Index
Monday
Aug292016

POLITICS/EDUCATION: For-profit colleges, federal government crackdown, impact on students? impact on taxpayers?: "Crackdown on For-Profit Colleges May Free Students and Trap Taxpayers" ....  

* New York Times:  "Crackdown on For-Profit Colleges May Free Students and Trap Taxpayers" - From the NYT:

The Obama administration’s decision to bar ITT Educational Services, one of the nation’s largest operators of for-profit colleges, from using federal financial aid to enroll new students shuts off the cash spigot to the troubled company. But it also creates a new set of problems.

The decision last week was the latest step in the federal government’s crackdown on for-profit schools that have vacuumed up billions of dollars in government grants and loans but failed to deliver on promised training and jobs. Still, the goal of relieving current and former students saddled with onerous debt and a subpar education can be at odds with reducing the cost to taxpayers, who are likely to be stuck with the bill for loan defaults and discharges.

“There is a built-in conflict of interest when the gatekeeper and the financier are the same entity,” Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said of the Department of Education.

ITT, with about 45,000 enrolled students spread over more than 130 campuses across the country, received an estimated $580 million in federal money last year, according to the Department of Education. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but Mr. Nassirian and other experts who have closely followed the issue said the department’s decision could mean the end of ITT, either through bankruptcy or sale.

“It’s a de facto death sentence,” Mr. Nassirian said. “They certainly can’t find students who will pay out of pocket to go to that school, and they don’t have adequate resources to creep along in time to reverse the decision. So I don’t see how they’re going to pull out of this.”

The curb on new student enrollment at ITT, which has been under heightened financial scrutiny from the department since 2014, is the latest move in a long-running campaign to halt deceptive advertising, illegal recruitment practices and other abuses by career training and other for-profit educational institutions ................

Monday
Aug292016

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: Proposition 64, recreational use of marijuana, Latino voters, minority-owned businesses?: Commentary (Robin Abcarian), "Latinos hold the key to pot legalization, but will people of color share in its economic riches?" ...  

* Los Angeles Times (Robin Abcarian):  "Latinos hold the key to pot legalization, but will people of color share in its economic riches?" - From the LAT:

The town hall meeting, in a cavernous garage on an industrial side street in Gardena, was billed as an opportunity to learn about cannabis from some of the industry’s experts. I assumed there would be strong arguments made in favor of Proposition 64, the November ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But it hardly seemed necessary. From what I could tell, most of those in the room were already on board. Some had recently started businesses or were contemplating how to get a piece of what assuredly is going to be a huge economic pie if Proposition 64 passes.

One of the evening’s sponsors, the California Minority Alliance, was founded specifically to ensure that revenues from the legal marijuana industry make their way to the communities that have suffered most under the government’s failed anti-drug policies.

"White people are getting ready to make this happen,” said panelist Felicia Carbajal, a cannabis educator and activist. “If we don’t participate with them, we are not going to reap the benefits, and we are the people most affected by the war on drugs.” Virgil Grant, who owned six Los Angeles-area cannabis dispensaries and spent six years in federal prison for conspiring to sell pot, was just as blunt: “African Americans spend a lot of money on cannabis. Get a stake in this business, not just as a consumer, but as an owner/operator. This is not about smoking weed. It’s much bigger than that. This is a billion-dollar industry.”

You could practically see the imaginations of the 75 or so people in that room ignite.

::

Of course, there won’t be much to dream about if Proposition 64 fails.

And while I have been cavalier about predicting its passage, I am acutely aware that success is not a sure thing. There is plenty of resistance to legalization among a key group of voters who could make or break it. “Latinos in California are a large enough voting bloc that they can swing anything,” said UC Davis political sociologist Mindy Romero. “It comes down to turnout.”

   ****

But the Latino vote is not monolithic. And when it comes to marijuana, it presents something of a conundrum ................

Monday
Aug292016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (County of Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 5th District, runoff election: "An unlikely supervisors' race runoff launches with a Santa Clarita forum and a fight over ballot statement" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "An unlikely supervisors' race runoff launches with a Santa Clarita forum and a fight over ballot statement" - From the LAT:

In the race to replace retiring L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, a long-shot candidate is hoping to ride anti-Donald Trump sentiment to victory by playing up his Democratic Party affiliation, while his more established and better-funded opponent has tried to keep the party out of the officially nonpartisan race.

Antonovich's chief of staff, Kathryn Barger, is facing off against a political newcomer, Darrell Park, a former staffer with the White House Office of Management and Budget turned entrepreneur. Park surprised most observers by beating out several better-known and better-funded candidates to make it to the runoff. Park edged out the third-place candidate, state Sen. Bob Huff, by 2,826 votes, less than 1 percentage point, whereas Barger, the top vote-getter, led Park by 14 percentage points. 

Barger has raised more than $1.3 million, and an additional $1.2 million flowed into an independent expenditure committee set up by labor groups to support her bid; Park has raised about $230,000.

Although Barger has aimed to run a nonpartisan campaign, Park has made party affiliation a centerpiece of his strategy, in both the primary — where the presumed front-runners were all Republicans — and in the runoff. His campaign statement proclaims, “I am the only candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party.”

   ****

Barger challenged the wording of the statement in a court petition, saying that the election code prohibits candidates from including party affiliation in their statements. She also took umbrage at another line in Park’s statement: “Los Angeles County cannot afford to elect a supervisor who will support Donald Trump’s extreme Republican agenda.”

Barger’s petition, which called the statement a “false statement in a direct personal attack,” said. . . . . . . .

   ****

At the first candidates’ forum of the runoff election, put on by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper Thursday, Barger and Park were largely cordial as they debated local infrastructure needs and development decisions. But the tug-of-war over party affiliation continued .................

Monday
Aug292016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, television interviews?: "Donald Trump finally did a non-Fox News interview. It didn't go very well. ....

* Washington Post (Callum Borchers):  "Donald Trump finally did a non-Fox News interview. It didn't go very well." - From the WP:

When it comes to media relations, Donald Trump has never been Mr. Congeniality — but he has been Mr. Accessibility. Throughout the primary season, he was omnipresent on cable news and granted interviews to journalists one might have expected him to avoid, such as former Bill Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. But lately the Republican presidential nominee has "mostly retreated to the relatively cozy confines of Fox News," as the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone put it this week.

Trump finally ventured out again Thursday night, appearing on CNN for the first time in more than two months. It didn't go very well. It went so not well, in fact, that you have to wonder whether his campaign will decide it's best to dodge the likes of Anderson Cooper and Chuck Todd — or, for that matter, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier — and stick to softball sessions with Sean Hannity and the "Fox & Friends" crew.

It didn't take long for Trump to get himself in a bind while speaking with Cooper. After wavering on his deportation plan in a sit-down with Hannity earlier in the week, the real estate mogul shifted again on CNN. Besides the policy changes, there was another key difference: While Hannity, an ardent Trump supporter, went along with his favored candidate, Cooper confronted him.

   ****

Later, a frustrated Trump lashed out at Cooper and CNN, which he has taken to calling the "Clinton News Network." "I know you want to protect her as much as you possibly can," Trump said, referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. At the time, he and Cooper were debating the true poverty rate for African Americans. When Trump didn't want to engage on the merits anymore, his immediate tactic was to try to put Cooper on the defensive with an unrelated accusation

   ****

It wouldn't be surprising if Trump's long-term strategy leading up to Election Day is to not put himself in a position to be challenged by an interviewer in the first place. How withdrawn from media interviews has Trump been of late? Calderone tracked his recent TV appearances: ...............

Monday
Aug292016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, business history/ rental housing, racial bias?: Report/Analysis, "'No Vacancies' for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias" ....

* New York Times (Jonathan Mahler, Steve Eder):  "'No Vacancies' for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias" - From the NYT:

She seemed like the model tenant. A 33-year-old nurse who was living at the Y.W.C.A. in Harlem, she had come to rent a one-bedroom at the still-unfinished Wilshire Apartments in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens. She filled out what the rental agent remembers as a “beautiful application.” She did not even want to look at the unit. There was just one hitch: Maxine Brown was black.

Stanley Leibowitz, the rental agent, talked to his boss, Fred C. Trump. “I asked him what to do and he says, ‘Take the application and put it in a drawer and leave it there,’” Mr. Leibowitz, now 88, recalled in an interview.

It was late 1963 — just months before President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act — and the tall, mustachioed Fred Trump was approaching the apex of his building career. He was about to complete the jewel in the crown of his middle-class housing empire: seven 23-story towers, called Trump Village, spread across nearly 40 acres in Coney Island. He was also grooming his heir. His son Donald, 17, would soon enroll at Fordham University in the Bronx, living at his parents’ home in Queens and spending much of his free time touring construction sites in his father’s Cadillac, driven by a black chauffeur. “His father was his idol,” Mr. Leibowitz recalled. “Anytime he would come into the building, Donald would be by his side.”

Over the next decade, as Donald J. Trump assumed an increasingly prominent role in the business, the company’s practice of turning away potential black tenants was painstakingly documented by activists and organizations that viewed equal housing as the next frontier in the civil rights struggle.

The Justice Department undertook its own investigation and, in 1973, sued Trump Management for discriminating against blacks. Both Fred Trump, the company’s chairman, and Donald Trump, its president, were named as defendants. It was front-page news, and for Donald, amounted to his debut in the public eye ....................