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Archive for July 16th, 2015

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chicago Discovers Invasive Beetles in Travelers’ Luggage

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chicago Discovers Invasive Beetles in Travelers’ Luggage
CHICAGO, IL — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at the O’Hare International Airport recently identified multiple Khapra Beetles (Trogoderma granarium) and evidence of an infestation while inspecting the belongings of two international travelers arriving separately from Iraq and India. (For photos click 1, 2, 3, 4)

On July 8, CBP Agriculture K9 “Emeril” alerted to a passenger’s belongings while screening baggage arriving from India. The passenger presented a negative declaration to CBP officers during the primary inspection process. Upon further inspection, undeclared food items were discovered including pickled mutton, curry leaves, various fruits, seeds for planting, raw peanuts, and rice with live pests visible. In total, six different pests were intercepted, including a positive identification of the Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma granarium).

In a separate incident, CBP agriculture specialists discovered and identified what appeared to be Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma granarium) cast skins on dried hibiscus leaves inside sealed plastic bags containing rice, spices and dried hibiscus leaves while inspecting the belongings of an international traveler arriving from Iraq on June 27.

Due to the significant agricultural threat posed by these pests, all food items were seized and the specimens were forwarded to the local USDA Plant Inspection Station where they were positively identified and destroyed earlier this month.

“CBP Agriculture Specialists continually demonstrate their vigilance in intercepting these extremely destructive pests that could wreak significant damage to our agricultural and economic interests,” said Acting Area Port Director Michael Pfeiffer.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma granarium) is considered one of the world’s most destructive pests, posing a substantial risk to stored food products such as grains and packaged foods. The insects are extremely difficult to eradicate, since they can survive for long periods without food or moisture, and are resistant to many insecticides. Previous Khapra beetle infestations have resulted in massive, long-term control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry.  CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.


Rauner Administration Continues to Block Inquiry Into Nearly $4 Million of Taxpayer-Funded Salaries

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Rauner Administration Continues to Block Inquiry Into Nearly $4 Million of Taxpayer-Funded Salaries

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In another snub to Illinois taxpayers, Gov. Bruce Rauner and his administration on Wednesday again refused to appear before a House committee to answer questions about nearly $4 million diverted from critical state programs to pay Rauner staff and appointees.

“The governor’s refusal to permit his office to participate in a public conversation about his use of millions in taxpayer dollars at a time he is calling for damaging cuts to state services  is disrespectful to the people of Illinois who are entitled to an explanation,” said state Rep. John Bradley, chair of the House Revenue and Finance Committee. “The administration’s use of taxpayer dollars does not match the governor’s statements. By not addressing this glaring fact, he is refusing to be accountable to the taxpayers we were elected to serve.”

Rauner and his administration have ignored four official requests from Bradley and numerous follow-up calls in the last month asking the governor or his designee to appear before the Revenue and Finance Committee to answer questions about nearly $4 million in taxpayer-funded salaries paid to top Rauner staff and appointees from the budgets of other state agencies. Wednesday’s hearing marked the eighth time since June that Rauner or administration officials have failed to provide information to the public on a number of issues, including how state agencies plan to continue providing services during a government shutdown.

Last month, top administration officials defended Rauner’s decision to pay his education czar a $250,000 salary with Department of Human Services funds intended for programs serving the elderly and severely ill, rather than with funds from the governor’s office budget. This practice is known as offshoring.

While administration officials said Rauner is offshoring fewer salaries than his predecessor, payroll records show the Rauner administration’s claims are false. Contrary to Rauner administration statements, data from the comptroller’s office shows 35 Rauner appointees receiving a total of $3.7 million from agencies other than the governor’s office – about $730,000 more than the administration previously reported to legislators and over $1 million more than Rauner’s predecessor.

“I’ve worked to help make sure the Revenue and Finance Committee functions in a bipartisan manner, because scrutinizing the use of every dollar is something Democrats and Republicans agree is necessary. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see this governor act as though his use of taxpayer dollars is above examination,” Bradley said. “No member of this House would have tolerated the previous administration to ignore repeated requests to provide answers on issues concerning taxpayer dollars the way this administration has. I will continue to demand open and honest accounting of this state’s use of taxpayer dollars.”

For more information, contact: State Rep. John Bradley at 618-997-9697

Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks at NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks at NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia

Transcript: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

Good morning to all of you.

First, to Karen Boykin-Towns, she is a phenomenon in New York – let’s give her a round of applause. And your Chair Roslyn Brock and President Cornell Brooks – let’s give them a round of applause. Anybody from New York in the house today? New York had their coffee this morning. See, that’s New York. In New York, they don’t even need their coffee in the morning. We have Hazel Dukes, who is the New York President – Hazel, give her a round of applause. Hazel has been like a second mother to me. She helped raise me. And let me just say that Hazel was from the school of thought that said “spare the rod, spoil the child,” I can tell you that much. We have George Gresham from 1199. Let’s hear it for the whole New York delegation.

I don’t like to leave the State of New York. I believe I got paid to stay in the state and serve the state. Plus, I get a little nervous when I leave the State. You know, you never know what’s going to happen. Anything could happen. Maybe Jersey or Connecticut decides to declare war on New York and then I’m not there. I’m supposed to be the commander–in-chief. I’ve got to keep an eye on Connecticut and Jersey, too. I think they have been gearing up to attack. But a couple of important things that I wanted to talk to you about this morning and that’s why I’m very grateful to be here.

First to the NAACP. I have great respect for your organization because it has the two essential elements for progress. Number one, the NAACP recognizes the problem. It doesn’t run from it because denial is not a life strategy and you are never going to solve a problem that you are unwilling to admit. So the NAACP stands up and calls it like it is. And second, the NAACP is all about action because at the end of the day, talk is cheap and you’re either getting something done or you’re not getting something done and that’s what the NAACP is all about.

You’re going to hear from one of this country’s greats soon, President William Clinton. He appointed me as HUD Secretary. And it was a great honor of mine to serve in the Clinton Administration from the first day to the last day because we made this nation a better nation. And as HUD Secretary, I did a lot of work with the NAACP and the NAACP understood that for all the progress we have made as a society, discrimination was still alive and well. And discrimination can be at times just as brutal as ever. Let’s not deceive ourselves. Yes, we’ve made a lot of progress and yes, home ownership is up and yes, there has been progress in lending and employment. But, it can still be ugly and brutal and it has been.

We worked together on a case in Missouri where a woman moved into a neighborhood. The welcoming committee came and planted a seven foot cross on her lawn and burned it. Why? Because she was Portuguese, she was dark skinned, they thought she was African American. We did a case in Louisiana where there was an apartment complex and it had two sides, and if you walked in and you were African American, you walked to one side of the complex and if you walked in and you were white, you moved to another side of the complex. Two swimming pools, one for African Americans and ones for whites. We did a case against the Ku Klux Klan, who had a TV show on Public Access T.V., where they were spreading their hate.

So we know how ugly it can be. But we also know that discrimination can now be silent, and can be insidious. It can be the banker who says, “Well you don’t qualify for the loan,” but the only thing the banker actually saw was the color box on the form. It can be the broker who says, “Well that apartment is rented,” but he means that apartment really just isn’t available for you anymore in that building.

And the NAACP has been fighting that and has been posing the simple but profound solution: if you want peace, work for justice, if you want peace, work for justice. True justice, social justice and racial justice and economic justice, justice that says raise the minimum wage because if a person is working full time they shouldn’t have to choose between paying rent and buying food. True justice that says, address the crisis of young minority males who can’t find jobs, who are getting into trouble, we’ve done it in New York with a job voucher, where we say to private companies, “You hire a young minority male, we will pay for the training, we’ll subsidize the salary so they have a job and they can start on the career ladder.” Real justice like we did in New York where we stopped finger printing for people who wanted to be eligible for food stamps because just because you want to feed your child doesn’t mean you should be treated like a criminal.

True justice, which means let’s have a public education system that works for every child in this country regardless of their zip code, regardless of their color, regardless of their address and a sense of justice that recognizes the truth. We now have two education systems, not public and private. We have one for the rich and one for the poor. And if you go to a school on the rich side of town, they’ll show you how they are on the internet. And you go to a school on the poor side of town and they don’t even have a basketball net. You go to a school on the rich side of town and they’ll show you first graders and everybody has a laptop and their parents are communicating on their laptop. You go to a school on the poor side of town the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that you walk through on the way to the classroom. That is not justice. You have a government that is all too often more concerned with protecting the educational bureaucracy and the status quo than working for the students who they are supposed to be serving.

True justice that says we have to end this incarceration madness. In the State of New York we pay $50,000 dollars to keep someone in a prison cell. You could have sent them to Harvard University for what you are spending on a prison cell. 2.2 million people incarcerated, more than any country on the globe. I am proud to be able to say in New York we have worked on alternatives to incarceration and there are 6,000 fewer inmates today than the day that I took office and we closed 24 prisons because of it. I am proud to say that we are going to stop the abhorrent process of putting 16- and 17-year-olds into state prison which doesn’t even give them a chance to learn and make their lives better.

And my friends, what we must address and we must address now, is the rash of police shootings against unarmed civilians, overwhelmingly African American, because this is the social schism that is breeding mistrust, disenfranchisement and alienation. We have seen it painfully in New York. We are celebrating the one year anniversary of the Eric Garner case on Staten Island that the nation got to see on video tape from a camera. The City of New York just settled paying the Garner family damages, but they can’t bring back Eric Garner and replace the damage of losing a family member. We saw it New York with the Ramarley Graham case, and the Akai Gurley Case and the Sean Bell case. But it’s not just New York. It’s Michael Brown, an 18 year old in Missouri. It’s Freddie Gray in Baltimore. It’s Walter Scott in South Carolina. And this is not new. It is not new. It is just worse.

There was another Governor Cuomo. I look nothing like him, I want you to know. He had bags under his eyes; he had a big nose. He was a great, great man and greatest governor in the history of the State of New York, Mario Cuomo. In 1983 Mario Cuomo takes office. Michael Stewart, a young graffiti artist, gets killed by six police officers. They get indicted, nobody gets convicted. Eleanor Bumpers is a grandmother. Police serve eviction notice, they wind up killing her. Anthony Baez dies in a choke hold by a police officer after his football hit a patrol car. This is not new. It’s not New York, it’s nationwide and it’s getting worse.

The answer is not to litigate this case by case and who’s right and who’s wrong, because there is a pattern and the pattern spells distrust and the pattern spells a system that has lost the trust of many communities in this country. That defies the principle of if you want peace, work for justice because there is no more relevant form of justice than in the criminal justice system.

Lady Justice we look at is blind folded. Why? Because justice is not supposed to see color of skin or income or class. Too many today question the impartiality. And we have seen it with thousands of people all across the nation and it’s spreading and getting worse and we took action in New York.

The basic point is people distrust the state attorneys, the DAs, the prosecutors, from prosecuting the police because they believe the relationship is too close. The prosecutors are working with the police day in and day out, and they feel that the prosecutors favor the police in these cases of unarmed civilian shootings – 500 according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Now, I’m a former Assistant District Attorney, I’m a former Attorney General. I believe in the State of New York. The overwhelming majority of our prosecutors are good men and good women. But in some ways, it doesn’t matter. Because if people don’t trust the system that is a problem in and of itself. They talk about a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can be real; a conflict of interest can be perceived. The appearance counts. And as a lawyer they teach you to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. There is an appearance of impropriety and conflict. So say to the prosecutors, “You know what, when it comes to a case where an unarmed civilian is killed, we don’t think the prosecutor should handle that case because people don’t have trust.”

In New York, we appointed a special prosecutor – the Attorney General of the State of New York – who has no relationship to the police, and let that special prosecutor handle police cases where a civilian who is unarmed was killed, and let the community know justice for all, justice is blindfolded.

You get justice whether you’re white, whether you’re black, whether you’re gay, whether you’re straight, whether you’re a police officer, whether you’re a civilian – every life matters the same way. This is your country and your system and you should have confidence in it. That’s what the special prosecutor is going to do. And we did it in New York and you can do it all across this country.

That will go a long, long way. Because if people believe the government is biased, then we have a real problem because the government is supposed to be the solution, not the problem. And it starts with the criminal justice system. I believe this is going to work in New York. Hazel Dukes believes this is going to work in New York. The mothers of the victims who were lost believe it’s going to work in New York, and I believe this can work nationwide and I believe it’s a step that can start to restore confidence and trust, and tell communities that feel left out and left behind, “We are with you.”

My friends, times are tough. There’s no doubt about that. We have our challenges. But I believe at the end of the day in the goodness of the American people. I believe we have seen that goodness. We saw that goodness when they had the good sense to elect President Barack Obama. And we saw that goodness just last week, when the state of South Carolina experienced a tragedy where nine African Americans died needlessly at the hand of racial hatred. But South Carolina said, “We are going to take that Confederate flag, which has flown for a long time, reminiscent of a day when there was slavery and racial inequality, reminiscent of a protest against the civil rights movement in the sixties,” and South Carolina said, “We’re going to take that flag down. It’s not going to fly over the Capitol of South Carolina.”

Now we paid a terrible price for that victory, but it was a victory. And the American people will do the right thing at the end of the day. But it is a struggle and it is a fight and that is what the NAACP has always stood for. We can get to a place of justice, but we have to fight for it. It is a journey, but it is a struggle, and a struggle that we have to make together because we’re not home yet.

We have made a lot of progress but we are not home yet. And our founding fathers and Martin Luther King described home the same way. Our founding fathers said, “E Pluribus Unum”, out of many, one. We’re not black and white, we’re not gay and straight, we’re not rich and poor. We are one community, we are in solidarity, we have one future, we are interwoven, we are interconnected, and we are one fabric of society. Your child is my child, and your child’s success is my child’s success, and your child’s failure is my child’s failure. That’s E Pluribus Unum.

And Martin Luther King said, “Let us judge content of character not color of skin. See me for who I am and judge me for who I am and what I do.” That’s home and that is where the NAACP is leading us. That is the good fight. It is a fight, it is a struggle, we have obstacles, we have made progress, but we are going to get there together and I stand shoulder to shoulder with the NAACP in that fight.

Thank you and God bless you.

Senator Collins Votes to Override Gov. Rauner’s Budget Vetoes, Pay State Workers, Fund Essential Services

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Senator Collins Votes to Override Gov. Rauner’s Budget Vetoes, Pay State Workers, Fund Essential Services

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on budget action in the Senate:

The governor has made his priorities clear: profits before people, corporate tax breaks before compassion and an anti-worker agenda before revenue reform.

Today, a majority of my Senate colleagues and I made our priorities clear, voting to override Gov. Rauner’s irresponsible vetoes of budget measures needed to fund juvenile justice services, assistance for those with developmental disabilities, the state’s ethics commission, care for wards of the state, public health initiatives, in-home aides for senior citizens and much more.

I was also honored to co-sponsor legislation, which the House passed last week and the Senate approved today, to fund the state’s most vital services and pay state employees during the stalemate. This emergency, one-month budget is now on its way to the governor’s desk. It is the bare minimum needed to liberate those held hostages to the Rauner administration’s refusal to compromise on his extreme agenda, and I strongly urge him to take the moral course of action and sign it into law immediately, granting much-needed relief while negotiations continue.

USCIS to Begin Home Visits in Chicago to Retrieve Work Permits for Some DACA Recipients

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on USCIS to Begin Home Visits in Chicago to Retrieve Work Permits for Some DACA Recipients

NIJC Offers Information, Reassurance to Communities

CHICAGO, IL — Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) encourages immigrant communities to be alert but not fearful as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins home visits in Chicago and other cities to exchange three-year work authorization cards that the government erroneously issued to some recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The home visits, expected to begin on Thursday, July 16, are part of USCIS’s effort to comply with a court order in Texas v. United States, the federal lawsuit that has delayed the roll out of President Obama’s November 2014 immigration executive actions that, among other changes, would have allowed DACA recipients to obtain employment authorization documents (EADs), known as work permits, for three years rather than just two. After a Texas judge ordered an injunction on the program February 16, 2015, USCIS erroneously continued to issue DACA three-year approvals to about 2,500 individuals nationwide.

“The USCIS home visits unfortunately will add to the mounting confusion and anxiety communities feel as they await a resolution in the executive action case, but individuals should know it is critical to comply with requests to exchange their work permits, whether they receive a letter or visit at their homes,” said Vanessa Esparza-López, supervising attorney for NIJC’s Immigrant Legal Defense Project.

Who is affected:
• To comply with the court order, USCIS is retracting three-year EADs for people who fall under three categories: 1) Individuals who received a DACA approval notice and an EAD card after February 16, 2015; 2) Individuals who received their DACA approval notice before February 16 but whose EAD card was issued after February 16; and 3) Individuals whose DACA was approved and EAD mailed before February 16, but whose EAD was returned to USCIS as undeliverable and re-mailed after February 16. Note that these EADs may show an approval date from before February 16, but still must be returned because they were not received until afterward.

• Individuals who received a three-year EAD before February 16, 2015, are not affected by the court ruling and are not required to return their EADs.

• USCIS reports that about 1,300 people nationally, including about 150 people in Chicago, have yet to return their three-year EADs.

What to know if you receive a letter or home visit:
• Upon collecting an individual’s three-year EAD card, USCIS will provide a receipt and issue a new two-year EAD. USCIS has stated that everyone should receive a replacement two-year EAD by mail within a week.

• Individuals who do not comply with USCIS requests to return three-year EADs will have their DACA benefits terminated on July 31, 2015.

• NIJC recommends that individuals who receive or have received letters from USCIS requesting they return their three-year EADs do so in person at their nearest USCIS office,  not by mail, due to the short deadlines USCIS has set for retrieving the documents.

• USCIS has assured legal service providers and immigrant advocates that immigration officers’ questions during home visits should be restricted to locating individuals with outstanding three-year EADs and retrieving those EADs. Individuals and families have a right to decline to answer any questions that go beyond these topics.

Individuals who believe they may be affected should call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Those who would like to schedule a legal consultation with NIJC in Chicago may call (312) 660-1370 or email immigrantlegaldefense@heartlandalliance.org.

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. For more information visit www.immigrantjustice.org.

What Congress Can Do About Mass Incarceration: Sign The Petition To Congress

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on What Congress Can Do About Mass Incarceration: Sign The Petition To Congress

The petition to Congress reads:

“Take action to roll back the incarceration industry in America.”

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
Criminal Justice reform now

America’s justice system is broken. Our prisons lock up millions of people, ruin lives, fail to make our communities safer, and waste $80 billion a year.

People of color bear the brunt of this injustice, but there’s finally a real chance to make change.

Comprehensive legislation to make significant changes to our criminal justice system was recently introduced in Congress, and has already earned support from legislators on both sides of the aisle. The Safe, Accountable, Fair, Effective (SAFE) Justice Act offers broad based, system-wide reforms to dismantle our unjust prison system.1 But Congressional leaders are dragging their feet, refusing so far to schedule any hearings or votes on the bill.

On Tuesday, President Obama called out the racial disparities and terrible conditions in our criminal justice system and called on Congress to make change.2 With the president ready to sign a bill, and bipartisan support for substantive reforms, now is the time for Congress to act.

Tell Congress to pass the SAFE Justice Act and roll back America’s incarceration industry. Click here to sign the petition.

The SAFE Justice Act brings solutions that have proven successful at the state level to the federal prison system. It would reduce over-criminalization, offer sentencing alternatives, reward good behavior with shorter prison and parole time, and support individuals’ reentry into society.1

If we let the current system continue unchecked, millions of people will continue to be criminalized, millions of dollars will continue to be wasted, and communities of color will continue to be crippled. It’s time to implement reform now. The more of us who sign on, the more pressure we can put on Congress to get the SAFE Justice Act on President Obama’s desk by the end of 2015. Click the link below to sign the petition:


Together, we can pass historic federal legislation and end the vicious cycle of suffering mass incarceration has caused.

Thanks for everything you do,

Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
  1. “SAFE Justice Act Would Apply Lessons From State Reforms to Federal Sentencing and Corrections System,” Pew Trusts, 6/25/2015.
  2. “Obama looks beyond commutations in justice reform bid,” Kevin Liptak, CNN, 6/15/2015.

Draft Biden 2016 Announces Multiple State Chapters

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Draft Biden 2016 Announces Multiple State Chapters

Draft Biden 2016 announces the launch of multiple state chapters across the nation.  After a successful National Field Call last week,  a strong showing of supporters of Více President Joe Biden from across the nation have stepped up to volunteer as State Chapter Leads for the group, which is working to encourage the Více President into the 2016 presidential race.

“In addition to our work in Iowa and New Hampshire, we have solidified numerous state chapters across the nation with many more in the works. Following the Organizing for America  model, we are working to build a grassroots base in anticipation of Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement,” said Draft Biden 2016 Executive Director William Pierce.

California State Chapter Lead Linnie Frank Bailey, a former organizer for the ’08 Obama campaign and delegate to then Democratic National Convention said, “I am supporting Joe Biden for President because of his experience and ability to understand the issues of everyday Americans. I think he can bring civility back to our political discourse with a focus on strengthening our country rather than dividing us.”

Former ’08 Obama campaign organizer and Draft Biden 2016 Minnesota State Chapter Lead Ted York said, “I’m supporting Joe Biden because he’s the most experienced person to be president, and has an incredible ability to work across the aisle to get things done. I also believe he’s the most electable candidate. He’s always spoken honestly, and his message resonates well with all Americans.”

Shaun Abreu, a municipal campaign veteran, who serves as New York State Chapter Lead said, “Vice President Biden is a tried and tested leader who tells it like it is. It’s very rare to find a presidential contender who is so genuinely committed to doing the right thing.”

Draft Biden 2016 is currently working on chapters in the following states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C.

President Obama Announces a Presidential Emergency Board, Names Members

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Announces a Presidential Emergency Board, Names Members

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board to investigate and to make recommendations for settlement of the current disputes between the New Jersey Transit Rail and certain of its employees.

The Executive Order established the Presidential Emergency Board effective July 16, 2015, and the Emergency Board will report its findings and recommendations for settlement to the President within thirty (30) days of its creation.

President Obama also announced that he intends to appoint the following members to Presidential Emergency Board No. 248:

  • Elizabeth C. Wesman – Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248
  • Barbara Deinhardt – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248
  • Ann Kenis – Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

President Obama said, “The transit rail system is vital to our nation’s economy, and it’s crucial that we ensure it runs smoothly.  That’s why I’m grateful these talented individuals have agreed to serve the American people by helping to swiftly and appropriately resolve these labor-management disputes.”

Dr. Elizabeth C. Wesman, Appointee for Chair, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Dr. Elizabeth C. Wesman has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 2000 and has practiced arbitration and mediation since 1981.  She has arbitrated disputes in a wide array of industries, including railroad, aerospace, police and fire departments, and public and private universities.  Dr. Wesman was Associate Professor of Strategy and Human Resources/Industrial Relations at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University from 1981 to 2000.  She was also an Adjunct Professor at the Rochester, New York, Extension Division of Cornell University from 1990 to 2000.  She was a lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Studies at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University from 1980 to 1981 and an Instructor in the Department of Economics at Le Moyne College from 1970 to 1975.  Dr. Wesman is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators.  She is on the arbitration rosters of the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National Mediation Board.  Dr. Wesman has been on a number of permanent panels, including the New York State/Public Employees Federation Panel, the Oregon Employment Relations Board, and the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission.  She is the immediate past-President of the National Association of Railroad Referees.  Dr. Wesman received an A.B. from Smith College, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Barbara Deinhardt, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Barbara Deinhardt has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator and mediator since 1995.  She served as Chair of the New York State Employment Relations Board from 2007 to 2009 and as Member and Chair of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board from 1991 to 1995.  Ms. Deinhardt was the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and General Counsel to the New York State Department of Labor from 1986 to 1991.  From 1984 to 1986, she was General Counsel to the Workers’ Compensation Board, and she was a Partner at Kestell, Pogue & Deinhardt from 1980 to 1984.  She was a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston from 1976 to 1980.  Ms. Deinhardt served as a member of the Foreign Service Grievance Board from 1999 to 2005.  She is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the National Advisory Board of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and the New York State Bar Association.  Ms. Deinhardt received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.

Ann Kenis, Appointee for Member, Presidential Emergency Board No. 248

Ann Kenis has been a professional arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and American Arbitration Association since 1992 and a hearing officer for the Illinois State Board of Education since 1994.  She has arbitrated hundreds of disputes in a wide array of industries, including the railroad, manufacturing, automotive, education, transportation, postal service, public sector, service industries, trucking and transportation.  From 1984 to 1991, she was an associate attorney for Arbitrator Elliott H. Goldstein.  Ms. Kenis began her career as an attorney representing clients in matters of employment and education at Kerr & Longwell from 1981 to 1984.  She has been on the arbitration roster of the National Mediation Board for 20 years.  Ms. Kenis has been appointed to permanent panels for the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services and its various unions, the Chicago Transit Authority and ATU Locals 241 and 308, and Caterpillar and the United Auto Workers.  She is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Railroad Referees.  Ms. Kenis received a B.S. from University of Illinois, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Loyola University.

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression’s Attitude on the Question of Chicago Violence

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression’s Attitude on the Question of Chicago Violence
By Frank Chapman, Field Organizer, CAARPR

Over the July 4th weekend 10 people were killed and 55 wounded. As usual this opened a one-dimensional discussion on “Chicago violence” that focused exclusively on violence in the African American community and “Black on Black Crime”. If a Black person kills a Black person, and particularly if it involves gang rivalry, then that always provides an opportunity for the Mayor, the Anti-Violence Movement and Police Superintendent McCarthy to come out and hold our community in moral contempt for allowing this state of affairs to exist. In fact the Opinion section of the Chicago Sun-Times (July 13, 2015) has an op-ed by Laura Washington that says, “My people are committing genocide”.  Raphael Lemkin, an authority on the subject, defined genocide as “a coordinated strategy to destroy a group of people, a process that could be accomplished through total annihilation as well as strategies that eliminate key elements of the group’s basic existence, including language, culture, and economic infrastructure.” So clearly Laura Washington does not understand the gravity of her statement or is unaware of the genocidal policies perpetrated against Black people in America from slavery to the present.

As organizers who are fighting against police crimes and for community control of the police we are constantly challenged by defenders of the status quo to focus on Black on Black crime. How do we respond to that challenge?

First, we start with the objective conditions of oppression in our communities that exist independently of anyone’s opinion.  These conditions include high unemployment rates and below poverty wages, massive evictions and foreclosures, inadequate delivery of health services combined with an epidemic of alcohol and drug addiction and high infant mortality rates, miles of dilapidated housing, school closings, and scarce or non-existent recreational facilities.  Add to these a phony war on drugs combined with a massive influx of drugs and deadly weapons, mass incarceration, 70% or more of gang related homicides unsolved and the active role of police in some of these murders(never censured, much less prosecuted), hundreds of innocent victims of police torture and families whose children have been murdered by the police. All of these above-stated conditions are the result of existing government policies (such as austerity programs and institutionalized racist practices) and are the breeding ground for the violence in Chicago focused on by the media.  The conditions that breed violence are never honestly discussed by the Mayor and his official and unofficial supporters.  In fact, the status quo power relationships in the city are maintained and perpetuated by not addressing the root problems.

The reason why we are agitating, educating and organizing in our communities is because we know that this system of racist injustice that habitually blames the victim is incapable of solving this problem of Chicago violence. We are constantly delivering the message that we must enact an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) that will hold the police accountable for the crimes they commit and the way they police our communities.

Police crimes and corruption are related to all crimes.  That is why when we are petitioning/recruiting in the neighborhoods for CPAC and the response is overwhelmingly “Yes, I’ll sign”! “Yes, I’ll volunteer!”(To date we have about 500 volunteers). We see what the police do every day, and we experience the racist contempt they have for us first hand. The news media, the Mayor, Police Superintendent McCarthy and all their concocted schemes of community policing cannot and have not changed the harsh realities we face on a daily basis.

Finally let me say that the best response to those who would make us responsible for the breeding ground of violence that they created is to continue to build for a Mass March on City Hall this August 29, 2015.

On that historic day we must make our voices heard like they have never heard before.

2nd annual GO-DJ Hip Hop Awards Will Take Place on Monday, July 20th, at the NRG Center

Posted by Admin On July - 16 - 2015 Comments Off on 2nd annual GO-DJ Hip Hop Awards Will Take Place on Monday, July 20th, at the NRG Center
Houston to Shine at Celebrity-Filled Award Show This Upcoming Monday! The award show honors Houston’s entertainment and music culture.

Go-DJ Hip Hop Awards

Houston, TX (BlackNews.com) — The GO- DJ awards are set for Monday, July 20th. The hip hop award show is in its sophomore year and will bring together the Houston community, celebrities, and notable entertainers and musicians. Stars from Houstons dynamic music scene and nationally recognized hip hop artists are scheduled to hit the red carpet before participating in what is now known as the IT entertainment event on both a local and national scale. For more information, visit www.godjawards.com

We have commitments almost hitting the max on the public ticket side and on the credentialed media side. This is our second year honoring the prominent players within our local hip hop and music scene and it is going to exceed expectations setup by last years successful event, said Velma Trayham of ThinkZILLA!

The 2015 GO-DJ Hip Hop Awards honor the thriving hip hop scene Houstons known for, and acknowledges the diverse community and unique cultural convergence that gives Houston hip hop its unique sound. The event is centered on Houston-centric sound, appearance, and culture, bringing together diverse persona profiles of all celebrated levels, such as popular local talent, respected business leaders, pillars within the media community and more.

“We have surprise guests scheduled to appear and perform at the event! This is our second year in and this is the event that defines Houston, defines our music scene, and puts our city on the map for entertainment. Were creating our own unique eco-system for celebrity-filled events that honor home grown talent,” finished Craig Williams, CEO of the Go DJs.

The events media area opens at 5:30pm with the red carpet starting at 7pm.Main Stream Press credentials for the pre-event interviews are still available, and media passes entitle representatives special access to designated press areas throughout the event, including red carpet and stage areas.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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