Sunday June 27, 1999
All America City, Not.
Fresno activists disappointed again.
By Edward Davidian, Staff Writer
FRESNO - Christopher T. Gates, president of the National Civic League announced today those cities winning the title, All-America City. Fresno, California was not on the short-list, again. However, Stockton, and Union City, California were. Others like Tallahassee, Florida, Wichita, Kansas, Shreveport, Lousiana, Lowell, Massachusetts, Tupelo, Mississippi, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Greater Green Bay, Wisconsin, were.
The 50th annual All-America City awards, a National Civic League and Allstate Insurance production showcased a fundamental characteristic of all-americanism, these days seems to be, grassroots community involvement and problem-solving, qualities and strengths Fresno lacks, apparently.
Fresno was not the only municipal delegation to be disappointed this year. Thirty other finalist trotted out their City Hall officials, neighborhood activists, business leaders and community volunteers traveled to Philadelphia in hearings before a jury of public and civil affairs experts.
According to officials, Fresno was not up to All America standards on a number of counts, such as, citizen involvement, effective government performance, philanthropic and volunteer resources, capacity for cooperation, community vision and pride.
The prize winning title eluded Fresno again this year. Instead going to a number of other California counterparts like Stockton, for its performing arts program for disadvantaged youth that has lessened gang tensions and youth violence. And to Union City for its police officers, church officials and community members who cleaned up a park known for drug activity so it could again be used by children.
[Editor's Note: The National Civic League of Denver, is a 105-year-old nonprofit organization that focuses on good government and community democracy and is best known for the All America City Awards program.]
©Copyright 1999 The Fresno Republican Newspaper.
Sunday June 13, 1999
Lead in Yosemite slayings
Suspect admits taking part in slayings of three Yosemite area sightseers.
By Staff Writers
FRESNO, Calif. - Department of Justice investigators in Fresno are saying the key suspected killers of Carole and Julie Sund and Sylvina Pelosso are now in custody. However, the FBI is keepingh the name the suspects under wraps until charges are filed later this week.
It was about four months afo that the three women disappeared from an El Portal motel near the West entrance to Yosemite Valley. Since then the FBI reported there have been numerous arrests in the case. However, none has led to a possible break in the case.
News reports carried by Fresno Television www.47tv.com have depicted the suspects and potential witnesses are among the group of at least a half dozen Modesto-area drug users and parolees now in custody, whom the officials refuse to identify by name.
One of the half dozen is Michael Larwick... who has consistently said he had no involvment whatsoever in the murders.
Another is Larwick's half-brother, Rufus Dykes... who gave a videotape statement to the FBI saying Larwick was responsible for the killings and owns a Jeep that investigators believe was used to transport Julie Sund's body to the spot where it was found.
©Copyright 1999 The Fresno Republican Newspaper.
Weds June 9, 1999
Lawsuit on War Powers Dismissed
Courts reluctant to intervene in matters of President's war powers.
By Bill Miller
WASHINGTON - A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by 26 members of Congress who contended that President Clinton has had no legal authority to continue U.S. participation in the airstrikes against Yugoslavia.
The bipartisan lawsuit sought to enforce timetables in the largely ignored Vietnam-era War Powers Act, which would have required Clinton to obtain congressional approval or terminate U.S. involvement in Kosovo by May 25, two months after the start of the action.
Although the airstrikes could end soon as a result of a Kosovo peace agreement, the House members wanted the judge to hear the case in hopes of receiving a ruling that would govern future use of military force.
In throwing out the case, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman noted that the courts traditionally have been reluctant to intervene in political disputes concerning matters of war. Friedman said he saw no evidence of a constitutional impasse between the Clinton administration and Congress that would warrant the court's action.
The House members, led by Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.), wanted the judge to demand that Clinton immediately seek congressional approval to continue U.S. involvement in the war. Their lawsuit, filed April 30, contended the war is illegal because Clinton never obtained a declaration of war or other authority from Congress.
During a hearing last week, lawyers representing the House members pointed to two votes taken by Congress on April 28: a resolution to support the air war that failed on a tie vote, 213 to 213, and a measure calling for a declaration of war against Yugoslavia that was resoundingly defeated.
But, as the judge pointed out, Congress sent seemingly contradictory messages in two other votes on the matter. The House defeated a third resolution calling upon Clinton to remove troops, and later passed an emergency spending bill that helps pay for the U.S. role in the NATO-led military action.
"Had the four votes been consistent and against the President's position, and had he nevertheless persisted with airstrikes in the face of such votes, there may well have been a constitutional impasse," Friedman wrote in his 22-page opinion. "But Congress has not sent such a clear, consistent message."
Although the 26 members filed suit in their official capacities, Friedman said they lacked legal standing to act on behalf of the entire Congress. His ruling echoed arguments raised by lawyers for the Clinton administration, who contended the lawsuit represented the views of only a handful of members.
Campbell, a war opponent who spurred the House debates on the issue, said the decision will be appealed.
©Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company. All Rights Reserved.
Monday June 7, 1999
Fresno State profs roiled
New Chancellor pushes to cut remediation,
add accountability, and year 'round classes.
Edward Davidian, Education Writer
FRESNO - Before an audience of university and industry leaders, Charles B. Reed, Ed.D. the new chancellor of the California State University System, said his biggest concern was preparing for a 30-per-cent increase in students over the next decade.
"We'll never be able to serve them if we work about seven or eight months a year. You know, I guess -- from about 9 to 2, Monday through Thursday," Reed said.
In his remarks Reed, came up with his proposal for year-round classes. Reed said he would need help to sway students and professors, however.
CSU Fresno Business professor Jim Highsmith told reporters Friday, "People who hadn't been paying attention, or had not been aware of the chancellor, were now aware."
Almost immediately, professors on more than a dozen campuses voted "no confidence" in him. Making matters worse, several picketed a speech the chancellor gave in Sacramento. Some even circulated and disparaged Reed's doctoral dissertation, on file at George Washington University, in which he only did an unimpressive survey of the careers of alumni who had earned doctor-of-education degrees.
Reed is not consumed by such attacks on his scholarship as he has the support most CSU trustees and California lawmakers.
"He has brought together faculty members from 14 campuses to develop an Internet-based program for elementary-school teachers who, holding only temporary credentials, need to obtain certification quickly.
"Part of his vision is how the system can leverage itself for the benefit of the campuses," says John D. Welty,Ed.D. president of the CSU Fresno campus.
Another academic proposal pushed by Chancellor Reed has run into some resistance. Known as Cornerstones, the system-wide plan directs each campus to make student needs a focus of planning decisions. That approach includes designing more-flexible schedules and evaluating the quality of academic programs by how well students meet preset goals. The plan, conceived by Reed's predecessor, Barry Munitz, was left up to the new chancellor to put into practice.
Faculty-union and student leaders, however, disliked what they said were the plan's business-like overtones. They figured that the proposal would gather dust as Mr. Reed settled in. But the ideas in Cornerstones are partly what attracted Mr. Reed to the California job. When he arrived, in March 1998, he warned that Cornerstones was here to stay -- and that people would need to start thinking differently about Cal. State.
"Change is more difficult here," Mr. Reed says, comparing California with Florida. "It's scarier. You get criticized for saying this, but we really need to focus on quality. This is a good system, it's a great system, but you can always improve. At these institutions, quality is all you have."
Mr. Reed's repeated remarks about improving Cal. State's quality offend many professors. They say they are working harder than ever, and have been forced to teach more students as a result of tight state budgets in the early 1990s. (Student-faculty ratios have grown to 19.6 to 1, from 18.4 in 1991.) Some faculty members bristle when Reed trots out an equine analogy to describe the state's public-university systems: Cal. State is the "workhorse," and the prestigious University of California is the "show horse."
Some system administrators acknowledge that their boss's shoot-from-the-hip style doesn't play well with some professors. Mr. Reed "needs to be a little more careful until they get to know him a bit better," says David S. Spence, an executive vice-chancellor of the Cal. State system, who tends to play good cop for the chancellor with his critics. Mr. Spence has known Reed since the 1970s, and followed him from the Florida system.
For his part, Reed says he's "direct and blunt" so that everyone knows what to expect. "I found people in California would rather sometimes that you fool them," he says. "I don't have enough time to beat around the bush."
Even critics in the faculty say they appreciate that. "With Reed, what you see is what you get," says Terry R. Kandal, a sociology professor on the Los Angeles campus. "And when he says something, he means it."
Just ask faculty-union leaders. When professors rejected a contract agreement last February -- after nearly a year of negotiations -- Mr. Reed threatened the union that he would impose a contract. When further negotiations failed, Mr. Reed instituted a less-generous contract than the one the union had rejected. A strike was then authorized by the union, which saw its membership rise 15 per cent, to 7,500 of the system's 20,000 full- and part-time professors, in just a few months.
But a union election swept in new leadership and, in an unusual move, Reed joined the rest of the university's negotiators at the bargaining table (something he had never done in 13 years in Florida). After a weekend of marathon sessions, the contract was settled, in part because Reed compromised on his demand to allot more of the system's salary pool to merit raises. Last month, professors approved the deal.
Not all are happy with the contract, however; nearly one-fifth of union members voted against it. Opponents say the agreement still gives administrators too much power in allocating merit increases. The union "got totally taken to the cleaners by Reed," says Bob Metcalf, a professor of biological sciences at the Sacramento campus, where 43 per cent of professors rejected the deal.
Merit pay, along with Cornerstones and other plans, is all part of Reed's effort to increase Cal. State's visibility in the Legislature. As he tried in Florida, he wants to show lawmakers that he's holding the system's professors and students accountable.
"He's obsessed with accountability," says Charles Elkins, an English professor at Florida International University and chief negotiator for the United Faculty of Florida. "He believes, given the finite amount of money, it's his job to demonstrate that the funds are being used in a rational way."
In one of their last conversations, Mr. Reed asked Mr. Elkins what he did during the two weeks before classes started each semester. Mr. Elkins said he read and prepared lectures. "Charlie asked if I was at the university," Mr. Elkins recalls. "I told him, 'Not all the time,' and he said, 'I can't tell the Legislature that.'"
Known widely as a political animal, Mr. Reed tries to visit the State Capitol, in Sacramento, at least once a week. Key lawmakers say they support his agenda, although some question the idea of a year-round schedule and another proposal to give Cal. State placement tests in high schools to better prepare students for college.
Lawmakers say that students are already tested too frequently and fear that year-round classes would be expensive and lead other sectors of education to push for similar schedules. A recent state study, however, found that the university could serve up to one-third more students and save "several billions of dollars" by operating year-round.
"Reed has picked the issues that are important," says state Sen. Bruce McPherson, a Republican and vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "I think he's been misinterpreted by many, but he knows what the people of California need."
Which is why the board "aggressively" recruited Reed, says its chairman, Mr. Hauck. "Only a handful of people in the country can do this job," he adds. "It can pick you apart very quickly."
Some trustees were surprised when Mr. Reed accepted, given that he was just two and a half years shy of cashing in on Florida's state pension. Mr. Elkins believes Mr. Reed's political power in the state diminished with the election of a Republican Legislature. For his part, Reed is now saying he was "complacent."
The first of seven children in his family to attend college, Reed says he appreciates Cal. State's "mission of access." He has tried to balance his belief in the mission with his plan to reduce the number of students needing remedial education in the system to 10 per cent by 2007. Last year, 54 per cent of Cal. State freshmen needed remedial mathematics and 47 per cent remedial English.
At the trustees' meeting last month, a stream of students blasted the remediation policy, saying it would hurt students who were first in their families to go to college. "I was glad to hear the protests," Reed says. "It was more of a confirmation that there's a wake-up call out there that standards mean something."
That kind of get-tough attitude is one that Reed, an avid sports fan, shares with two friends in the sporting world: Bobby Bowden, the football coach at Florida State, and George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees. On a shelf in Mr. Reed's office here is a Florida State Seminoles football helmet, a parting gift from Bowden. Inscribed at the end of a message from Mr. Bowden are the words "scalp 'em."
Now that the faculty contract has been settled, many here say that the atmosphere should improve. The new union president, Susan Meisenhelder, has publicly thanked Mr. Reed for his involvement in the negotiations, saying that if not for him, there might not have been a contract.
Such compliments, however, haven't softened Reed up. "Always before, somebody took the pressure off by saying, 'No, we really didn't mean it,'" he says. "I do what I say I'm going to do."
Sunday June 6, 1999
Sound policies foster investment
By J.C. Watts, Chairman of the House Republican Conference
WASHINGTON - There is an ongoing economic expansion and bull market as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 10,000 for the first time.
Today Americans everywhere are prospering in this strong economy brought on by sound Republican policies and fiscal restraint. Congressional Republicans passed the first balanced budget in a generation, cut wasteful government spending and provided tax relief for all our citizens, sowing the seeds for this unprecedented economic boom.
I noted that since Republicans won control of Congress on November 8, 1994, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled, increasing some 6,000 points from its close at 3,830 that day. By contrast, in the first two years of the Clinton administration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased a mere 580 points in the two years between Election Days November 3, 1992 and November 8, 1994, and budget deficits were predicted as far as the eye could see.
I also called on President Clinton to work with Congressional Republicans to ensure continued U.S. economic growth and job creation.
I urge the President to seize this opportunity and work with Congress to enact sound budget policies and keep the good times rolling. Our balanced budget proposal strengthens Social Security for three generations of Americans, pays down the national debt, and includes needed tax relief for working Americans.
Wednesday June 2, 1999
Judges to Cut Back
Three Strikes Sentences
California Supreme Court gave judges more room
By William Heartstone, Staff Writer
SACRAMENTO - The California Supreme Court gave judges more options to cut back on sentences in "Three Strikes" cases this week. People v. Garcia addresses a relatively narrow issue - whether state trial judges have discretion to disregard prior convictions in one case while factoring them in for sentencing on another. Justice Janice Rogers Brown vehemently dissented, warning that the majority is thwarting the law by allowing judges too much latitude to reduce sentences.
The California Supreme Court gave judges more room to scale back sentences in Three Strikes cases Tuesday, continuing the debate over judicial discretion that the court started three years ago.<
Tuesday's decision in People v. Garcia, addresses a relatively narrow issue: whether trial judges have discretion to strike prior convictions in one new case while factoring them in for sentencing on another. But the majority opinion drew a vehement dissent from Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who warned that the majority is thwarting the law by allowing judges too much latitude to reduce sentences.
"The Three Strikes law was not about judicial discretion; it was about accountability," Brown wrote. "It was not about 'just' sentences; it was about swift, certain and harsh retribution."
Justice M. Chin, writing for the majority, noted that judges may consider the length of a defendant's sentence -- along with factors such as the nature and circumstances of the prior felony cases - when deciding whether to strike a prior conviction. In fact, Chin wrote that a defendant's sentence is the "overarching consideration because the underlying purpose of striking prior conviction allegations is the avoidance of unjust sentences."
The case stems from the trial of a particularly incompetent criminal named Jerry Garcia who confessed to burglarizing three homes. Garcia managed to leave his wallet at the scene of one burglary and was caught bicycling away from another with a bag of loot in his hands.
Garcia waived his right to a jury trial and was convicted on two counts of burglary. He had already served three prior prison terms, including one for a series of five burglaries that the trial judge found qualified to be considered strikes.
Following the Three Strikes law, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz sentenced Garcia to 30 years to life in prison for the first of the new burglary cases. But the judge struck all of the prior conviction allegations in regard to the second case.
In striking the priors, the trial judge took into consideration Garcia's drug addiction and noted that his prior burglary convictions stemmed from one period of "aberrant behavior". The judge also noted that Garcia cooperated with the police and had no record of violent behavior.
Garcia appealed, arguing that his sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The California Attorney General challenged trial court authority to strike the prior convictions with regard to one burglary conviction and not the other.
However, Justice Chin found nothing in the trial court's sentence to conflict with Three Strikes, saying that the court had properly exercised its discretion under the raft of cases that have interpreted judicial power.
[Editor's Note: The California landmark 1996 decision, was People v. Superior Court (Romero), 13 Cal.4th. 497.]
Wednesday June 2, 1999
Arnold Edward Joyal
Former Fresno State President, dies
By Amy Williams, Assoc. Editor, BulldogNews.Net
(U-WIRE)FRESNO CAMPUS - Arnold Edward Joyal, the Candian born sometime President of Fresno State College from 1948-1964 died on Friday in Danville, CA. Death was due to complications from a recent stroke. He was 96.
Joyal was born in Cowansville, Quebeck, Canada, October 13, 1902. He was brought to the U. S. in 1903.
Joyal would attend Cal and earn a Bachelor's Degree in 1925. That was followed by a Master's a year later, and a Doctorate in 1931. However, he did not become a naturalized citizen of the United States until he was 25 years of age.
After completing his studies at Berkeley, Joyal was hired by the U.S, Office of Eduation. He worked there as a specialist in school finance and was later transferred to the Department of the Interior, in Washingon, D.C.
At the depths of the Depression, Joyal left government service and took a professorship in Education at the University of Denver. On the eve of World War II, Joyal left Denver for the University of Maryland. By 1945 he had been promoted to Acting Dean of the College of Education. At the close of the War, Joyal took over the reins of the Dean of Education at the University of Oklahoma. By 1948, Joyal had found what he thought was the end of the rainbow with his appointment as President of the land grant teacher training institution known as Fresno State College. During his term the College expanded four fold with returning U.S. military veterans enrolling in Agriculture, Education, and Science courses. Pressure for expansion of the campus forced a relocation of Fresno State to its present site at Shaw and Cedar streets. The Fresno State College President's residence during Joyal's administration at the College was located at 3616 N. Fresno Street. Joyal retired from Fresno State in 1969. He was a life member of Phi Delta Kappa, and was a Mason.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, of Danville, daughter, Dorothy Christopher of Los Angeles, and son Arnold Edward Joyal.
A memorial service has been set for July 12 at the Danville Congregational Church, 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville, CA.
FRESNO - Should the California State University System set higher graduation standards for prospective teachers than the State Department of Education requires for teacher licensure? A growing body of solid educational research is supporting the practice. Meanwhile, California and most other states rely on low-level licensing tests which exclude only very academically weak students from the licensure, according to a report released Wednesday by The Education Trust.
The report, Not Good Enough: A Content Analysis of Teacher Licensing Examinations reports the Trust's findings that the licensing tests used by California and most states could easily be passed by high-school students. None of the tests in any of the subject areas the researchers examined assessed college level knowledge, the Report concluded.
The absence of itellectual rigor in tests for prospective teachers is appalling in view of the claim by California and other states that they have increased academic standards for pupils, the researchers said.
"The low level of these tests in no way indicates that all teachers are poorly prepared," said Patte Barth, a senior associate at < The Education Trust and one of the report's co-authors. "...millions of children are being damaged daily by under-prepared teachers, because we've refused to establish high enough standards for entry into the field of teaching," its authors state.
The researchers with the Washington-based education group evaluated tests from the Praxis series of licensing exams, published by the Educational Testing Service and assessed the content knowledge that the tests measure. Thirty-four states currently use one or more of the Praxis tests.
The researchers also looked at a sample state exam developed by National Evaluation Systems, as well as several of its study guides for other state tests. The company, based in Amherst, Mass., contracts with individual states to create licensing exams and has developed such tests for several states, including Massachusetts, New York, and Texas.
The majority of the tests they evaluated were multiple-choice exams dominated by high-school level material, the report said. A few, particularly in science, had a significant proportion of questions on knowledge learned in middle school, the researchers said.
While 44 states and the District of Columbia require candidates for secondary-school teaching licenses to take a test, only 29 require them to take tests in the subject area they will teach, the report said. Seven states require no exams for licensure for either elementary or secondary schoolteaching. Those states that do require tests set the bar for passing scores too low, the researchers said.
Testing Service officials agreed Wednesday that teachers should have strong knowledge of their academic subjects and that some states should raise their passing scores. But states by law can require only licensing exams that assess the minimal knowledge necessary for entry into a profession, said Mari Pearlman, vice-president of E.T.S.'s division of teaching and learning, which oversees the Praxis tests.
While research has shown that students learn more from teachers certified in the subject they teach, "we don't have any evidence that a person with more sophisticated knowledge will be a better teacher," Ms. Pearlman said. "So in cases where we don't know what will make a difference on the job, we can't deprive someone of an opportunity to be a teacher."
She also questioned how the report assigned grade levels to the content of the exams. "The fact that there are topics that are the same as those taught in high school doesn't mean that the content of a test question on that topic is the same grade level."
A spokesman for National Evaluation Systems told reporters this week that company officials had not yet seen the report and could not comment.
Most states' licensing policies rest on the assumption that teacher candidates who possess a bachelor's degree will have enough content knowledge to teach their academic subject. But the report's authors say that such a degree may not guarantee that the prospective teacher has a deep enough understanding of key concepts related to schools' curricula.
The report calls for university leaders to set higher academic requirements for prospective teachers, and for states to develop clear academic standards for the subjects that teachers need to know in order to help schoolchildren meet standards states have set for them. College faculty members from relevant disciplines should lead the process of developing standards for teachers' knowledge of academic subjects, with the assistance of teachers and education faculty members, the report said.
Those standards should then be used to revamp teacher-training programs, the report said. States also should hold colleges' arts and sciences departments, as well as education schools, accountable for the success of their graduates who seek to become teachers.
[Editor's Note: This report may be obtained for $2.50 each by telephoning the Education Trust at (202)293-1217.]
©1999 The Fresno Republican Newspaper.
Wednesday May 19, 1999
California welfare rules dumped
Justices Rehnquist & Thomas supported the law as a legitimate
way to assure that only current residents receive full benefits.
By Harriet Chiang
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that California cannot pay lower welfare benefits to new residents, in a decision that strikes down similar efforts across the country.
Passed at the urging of then-Governor Pete Wilson, the 1992 law would have limited benefits to new arrivals to the amount they received in their previous state, but it was never enforced because of legal challenges. It was intended to apply during new residents' first year in California.
The state argued that the law would prevent California from becoming a ``welfare magnet'' for poor people trying to take advantage of the generous welfare program.
The difference could be significant. The family of four from Oklahoma that filed the suit after it moved to California in 1997 would be limited to $380 in welfare benefits, instead of $673 for longtime residents.
By a 7-to-2 vote, the high court declared that the statute, as well as similar laws in at least 14 other states, is unconstitutional because it illegally discriminates against people who move to the state.
``Citizens of the United States, whether rich or poor, have the right to choose to be citizens of the state where they reside,'' wrote Justice John Paul Stevens in the court's decision. ``The states, however, do not have any right to select their citizens.''
He added that ``the right to travel embraces the citizen's right to be treated equally'' and assures new residents the same privileges and immunities.
The court disagreed with the Wilson administration's argument that the law was a legitimate way of trimming its vast welfare budget. The savings is so ``minuscule'' that it doesn't justify the discriminatory policy, Stevens said.
The state Department of Social Services estimates that the law would have saved $16 million in state and federal welfare payments to the 68,000 families who are expected to come to California in the 2000-2001 fiscal year. The sum is less than 6 percent of California's total $284 million welfare budget.
In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice William Rehnquist said the law is a legitimate way for the state ``to assure that only persons who establish a bona fide residence receive the benefits provided to current residents of the State.'' He was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Oklahoma family, as well as a woman with two children from Washington D.C., who would have received $398 instead of the $565 allowed for other California residents.
The federal government and several states had urged the high court to allow these limits on welfare payments.
Michael Bustamante, a spokesman for Governor Gray Davis, said that Davis, who was state controller when the law passed in 1992, had supported it. But he added that Davis had prudently set aside $10.9 million in general funds from the 1999-2000 budget to cover the state's costs in case the law was struck down.
Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California who argued against the law, said he was ``thrilled'' with the decision. ``It puts out the welcome mat at every state border, rich or poor,'' he said.
He scoffed at the state's argument that the law would prevent California from becoming a magnet for poor people trying to take advantage of the generous welfare program.
``California has the third-highest cost of living in the nation,'' he said. ``The welfare magnet was a myth. It was really the other way around.''
The decision was also closely watched by several women's groups throughout the nation who said the laws harm victims of domestic violence trying to escape from their abuser.
These women, often with their children, try to get as far away as possible from the person battering them, often moving to another state, said Nancy Davis, executive director of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, which was co-counsel in the case along with the ACLU.
She noted that in most of the cases challenging these laws, at least one of the plaintiffs was a victim of domestic violence.
This decision means that ``safety can be their primary concern rather than worrying about whether they're going to be discriminated against,'' Davis said.
California's law was immediately challenged after it went into effect. In barring its enforcement, U.S. District Judge David Levi of Sacramento ruled that the statute was unconstitutional if it was intended to discourage poor people from moving to the state. Even if it was a cost-saving measure, he said, the state failed to show why the whole burden should fall on newcomers.
California may have one of the most generous welfare programs, but it also has a higher cost of living than 43 other states, Levi said.
A federal appeals court upheld Levi's decision.
After the 1996 federal welfare reform plan passed Congress, Levi extended his order against the state, saying the federal bill didn't affect his legal analysis.
The 1996 welfare law specifically allowed states to provide lower benefits to new residents on a short- term basis. But the high court said that Congress cannot pass laws in violation of the Constitution.
The equal protection clause of the Constitution ``does not tolerate a hierarchy of subclasses of similarly situated citizens based on the location of their prior residences,'' wrote Stevens.
[Editor's Note: Harriet Chiang, is the Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer.]
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle
Monday May 17, 1999
Violence is, as violence does
Culture of aggression corrupts children.
By Kaye Grogan
WASHINGTON - Violence opens the "windows" baring the deep-rooted "flaws" of mankind. Violence first came on the scene and erupted when Cain slew Abel. The underlying causes were not violent movies, nor violent video games, and not even the "cesspools" of pornography on the Internet etc., but jealousy. So can we let these bad influences off of the hook? No way! They can be reeled in as "contributing" factors. When bad seeds are sown...the harvest season reaps a barren land, void of bountiful crops. Thus, when the seeds of "violence" are sown, petals of "destruction" and great "devastation" bloom out the ugliness of sin.
As Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold went on their senseless "payback" massacre in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 teenagers and one high school coach and injuring 20 others, then turning the guns on themselves, ending their lives... they left behind "countless" shattered lives. And now we are once again groping, looking for answers. Until those who are partially responsible take the "initiative" to accept some of the blame and to work towards solving the problem, instead of "passing" the buck, no end will be in sight.
Hollywood "producers" and "movie stars" are naturally going to attempt to distance themselves from any type of accountability. They laugh all the way to the bank! The attempt to rate movies is a big joke! And porno sites that warn : If you are not 18 years of age you must exit this site now... are laughable as well! Technology has come a long way, but the computer does not know if the person sitting in front of the screen is 10 or a 110. What a lame "attempt" to be responsible! Besides the damage is already a "done deal" on the start-up page. No doubt that is the intent. Nudity, indecent sexual acts, are there displayed as free "pics" of the day on some porno sites, and no credit card or code numbers needed. "Freedom of Speech" at its worst!
A spokesman for the Disney Corporation stated that they would begin to remove their 3 to 5 billion dollar a year, profit making violent video games, from the market. Many others need to follow suit. Although within the conscience of man lies the "ability" to choose between right and wrong, young "impressionable" children can be easily persuaded into areas they cannot control. Parents, while they have a responsibility to "rear" their children into "responsible" adults, they cannot police the "whole" world nor should they be expected to. Each person has a responsibility to set examples for all to follow, starting at the top...with the "leader" and working down. Besides many who "peddle" violence and pornography are parents themselves!
Since this present administration wants to hold Tobacco companies responsible for their part in being detrimental to society, they need to line the others up, to be accountable as well. Billboards need to come down advertising alcohol. Commercials promoting beer should be discouraged. Raising the "ticket" prices up to about $100.00 per person to get in the movies could offset the high cost to try and rehabilitate those who couldn't "handle" the violent contents, without emulating them. Since reliability for smoke related illnesses now lies with the tobacco companies, in large compensation suits, why should the others get away? Few people would pay a hundred bucks to see a movie!
Boy, talk about a decline in profits. And violent movies on television should lose their sponsors. Sponsors need to take a second, maybe even a third look at what they are sponsoring these days. Shows like Jerry Springer should "bite the dust" and the sooner the better! Wrestlers, along with some sports figures need to take their place in the "accountability" line as well.
Heroes need to be people "worthy" of being looked up to...not down upon. When we have a society where Monica Lewinsky can get a dislocated shoulder from signing a tell-all book...we've gone about as "far" or about as low... as we can go.
©1999 The Fresno Republican Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Thursday May 13, 1999
Record Wall Climb for Senior
Facing El Capitan the hard way.
Amy Williams, Assoc. Editor
YOSEMITE VALLEY - Susan Arthur, a spokesperson for the NPS told reporters today that a rock climbing team that incudes an 81 year old man will begin their El Capital climb, a 2,500-foot granite rcok face, early today.
The 81-year-old rock climber Gerry Bloch set the age record for climbing El Capitan in 1986 when he was 68 years old. He will be accompanied by climbing partner, Mike Corbett, 45.
Photographer Craig White, 48, will go along with the pair on the week long test of human endurance.
The climbers are hauling 250 pounds of gear and provisions, including 14 gallons of liquid, 30 pounds of energy bars, trail mix and canned goods, bread and cheese, 50 pounds of climbing equipment, and another 50 pounds of other gear, consisting of sleeping bags, lamps, rain gear, head lamps and a first aid kit.
Thursday May 13, 1999
Call for State Master Plan for schools
Like the one aqdopted in 1960 by state colleges.
SACRAMENTO -- The state's legislative analyst, following through on a suggestion she made as part of the debate on education reform, issued a report Tuesday calling for a state master plan for public schools.
Such a plan would outline the roles and responsibilities of state government, the nearly 1,000 locally elected school boards and the 8,000 public schools in the education of California's 5.7 million children.
It would be similar to one that has guided state colleges since 1960.
Various school groups, such as the California School Boards Assn. and the Assn. of California School Administrators, have asked the Legislature to write a long-range plan for kindergarten through grade 12 education.
They say dozens of changes in the past few years--such as class-size reduction, statewide academic standards and Gov. Gray Davis' recent school-improvement bills--have been made piecemeal.
The state Senate last month voted unanimously to create a committee to develop a K-12 master plan by November 2000. It would include a new plan for public schools and a revision of the state's college plan. The Assembly has not yet voted on it.
Davis has taken no position on that proposal. He had not seen the analyst's report Tuesday.
The report suggests reversing the trend of the last three decades, when a series of court decisions, laws and voter-approved initiatives shifted power from school districts to the state.
The current state-centered system was not developed from a long-term strategy, the report states.
Instead, the state presence in K-12 education results from the accumulation of large and small policy decisions that generally ncrease the state's role at the expense of school districts.