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Wed Mar 9, 2011

Immigrant in-state tuition bill moves forward -AP

ANNAPOLIS — A panel of Maryland senators is hoping a series of nighttime tweaks will help shepherd a plan to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants through the Senate.

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted Tuesday night to clean up the plan to grant illegal immigrants the same tuition rates at state-run universities that Maryland residents pay...

Sun Mar 6, 2011

Senate to take up tuition break for undocumented students -Baltimore Sun

Legislation would start students at community college

The state Senate is poised this week to take up a controversial plan to offer discounted tuition at Maryland's public colleges and universities to students who are in the country illegally.

The legislation, which cleared the Senate education committee last week, would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of Maryland's public community colleges. After completing two years of study, they could transfer to a four-year institution and continue to pay the in-state rate...

Thu Mar 3, 2011

Living On The Edge: East New York & Bay Ridge Go Off Script City Limits -City Limits

Chapter four of "Brooklyn: The Borough Behind The Brand" visits East New York, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and other neighborhoods whose story over the past 20 years differs from the standard narrative of Brooklyn's growth. Eighty years ago, the land along East New York's southeastern border, now known as Spring Creek, was where the city came to an end. When people fleeing the tenements built houses in an area of East New York called New Lots, when they grew vegetables on the empty land next door and watched government paving crews lay down Linden Boulevard, Spring Creek was the land beyond that. It was the scrubby turf where their teenagers played sandlot baseball, the forbidding tall grass where the ill-intentioned stashed stolen cars, or worse...

Tue Mar 1, 2011

Community organisers learn powers of persuasion -The Guardian

As communities get the power to run their own public services, Jessica Shepherd attends a workshop on the art of influence.

The faces around the table are growing redder as both sides become exasperated. A council leader has agreed to meet with a local campaign group that wants to change his mind about shutting a centre for disabled people in the borough. "I'm afraid difficult decisions must be made," the council leader says. "I have another meeting now so we'll have to wrap up..."

Desperately, the campaign group's leader searches for a trump card. "We are inviting you to visit the centre. Will we have to tell the local press you won't be coming?"

"That's it! Use tension. Make specific demands. Speak to his self-interests," the session leader calls out...

Fri Feb 25, 2011

Brownsville tenants team with developers and community to change their lives -NY Daily News

Jacqueline (Jackie) Melendez had enough. The elevators didn’t work, and she complained. But it was more than that. Melendez had an 8-month-old, and a 3-year-old battling leukemia. Living on the ninth floor of the Riverdale Osborne Towers in Brownsville, steps from the Rockaway Ave. 2/3 subway, Melendez had to take the working elevator in the building next door to the top floor, climb to the roof and walk across to her building, and down a flight of stairs with two children in her arms, just to arrive at her front door. “Here I was with a child in chemotherapy, praying when I walked into my building that the elevator would work,” says Melendez. “I should have been praying for my son to live. Something wasn’t right...”

Wed Feb 23, 2011

Freedom, and what it means to be an American -Australian Broadcast Company

Thu Feb 17, 2011

In good faith? -Chicago Tribune

The members of the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America want to move their mosque to unincorporated Willowbrook because they have outgrown their space in an office park in the village. Seems clear-cut, yet DuPage County leaders are resisting.

In January, the county's Zoning Board of Appeals rejected plans for the MECCA mosque. Earlier this month, the County Board declined to vote on the proposal, kicking it back to planning officials for more study...

Thu Feb 10, 2011

Baltimore Education Coalition fights planned cuts to education budget -Baltimore Brew

Looming state budget cuts directed at Baltimore city’s school are facing strong resistance from the  Baltimore Education Coalition, a group of non-profits, churches and schools planning a major rally in Annapolis on February 28th.

The group’s main message is that, despite the way Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget was initially framed, it does represent a significant slashing of the city’s school budget.

Mon Jan 31, 2011

Commission needs continued auditing -Daily Herald

In the past week, we've commented on the ongoing efforts at Metra and the Illinois tollway to move forward after financial improprieties (Metra) or controversial management policies (the tollway) that led to the creation or proposal of inspector general positions for both agencies.

Today, we comment on another public entity that proved it also needs help in properly managing taxpayers' dollars - the DuPage Water Commission.

As staff writer Jake Griffin's story elsewhere in today's paper and on dailyherald.com details, the commission's financial bungling has led to a $2 million cleanup cost. And there remain concerns whether the current commission can improve its operations moving forward...

Mon Dec 6, 2010

Mass. Religious Group Campaigns Against Rising Health Care Costs -WBUR (NPR)

BOSTON — Get ready for the next hot religious campaign in Boston: rising health care costs. Yes, the group that chanted, prayed and sang its way to passage of the state’s health coverage law says it’s time to rein in health care spending. Greater Boston Interfaith Organization launched a campaign Sunday, and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger has this review of the first team meeting...

Wed Dec 1, 2010

Nick Clegg to announce timetable for ending child detentions -The Guardian

Deputy PM under pressure over missed deadlines as pilot schemes test new ways of removing families.

Nick Clegg is seeking cabinet approval for his plans to secure an end to the practice of detaining children in immigration removal centres, with government sources suggesting he wants to see no children in detention by the spring.

The deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader will tell the organisation Citizens UK this evening, via a videolink from Kazakhstan where he is representing the UK at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, that he is near being able to announce the coalition's plans for ending child detention...

Wed Oct 27, 2010

Candidates pledge to bring jobs to Lorain County -Morning Journal

ELYRIA — Area politicians are continuing their campaign pushes before Tuesday’s election as they came out for the Reclaim Lorain County event at St. Marys Church, in Elyria, last night.

Democrats Lee Fisher, running for U.S. senate; Betty Sutton, running for 13th Congressional district; Sue Morano, candidate for 13th state senate district; Matt Lundy, Ohio house candidate; Dan Ramos, candidate for the 56th Ohio House District and sole Republican, Rae Lynn Brady, facing off with Lundy for the 57th District, attended the forum.

Comprised of religious congregations and community organizations throughout Lorain County, the Reclaim Lorain County coalition asked candidates how they planned to create jobs, improve public safety and fix deteriorating neighborhoods...

Thu Sep 30, 2010

Bland residents, city officials reach accord -Washington Post

Current and former James Bland housing residents thanked the Alexandria City Council and the city's housing authority for resolving their relocation issues after a year of protests and meetings.

The residents, along with Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, stood before the council at its meeting Saturday and declared a victory for the 180 residents of the 8.5-acre public housing community in the Braddock East area, which is being developed into a $55 million mixed-use property with market-rate and affordable homes...

Thu Sep 23, 2010

Religious, community groups seek promises from county executive candidates -Baltimore Sun

A group of over 200 Howard County residents pushing a new fall agenda to benefit unemployed youth and the aging got quick promises of support from Democratic County Executive Ken Ulman but not from Trent Kittleman, his Republican challenger.

People Acting Together in Howard, a coalition of 15 churches, one mosque and several citizens groups, wanted both Ulman and Kittleman to support their plans for more aggressive youth employment programs and more help to allow the elderly to stay in their homes. PATH is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by the late Saul Alinsky, a well-known community organizer...

Thu Sep 16, 2010

Interfaith group Community Building to combat Greater Cleveland's social ills -Cleveland Plain Dealer

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — About 350 people of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths gathered at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple on Tuesday in a call to battle the social ills of Cleveland and its suburbs.

Rabbi Richard Block of Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland and Beachwood said that during his 10 years here he has never seen such a large organizing effort by an interfaith group.

"I'll call this promising," he said. "This is a diverse, powerful group of congregations..."

Sun Jul 25, 2010

A message to Fenty and Gray: It's All About Jobs -Washington Post

For several months, the focus of the District's mayoral campaign, and much of the media coverage of it, has been on the contrasting personal styles of the front-runners, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. We in the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) think it's time for the campaign and the candidates to focus on the issues instead. As an organization, WIN does not endorse candidates, but we do our best to hold those who run for office accountable to the people on the issues that affect their lives.

And this fall's election can be summed up in one issue: jobs...

Sat Jul 24, 2010

Candidates vow to fight high-interest lending -Washington Post

The major candidates for mayor and D.C. Council chairman promised Monday night that they would push to remove city money from any bank that charges more than 10 percent interest on consumer loans.

Democratic mayoral candidates Adrian M. Fenty and Vincent Gray and chairman candidates Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange made the pledge to the Washington Interfaith Network as part of the group's 2010 election agenda.

Facing more than 800 WIN members representing more than three dozen local congregations, the candidates also agreed to spend more to weatherize houses to spur job creation, create more affordable housing, launch a citywide youth basketball league and stop diverting the city's $100 million Neighborhood Investment Fund to other uses...

Tue Jun 22, 2010

2 Sides Clash at City Hall Over Domino Housing Plan -New York Times

By some standards, a developer’s plan to transform the defunct Domino Sugar refinery north of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn is a good deal, offering 660 of its planned 2,200 apartments to poor and working-class New Yorkers, shops to animate the streets and a public esplanade along the East River. “We’re taking this narrow, vacant industrial site and turning it into an incredibly powerful economic engine for the neighborhood,” said the developer, Michael Lappin, president of the Community Preservation Corporation...

Thu Jun 17, 2010

Legislation gives mobile-home owners protection if land is sold -Washington Post

For years, Amy Lamke's answer to her affordable housing dilemma was bouncing with her daughter, Katlin, from one place to another, sharing space with strangers whom she met through classified ads.

But when she discovered Deep Run, a community of mobile homes tucked away off a two-lane road near Route 1 in Elkridge, in Howard County, Lamke figured she had found the stability she and her daughter had longed for...

Wed May 5, 2010

Old-Fashioned Bulwark in a Tide of Foreclosures -New York Times

TO walk the streets of Brownsville and East New York, Brooklyn, is to see neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosure, homes boarded up and marshals’ notices taped to doors. Yet in the midst of this pain sit several swaths of well-tended homes, about 3,000 in all, each with a driveway and statuary and garden. Not one of their owners has lost a home.

Five miles away in Jamaica, Queens, another neighborhood hammered by foreclosures, there remain blocks where not one house has been put up for auction in the current crisis...

Mon May 3, 2010

Gordon Brown triumphs in unofficial fourth TV leadership debate -The Guardian

Prime minister puts in extraordinary performance when the three party leaders addressed community groups.

Gordon Brown today put in one of the most extraordinary performances of his tenure as prime minister when the three party leaders took part in an unofficial fourth debate – addressing community groups in the largest live audience of the election campaign.

As the Labour party battles to avoid coming third on Thursday, Brown appeared to find an emotional range and vocabulary previously unheard from him. Prompting repeated standing ovations, he told the audience: "As you fight for fairness, you will always find in me a friend, a partner and a brother." The speech, before 2,500 voters in a large church hall, may end up having been the most electrifying event of the campaign. Critics of the prime minister described it as one of the best speeches they have seen by a politician...

Mon May 3, 2010

'Major retailers' would pay employees city living wage under proposal -Baltimore Sun

Major retailers in Baltimore would be forced to pay employees the city's designated 'living wage' -- currently slightly more than $10 per hour -- under a measure introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke at Monday's council meeting. Retailers that are part of a chain that grosses more than $10 million annually would be required to pay employees the living wage rate under Clarke's proposal...

Sun Apr 11, 2010

DuPage board flushes taxpayer money -Sun-Times

Who says government isn't as riveting as reality TV? Not me.

Not when I can attend a meeting of the DuPage County Water Commission, as I did Thursday night to see for myself how mismanagment, incompetence, and a lack of concern for tax payers' money plagues every corner of Illinois...

Thu Mar 11, 2010

Interfaith group rallies in Richmond -Arlington Connection

More than 200 individuals from VOICE — Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement — traveled to Richmond on Tuesday, March 2, to urge the budget conferees to adopt the Senate’s bi-partisan budget that restores and protects the dental health safety net.

They met with senators and delegates individually and then gathered with 17 Northern Virginia legislative leaders, including three of the budget conferees at a meeting in the Capitol...

Wed Jan 27, 2010

Officials show support for Common Ground fight against foreclosure -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As part of a campaign aimed at getting banks to do more about vacant and foreclosed homes, state Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) said Tuesday that he has introduced a bill that would prohibit state agencies from contracting with financial institutions that own 100 or more foreclosed residential properties in the state. And Milwaukee Ald. Michael Murphy said he was researching what leverage the city might have in getting banks to take on more responsibility in the city's foreclosure crisis. The two gave their pledges of support Monday night before a fired-up crowd of more than 300 members of the new broad-based organization, Common Ground, which met to open a "faces of foreclosure" campaign...

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