Outmigration: Only District 6 Retains Its Black Population

By Chris Roberts Wednesday, Mar 14 2012

San Francisco’s Boom 2.0 is in real estate as well as technology. While some of the condominium high-rises built in South of Market over the last decade remain half-full, new construction continues, and more residential skyscrapers are planned. This makes District 6 — which includes SOMA, South Beach and Mission Bay — the city’s most populous and most densely populated.

District 6 is also the city’s lone exception to a troubling sociological phenomenon. African-American residents continue to vacate San Francisco, with the city’s black population shrinking from 60,000 in 2000 to 48,000 in 2010, according to census figures — a decrease of 20 percent. But there’s no such exodus in District 6, where 15 percent of the city’s overall black population now lives, up from 10 percent in 2000. And that figure grows if you include residents who identify as black and another race.

Fred Noland

But that doesn’t mean these newcomers are moving on up next to Joe Montana and Willie Brown in SOMA high-rises: Many are instead moving into SROs in the Tenderloin and along the Sixth Street corridor. The city’s Skid Row — and Treasure Island in the bay, also counted as District 6 — houses 5,421 of the district’s 7,500 black people. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out why,” says Rev. Amos Brown, the pastor of Third Street Baptist Church and president of the local chapter of the NAACP.

“I don’t think it’s by choice,” said organizer Macio Lyons, who sits on the city’s Osiris Coalition, a council of black leaders. “They’re getting in where they can get in.” According to a pair of reports on this issue, the African-Americans moving to the Tenderloin are either poor, just out of jail, or without the support of family or community structures. The unemployment rate for black San Franciscans is double that of non-blacks even in boom years, which is partially why the median income for blacks is about half that of whites.

A staggering 14 percent of black men have been arrested for a felony; with the black middle class long since fled to Vallejo or Antioch, the families who stay often take public or subsidized housing, which isn’t open to people with a criminal record. That leaves the TL, with its cheap or city-subsidized rooms operated by nonprofits or slumlords.

What stings the most is that this is nothing new: One of the reports, on economic disparity, was published in 1993; the other, dealing with the crisis of outmigration, was released in 2009. Both identified jobs and education as key issues.

To its credit, Mayor Ed Lee’s administration addressed jobs in the Tenderloin with one of his very first moves in office, but economic benefits from the much-ballyhooed Twitter tax break have yet to trickle down to black residents, who “are not tied into the economic pipeline of this city,” said Sharen Hewitt, a longtime organizer and activist for Visitacion Valley’s notorious Sunnydale housing projects, who sat on the task force that created the outmigration report.

If the city’s current leadership can figure it out, it will have solved a problem that dates to the 1960s. And if it can’t? “The endgame,” Hewitt said, “is total removal,” for which the TL and District 6 are merely a way station.

Voter registration policy may depress minority participation in electoral politics

An article released by Social Forces indicates that voter identification requirements have a substantially negative impact on the voting of all groups except for Asians. Particularly strong negative effects are seen for Blacks and Hispanics: a decrease in voting by 18 percent and 22 percent respectively. Even Whites show dampened turnout associated with voter ID policies. Yet for Asians, strikingly, voter ID has the opposite effect, boosting turnout by nearly 30 percent. This is an intriguing instance in which Asian participation patterns markedly differ from that of other groups.

The authors of the article, Brown University Professor of Sociology, John R. Logan, Jennifer Darrah and Sookhee Oh, use  data in federal election years from 1996 through 2004 for this study to examine voter registration and voting. It shows that racial/ in socio-economic resources and rootedness in the community do not explain overall group differences in electoral participation. It contradicts the expectation from an assimilation perspective that low levels of Latino participation are partly attributable to the large share of immigrants among . In fact net differences show higher average Latino participation than previously reported. This research was sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation.

The authors have shown that all else equal, Blacks register and vote at higher rates than Whites. Among the largely  with lower levels of participation, Latinos register and vote at higher rates than . Unexpectedly, though, they showed that these group differences are conditional on nativity, because among immigrants Latinos participate more than either Whites or Asians and almost as much as Blacks. The study indicates that, “Although there has been speculation that the high share of immigrants in the voting-eligible Latino and Asian populations could help to explain their lower political participation, the impact of nativity is not uniform across groups and does not account for the differences between groups in participation . . . Race, Hispanic origin and immigration status apparently combine to produce distinctive collective influences on people’s understanding of the political system and their engagement in it.” Their results confirm that Latino and White participation were boosted, but only for registration and surprisingly with the opposite effect on voting. Minority political representation (our measure of co-ethnic public officials in the metropolitan region) is a related factor, and they found strong positive effects for Blacks along with some evidence that there may be an effect also for Latinos. Although the direction of causality in this finding is not certain and the Asian results run in the opposite direction, these findings should encourage further efforts to bring measures of group-based organizational activity into analysis of individual political behavior.

Number of US Hate Groups Is Rising, Report Says

by: Kim Severson, The New York Times News Service | Report
Atlanta – Fed by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the economic rift between rich and poor, the number of so-called hate groups and antigovernment organizations in the nation has continued to grow, according to a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The center, which has kept track of such groups for 30 years, recorded 1,018 hate groups operating last year.

The number of groups whose ideology is organized against specific racial, religious, sexual or other characteristics has risen steadily since 2000, when 602 were identified, the center said. Antigay groups, for example, have risen to 27 from 17 in 2010.

The report also described a “stunning” rise in the number of groups it identifies as part of the so-called patriot and militia movements, whose ideologies include deep distrust of the federal government.

In 2011, the center tracked 1,274 of those groups, up from 824 the year before.

“They represent both a kind of right-wing populist rage and a left-wing populist rage that has gotten all mixed up in anger toward the government,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the author of the report.

The center, based in Montgomery, Ala., records only groups that are active, meaning that the groups are registering members, passing out fliers, protesting or showing other signs of activity beyond maintaining a Web site.

The Occupy movement is not on the list because its participants as a collective do not meet the center’s criteria for an extremist group, he said.

Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests

Published: March 6, 2012

Black students, especially boys, face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students, according to new data from the Department of Education.

Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.

One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.

“Education is the civil rights of our generation,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a telephone briefing with reporters on Monday. “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.”

The department began gathering data on civil rights and education in 1968, but the project was suspended by the Bush administration in 2006. It has been reinstated and expanded to examine a broader range of information, including, for the first time, referrals to law enforcement, an area of increasing concern to civil rights advocates who see the emergence of a school-to-prison pipeline for a growing number of students of color.

According to the schools’ reports, over 70 percent of the students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black.

Israel raids West Bank TV stations

Israeli troops have raided two Palestinian television stations in the West Bank, seizing transmitters and other equipment. The Palestinian PM denounced the operation, calling it “an oppressive and monstrous” move which violates “all international laws.”

Thirty Israeli soldiers took part in Wednesday’s pre-dawn raid which targeted the privately-owned al-Watan TV outlet. The Israeli military accused the broadcaster of interfering with legal broadcasters and aircraft communications, AP reports.

The operation also targeted Jerusalem Educational TV, which is owned by the Palestinian Al Quds University.  No reason was given for the second raid.

Both stations are based in Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority.

Visiting al-Watan later in the day, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the operation was nothing short of “an attack against what is left of the Palestinian Authority’s status in the West Bank.”

His comments apparently refer to Israel’s tightening grip over the territories’ overall security.

Fayyad further called on international Mideast mediators to make Israel stop initiating such raids.

A Palestinian NGO director and legislator Mustafa Barghouti believes the raid was connected with the station’s regular reports on Palestinian demonstrations against Israeli actions in the West Bank.

“This is an act of repression of the freedom of the media in Palestine, and of repression of the popular resistance that we believe in,” Barghouti said.

Did the NYPD’s Spying on Muslims Violate the Law?

Did the NYPD’s Spying on Muslims Violate the Law?


by Justin Elliott ProPublica

Last August, the Associated Press launched a series detailing how the New York Police Department has extensively investigated Muslims in New York and other states, including preparing reports on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses, apparently without any suspicion of crimes being committed.

The propriety and legality of the NYPD’s activities is under dispute. Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who claimed last year that the NYPD does not focus on religion and only follows threats or leads – is now arguing that, as he said last week, “Everything the NYPD has done is legal, it is appropriate, it is constitutional.” Others disagree. In fact, Bloomberg himself signed a law in 2004 prohibiting profiling by law enforcement based on religion.

This week, Attorney General Eric Holder told a congressional committee the Justice Department is reviewing whether to investigate potential civil rights violations by the NYPD.

To get a better understanding of the rules governing the NYPD – and whether the department has followed them in its surveillance of Muslims – we spoke to Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center at NYU Law School.

The NYPD did not respond to our request for comment about allegations it has violated the law.

So Mayor Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly say everything that the NYPD did was legal and constitutional. Other people have disagreed – Newark Mayor Cory Booker, for example, said the wholesale surveillance of a community without suspicion of a crime “clearly crosses a line.” What restrictions is the NYPD operating under?

They are operating under at least three sets of rules. The first and most basic set of rules is the consent decree from the Handschu case – the so-called Handschu guidelines. This was a 1970s-era political surveillance case that was settled through a consent decree. The NYPD had been conducting surveillance of a number of political groups in the 60s and 70s. The initial consent decree regulated the NYPD’s collection of intelligence about political activity. It first said the NYPD can only collect intelligence about political activity if it follows certain rules. For example, the NYPD had to get clearance from something called the Handschu authority, which was a three-member board that consisted of two high-level police officials and one civilian appointed by the mayor.

Then, post-9/11 the NYPD went to court and asked a judge to review the consent decree because they wanted to have greater freedom in their counter-terrorism operations. What they wound up doing was adopting guidelines based on the FBI’s guidelines from 2003, issued by Attorney General John Ashcroft. These were different in several important ways. The first was that there was no pre-clearance, at all. There was no requirement that the NYPD get approval from the Handschu authority before they undertook any intel gathering about political activity. The second was that the guidelines explicitly say the NYPD can attend any public event or gathering on the same basis as another member of the public. So if I can go to a church, the NYPD can go to a church. But it goes on to say that the NYPD can’t retain the information it gathers from going to such public events unless it is connected to suspected criminal or terrorist activity.

So if you look at, say, the NYPD’s guide to Newark’s Muslim community obtained and published by the AP – which maps out mosques and Muslim-owned businesses without mentioning and suspicions of crimes – aren’t the police retaining exactly this kind of information?

There are a couple of documents that suggest they may have violated Handschu. For example, the [2006 NYPD report] on the Danish cartoon controversy, which is a collection of statements in mosques and other places that have been taken down by undercover officers or confidential informants.

What are the other rules the NYPD operates under?

The second set is that the NYPD has a profiling order in place, and New York City also has a racial profiling law. They are slightly different. The NYPD order [issued in 2002] does not include religion among the categories that they define as profiling. But the New York City lawdoes. It prohibits police officers from relying on race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin as a determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action. Normally you have quite a difficult time in racial profiling cases showing they’ve used one of these factors as the determinative factor. In this case, if you look at the documents, it seems quite clear that the NYPD had its eyes quite firmly on the Muslim community. So it’s possible it is also in violation of this law.

The third set of rules is, of course, the U.S. and the New York state constitutions. Within the Constitution you’re looking at least two broad categories of provisions – potential First Amendment claims for free speech, freedom of association, and free exercise of religion. The other piece of it would be potential equal protection claims.

There was another AP story this week reporting that a bunch of federal grant money and equipment used as part of surveillance and investigation of the Muslim community. Does that muddy the legal questions about whether they were following federal rules as well?

The federal program that was giving them money is the HIDTA program – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. It’s geared toward providing funds to combat drug trafficking. HIDTA itself does allow for counter-terrorism spending to be an incidental purpose. It requires the HIDTA Executive Board to basically make sure that funds were being used for the purposes that they were supposed to be used for. So I think there’s a real issue about accountability and oversight of the use of HIDTA funds here.

So if the NYPD did potentially violate the Handschu guidelines and city law you mentioned, what are the penalties?

Well the Handschu lawyers already went to court last year and told the judge that the documents that had been released by the AP suggested that there had been violations of the Handschu decree. They asked for discovery so they could check the files of the NYPD to see whether they had violated the prohibition on keeping dossiers. I believe that that discovery will likely be starting soon. So there’s clearly a remedy through the Handschu mechanism. Because it’s a consent decree, it’s an ongoing thing. The judge has supervisory jurisdiction. There are also issues under the racial profiling law and under the First Amendment.

We’ve also turned to the question of oversight. The FBI, for all its faults, does have a fair amount of oversight – an inspector general internally and congressional oversight. We think a similar thing would be a great idea for the NYPD.

Whites More Likely to Be Drug Addicts Than Blacks; So Why Do Racial Drug Stereotypes Persist?

The racial undertones that permeate the discussion of Whitney Houston’s death are trading on the stereotype that most drug abusers are black — which simply isn’t true.

Since Whitney Houston’s death from circumstances still undetermined, the media attention on drug abuse, alcohol and addiction has exploded. Houston, whose career spanned three decades during which she garnered numerous awards and is still the only artist to score seven consecutive Billboard number one hits, reportedly had a history of drug and alcohol problems that news commentators have highlighted in their reporting about the continued impact of legal and illegal drugs. But the way some commentators have discussed Houston’s death has exposed the extent to which racial stereotypes still color national discourse.

On Fox, criticizing Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters’ comments that House Republicans are “demons,” Eric Bolling said: “What is going on in California? How’s this? Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe. Step away from the Xanax. Step away from the Lorazepam. Because it’s going to get you in trouble.” Bolling later said he was “kidding about the crack pipe,” adding, “but obviously the rhetoric, you know.”

Bolling’s colleague and co-host, Andrea Tantaros, dismissed the criticism over Bolling’s racially charged comments, asking, “How is that a racist remark?” She went on to say: “I believe that white people are also addicted to crack, not just blacks. And if I’m not mistaken, Whitney Houston, who was a beautiful, talented singer, was addicted to crack….When you inject race into everything, you legitimize when people are actually, really, genuinely making racist remarks, which Eric Bolling was absolutely not doing.” She further stated:

TANTAROS: On the other hand, Maxine Waters decides to call Speaker [John] Boehner and [Rep.] Eric Cantor “demons.” OK. I don’ t see how that’s acceptable. I’m not going to inject race somehow and say she doesn’t like white people. I wouldn’t do that. … I’m just so sick and tired of people injecting race and people injecting gender and people injecting religion into this debate. I’m just sick of it — really am. And Eric Bolling meant nothing by it.

The L.A. County Democratic Party has called on Fox to fire Bolling. As the Los Angeles Times reported, chairman Eric C. Bauman called Bolling’s remarks “insensitive and inappropriate” and a “horribly offensive characterization of a longtime member of Congress.” Bauman added: “At worst … Bolling’s comment oozes racism, which serves to discredit a strong African American woman by perpetrating racial stereotypes. Regardless of whether this remark was deliberate or offhand — it was irresponsible, despicable and reprehensible.”

Bloomberg stands by spying on Muslims

Michael Bloomberg (Reuters / Mary Altaffer / Pool)

Michael Bloomberg (Reuters / Mary Altaffer / Pool)

TAGS: ReligionScandalLawUSAPolice


Next time you’re searching for solace as you settle in for a good night’s sleep, discount any fears and phobias you may have and instead find warmth in the reassuring certainty that, no matter where you are in America, the NYPD is watching over.

Responding to the recent discovery that the New York Police Department dispatched officers across the northeast United States to conduct surveillance on Muslim-Americans, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending allegations of profiling. While Muslim advocacy groups across the US are crying foul at the NYPD’s practice of not just racially and religiously profiling — but doing so well out of their jurisdiction — Mayor Bloomberg explains that the rest of the world should be thankful for the department’s (very) long arm of the law.

Never mind the boundaries between New York City and the rest of the world, Mayor Bloomberg now says that it is the NYPD’s duty to “keep this country safe,” no matter where it takes them. This statement comes in the aftermath of an investigation revealed by the AP last week that linked the NYPD to conducting surveillance of Muslim students and faculties at over a dozen colleges across the northeast United States, including the University at Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League institute Yale.

Previously the AP had unearthed documentation that linked a top-secret “Demographics Unit” within the NYPD to conducting clandestine surveillance on Muslims in the Greater New York City region. Files obtained by the AP showed that a CIA operative oversaw the unit, which dispatched undercover officers to Muslim-majority neighborhoods throughout the area, even sending some patrolmen abroad to investigate leads. In these instances, it is believed that the NYPD regularly acted not on news tips, but instead as a preemptive measure to make sure Islamic terrorists did not use masques, community centers or even local delicatessens as sleeper cells to recruit radicals and train would-be criminals. The latest findings reveal that the NYPD spied on students and staff members of American universities after linking them to Muslim academic groups.

As Muslim-Americans come out to oppose the latest revelations, Bloomberg defends the practice. According to remarks made Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library by Bloomberg, the NYPD knows no bounds when it comes to racial and religious profiling.

“The police department goes where there are allegations, and they look to see whether those allegations are true” Bloomberg explains. “That’s what you’d expect them to do. That’s what you’d want them to do. Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight.”

For those that are now making do with whether or not they were the subjects of NYPD surveillance, they seem to think otherwise. Several of the universities and colleges linked to the latest development have publically condemned allegations of surveillance, but despite this the NYPD and Bloomberg himself insist they were in the right.

Israel To Demolish Palestinian Solar Energy Program

West BankVia Common Dreams:

A sustainable energy program in ‘Area C’ of rural West Bank is being threatened by Israeli authorities. The program, which recently installed solar panels and wind turbines in 16 communities, is providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity — who were formerly without reliable energy.

The foreign aid program, thus far successful, has become a new target for Israel as it threatens to demolish the structures that supposedly lie within Israeli ‘administration’.

Der Spiegel reports:

The best part is when the lights in the tents go on, one by one, says Elad Orian. Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines. Since then, such facilities have been installed in 16 communities, providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity. […]

The success, though, could soon be a thing of the past. Israel has threatened to tear them down with five municipalities in recent weeks having received “stop work” orders the first step on the road to demolition. The problem is that the facilities are in the so-called Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank and is administered by Israel. Permission from the Israelis is a requirement before construction projects can move ahead — and permits are almost never given to Palestinians. […]

More on Common Dreams

New York Police Caught Monitoring Muslim Student Groups Throughout Northeast

by: Amy Goodman, Democracy NOW! | Video Report

The Associated Press has revealed the New York City Police Department monitored Muslim college students at schools throughout the Northeast, including Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. In one case, the NYPD sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York, where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed. We speak to one of the students on the trip, Jawad Rasul. He is the only student who was under surveillance to now publicly speak out about his experience. “[This is] hurting NYPD’s try and attempt at finding homegrown terrorism, because these kind of tactics actually create more hatred towards them and the other law-enforcement agencies and really destroys the trust that any youth might have developed with the government,” Rasul said. We’re also joined by Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is calling for a state probe into the spying on Muslims.