulder's City Council could by next month, pending the outcome of a hearing before the city's Human Relations Commission next week, receive a draft proposal to include "transgendered person status" in the city's 18-year-old law banning discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations.
    City Attorney Joseph de Raismes is reviewing a draft of the proposed revision. If approved, Boulder would join nine other cities across the country in banning discrimination against the "transgendered" -- people who have changed their sex or present themselves as members of the opposite sex.  FULL STORY from Denver Rocky Mountain News

Black workers sue Amtrak for discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 09, 1999) -- Two dozen current and former Amtrak employees on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit against the national passenger railroad, charging it with discriminating against black workers because of their race.
    Amtrak in July settled another discrimination lawsuit by black managers, agreeing to set up an $8 million compensation fund and change its hiring and training practices. It is still in arbitration over a discrimination suit filed in April 1998 by black track maintenance workers.
    In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court, 24 current and former employees charged the railway's Intercity Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of ``widespread discrimination against African Americans in hiring, advancement, transfer, training and discipline policies, practices and procedures.''
    The railroad's Intercity SBU operates in 29 states, covering the geographic area from Reno, Nevada, to New Orleans, Louisiana, to Buffalo, New York.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Indiana woman pleads guilty to setting church fires in 20 states
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 09, 1999) -- An Indiana woman today plead guilty to conspiracy to burn churches in twenty states, the National Church Arson Task Force (NCATF) announced.
   Angela Wood, 24, was charged in a seven count information with conspiring to burn seven churches in southern Indiana, including fires at Concord Church of Christ in Boone County; Hawcreek Missionary Baptist Church in Hope, Indiana; Grace Baptist Church in Coatsville, Indiana; Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Fillmore, Indiana; and the Christian Liberty Church in Sheridan, Indiana. According to the plea, entered in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, Wood also conspired with Jay Scott Ballinger and Donald Puckett to burn other churches in nineteen additional states.
    "Church fires have victimized congregations and assaulted communities," said James E. Johnson, treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement. "We are pleased with today's guilty plea which stems from our ongoing efforts against church arsons. We will remain vigilant and will continue to pursue these cases with vigor."  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Fla. governor ends affirmative action
     (TALLAHASSEE, Nov. 09, 1999) -- Gov. Jeb Bush (R) signed an executive order today wiping out race and ethnicity as factors in Florida university admissions and barring racial set-asides and quotas in state contracting decisions.
    The Republican governor said his program "transcended" affirmative action and would unite Floridians.
    Bush's plan guarantees state university admission to the top 20 percent of the state's high school seniors, adds $20 million to the state's financial aid budget and makes it easier for minority businesses to be certified to work across the state. Some of the proposals must be approved by the Legislature.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Md. car dealer targeted with sexual harassment suit
     (SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 09, 1999) -- The worst of the lewd behavior occurred in the summer of 1996, according to Brenda Lynn Franklin, then the only woman on the sales staff of the King Lincoln-Mercury-Suzuki car dealership in Gaithersburg.
    Several of her male colleagues compared the size of their penises right on the showroom floor, Franklin said earlier this week, recalling how the eventual "winner" of the competition had come running into her office that day.
    "He says, 'Give me a ruler, give me a ruler!' and he was zipping down his pants," said Franklin, of Silver Spring, who makes these claims in a $4 million sexual discrimination lawsuit scheduled to go to trial today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
    Attorneys for the dealership vigorously deny that any of the alleged harassing behavior occurred and say that the salesmen actually had gotten the ruler out to settle a debate about the length of the Mercury Villager minivan.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Jackson to protest Illinois expulsions
     (DECATUR, Ill., Nov. 09, 1999) -- With a threatened federal lawsuit as a backdrop, the Rev. Jesse Jackson planned today to try to get a group of expelled black students back in school, facing arrest if necessary.
    "We intend to take our children back to Decatur Public Schools," Jackson said Monday night after an emergency school board meeting. He had spent the day meetings with school officials mediated by Gov. George Ryan.
    Seven teen-agers received two-year expulsions after fighting at a September 17 football game between MacArthur and Eisenhower high schools. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Religious sign off complaint filed
     (INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 10, 1999) -- A woman has filed a federal complaint against her employer after she was ordered to stop saying "have a blessed day" at work.
    Liz Anderson, an office coordinator at USF Logistics, lodged a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission on Tuesday, saying it was the only way to protect her religious freedom.
    "You never know when the Lord is going to call on you to be his servant, to be a tool, to be a vessel," Anderson said. "I'm just trying to stay focused on the original situation, and that is that I want to be able to say, 'Have a blessed day,' without the threat of being fired." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

South Carolina Baptists: remove confederate flag
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 10, 1999) -- The state's largest religious denomination has voted overwhelmingly in support of lowering the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse dome, joining the NAACP's call to remove the banner.
    The South Carolina Baptist Convention's resolution, passed at its annual meeting Tuesday, asks the General Assembly to consider moving the banner to a "public place of heritage, honor and recognition."
    "We want to be a force to achieve racial harmony," said Mike Hamlet, pastor of North Spartanburg First Baptist. FULL STORY from the Associated press

Gore addresses civil rights in Memphis
     (MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 10, 1999) -- Vice President Al Gore vowed Tuesday night to continue to fight for civil rights and against discrimination at the church where the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered a stirring speech the night before his assassination.
    Gore, who addressed the 92nd annual convention of the Church of God in Christ at Mason Temple, said the battle against discrimination should also come from within the communities.
    ``We have the capacity to transcend it,'' Gore told a gathering of more than 2,000, ``but not if we pretend it is not present.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

U-Va. forum probes role of race in honor code
     (CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 10, 1999) -- University of Virginia students, faculty and school officials wrestled with the prickly issue of racial disparity in the school's Honor Code in a forum tonight, debating the underlying cause and what can or should be done.
    The forum, part of "Honor Awareness Day" on campus, was to solicit public comment on key issues facing the 157-year-old honor system, which requires the expulsion of students who violate a mandatory pledge not to lie, cheat or steal. The forum touched on a variety of issues, including alternatives to the sole punishment of expulsion.
    But questions about why greater numbers of minorities are brought up on honor violations drew the most passionate responses from panelists and audience.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

CA apartment owners settle suit for $100,000
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 1999) -- Owners of a northern California apartment complex have paid $100,000 to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit that accused their maintenance man of threatening an African American tenant and using a racial slur, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today.
    Jamil I. and Faud J. Khuri, doing business as the Khuri Family Trust, this week paid $100,000 to settle the federal lawsuit. The suit accused maintenance man Robert Lafenier, who is white, of committing a housing discrimination hate crime by harassing African American tenant Charletta Fairrer at the Elia Court Apartments in Turlock, CA.
    "The message of this settlement is that housing discrimination does not pay," Cuomo said. "Large financial settlements will act as a deterrent against outrageous and illegal discrimination that has no place in our country today." PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Penn State students get 2d round of hate e-mail
     (STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 11, 1999) -- Attorney General Mike Fisher sent civil-rights investigators to Pennsylvania State University yesterday, where they joined the FBI and campus police in the effort to root out the author of racist e-mail sent to dozens of students.
    A second batch of messages went to 26 minority students at Penn State on Monday afternoon. Fisher spokesman Sean Connolly said this was one of the most widespread cases of hate e-mail Pennsylvania had seen.
    "Our office has not handled a case at this level, where there are so many e-mails," he said yesterday.  FULL STORY from the Philadelphia Inquirer

NYC to target taxi discrimination
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 11, 1999) -- The city is planning to have undercover police officers target taxi cab drivers who purposely pass up black passengers.
    Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also announced Wednesday that the city may file misdemeanor charges against the drivers and is studying whether it can legally seize the cabs.
    "Look, there's a good way to avoid all of this, and that is for the owners of the cabs and the cab drivers just to come to the reality that life is going to be different now," he said. "I think everybody who lives in this city knows that this has been going on for a very, very long time and maybe this is an opportunity to change it."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Black SC leaders decry offer from governor
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 11, 1999) -- Black leaders are reacting coolly to Gov. Jim Hodges' offer to back a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the state if a planned boycott over the Confederate flag is scrubbed.
      "The governor is either very ill-informed or insulting in his intent," said the Rev. Joe Darby, pastor of the state's largest African Methodist Episcopalian congregation.
      Such a swap would be "wholly unacceptable, and I consider it an insult," he said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Congress delays King papers action
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 1999) -- Questions of cost, precedent and copyright have delayed until next year final congressional action on the Library of Congress' proposed $20 million acquisition of the private papers of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
    "It's very, very unfortunate," Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., sponsor of the legislation authorizing the sale, said Wednesday. "But anybody, no matter what their motivations, can begin to raise issues and ... they can muddy the waters."
    The King family offered last month to sell 80,000 pages of papers from the final six years of King's life to the Library of Congress for $20 million, which would be $10 million below the appraised value. FULL STORY from the Associated press

Okla. textbooks to carry evolution disclaimer
     (TULSA, Okla., Nov. 11, 1999) -- A state committee has voted to require a disclaimer in new biology textbooks saying evolution is a ``controversial theory.''
    Last week's decision by the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee makes Oklahoma the latest state to officially challenge the way evolution is taught.
    This summer the Kansas Board of Education passed new testing standards, minimizing the importance of evolution. And last month, Kentucky's Education Department deleted the word ``evolution'' from its standards, replacing it with ``change over time.''
    The Oklahoma panel is charged with screening textbooks for the state's 540 public school districts. Districts may purchase only books approved by the committee.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Arbitrator hits Raytheon in bias case
     (BOSTON, Nov. 11, 1999) -- An arbitrator has ruled that Raytheon Co. discriminated against several women involved in a program to dismantle old nuclear bombers and cruise missiles in the former Soviet Union, refusing to promote the employees and firing some.
    Raytheon has denied the allegations in a filing it made to a local office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, where the women also filed complaints.
    But in a strongly worded finding issued last month against the Lexington-based defense contractor, an officer of the New York-based American Arbitration Association wrote that the women ''have met their burden of proof and persuasion in showing that Respondent [Raytheon], more probably than not, discriminated against them because of their sex.'' She wrote further that a challenge of the women's qualifications by Raytheon ''is mere pretext.''  FULL STORY from the Boston Globe

Juror files ADA complaint over courthouse access
     (BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss., Nov. 11, 1999) -- Bay St. Louis resident Huey Kenmar was perfectly willing to serve on the jury that is trying Joshua Mixon for capital murder in Hancock County Circuit Court.
    But he was turned away Monday after refusing to allow himself to be carried upstairs to the courtroom.
    "For 38 years, roughly, I've been going with the flow, making it real easy on everybody else, overcoming whatever I had to to get around," said KenMarch "I'm going to make people aware and fix what I can fix. I'm taking a stand, and I'm starting today."
    Kenmar said he plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, which administers the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of the provisions of that act requires that public buildings be accessible to the handicapped. FULL STORY from the Biloxi Sun Herald

GA city and county settles gender discrimination suit
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 1999) -- A southern Georgia City and County have agreed not to discriminate against women when hiring for fire and emergency medical technician positions, under an agreement reached with the Justice Department.
    The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Georgia, resolves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in June 1999, alleging that the City of Alma and Bacon County Georgia, discriminated against women by refusing to hire them for full-time positions as Firefighters/Paramedics or Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians.
    "The Department of Justice will not tolerate employment discrimination against women," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "Other jurisdictions should know that we will continue our efforts to seek to remedy such discrimination wherever it occurs."  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Illinois school expulsion dispute unresolved
     (DECATUR, Ill., Nov. 12, 1999) -- Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson promised on Thursday to step up pressure on local school officials to get them to reconsider the cases of a group of black students expelled after a brawl at a football game.
    Jackson told reporters he would go forward with a ``unity march'' on Sunday to try to force the Decatur School Board to look at a proposed compromise in the racially tinged controversy that has disrupted classes at the city's three high schools.
    The school board, however, had no meetings scheduled to re-examine the issue.
    Jackson has contended the two-year expulsions, later reduced by the school board to one year, with the students to be placed in alternative education programs for that period, were too harsh and that school officials had been suspending a disproportionate number of black students during the past year.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights releases CRA statement
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 1999) -- The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation's oldest and largest civil rights coalition, issued the following statement on the passage of the ``Financial Services Modernization Act,'' which included changes to the Community Reinvestment Act:
    The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and others in the civil rights community have closely followed ``financial services'' legislation considered by Congress over the past several years. While many civil rights groups have diverse perspectives on the merits of the underlying legislation, we have been united in our opposition to proposals to use the bill as a vehicle to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). CRA simply requires that financial institutions serve everyone in their community as a condition of receiving a public charter. CRA has resulted in billions of dollars of investment in low- income and minority communities, and has played a key role in the dramatic rise in this decade of homeownership rates among ethnic minorities.  PRESS RELEASE from the Leadership Council on Civil Rights

NYPD sued over Shepard vigil
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 1999) -- Eight people arrested during a march for slain Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard last year sued the city and police department Friday, claiming officers falsely accused them and violated their civil rights.
    The seven men and one woman were detained without being told of the charges against them and were not allowed to consult with lawyers, their attorney said Friday.
    Daniel L. Alterman called the police actions an example of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's ``unprecedented denial of civil liberties.''
    A spokeswoman for Police Commissioner Howard Safir said the department does not comment on pending lawsuits. The mayor's office did not return a phone call seeking comment.  FULL STORY from the Associated press

Key facts from Urban League's "Black America" memo
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 1999) -- First the good news for and about black America: The country's surging economic tide is lifting African-American boats to unprecedented levels in the areas of employment and income.
      Now the bad. In key sectors – including educational attainment, access to health care and incarceration rates – blacks continue to lag behind whites.
      Those findings in "The State of Black America 1999," published annually by the National Urban League, sum up the African-American experience.

NYC begins sting on biased cabbies
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 13, 1999) -- A citywide crackdown on discriminating taxi drivers has begun, but even the threat of a seized cab didn't do the job.
    The first day of "Operation Refusal" nabbed 11 cabbies, including a driver who kicked a woman out of his cab after she asked to go to a Brooklyn hospital. The woman was an undercover taxi commission inspector.
    For the most part Friday - after several days of loud public warnings from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani - drivers were picking up everyone who hailed a cab. The 11 refusals came out of a total of 1,761 checks by undercover police officers and taxi inspectors. Six of the refusals were because of bias, and five were based on destination, according to figures obtained from the New York Police Department. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD seeks to take over Cleveland housing complexes
     (CLEVELAND, Nov. 14, 1999) -- Allegations of families living amidst bugs, broken windows and faulty wiring have caused the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to move to take over two privately owned apartment complexes.
    The apartments are federally subsidized and house about 500 families.
    HUD sent a letter on Tuesday to Associated Estates Realty Corp. of Richmond Heights, asking for the deeds to Rainbow Terrace and Park Village, both in Cleveland, The Plain Dealer reported Saturday.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boy with walker wins battle to play soccer
     (LAWTON, Okla., Nov. 14, 1999) -- With his bright red metal walker in front of him like a shield, 9-year-old Ryan Taylor joined his soccer teammates yesterday after winning a court battle to get onto the field.
    Ryan, who has cerebral palsy, went in early in the game and played to the end, smiling a lot and getting one good kick at the ball.
    "I played three quarters, I'm tired," he said, panting, after the game, which ended in a 0-0 tie.
    The controversy emerged last month when the local youth soccer league barred Ryan from playing, saying his metal walker posed a safety risk. It took a lawsuit and a federal judge's ruling Friday to lift the ban.
    "I find it very remote that there could be some injury [from the walker]," U.S. District Judge David Russell said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Buffalo family sues for lack of bus stop
     (BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 15, 1999) -- Put a teenage girl in a shopping mall and you've got a 1990s match made in heaven. That's how it was for Cynthia Nicole Wiggins. She loved shopping at the Walden Galleria Mall in suburban Cheektowaga and, after her baby was born, she was thrilled to get a part-time job there too.
    But her bus line, the number 6, from Buffalo's largely poor and black section to predominantly white Cheektowaga, had been banned from Walden Galleria property.
    The Galleria's attorneys say the people the mall wanted to avoid were "riotous youth" who use the number 6 and had caused troubled at another mall nearby. But the mall's exclusion of the number 6 bus meant that passengers like the 17-year-old Wiggins were let off on the opposite side of Walden Road from the mall, with no sidewalks, crosswalks or pedestrian signals, and left to traverse seven lanes of heavy traffic.
    There on December 14, 1995, in a freezing rain on a roadway narrowed by snow mounds higher than hydrants, Wiggins wove her way through cars stopped at a red light and was crushed under the wheels of a dump truck. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Justices turn away lesbian dispute
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 1999) -- Turning away a dispute over the rights of homosexuals raising families, the Supreme Court today left intact a ruling in which a lesbian won visitation rights to her ex-partner's child.
    The justices, without comment, refused to review a groundbreaking decision in which Massachusetts' highest court said a lesbian who for years helped her partner raise a son had become a "de facto" or "in fact" parent entitled to visitation rights when the two women split up.
    Today's action sets no legal precedent and does not preclude the possibility that the court someday might agree to decide the issue in some other case.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jackson to risk arrest at protest
     (DECATUR, Ill., Nov. 15, 1999) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson said today he will risk arrest with demonstrations at the city's high schools in his attempt to re-enroll six students expelled for a brawl at a football game.
    "We're in the middle of a very heated battle here that is not for Decatur only," Jackson said, standing outside MacArthur High School. He has criticized the school district's "zero tolerance" policy on violence and said such policies nationwide need to be reviewed.
    Jackson led more than 2,000 people Sunday on a march along the streets of Decatur to demand that the expulsions, already reduced to one school year, be cut even further.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

High court takes school-prayer case
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 1999) -- The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether public school districts can give students a virtually unfettered right to participate in student-led group prayers at football games.
    Setting the stage for its first school-prayer ruling of the new millennium, the court said it will review decisions that struck down a Galveston, Texas, school board’s policy as a violation of the constitutionally required separation of church and state.
    Its decision, expected by late June, could help clarify the jumbled state of the law surrounding school prayer.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Female Citadel cadet settles lawsuit
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 15, 1999) -- A female cadet at The Citadel who quit in frustration after a semester has settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against the school, a staff member and two former cadets for at least $135,000, her lawyer said Monday.
    The state-run military academy paid $100,000 to settle Jeanie Mentavlos’ lawsuit against the school and a staff member, her lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, said Monday. A state official confirmed the settlement.
    She also settled with former cadet Eric Amhaus for $35,000, Harpootlian said. Harpootlian refused to comment on any settlement with former cadet Nicholas Belcher.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

FHCCNY files complaint against mobile home park
     (AURELIUS, N.Y., Nov. 15, 1999) -- The Fair Housing Council of Central New York, Inc., has filed a complaint against Johnson’s Mobile Home Park in the Cayuga County Town of Aurelius, alleging that the park illegally restricts children from residing there.
      In a complaint filed last week with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Council charged the mobile home park with violating the Federal Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to families with children and publishing discriminatory advertising.
      Undercover investigators for the Council were told by park owner Joseph Johnson that "Children are nothing but trouble," and that ". . . they can visit but they can’t live here." PRESS RELEASE from the Fair Housing Council of Central New York

Jackson in Illinois urges citizens to risk arrest
     (DECATUR, Ill., Nov. 16, 1999) -- Invoking landmarks of the civil rights movement, the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged citizens to storm the doors of a Decatur school Tuesday to protest the expulsion of a group of black students who were involved in a football game brawl.
    ``We pray for God to see us through. It worked for us in Montgomery. It worked in Selma. It worked in South Africa. It will work in Decatur,'' Jackson told several hundred people packed inside the Church of the Living God Monday.
    He told the crowd there would be ``consequences and sacrifices'' if they joined him Tuesday morning to march and try to forcibly return the students to class at Eisenhower High School.  FULL STORY from Reuters

King family civil suit to be heard
     (MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 16, 1999) -- Family members of Martin Luther King Jr. hope a trial stemming from a lawsuit they filed will bring out new details about the civil rights leader's assassination.
    The family filed the wrongful death lawsuit last year against Lloyd Jowers, who claimed on national television in 1993 that he hired King's killer - and it wasn't James Earl Ray. Jowers has since refused to discuss his claim.
    A jury was selected to hear the case Monday.
    ``We just want all the evidence to be presented and speak for itself,'' Dexter King, son of the slain civil rights leader, said told The Commercial Appeal on Monday. ``And hopefully (it will) bring our final, legal remedy to an end.'' FULL STORY from the Associated Press

EEOC finds bias against women at CBS
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 1999) -- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it has found evidence that CBS Inc. has discriminated against female technicians at its television stations.
    The women were "subjected to disparate treatment in salary, amount of overtime, promotion opportunities, and training," wrote Spencer H. Lewis Jr., director of the EEOC's New York district office, in an October 29 ruling.
    "In addition, evidence of record indicates a sexually hostile environment at [CBS], in that female technicians have been subject to endure verbal sexual harassment by their colleagues and by management. Evidence of record also indicates that several female technicians have been retaliated against for complaining about sex discrimination," the ruling said.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Fired producer accuses station of racial discrimination
     (CLEVELAND, Nov. 16, 1999) -- An Emmy-award winning television news producer claimed Tuesday she was unjustly fired after she complained to the NAACP about racial discrimination at a local television station.
    But attorneys for the station owned by Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co. said Cheryl Dickson was such an inept producer that one of her news shows ran three minutes short.
    Dickson, the station's first black producer, is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for being fired in 1992.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD pamphlet a phonetic fumble
     (MIAMI, Nov. 17, 1999) -- Federal officials hoping to inform Haitian residents in the Creole language about subsidized housing have delivered a pamphlet written in an imitation Jamaican dialect.
    It's a tough read:
    "Yuh as a rezedent, ave di rights ahn di rispansabilities to elp mek yuh HUD-asisted owzing ah behta owme fi yuh ahn yuh fambily," the pamphlet states.
    What the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was trying to say was: "You as a resident have the rights and the responsibilities to help make your HUD-assisted housing a better home for you and your family."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Groups decry Shepard case gag order
     (LARAMIE, Wyo., Nov. 17, 1999) -- Civil rights groups are disturbed by a plea bargain provision that prevents a man serving life in prison for killing gay college student Matthew Shepard from talking to reporters about the case.
    ``It's a gag order with a vengeance and legs,'' Paul McMasters, the ombudsman for the First Amendment at the Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va., said Tuesday. ``I think there are rather profound implications for both the public and the press.''
    Aaron McKinney, 22, was convicted of beating Shepard to death this month and then avoided the death penalty by promising not to appeal his conviction or talk to reporters. His lawyers also agreed not to comment.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Justice sues Ohio sheriff
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 1999) -- The Justice Department today sued a northern Ohio Sheriff for discriminating against women when hiring county corrections professionals.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, alleges that William Johnson, the Sheriff of Ashtabula County, who is named in his official capacity, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Celecia E. Dibble and other women by refusing to hire or even consider hiring them for corrections officer and corrections officer/medical officer positions because of their sex. The lawsuit also alleges that the sheriff refused to hire or consider hiring Dibble in retaliation for her charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners, which appropriates funds for the operation of the Sheriffs' Department, is also named as a defendant in the complaint.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Justice sues Illinois apartment owners for discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 1999) -- The owners and managers of several Danville, Illinois-area apartment complexes were sued today for engaging in a pattern of discrimination against African American apartment seekers, the Justice Department announced.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Urbana, Illinois, alleges that Spring Valley Properties, Rivercrest Limited Partnership, Narsh and Koeli Goel, and Michael Langevin violated the Fair Housing Act by deliberately steering away African American apartment seekers from predominately white apartment complexes and informing them that apartments were unavailable, when in fact, they were. Spring Valley and Rivercrest, both of which are owned by the Goels, manage more than 160 apartments located on 10 sites in the Danville, Illinois, area as well as numerous single family rental houses.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Black passenger charges Customs Service with harassment
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 1999) -- Acting on behalf of an African American New Yorker who was forced to endure a humiliating physical search at Newark Airport after returning from vacation, the American Civil Liberties Union today filed a racial profiling claim against the U.S. Customs Service.
    At a news conference today in lower Manhattan, 32-year-old Yvette Bradley described her ordeal, saying she was subjected to a degrading physical probe by customs officers who suspected her of carrying drugs because she is black.
    U.S. Customs officials said Yvette Bradley's hat could have been concealing drugs. But although they conducted an intrusive search of her body, Bradley says, they never touched the hat.
    "Inside that customs office, I experienced one of the most humiliating and emotionally scarring moments of my life," Bradley said. "I lived abroad in Germany for nearly three years and not once was I treated with such extreme disrespect and contempt because of my skin color. As an American citizen, this hurts a lot." PRESS RELEASE from the American Civil Liberties Union

Jury convicts 3rd suspect in dragging death
     (JASPER, Texas, Nov. 18, 1999) -- A white man who insisted he was too afraid of his racist companions to help James Byrd Jr. was convicted today of capital murder in the black man's dragging death.
     Shawn Allen Berry will either spend life in prison or join his two co-defendants on death row.
     The jury, which began deliberating at midday Wednesday, must next decide on a punishment for the grisly killing.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Landlord gets fine on top of damages
     (AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 18, 1999) -- U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley has ordered an Akron, Ohio, landlord to pay the United States $80,000 in civil penalties.
     Paul F. Crawford previously was ordered to pay $490,000 in
compensatory and punitive damages after he was found guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act by engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment against several female tenants. FULL STORY in the Akron Beacon Journal

Settlement reached in mall racism case
     (BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 18, 1999) -- A suburban mall has paid $2.55 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit accusing it of having a racist policy designed to keep inner city buses off its property.
      Cynthia N. Wiggins died in 1995 after being hit by a dump truck on her way to work at the Walden Galleria mall in suburban Cheektowaga. The 17-year-old was crossing a busy seven-lane roadway that separated her bus stop from the mall.
      Under the settlement, announced Wednesday, neither the mall, the bus company nor the dump truck driver – all named as defendants in the lawsuit – admitted any wrongdoing in the young woman's death.

Sex bias suit against club goes to court
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 1999) -- A female golfer who claims 17 years of sex discrimination by the swanky Westchester Country Club has taken her battle to court. 
     Nancy Saunders testified Wednesday before Administrative Judge Denise Washington of the state Division of Human Rights in Manhattan. 
She said that when she joined the club in 1982, as a single mother, she paid the same initiation and dues as any man her age, and, "I just assumed I would be treated the same." 
     But she quickly learned that on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there were many hours during which women were barred from the club's prestigious West Course, where the PGA Tour plays the Buick Classic each year. 
     In addition, she was barred – all the time – from the apparently aptly named Men's Grill.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

FCC considering TV programming for the blind
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 1999) -- Blind or vision impaired audiences may one day have to rely less on the kindness of friends and family in making sense of television programming with little dialogue and lots of action. 
     Federal regulators and advocates for the blind say the time has come to give those with impaired vision access akin to what the deaf have now with closed captioning. 
     The Federal Communications Commission is expected to offer proposals today on how to mandate video description services, which describe the scene and action not captured in dialogue, for television programming. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HIV-positive girl settles with Girl Scouts
     (QUEENSBURY, N.Y., Nov. 18, 1999) -- A mother who claimed her HIV-infected daughter was initially denied admission to the Girl Scouts has settled a discrimination complaint against the national organization and its local chapter. 
     Neither side would discuss whether a monetary settlement was part of the accord announced Wednesday. 
     The mother, Dianne Donovan, said the Adirondack Council agreed to revise its policies to ensure troop leaders know that girls cannot be discriminated against because of their HIV status. 
     Neither Girl Scouts USA nor the Adirondack Council admitted wrongdoing.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Men sentenced in decades-old hate killing
     (BELZONI, Miss., Nov. 18, 1999) -- Three white brothers were each sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for the beating death of a black sharecropper outside a Mississippi nightclub nearly 30 years ago.
    The sentences were the maximum allowed by law. The three, now in their 50s and 60s, could be eligible for parole in about five years, according to the state attorney general's office.
   James "Doc" Caston, 66; his brother, Charles E. Caston, 64; and their half-brother, Hal Crimm, 50, had been charged with murder. The jury deliberated about six hours before convicting the men of the lesser charge of manslaughter in the death of Rainey Pool.
    Pool was beaten by a white mob outside a small cotton town's nightclub, his larynx was crushed and his body was dumped off a bridge into the Sunflower River. The case was revived at the request of his family. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

FBI report: racial prejudice dominates hate crimes
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 1999) -- Racial prejudice motivated more than half the 7,755 hate crimes committed in 1998 that were reported to the FBI, the bureau said yesterday.
    As in 1997 and 1996, racial prejudice was the most common motivation for hate crimes, accounting for 56 percent, or 4,321 incidents, in 1998. In order of magnitude, 18 percent, or 1,390 incidents, were attributed to religious prejudice; 16 percent, or 1,260, to sexual orientation; 754 incidents to ethnic or national origin, 25 to disabilities and five to multiple prejudices, the FBI said.
    The 1998 data come from 10,730 law enforcement agencies in 46 states and the District of Columbia, representing 80 percent of the nation's population. There were nearly 300 fewer incidents in 1998 than 1997, but there were also nearly 500 fewer police agencies reporting in 1998. Because the number of agencies reporting varies under the voluntary system established by the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, officials caution against drawing conclusions about trends in hate crime volumes between years. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jobs measure for disabled nears approval
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 1999) -- Congress moved yesterday toward final approval of legislation allowing disabled Americans to keep their government-financed health benefits when they take jobs, removing a major obstacle they face when attempting to join the work force.
    Advocates said the rare piece of bipartisan legislation could lead to the employment of large numbers of people with disabilities.
    Under current law, recipients of Social Security disability and related benefits lose their government-funded health coverage if they take jobs.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Maryland campus plagued by racist e-mail
     (COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 19, 1999) -- The University of Maryland has asked for federal help to find those responsible for sending threatening letters to student leaders and the Afro-American studies department this week.
    The four letters, which turned up Tuesday in the mailboxes of two student leaders, the Black Student Union and Afro-American studies department, were filled with racial epithets and threatened to "destroy" certain individuals and black people in general.
    "The messages were vile and disgusting and threatened bodily harm against specific people," said university spokeswoman Jean Reuter. "The university is going to do everything it can to nab the ones who did it and punish them to the fullest extent of the law."  FULL STORY from APBnews.com.

Clinton, GOP may clash on nominees
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 1999) -- President Clinton and Senate Republicans appeared late Friday to be headed for another clash over nominations as Clinton signaled he might give so-called ``recess appointments'' to 13 stalled nominees, including acting civil rights enforcement chief Bill Lann Lee.
    Conservatives immediately balked. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., vowed to use parliamentary procedures to block ``every single judicial nominee'' for the rest of the president's term if Clinton carries through with the recess appointments.
    Under the Constitution, the president can temporarily bypass the Senate confirmation process by giving an individual an appointment during a congressional recess. In this case, the person could serve in the post until the end of next year - when Clinton's term is close to expiring, anyway.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

$50,000 checks go out to black farmers
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 1999) -- Checks for $50,000 each have gone to more than 2,400 black farmers as the first payments from the government under a civil rights settlement between the growers and the Agriculture Department.
    The farmers are among 18,000 producers who filed claims under the settlement, and about 70 percent of those are likely to be approved, said Alexander Pires, their lead attorney.
    Under terms of the settlement, farmers who can show some evidence of discrimination are entitled to $50,000 each and have outstanding loans forgiven. An additional $12,500 is being sent to the Internal Revenue Service in the name of each farmer to cover the federal income taxes that he or she would owe on the settlement.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Dragging suspect gets life behind bars
     (JASPER, Texas, Nov. 19, 1999) -- The vicious dragging death of James Byrd Jr., having taken its place in the annals of American hate crimes, now leaves the daily life of the city it made famous 17 months ago. 
     Byrd's family will conduct a quiet graveside memorial for him today, the same day the last of his killers begins a life sentence handed down by a Jasper County jury Thursday. 
     The all-white jury sentenced Shawn Allen Berry, 24, to life in prison less than two hours after finding him guilty of capital murder for killing the 49-year-old black man. 
     The decision means Berry avoids the fate of his two co-defendants,
avowed white supremacists John William King, 25, and Lawrence Russell Brewer, 32, who were sentenced to die for the killing in separate trials earlier this year. Berry must spend at least 40 years in prison before he can be paroled.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Fed wants bank data on discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 1999) -- After 25 years of barring banks from collecting data on the race, ethnicity and gender of applicants for credit cards and automobile, student, business and other nonmortgage loans, the Federal Reserve Board is moving to lift the prohibition.
    Backed by the heads of seven federal agencies and a cadre of minority, consumer and community advocacy groups, the proposal is designed to help gauge the extent of discrimination in lending. Supporters argue that it also could increase access to credit and compliance with fair lending laws.
    But the policy shift is strongly opposed by most major banks and credit-card companies, which claim the information would present an incomplete view of lending practices, invade consumer privacy and impose unnecessary reporting burdens. FULL STORY from Knight Ridder News Service

Ohio athletes sue school for sex discrimination
     (CINCINNATI, Nov. 19, 1999) -- Male athletes sued Miami University yesterday, claiming reverse discrimination resulted from a federal law designed to equalize the money that colleges spend on men's and women's sports.
    The former Miami wrestlers and tennis and soccer players contend that by eliminating their teams to satisfy NCAA gender quotas, the university violated sex discrimination provisions of Title IX, the federal program designed to increase the number of women playing sports.
    ``Prohibiting men from participating in athletics simply because they are men is sex discrimination, and that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution as well as the federal civil rights statute, Title IX,'' said Curt Levey, spokesman for the Washington-based Center for Individual Rights.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Airline incident blamed on race
     (COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 20, 1999) -- The airline industry's profile of suspicious passengers is primarily at fault for two Saudi Arabian men being handcuffed and hauled off a plane, Arab American leaders said Saturday.
    "When someone asks a funny question, if he happens to be of color, it's security risk," said Khalil Jahshan, president of the National Association of Arab Americans.
    Airport officials said Friday's incident began when an America West pilot became nervous after the two passengers asked suspicious questions during the flight to Washington and one jiggled the cockpit door.
    When the plane landed at Port Columbus International Airport, the pilot stopped at the end of a runway and ordered passengers to evacuate while the two were taken into custody. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Largest-ever protest held against army school
     (COLUMBUS, Ga., Nov. 21, 1999) -- Thousands of protesters filed into the military base housing the U.S. Army's academy for Latin American soldiers on Sunday in the largest demonstration to date against a school critics call a training ground for dictators and assassins.
    ``We do not want this school of war,'' the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the 9-year-old movement to close the School of the Americas at sprawling Fort Benning.
    ``It can only be closed. It cannot be changed,'' Bourgeois said during a protest to mark the tenth anniversary of the murder in El Salvador of six Jesuit priests in which several graduates of the school have been charged.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Kansas man sentenced to prison for cross burning
     (LENEXA, Kan., Nov. 22, 1999) -- Calling a May 26 cross burning in Overland Park a "particularly reprehensible" act, a federal judge on Monday sentenced 20-year-old Brian J. Hoffman to a year and a day in prison.
    Hoffman, of Lenexa, pleaded guilty August 23 to making a criminal threat by burning a cross in the yard of Glennice and Morris Harris Sr., after their son Maurice L. Harris, 18, punched a friend of Hoffman's. The friend, who suffered a broken nose, was not involved in the cross burning.
    Hoffman is white; the Harris family is black. FULL STORY from the Kansas City Star

75 percent of military's minorities see racism
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 1999) -- Three-quarters of all African Americans and other minorities serving in uniform complain that they have experienced racially offensive behavior, and less than half expressed confidence that complaints of discrimination are thoroughly investigated, according to the largest survey of racial attitudes ever conducted within the armed forces.
    On a broad array of questions, whites and minorities offered drastically different perceptions of racial and ethnic relations within the military. While whites generally took positive views of the situation on bases and ships, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans consistently expressed more negative assessments.   FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Columbus, Ohio police department sued
     (COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 23, 1999) -- A U.S. Justice Department lawsuit accusing the Columbus police force of brutality and other civil rights violations could become a major test of wills between the government and the city's police union.
    The lawsuit, filed October 21, demands improvements in the training and supervision of police officers and in the investigation of civilian complaints against the 1,700-member force.
   The city and the Columbus Fraternal Order of Police are disputing the allegations. And the FOP has argued that the new procedures demanded by the government would make the city less safe by tying up officers with paperwork.
    Columbus is the third U.S. city to be threatened with a lawsuit under a 1994 law that allows the Justice Department to sue over an alleged pattern of civil rights violations by a police department. But Columbus is the first city to fight back.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Miss. schools settle desegregation
     (JACKSON, Miss., Nov. 23, 1999) -- The Justice Department and school officials reached an agreement Tuesday to resolve desegregation issues that will locate a new elementary school near black communities instead of close to an expensive housing development.
    Critics, the federal government among them, had argued that the Tunica County School District's plan to build a $5 million school near the county's booming casinos would draw an overwhelmingly white population from wealthy casino executives.
    The agreement still must be approved by the U.S. District Court in Oxford.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

ACLJ files discrimination suit against Henderson, Ky.
     (HENDERSON, Ky., Nov. 23, 1999) -- The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, today filed suit in Henderson Circuit Court for the Commonwealth of Kentucky challenging the City of Henderson's ordinance that extends protected status in employment, housing, and public accommodation to the categories of ``sexual orientation.''
    The ACLJ filed suit against the City of Henderson, its Mayor, and the Henderson Human Rights Commission on behalf of Rick and Connie Hile, who own three rental properties in Henderson. The Hiles contend that their Biblically based Christian beliefs prevent them from complying with the City's ordinance. The lawsuit contends that because of their sincerely held religious beliefs, the Hiles are compelled to deny renting their properties to persons living a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle. PRESS RELEASE from the American Center for Law and Justice

Gay-tolerance book sent to schools
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 1999) -- Concerned about harassment of gay students, a group of teachers and health professionals is sending the nation’s educators a booklet on tolerance.
    The 12-page booklet, which says homosexuality is not unhealthy and doesn’t require a 'cure,' is heading to more than 15,000 school systems. The coalition, whose publication describes sexual orientation development and some efforts to change it, says the information could help educators deal with students who are confused or being harassed over their sexuality. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Las Vegas builder and developer settle with Justice
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 1999) -- A Las Vegas developer and construction company have agreed to pay more than $1 million to modify five condominium developments to provide greater accessibility to persons with disabilities, and to compensate individuals whose condominium units were not accessible, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, resolves a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department in December 1997 alleging that Rock Springs Vista Development Corp., Inc, and the J.A. Black Construction Company, Inc, violated the federal Fair Housing Act by failing to make five condominium developments located in Las Vegas and Mesquite, Nevada, accessible to persons with disabilities. Under the Fair Housing Act, multi-family housing complexes with four or more units must include, among other things, accessible common areas, accessible routes in common areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs, thermostats and electrical outlets in accessible locations, and reinforced bathroom walls that can support grab bars.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

White youths charged in race-motivated killing
     (ELKHART, Ind., Nov. 23, 1999) -- Two white teen-agers were charged with murder today in the drive-by shooting of a black teen-ager that was reportedly racially motivated. 
     The victim, 19-year-old Sasezley Richardson, was walking home from an Elkhart mall carrying a package of diapers for his girlfriend's baby when he encountered his attackers, police said. The teen was found bleeding on the side of a street Wednesday evening, shot in the head, and died Saturday. 
     Authorities said Jason Powell, also 19, shot Richardson while riding in a car driven by his friend Alex Witmer, 18. They appeared in Elkhart Circuit Court today and heard murder charges read against them. 
     Both men are white and neither man knew the victim, authorities said. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD files charges against NY landlords
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that HUD has filed a housing discrimination charge against New York landlords accused of telling a white grandmother she would have to move out of her apartment because she planned to occasionally care for her 3-year-old biracial grandson.
    HUD filed the discrimination charge against landlords Laura and Agustino Craveiro under the federal Fair Housing Act. The Craveiros briefly rented out a second-floor apartment in their home in the Long Island, NY community of West Islip to Ann O'Dea.
    The Craveiros and Ms. O'Dea are white. Ms. O'Dea's grandson - Travis Lightsey - is biracial, with a white mother (Ms. O'Dea's daughter) and a black father. Travis was 3 years old when his grandmother moved into the apartment in the Craveiro home on May 31, 1997. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Ohio apartment owners sued for racial discrimination
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1999) -- The owners and managers of an apartment complex in,  Xenia, Ohio, were sued today for engaging in a pattern of discrimination against African American apartment seekers, the Justice Department announced.
    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio, alleges that the Roger Matusoff Rental Company, Roger Matusoff, Rebecca McCord, Peggy Penwell and Lonnie Penwell violated the Fair Housing Act by denying apartments to African Americans because of their race. Matusoff Rental Companies owns three apartment complexes in Ohio, including the 72 unit Villa de Marquis in Xenia, which is the subject of this lawsuit. McCord and the Penwells are employees of the company who helped carry out the discrimination.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Family sues over pizza box swastika
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1999) -- After finding a swastika and a racist message drawn on the inside of a pizza box, a Stafford County family is suing Pizza Hut of America Inc., alleging that the restaurant's employees racially harassed them.
    In a lawsuit filed Friday in Prince William County Circuit Court, Corey and Marvette Cofield claim that a Pizza Hut restaurant intimidated and harassed their family when an employee of a Dale City restaurant sold them a pizza in June with hate symbols written on the box. The Cofields, who are black, said they found a large swastika and a "WP" symbol--which they took to mean "white power"--written in marker on the inside of the box after taking it home for dinner.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

High court to rule on hate crimes
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 1999) -- The Supreme Court decided Monday to consider whether judges can decide for themselves to impose longer sentences under state hate-crime laws.
    The court will hear a New Jersey man’s argument that a jury -- not the judge -- must decide if racial bias was a motive when he fired shots into a black family’s home in 1994. The man, Charles Apprendi, later said there was no racial intent.
    The judge imposed a 12-year term, saying prosecutors had shown the act was racially motivated. Apprendi appealed, but the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the sentence. His lawyers say his intent at the time of the crime should be apart of what the jury should consider. But New Jersey’s attorney general says motive traditionally is a sentencing issue decided by the judge.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court KOs part of race bias lawsuit
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 1999) -- The Supreme Court today killed at least part of a racial-bias lawsuit brought against Texas and various state officials by a white man denied admission to a University of Texas doctoral program in counseling psychology.
    The justices, in an unsigned decision, said a federal appeals court wrongly had ordered the case to trial despite evidence that an affirmative action program for minorities and consideration of race played no role in Francois Lesage's failure to gain admittance.
    Today's ruling said people who sue over a government decision they say was based on an impermissible reason cannot win any relief if it is clear the government would have made the same decision anyway.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Egyptian seeks end to use of secret evidence against immigrants
     (NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 1999) -- Joined by civil rights lawyers and his three small children, an Egyptian man freed after three years in jail urged an end to the government's use of secret evidence against immigrants linked to terrorism.
    ``The loss of three years with my kids is very painful. ... The suffering of being away from them can't be described,'' Nasser Ahmed said Tuesday at a news conference the day after he was freed.
    Ahmed, 39, said he wants to campaign for the release of about 20 other Arabs being detained under similar circumstances. His case, he said, ``has put a nail in the coffin of secret evidence.''  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Suit alleges anti American Indian bias at USDA
     (WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 1999) -- Less than a year after a multibillion-dollar settlement with black farmers, the Agriculture Department faces a discrimination complaint from Native American growers.
    More than 200 American Indian farmers filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Agriculture Department last week, claiming that for decades they too have been subject to discrimination by USDA employees, lawyers said.
    The complaint was almost a carbon copy of the allegations made by black farmers.
    The black farmers and the American Indians claimed that for decades they were shut out of USDA loan programs, disaster assistance and other farm aid because of their race. When they filed government complaints, their arguments were ignored, according to their lawyers. FULL STORY from Reuters

Pittsburgh to hire men who sued
     (PITTSBURGH, Nov. 30, 1999) -- City officials have reluctantly agreed to hire nine white men who filed a discrimination lawsuit after they were passed over for jobs as police officers in 1992.
    The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal court jury's verdict in June 1998 to award back pay and damages to the men, who said they were victims of reverse discrimination.
    All had received high scores on the city's written examination for police candidates and said the city used a subsequent oral test to weed them out.
    On Monday, the city agreed to a consent order by offering jobs to the men if they pass physical and psychological exams. The city also will owe them a total of $900,000 in back pay and related charges. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

N.C. trial weighs race in elections
     (RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 30, 1999) -- A three-judge federal panel has begun hearing evidence to determine whether race played too large a role in the drawing of two North Carolina congressional districts.
    The 1st and 12th districts were first redrawn to give them black majorities in 1992. As a result, North Carolina sent black representatives to Congress for the first time since 1901.
    The districts were redrawn again in 1997 and then in 1998 after court challenges. It is the 1997 district boundaries that are now at issue. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Network execs walk out on NAACP hearing
     (HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Nov. 30, 1999) -- ABC, NBC and Fox execs walked out of a NAACP hearing on minority representation in TV on Monday after the civil rights group shuffled their scheduled testimony to later in the day.
    The three networks said their representatives were originally supposed to appear immediately after CBS Television CEO Leslie Moonves, the only network chief to RSVP.
    Moonves took the floor following National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People CEO Kweisi Mfume's opening statements, but representatives from the other three networks were pushed back to early afternoon.
    Testifying to a packed room of execs, actors, producers and officials from a wide variety of civil rights groups, Moonves stressed CBS' roster of minority performers and newscasters. He also noted that 21.5% of CBS employees, but only 14.8% of execs, are minorities.  FULL STORY from Variety

Ex-students suing Rutgers, coach
     (PISCATAWAY, N.J., Nov. 30, 1999) -- Three former Rutgers students will file suit Tuesday against the university and its men's basketball coach, claiming civil rights violations, The Record of Hackensack reported in Tuesday's editions.
    The newspaper reported that two former basketball players and a former student-manager claim in the lawsuit that they were improperly forced to strip and run wind sprints in the gymnasium after the practice as punishment for missing free throws.
    The details of the practice at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in December 1997 were disclosed earlier this year, when some Rutgers players reported it to The Record. Coach Kevin Bannon said at the time that it was all in good fun.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

ACLU sues Utah over adoption ban
     (SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 01, 1999) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the battle against a state ban on unmarried couples adopting children in state custody.
    The ACLU contends the ban, which went into effect in September, is ``grounded in irrational fear and prejudice toward same-sex couples,'' and violates the state constitution. The civil rights group filed suit Tuesday on behalf of two gay couples.
    Utah Children, an advocacy group, sued the division and its board last month, arguing that the rule goes against the best interest of children and contradicts the state's own push to expand the pool of adoptive parents.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Attack on Calif. woman probed as hate crime
     (SAN DIEGO, Dec. 01, 1999) -- Three months ago, television viewers watched in horror as a department store's security video showed the 18-year-old daughter of San Diego's police chief being shoved by an assailant so hard that her head snapped back.
    Billy McCall, 29, of San Diego, has been charged with hate crimes in the attacks of four women. One of his attorneys says McCall may be the first defendant in California to be charged with hate crimes against women, allegations that could add six years to any possible sentence.
    "It was clear that he wanted to victimize these women at random because they were women," said Gayle Falkenthal, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.  FULL STORY from APBnews.com

Shoppers with disabilities sue FL department store
     (SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 01, 1999) -- When Edward Resnick shops a shoe sale at Burdines, he needs someone else to wedge between the racks and retrieve several pairs just so he can look at them.
    "They shove the racks too close together for my wheelchair to get in," said the 73-year-old retired Miami lawyer. "And at Christmas they even fill the main aisles through the store with display racks. I can't get around at all. I've actually had to backtrack just to get out of the store."
    Resnick is one of four disabled shoppers who this week filed a federal class action discrimination suit against Burdines. They are seeking to force the 50-store chain to clear out heaps of merchandise that have shrunk "dozens of aisles" within its stores to passageways as skinny as 12 inches. That would be a tight squeeze for an able-bodied person. It's impossible for Resnick, whose wheelchair requires 32 inches.   FULL STORY from the Saint Petersburg Times

Las Vegas housing providers settle with Justice
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 01, 1999) -- A Las Vegas developer and construction company have agreed to modify four apartment complexes to provide greater accessibility to persons with disabilities, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.
    The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, resolves allegations that Inland Empire Builders, Inc., The Heers Family Trust, Charles M. Heers, Marilyn C. Heers, and architect Eric Miller, violated the Fair Housing Act by not building accessible housing for persons with disabilities. Under the Fair Housing Act, multi-family housing complexes with four or more units which were first occupied after March 13, 1991 are required to include, among other things, accessible common areas, accessible routes in the common areas, doors that are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, thermostats and electrical outlets in accessible locations, reinforced bathroom walls that can support grab bars, and bathrooms and kitchens that are large enough to be used by persons who use wheelchairs. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

Oakland school district named in sexual harassment suit
     (OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 01, 1999) -- Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been named in a federal civil suit alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and violations of civil rights.
    The complaint was filed on December 1, 1999 in U.S. District Court in Oakland.
    According to the complaint, the plaintiff, a young male pupil at Carter Berdise Middle School, named only as O.H. to protect his identity, claims that other students repeatedly harassed him because of his sex and perceived sexual orientation. Plaintiff was verbally harassed, was physically assaulted and eventually was raped by another student on three occasions. PRESS RELEASE from Hoffman and Lazear, Attorneys at Law

Pittsburgh: placement agency in under fire again
     (PITTSBURGH, Dec. 01, 1999) -- Now that the Allegheny County Housing Authority has the money to buy the remaining homes it needs for the settlement of the Sanders housing discrimination lawsuit, there may be a problem finding occupants.
    That's because a nonprofit organization hired to place low-income families in public housing lacks both the personnel and expertise to do its job, according to a report released yesterday.
    The report, by Quadel Consulting Corp. of Washington, D.C., marks the second time this year that the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh Inc. has been criticized for its operation of the Fair Housing Services Center.  FULL STORY from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judge may appoint monitor for discriminating golf course
     (BOSTON, Dec. 01, 1999) -- Sally Brochetti likes the idea of a court-appointed monitor running the Haverhill Golf and Country Club. After all, nothing else -- not even a $1.97 million discrimination verdict -- has stopped the club from relegating women to a second-class status.
      "Anything that would make the club so that the women members are equal to the men,'' said Brochetti, a long-time "limited member'' who is not allowed to play golf at the club in the prime weekend hours. "But you never know with the people there.''
      Brochetti and eight other women won a $1.97 million verdict against the club this fall when a jury unanimously decided they were unfairly denied the sought-after "primary memberships'' that come with choice starting times and greater access to the club. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Court weighs federal aid to religious schools
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 01, 1999) -- In a potential watershed case involving aid to parochial schools, the US Supreme Court is considering whether providing government-funded computers to religious schools violates the separation of church and state.
    The case, set for oral argument December 1, involves federal education block grants in Louisiana. But the court's decision will also apply to private religious schools nationwide, and will have a major impact on President Clinton's proposal to spend as much as $800 million to connect every classroom and school library in America to the Internet.
    On a broader level the case presents the nation's highest court with an opportunity to clarify the constitutional boundaries of church-state relations.  FULL STORY from the Christian Science Monitor

Cleveland TV station loses bias suit
     (CLEVELAND, Dec. 01, 1999) -- A former Channel 5 news producer yesterday won a $1.25 million judgment against Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co. and WEWS for racial discrimination.
    Attorneys for Cheryl Dickson said her firing in 1992 was the result of a pattern of racial bias. Lawyers for WEWS and Scripps Howard denied the accusation and argued that Dickson was fired for poor work performance.
    Dickson had worked at WEWS for 3 1/2 years as the station's first black producer and participated in winning four local Emmy Awards. She filed the lawsuit in 1997.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NAACP wants apology for slur in Tennessee court
     (CARTHAGE, Tenn., Dec. 02, 1999) -- The NAACP is asking a Smith County judge to apologize for allowing an attorney to use the word "colored" to describe African-Americans in a pending custody case.
    In the case, two sets of grandparents are fighting over custody of their three grandchildren, whose parents were killed this summer in a murder-suicide.
    The children's father, Randy Carr, shot and killed their mother, Amanda Westphal, then turned the gun on himself.
    Court records in the case show that the Carrs' attorney, Ernest W. Cotten, has referred to the black sister of one of the parties as "the colored lady," and that Judge Jackie Preston has called the woman "this black Negro lady."  FULL STORY from the Tennesseean

Campus bombing suspect faces civil rights charges
     (TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 02, 1999) -- Lawrence Lombardi, already jailed on charges that he detonated two bombs on the campus of Florida A&M University, now faces additional federal hate-crime charges that accuse him of targeting students "because of their race and color."
    A federal grand jury added the civil rights charges Tuesday, a month after indicting Lombardi on charges of making and detonating pipe bombs that exploded August 31 and September 22 at Florida's only historically black state university.
    The revised indictment says Lombardi tried "to injure, intimidate and interfere with students because of their race and color" and specifically because the students attend FAMU.  FULL STORY from the Saint Petersburg Times

Mormon workers file bias suit in Utah
     (IDAHO FALLS, Utah, Dec. 02, 1999) -- Two workers at the U.S. Energy Department's Idaho Operations Office have filed a discrimination suit, claiming they were passed over for promotions because of their age and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    The suit follows a determination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that there was no evidence of discrimination.
    James Minton, 59, and Stephen Pulley, 56, were denied promotions in 1993 in the office's accounting and financial divisions.
    The federal lawsuit claims that in both cases supervisors chose less-qualified, non-Mormon females in their 30s to fill those jobs. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Boy Scouts reject troop proposed by gay rights advocate
     (PETALUMA, Calif., Dec. 02, 1999) -- The Boy Scouts have rejected a troop that was to have been sponsored by a church, and the pastor says it's because the proposed scout master advocates an end to scouting's ban on gays.
    In a letter to the United Church of Christ in Petaluma, officials from the Boy Scouts' Redwood Empire Council in Santa Rosa said the Scouts were "not prepared to charter a troop led by Scott Cozza or adult leadership recruited by him."
    The letter did not elaborate on the reason. A call to the council Wednesday night was not immediately returned. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Toledo radio hosts accused of racism
     (TOLEDO, Ohio, Dec. 02, 1999) -- Black community leaders are accusing two radio show hosts of spreading hate over the air by targeting the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a local NAACP leader.
      One of the hosts, Scott Sloan of WSPD-AM, on Monday began a weeklong, unpaid suspension for comments he made on his morning show last month. He said Jackson wanted to be assassinated when he intervened in a dispute over expulsions at an Illinois high school.
      Black leaders said Sloan's comments rekindled outrage over a telephone call to the NAACP official in July by WVKS-FM host Denny Schaffer, who referred to a restaurant chain operating under a multimillion-dollar agreement not to discriminate. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Anti-Catholicism alleged in House
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 02, 1999) -- Controversy is no stranger to the politically divided House, but even by recent standards, the latest flare-up is unusual – a fight over the selection of a new chaplain to minister to lawmakers and their families.
   The Rev. Tim O'Brien, passed over when House GOP leaders made their selection recently, charged Wednesday that anti-Catholic bias was at work. "I am convinced that if I were a mainline Protestant minister and not a Catholic priest, I would be the candidate," he said in a telephone interview.
    Democrats say House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Dick Armey, the two top GOP leaders, ignored the work of a bipartisan committee that reviewed candidates and imposed the selection of the Rev. Charles Wright. Wright is a Presbyterian minister who has served pastorates in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Washington. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD takes over Cleveland housing complexes
     (CLEVELAND, Dec. 02, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken over two privately owned apartment complexes which the department says did not meet federal health and safety standards.
    HUD said Associated Estates Realty Corp., a real estate and management company based in suburban Richmond Heights, had neglected the Rainbow Terrace and Park Village apartments for years.
    The apartments have had numerous problems, including rodent and insect infestations, broken windows and doors, filthy hallways, faulty wiring and furnaces and poor security, HUD said.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jewish center shooter faces new federal indictment
     (LOS ANGELES, Dec. 02, 1999) -- A federal grand jury issued a new indictment Thursday against white supremacist Buford O. Furrow, charging him with hate crimes in the shootings of five people at a Jewish community center and the killing of a postman in August.
      The Justice Department alleged that Furrow, 37, indicted earlier for the murder of letter carrier Joseph Ileto, wounded three boys, a teen-age girl and a receptionist at the center because of their religion.
      The 16-count indictment, which supersedes the old charges, also added new firearms charges. It also adds details of the rampage that left five people wounded at the North Valley Jewish Community Center. Ileto was gunned down on his route in a nearby neighborhood. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Days inn settles accessibility case with Justice
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 03, 1999) -- Days Inn, the nation's largest hotel chain, agreed with the Justice Department yesterday to renovate hotels built in the past seven years and ensure that new inns are accessible to disabled people.
    Under the agreement, Days Inn of America Inc. and its parent, Cendant Corp., will establish a $4.75 million fund to provide interest-free loans to franchise owners of Days Inn hotels built after January 26, 1993, to finance repairs and renovations.
    In addition, "Days Inns and Cendant will ensure that before a new hotel is opened for business using the Days Inn name, the architect, the contractor or the owner of the hotel certify that the hotel meets all Americans With Disabilities Act requirements," Attorney General Janet Reno said as she announced the agreement at her weekly news conference.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judge dismisses Ohio discrimination lawsuit
     (CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio, Dec. 03, 1999) -- A federal judge has dismissed a multimillion-dollar discrimination lawsuit filed against the city by a low-income housing developer.
      U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster granted the city's request Monday to throw out the complaint, filed in 1996 by Buckeye Community Hope Foundation.
      The Columbus-based nonprofit fought for years to build a $4.9 million, 72-unit apartment complex on Pleasant Meadow Drive.
      The group accused the city of blocking the project because of racial issues and fears about families with children. FULL STORY from the Akron Beacon Journal

King monument to be built on the Mall
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 03, 1999) -- A monument to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. will join those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson on the grounds along the National Mall after a commission on Thursday unanimously approved it.
    The National Capital Planning Commission gave the final approval to begin the process of constructing the first memorial on the mall commemorating an African-American.
    ``This memorial really gives America an opportunity internationally to finally show our approval of a great man and his message,'' John Carter, project chairman and vice president of the King Memorial Foundation, said.
    The King Memorial site is a four-acre plot across the tidal basin from the Jefferson Memorial and north of the memorial to President Franklin Roosevelt. The site is less than a mile from where King gave his famous ``I have a dream'' speech near the Lincoln Memorial.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Foster care provider ordered to pay for mental anguish
     (PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 06, 1999) -- The complainant, who had physical and mental disabilities, rented a room at the Lambert Street Room and Board Facility, which was licenced as an adult care home. Several times a day residents of Lambert Street would pick up their medications at the adjacent Mt. Scott Residential Care Home.
      Frequently the complainant chose to skip his medication because of its unpleasant side effects. According to the complainant, the manager threatened to evict him if he did not take his medication. The complainant filed a civil rights complaint with Oregon’s Civil Rights Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. The Administrative Law Judge who heard the case determined there was credible evidence that eviction had been threatened and was not justified under Oregon statutes that prescribe the grounds for involuntary removal from adult care homes.
      In the order dated November 16, 1999 the Labor Commissioner ruled that these acts constitution direct discrimination based on complainants disability in violation of Oregon fair housing law. He awarded $10,000 for mental anguish based on damages awarded in other BOLI cases.

Immigration agency fights disabled man's citizenship bid
     (SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 06, 1999) -- Gustavo Galvez Letona is a 27-year-old immigrant with severe Down syndrome. He has the abilities of an 18-month-old and cannot take the citizenship oath.
    But the native of Guatemala has lived in the United States since he was 10, is a legal resident, his mother is a citizen and he meets the other legal requirements for citizenship.
    The Immigration and Naturalization Service has refused his citizenship application. Galvez's attorneys argue he is being discriminated against because of his disability. The matter, now before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, raises the question: Can mentally handicapped immigrants become citizens of the United States? FULL STORY from the Salt Lake Tribune

Holocaust report uncovers accounts
     (ZURICH, Switzerland, Dec. 06, 1999) -- A search through Swiss banks turned up 54,000 unclaimed accounts that may have belonged to Holocaust victims, an international panel concluded Monday, criticizing some banks for stonewalling the victims’ heirs. "The handling of these funds was too often grossly insensitive to the special conditions of the Holocaust and sometimes misleading in intent and unfair in result,"said the final report of a panel, appointed by Swiss bankers and international Jewish organizations.
    But it said the unprecedented search for the rightful owners of the accounts was evidence of a new willingness by the banks to help bring "a sense of justice and closure to one part of the horrific experience of the Holocaust."
    Under the leadership of former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, the panel employed up to 650 international accountants to comb through 54 Swiss banks in search of accounts opened while the Nazis held power in neighboring Germany from 1933 to 1945.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Justice alleges LSAT biased against disabled
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 07, 1999) -- The Justice Department charged yesterday that the Law School Admission Test, required by 196 law schools, is unfair to the physically disabled because they are denied extra time to take it.
    The department's civil rights division filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia against the Law School Admission Council, which administers the half-day standardized test of reading and verbal reasoning skills to 104,000 law school applicants annually.
    The government alleges that the council violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it denied four people with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, extra time on the multiple-choice portion of the test.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

GOP senators oppose loan data collection
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 07, 1999) -- A Federal Reserve proposal to allow banks to collect data on the race and sex of people applying for loans has drawn opposition from some Republican senators.
    Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and other GOP senators criticized the proposal in a letter Monday to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, saying it could lead to discrimination against applicants for loans and credit cards.
    "The credit process should be colorblind," Gramm said in a statement accompanying a copy of the letter. "Allowing banks and other creditors to collect information about the race, religion or national origin of their would-be clients will once again raise the specter of abusive creditors injecting prejudice into the credit process." FULL STORY from the Associated Press

FBI probes shooting of black woman as hate crime
     (CHESTERTOWN, Md., Dec. 07, 1999) -- Federal agents are opening a civil rights inquiry into the fatal shooting of an elderly African-American woman on Maryland's Eastern Shore, authorities said.
    "I've been told that we're opening a preliminary investigation," Special Agent Peter Gulotta, FBI spokesman, said today from Baltimore.
    Racial hatred is being considered as a possible motive in the December 4 incident, in which the woman was killed by a high-caliber rifle shot after she and two other women were trailed by a pickup for more than 20 miles.  FULL STORY from APBnews.com

Calif. company resolves discrimination complaint with Justice
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 07, 1999) -- A Southern California employment service with more than 30 offices throughout the state, has agreed today to pay more than $11,000 in civil penalties and back pay to settle allegations of immigration related employment discrimination with the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC).
    The out-of-court settlement resolves a charge filed by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), in April 1999, alleging that Select Temporaries Inc., based in Oxnard, California, discriminated against Ms. Rosaura Garcia, a permanent resident alien. In its charge, CRLA, which is a former OSC grant recipient, alleged that Select Temporaries refused to accept Garcia's valid resident alien card, which she presented for purposes of completing the hiring process. At that time the company's representative in charge of completing that process told Garcia that her resident alien card was invalid; however, the company representative did not articulate the reason why she felt the card was invalid and Garcia was refused employment. In signing this agreement, Select Temporaries does not admit wrongdoing.  PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice

HUD considering gunmaker suit
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 08, 1999) -- The Clinton administration said Tuesday it will sue gunmakers on behalf of public housing authorities in Chicago and across the nation if settlement talks in similar pending lawsuits are unsuccessful.
    In a bid to curb gun violence, Chicago and about two-dozen local governments have sued gunmakers.
    A lawyer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development said the agency will enter ongoing settlement talks with gun manufacturers before going to court, a standard procedure that precedes the filing of a lawsuit. The settlement talks in question do not include the Chicago case.  FULL STORY from the Chicago Sun-Times

White supremacists botch synagogue arson attempt
     (RENO, Nev., Dec. 08, 1999) -- Hanukkah is a celebration of miracles, and Temple Emanu-El members call it miraculous that a Molotov cocktail flung at their synagogue last week bounced off a window and fizzled out on the sidewalk.
    But the marvel ends there for Reno's Jewish community, left shocked and shaken by the botched arson attempt by alleged white supremacists.
    Four arrests were made in the case over the weekend, including that of a Yolo County man. That has brought little peace to many northern Nevada Jews who've been on edge since a recent string of anti-Semitic crimes, including Sacramento's three synagogue arsons in June and the September shooting at a San Fernando Valley Jewish community center.  FULL STORY from the Sacramento Bee

Puddle jumping results in arrest of 12-year-old
     (INVERNESS, Fla., Dec. 08, 1999) -- Charles and Brenda Fredrikson filed a verbal complaint with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, decrying what they consider excessively harsh treatment of their 12-year-old son, Kyle, who is in a special class for children with learning disabilities. The parents say he suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
      According to an arrest report and Kyle's parents, he was being escorted with the rest of his class from the cafeteria back to a classroom when he jumped into a puddle, splashing School Resource Officer Tim Langer. This came after Kyle tried to grab Langer's wallet.
      For that, said Mrs. Fredrikson, Langer grabbed Kyle, threw him to the ground and picked him back up, leaving a red mark on his arm near his elbow. Kyle was handcuffed and taken to the Citrus County Detention Center, where he was photographed and his fingerprints were taken. He was charged with disrupting a school, a misdemeanor, before his release to his parents. FULL STORY from the Saint Petersburg Times

Confederate flag faces heat in South Carolina
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 08, 1999) -- A group of former lawmakers and governors who served when the Confederate flag was hoisted above South Carolina's Statehouse have returned to urge current legislators to bring it down.
    The flag was raised in 1962 to commemorate the Civil War centennial, not in defiance of the federal government over desegregation, said former state Rep. George E. Campsen Jr. It should have come down in 1966 after the celebration was over, he said, but the Legislature failed to provide for the removal.
    "We are here pleading guilty to that omission," Campsen said. "It was our omission and it should be corrected."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

UC Berkeley faces racism issues
     (BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 08, 1999) -- Issues of race and racism are swirling at the University of California at Berkeley, stirred up by the imminent departures of two Hispanic professors and protests over the future of the ethnic studies department.
    At issue: Is prestigious Berkeley's ivory tower a bastion for white professors?
    Some on campus think things are headed that way -- nearly nine out of 10 tenured faculty are white, and black and Hispanic student admissions have dropped with the implementation of new anti-affirmative action policies.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Calif. court sets limit on sex harassment suits
     (SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 09, 1999) -- The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that sexual harassment cases may be filed only against employers, not against the individual employee responsible for the alleged mistreatment.
    In a unanimous decision that sets more precise limits on sexual harassment liability, the court said that the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibiting harassment and discrimination applies only to workplace interactions between supervisors and subordinates.
    ``(The law) imposes on the employer the duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent this harassment from occurring in the first place and to take immediate and appropriate action when it is or should be aware of the conduct,'' the court said in its decision.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Hillary Clinton rejects policy on gays in military
     (NEW YORK, Dec. 09, 1999) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton said today she disagrees with her husband's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, describing it as a "political compromise" that "has not worked" and that she would seek to change it if elected to the Senate from New York.
    Clinton said she has "the utmost respect and admiration" for her husband's work as president, but noted, "I don't have carbon copy issues with anybody, including my husband. I would think that we are all our own persons who stand for public office."
    On gays in the military, the latest subject on which she has diverged from President Clinton's position, Hillary Clinton said gay men and women should be allowed to serve openly in the military--a position that her husband had pressed at the start of his administration but was forced to abandon.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Bradley preaches to Congress of National Black Churches
     (LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10, 1999) -- As Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley spoke to the Congress of National Black Churches in Los Angeles yesterday, a voice in his audience called out, "Preach!" And preach he did.
    About 150 clergy members were gathered in a Biltmore Hotel ballroom to hear Bradley talk about poverty and race, and judging by their reaction during and after his remarks, he did not disappoint.
    Peering professorially over black reading glasses, and with only a semblance of a prepared text, Bradley spent 40 minutes giving the group a wide-ranging review of the important racial lessons he said he had learned growing up, and then linked them to what his general priorities as president would be. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

King family satisfied with assassination verdict
     (ATLANTA, Dec. 10, 1999) -- Thirty-one years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., his widow and children declared the case over on Thursday and said they would not seek prosecution of those behind the civil rights leader's slaying.
    The family said it was hoping to ``cleanse and heal and move on,'' a day after a Tennessee jury's finding that King's murder was the result of a conspiracy, not the act of a lone gunman.
    In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department said it has no plans to bring any criminal charges over the 1968 assassination despite the conspiracy findings of the civil jury.
    At a news conference in Atlanta, Dexter King, one of King's sons, said that his family believes ``this case is over'' and is not asking for any prosecution.   FULL STORY from Reuters

Gallup poll shows majority say profiling is real
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 1999) -- A majority of Americans, regardless of their race, believe that racial profiling is widespread in this country, a new Gallup poll says. And three-fourths of young black men in the poll say they believe they have been pulled over just because they are black.
    Poll respondents had such a practice described -- "It has been reported that police officers stop motorists of certain racial or ethnic groups because they believe that these groups are more likely than others to commit certain types of crimes" -- and then were asked what they thought.
    More than four out of 10 blacks of all ages and both genders said they believe they've been stopped because of their race, said the poll, part of Gallup's annual social audit of black-white relations. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Ford fined in loan-bias case
     (DETROIT, Dec. 10, 1999) -- Ford Credit is paying $650,000 to settle government allegations that it discriminated against unmarried couples in the processing of loan applications.
    The firm, the finance arm of Ford Motor Co., failed to combine the incomes of unmarried joint loan applicants, while joining the incomes of applicants who were married, according to the lawsuit, filed by the Federal Trade Commission.
    The practice, used by Ford Credit between May 1994 and August 1995, meant that unmarried applicants received "less favorable terms" than their married peers, the government's complaint said.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Boy Scouts lose contact with Calif. school
     (DAVIS, Calif., Dec. 10, 1999) -- School officials, saying the Boy Scouts violate district policy by excluding gays and atheists, have barred the organization from sending notes and solicitations home with students.
    Davis Joint Unified School District Superintendent David Murphy wrote the Scouts to say the organization, starting this month, can no longer use school bulletin boards, parent-teacher association newsletters and student folders to recruit and communicate with students.
    The change came after parents in this Northern California community complained that groups that discriminate should not be able to use schools to send home information about their activities, Murphy said. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Hawaii ends drive for gay marriage
     (HONOLULU, Dec. 10, 1999) -- The Hawaii Supreme Court has effectively ended the drive to legalize gay marriage in a state once considered one of the most likely to accept same-sex unions.
    In a ruling Thursday, the court said the effort by homosexual couples was rendered moot by a 1998 amendment to the state constitution overwhelmingly approved by voters. The amendment gave lawmakers the authority to limit state-recognized marriages to opposite-sex couples.
    "Thank you to the Hawaii Supreme Court for affirming what we've known all along -- that marriage, by God's definition, is between opposite-sex couples," said Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Alliance for Traditional Marriage.    FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Soldier's sentence no relief to gay community
     (FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Dec. 10, 1999) -- A Fort Campbell soldier will serve a life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole for beating to death a fellow soldier he believed was gay, a military jury decided yesterday.
    The sentence ended the highest profile portion of the five-month case of the murder of Pfc. Barry Winchell. But gay rights advocates hope the image of Winchell, his skull bludgeoned with a baseball bat, will help convince presidential contenders that the Clinton administration's 5-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy needs an overhaul.
    The murder is also having grave effects on those gays and lesbians still in the service, the advocates said.  FULL STORY from the Tennessean

FHCCNY files suit against Liverpool apartment complex
     (SYRACUSE, N.Y., Dec. 11, 1999) -- The Fair Housing Council has filed a suit in federal court against Long-Island-based Brookwood Management Company for discrimination at its Liverpool apartment complex, Brookwood Village. The suit charges that the company discriminates against families with children.
      "This is a blatant case of familial status discrimination," said Merrilee Witherell, executive director for the Council. "They have segregated families with children, illegally restricted their choices and limited their access to the amenities of the complex." PRESS RELEASE from the Fair Housing Council of Central New York

NC tests find rental bias
     (CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 11, 1999) -- Posing as prospective renters, fair housing investigators say they found that Charlotte apartment landlords routinely discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and people with disabilities.
    In six out of 10 cases, apartment managers in the random sampling treated black and Hispanic renters differently from white renters, according to the N.C. Fair Housing Center's report. This discriminatory treatment, which is illegal under federal fair housing laws, often involved telling black and Hispanic renters that fewer apartments were available or asking more questions about their employment than they asked whites, the report said.
    Investigators conducted 40 tests at more than a dozen properties across Charlotte, ranging from low-income to upscale apartments. In 10 communities, newer apartment buildings failed to have the ramps, curb-cuts or other key features to make them accessible to people with disabilities. All apartments built after March 1991 have to meet this accessibility test under fair housing law.  FULL STORY from the Charlotte Observer

Hampton coach's discrimination lawsuit dismissed
     (LUBBOCK, Texas, Dec. 11, 1999) -- A federal judge dismissed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit Hampton University's women's basketball coach filed against the city of Lubbock, Texas.
    U.S. District Judge Sam Cummins ruled that the coach Patricia Bibbs, her husband and an assistant failed to show racial bias led to their 1998 arrests near a Lubbock Wal-Mart store.
    She and the others sued the city, several police officers and some University Medical Center employees after they were arrested in November 1998. All three are black. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

House denies anti-Catholic bias
     (MILWAUKEE, Dec. 11, 1999) -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert denied that the rejection of a Wisconsin priest as House chaplain had anything to do with anti-Catholic bias.
    The Rev. Charles Wright, a Presbyterian, was chosen instead of the Rev. Timothy O'Brien because Wright demonstrated the best interpersonal and counseling skills, Hastert and Majority Leader Dick Armey said in a letter to fellow House Republicans.
    O'Brien and House Democrats have said they believed O'Brien was passed over because he is Catholic, a charge House GOP leaders denied. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Judge wary of country club monitor
     (BOSTON, Dec. 11, 1999) -- A judge will decide whether to take the unprecedented step of installing an overseer at a country club that discriminated against women.
    Suffolk Superior Court Judge John Cratsley gave no indication of when he would decide, but seemed reluctant to take "such bold steps."
    "I'd be surprised if there was precedent for this level of intervention into (such) an area," he responded to the request from assistant attorney general Anthony Rodriguez on Friday.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Military policy on gays under review
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 1999) -- President Clinton’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy on gays in the military was caught in the crossfire Sunday, a day after he declared it isn’t working. His top security adviser played down the significance of Clinton’s comments, saying the Pentagon is already working to retool the policy.
    The President came under fire from GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, who questioned the timing of Clinton’s comments -- a week after his wife sharply criticized "don’t ask, don’t tell."
    The exchanges highlighted the continued sensitivity concerning the terms under which gays should be allowed to serve in the armed forces.
    In an interview Saturday, Clinton said his policy had not been implemented as it was intended.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Discharge urged for gay legislator reservist
     (PHOENIX, Dec. 12, 1999) -- A military investigator is recommending the Army discharge a reserve lieutenant who revealed his sexual orientation while on the job as a state lawmaker.
    Army officials began investigating Lt. Steve May after he discussed his homosexuality during a legislative hearing in February. May was a civilian at the time, but was recalled to active duty a few weeks later.
    "It appears the immediate commander has not an option but to recommend initiation of a separation action to higher headquarters," the investigator, Maj. Eileen Norton, wrote in her report. The report is part of May's confidential personnel file, which he released to The Associated Press. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Seattle developer violated ADA in Montana
     (MISSOULA, Mont., Dec. 12, 1999) -- In an order issued at the end of November, federal judge Donald Molloy found that Seattle based American Capital Development, Inc., its principal owners, Roger Kuula and Jon Wood, architect Ray Terry and their affiliated companies violated the rights of the disabled by failing to comply with the accessibility requirements of federal and state fair housing laws at Wildflower Apartments in Missoula. The project is a 96 unit apartment complex that opened in 1993. The owners received more than $370,000 in tax credits from the Montana Board of Housing as financing, conditioned in part on their promise to fully comply with the Fair Housing Act. The case is expected to continue to trial on the issue of damages and what can be done to correct the loss of accessible housing caused by the developer's violations of the laws, as well as on claims of refusal to rent and failure to accommodate person with disabilities.
      The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed last year by Montana Fair Housing, a statewide fair housing group, Missoula-based Summit Independent Living Center, a tenant at the Wildflower complex and a local resident who uses a wheelchair and applied to live there. The federal court’s decision is only the second in the country, and the first in the Western United States, to establish that a project’s owners and developers violated the accessibility requirements of federal law. Before the order on Tuesday, there had been no court decisions concerning violations of the corresponding accessibility provisions under Montana’s Human Rights Act. PRESS RELEASE from Montana Fair Housing

Ex-cop gets 30 years for NYC racial assault
     (NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 1999) -- A white former patrolman was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for an assault on a black immigrant that prosecutors called one of the worst acts of police brutality in city history. Justin Volpe could have faced life without possibility of parole.
     "I hurt many people. I was and still am ashamed. ... I am extremely sorry," Volpe said in a statement to U.S. District Judge Eugene Nickerson.
     The victim, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, was sodomized with a broken broomstick in a police station bathroom and hospitalized for 2½ months.
     However, while addressing the court before the sentencing, Louima declined to ask the judge for any specific punishment. "I’m sure the court will make a wise and fair decision," he said. FULL STORY from MSNBC

Suit accuses MN companies of racist hiring policies
     (MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 13, 1999) -- A Big Lake, Minn., man has filed a federal lawsuit against two home-improvement companies, saying they conspired with homeowners to prevent Mexican-Americans from getting construction contracts.
    Herman Overstreet filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court.
    Overstreet claims that customers of Panelcraft of Minnesota Inc. and Panelcraft Roofing of Minnesota Inc. have for years asked that no Mexican-American roofers be hired to work on their houses, and that the companies have agreed, assigning white-only crews.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Report details mental health ‘crisis’
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 1999) -- One in five Americans will have some sort of mental illness this year, but half of the 10 million Americans with a serious disorder, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disease, will not get treatment, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said Monday.
    The sweeping mental health report, presented at a news conference at the White House Monday, finds that up to half the population will suffer from mental illness, from depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder, at some time in their lives.
    "The fact is that today mental illness is the second leading cause of disability, the second leading cause of premature death in the United States," Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala told the news conference. "By any measure, we believe it’s a public health crisis."  FULL STORY from MSNBC

Japanese officials cited for harassment
     (TOKYO, Dec. 13, 1999) -- The governor of Japan's Osaka region was ordered today to pay $107,000 to a 21-year-old university student in the country's largest-ever sexual harassment verdict, a ruling described by legal experts as revolutionary and one that is likely to lead to more such court cases.
    A growing number of lawsuits have been filed here since a revised labor law prohibiting sexual harassment and sex discrimination went into effect in April. In July, a court awarded $87,000 to a woman who said she was harassed and forced into a sexual relationship by a piano teacher while she was a university student.
    Osaka governor Knock Yokoyama denied the student's allegation that he had groped her for a half-hour in April--just a week after the new law took effect--aboard a campaign bus during his run for reelection as chief executive of the region that includes Japan's second-largest city.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Gore vows new policy on gays in military
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 1999) -- Vice President Gore said yesterday that President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military should be abandoned and vowed to "eliminate this unacceptable form of discrimination" if elected president.
    Gore's statement represents a change from the position he expressed as recently as this weekend. On Friday, Gore said the "don't ask, don't tell" policy has not worked in practice but stopped short of calling for its elimination.
    Yesterday, in his sharpest public break with the administration he has served for seven years, Gore said that "gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve their country without discrimination" and that he would "make those changes" as president.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Opposition grows to Fed racial data
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 1999) -- Two dozen Republican members of the House Banking Committee have joined the opposition to a Federal Reserve proposal that would allow banks to collect data on the race and sex of people applying for loans.
    The GOP lawmakers, led by Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Bob Barr of Georgia, criticized the proposal in a letter Monday to the central bank, saying it could lead to racial lending quotas mandated by the government.
    At any rate, the letter said, "It should be Congress, not the regulators, that decides government policy."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Yanks settle suit on disabled access
     (NEW YORK, Dec. 14, 1999) -- A year after Joseph Reilly of Tenafly sued the Yankees for discriminating against wheelchair users, the team he idolized as a boy has agreed to improve access for fans with disabilities.
      The Yankees and the federal government agreed Monday on a plan to reserve additional seats and provide greater access for the disabled at Yankee Stadium, 13 months after Reilly and three other fans filed their bias suit.
      Under the settlement, the Yankees will offer wheelchair users and their companions about 300 pairs of seats in various areas of the 77-year-old stadium, including box seats. Disabled people also will get improved access to the stadium's concession stands, restaurants, and suites. FULL STORY from the Bergen Record

Civil rights groups secure 'hate domains'
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 1999) -- Civil rights groups are racing to secure Internet address names that contain some of the most racist words in the English language in order to keep them away from hate groups.
    The NAACP has registered several address variations on anti-black slurs. Likewise, the Anti-Defamation League has purchased rights to numerous addresses that contain antisemitic epithets.
    It is another reminder that the World Wide Web is a hotbed for seaminess as well as opportunity. This week, an unnamed seller on the online auction site eBay.com was trying to peddle the rights to a Web address that includes the 'n-word.' The seller, known by the screen name 'animius,' was asking a minimum bid of $1 million and suggested on the site that both 'peace-supporting organizations or individuals' and 'hate-supporting individuals or organizations' could find the address valuable.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Dayton sued over inaccessible sidewalks
     (DAYTON, Ohio, Dec. 15, 1999) -- The city has violated federal law by failing to properly install curb ramps, 12 people with disabilities allege in a lawsuit.
    The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by people who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters and either live, work or travel in Dayton. The group asked Judge Walter Rice to declare the lawsuit a class action on behalf of thousands of disabled people.
    City officials could not be reached to comment on the lawsuit. A telephone message was left with city Law Director Rita McNeil.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

$5.2 billion settlement in Nazi slave labor case
     (BERLIN, Dec. 15, 1999) -- After months of urgent talks, U.S. and German negotiators reached a breakthrough deal on Tuesday to compensate former Nazi slave and forced laborers, long-ignored victims of Hitler’s war machine.
    The deal, announced by victims’ lawyers, will establish a $5.2 billion fund to compensate hundreds of thousands of people forced to work for the Nazis and German companies during World War II.
    The agreement was reached after the German government said it would raise its $1.6 billion offer, augmenting $2.6 billion already pledged by industry. A government spokesman refused to release details on the final breakdown of who is contributing what or whether the government will match industry’s contribution.   FULL STORY from the Associated Press

HUD announces enforcement grants
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 1999) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $15 million in grants to groups in 53 cities to help them fight housing discrimination.
    "Housing discrimination is an ugly part of our past that we must eliminate once and for all in the 21st century," Cuomo said. "HUD is working in partnership with groups around the country to achieve this goal."
    The grants Cuomo announced today will go to a broad cross-section of public and private fair housing groups and state and local agencies. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Discrimination suit filed against KB Toys
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 1999) -- Plaintiffs The Equal Rights Center, Avis Buchanan, and Carolyn Kornegay-Belton filed a complaint for declaratory judgement, injunctive relief, and unspecified damages this morning in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland - Southern Division against Consolidated Stores Corp d/b/a KB Toys. KB Toys promotes itself as "the nation’s largest mall-based specialty toy retailer, with $1.6 billion in annual sales."
      The civil rights complaint alleges that the defendant discriminated against the individual plaintiffs on the basis of their race or color by (a) refusing to accept African American’s personal checks and requiring that they pay for their purchases with cash or credit cards; (b) providing them with different and inferior service to that received by white customers; and (c) offering merchandise under different terms and conditions than that offered to white customers. Testing by The Equal Rights Center has uncovered a pattern and practice of discrimination by Consolidated Stores Corp. d/b/a KB Toys against African-Americans in the Greater Washington and Baltimore metropolitan area. Plaintiffs are represented by John Relman, Esq., Relman and Associates and Jeffrey D. Robinson, Esq. of Baach, Robinson and Lewis.

Jackson calls on financial institutions
     (NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 1999) -- Continuing his civil-rights crusade into the heart of capitalism, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called on major financial institutions Wednesday to ante up trillions of dollars for investments in minority businesses and neighborhoods.
     At a news conference announcing his third Wall Street conference, to be held in January, Jackson said he wants to harness the legal commitments of the federal Community Reinvestment Act, a law requiring banks and insurance companies to lend money and make other investments in neighborhoods where they do business, especially low-income areas.
     Strengthened community-reinvestment requirements are part of the recently passed financial-overhaul bill, which wiped out Depression-era restrictions that prevented mergers between banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

EBay stops sale of racist web addresses
     (BALTIMORE, Dec. 15, 1999) -- An online auction seeking $1 million for a Web address containing a racial slur against blacks has been stopped by Internet auctioneer eBay.
    The company halted the auction Tuesday, after being informed of its existence by The Washington Post.
    "We had serious questions about the language being used," Kevin Pursglove, a spokesman for San Jose, Calif.-based eBay, told the newspaper. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

NCRC releases lending discrimination poll
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 1999) -- By large margins, people believe that banks favor white men over black and Hispanic men and white women in making loans, according to a new national poll commissioned by a liberal group.
    The National Community Reinvestment Coalition today released the nationwide poll of 800 voters of different races conducted by Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, and Jennifer Laszlo, a Democratic one.
    "Americans recognize that discrimination occurs not just at the point of approval or denial (for a loan), but throughout the process," John Taylor, president of the group, said in a statement. "Clearly, future efforts need to ensure that discrimination takes place at no point in the process."  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Adam's Mark hotels accused of racial bias
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 1999) -- The Justice Department on Thursday charged that the Adam’s Mark hotel chain discriminated against blacks by charging them more than whites, offering them less desirable rooms and requiring more security from them.
      The St. Louis-based chain owns 21 large, full-service hotels around the country. The chain was sued earlier this year by blacks who said the Adam’s Mark’s Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel singled them out as security risks. That private case has become a class-action lawsuit joined by the NAACP.
      "It is hard to believe that 35 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, this type of discrimination still exists," Attorney General Janet Reno told a Justice Department news conference. "This isn’t fair. It isn’t right. And it’s against the law."

Disparity in school discipline found
     (CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 1999) -- A new nationwide study of high school disciplinary practices shows that in the two years since "zero tolerance" policies were popularized in the wake of a rash of mass killings at schools, black students at the schools surveyed have been expelled or suspended at a rate that is disproportionate to their numbers.
     In the survey of 10 mostly large school districts geographically scattered around the country, African American students were found to have received proportionately more expulsions and suspensions. In some cases, they were removed from school three to five times more frequently than white students.
     In Phoenix, blacks made up only 4 percent of the high school student population but received 21 percent of the expulsions or suspensions, compared with white students, who constituted 74 percent of the enrollment and received 18 percent of the expulsions or suspensions. In San Francisco, blacks constituted 16 percent of enrollment but accounted for 52 percent of the removals from school on disciplinary grounds. FULL STORY from the Washington Post

In California, a battle over gay marriages
     (SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 17, 1999) -- One of the most contentious social debates of this decade, whether homosexuals should be allowed to legally marry, is headed for a donnybrook in California early next year.
    With America's largest gay population and a track record of defining new social policy for the nation as a whole, California will decide on March 7 whether to prohibit gay marriages and refuse to recognize them should any other state legalize them.
    The campaign is already under way and could give this state's presidential primary, also on the March 7 ballot, a run for its money in terms of interest and fireworks. Indeed, many analysts liken the issue, in terms of its passion and significance, to recent California actions on social policies concerning affirmative action, illegal immigration, and bilingual education.  FULL STORY from the Christian Science Monitor

HUD says their computer systems are Y2K ready
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 1999) -- All HUD computer systems are fully tested and ready for the year 2000.
    Services such as rental assistance subsidy payments, Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance processing, and services for public housing residents and the elderly are expected to continue without interruption when the year 2000 begins. HUD has performed successful Year 2000 testing of these programs and has tested contingency plans to deal with problems that might arise.
    HUD used Integrated Certification Testing (ICeT) to ensure that its business transactions and 50 critical automated systems will continue to operate. This was a complex testing process that took place from May through mid-October. PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Housing and Urban Development

School religious group rules issued
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 1999) -- President Clinton issued new guidelines Saturday clarifying how public schools can work with religious groups without violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
      "Common sense says that faith and faith-based organizations from all religious backgrounds can play an important role in helping children to reach their fullest potential," he said in his weekly radio address.
      "Our new guidelines will help them work together on common ground to meet constitutional muster, to avoid making students uncomfortable because they come from different religious traditions, while helping students make the most of their God-given talents," the president said.

Black USDA managers lose round in bias complaint
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 1999) -- An EEOC administrative judge has dealt a blow to a class action complaint filed by a group of African American employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding no evidence that the department's Farm Service Agency systematically discriminated against blacks when granting promotions.
    The decision, issued this week by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judge Adria S. Zeldin, found no evidence that the agency's promotion practices have a disparate impact on blacks. The administrative judge did determine, however, that the agency had discriminated against two black managers who originated the complaint in 1997. The complaint was expanded to a class action earlier this year.  FULL STORY from the Washington Post

Demonstrators protest against remarks by radio hosts
     (TOLEDO, Ohio, Dec. 19, 1999) -- About 80 people gathered in front of a building housing two radio stations to protest remarks made by two talk show hosts.
    Jerome Reed, a regional officer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which helped organize Saturday's rally, urged those in attendance to write federal regulators if they hear offensive statements in the future on WSPD-AM or WVKS-FM.
    Both stations are owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Ohio lawmakers propose anti-racism legislation
     (COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 20, 1999) -- Two northern Ohio lawmakers annoyed by recent Ku Klux Klan rallies in Columbus and Cleveland have proposed anti-racism legislation.
    Sen. C.J. Prentiss, D-Cleveland, has proposed legislation that includes racism, genocide and religious persecution in Ohio's public schools' teaching of citizenship education. Prentiss eventually wants to see those subjects on the Ohio proficiency tests.
    ``The color question has taken on hate crimes, religious persecution and genocide,'' Prentiss said.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Vt. Supreme Court hands gays partial victory
     (MONTPELIER, Vt., Dec. 20, 1999) -- Gay couples must be granted the same benefits and protections given married couples of the opposite sex, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled today.
      The court said the Legislature will determine whether such benefits will come through formal marriage or a system of domestic partnerships.
      "We hold that the state is constitutionally required to extend to same-sex couples the common benefits and protections that flow from marriage under Vermont law," the justices said.
      "Whether this ultimately takes the form of inclusion within the marriage laws themselves or a parallel 'domestic partnership' system or some equivalent statutory alternative, rests with the Legislature. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

HUD blocks NYC from handling homeless funds
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 1999) -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will bar New York City from administering millions of dollars in HUD homeless grants because the City has acted improperly to block funds to groups that have criticized City policies, Secretary Andrew Cuomo said today.
     "HUD is acting in the best interests of homeless people in New York City, to ensure that the most qualified homeless assistance programs get our funding," Cuomo said. "Our action won't cut funding to homeless programs in New York City by a single penny, but will make sure that federal dollars go to the right programs and are administered fairly and lawfully."
     Cuomo said he is taking the unprecedented action in response to a judge's ruling and several complaints accusing New York City of retaliating against non-profit groups by denying them HUD funds after they criticized City policies on homelessness and other issues.

Court: NCAA can use tests to judge eligibility
     (PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 23, 1999) -- The attorney for four black athletes suing the NCAA is considering an appeal of a ruling that allows the organization to use minimum standardized test scores in determining the eligibility of freshman athletes. 
     Attorney Andre Dennis is representing four black athletes who say the NCAA discriminated against them by not allowing them to play or denying them scholarships because their test scores were not high enough. 
     But in a 2-1 opinion on Wednesday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that since the NCAA did not directly receive federal funding, it was not subject to conform with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin. 
     The court reversed a lower court that struck down the eligibility requirement in March, ruling that it was unfair to blacks.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

People with disabilities sue Macy's for access
     (MIAMI, Dec. 23, 1999) -- Department store aisles packed with merchandise are supposed to increase sales, but disabled people who say the crowding keeps them from shopping at some Macy's stores have filed a lawsuit. 
     The lawsuit accuses Macy's East, which operates 87 stores in 15 East Coast states, of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among other accessibility requirements, the law requires main store aisles to be 36 inches wide. 
     The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed on behalf of wheelchair users. But anyone who's ever been denied access to a Macy's East store would be covered, said attorney Rosemarie Richard.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Robbery suspect blames bias for "cultural insanity"
     (PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 23, 1999) -- A black man accused of bank robbery claims he is innocent by reason of cultural insanity caused by longtime exposure to racism. 
     Blaine E. Gamble, 60, of Philadelphia is awaiting trial on charges that in July 1998 he robbed the First National Bank of Herminie, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. 
     According to court documents, Gamble, who was dressed as an elderly woman, entered the bank with an accomplice and robbed tellers at gunpoint. 
     In a motion December 2 before U.S. District Judge William Standish, Gamble requested that a black psychologist or psychiatrist with expertise on cultural insanity examine him.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Landlord settles sex bias case for $3,000
     (BRIDGEPORT, CT., Dec. 24, 1999) -- Annette Gonzalez became upset when she believed she had been denied a chance to rent an apartment when a particular landlord, who was looking for a qualified tenant who could also cut grass and shovel snow, doubted her capabilities of performing these chores. Ms. Gonzalez had no such doubts herself, however, and judging from her recent settlement of a housing discrimination complaint awarding her $3,000, she appears to have made a convincing argument. PRESS RELEASE from the City of Bridgeport Fair Housing Office

N.J. accepts monitor in racial profiling case
     (TRENTON, N.J., Dec. 24, 1999) -- Under pressure from the U.S. Justice Department, New Jersey agreed Wednesday to the appointment of an outside civilian monitor to make sure the State Police end racial profiling and other discriminatory practices.
      The consent decree, which awaits judicial approval, is a way to avoid a full-blown civil rights battle in open court, according to Bill Lann Lee, acting chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division.
      Federal authorities also required the state to expand its planned system for tracking trooper patrols with an eye toward detecting any troubling patterns. Authorities also required that the system be in place within six months.

Post-flood racial unity evaporates in Va. town
     (FRANKLIN, Va., Dec. 25, 1999) -- When the flood brought on by Hurricane Floyd surged through Franklin, Va., in September, it did not discriminate. The water knocked down virtually every wall in its path until all that was left of downtown were shells of buildings and the strewn debris of more than 150 years of local history.
     The water also knocked over the tallest and most entrenched wall of all in the small, southern town: the one between blacks and whites.
     Few in the town expected the flood to wash the racial division away permanently, but many did take the catastrophe as a sign--from God or elsewhere--that it was time to reconsider their positions. People expressed hope that the flood would teach that the wall of racial hate was the one man-made edifice that did not need to be rebuilt.
     But as Franklin puts itself back together physically, community leaders and residents of both races say it is separating again racially. Once the initial panic abated, suspicion, resentment and bickering between the races began anew.  FULL STORY in The Washington Post

Group of insurers target inner-city development
     (BOSTON, Dec. 27, 1999) -- From the entryway of her company's new headquarters, Stacey Townsend has a clear view of the future. 
     Steps away from One Arcadia Place--the new home of Townsend's P&C Initiative--Adams Street and Dorchester Avenue form the auto-clogged nexus called Fields Corner. A mishmash of fast-food joints, hair and nail salons, taverns and retailers line the main drags. 
     Like much of Dorchester, Fields Corner's recent history is tarnished by high crime rates and a crumbling commercial foothold. Even now, as parts of Dorchester begin to thrive, Fields Corner retains an aura of struggle. Townsend sees it. But more than anything, she sees the area's potential. 
     "It could be adorable," said the new director of the Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and Economic Development Initiative LLC--P&C Initiative for short--the local insurance industry's answer to the Community Reinvestment Act.  FULL STORY in The Boston Business Journal

Judge hears Decatur, Ill., expulsion case
     (DECATUR, Ill., Dec. 28, 1999) -- Decatur school officials defended their decision to expel six students, but admitted the two-year ousters were unprecedented for fighting and that no attempt was made to find out who struck the most serious blows. 
     U.S. District Judge Michael McCuskey opened hearings Monday on a lawsuit filed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, which contends district officials violated the students due process by lumping them as a group and not giving them a fair hearing before dishing out punishment.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

NAACP sues over Pa.'s ex-con voting ban
     (PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 28, 1999) -- The wisdom of the street says that if you do the crime, be prepared to serve the time.
     In Pennsylvania, shedding your prison stripes doesn't make you a full citizen. Inmates convicted of a felony are barred from voting for five years after their release from prison.
     And that, according to the NAACP, which yesterday announced the filing of a friend-of-the-court brief in a federal lawsuit, amounts to a state-sponsored form of discrimination.
     J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia NAACP, said minorities are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system. He estimated that at least 30,000 African-Americans have lost the right to vote because of a 1995 state voting bill, and that harms their communities.  FULL STORY in The Philadelphia Daily News

2 states probe 'pool' mortgage insurance
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 1999) -- State insurance regulators in New York and California are examining whether a relatively new type of home-loan insurance violates anti-kickback laws and could, in the long run, raise the cost of buying a house.
     The insurance is called "pool," or "secondary," insurance and is sold by mortgage insurance companies to banks and other lenders that want a second layer of protection against defaults on home loans. It supplements the primary insurance coverage against default that many home buyers are required to buy.
    State insurance regulators say they are reviewing whether mortgage
insurers--including MGIC Investment Corp., Radian Group Inc. and PMI Group Inc., the nation's largest mortgage insurance companies--have, in practice, underpriced pool insurance for lenders that, in exchange, channel to the insurers a large volume of primary insurance business.
     The chief counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development was concerned enough about the issue to write a letter in September reminding mortgage insurance companies of the federal prohibition against providing "a discounted or below-market price in return for referrals of primary mortgage insurance business."  FULL STORY by The Washington Post

Clinton to ask Congress for more Section 8 money
     (WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 1999) -- President Clinton plans to press Congress for $690 million in new housing funds next year to help low-income families defray the cost of rent, White House officials said yesterday.
      The request that Clinton will make in his fiscal 2001 budget, which aides are now drafting for public release in a month, would make housing vouchers available to 120,000 families--on top of the 1.7 million families who now receive rent subsidies under the federal government's $9.5 billion voucher program.

Study: Candidates' web sites lack disability access
     (MONTPELIER, VT., Dec. 30, 1999) -- Michael Arnowitt squints into his computer screen, trying to make out the small blue letters against the gray background on the left side of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign web site's home page. 
     ``That's pretty difficult,'' says the visually impaired concert pianist. 
     After a moment the blue-on-gray type turns to a reddish color against a lighter gray. ``That's easier to see,'' Arnowitt says. 
     Trouble is, Arnowitt notes, you have to read the less-easy-to-see column of blue type on dark gray before knowing whether there's an item you want to hold your mouse on to get type that's easier to read. 
     Arnowitt is just one among many visually impaired Americans who might like to know what McCain has to say for himself on the World Wide Web. And with software designed to translate web pages into Braille or speech, that's far from impossible. 
     But the webmaster building the page must keep such access in mind for the accessibility software to work. Otherwise, you get something like a part of Pat Buchanan's website. It starts with the headline, ``Buchanan Sketches Reform Party Victory Coalition for 2000.'' But someone listening to most types of speech-reader software would then hear the words ``dash-gif'' 14 times.  FULL STORY by Capitol Watch

Schwarz seeks to clear name at Louima trial
     (Brooklyn, N.Y., Jan. 02, 2000) -- For Thomas Bruder and Thomas Wiese, their trial on federal obstruction of justice charges in the Abner Louima case is the latest phase of a nightmare that should have ended with their civil rights acquittal last June. But Charles Schwarz sees the trial as an opportunity to clear his name. Since his conviction, Schwarz has maintained his innocence and plans not only to beat the obstruction charges but also prove that he did not help his former partner Justin Volpe sodomize Louima.
    Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the latest trial involving the three officers. Federal prosecutors believe Bruder, Wiese and Schwarz lied about their knowledge of Louima's beating and tried to protect one of their own in the two years after the Haitian immigrant's sodomy. According to the prosecution, Bruder and Wiese lied to investigators in an attempt to protect Schwarz. Bruder and Wiese were accused of beating Louima on the way to the 70th Precinct on August 7, 1997 but were acquitted of the charges at trial in June. FULL STORY from Court TV

Record settlement in Bismarck housing discrimination case
     (BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 03, 2000) -- The North Dakota Fair Housing Council (NDFHC) and six Bismarck residents have reached a $125,000 settlement in a housing discrimination suit filed in federal district court. The lawsuit was brought in 1998 against John and Tillie Haider, Bismarck property owners, charging discriminatory housing practices based upon familial status, national origin, age, marital status and receipt of public assistance. The agreed settlement is believed to be the largest in a fair housing case in state history.
      The terms of the consent order and settlement agreement provide that the plaintiffs will share $125,000 in damages, attorney fees and costs in bringing the lawsuit. Individual and NDFHC recoveries were based on the harm experienced and the number of individuals involved. PRESS RELEASE from the North Dakota Fair Housing Council

Prudential settles insurance discrimination case
     (KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 03, 2000) -- Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Co. has agreed to pay a total of $200,000 to 16 Missouri residents who say the company discriminated against minority homeowners in its underwriting practices.
    Prudential last week settled its portion of federal and state lawsuits filed in February 1996 against 10 homeowners insurance groups. Fifteen of the plaintiffs live in Kansas City. One lives in St. Louis. Attorney fees will be paid out of the settlement.
    Steven Sprenger, a Kansas City lawyer whose firm represented the 16 plaintiffs, all of whom are black, said the settlement was "a positive for minorities." FULL STORY from the Kansas City Star

Church secretary files harassment complaint against pastor
     (PITTSBURGH, Jan. 04, 2000) -- The former church secretary for Grace Christian Ministries' Pastor Michael Altman has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that the preacher sexually harassed her during her more than two-year employment.
    Marcia Bezak, who has since separated from her husband and moved from the Pittsburgh area, filed the charge with the EEOC against Altman and the church in November.
    Altman's attorney, Melvin L. Vatz, said yesterday that his client had not been served with the complaint. It typically takes the EEOC about three weeks to serve complaints.  FULL STORY from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HUD announces computer centers available in all states
     (WASHINGTON, Jan. 04, 2000) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today that more than 550 Neighborhood Networks computer centers are now serving low-income residents of HUD-subsidized housing in every state, helping adults to get jobs and children to do better in school.
    The Neighborhood Networks centers serve residents of privately owned housing subsidized or insured by HUD for low-income families. With recent openings in Montana and South Dakota, the centers have expanded to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
    Another 700 centers are in various stages of planning. HUD began opening centers in 1995. PRESS RELEASE from HUD

Cincinnati workers claim discrimination, retaliation
     (CINCINNATI, Jan. 05, 2000) -- Some city employees say the city government is rife with discrimination, and workers face retaliation if they complain.
    ``There is no trust between city employees and the city administration,'' municipal sewer employee James Scott said Tuesday. ``This isn't just a black thing, it's an unfair thing.''
    Several employees told a committee of City Council members about their concerns, alleging a lack of minority promotions, unequal disciplinary action and a lack of blacks and women in management.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

UK website lists disability-friendly airline info
     (LONDON, Jan. 05, 2000) -- An Internet service billed as the first fully "disability-friendly" global airline directory has been launched on a UK Web site. The directory includes information about medical clearance, wheelchairs, guide dogs, oxygen, cabin staff training and other disability-related issues.
     Everybody's Airline Directory has been launched on the same Web site as Everybody’s Hotel Directory, listing the world’s major airlines with information on their arrangements for disabled passengers.
     Issues covered include carriage of wheelchairs or guide dogs, ability to provide oxygen, boarding procedures, seating arrangements and the ability to cater for special dietary requirements. FULL STORY from Reuters

Ohio school disability discrimination case closes
     (AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 06, 2000) -- Operators of future community schools in Ohio will have to honor federal disability laws, the state has ruled.
    The Ohio Department of Education's ruling ends a federal inquiry into a discrimination claim filed against the department last January.
    But an advocate for the disabled said the state has made no provision for monitoring future schools for their compliance with disability laws.
    Rose Juriga, executive director of Tri-County Independent Living Center Inc. in Akron, claimed the state was allowing independent public schools to open while ignoring disability laws and shutting out disabled children, potential workers and visitors.  FULL STORY from the Akron Beacon-Journal

ABC expected to unveil minorities pact
     (NEW YORK, Jan. 06, 2000) -- ABC and the nation's largest civil rights group will hold a joint news conference Friday to announce a plan to increase racial diversity at the network, making ABC the second major broadcaster to do so this week, sources said Thursday.
    Network officials would not confirm or deny that such a plan had been agreed but said in a statement that ABC President Patricia Fili-Krushel and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume would ``discuss ABC's diversity initiative'' at the press conference.
    The announcement on Friday will come two days after rival network NBC unveiled its own NAACP-endorsed plan for increasing minority representation on and off the camera.  FULL STORY from Reuters

TX investigates photos of troopers in KKK hoods
     (HOUSTON, Jan. 06, 2000) -- The Texas Department of Public Safety said on Wednesday it was launching an investigation into photographs taken in 1989 that show several state troopers posing in Ku Klux Klan-style hoods next to a black colleague.
    The photos were disclosed at a news conference in Houston on Wednesday by the black trooper, Darren Anderson, 35, who was suspended from his job with the state police agency last May.
    They showed Anderson, smiling and holding a large cake for his 24th birthday, surrounded by fellow troopers wearing the pointed white hoods associated with the white supremacist group.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Rocker ordered to undergo psychological tests
     (NEW YORK, Jan. 06, 2000) -- John Rocker was ordered by baseball to undergo psychological tests before deciding whether to punish the outspoken reliever for remarks he made disparaging gays, minorities and immigrants.
     John Rocker has not been formally punished for his controversial comments.
     Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday he will await the evaluation of the Atlanta Braves star before deciding on any disciplinary action.
     "Mr. Rocker's recent remarks made to a national magazine reporter were reprehensible and completely inexcusable," Selig said in a statement. "I am profoundly concerned about the nature of those comments as well as by certain other aspects of his behavior."

FBI probes spate of racist letters
     (CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 07, 2000) -- The FBI is investigating a spate of racist hate mail sent to civil rights groups and black colleges in recent weeks threatening escalating violence against blacks and Jews, an FBI spokeswoman said on Friday.
    The obscenity-laden letters, which refer to Rahowa, or racial holy war -- the battle cry of the white supremacist World Church of the Creator -- were mailed anonymously from southeastern North Carolina in late December.
    ``We are going to work this case in conjunction with SBI (the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation) and local law enforcement,'' said Joanne Morley, an FBI spokeswoman in Charlotte.
    Postmarked from Fayetteville, North Carolina, the threatening letters with Confederate battle flags at the bottom have been received by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and historically black colleges in at least five Southern states.  FULL STORY from Reuters

Judge throws out race claim against Texas test
     (SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 07, 2000) -- A federal judge upheld Texas' high school graduation test Friday, rejecting a claim by minority plaintiffs that the exam discriminates against blacks and Hispanics. 
     The ruling by U.S. District Judge Ed Prado could affect high school graduation tests elsewhere in the country. Currently, 18 states in addition to Texas have such exams. 
     Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit were two Hispanic rights groups and several minority students who claimed they were adversely affected by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Woman seeks stronger rape laws
     (WASHINGTON, Jan. 07, 2000) -- Days before the Supreme Court hears her case, a former college student who accused two football players of sexually assaulting her said Friday, ``Rape is like having your soul torn out.''
     ``This violence happens to too many women, and we need laws on the books to fight it,'' Christy Brzonkala said at a news conference. She was a Virginia Tech student in 1995 when she says the athletes raped her in a dormitory room.
     She is asking the Supreme Court to uphold a federal law, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, that lets rape victims sue their attackers. A lower court declared the provision unconstitutional and threw out her lawsuit against the two football players, Antonio Morrison and James Crawford.
     The nation's highest court hears arguments in the case next Tuesday.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Hotel settles suit with unfairly fired illegal aliens
     (MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 07, 2000) -- A Holiday Inn Express hotel has agreed to pay $72,000 to nine illegal immigrants from Mexico who were fired as housekeepers in alleged retaliation for leading a successful union organizing drive.
     The settlement was reached yesterday between Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.
     Jaye Rykunyk, secretary-treasurer and principal officer of Local 17 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, said the agreement was groundbreaking.
     ``The EEOC has taken the position that undocumented workers are entitled to compensation for discrimination. It's a nationwide precedent for the EEOC,'' Rykunyk said.
     Previously, the EEOC said it had limited authority to help workers who were in the United States illegally.  FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Disabilities columnist in Detroit dead at 60
     (DETROIT, Jan. 07, 2000) -- Yvonne Duffy, a columnist on disabilities for the Detroit Free Press for six years, died after her breathing tube became detached at her home. She was 60.
     Ms. Duffy phoned a neighbor in her apartment building Tuesday night, police said. The neighbor heard the ventilator alarm in the background, ran into Ms. Duffy's apartment and reattached the device. But she was pronounced dead at a hospital.
     Childhood polio had left Ms. Duffy unable to use her legs and one arm.
      Ms. Duffy's column, ``Disabled in America,'' appeared on Sundays. FULL STORY by The Associated Press

Civil rights lawyer Pitcher dead of cancer
     (SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 07, 2000) -- Alex Pitcher, who helped Thurgood Marshall wage his historic Brown vs. Board of Education fight against racism in education and in recent years was president of the San Francisco NAACP chapter, died yesterday of cancer at the age of 75. 
     Whether it was in the halls of Washington, D.C., power or in his own neighborhood parks, Pitcher was a tireless worker for civil rights whose voice will be sorely missed, said those who waged the battles for justice with him. FULL STORY in The San Francisco Chronicle

Suit alleges age bias by Mercedes-Benz
     (NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 07, 2000) -- The federal government is suing Mercedes-Benz of North America, alleging that the Montvale company discriminated against an employee by passing him up for a promotion when he was 72 years old.
    The suit, filed Monday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in federal district court in Newark, seeks unspecified back wages and other damages for Archangelo Passarello of Park Ridge.
    Passarello, now 75 and still employed as a secretary in the Mercedes-Benz legal department, referred questions to his EEOC attorney, Anna Stathis, who declined to comment on the suit.  FULL STORY from the Bergen Record

New Jersey officials at odds over racial profiling
     (TRENTON, N.J., Jan. 07, 2000) -- Attorney General John Farmer wants the state Supreme Court to decide if evidence of racial profiling by state troopers should require that criminal cases against those they arrested be dismissed.
    At issue is whether the state police carried on a widespread pattern of racial discrimination for many years along the New Jersey Turnpike and other highways, and whether that pattern may be used as the basis for throwing out potentially hundreds of criminal cases.
    Farmer filed papers with the Supreme Court early last week asking it to assign the statewide dispute to a single judge, and the Office of the Public Defender on Thursday filed briefs contesting the request, saying it was better to let different judges address the matter in the various counties.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Military sees revived gays debate
     (WASHINGTON, Jan. 07, 2000) -- Talk on the Democratic presidential campaign trail about liberalizing the policy on allowing homosexuals to serve in the military is seen from inside the Pentagon as little more than that: talk.
    ``Candidates for political office are certainly free to do that and must do that in order to explain their views to the American people. But I would not speculate as to what that may or may not mean a year from now,'' Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a spokesman for Defense Secretary William Cohen, said Thursday.
    Former Sen. Bill Bradley and Vice President Al Gore both had said Wednesday night they would make sure that homosexuals could serve openly. Gore added a new twist, however, when he said he would not nominate anyone to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who did not agree with his position on gays serving.  FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Protest over racist suntan ad in Argentina
     (BUENOS AIRES, Jan. 07, 2000) -- Argentine human rights groups have demanded a magazine ad for Hawaiian Tropic sun-tan lotion, depicting a sun-tanned man being dragged off by the Ku Klux Klan, be withdrawn because it is offensive to blacks.
    The advertisement, designed by an Argentine ad agency, takes up two pages in the local edition of music and entertainment magazine Rolling Stone.
    It portrays white-robed and hooded members of the white supremacist group hauling away an incredulous white man from the side of a private swimming pool -- a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic sun-tan oil in the foreground.
    ``The tone is humorous, the idea is: You're going to get so black that the Ku Klux Klan are going to come after you,'' Carlos Perez, creative director of Grey Argentina -- the agency that dreamed up the ad -- told the daily Clarin newspaper.  FULL STORY from Reuters

HUD, Fannie Mae wrangle over report
     (WASHINGTON, Jan. 07, 2000) -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development, in an effort to exert its authority over Fannie Mae, is considering taking action against the huge mortgage outfit for failing to comply fully with government requests for information about its proprietary mortgage-approval system.
    In a letter to Fannie Mae Chairman Franklin Raines, federal housing officials criticized Fannie Mae for supplying information that "was grossly incomplete" and that included documents falsely labeled confidential and proprietary.
    HUD warned in the letter that it may file an enforcement action against the mortgage lender if the information isn't provided, a step that would bring fines against top Fannie Mae officials and directors starting at $5,000 a day.  FULL STORY from the Wall Street Journal

6,000 rally to defend confederate flag in S.C.
     (COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 08, 2000) -- An army of 6,000 people gathered Saturday under a sea of red Confederate flags to defend the banner that has flown from the Statehouse dome for 38 years and thrust the state into the national spotlight.
    There were no reports of violence during the rally or along a parade route that wound from a cemetery holding Confederate dead down the city’s Main Street.
    Saturday’s event was the second day of a three-day rally being staged by supporters of the flag, who say it stands for defiant defense of freedom and Southern heritage. FULL STORY from the Associated Press

Jackson rights group criticizes Rhodes firing
     (MILWAUKEE, Jan. 08, 2000) -- Alleging that racial discrimination may have played a role in coach Ray Rhodes' firing, Jesse Jackson's civil rights group is criticizing the Green Bay Packers.
    Rainbow Sports director Charles Farrell, who promotes sports opportunities for minorities for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said he intends to outline his concerns in a letter to the Packers next week. Jackson is the coalition's president.
    The coalition also wants to meet with NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to discuss the dismissal of Rhodes, who is black, and the league's work on minority hiring for management and coaching jobs.