San Francisco, CA

Feds need more tools to fight hate

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.

Attorney discrimination case goes to trial

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. 

HUD - San Francisco off 'troubled list'

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." 

Communities sue over crack epidemic

March 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.

School Desegregation Suit Settled

February 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.

San Francisco Schools Abolish Racial Quotas

February 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.

7 states ask court to reconsider rental ruling

January 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.

HUD probe violated speech rights, judge says

December 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.

Court won't ban "racist" school books

October 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. 

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