Washington, DC

Civil rights groups sue over CA admissions

February 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.

Clinton Proposes HUD Spending Hike

January 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.

Clinton targets abandoned buildings

January 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.

Justice sues theater chain over ADA compliance

January 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.

Cuomo Says 1998 Annual Homeownership Rate Hits Record Annual High

January 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."

Black Couple Sues Neighbor, Homeowners Assoc. for Harassment

January 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.

Race Preference Foes Boost Pressure

January 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.

High Court rejects census sampling plan

January 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.

FBI: Race common hate crime motive

January 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.

Fannie Mae, NAACP team up

January 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.


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