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Job Losses Reported in More Than Half of the Metro Areas

Posted by Admin On May - 1 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Unemployment rate declines in most areas

CHICAGO, IL –Unemployment rates were down over-the-year in all but one of Illinois’s metro areas. Six of the metro areas had increases in nonfarm jobs and eight reported declines, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

“This month’s report almost mirrors last month’s,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “The only difference is the overall increase in jobs is down when compared to last month. Even though the unemployment rate is lower, we still don’t have enough people working.”

Illinois businesses added jobs in six metro areas, in which the largest increases were seen in: Kankakee (+1.1 percent, +500), Elgin (+0.6 percent, +1,500), and Springfield (+0.6 percent, +700). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division increased (+0.8 percent or +28,500). Illinois businesses lost jobs in eight metro areas including Carbondale-Marion (-2.6 percent, -1,500), Rockford (-2.3 percent, -3,500), and Peoria (-1.5 percent, -2,600). The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas were: Education and Health Services (10 of 14), Professional and Business Services (nine of 14) and Mining and Construction (eight of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares March 2017 with March 2016. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 4.7 percent in March 2017 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in March 2017 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

 

 Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

 

Metropolitan Area

Mar.

2017

Mar.

2016

Over-the-Year Change

Bloomington

4.3%

5.5%

-1.2

Carbondale-Marion

5.0%

6.3%

-1.3

Champaign-Urbana

4.5%

5.4%

-0.9

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights

4.2%

6.3%

-2.1

Danville

6.4%

7.9%

-1.5

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL

4.8%

6.0%

-1.2

Decatur

5.7%

7.1%

-1.4

Elgin

5.4%

6.4%

-1.0

Kankakee

5.9%

7.3%

-1.4

Lake-Kenosha, IL-WI

5.0%

6.0%

-1.0

Peoria

6.0%

7.1%

-1.1

Rockford

8.3%

7.2%

1.1

Springfield

4.4%

5.5%

-1.1

St. Louis (IL-Section)

4.7%

6.3%

-1.6

Illinois Statewide

4.7%

6.4%

-1.7

* Data subject to revision.

 

Total Nonfarm Jobs (Not Seasonally Adjusted) – March 2017

Metropolitan Area

Mar.
2017*

Mar.
2016**

Over-the-Year Change

Bloomington MSA

93,400

93,600

-200

Carbondale-Marion MSA

56,800

58,300

-1,500

Champaign-Urbana MSA

110,600

110,100

500

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division

3,682,100

3,653,600

28,500

Danville MSA

28,400

28,700

-300

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island MSA

181,500

180,700

800

Decatur MSA

51,100

51,200

-100

Elgin Metro Division

249,900

248,400

1,500

Kankakee MSA

44,000

43,500

500

Lake-County-Kenosha County Metro Division

400,600

402,300

-1,700

Peoria MSA

172,100

174,700

-2,600

Rockford MSA

146,600

150,100

-3,500

Springfield MSA

114,700

114,000

700

Illinois Section of St. Louis MSA

235,100

235,200

-100

Illinois Statewide

5,962,800

5,935,200

27,600

                  *Preliminary    **Revised

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates
(percent) for Local Counties and Areas

Labor Market Area

Mar-17

Mar-16

Over-the-Year Change

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin IL-IN-WI MSA

4.5%

6.3%

-1.8

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metro Division

Cook County

4.4%

6.5%

-2.1

DuPage County

3.4%

5.1%

-1.7

Grundy County

5.6%

7.9%

-2.3

Kendall County

3.9%

5.7%

-1.8

McHenry County

4.2%

6.0%

-1.8

Will County

4.6%

6.7%

-2.1

Elgin, IL Metro Division

DeKalb County

5.3%

6.0%

-0.7

Kane County

5.4%

6.5%

-1.1

Lake & Kenosha Counties, IL-WI Metro Division

Lake County

5.2%

6.1%

-0.9

Cities (with total population of at least 100,000) *

Aurora City

4.8%

6.1%

-1.3

Chicago City

4.5%

6.8%

-2.3

Elgin City

6.8%

8.2%

-1.4

Joliet City

5.9%

8.4%

-2.5

Naperville City

3.1%

4.7%

-1.6

 

* Unemployment rates for cities with total population of 25,000 or more can be found atwww.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/Current_Monthly_Unemployment_Rates.aspx

Lake & Kenosha Counties, IL-WI Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.0 percent in March 2017 from 6.0 percent in March 2016. The last time the March rate was equal to or lower than the current rate was in 2001 when it was 4.8 percent. For the month of March 2017, the estimated number of unemployed people in the labor force was 22,900.

Total nonfarm employment declined -1,700 compared to March 2016. The Leisure-Hospitality (-3,200) and Professional-Business Services (-2,200) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago. Manufacturing (+1,400), Government (+700), and Transportation-Warehousing-Utilities (+700) sectors reported the largest payroll gains.

 

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 4.2 percent in March 2017 from 6.3 percent in March 2016. The March 2017 unemployment rate of 4.2 percent is the lowest March unemployment rate since 1990. For the month of March 2017, the estimated number of unemployed people in the labor force was 158,900.

Total nonfarm employment increased +28,500 compared to March 2016. Financial Activities (+10,200), Leisure-Hospitality (+9,200), and Educational-Health Services (+7,900) reported the largest payroll gains. The Manufacturing (-1,800), Construction (-1,500), and Retail Trade (-1,100) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

Elgin, IL Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.4 percent in March 2017 from 6.4 percent in March 2016. The last time the March rate was equal to or lower than the current rate was in 2007 when it was 4.3 percent. For the month of March 2017, the estimated number of unemployed people in the labor force was 17,400.

Total nonfarm employment increased +1,500 compared to March 2016. Educational-Health Services (+1,300), Government (+1,000), and Wholesale Trade (+800) reported the largest payroll gains. Construction (-600), Leisure-Hospitality
(-600), Manufacturing (-300), and Other Services
(-300) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

Note:
Monthly 2016 unemployment rates and total non-farm jobs for Illinois metro areas were revised in February and March 2017, as required by the U.S. Dept.of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS).Comments and tables distributed for prior metro area news releases should be discarded as any records or historical analysis previously cited may no longer be valid.

Trump Trashes Protections for Students and Taxpayers

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Changes to Student Loan Repayment Plans Benefit Multi-Million Dollar Companies and Hurt Taxpayers, Students

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Private companies that service college loans will profit at the expense of students because the Trump administration killed commonsense changes to reduce the default rate among college borrowers, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

“Let’s be clear about what President Trump’s changes mean. These service centers, when speaking with college graduates who want to work out a payment plan, will not have to tell the truth,” Frerichs said. “It will needlessly result in more college defaults for individuals and higher profits for corporations at the expense of every-day taxpayers.”

For years, college borrowers received poor service and inaccurate information when they called loan servicing centers with questions about their loans, including how to change repayment plans to lower monthly payments until their earnings improved. These service centers act as middlemen between lenders and borrowers. The poor service led to students paying higher fees and an increase in default rates.

Higher fees needlessly burden students, causing them to pay more than is necessary. This reduces discretionary spending when we know consumer spending makes up nearly two-thirds of our economy. Further, defaulting on these college loans hurts all taxpayers because the loans are federally funded. Current estimates peg $137.4 billion in federal student loans are in default.

 

Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, scrapped the reforms initiated by the Obama administration before they could be fully implemented. In doing so, DeVos did not indicate what would be done to address the poor service and inaccurate information that led to some defaults.

The information gap is significant. A 2015 study by the General Accountability Office (GAO) concluded half of those making student loan payments could have paid less under government rules that consider income when formulating payment plans. Only 13 percent of borrowers, however, knew to ask for lower payments. The GAO is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress.

 Trump’s changes mean higher profits for loan servicing companies that manage $1.2 trillion in government-funded loans. The Trump administration is issuing new contracts to these middlemen charged with helping borrowers find the best repayment plan and avoiding default. The Obama administration’s contracts included customer service requirements. Companies balked at the demands and called them unnecessary, time consuming and, therefore, expensive. As a result, Trump dropped them.

 

For example, gone now are provisions that would tie compensation to promptly answering telephone calls, providing accurate information, completing applications for income-driven repayment plans, and payment processing times.

 

“Their profit-margins just increased because they do not have to take the time to make sure that they are providing accurate information that would keep an honest individual in payment status rather than default,” Frerichs said. “These are federal loans. By writing a memo to rescind a commonsense rule, DeVos and Trump just ripped money from taxpayers’ pockets and handed it to the executives managing these multi-million dollar companies.”

The issue is important to Frerichs in his role as a champion of college savings in Illinois. Bright Start and Bright Directions are private-sector college savings investment tools managed by the state treasurer’s office. Together, there is more than $8 billion in 450,000 active accounts. This money is completely separate from Illinois’ other investments and cannot be used by the state to pay any other obligations.

DC Black Leaders Frustrated With Local Elected Officials

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Washington DC elected officials out of step with African American leaders attempts at progress

DC Board of Elections
Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – DCs Mayor Bowser, Council Member Anita Bonds, and DCs Attorney General Racine, have not shown support for the proposed Recovery Act for Living Descendants of American Slaves, which does not depend on government funding, and seeks compensation from former entities that used slave labor or participated in slavery.DCs Attorney General, went further last week and filed an opposition to have the proposed DC Recovery Act to be on the ballot for voters to determine if it should become law.At the Board of Election Hearing last week, African American leaders, John Cheeks and Jerry Owens of the United States Citizens Recovery Initiative Alliance (USCRIA.Com) Attorney Malik Z. Shabazz, Amy Jenkins, and others, in a capacity filled room, spoke in support of the proposed law, also supported by Congressman John Conyers though he did not attend; in attempts to have the Boards approval for the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.Malik Shabazz Esq of Black Lawyers for Justice stated, We hope that all barriers are soon crossed so to clear a path for his [ for Mr. Cheeks] referendum to be placed on the ballot for 2018.”

Amy Jenkins, The DC Recovery Act attempts to make whole living descendants of African American slaves, and for this we will fight for recovery under the DC Recovery Act. She pointed out that the Constitution was created by white men who favored land owners and themselves and did not allow Africans to vote.

Jerry Owens: The DC Recovery Act is indeed the rising tide that will lift all ships,

After hearing supporters, the Board Chairman determined a decision was not to be made at this Hearing because of concerns by board members and the Attorney General, the Act may be unlawful. The Board gave Mr. Cheeks and his counsel time to submit a brief defending the legality of the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.

DC Mayor and DC Council Members are also out of step with Mr. Cheeks efforts in the courts to improve contracting opportunities for African Americans, by ending a 20-year virtual monopoly of District road construction contacts by alleged racketeering Fort Myers construction companies controlled by the Rodrigues-Shrensky families.

Cheeks attempts, in Court, to open bidding on road construction contracts to fair and open competition which would need procurement reform, that would allow African Americans opportunities to obtain District construction contracts has not had the support of the Mayor, and Council Member Anita Bonds, despite the fact Mr. Cheeks publicly stated a sizeable amount of Court settlement proceeds would be used to assist African Americans and others in the District of Columbia.

. Both of these African American elected officials appear to have ties and loyalty to Fort Myer even though Fort Myer was to pay $900,000 for discrimination which resulted in lower wages for African Americans and harassment of minorities according to the Department of Labor.

Mayor Bowser recently demonstrated her loyalty to Fort Myer, when she allegedly had two government employees fired who refused to give contracts to Fort Myer, according to Court documents filed by the employees. City Council Member, Mary Cheh initiated and is continuing investigative hearings behind closed doors concerning the Mayors involvement

Further exacerbating African American unemployment in the city, the Mayor has not enforced legislation requiring Fort Myers companies to hire required amounts of Washington, DC employees, which would likely be African Americans. Only a small fraction of Fort Myers labor is from DC, most are from Maryland and Virginia.

Both Mayor Bowser and Anita Bonds are on public record of receiving sizeable campaign donations from Fort Myer. Anita Bonds is also a former executive of Fort Myer.

It appears African American elected officials are at odds with African American leaders and may have differing objectives, in pursuing social progress for African Americans.

 

Photo Caption: Left to Right: Malik Shabazz., Amy Jenkins, and Roussan Etienne. Jr. presenting arguments before the Board of Elections

 

 

Indivisible IL-5 to Host Town Hall on Resisting Trump Agenda on April 17

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

In cooperation with Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

In town halls all across the country, Indivisible groups are successfully pushing their representatives on a wide range of issues. Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Mike Quigley, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will be participating in a Town Hall meeting focusing on the new era of active citizenship. This event is about regular people—many of them with no prior experience in political activism—stepping forward to have a stronger voice in their government. 

 

Indivisible IL-5, an umbrella group supporting local Indivisible groups across Chicago’s North Side, Northwest Side, and suburbs within Illinois’s Congressional District 5, is hosting the event.

Speakers:
Dick Durbin, US Senator
Mike Quigley, US Congressman,
Jan Schakowsky, US Congresswoman,
Ann Williams, IL State Representative
Greg Harris, IL State Representative

Topics: Russia investigation, health care, immigration

Location:
Auditorium, Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

 

Agenda:
5:45 PM: Doors open
6:15 PM: Opening remarks by Indivisible IL-5
6:30 PM: US Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky
7:30 PM: IL State Representatives Ann Williams and Greg Harris

Additional information:

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/643898879138884/

Indivisible IL-5’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/indivisible.chicago.il5/

About Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois, the state’s senior senator, and the convener of Illinois’ bipartisan congressional delegation. Durbin also serves as the Democratic Whip, the second highest ranking position among the Senate Democrats. Senator Durbin has been elected to this leadership post by his Democratic colleagues every two years since 2005.
Durbin sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, and Rules Committees. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

About Rep. Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley was elected to Congress to represent Illinois’ 5th District on April 7, 2009. A former Cook County Commissioner who began his career through community service and environmental stewardship in the Lakeview neighborhood, Mike has served the Chicago area for more than thirty years. In the U.S. House of Representatives, he serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, where he is helping lead the investigation into Russia. He also serves as Vice Chair of both the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition and the LGBT Equality Caucus.

About Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent IIllinois’ 9th Congressional District in 1998, after serving for eight years in the Illinois General Assembly. She is in her tenth term, serving in the House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She is a member of the House Budget Committee, as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves as Ranking Member of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and as a member of the Health and Oversight & Investigations Subcommittees.

About Indivisible
Indivisible’s mission is threefold. 1. Resist Trump’s agenda. Indivisible believes Trump’s agenda is racist, authoritarian, and corrupt. It must be stopped. 2. Focus on local, defensive congressional advocacy. 3. Embrace progressive values. Indivisible models inclusion, respect, fairness, and non-violence in all of their actions. Indivisible IL-5 represents the Indivisible ideals by demanding that local Members of Congress serve as Chicago’s voice in Washington, DC. For more information on Indivisible visit www.indivisibleguide.com.

Debt Collector Returns $2.7 Million to Victims

Posted by Admin On April - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Just last week, the FTC mailed checks returning money to more than 5,200 people, thanks to the FTC’s settlement with Rincon Debt Management. People who lost money are getting back the full amount of the fraudulent fees they were charged – an average of $525 – which adds up to more than $2.7 million.

A few years ago, at the FTC’s request, a court shut down the debt collection business, Rincon Management Services LLC, and banned the owners from doing debt collection ever again. The company’s employees had used illegal and abusive practices, threatening people – in both English and Spanish – with arrest and lawsuits if they didn’t pay. They even added fraudulent charges onto people’s debt. This settlement, which required Rincon to repay those fraudulent charges, is part of the FTC’s ongoing enforcement actions to stop abusive and illegal debt collection practices.

If you get a check, you have 60 days to cash it. Questions about this refund? Check with the FTC’s refund administrator, Analytics at (844) 330-6742, or go online.

If you’re ever contacted by a debt collector, know your rights. And if you think a collector has violated those rights, tell the FTC.

Chicago Police Clash With New Era Detroit and New Era Chicago

Posted by Admin On April - 6 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
From: New Era Detroit

CHICAGO, IL – Several members of New Era Detroit (NED) and New Era Chicago (NEC)–the flagship chapters of the New Era Nation–were violently attacked and arrested by officers of the Chicago Police Department during their first Hood2Hood community engagement program this past weekend.

 

The planned event was going well. NED and NEC members had spent the day cleaning and removing blight from several Chicago neighborhoods. They spoke to several residents and delivered a message of unity, hope, and empowerment. They also denounced the self-destructive violence impacting Chicagoans and other communities of color around the country. “Love of self” was the message of the day; it was black, it was beautiful, and it was peaceful.

 

That’s when the Chicago police arrived and everything changed.

 

Witnesses reported that between 30-45 police officers, without provocation or warning, began beating members with their clubs, taking and destroying all Pan-African flags, screaming profanities, racial slurs, and shoving anyone in the area not wearing a police uniform. Some officers deployed their department issued Tasers. Others pointed their guns at anyone who wasn’t law enforcement. A Chicago fireman heard an officer issue a warning to the group: “This ends today. You guys and your fucking flags. Expect this every time we see you!”

 

Nine individuals were arrested and charged with felony counts of Aggravated Battery of a Peace Officer. Five were released the same day. However, four members of the Detroit chapter–Zeek, Momma K, Cody, and Ron–remain in Chicago police custody. Each of the arrestee’s ten percent bonds have been set for $30,000 to $50,000.

 

The Detroit chapter’s legal team was able to secure legal assistance through attorneys from the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild who have committed to providing on-going legal support for those charged with felonies.

 

“This is why we exist”, Attorney Max Suchan, Chicago-NLG Mass Defense Coordinator, said. “We are dedicated to helping groups who are doing movement work whenever we can.”

 

To make a donation to New Era Detroit’s Bond Fund click

here. For more information, contact the organization here or via our Facebook page.

 

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of New Era Detroit and not those of www.copylinemagazine.com.

 

 

Utility Disconnections Leave Thousands Around the Nation “Out in the Cold” or Left in the Dark

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP report outlines disproportionate impact of utility shut-offs on poor and African American communities

BALTIMORE, MD –According to a new report from the NAACP, utility company shut off policies disproportionately impact low-income and African American communities, literally leaving thousands in the dark, stranded in the cold during winter or severely impacted by sweltering summer temperatures.

With 2016 on record as the hottest year to date, and January of this year documented as the 3rdhottest January on record, many are looking at the coming summer and winter months with fear and dread regarding the potential for utility shut-offs, that leave a disproportionate number of African American and poor communities in the dark and out in the cold.

““The life-threatening fact that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, means climate change and global warming are painful household realities for those whose heat, air-conditioning and power are shut off. Dangerous and unnecessary shut offs in the sweltering heat and frigid cold disproportionately impact the poor, the elderly and communities of color,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks. “The measure of our great nation is not unreasoned and unrestrained profitability but rather reasoned solutions and unrestrained compassion for vulnerable populations. This report is inspired by such compassion and offers such solutions,” emphasized NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

The report issued by the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program (ECJP) shows lower income communities spend a greater portion of income on electricity and heating costs than high-income communities. African Americans are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-African Americans and spend a significantly higher fraction of their household income on electricity and heating as non-African Americans, who spend more on energy used in the production and consumption of goods.

Since African Americans make up a higher percentage of low-income households, their vulnerability to high energy prices and in turn utility disconnections is exacerbated at levels disproportionate to other groups due to rate hikes or swings in weather.

The NAACP’s ECJP in analyzing state policies concerning utility shut-offs, showed:

• customers with limited income bear a disproportionate burden of energy bills;
• disconnections have a disparate impact on low-income communities and communities of color;
• customers may be reliant on utility services for medical devices and life-supporting systems;
• vulnerable customers’ use of hazardous heating, cooling, and lighting measures can have harmful and even fatal results.

NAACP ECJP also highlights the inconsistencies in state shut-off polices, which makes it tougher to implement national utility reforms. States and the District of Columbia are uniform only in the fact that all are required to send out disconnection notices, yet:

• 7 states offer no payment plans to cure delinquency;
• 8 states have no medical protection policies on affecting disconnection of services;
• 11 states have no disconnection limitation polices;
• 14 states have no date-based protection policies. Date based – set specific dates of when customers cannot without due diligence be disconnected from a utility service;
• 28 states have no temperature-based policies: Meaning regardless of how cold it becomes, utilities can be shut-off;
• 11 states have no disconnection limitations; and
• 36 states have reconnection fees.

These inconsistencies in consumer protections result in thousands of individuals and families each year ending up with no heat or power in their homes during the worst of times.

Unfortunately, these numbers are slated to expand tremendously due to President Donald Trump’s proposed elimination of the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The elimination of LIHEAP would disparately impact over a million African Americans, and nearly 7 million Americans who utilize LIHEAP. 

SAMPLE ESTIMATES OF STATES AFFECTED BY ELIMINATING LIHEAP

 

Iowa – 85,777 households

Michigan – 623,549 households

Ohio – 454,520 households

Pennsylvania – 391,461 households

Wisconsin – 214,531 households

*Climate Nexus

“Caught between a rock and a hard place, low-income families across the country are often faced with tough choices between putting food on the table, paying for medicine and lighting and/or heating their homes.” said Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. “In researching this report, we’ve seen too many cases where poverty ends up being a death sentence when circumstances result in fatally perilous choices.

For Arizona native Amy Mays whose struggles with utility shut-off and path to energy independence are profiled in the report, new policies are needed immediately.

“We need these solutions sooner rather than later, because climate change is going to make these issues worse. Extreme weather events, like dangerously hot and cold days, are projected to increase as a result of climate change – stretching ratepayer’s pockets and putting them at even greater risk if their power is shut off. ”

The amount owed by low-income customers for unpaid utilities often has a minimal impact on company finances.

Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (First Energy) 2015-2016

Executive Base Salary    Total Compensation     Pay Increase

1  $ 1,118,558.00     $ 4,238,701.00         $ 3,120,143.00 

2 $ 636,154.00       $ 2,339,431.00          $ 1,703,277.00 

3 $ 510,231.00        $ 7,054,125.00          $ 6,543,894.00 

4 $ 752,789.00        $ 3,004,793.00         $ 2,252,004.00 

5 $ 599,176.00         $ 2,135,552.00          $ 1,536,376.00 

6 $ 552,404.00        $ 2,017,272.00          $ 1,464,868.00 

Total $ 4,169,312.00   $ 20,789,874.00   $  16,620,562.00 

A study of utility costs and spending in Cleveland, OH found that while customers with Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company who were facing disconnection owed nearly $12.3 million in unpaid bills between 2014 and 2015, the top executives for the same company were paid more than $16.6 million in performance bonuses.

Total Service Disconnections for Nonpayment

Jun 2014 – May 2015

Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company  14,594

Columbia Gas of Ohio  92,313

Dominion East Ohio  62,398

Orwell Natural Gas  $216

Total  169,521

SOLUTIONS

According to the NAACP, there are several solutions that can implemented by states and utilities to begin to decrease the impact of shut-offs among poor and communities of color. The solution strategy begins with the establishment of a universal right to uninterrupted energy service, which would ensure that provisions are in place to prevent utility disconnection due to non-payment and arrearages.

The NAACP ECJP also calls for a moratorium on utility shut-offs and calls for utility companies to incorporate a basic set of principles into their policies including:

• Secure ACCESS to utility services for all households;
• INCLUSION of all customers in the development of utility policies and regulations;
• TRANSPARENCY of the actions of and information held by utility companies, regulating bodies; legislatures, and utility affiliated organizations;
• PROTECTION of the human and civil rights of all customers; and
• Advance programs that help ELIMINATE POVERTY, so that all customers can pay utility bills.

“We can create more humane policies but it will involve a greater number of activists and individuals from communities disparately affected by cut-off policies,” said Jacqui Patterson.

“Through directly engaging elected officials, utility companies and local legislators, we can get the type of solutions listed in the report passed into law and in doing so change this nation for the better” she added.

Copies of the “Lights Out in the Cold” report can be found on our website at naacp.org

Click here or email mrussell@naacpnet.org

Shooting, Lack of Oversight Stain Chicago ICE Office

Posted by Admin On March - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

From: Latino Union.Org

Community organizations prepare mass meeting to Expand Sanctuary in Chicago

This week, an immigration agent under direction of Chicago ICE Director Ricardo Wong shot an unarmed man inside his home.  

Just days earlier, several residents who were racially profiled and wrongfully detained last August received notice that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is refusing to intervene in their case.The following are statements from local immigrant rights organizations in response:

Analía Rodríguez, Executive Director of Latino Union

“This shooting and the rejection of our racial profiling complaint are not a mistake – they are a direct result of the lawless, unaccountable group of agents that Wong has created. Communities of color need freedom and safety in our homes and workplaces. Instead, the Chicago ICE office is detaining men for nothing more than appearing to be Latino while waiting for work. ICE is not about public safety – it is a public danger.”

Organized Communities Against Deportations

“The Chicago ICE office and its director, Ricardo Wong, have repeatedly planned and executed violent raids in our homes and in our workplaces. They have rejected our racial profiling complaint proving yet again that Ricardo Wong’s ICE office has no accountability to the public, and offers no recourse to the people it targets. We will nevertheless continue to shed light on their abuses and organize our community to defend and protect each other. The City of Chicago must also take concrete steps to pass a Welcoming City ordinance with absolutely no carve outs. On April 8, dozens of local groups will gather for Expand Sanctuary in Chicago, a community action meeting about the campaign to expand sanctuary protections for all Chicagoans.”

Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassination Marked by New Level of Unity Among Labor, Black Lives Matter and Immigrant Rights Groups in Chicago

Posted by Admin On March - 29 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Under the rubric, “Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild,” a new Chicago coalition will host a Citywide teach-in the evening of April 4th at the headquarters of the Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Event will include speeches by local activists, a tribute to Dr. King’s commitment to racial and economic justice, information on organizing in other cities and music by the hip hop duo, Rebel Diaz.

More than 30 Chicago area labor and progressive organizations have been meeting on the south side since November to map a new plan of action to resist the current climate of xenophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant sentiments. We include Arab and Muslim organizations, LGBTQIA groups, immigrant rights groups, workers centers, low wage worker organizers, youth groups, grassroots and cultural workers from various communities, labor unions, women’s groups and Black Lives Matter organizations.

  • No deportations
  • No Muslim ban
  • No racist police violence
  • Yes to workers rights, living wage jobs, unionization and the Fight for 15
  • Yes to all rights for women and LGBTQIA people in our communities

This event will build for planned actions on May Day, in coordination with others, and as a part of a nationwide united front project called “Beyond the Moment,” initiated by the Movement for Black Lives and partner groups, which marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech where he condemned militarism and materialism and called for a “radical revolution of our values” as a nation. We will join the rally and march beginning in Union Park in Chicago on May 1 at 1:00 p.m.

All are welcome but registration is recommended: https://citywideteachin.eventbrite.com
Those interested can follow us on Facebook for more details and updates.
https://www.facebook.com/Resist-Reimagine-Rebuild-Chicago-717202298452091/

Lies, Threats, Debt Collection: Tale of a Few Cities

Posted by Admin On March - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

When a debt collector harasses and threatens you, it can be downright distressing – and illegal.

The FTC announced a complaint and settlement with American Municipal Services Corporation (AMS), which collects debts for cities and towns. The FTC alleges AMS made false threats and misrepresentations to get people to pay, and under the terms of the settlement, they’ll have to stop. The FTC says AMS threatened people would be arrested, have their driver’s licenses suspended, have their vehicles impounded, and have their debts reported to credit bureaus. Using names like “Warrant Enforcement Division,” AMS made people think these letters came directly from government authorities, according to the FTC.

But the FTC says AMS broke the law when collecting those debts. AMS had no power to jail people, nor did they actually know whether municipalities really intended to do so. In addition to stopping these deceptive and illegal acts, the order requires AMS to give up collection fees obtained using these tactics.

Under federal law, debt collectors cannot:

  • falsely claim to be law enforcement officers
  • falsely claim you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay
  • threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your assets — unless they legally can and intend to do so
  • give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company
  • use a fake company name

If it’s a personal or household debt, it’s illegal for debt collectors to:

  • call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • contact you at work if you’ve told them verbally or in writing that your employer doesn’t allow such calls
  • contact a third party about you for any reason other than getting your contact information
  • harass you or anyone else they contact about you

Learn more about your rights when facing debt collection.

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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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