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Monday
Jan092017

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (National, Local): Homelessness, major U.S. cities, criminalization?: "Rights Battles Emerge in Cities Where Homelessness Can Be a Crime" .... 

* New York Times:  "Rights Battles Emerge in Cities Where Homelessness Can Be a Crime" - From the NYT:

DENVER — Condos and townhouses are rising beside the weedy lots here where Randy Russell once pitched a tent and unrolled a sleeping bag, clustering with other homeless people in camps that were a small haven to him, but an illegal danger in the eyes of city officials.

Living on the streets throws a million problems your way, but finding a place to sleep tops the list. About 32 percent of homeless people have no shelter, according to the federal government, and on Nov. 28, Mr. Russell, 56, was among them. He was sitting in an encampment just north of downtown when the police and city workers arrived to clear it away. A police officer handed Mr. Russell a citation. “Now I don’t have a place to sleep tonight,” Mr. Russell told the officer in a video. “You’re taking my home away from me.”

Growing numbers of homeless encampments have led to civic soul-searching in cities around the country, from Philadelphia to Chicago to Seattle. Should cities open up public spaces to their poorest residents, or sweep away camps that city leaders, neighbors and business groups see as islands of drugs and crime? ....................

Monday
Jan092017

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Airbnb, landlords, illegal evictions?: "Tenants say Airbnb and landlord violated L.A. rental laws" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "Tenants say Airbnb and landlord violated L.A. rental laws" - From the LAT:

Airbnb did not evict six renters last year from their Hollywood apartments but the short-term rental site is nonetheless being sued for playing a role in renting the properties after the apartments were vacant. If successful, the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court late last week by Los Angeles-based nonprofit Eviction Defense Network could open Airbnb to legal challenges from tenants who believe they have been illegally evicted to bring in higher-paying short-term renters.

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In the lawsuit, six tenants who were evicted from their apartments on North Formosa Avenue in July say the landlord notified the city that the units were going to be taken off the market. Instead, the apartments were listed for higher rates on Airbnb, the complaint said.

The lawsuit echoes a previous lawsuit filed in 2015 that also named Airbnb as a defendant. In that case, five tenants were evicted from their apartments in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles and the units subsequently appeared on the Airbnb site. A judge overseeing the 2015 lawsuit has allowed the case to move forward, with a trial date tentatively set for June 5, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Both lawsuits accuse the landlords of violating Los Angeles’ 1978 rent stabilization ordinance . . . . . . . .

After the evictions, both lawsuits claim ................

Monday
Jan092017

POLITICS (National): Donald Trump inaugural, Women's March on Washington, "check your privilege"?: "Women's March on Washington Opens Contentious Dialogues About Race" ....  

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Donald Trump inaugural, Women's March on Washington)....

* New York Times:  "Women's March on Washington Opens Contentious Dialogues About Race" - From the NYT:

Many thousands of women are expected to converge on the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. Jennifer Willis no longer plans to be one of them. Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina, had looked forward to taking her daughters to the march. Then she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white.

The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election. “You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.”

Stung by the tone, Ms. Willis canceled her trip. “This is a women’s march,” she said. “We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women’?”

If all goes as planned, the Jan. 21 march will be a momentous display of unity in protest of a president whose treatment of women came to dominate the campaign’s final weeks. But long before the first buses roll to Washington and sister demonstrations take place in other cities, contentious conversations about race have erupted nearly every day among marchers, exhilarating some and alienating others.

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In some ways, the discord is by design . . . . . . . .

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The post that offended Ms. Willis was part of that effort. So was the quotation posted on the march’s Facebook page from Bell Hooks, the black feminist, about forging a stronger sisterhood by “confronting the ways women — through sex, class and race — dominated and exploited other women.” In response, a New Jersey woman wrote: “I’m starting to feel not very welcome in this endeavor.”

A debate then ensued about whether white women were .................

Monday
Jan092017

INTERNATIONAL (Mexico): Mexico, gas protests, "gazilinazo": "Mexico protests: How gas prices lit the flame under a quietly smoldering rage"; "Mexico: 20% gas hike fuels looting, protests"; "Looting, protests in Mexico over gas hike turn deadly"; also, Pena Nieto Faces Unrest in Mexico as Gas Prices Climb and Trump Ascends" .... 

***"Gazilinazo": Mexico, gas price increases, protests -- violence, looting, temporary closure of San Ysidro border crossing....

* New York Times:  "Pena Nieto Faces Unrest in Mexico as Gas Prices Climb and Trump Ascends"

* The Guardian:  "Mexico protests: How gas prices lit the flame under a quietly smoldering rage"

* Fox News (AP):  "Looting, protests in Mexico over gas hike turn deadly"

* CNN:  "Mexico: 20% gas hike fuels looting, protests"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Protesters temporarily close Mexican border crossing at San Ysidro over gas prices"

Monday
Jan092017

L.A. CITY HALL: City of Los Angeles, high-profile lawsuit payouts, increased $$$ liability: "L.A. needs to borrow millions to cover legal payouts, city report says" ...

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. needs to borrow millions to cover legal payouts, city report says" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles budget officials are warning that the city needs to immediately borrow tens of millions of dollars to avoid dipping into its emergency reserve fund after several high-profile lawsuit payouts. The City Administrative Office recommended in a new report that the city borrow $50 million to $70 million to address cases that are part of a “new trend of increased liability payouts.”

The city typically budgets $60 million a year for its legal liability fund, but has already paid out $135 million since July 1, when the current fiscal year began. Recent significant payouts include a $200-million settlement by the Los Angeles City Council over a housing-related lawsuit brought by disabled groups and an $8-million settlement to end lawsuits related to the fatal Los Angeles Police Department shootings of three unarmed men in separate incidents. The $200 million will be paid out over 10 years.

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The recommendation comes after the city paid out $100 million in legal cases last fiscal year, said Assistant City Administrative Officer Ben Ceja. He said the rising expenditures “could be the new normal in terms of paying out cases.”