Los Angeles, CA

Ordinances reveal hostility toward homeless

August 19, 2015
One of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most ambitious goals is to get Los Angeles out of the housing crisis.
     That’s why standing in front of Circa, a $500 million dollar luxury complex whose grandeur prompts comparisons to Times Square, the mayor celebrated a cultural renaissance in the city last month as well as an economic revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.
     However, just a few days later, he was silent about nearby Skid Row activists protesting both delays in the construction of affordable housing projects as well as the recent passage of city ordinances 56.11 and 63.44, which criminalize homeless encampments in the area.

High Desert fair housing claims settled for $2M

July 20, 2015
The Justice Department has settled claims that Los Angeles County Housing Authority and two cities in the Antelope Valley discriminated against hundreds of African-Americans who received housing assistance.
     Palmdale, Lancaster and the housing authority agreed Monday to compensate black residents in low-income subsidized, or Section 8, housing after prosecutors filed a federal complaint alleging a campaign to force residents out of the cities.
     According to the Justice Department, city officials contracted with the housing authority to spend "substantial financial resources to voucher-program enforcement efforts" and enlisted LA Sheriff Department Deputies to assist them.
     Deputies harassed black people in subsidized housing, searching homes with help from housing authority investigators who descended on homes with as many as nine deputy sheriffs in tow, the Justice Department had alleged.

What happens when marijuana is legal and HOA rules are hazy?

April 20, 2015
More than 20 U.S. states allow certain people to grow, sell, possess or use marijuana to varying degrees and for various purposes, although federal law still classifies weed as an illegal drug.
     Given that contradiction, what rules apply to people who live in condominiums or communities governed by a homeowners association?
     The answer isn't, shall we say, cut and dried.
     Consider Colorado, which attorney Suzanne Leff says is "kind of at the frontier on these issues." Leff is a partner at Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, a Littleton, Colorado, law firm that represents homeowners associations.
     Even within this marijuana-friendly state, "each association has to decide on the approach to take based on what the documents allow, what's feasible and what the community's needs are," Leff says. Even then, she adds, "there are a variety of approaches taken.
     

Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing director speaks about gender discrimination - See more at: http://dailytrojan.com/2013/11/17/dept-of-fair-employment-and-housing-director-speaks-about-gender-discrimination/#sthash.PkJHupnU.dpuf

November 17, 2013
The director of California’s Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing, Phyllis Cheng, spoke to USC students Thursday morning in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center in a seminar titled “Current Trends in Gender Discrimination and Housing Discrimination.”
     Cheng has been serving as the director of DFEH since 2008. She was appointed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was subsequently confirmed by the California state senate in a unanimous vote. Prior to her work at the department, she earned her Ph.D. from USC and a law degree from Southwestern Law School. As a lawyer, she specialized in civil rights law, working at both private firms and the Civil Rights Enforcement Section of the California Dept. of Justice. In 2012, Cheng was named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year.
     Cheng spoke to a group of students from the Marshall School of Business, the Price School of Public Policy and the Gould School of Law. She explained how the Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing defends California residents from discrimination against all kinds of factors, including age, race, gender, religion and disability. Recently, Cheng commissioned the UCLA-RAND Center for Law and Public Policy to look at the department’s data for the past decade.
     

HUD halts probe into NAACP's Lancaster housing-bias complaint

June 19, 2012
A housing discrimination complaint filed against the city of Lancaster by the NAACP has been withdrawn, allowing the federal housing authority to end its investigation into housing practices of the High Desert municipality. But the city still faces litigation over the issue.
     In a letter dated June 14, Charles E. Hauptman, regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, told Lancaster officials that the NAACP formally withdrew the complaint and “in accordance with the complaint’s request, HUD has terminated its investigation.”
     Hauptman said HUD’s closure of its probe was “not a determination of the merits of the allegations contained in the complaint.”
     The complaint described a pattern of harassment by Lancaster leaders against mainly black and Latino residents.

HUD officials urge AAPI community to report housing discrimination

March 10, 2012
Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities continue to remain silent when discriminated against in rental, lending or other housing issues, according to White House officials.
     In a teleconference call last Wednesday on equal access to housing for AAPI communities, White House officials said they are working on the rights of AAPIs when it comes to fair housing.
     Sunaree Marshall, advisor on Intergovernmental Affairs for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said one of five Asian Americans face housing discrimination but only one percent register a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Feds vow to 'peel onion' on bias claims against sheriff's deputies

August 19, 2011
An official with the U.S. Department of Justice vowed Friday morning “to peel the onion to its core” on allegations that Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies in the Antelope Valley have harassed minority residents of government-subsidized housing.
     Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez said investigators would parse sheriff’s records and arrest data to determine if deputies were “used” to help drive out black and Latino residents of the historically white high desert.
     Perez said one investigation focus would be determining if minorities accounted for a disproportionate share of misdemeanor and obstruction arrests. Arrests solely related to obstruction charges are often perceived as potential indicators of racial bias.

Housing discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court against 2 cities in Southern California

June 07, 2011
A racial discrimination lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Lancaster and Palmdale, claiming the Southern California cities excluded black and Latino families from receiving housing subsidies.
     The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of two unidentified residents who say they faced racial discrimination. The lawsuit seeks to stop the cities from promoting policies said to be harassing and unfair.
     Noel Doran, a deputy city attorney with Palmdale, said there's no merit to the lawsuit. An email message left for Lancaster City Manager Mark Bozigian was not immediately returned.

Elgin Baylor’s lawsuit against Donald Sterling shot down by jury

March 30, 2011
Clippers Donald Sterling is still a despicable human being. A man with a laundry list of offenses of offenses from the serious (racial housing discrimination) to just screwing up his NBA team. This has not changed.
     But he has won key court battle.
     A jury Wednesday rejected a $2 million lawsuit brought by former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor seeking damages for being fired due to age discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports.
     It’s hard to argue, with the Clippers record over the last couple decades, that Baylor was a good GM who could not have been dismissed for cause. You can see the defense attorney and jury’s point there, even though you can also question how much real power Baylor had during parts of his tenure.

LA Clippers owner agrees to pay $2.73 million to settle housing discrimination lawsuit

November 03, 2009
Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling has agreed to pay a record $2.73 million to settle allegations by the government that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, blacks and to families with children, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
     The Justice Department sued Sterling in August 2006 for allegations of housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. Other defendants were Sterling's wife, Rochelle, and the Sterling Family Trust.
     The defendants allegedly made statements to employees indicating that African-Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants.
     Court filings indicated that Sterling rented to fewer blacks and Hispanics in Koreatown than would be expected based on demographics, according to the Justice Department.
     In settling the lawsuit, however, the defendants denied any liability.
     

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