Groups join in asking Ohio court to reconsider decision

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."

Examine criminal justice bias, experts tell race panel

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.

White supremacist arrested in Kentucky

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.

Judge urges government to settle black farmers' suit

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.

Maryland county to let landlords turn away subsidized tenants

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.

Ohio high court upholds vote that blocked affordable housing

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.

Plan to put gate in Pittsburgh housing project draws mixed reviews

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.

Justice files suit against Montgomery, Ala., mobile home park

April 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.

Supreme Court to decide whether HIV is disability under the ADA

March 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.

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