08-15-2022  5:24 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Employees of NY State Solar, a residential and commercial photovoltaic systems company, install an array of solar panels on a roof, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in the Long Island hamlet of Massapequa, N.Y. Americans are less concerned now about how climate change might impact them personally — and about how their personal choices affect the climate than they were three years ago, according to a according to a June poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

    AP-NORC Poll: Many in US Doubt Their Impact on Climate

    Americans now believe in climate change, but they are less convinced that it will affect them or that their choices can make a difference than they were in 2019. Only about half say their actions have an effect on climate change, compared with two-thirds in 2019 Read More
  • The receipt for property that was seized during the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., is photographed Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

    FBI Seized Top Secret Documents in Trump Estate Search

    The FBI recovered “top secret” and even more sensitive documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to court papers released Friday, including some of the nation's most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests Read More
  • Jordan Brand and Howard University Announce 20- Year Partnership

    Jordan Brand and Howard University Announce 20- Year Partnership

    Together, Howard University and Jordan Brand aim to continue uplifting Black students and amplifying the influence of HBCUs on a collegiate sports level while also continuing the impact on culture globally.  Read More
  • Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

    Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

    The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true?  Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Hospital to Refuse Some Patients Due to Capacity

The hospital is caring for some 560 inpatients, more than 130% of its licensed capacity of 413 patients. ...

West Seattle Bridge to Reopen After Yearslong Closure

The 40-year-old bridge is among the city’s most important, previously allowing 100,000 drivers and 20,000 transit users to move...

Jefferson Alumni Invites Community to Block Party

This inaugural event is open to the public and will have tons of entertainment in tow, including a live DJ and music, a rib contest,...

Oregon Approved to Issue an Additional $46 Million in Pandemic EBT Food Assistance to 80,000 Young Children

The additional food benefits will be issued to families’ existing EBT cards in Fall 2022, with the exact dates yet to be...

Free Vaccination Events Provide Required Back-to-School Immunizations

On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for...

Coast Guard responds to small oil spill near San Juan Island

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a diesel spill off the west coast of Washington state's San Juan Island after a 49-foot (15-meter) fishing vessel sank with an estimated 2,600 gallons (9,854 liters) of fuel on board. A Good Samaritan rescued all five crew members...

Police: Woman dies in Seattle light rail station accident

SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a woman has died after being struck by a Seattle light rail train at a station on Sunday. KIRO-TV reports that firefighters worked to extricate the woman from between the train and a platform at the Mount Baker Station. She was evaluated by paramedics...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Developer finds human remains near Nashville Civil War fort

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A developer has unearthed human remains that could be two centuries old while digging to lay the foundation of a new Nashville project not far from a Civil War fort and a cemetery dating back to 1822. For Nashville, the discovery marks the latest intersection...

Kansas district rejects strategic plan urging diversity

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district's board rejected a proposed strategic plan after some members questioned its emphasis on diversity and students' mental health. The Derby Board of Education voted 4-3 this week to reject a plan presented after months of work by parents,...

Two years on, foundations stand by issuing bonds in pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — When the Ford Foundation took the unprecedented step in June 2020 of issuing jumi billion in debt to help stabilize other nonprofits, it delighted investors and inspired several other large foundations to follow suit. Two years later, the foundations all stand by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jon Batiste leaves Stephen Colbert's 'The Late Show'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Batiste, his career soaring after winning multiple Grammys this year, is leaving his perch as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run backing up host Stephen Colbert. “We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent...

In ‘The Princess,’ a documentary on Diana flips the focus

The last thing the world needs, you might think, is another Princess Diana documentary. It’s a fair thought considering that almost 25 years after her death, her life and impact is still media fodder. Whether it’s a magazine cover or a book claiming to have new revelations or just...

'South Park' enjoys a silver anniversary of satire

NEW YORK (AP) — Reaching the age of 25 is usually a sign of hitting adulthood, a signal to put away all childish things. Not for “South Park” and stars Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. The Comedy Central staple about four bratty, perpetually bundled-up youngsters in an unhinged...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi on more corruption charges

BANGKOK (AP) — A court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on...

Cheney and Murkowski: Trump critics facing divergent futures

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — They hail from their states' most prominent Republican families. They have been among the...

Strike four: Facebook misses election misinfo in Brazil ads

Facebook failed to detect blatant election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil’s 2022 election, a new...

PM Modi pledges to make India developed country in 25 years

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to raise millions out of poverty and turn India into a...

Norway bridge collapses, drivers of 2 vehicles rescued

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A wooden bridge over a river in southern Norway collapsed early Monday, with a car...

S Korea offers North economic benefits for denuclearization

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol offered “audacious” economic assistance to...

Ryan J. Foley the Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- After years of litigation, a judge will soon decide whether to grant thousands of black employees and job applicants monetary damages for hiring practices used by every agency of Iowa state government that they say has disadvantaged them for decades.

Experts say the case is the largest class-action lawsuit of its kind against an entire state government's civil service system, and tests a legal theory that social science and statistics alone can prove widespread discrimination.

The plaintiffs - up to 6,000 African-Americans passed over for state jobs and promotions dating back to 2003 - do not say they faced overt racism or discriminatory hiring tests in Iowa, a state that is 91 percent white. Instead, their lawyers argue that managers subconsciously favored whites across state government, leaving blacks at a disadvantage in decisions over who got interviewed, hired and promoted.

Judge Robert Blink's decision, expected in coming weeks, could award damages and mandate changes in state personnel policies or dismiss a case that represents a growing front of discrimination litigation.

Similar cases against local governments have failed because proving broad bias is extraordinarily difficult, with a myriad of possible factors to explain disparities, said David Friedland, a California human resources consultant who is an expert on discrimination in hiring. Success in Iowa could encourage similar lawsuits elsewhere, he said.

"If they are successful in getting the court to agree to that, it probably will come up more," Friedland said. "A monetary award in a case like this is likely to be pretty substantial. ... It will be interesting to see how it comes out."

University of Washington psychology professor Anthony Greenwald, an expert on implicit bias who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs, said the decision would be one of the first of its kind because similar cases against corporations have usually been dismissed or settled before trial.

"The decision will be important. It will be certainly looked at outside of Iowa," he said.

Scholars and employment lawyers have shown a growing interest in implicit bias in the last several years, after Greenwald and other scientists developed the Implicit Association Test to test racial stereotypes. Their research found an inherent preference for whites over blacks - in up to 80 percent of test-takers and among many people who do not consider themselves racist.

The theory hit a legal obstacle last year when the U.S. Supreme Court disqualified a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart's pay and promotion practices for women. The court found the class was too broad and failed to challenge a specific hiring practice as discriminatory.

Lawyers defending the state have cited that decision in asking Blink to dismiss the case. But the high court's decision did not specifically reject the theory of implicit bias, and dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that such claims can be allowed.

Class attorney Thomas Newkirk said the science and other evidence that shows disadvantaged groups such as blacks face employment discrimination in subtle ways "is becoming overwhelming."

"Clearly, the problem is not in Iowa alone, but we believe Iowa is the exactly the right place to ask society to take control of this important issue fairly for all races, and to seek a better future for all as a result," he said.

During a monthlong trial last fall, experts called by the plaintiffs' lawyers testified that blacks are hired at lower rates than whites with similar qualifications and receive less favorable evaluations and lower starting salaries. An employment consultant hired by the administration of Gov. Tom Vilsack, who served from 1999 to 2007, warned of hiring disparities between whites and minorities in a report issued after he left office.

Vilsack's successor, Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, issued an executive order requiring agencies to improve the diversity of the workforce. State officials called that evidence of progress, but class lawyers argued it turned out to be ineffective because rules meant to prevent bias still were not followed.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstrad said last fall his administration had ensured agencies were following uniform rules to stop any abuse - but a top state employment official testified days later he'd seen no substantive changes to hiring practices in years. Blacks represented 2.9 percent of the state's population in 2010 and 2.4 percent of the state workforce.

Among those who testified was Charles Zanders, of Waterloo, who was passed over for an interview for a position with the Iowa Communications Network in 2008 despite having worked 29 years in the telecommunications industry.

"I was very angry at that time and felt like I'd been stepped on," Zanders, 60, said.

In a brief submitted in December, plaintiffs' lawyers sought lost wages of about $67 million minus what they earned in the meantime. But in court documents, Newkirk said it was even more important that Blink order changes in the way state officials train managers, screen candidates and track disparities in hiring.

Lawyers working for Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, argued that the plaintiffs failed to show bias across state government.

"The record simply does not support Plaintiffs' charge that some monolithic, immutable force of bias infected the decisions made by every department, at every step, for every job, for every year of the class period," they wrote in a final brief last month.

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