More than 1 000 Deaf and disabled people and thei

first_imgMore than 1, 000 Deaf and disabled people and their allies have backed Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to be re-elected as Labour leader after signing a letter recognising his years of support for key disability rights campaigns.The letter was written by the grassroots campaigning network Disabled People Against Cuts, which said it wanted to repay Corbyn (pictured) – and his deputy John McDonnell – for their past support.The letter says: “You have supported deaf and disabled people’s causes for many, many years.“You have spoken in Parliament. You have voted against vicious welfare reforms that have blighted our lives, often having to rebel against the Whip to do so.“You have campaigned with us during court vigils, at street protests and you spoke at the ‘10,000 cuts and counting’ memorial for people who had died as a result of welfare reform.”The letter adds: “During our campaign to save the [Independent Living Fund] when we asked the then Labour Leadership for help and got none, you publicly supported our campaign.”And it tells Corbyn: “You have supported deaf and disabled people in so many ways over so many years and now it is time for us to have a chance to rally in support of you and John.”Many of those who signed the letter have added comments of their own.Disability rights activist David Gillon said: “A return to New Labour is a return to ignoring disabled people.”Another to sign the letter was the veteran inclusive education campaigner Micheline Mason, who said: “You have also both supported our fight for inclusion, which, as you know, is another word for socialism in practice.“We will win this struggle together, but thank you so much for keeping the flame of hope burning in dark times.”Ian Jones, co-founder of the WOW campaign, praised Corbyn’s support, which helped secure a parliamentary debate for the WOW petition, and said: “Most Labour MPs ‘talk the talk’ about disabled people getting true equality of opportunity in our society. Jeremy ‘walks the walk’.”Another to sign the letter, Katy Marchant, said: “While the media and parliament has largely ignored the brutal attacks by Tory Austerity on disabled people and the enormous suffering and deaths this has caused, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have steadfastly spoken out and supported us.”Cornelia Roesskamp said: “You have supported inclusive education when in and out of ‘fashion’ because you understand that it is [a] human rights issue fundamentally.”Janine Booth, a member of the TUC disabled workers’ committee, said: “As well as the comments in the letter, I’d like to add that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s support for autistic and other neurodivergent people fighting for our rights has been nothing short of outstanding.“Only a Labour government under their leadership will deliver the radical policy changes that we need after years of Tory austerity and bigotry.”Mandy Bell said: “As the mother of a disabled child, I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is the ONLY candidate of choice, the only person I would trust my daughter’s future to.”And Geraldine O’Connor said: “I thank you for defending people with disabilities, democracy, the rule of law and human rights.“You have fought for us, now we will fight for you.”Meanwhile, Corbyn’s opponent, former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, claimed in an interview with the Guardian that – if he became prime minister – he would rewrite the eligibility rules for personal independence payment (PIP), scrap the work capability assessment, and move from outsourcing benefits assessments to private firms, such as Atos, Capita and Maximus, to using the NHS and social services to carry out the tests.But his claims to support disabled people were undermined when a video emerged on the Independent website the following day of him using disablist language to describe Corbyn at a campaign rally.Smith told the rally: “We’ve got to get two million people who actually voted Tory 12 months ago to vote Labour, in 106 seats.“And what you won’t have from me is some lunatic at the top of the Labour party, you’ll have someone who tries to form a coherent narrative about what’s wrong with Britain.”last_img read more

A leading disabled campaigner is taking three sepa

first_imgA leading disabled campaigner is taking three separate legal cases against a train company, as part of his efforts to persuade the rail industry to improve the “lamentably inaccurate” information it provides on access to its services.Rail enthusiast Doug Paulley was twice driven to distraction by the failures of ScotRail to provide accurate information as he tried to plan trips to Aviemore and Orkney in September.The company’s failures resulted in him having to send scores of emails and spend hours on the phone to try to correct its mistakes booking his tickets and assistance for the Orkney trip, ruining what he had hoped would be the “journey of a lifetime”.And when he later tried to complain to the company about its failures, a ScotRail manager sent libellous comments about him to other senior figures in the rail industry, suggesting that he had lied about what he had been told by ScotRail staff.Paulley (pictured) says the information train operating companies publish on their own websites about access at stations across Britain often contradicts the information shown on the National Rail website.This can make it impossible for disabled passengers to be able to plan their journeys with any certainty.It is part of a widespread failure to ensure that information on access to rail services for disabled people is accurate and kept up-to-date, he believes.Last month, he was even told by a ScotRail operator that every station in the country was accessible to wheelchair-users, when industry information shows that more than half of the company’s stations do not have step-free access.One of the legal cases Paulley is taking against ScotRail concerns his efforts to book rail tickets for what he had hoped would be a “trip of a lifetime” to and from the north-east of Scotland, for a short visit to Orkney.To make the trip particularly special he wanted to book first-class tickets if possible, and was assured by ScotRail – despite what he had been told by another train company – that there were spaces available in first class for wheelchair-users.After booking those tickets in June, he then discovered that ScotRail does not have any first-class wheelchair spaces on any of its services, and that the company had previously been criticised for allowing wheelchair-users to buy first-class tickets which they were unable to use.ScotRail had promised the regulator last year that it would ensure that wheelchair-users would not be able to buy first-class tickets.Paulley told the company, in a letter warning of his intention to take legal action: “I spent several hours making phone calls (with which I struggle because I am deaf) and sent or received a hundred or so emails, all in an attempt to make a booking for two single journeys.“I bought lots of tickets I either couldn’t use or didn’t need, which I then had to get refunded.”He added: “I have had to display real dogged determination in order to get these tickets and assistance booked, and to do the journey.“This was supposed to be the journey of a lifetime, but instead it will be marred forever by memories of weeks of me feeling like I was banging my head against a brick wall, in order to arrange what should have been a straightforward booking, and for any non-disabled person would be.”The second legal case relates to his attempts to obtain information from ScotRail about access at Aviemore rail station.As a result of ScotRail’s failure to clarify whether the station was accessible to wheelchair-users, he had to abandon plans to visit Badaguish, a nearby accessible holiday destination run by the Speyside Trust.He told ScotRail, in a letter warning of his intention to take legal action, that its failings were “absolutely infuriating” and that he felt as though ScotRail “just don’t give two hoots about my need for access information in order to plan and book a journey with relative confidence”.He told the company he wanted to correct “unacceptable discriminatory service provision by Scotrail who have failed to meet their moral or legal obligations to disabled people”.Paulley warned ScotRail that he had taken about 50 disability discrimination cases over the last decade, one of which eventually saw him secure a ground-breaking Supreme Court victory on access to buses for wheelchair-users.In a third legal letter, he warned ScotRail that he viewed the false, libellous statements that had been made about his complaints about information on access to be “very serious”.He said: “Allegations that I am being disingenuous, that I have made complaints and sought compensation having attempted assistance and ticket bookings despite knowing them to not be possible, fundamentally undermine my credibility as a disabled rights campaigner and reduce my efficacy, particularly when made to senior managers at multiple Train Operating Companies, and particularly when made by a senior manager at a Train Operating Company.”ScotRail said it was unable to comment on active legal cases.Paulley told Disability News Service that the three legal cases showed the “recurrent passenger assistance booking and access information failures across the rail industry”.Much of the information, he said, is “lamentably inaccurate and not fit for purpose”.Now he wants to see action from the industry, and is due to attend a meeting (today) with industry representatives to discuss his concerns.He is optimistic that plans to replace cross-industry IT systems could improve the accuracy and reliability of information on assistance and accessibility.He said: “All I want is for train operating companies to do what they are legally and morally obliged to do, that being to ensure information is accurate, usable and comprehensive.“It isn’t, and it should be.”A spokeswoman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents all the country’s train companies and Network Rail, said: “We look forward to meeting Doug Paulley later this week to discuss in detail his concerns.“Our accessibility team is working hard to improve accessibility for customers across the network, and we are involving rail companies, stakeholders and advocacy groups to help us.“Over the last year, we have developed a detailed programme of work, centred on tackling the challenges our customers face and improving overall experience by embracing new technologies and ensuring our staff can provide the best possible service, not just for people with disabilities but for everyone who uses our railway.”last_img read more

Jeremy Corbyn has written to all Labour MPs this a

first_imgJeremy Corbyn has written to all Labour MPs this afternoon, ahead of the indicative votes on Brexit options tonight.In his letter, the Labour leader acknowledges that “from Hackney to Huddersfield, there are vastly different and passionately held views”, before setting out how the party aims to bring Leave and Remain voters together.“We are committed to delivering on our manifesto pledge to respect the referendum result, by seeking support for Labour’s alternative deal for a close relationship with the EU,” the letter reads. “That is what we are campaigning for.”But Corbyn goes on to make clear that “to break the deadlock”, he is asking Labour MPs to vote for motions tonight that “reflect aspects” of Labour’s deal – namely Ken Clarke’s customs union membership and Nick Boles’ Common Market 2.0.“Further to that,” he adds, “should we be unable to win support for our deal, and if parliament does not give sufficient support to a similar proposition, we will keep all options on the table, including campaigning for a public vote to prevent a no deal exit or a damaging Tory Brexit”.This would suggest that Labour is backing another referendum only if its alternative deal does not pass and if another version of Brexit cannot win enough support in the Commons to pass without the condition that it is put to a public vote.Below is the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to all Labour MPs this afternoon.Dear colleagueI want to thank you for your support and comradeship in recent weeks, as we seek to deal with the Tory Brexit shambles.Through their intransigence and incompetence, the Tories have failed to deliver a Brexit deal. They are risking the livelihoods of so many of our constituents and are fuelling resentment.Theresa May has been forced to pre-announce her resignation, in a desperate attempt to seek support for her botched deal. The Chief Whip is attacking the cabinet. The government is falling apart. Now more than ever, we need to demonstrate our readiness to take over.People need a government which will sort out their schools, their hospitals, their council services and their community safety. Theresa May is preventing that happening.We need to sweep this government away and let people take control through a general election, as agreed at our conference.I know within the Parliamentary Labour Party, and the wider party, we have a variety of strongly-held views on Brexit.And amongst voters in Labour seats, from Hackney to Huddersfield, there are vastly different and passionately held views. Those views are reflected in our election gains, whether that is Brighton and Canterbury, or Crewe and Weaver Vale. And we must also look to opinions in the seats we need to gain to win the next election.I fully recognise the strength of feeling shown by recent protests and petitions from both Leave and Remain voters. Labour is committed to bringing these groups together as the basis for a new government.We are committed to delivering on our manifesto pledge to respect the referendum result, by seeking support for Labour’s alternative deal for a close relationship with the EU.I have discussed this with the EU’s negotiators and with colleagues in the Party of European Socialists, and I am sure it could be successfully negotiated.That proposal, as we have said, seeks a permanent customs union, close alignment with the single market, and dynamic alignment on rights and protections.That is what we are campaigning for. But in order to break the deadlock and find the consensus necessary to force a change to the red lines of the Prime Minister’s rejected deal, I also ask you to support motions that reflect aspects of Labour’s alternative plan, including a customs union and for Common Market 2.0.Further to that, we have also been clear, should we be unable to win support for our deal, and if parliament does not give sufficient support to a similar proposition, we will keep all options on the table, including campaigning for a public vote to prevent a no deal exit or a damaging Tory Brexit.Those are the principles on which we approached last week’s indicative votes, and they are the principles on which we will approach future debates and votes.I am working to bring together views from across the party and across parliament and I welcome the comradeship you have shown in pulling together.Let’s make sure we are successful.YoursJeremy Corbyn MPLeader of the OppositionTags:Jeremy Corbyn /Brexit /last_img read more

SF Supervisors Apologize for Police Shootings Call for Investigation

first_imgThe action has particular resonance in the Mission, where civil cases have been filed in two police shootings – one for the March 2014 shooting of Alex Nieto and one for the February 2015 shooting of Amilcar Pérez López.Following Breed’s criticism of the police department’s conduct in Woods’ killing, supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, and Jane Kim also spoke out against the department’s actions — all called for a “meaningful police reform.”“San Francisco does not have the police department it deserves,” said Campos.On Tuesday, Breed’s promise was met with applause from a packed City Hall chamber that included activists from the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, as well as Woods’ mother, Gwendolyn. “Somebody tell me, why are [the officers] back at work? Why?” asked Woods, addressing the board, through tears. “They killed my child.” Breed’s resolution is a step toward meeting the demands of the coalition, which has also called for Police Chief Greg Suhr’s firing and murder charges for the involved officers. The board will vote on the resolution in two weeks.Coalition members who addressed the board criticized the police department as well as the city for its inaction and lack of compassion in notifying Woods’ family of his death, and pointed out that this is a pattern that occurred in other cases in which officers shot and killed members of the African American and Latino communities. “When I think about December 2, I think about [Woods] seeing her son gunned down on social media, about how she went to three different locations to get information about her son and she was rejected each time,” said Shawn Richard of the anti-violence group Brothers Against Guns. “See this mother’s pain. We can do more at the board of supervisors … to support Ms. Woods.”“The silence among some has been deafening – it should never have taken the mayor of this city five days to speak. And a month later, she has still not heard from this man,” said Christopher Muhammad, the San Francisco Bay Area minister of the Nation of Islam.  “Something’s very wrong when a mother cannot get a call from the father of this city.”Members of the coalition also accused the Police Officer’s Association of creating a climate of impunity that has prevented policy changes proposed in the wake of previous police shootings. They pointed to the cases of Nieto and Perez-Lopez as urgent examples of warranting a reform in police’s use of force policy. “Don’t be intimidated by the Police Officer’s Association,” said former San Francisco supervisor Dr. Amos Brown to the board members. “They have refused to talk with the African American community and thrown up a firewall in San Francisco. They need to come together and not turn on us in times of crisis.”Breed vowed to take a stance against the association, acknowledging that the “colloquial atmosphere” of police and community relations must be improved.  “The Police Officer’s Association should be building bridges, not fighting those who are trying to help,” she said.  Delivering emotional apologies, supervisors David Campos, John Avalos and Jane Kim took turns directly addressing Woods’ mother. “There is nothing that will bring your son back,” said Kim as tears streamed down her face.  Though stating that she is committed to enacting changes in police policy, Kim said that “rogue officers” are not the only ones at fault. The City and County of San Francisco, she said, should also be held accountable. “We fund and train [the officers]. We are accountable for the police’s action, it’s not just the officers themselves that are to blame,” she said. Avalos and Campos also introduced a resolution declaring a day commemorating Woods that includes a formal apology to his family. “What brought this resolution forward, was the way that the City and County of San Francisco has treated you and your family after everything that happened,” said Campos. The Mission District supervisor said he found it “disturbing” that this was not the first time he apologized for the conduct of the police department to the parent of a victim of an officer involved shooting.“I’ve had the same conversation with the parents of Alex Nieto, who did not find out what happened to their son until a day or two later,” said Campos. “If we had gotten it right with Alex Nieto…we would not be here today.” After introducing legislation that calls for an independent federal investigation into the officer involved shooting death of Mario Woods, District 5 Supervisor London Breed joined three other supervisors on record in criticizing the San Francisco Police Department for its use of force policies. “I’ve mourned the loss of far too many young, African Americans in my life, and since December 2 of last year, I’ve mourned yet another,” said Breed, referring to the day last month when Woods, a 26-year-old Bayview resident, was shot more than 20 times by police officers. Woods was the suspect of a stabbing and carrying a knife at the time that police confronted him.“Too many African Americans, Latinos, and people of all races oftentimes are dying on our streets, and too often they are dying at the hand of those who are sworn in to protect them,” Breed said.The resolution asking for a federal investigation, put forth by Breed and District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, will “put that request officially on the record” and help to restore the community’s trust in the police force, said Breed. Tags: Board of Supervisors • City Hall • SFPD • shootings Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img 0%last_img read more

The One Store becomes too pricy a cultural asset to keep Updated

first_imgMary Feeley, who lives at an SRO downtown, walked into the One $ Store at 17th and Mission with a stack of Street Sheets tucked under her arm and waved hello to the store’s owner, Arman Muhammad.She had come for some soap, but when she found out the store will likely be replaced with an apartment complex, her smile fell. Indeed, on Thursday, the Planning Commission will hold a hearing to discuss the future of the corner, and a six-story development project that hopes to break ground in the next year. Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. “It’s one of my favorite places,” she said. “People are friendly. You can get what you need, when you need it.”The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) triggered Thursday’s hearing, writing that the One $ Store is a cultural asset that caters to low-income residents and helps alleviate the pressures of gentrification.There’s just one problem: the One $ Store doesn’t want to stay — because customers are no longer coming.“My business in the Mission is no longer profitable,” Muhammad wrote to the Planning Department last month in response to MEDA’s petition.“I have enjoyed my years in the Mission community, I am choosing to leave.” Muhammed ended his letter with a strong endorsement of Muller’s project. “I feel Tim has proposed a project that will improve the neighborhood.”That project has been nine years in coming.In 2009, Timothy Muller, the property owner, floated plans to replace the one-story concrete slab with a six-story complex of high-end apartments and a few below-market units. Muller immediately back-burnered the housing project while Muhammad lived out his lease. Then, in 2015, Muller re-introduced plans for a glittery (relatively) high-rise designed by Stanley Saitowitz, who’s known for making provocative architectural splashes. Renderings showed an imposing facade almost entirely made of glass and steel. The ground floor would remain a commercial space, shrunken by more than half.City planners nixed Saitowitz’ original design in favor of a more conventional beige building. The current project will include 27 apartments, three of which will be below market rate.MEDA was happy with that change. “We always like to see less big sheet glass,” says Peter Papadopoulos.Muhammed has declined to remain at 2100 Mission St., but MEDA still hopes to bring in a business that serves a similar role. Goodwill has expressed interest in moving to the site, which MEDA says could work, though it doesn’t offer the same kinds of goods as a dollar store.“The Dollar Store is where a lot of people buy their daily essentials,” says Peter Papadopoulos, a land use policy analyst with MEDA. “You can get the kind of things like household needs at a price that helps to stabilize our working class families.”But evidently not enough of these families are turning to the One $ Store for their needs.For years, owner Muller has offered Muhammed a reduced rent to help buoy him as his business struggled. At one time, Muhammad afforded the $14,000 a month rent but over the last few years his profits have suffered. The wholesale cost of the store’s goods has gone up 100 percent and he’s gotten less foot traffic since Thrift Town across the street shut down. Muller has lowered rent by a couple grand every so often; now, Muhammad pays just $8,000 a month.Muhammad, who moved to the the United States from Afghanistan in 2001, owns another dollar store downtown that he says does much better.“I think it is indicative that the demographics are shifting in the Mission,” says Papadopoulos. “And it’s the businesses like the dollar store are having the most difficulty. That’s why MEDA has been working to disrupt that cycle.”Since the One $ Store opened in 2001, the median income of Mission households jumped from $51,000 in 2000 to $87,000 in 2016, according to census data. In addition, many consumers have turned from the convenience of a neighborhood store to the even more convenient e-commerce and that trend has hurt retail throughout the city.Still, the One $ Store in the Mission offers a place for those who haven’t found the internet to be a retail panacea: for the 81-year-old woman who slowly makes her way through the store on her walker, looking for a skillet of a certain size; for the woman counting each quarter to buy a pack of socks; for those who lack a device in their pocket that alerts them to the best deals around.Dewayne Kemp says he stops by the store every day. Kemp first met Muhammad — who goes by Alex — about six years ago, after he got out of prison and was looking for a job. Muhammad had him working the next day. Now Kemp just comes in to say hi to his old boss or pick up a cream pie or some soap.“They serve people from all walks of life,” says Kemp. “They don’t make you feel unwelcome.”Muller and his lawyer have been in negotiation with MEDA to find a suitable alternative to the One $ Store.The real sticking point is the terms of the lease. MEDA wants Muller to offer a 50-year lease to the thrift store.“Are you gonna be around here 50 years from now?” asks Muller. “Why subject a piece of property to a very long-term lease when you don’t know the future? It’s not usual to have a have a third party dictating terms. It make it very difficult.”MEDA’s Papadopoulos says 50 years is their standard ask when negotiating with new projects in the Mission.“Ground-floor community space for the long term creates a community stabilization force,” says Papadopoulos, adding that MEDA has been negotiating with developers almost every day ahead of Thursday’s meeting.But if the fate of the One $ Store is any lesson, whatever moves into 2100 Mission St. will need the community as much as the community will need it.Update, 3:15 p.m., June 14: The future of 2100 Mission St. was not discussed at the Planning Commission. “We are happy to report that we’ve agreed to terms with MEDA. The discretionary review will be withdrawn,” said John Kevlin, a representative of the project told the Planning Commission. Kevlin asked to postpone the item until July 12, when they will have the agreement in writing. Tags: development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%last_img read more

Google executive Jack Halprin is dead His former tenants are still facing

first_img“All of my friends who are teachers who have had to move for one reason or another have been displaced from this city,” he says. “I’m talking about a dozen people. Without exception.” Well, there is one exception: Him. For now. And so Evan Wolkenstein has a lot on his mind these days. And so do we all. It’s San Francisco in 2018, and his story is ubiquitous; it’s akin to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a rabbit hutch. But Wolkenstein’s story is more than ubiquitous: If you presented it as a work of fiction, you’d be accused of being too on-the-nose, too broad, too uncreative. And that’s because he’s a former Jack Halprin tenant. Halprin, you may recall, was the Google attorney and executive who, in 2014, triggered worldwide coverage when he attempted to use the Ellis Act to evict a platoon of tenants — among them a grade-school teacher, a high-school teacher, and an aging disabled woman — from his 812 Guerrero Street home. Well, this story had everything: Wealthy tech executive attempting to put teachers and disabled people onto the street in a cartoonishly callous act of gentrification (Halprin had earlier been sued by a former tenant for an alleged illegal owner move-in, after she was made to leave her unit so Halprin’s domestic partner could ostensibly reside there — but he never did, and that unit was then merged with Halprin’s own to create a mega-unit. That case settled out of court for between $200,000 and $400,000, per attorney Joe Tobener).In 2013, organizer and performance artist Max Bell Alper pretended to be a Google employee; during a Google bus protest, he hopped off the stairway of a blockaded tech shuttle and shouted, “You can’t pay your rent? I’m sorry. Get a better job. … This is a city for the right people who can afford it. You can’t afford it? You can leave.”Well, that’s really happening — you can look up the cold, hard statistics — which is why it was baffling that any pro-tenant or pro-worker activist felt it’d be useful to make this point by lying to everyone and punking the media. Why be disingenuous when the plain truth is so damning? And, just over a year to the day after Alper’s subterfuge, Mission Local’s Lydia Chavez watched Halprin — the flesh-and-blood incarnation of Alper’s agitprop caricature — provacatively wade into a pre-dawn Google bus protest, before loping back home to the building where he was attempting to evict everyone with a couple of sign-waving demonstrators in pursuit.And then, in 2015, Halprin abruptly died, at just age 46. And, for those who weren’t his friends or family or residing in his former property, the story ended. But it didn’t end. Because in June of last year, his surviving family quietly re-filed an Ellis Act eviction. And the one-year Get-Out-of-Dodge date lapsed in June 2018. No eviction papers have been filed but, since the rent checks are now being returned, it’s just a matter of time. And so, Evan Wolkenstein has a lot on his mind these days.Counter-intuitively for a man of means (and a lawyer), Jack Halprin died without a will. The multi-unit home Halprin obtained in 2012 for the artificially low price of $1.475 million — its gaggle of rent-controlled tenants was factored into that price — passed to his septuagenarian mother in Connecticut. Multiple calls to Gail Halprin were not returned. So it remains unclear why she’s chosen to go this route rather than, as her tenants’ attorney Steve Collier would have liked, selling the building to a nonprofit — or simply selling a gorgeous home with several empty residential units on the open market for a metric shitload of money. Collier beat back Jack Halprin’s first attempt at an Ellis Act eviction, convincing a judge that the landlord’s failure to properly deliver the required payments of the first half of a relocation fee invalidated the proceedings. That won’t happen again; the plaintiffs didn’t make the same mistake twice. So, it’s back to the mattresses. Collier won’t disclose his tactics, but he assures us he has them. But, even if he didn’t, fighting an eviction is often an end in and of itself. Even if the tenants ultimately fail in this case, they’ve bought themselves four years and counting of existence in San Francisco. In the meantime, Collier, who has spent the last 31 years as a San Francisco tenants’ attorney, emphasizes how commonplace this sort of action is. Perhaps that’s understating it: When we called up a tenants’ rights activist to ask how normal it is for landlords to buy up rent-controlled properties at low prices and then push everyone out of the building, she told us she had to step outside to take our call — she was busy attending a seminar about landlords buying up rent-controlled properties at low prices and pushing everyone out of the building. Halprin was purported to wander through the Guerrero Street building with his realtor and — within earshot of his besieged tenants — talk about his future plans for their current homes. That was unsubtle. But nobody wanted things to turn out like they did. And, in the end, Halprin’s untimely death may do little to change his tenants’ plights. “We’re all just kind of hoping things will get better,” notes Wolkenstein. “But there’s no reason for us to believe that they will.” Well that’s sad. And ubiquitous. And that’s sad, too. Evan Wolkenstein has a lot on his mind these days. In a very San Franciscan touch, the high school teacher has, at age 44, just had his first child. And, in what is also a very San Franciscan touch, he is consumed with existential angst about where he and his wife will be raising this child. That’s a worry for so many burgeoning San Francisco families. But, as of June 1, the landlord of the building he’s lived in since arriving here 14 years ago ceased accepting Wolkenstein’s rent checks. The next step is an eviction notice. It wouldn’t be the first time. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Google executive’s heirs have re-evoked the dreaded Ellis Act Email Address,0%last_img read more

National radio host speaks at WHQR luncheon in Wilmington

first_img Johnson’s show discusses politics, technology, pop culture and more. In the past, he hosted a series called Truth Be Told which dealt with race issues in our country.Johnson also shared stories about his life and his journey to NPR. The luncheon took place at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Local radio station WHQR held a fundraising luncheon Friday. They brought in a well-known national radio host as the featured speaker.Joshua Johnson hosts NPR’s 1A radio show, which airs every weekday from 10 a.m. to noon on WHQR.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Surf City Police warn of IRS scam

first_imgIRS scam SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — Surf City Police Department is warning the community of an IRS phone scam after receiving a call themselves.The department says they got a call from a business regarding scammers pretending to be the IRS stating this is the last call before they file a lawsuit. The caller advised that they work for the IRS and that you owe them money. Surf City Police says if you receive these calls, please disregard them.- Advertisement – The IRS has released a statement in the past stating that they will not contact you by telephone and demand payments.The scammer contacted the business from the telephone number (516) 346-3216.last_img read more

Science panel Health goal for chemical in water is right

first_imgCape Fear River (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY) By EMERY P. DALESIOAssociated PressRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina science panel said Monday that state health officials were right to set a health target for a little-studied industrial chemical found in drinking water at a level 500 times lower than the manufacturer proposed.- Advertisement – The science panel created to advise North Carolina health and environmental leaders agreed on their GenX findings after about 10 months of review. Studies of the chemical used in non-stick surfaces like Teflon are scant, but there’s enough information to estimate how much humans can tolerate over a lifetime without increased risk of cancer and other conditions, the panel’s draft report said.“It’s a long journey with GenX. It was not necessarily all easy and we’ve reached an end point of some sort,” said Jamie Bartram, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill water researcher who chairs the panel, which continues to examine other potentially harmful chemicals.The state Department of Health and Human Services last year set its target for GenX at 140 parts per trillion, which cannot be enforced by law because it hasn’t been adopted through the process used for enforceable limits. The state health agency set the GenX mark for drinking water “using the best available science as federal and state standards were not available,” spokeswoman Kelly Haight said Monday.Related Article: McConnell proposes raising minimum age for buying tobaccoThe agency acted after the compound was unexpectedly found at levels beyond that level in treated water used by 200,000 customers in Wilmington 100 miles (160 kilometers) downstream and at hundreds of wells around the plant.The chemical is produced at a factory near Fayetteville operated by The Chemours Co. It has proposed 70,000 parts per trillion as the health goal.There are no federal health standards for GenX and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as an “emerging contaminant” to be studied. Studies point to GenX and related chemicals as having toxic effects in animals, but its effects in humans aren’t known.GenX has been used since 2009. It replaced perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA — a chemical that was shown to stay in the body longer and which was blamed for increased cancer risks.“Nobody yet knows whether GenX is toxic to humans at environmental exposure levels,” Ian Cousins, a Stockholm University professor who has studied the chemical, said in an email. “It’s not sound risk management to continue treating the chemical as we do now when there are such high levels of uncertainty about health effects in humans.”GenX and similar perfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, have been used for decades in food packaging, carpet, leather and apparel, textiles and plastics.A report released earlier this year by Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute and the Environmental Working Group found PFAS chemicals at sites in 22 states, and small amounts in tap water in North Carolina communities ranging from Greensboro to Lillington and Nashville. Testing also has found the phased out PFAS chemicals in the lake supplying water to residents of Durham and Cary.The state Department of Environmental Quality is trying to force Chemours to completely stop emissions of GenX into the air and water, arguing the company and its predecessor DuPont have lied about discharging GenX for decades into the Cape Fear River. DuPont spun off Chemours in 2015.Chemours is investing up to $100 million in its Bladen County plant to cut air emissions of GenX compounds by 99 percent within two years. About 400 people work at the chemical factory.Spokesmen for Wilmington, Delaware-based Chemours had no comment on the report. The state environmental agency noted that the science panel’s report won’t be finalized until after a 30-day public comment period.“The process of setting health advisories is a complicated one and there’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of GenX exposure,” North Carolina Sierra Club coastal programs coordinator Erin Carey said in an email. “It’s important for the state to set a stringent standard for exposure to be sure that North Carolinians are protected no matter what additional information comes to light.”last_img read more