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Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 06, 2013 Charts: Why You're in Deep Trouble If You Can't Afford a Lawyer:Fifty years after the groundbreaking "Gideon" ruling, public defenders are overworked, underpaid—and America's poor are paying the price
QUOTE: the Supreme Court disappointed reformers when it refused to rule on a case involving a Louisiana man serving a life sentence after waiting five years in jail while the state came up with money to pay his court-appointed lawyer....Since the 1963 Supreme Court decision, America's prison population has grown more than tenfold—from 217,000 inmates to 2.3 million—largely due to decades of the war on drugs and tough-on-crime policies. It's been nearly impossible for the public defense system to keep pace.
Mother Jones Dec 01, 2012 As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price
QUOTE: states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains. The cost of the awards is certainly far higher....A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them....Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States. Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages.
New York Times Nov 02, 2012 Hardship Strains Emotions in New York
QUOTE: Emotions, frayed after almost a week of desperation, darkness and cold, approached a breaking point on Friday as the collective spirit that buoyed New York in the first few days after Hurricane Sandy gave way to angry complaints of neglect and unequal treatment. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, facing criticism that he was favoring marathon runners arriving from around the world over people in devastated neighborhoods, reversed himself and canceled the New York City Marathon.
New York Times May 07, 2012 No Room for Dissent in a Police Department Consumed by the Numbers
QUOTE: This, too, is Mr. Kelly’s police force, a department that can claim many victories but is consumed by a single imperative: crime and homicide rates must keep falling...There’s no definitive proof that top officials systematically manipulate crime data and set arrest quotas. But officers have stepped forward in recent years to talk of such practices in widely scattered precincts...
New York Times Mar 15, 2012 A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots
QUOTE: ...San Francisco is trying to shorten the hunt with an ambitious experiment that aims to make sure that there is always at least one empty parking spot available on every block that has meters. The program, which uses new technology and the law of supply and demand, raises the price of parking on the city’s most crowded blocks and lowers it on its emptiest blocks....acknowledged that the program was “complicated on the social equity level.”
New York Times Dec 15, 2011 Arizona sheriff faces federal allegations of discrimination against Latinos
QUOTE: Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has engaged in systemic discrimination against Latinos...A comprehensive investigation found the practices include "unlawful stops, detentions and arrests of Latinos,"...
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 13, 2011 Inside Wukan: the Chinese village that fought back: Something extraordinary has happened in the Chinese village of Wukan.
QUOTE: For the first time on record, the Chinese Communist party has lost all control, with the population of 20,000 in this southern fishing village now in open revolt....The plan appears to be to lay siege to Wukan and choke a rebellion which began three months ago when an angry mob, incensed at having the village’s land sold off, rampaged through the streets and overturned cars.
Daily Telegraph Aug 25, 2011 In Echo of Pancho Villa, Modern Raid Shakes a Town on the Edge of Extinction
QUOTE: Ninety-five years and a day after the infamous Villa raid, another group of armed men crept into Columbus [New Mexico]....They led away in handcuffs Columbus’s mayor, police chief, village trustee and numerous others accused of smuggling guns, ammunition and body armor across the border to Mexican outlaws.
New York Times Aug 05, 2011 Officers Guilty of Shooting Six in New Orleans
QUOTE: In a verdict that brought a decisive close to a case that has haunted this city since most of it lay underwater nearly six years ago, five current and former New Orleans police officers were found guilty on all counts by a federal jury on Friday for shooting six citizens, two of whom died, and orchestrating a wide-ranging cover-up in the hours, weeks and years that followed.
New York Times Jul 15, 2011 Making Murder Count (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: cities pay a lot of attention to the Census Bureau’s annual population estimates, which take place between the decennial censuses. And when these come in lower than expected, many will fight hard to revise them upward...But, because the process is so politicized, it often results in significant overestimates.
New York Times Jun 30, 2011 Local Laws Fighting Fat Under Siege
QUOTE: Several state legislatures are passing laws that prohibit municipalities and other local governments from adopting regulations aimed at curbing rising obesity and improving public health, such as requiring restaurants to provide nutritional information on menus or to eliminate trans fats from the foods they serve.
New York Times Jun 26, 2011 ‘Pilot’ Label Lets Mayor’s Projects Skip City Review
QUOTE: Dozens of [New York City Mayor Bloomberg's] marquee administration projects...ostensible experiments that are often exempt from the usual forms of city review...Admirers see an innovative way around red tape. Critics see a blunt tool that undermines democracy by minimizing the public’s role in scrutinizing the ideas of government.
New York Times May 11, 2011 Squeezed Cities Ask Nonprofits for More Money
QUOTE: As recession-racked cities struggle to balance their budgets with everything short of feeling behind sofa cushions for loose change, a growing number are seeking more money — just don’t use the word taxes — from nonprofit institutions that occupy valuable land but by law do not pay property taxes.
New York Times Apr 24, 2011 Supreme Court confronts whether Nev. conflict-of-interest law violates free speech
QUOTE: And the justices themselves are under increasing scrutiny from the left and right about whether their activities outside the courtroom cast doubt on their neutrality inside it… The Nevada Supreme Court elevated the matter when it agreed with Carrigan that restricting his ability to vote on council business violated his First Amendment right of free political speech.
Washington Post Apr 22, 2011 Montgomery judge set to rule Monday on county’s collective bargaining disconnect
QUOTE: “You have collective bargaining, but the county executive can basically do what he wants…” Carey R. Butsavage, an attorney for the union suing the county, said the union refuses to be left with the status quo, in which Leggett asserts he can essentially do what he pleases under the collective-bargaining law.
Washington Post Feb 06, 2011 Study finds funding gap between D.C. specialty and neighborhood schools
QUOTE: The two public high schools, 21/2 miles apart in Northwest Washington, serve vastly different student populations. And they do it with vastly different levels of financial support, according to an analysis of school spending by a District advocacy group.
Washington Post Dec 22, 2010 Alabama Town’s Failed Pension Is a Warning
QUOTE: the declining, little-known city of Prichard is now attracting the attention of bankruptcy lawyers, labor leaders, municipal credit analysts and local officials from across the country. They want to see if the situation in Prichard, like the continuing bankruptcy of Vallejo, Calif., ultimately creates a legal precedent on whether distressed cities can legally cut or reduce their pensions, and if so, how.
New York Times May 24, 2010 Hard Times Spur Ideas for Change
QUOTE: As states around the country gird for another grim budget year, more leaders have begun to talk not of nipping, not of tucking, but, in essence, of turning government upside down and starting over. Ever growing is the list of states, municipalities and agencies with blue ribbon committees aimed at reconsidering what government should be.
New York Times May 21, 2010 Take Justice Off the Ballot
QUOTE: a balance between lifetime appointment and partisan election by providing for the open, public nomination and appointment of judges, followed in due course by a standardized judicial performance evaluation and, finally, a yes/no vote in which citizens either approve the judge or vote him out. This kind of merit selection system — now used in some form in two-thirds of states — protects the impartiality of the judiciary without sacrificing accountability.
New York Times May 07, 2010 Seeking Lower Property Taxes on a House of Sinking Value
QUOTE: Challenging property taxes is becoming a national sport, as homeowners contend they are paying too much as their houses decline in value. Some, too, have lost their jobs or have seen their salaries cut and can no longer afford their hefty property taxes.
New York Times Oct 26, 2009 Sidewalks become battlegrounds
QUOTE: The nation's crumbling sidewalks have disabled residents taking their wheelchairs to the streets, a potentially dangerous practice that has cash-strapped cities and disability-rights advocates at odds over how to fix the problem.
USA TODAY Sep 29, 2009 Alternative Energy Projects Stumble on a Need for Water
QUOTE: Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable energy: It can sometimes demand a huge amount of water. Many of the proposed solutions to the nation’s energy problems, from certain types of solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, could consume billions of gallons of water every year.
New York Times Sep 16, 2009 Should cheetahs be reintroduced in India? (60-Second Science)
QUOTE: controversial efforts are underway to return the cheetah to India...
Scientific American Sep 01, 2009 Post-Katrina 'vigilante' violence: rumor or fact? The US Attorney's Office and the FBI are looking into allegations of roaming 'people hunters' targeting blacks in the floods and chaos...
QUOTE: What actually happened [in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina] and who is culpable in these incidents is now the focus of probes by the US Attorney's Office and the FBI.
Christian Science Monitor Aug 27, 2009 After Iowa Flood, Feeling Just a Bit Ignored
QUOTE: The outpouring of attention toward New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, ratcheting up again now as the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, has not been seen here [Cedar Rapids, Iowa]. In fact, the people of Cedar Rapids are feeling neglected.
New York Times Aug 18, 2009 Cellphones problematic for 911
QUOTE: r the millions of Americans giving up their land lines in favor of cellphones, dialing 911 may no longer mean a quick response. It can lead to misrouted calls, delayed information about the location of the caller and, most important, a slower emergency response.
USA TODAY Aug 17, 2009 One Person’s Boondoggle, Another’s Necessity
QUOTE: Those [certain] proposals for spending federal stimulus money were all criticized... But they have something else in common, too. They are popular locally. And they underscore a truth that has been evident since the New Deal: sometimes the boondoggle is in the eye of the beholder
New York Times Aug 17, 2009 Clash Over Rebirth of Mt. St. Helens
QUOTE: Some say the Forest Service should manage it [Mount St. Helens] differently. “There is a certain segment of the population who would say, ‘It’s been 30 years [since Mount St. Helen's major eruption], and it’s over,’ ” said Peter Frenzen, whose job title with the Forest Service is monument scientist.
New York Times Aug 10, 2009 Subway Safety Panel Foiled by Constraints: 12-Year-Old Oversight Committee Has Little Influence on Metro Operations
QUOTE: Before June's deadly subway crash, no federal agency stepped in to ensure that [the Washington, D.C.] Metro found and fixed the electrical circuits now suspected of contributing to the worst accident in the system's history. That's because none is authorized to.
Washington Post Jul 26, 2009 In New Jersey, Ideal Conditions for Corruption
QUOTE: As 44 people walked before cameras last week, their hands in cuffs, after they were arrested in the state’s biggest corruption scandal in years — but not, to be sure, that many years — even their most scandal-fatigued constituents, from the gritty precincts of Journal Square in Jersey City to the glittering new condominiums on the Hudson in Hoboken, began to wonder: Why is New Jersey so unshakably corrupt?
New York Times Jul 23, 2009 2 N.J. Mayors Arrested in Broad Inquiry on Corruption
QUOTE: The mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, two state assemblymen, five rabbis and dozens of others were rounded up early Thursday as the F.B.I. swept across New Jersey and Brooklyn as part of a two-year corruption and international money-laundering investigation...
New York Times Jul 20, 2009 In New Mexico, moviemaking isn't always magical: Film incentives draw Hollywood to small towns like Las Vegas, where not all the residents are star struck.
QUOTE: As more and more movie production leaves California, sensible small towns across the country are getting a taste of Hollywood glitz -- and it isn't always sweet.
Los Angeles Times Jul 07, 2009 Colorado town's wildfire law called intrusive
QUOTE: Breckenridge [,CO]... recently passed an ordinance requiring residents to thin vegetation around their home... the new law has infuriated many residents, who call it an encroachment on their rights and demand its repeal.
Los Angeles Times Jun 22, 2009 Mayors complain about stimulus spending
QUOTE: City and county officials say a disproportionate amount of the economic stimulus money is going to rural areas, leaving urban areas shortchanged.
Los Angeles Times Jun 14, 2009 Blacks abandon San Francisco: No US city has seen a more rapid decline of its African-American population.
QUOTE: While San Francisco's image has been defined by a history of tolerance and openness, some say today's reality is much different. They paint a picture of a racially and economically divided city where blacks are vanishing from the social and cultural fabric, priced out and marginalized by the urban redevelopment policies of the past half century.
Christian Science Monitor Jun 12, 2009 San Francisco at Crossroads Over Immigration
QUOTE: But over the last year... San Francisco has become less like its self-image [a liberal enclave that does not cooperate with immigration authorities] and more like many other cities in the United States: deeply conflicted over how to cope with the fallout of illegal immigration.
New York Times Jan 08, 2009 Latinos Recall Pattern of Attacks Before Killing
QUOTE: While some Latino immigrants say they are reluctant to report crimes because they are in the country illegally or fear the police will assume they are, they and their advocates believe the police did not see a pattern because they did not want to see one. “I told people, here the authorities are waiting for a white to kill a Hispanic or a Hispanic to kill a white,” Mr. Orellana said. “They keep attacking and robbing, and nothing changes. There had to be a death...
New York Times Jan 08, 2009 Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds
QUOTE: appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year....companies did not engage in open competition for this lucrative business, but secretly divided it among themselves, imposing layers of excess cost on local governments, violating the federal rules for tax-exempt bonds and making questionable payments and campaign contributions to local officials who could steer them business.
New York Times Dec 26, 2008 Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan
QUOTE: In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, [CIA] officials say, the agency's operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos
Washington Post Dec 07, 2008 Building on Broken Promises: D.C. Developer's Projects Marred by Unchecked Spending and Dubious Deals
QUOTE: longtime D.C. Council member H.R. Crawford told tenants, "I can show you how you can be a homeowner."....Crawford used hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund his own property management firm even after paying his company more than $3 million in developer's fees, a practice developers and HUD officials say amounts to double-billing.
Washington Post Nov 29, 2008 Preservationists See Bulldozers Charging Through a Loophole
QUOTE: The strategy has become wearyingly familiar to preservationists. A property owner — in this case Sylgar Properties, which was under contract to sell the site to Related — is notified by the landmarks commission that its building or the neighborhood is being considered for landmark status. The owner then rushes to obtain a demolition or stripping permit from the city’s Department of Buildings so that notable qualities can be removed, rendering the structure unworthy of protection.
New York Times Nov 20, 2008 Defiant Mayor Won’t Promise to Send Rebate
QUOTE: After being dealt a rare public embarrassment by the City Council, which forced his administration to acknowledge on Monday that he was legally required to send out $400 rebate checks promised to hundreds of thousands of New York homeowners, a defiant Mr. Bloomberg said on Wednesday that he had no plans to release the money.
New York Times Nov 08, 2008 Citing Workload, Public Lawyers Reject New Cases
QUOTE: Public defenders’ offices in at least seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them, citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor...in the most open revolt by public defenders in memory, many of the government-appointed lawyers say that state budget cuts and rising caseloads have pushed them to the breaking point.
New York Times Oct 29, 2008 Former US mayor jailed for lying
QUOTE: The former mayor of the US city of Detroit has been sentenced to four months in jail for obstructing justice in connection with a sex scandal.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Oct 24, 2008 The Future of Term Limits Is in Court
QUOTE: Now that the City Council has approved changing term limits to allow Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run again, this much is certain: The battle will move to the courtroom. Two lawsuits challenging the move are already in the legal system and more are expected.
New York Times Oct 22, 2008 Ex-Officer Is Arrested in Inquiry Into Brutality
QUOTE: authorities arrested a former Chicago police commander at his Florida home on Tuesday and charged him in a police brutality scandal that contributed to the emptying of Illinois’ death row and that continues to resonate as one of the most racially charged chapters in the city’s history.
New York Times Sep 27, 2008 Overlooked: The Littlest Evacuees
QUOTE: Within hours of hurricane Ike's landfall in Texas, San Antonio officials had compiled precise statistics about their evacuee situation...But there was one key group for which they had no figures: children.
Newsweek Sep 14, 2008 Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes
QUOTE: Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of “good old boy” politics and a champion of ethics reform....But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
New York Times Sep 08, 2008 Montgomery Disability Practices Under Fire: Report Calls Patterns Seemingly 'Abusive'
ABSTRACT: More than 60 percent of Montgomery County police officers who retired in the past four years are collecting disability payments, including one who was a top finisher in a fitness contest a year after retiring on disability....Inspector General Thomas J. Dagley cited "questionable practices" and patterns or behaviors that a "prudent person would consider abusive."
Washington Post Aug 21, 2008 Inquiry Lays Out Chain of Failures in High-Rise Fire
QUOTE: Contractors tearing down the contaminated former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan never had a formal demolition permit, even though they were undertaking one of the most complicated efforts ever to dismantle a skyscraper.
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