06-17-2018  3:20 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Genealogical Forum of Oregon Hosts ‘Starting Your Genealogy’ Workshop

Free forum offers assistance for those just getting started ...

Literary Arts Offers Writers of Color Fellowship

Deadline to apply is July 9, 2018 ...

Man found shot to death at high school track in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a man was found shot to death on a high school track.Officers responded before 5 a.m. Sunday to the temporary site of Grant High School. The school is using the former Marshall High School campus as it undergoes a renovation.Authorities did not...

Bumblebee blues: Pacific Northwest pollinator in trouble

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Hundreds of citizen scientists have begun buzzing through locations across the Pacific Northwest seeking a better understanding about nearly 30 bumblebee species.Bumblebees, experts say, are important pollinators for both wild and agricultural plants, but some species...

Former convict sworn in as lawyer in Washington state

SEATTLE (AP) — One of Washington state's newest attorneys is a former convict.Seattle University Law School graduate Tarra Simmons was sworn in as a lawyer Saturday, seven months after the state Supreme Court ruled that she could take the bar exam despite her past, KING-TV reported ."I hope...

Man dead in wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 in Lacey

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Patrol says a 28-year-old Tacoma is dead after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in Lacey and crashing into an oncoming car.The News Tribune reports that it happened at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday. The man's car crashed into a sport-utility vehicle...

OPINION

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

Black Women Are Changing the Tide of American Politics

Black women voters will make the difference in the midterm elections and the future of American politics ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Top teams have trouble winning at World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):11:35 p.m.Parity has come to the World Cup.Five of the top six nations in the FIFA rankings have played, and none has won. Only two of the top dozen teams have victories.Top-ranked Germany lost to No. 15 Mexico,...

Maryland Democratic primary has 2 black candidates leading

BALTIMORE (AP) — With two leading candidates who have a shot at becoming Maryland's first black governor, the crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the state's changing demographics and the party's efforts to harness the energy of an increasingly diverse electorate around the...

3 Democrats look to make history in Wisconsin governor race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Mahlon Mitchell likes to remind voters while campaigning that they can make history by electing him Wisconsin's first black governor. Meanwhile, Kathleen Vinehout and Kelda Roys — who breast-fed her daughter in a campaign video — are each hoping to become...

ENTERTAINMENT

Rapper Kamaiyah's court date in airport spat may be delayed

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A lawyer for rapper Kamaiyah expects her first court date in a Connecticut airport disturbance case will be postponed as he and a prosecutor work to resolve misdemeanor charges.The 26-year-old hip-hop artist from California was arrested at Bradley Airport near Hartford...

Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Potter festivals

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Warner Bros. is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the country, saying it's necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans, however, liken the move to Dementors sucking the joy out of homegrown fun, while festival directors say they'll...

Cornell's daughter pays tribute to late rocker with duet

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Cornell's daughter has released a recording of a duet with her late father as part of an emotional tribute to the late rocker on Father's Day.Toni Cornell released the duet of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" on Sunday along with a note thanking her dad for his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland at World Cup

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Brazil joined the list of big teams struggling to win their opening matches at...

Sea convoy reaches Spain as migration debate roils Europe

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — An aid group's ship and two Italian military vessels docked Sunday at the Spanish...

Giuliani says Trump could issue pardons after Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday the president might pardon his jailed,...

Israel strikes launchers of burning kites from Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military on Sunday said it carried out four airstrikes targeting Palestinians...

The Latest: Afghan Taliban reject cease-fire extension

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the war in Afghanistan (all times local):8:15 p.m.Afghanistan's...

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

MOSCOW (AP) — The suspect in a taxi crash near Red Square that injured two Mexican soccer fans and six...

Protestors rally outside of the state Capitol during Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Lansing, Mich. With the water crisis gripping Flint threatening to overshadow nearly everything else he has accomplished, the Republican governor again pledged a fix Tuesday night during his annual State of the State speech. (Sean Proctor/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)
DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Rick Snyder's standing as one of the GOP's most accomplished governors has taken a beating in the crisis over lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. Democrats, especially those running for president, have pointed to his administration's mishandling of the city's switch to a cheaper water supply as an example of Republican cost-cutting run amok.

But in a twist, the national scorn could pay one political dividend for him inside the state. The uproar should lessen resistance within his own party to the largest remaining item in Snyder's plan for revitalizing Michigan's economy: rescuing the worst-in-the-nation public schools in Detroit.

Snyder's oft-stated goal since his election in 2010 has been reversing the state's economic slide that worsened during the U.S. auto industry's downturn. His successful effort to push financially devastated Detroit through bankruptcy was a key step in his plan.

But until the Flint disaster erupted, the GOP-controlled Legislature was balking at also pumping much more money into fixing the schools, despite the governor's insistence that functioning Detroit schools are essential to giving Michigan a metropolitan economic hub again. Snyder's bailout of the city cost $195 million in state money. The school rescue would cost $720 million more.

Now, with the national spotlight on Flint and Michigan's other high-poverty, majority-black cities, the political atmosphere has changed. Republicans are moving to unify behind the governor, potentially to limit the political impact to him and the party.

"In a bizarre kind of way, it's conceivable this might work to his advantage," said former GOP lawmaker Bill Ballenger, a long-time political analyst. He noted that Snyder made both helping Flint and Detroit major themes in his annual budget address this week, and legislators could worry "they're going to start getting tarred with the same brush that Snyder is if they don't do anything."

Snyder, a former corporate CEO who ran for office as a turnaround specialist, has been juggling the complicated politics of a state split between white, more affluent and conservative residents and poorer black residents in the industrial cities. As Snyder has pursued his urban rescue plans, some Republicans have complained about throwing good money after bad.

The finances of Detroit Public Schools, with a projected $515 million debt load, have become so dire that the system — which has been under state financial management for almost seven years — appears in danger of starting to run out of money in April.

Snyder initially proposed that other schools forgo $50 per student in state funding annually to come up with the bailout money, but it was rejected outright by the Legislature. In the newly changed political environment, however, lawmakers appear open to diverting money from the state's settlement with tobacco companies, which is used for general spending and economic development.

Getting beyond Detroit's financial woes cannot be avoided, said Republican Rep. Al Pscholka, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "All of us agree that the financial piece must be taken care of and probably pretty quickly," he said.

Snyder and lawmakers are negotiating a way of providing state oversight to ensure that the school system stays solvent but is run by a locally elected school board.

Like with the 2014 aid package for the city of Detroit, Snyder is warning legislators that bailing out the state's largest school district would be cheaper now than later.

However, Snyder and legislators say they are also concerned about how to improve the district's academic quality. "We have to do something. What that something is is the big question right now," said Republican Rep. Tom Hooker.

But Hooker said a bailout would not be approved merely to provide Snyder with a legislative "win" after the Flint debacle.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both condemned Snyder's handling of the crisis.

GOP strategist Tom Shields predicted the attacks will only intensify before Michigan's March 8 primary, saying Flint has become a "symbolic racial issue."

"The Republicans in the Legislature are certainly rallying around the governor on the Flint water issue and that could continue on the funding of Detroit schools. Six months ago, the governor was having a hard time finding a Republican sponsor of the Detroit schools legislation. But now Republicans are starting to line up in support," he said.

The cost to aid impoverished Flint and Detroit could continue for years, in part funded by the state's budget surplus.

Lawmakers have committed $37 million — with another $195 million on the table — to help Flint deal with the lead contamination of its water supply, which occurred when the city switched to local river water without applying chemicals that would prevent corrosion of lead pipes. The state Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged instructing Flint, which was run by a state-appointed financial manager at the time, not to use corrosion chemicals based on a misreading of federal regulations.

Republican Sen. Mike Kowall said he wants to avoid "just throwing good money after bad" but people also "just want to get something done. ... We have another opportunity to clean this problem up, too."

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