05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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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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There’s a housing crisis in Portland, and now Mayor Charlie Hales is pledging $30 million from the City and County’s budget to help some of the most in need.

Mayor Hales made the promise during a press conference last week, saying the prime focus of the government dollars would go to houseless women, children, people with disabilities and mental illness.

“For too long I think we’ve stayed rooted in a realization that these problems can’t be solved overnight, and some of them can’t be,” Mayor Hales said. “But I also want us to recognize that there are some things that we can move.”

According to the mayor’s office the funding usage will go as such: $12.5 million for help in finding housing, assisting in paying rent and other support services; $10 million to build 250 units for the homeless; $5 million for shelter operations and $2.5 million for eviction prevention.

The city has pledged $20 million toward the cause, with Multnomah County contributing the other $10 million; neither have offered specifics yet as to where the money is coming from.

“We’re not rolling in money. We don’t have $30 million in a desk drawer but what we do have is the ability to reprogram some of the money in our general fund,” Mayor Hales said at the press conference last week.

Because the financial specifics have yet to be ironed out, the plan likely won’t start being implemented until the top half of next year.

The Skanner News spoke with African American Housing Association head Cheryl L. Roberts for her take on the plan.

Roberts said that while she wasn’t well versed on the specifics of the mayor’s plan announced last week, as long as there are no rent caps and no-cause evictions are legal, she said the housing market in the state will continue to be unstable.

“I think that, until the laws are changed are changed to protect the community, I think we’re just throwing our good money into bad,” she said.

Roberts also added that the $20 million Mayor Hales pledged towards affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland has yet to come to fruition.

Other advocates and civic organizations in the Black community have realized the specific toll the rising cost of living has had on African-descended populations in the city for some time now.

In  the Urban League’s updated State of Black Oregon report, released earlier this year, Portland State University Professor Lisa K. Bates noted displacement as an issue largely rooted in the lack of home and business ownership among African Americans.

“Black community development should encompass a range of possibilities, not only individual, but also collective and community ownership,” Bates said. “Historically Blacks have shared collective values of putting down roots, creating multi-generational opportunities and building communitywide prosperity.”

An article penned by the Portland Tribune’s Steve Law this year noted the falling number of Black homeowners in the city.

The article notes that Blacks owned 4,199 homes in Portland in 2012, down from 4,626 in 2010 and 5,044 in 2000.

That same report said that behind Native Americans, Black people were the second-most denied group when it comes to home mortgages in the County — a startling  14.7 percent in 2012.

The Skanner reported this summer that despite only accounting for 7 percent of the county’s inhabitants, African Americans have the highest rates of homelessness compared to other races, at 24 percent.

Despite disproportionate housing rates for Blacks and other people of color in the city and county, the proposed $30 million plan makes no mention of focusing on race in its efforts.

For the past two months, both the cities of Portland and Gresham, along with Home Forward and Multnomah County, have been hosting fair housing assessment meetings that are free and open to the public across the metro area.

During the last meeting it was noted that East 82nd Avenue, an area many low-income groups have migrated to in the past decade, is already seeing signs of gentrifying, as are other East County neighborhoods.

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