10-20-2019  9:17 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Seattle's first Opportunity Zone development breaks ground

SEATTLE (AP) — The Opportunity Zones program was marketed as a way to help poor communities by offering major capital-gains tax breaks for investors to park their cash in 8,000 designated low-income census tracts.Instead, critics have labelled it a "tax scam," ''the latest example of urban...

Prosecutors: Trade war opens doors For Mexican drug cartels

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal law enforcement officials in Oregon say they've uncovered an elaborate scheme to convert Mexican drug profits from sales in the United States back into pesos using Chinese citizens who seek to circumvent their country's banking laws.The Mexican drug cartels are...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

New HBO series 'Watchmen' hopes to match original's ambition

NEW YORK (AP) — Damon Lindelof didn't take lightly the challenge of adapting the most acclaimed graphic novel of all time.The "Lost" and "The Leftovers" co-creator was a fan of the revered "Watchmen" book ever since his father handed him the first few issues when he was 13 in the mid-1980s....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

Kurds begin evacuation from besieged Syrian border town

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish fighters and civilians began evacuating from a besieged Syrian town on...

Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison

DETROIT (AP) — A group of Detroit-area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen, their...

Canada's Conservatives offer bland option to Trudeau's flash

TORONTO (AP) — Even members of his own party say Canada's Conservative leader is bland.They tout it as a...

15 dead after Russian dam collapse floods dormitories

MOSCOW (AP) — At least 15 people are dead after a dam at a small Siberian gold mine collapsed and water...

Trump drops plan to host G-7 at Doral

WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to stinging criticism, President Donald Trump on Saturday abruptly reversed...

McMenamins
Pete Yost the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday the Justice Department opened a record number of more than 100 new investigations into possible voting rights discrimination across the country last year.

During an appearance at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Holder praised the federal government's aggressive enforcement efforts while vowing to defend a landmark voting rights law that is increasingly under attack in this presidential election year.

On Thursday, Holder said that nowhere is the Justice Department's commitment to equal opportunity clearer than in efforts to expand access to voting nationwide.

It was the attorney general's third speech in little more than a month focusing on voting rights, coming amid a flurry of activity by states, largely those controlled by Republicans, to redraw political boundaries and impose requirements that could reduce voting by minorities who enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

"The reality is that - in jurisdictions across the country - both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common - and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history," Holder told the audience.

Pointing to some of the Justice Department's efforts, Holder cited as success stories the cases of two Ohio counties - Cuyahoga and Lorain - which agreed to ensure that bilingual ballots are available on county voting machines and that bilingual poll workers are on hand to help. In another positive outcome, said Holder, a northeast Ohio school board let a federal court determine how to structure elections to give blacks a greater chance of being elected.

In December in Austin, Texas, Holder urged the country to "call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success."

Earlier this month in Columbia, S.C., Holder told thousands of people commemorating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday that in his travels "I've heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who - often for the first time in their lives - now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation's most noble ideals."

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires all or parts of 16 states to obtain advance approval from either the Justice Department's civil rights division or a federal court in Washington before carrying out changes in elections. The states are mostly in the South and all the jurisdictions have a history of discriminating against blacks, American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaskan Natives or Hispanics.

Despite congressional reauthorization in 2006 of Section 5 for 25 years, its future has come under constitutional challenges in federal courts by Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Shelby County, Ala., and some voters in Kinston, N.C.

As of last week, there were 833 Section 5 submissions for proposed electoral changes awaiting approval at the Justice Department from state, county and local units of government.

In one Section 5 action, the civil rights division in December rejected a new South Carolina law that requires voters to present a photo ID when they go to the polls. It was the first time in nearly two decades the Justice Department had reached such a conclusion about a voter ID law.

A pending Section 5 review involves Texas, where the Justice Department has raised questions over a new photo ID requirement. The state reacted by taking its case for the new law to a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., where lawyers from the Justice Department and the state will square off. The Justice Department's civil rights division also is immersed in a court battle with Texas over allegedly discriminatory boundaries drawn by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

The challenges to Section 5's constitutionality followed a 2009 Supreme Court opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts which seemed to raise doubts about whether the provision was still needed.

Section 5 "imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs," Roberts wrote. "Today, the registration gap between white and black voters is in single digits" in the states covered by the act's preclearance provision and "in some of those states, blacks now register and vote at higher rates than whites."

The stakes would be enormous if the Supreme Court got involved.

In 2006, Congress held hearings and created a 15,000-page record to justify renewing Section 5. Congress found that the Justice Department protected the interests of some 663,503 minority voters from 2000 to May 2006 by refusing to approve changes in political boundaries drawn by states, counties and local units of government. The Justice Department filed over 700 objections to proposed voting changes from 1982 to 2006 in states and counties covered by Section 5. From 1982 to 2003, states and local entities withdrew more than 200 proposed voting changes when the Justice Department started asking questions about them.

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