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High Court Rejects Appeal from Subcontractor Freed from Cuba

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In this Dec. 17, 2014 file photo, Alan Gross speaking during a news conference at his lawyer’s office in Washington.  Gross, who returned home last month after spending five years imprisoned in Cuba, will have a prime viewing spot for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address: a seat near first lady Michelle Obama.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In this Dec. 17, 2014 file photo, Alan Gross speaking during a news conference at his lawyer’s office in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a former government subcontractor seeking to sue the U.S. government for negligence over his five-year imprisonment in Cuba.

The justices on Monday let stand a federal appeals court ruling that threw out Alan Gross’ $60 million lawsuit blaming the federal government for failing to prepare him for the risks of working in Cuba.

Gross was freed in December as the U.S. announced it would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. He was working as a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor in Cuba when he was arrested in 2009.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last year that the U.S. government is immune from claims arising in a foreign country.

In a separate case, Gross received $3.2 million in December from the federal government as part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company he worked for at the time of his arrest.

The USAID said it paid Gross to settle claims pending before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals for unanticipated claims under a cost-reimbursement contract with Development Alternatives Inc. of Bethesda, Maryland.

The USAID said the settlement was not an admission of liability, but was intended to avoid the costs and risks of further legal proceedings.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Commentary

First in a Series on Jobs in Oakland. City Government; Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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High Quality stock aerial photos of downtown Oakland with Lake Merritt in the foreground.

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.

The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.

Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”

Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.

And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.

And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.

As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.

Oakland, we can do  better than this.

We must.

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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Black History

BlackHistoryEveryday.com

Springfield Race Riot of 1908, Sixteen people died. $150,000 in property damage. The riot was a catalyst of the formation of the NAACP. The population of Springfield, Illinois was 45,000 at that time.

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9/22/2021: Carl Bean 1944-2021 singer and founder Unity Fellowship Church Movement, Black LGBT denomination.

9/15/2021: Black Theatre United “. . . stand[s] together to help protect Black people, Black talent and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country.”

9/08/2021: Alliance for Digital Equality (Julius Hollis founder) was a “non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities.”

8/25/2021: Eugene Williams first victim at age 17, by being stoned and drowned on July 27, 1919, during “Red Summer” of 1919 race riot in Chicago.

8/18/2021: Springfield Race Riot of 1908, Sixteen people died. $150,000 in property damage. The riot was a catalyst of the formation of the NAACP. The population of Springfield, Illinois was 45,000 at that time.

8/11/2021: Enslaved Africans politically correct term coined for slaves who landed on the now U.S. shores in 1619.

8/4/2021: Trini Ross nominated to lead the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of New York based in Buffalo, if confirmed she will be the first Black woman to head that office.

7/28/2021: Kimberly Drew born 1990 art curator and writer. Former Metropolitan Museum social media manager.

7/21/2021: Ketanji Brown Jackson born 1970, in 2021 elevated by Biden to U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. and is a contender to be the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

7/14/2021: Mary Ellen Pleasant 1814 – 1904 “The Mother of Civil (or Human) Rights in California.” Also a chef.

7/7/2021:  Florence Price 1887-1953 first Black woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.

6/30/2021: Skylar Heath, 20, Black transgender woman shot and killed in Miami, FL in November 20, 2020.

6/23/2021: Dior H Ova (aka Tiffany Harris), 32,  Black transgender woman, killed July 26, 2020 in Bronx, NY.

6/16/2021: Danika “Danny” Henson, 31, Black transgender woman shot and killed May 4. 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

6/9/2021: Alexus Braxton, 45, Black transgender woman aka Kimmy Icon Braxton, killed on 2/4/2021 in Miami, Florida.

6/2/2021: Serenity Hollis, 24, Black transgender woman shot and killed May 8, 2021 in Albany, Georgia.

5/26/2021: Cassie Ventura born in 1986 is a Black and Filipino singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer.

5/19/2021: Naomi Campbell born 1970. British actress, business woman and model of Afro-Jamaican and Chinese-Jamaican descent.

5/12/2021: George Maxwell Richards 1931-2018, first president of Trinidad and Tobago to be of Amerindian (and Chinese) descent.

5/5/2021: Marabou is Haitian and means mixed-race including European, African, Taíno and South Asian.

4/28/2021:  Thelma Harper 1940 – 2021.  First Black woman elected to the Tennessee legislature in 1989.

4/21/2021:  Baby Esther born Esther Lee Jones 1918 – 1921, date of death unknown.  Singer and child entertainer in the 1920s.

4/14/2021: Tishaura O. Jones born March 10. 1972, first Black woman mayor of St. Louis, MO in April 2021.

4/7/2021: Something Good—Negro Kiss 1898 first recorded kiss between Black folks on film.

3/31/2021:  Jayla Roxx first transgender woman of color to launch a beauty brand, “BatMe! Cosmetics” in the United States.

3/24/2021:  Nnenna Stella founded The Wrap Life out of her exploration of her individuality and the wraps are for everyone.

3/17/2021:  Maia Chaka first Black woman to officiate in the NFL.

3/10/2021:  Sheila Edwonna Branford 1/27/1960 – 1/29/2021  created Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

3/3/2021:  Katrina Adams born 8/5/1968. First Black president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

1/27/2021: Calendly is a Black owned scheduling app.

 

more facts log onto BlackHistoryEveryday.com

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City Government

California Black Caucus Weighs in on Elections for L.A. Sheriff, Sacramento D.A.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Patrol Car

The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently endorsed two African American candidates, Alana Mathews and Cecil Rhambo, who are running in high-profile county races in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties next year.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

“The California Legislative Black Caucus proudly endorses Alana Mathews” said Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We are excited about the potential opportunity for her to bring equity, fairness, inclusion and reform to the prosecutor’s seat.”

If Mathews wins, she would be the first Black person and the first Black woman elected D.A. in Sacramento County.

The CLBC’s endorsement was “welcome news” for Mathews, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento) and Spelman College (Atlanta).

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements from the Black leaders in California. I admire the work that they all do,” Mathews told California Black Media (CBM) on September 18 as she headed to a campaign event. “This is a significant endorsement as we seek more on the local and state levels.”

In Los Angeles County, the CLBC announced its support for Cecil Rhambo, who is running for County Sheriff. That contest will also be held in June 2022.

Rhambo is currently Chief of Airport Police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Chief Cecil Rhambo

Citing Rhambo’s 33-year record as a “respected” public servant, broad law enforcement experience and active involvement in Los Angeles-area communities, the CLBC says it believes Rhambo can help reduce crime in South LA and Compton.

“I’ve known Cecil for many years and as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am confident he would be the Sheriff all of LA could be proud of,” said Bradford. “I know he is the right person to lead the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department during this state and national demand for police reform and accountability, and I trust his commitment to bringing desperately-needed transparency, equity, and integrity to the Department.”

Rhambo helped to develop the Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focuses on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, and the mental health response teams that partnered with psych clinicians county-wide, according to the CLBC.

Rhambo has worked in a number of law enforcement assignments across LA County, including working as an undercover narcotics officer and a deputized federal agent.

He was a lieutenant at Internal Affairs following the Rodney King beating in March 1991. In that role, he helped to create a digital tracking system that could monitor reports of police officer misconduct and use of excessive force.

District attorney candidate Mathews plans to “roll out” more endorsements from other individuals and groups in the upcoming weeks, she told CBM.

Anne Marie Schubert, a former member of the Republican Party, is currently Sacramento’s D.A. Schubert already announced that she has her sights on the Attorney General’s seat in the 2022 election and that she would be running against Rob Bonta who Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed to that role in March.

Mathews spent eight years as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento County, working her way up from misdemeanor jury trials to prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, general felony, and prison crime cases.

She currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of prosecutors committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance public safety, human dignity, and community well-being.

Other races to watch involving challengers of color during the 2022 election cycle include contests for Alameda County district attorney and San Francisco sheriff. Civil rights attorney Pamela Price will run in an open field as current District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is stepping down. And a 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, officer JoAnn Walker, will vie for incumbent Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s seat.

On the campaign trail in Sacramento County, Mathews says she believes working with police is “central” to the D.A. office’s work “but there has been little to no accountability in that office when it comes to police misconduct.”

She wants to change that.

“If you violate the law, you should be held accountable. Without that it undermines trust in the system,” she said.

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