04-22-2024  1:00 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Cloud 9 Cannabis CEO and co-owner Sam Ward Jr., left, and co-owner Dennis Turner pose at their shop, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Wash. Cloud 9 is one of the first dispensaries to open under the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board's social equity program, established in efforts to remedy some of the disproportionate effects marijuana prohibition had on communities of color. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

    A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting.  Read More
  • Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

    Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

     Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color Read More
  • A woman gathers possessions to take before a homeless encampment was cleaned up in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear its most significant case on homelessness in decades Monday, April 22, 2024, as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based federal appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

    Supreme Court to Weigh Bans on Sleeping Outdoors 

    The Supreme Court will consider whether banning homeless people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment on Monday. The case is considered the most significant to come before the high court in decades on homelessness, which is reaching record levels In California and other Western states. Courts have ruled that it’s unconstitutional to fine and arrest people sleeping in homeless encampments if shelter Read More
  • Richard Wallace, founder and director of Equity and Transformation, poses for a portrait at the Westside Justice Center, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

    Chicago's Response to Migrant Influx Stirs Longstanding Frustrations Among Black Residents

    With help from state and federal funds, the city has spent more than $300 million to provide housing, health care and more to over 38,000 mostly South American migrants. The speed with which these funds were marshaled has stirred widespread resentment among Black Chicagoans. But community leaders are trying to ease racial tensions and channel the public’s frustrations into agitating for the greater good. Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

Earth Day Announcement: Mt. Tabor Park Selected as a 2024 Leave No Trace Spotlight

Mt. Tabor Park is the only Oregon park and one of just 24 nationally to receive honor. ...

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon Launch Program to Expand Early Childhood Education Access Statewide

Funds include million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing. ...

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

Bank Announces 14th Annual “I Got Bank” Contest for Youth in Celebration of National Financial Literacy Month

The nation’s largest Black-owned bank will choose ten winners and award each a $1,000 savings account ...

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court wrestled with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness on Monday as it considered whether cities can ban people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. The case is considered the most significant to come before the...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

University of Missouri plans 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is planning a 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, expected to be completed by the 2026 season, will further enclose the north end of the stadium and add a variety of new premium...

OPINION

Stupid is as Stupid Does. C'mon People!

Trump and others of his ilk are constantly railing against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In my opinion, it's the new N-word. ...

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Foundation to convene 3rd annual summit on anti-Asian hate, building AAPI coalitions

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation launched in the wake of anti-Asian hate will hold a wide-ranging conference bringing together Asian American and Pacific Islander notable figures for a third year. The Asian American Foundation will hold a Heritage Month Summit next month in New York...

Iowa lawmakers address immigration, religious freedom and taxes in 2024 session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After a marathon day that stretched into Saturday's early hours, Iowa lawmakers wrapped up a four-month legislative session that focused on reforming the way special education is managed and speeding up tax cuts. The Republican-led General Assembly also waded into issues...

2nd former Arkansas officer pleads guilty to civil rights charge from violent arrest caught on video

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A second former Arkansas law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a man he repeatedly punched during a violent arrest in 2022 that was caught on video and shared widely. Former Crawford County sheriff's deputy Levi White...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Report urges fixes to online child exploitation CyberTipline before AI makes it worse

A tipline set up 26 years ago to combat online child exploitation has not lived up to its potential and needs...

Review of UN agency helping Palestinian refugees found Israel did not express concern about staff

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — An independent review of the neutrality of the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees...

Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has...

Prabowo Subianto seals victory as Indonesia's next leader after a top court rejects rivals' appeals

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s top court on Monday rejected appeals lodged by two losing presidential...

Israeli leaders criticize expected US sanctions against military unit that could further strain ties

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday harshly criticized an expected decision by the U.S. to impose...

Russia convicts the spokesperson for Facebook owner Meta in a swift trial in absentia

A court in Russia on Monday convicted the spokesperson of U.S. technology company Meta, which owns Facebook and...

Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

The Seattle Schools board voted unanimously to fire Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson without cause Wednesday evening. School board members said the decision was necessary to restore trust in the school system after a state auditor's investigation into the district's Regional Small Business Development Program showed financial mismanagement. 

The audit said up to $1.5 million of district money was spent for "questionable" value to the school district, and said $280,000 had been spent on services never provided.

"What has occurred -- the financial scandal, the cronyism, the obvious lack of transparency -- is an insult to the taxpayers of Seattle," the board's vice-president Michael DeBell told the meeting. "You pay your property taxes, you obey the rules. Others should do the same."

Black community leaders in Seattle strongly disagreed with the school officials' characterization of the case, arguing that the audit was misleading and unfair. The auditors' investigation into mismanagement says the Seattle Urban League failed to properly bill and account for school district funds, which were used to run the Contractor Development & Competitiveness Center. The CDCC was set up in 2002 to help minority businesses -– historically locked out of government projects -- bid for a share of government work. The auditor's investigation also criticizes the lobbying and outreach work by leading advocates from the Black community.

In a press conference Wednesday, the Urban League said it had done everything required by the district liaison Silas Potter, who ran the BEX program, and other program managers. Potter said his managers knew everything he was doing and did not identify any problems. He told the Seattle Times that his supervisors approved his working methods.

"I've been thrown under the bus," he told the Seattle paper. "It's a lot bigger than Silas Potter. They're trying to minimize their exposure of what they've done and maximize what Silas has done."
 
The Urban League defended its work Wednesday in a press conference.
 "We absolutely did nothing wrong," said Tony Benjamin, manager of the  CDCC. "The auditor said we did nothing wrong. We just believe more clarification is needed on the items in question."

Benjamin said the audit was just flat out wrong in some areas. For example, he said, the audit states that a computer database system designed to link contractors and construction projects never worked. The Urban League developed a prototype and provided it to the district, he told The Skanner News, but the district decided not to further pursue the project.

Eddie Rye, a longtime advocate for minority and small businesses in construction, defended his role in the  program. Rye told The Skanner News that he was misled by school district management, who never hinted that there were problems.

"A lot of what was in the audit was personal opinion," Rye said. "They have no idea about we are doing in the community."

Rye was hired by the district to lobby and work with the small business training and technical assistance project. He says he and those he worked with believed in what they were doing and still do. When the 2009 Sutor group report flagged problems, the school district should have acted to change practices and communicate expectations to its contractors, he said.

"I can only be responsible for my own actions," he said.

"All this stuff was very helpful, The classes were very helpful to a lot of small business people. So to say nobody got anything out of the project, that is very far from the truth."
More about the audit and the investigation here.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast