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CA General Becerra Opposes Trump’s Travel Ban at U.S. Supreme Court

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the Trump Administration’s effort to impose a travel ban on people from predominantly Muslim countries, which has been rejected by several lower courts since it was first announced in January.

In the brief, Attorney General Becerra and 15 of his fellow attorneys general argue the Court should rule against the Administration because of the overwhelming and unrebutted evidence of anti-Muslim animus; the lack of a genuine national security rationale; and the significant harms the ban would cause the states, their residents and their institutions.

“Months after thousands of people filled airports opposing Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim and un-American travel ban, the Supreme Court could soon put an end to this disgraceful period in our country’s history,” said Becerra.

“My fellow attorneys general and I believe our nation’s highest Court will confirm the ban is unconstitutional,” he said. “We’ve fought this blatantly discriminatory ban all the way to the Supreme Court because it does not represent who we are as a country.”

Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, upheld an injunction on President Trump’s travel ban, saying the executive order, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

In April, Attorney General Becerra joined a coalition of 17 states filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to support the preliminary injunction obtained by the state of Hawaii which bars enforcement of unconstitutional provisions of the Trump Administration’s revised executive order on travel.

A copy of this week’s filings is available at oag.ca.gov/news.

Community

City Wins Case Against Local Real Estate Empire for Systemic Tenants’ Rights Violations

The September 1 decision represents a significant triumph for the city in a case brought several years ago against the owners of a prominent local real estate empire for systematically violating the rights of tenants at buildings their family companies own. 

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Barbara Parker

Alameda County Superior Court issued its final Statement of Decision and Permanent Injunction After Trial in People of the State of California and the City of Oakland v. Dodg Corporation, et al., a major win for the city in a case against a local real estate empire for systemic tenants’ rights violations.

The September 1 decision represents a significant triumph for the city in a case brought several years ago against the owners of a prominent local real estate empire for systematically violating the rights of tenants at buildings their family companies own. 

Not only must the defendants now comply with tenant protection and health and safety laws at all of their properties, but they owe the city and their former tenants significant redress, including financial penalties to the city and compensation to tenants, for their years of unlawful activity.

Said City Attorney Barbara Parker, “Victory in this case means that tenants in Oakland do not have to choose between their fundamental rights and having a roof over their head at any cost. No longer will businesses like Dodg Corporation be able to run roughshod over the people relying on them for shelter, and no longer will landlords feel the same impunity to outright ignore their legal obligations under our local laws.”

When the City Attorney’s Office brought the Dodg Corp. case in 2019, Oakland had long been facing an unprecedented housing crisis. By 2019, the housing crisis was disproportionately impacting low-income households, with nearly half of rental households in Oakland being rent-burdened (i.e., the household spends over 30% of its gross monthly income on rent).

Because of the skyrocketing rents, many low- and middle-income Oakland residents lived and still live under threat of displacement.

Prior to filing the case, the City Attorney’s Office had already worked with members of the City Council and the Mayor’s Office to pass various important laws focusing on protecting Oakland residents, particularly low- and middle-income residents. 

The City Attorney’s Office worked closely with the Council to adopt the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) in 2014, which was amended in 2020 to strengthen the TPO’s protections. But for some abusive landlords, neither the 2014 TPO nor its recent amendments were enough to stop their illegal activities.

For years, the defendants in the Dodg Corp. case owned and operated approximately 60 residential rental properties in the City of Oakland (and owned at least 70 more properties in the city). The lawsuit addressed their flagrant disregard for the letter and spirit of the law with respect to six specific rental properties, where the defendants subjected Oakland residents to grave health and safety risks. 

The owners’ activities included renting units in substandard conditions — including units never intended or approved for residential use — to tenants who were predominantly low-income immigrants, among them tenants whose primary language is not English. 

This predatory business model allowed the owners to profit from renting uninhabitable or dilapidated units, including units that posed severe and imminent fire risks, to tenants who were desperate to find affordable housing and who often lacked the resources to take legal action to defend their rights. 

When tenants were displaced from their homes because their units were so unsafe, the owners further violated the law by neglecting to make relocation payments required by local law, according to a media release from the City Attorney’s Office. 

The case went to trial in early April of this year. In its September 1 decision, the court held that the defendant corporate entities and individual defendants Baljit Singh Mann and Surinder K. Mann exhibited a pattern and practice of violating the Tenant Protection Ordinance, and did so in bad faith, and that they created a public nuisance.

The verdict requires that defendants pay the City over $3.9 million in civil penalties for their egregious violations of tenants’ rights. Defendants must also provide long-overdue relocation payments to the dozens of tenants unlawfully displaced from the six properties at issue in this case. 

Going forward, defendants also may not operate any of their Oakland-owned residential properties in violation of local or state laws. This means the owners must promptly and competently address existing and future violations that jeopardize the well-being of their tenants.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Community

The Arc of Support for People with Disabilities in Stockton

The importance of support for those with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities to lead independent lives is something that a Stockton non-profit organization called The Arc San Joaquin works every day to make a reality

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The Arc California Logo, Photo courtesy of Organization’s website.

The importance of support for those with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities to lead independent lives is something that a Stockton non-profit organization called The Arc San Joaquin works every day to make it a reality.

What began as a grassroots organization in 1954 grew into one of 700 state and local chapters with the same desire to advocate for the rights of individuals that fall into these categories to fully participate in life.

The Arc’s two central programs include their Employment Program and an Adult Day Program. Arc’s employment program helps individuals determine their career interests, goals, and connect them with jobs within their ability. Further, their Adult Day Program addresses an individual’s behavioral, physical, and mental capabilities and provides them with the skills and training to live successful lives.

The Arc San Joaquin is located at 41 W. Yokuts Ave. Stockton, Calif, 95207. Their hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information on programs and services, ways to donate, or how to get involved, you can contact their direct line at (209) 955-1625 or visit their website. For frequent updates you may also follow their newsletter, Facebook, or Instagram.

All information directly sourced from https://www.thearcsj.org/

The Stockton Post’s coverage of local news in San Joaquin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Coronavirus

Gov. Newsom Praises Economy, Second Stimulus Payments as Rivals Step Up Attacks

Californians are scheduled to start receiving their second stimulus payment on Sept. 1, two weeks before California’s gubernatorial recall election. 

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Gov. Newsom/Photo Courtesy CBM

Californians are scheduled to start receiving their second stimulus payment on Sept. 1, two weeks before California’s gubernatorial recall election. 

All California households that receive the state’s earned income tax credit qualify for the one-time payments. 

The state has provided a detailed guide, that readers can access at https://www.ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/golden-state-stimulus/gss-ii-estimator.html explaining who qualifies for these payments and how much residents can expect.

Gov. Newsom praised the support being provided to Californians last week that he says is being funded from federal recovery assistance and the state’s budget surplus. 

“Round 2 of Golden State Stimulus checks start to go out this week! Two out of three Californians are eligible for $600 or more — we’re putting money directly back into the pockets of those that need it most,” the governor tweeted.

But his Republican opponents running to replace him in the recall election continued to attack the governor’s leadership on issues other than the economy, including homelessness, housing affordability, taxes and what they view as his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle and NBC’s Sacramento affiliate KCRA hosted a debate featuring four of the candidates vying to replace Newsom: Republicans Kevin Falconer, former mayor of San Diego, Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and businessman John Cox and Democrat and real estate investor Kevin Paffrath. 

“This state is a mismanaged mess. His pandemic management was an inconsistent disaster,” Cox said, referring to Gov. Newsom during the debate. 

“We don’t have water. We live in fear of fires. Crime is rising. Housing prices are out of sight,” added Cox, a businessman who supports expanding oil and gas exploration in California. “Taxes are out of sight. The homeless problem has only gotten worse. We’ve got to stop with these politicians and celebrities and get a businessman in there.”

The disbursement total for the second round of Golden State Stimulus payments (or GSS II) will be about $12 billion and is funded by California’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan budget.

California currently has the largest economy in the country and a budget surplus of $75.7 billion, according to the governor. 

$276 million, or 0.4%, of the surplus is being used to fund the recall election.

Gov. Newsom boasted about the budget surplus and the upcoming stimulus checks in an announcement last week.

“I am incredibly proud of California’s economic recovery. Close to an $80 billion operating surplus and that’s afforded us an opportunity to do something no other state in U.S. history has ever done. And that’s provide over $12 billion of tax rebates.”

In this round of stimulus payments, California residents with one or more dependents could be eligible to receive $1,100. 

Undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and earn below $75,000 a year will also receive the payments. 

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