05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Self Enhancement, Inc., President and CEO Tony Hopson, Sr.; Former state Sen. Avel Gordly; former PAALF Director Cyreena Boston Ashby and community activist Steven Gilliam

Leaders with PAALF touched off a housing debate that prompted city officials to put $20 million in funding for affordable housing on the table -- along with a free dinner at the public event tonight at the former Tubman Middle School. Above, Self Enhancement, Inc., President and CEO Tony Hopson, Sr.; former state Sen. Avel Gordly; former PAALF Director Cyreena Boston Ashby and community activist Steven Gilliam. Helen Silvis photo


Hundreds have already weighed in on Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s $20 million North/Northeast Housing Plan, but Monday night Portlanders get another opportunity as well as a free dinner.

Housing Bureau staff, Saltzman, and Bishop Steven Holt present the recommendations for spending $20 million on affordable housing in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area and answer questions from the public, Monday, Feb. 9, 6-8 p.m. at the former Harriet Tubman School, 2231 N Flint Ave. Dinner is provided from 6-6:30 p.m.

Child care and translation services are available. For more information call 503-823-4160 or click here.

Last year, after a perceived uproar from some inner Northeast Portland residents over the Trader Joe’s corporation’s decision to pull out from a proposed grocery store at Northeast King and Alberta Streets, Mayor Charlie Hales moved to dedicate an additional $20 million in Tax Increment Financing dollars from the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area to affordable housing in the zone.

City officials say it is “an effort to begin to address the ongoing threat of displacement and gentrification.”

Since the money pot was scraped together, the Portland Housing Bureau has held repeated public forums around the city, collecting input from more than 450 residents, as well as grassroots leaders from the faith community.

“Recognizing the difficult history that lead us here, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) determined that any plan would need to be guided by the community itself,” the project’s organizers said in a statement inviting listeners to Monday night’s event.

The Housing Bureau’s proposal for how the $20 million is spent – already presented to the City Council and awaiting approval – has been boiled down to four spending areas:

1       Preventing displacement with home-repair funds via a) single family home repair loans at zero percent interest, dedicating $3.2 million over the next five years to an estimated 80 households; and b) smaller grants of up to $5,000, targeting about 160 households and costing $800,000;

2       Creating new homeowners by a) increasing the Housing Bureau’s Down Payment Assistance Loan program, targeting about 40 households and costing up to $2.4 million;

3       Creating “permanently affordable” rental homes, “investing with community based organizations to leverage their expertise and additional funds,” creating 40-80 units and costing “$4.5 million plus land; ” and redeveloping “one or more additional properties either owned by PHB, the County, or other partners,” developing 30-60 units at a price of $3.5 million;

4       Land acquisition, via a) obtaining more land to be used for “permanently affordable housing;” and b) “Work with the community and other institutions to leverage additional funds for this purpose,” at a cost of $3 million.

While critics have challenged the Housing Bureau’s intentions – and many at the public hearings have suggested a lack of accountability for making affordable housing promises in the past – the bureau is also planning a citizens’ oversight committee to track the plan’s progress.

 Read the whole Housing Bureau report online by clicking here.

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