Labour has promised that it will take a “rights-based approach” to protecting the interests of disabled people, if it wins power at next week’s general election.At the centre of that approach will be incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law for the first time.Labour’s Kate Green, a former shadow minister for disabled people, made the pledge at a disability hustings event in Westminster that had been organised by the Disability Charities Consortium, the Disability Benefits Consortium and the Care and Support Alliance.She said a Labour government would produce a “comprehensive strategy to advance the rights of disabled people”.She also told the event that an incoming Labour government needed to introduce a “comprehensive and holistic strategy to make disabled people’s rights a reality”, including investing in services and financial support and “the access they need to fulfil their full potential”.She said: “It means reversing the damaging cuts that have taken place since 2010 to social security benefits, to public services.“It means investing in the support and the means of enabling disabled people to reach and fulfil their ambitions, and in particular ensuring maximum access to and participation in top quality education.“It means under-pinning our ambitions with an institutional and legal infrastructure through domestic legislation, our Equality Act, compliance with international obligations, and with adequate resources for our watchdogs, [including] our Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), to ensure that the interests of disabled people are kept at the forefront of the incoming government’s agenda.”She told Disability News Service later that incorporating the UN convention into UK law was “all the more important now because of the whole uncertainty following the Brexit result and the opportunity that that may be seen to be to water down rights.“So having a firm, clear legal basis in UK law becomes even more significant.”She said that ensuring the convention was part of UK law would have significant implications, including placing “a lot more expectation on public service design and provision”.But she warned that such a move could not be made immediately, and would need a “comprehensive strategy” that would lead eventually to full implementation of the convention.Green agreed that Labour’s manifesto was stronger on disabled people’s rights than it had been at the 2015 election.She said: “The party is more confident about some of its political stances. I guess that reflects Jeremy’s leadership.“He’s confident about his stance and that’s filtering I think into the policy agenda.”She said Labour was “absolutely committed” to investing in public services, such as education, health and care, and built environment infrastructure.But she said it was also committed to disability equality and disabled people’s rights “through the UN convention, through the Equality Act and through strengthening the EHRC’s capacity, resources and its authority”.And she stressed that this would mean increased funding for the commission.
Local authorities have failed to prosecute a single taxi-driver for discriminating against wheelchair-users under new legislation introduced more than a year ago, according to new figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.The figures show that not one taxi-driver out of more than 30,000 so far covered by the new legislation has appeared in court, despite widespread reports of discrimination.On 6 April last year, the government finally brought into force laws that impose fines of up to £1,000 on drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles who refuse to accept wheelchair-users, try to charge them extra, or fail to provide them with appropriate assistance.But the new laws only apply in those areas of England, Scotland and Wales where the local authority has drawn up a list – under section 167 of the Equality Act – of all the wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles in their area.So far, only about 120 of 347 councils have drawn up a list under section 167 – just seven local authorities have failed to respond to freedom of information requests – even though the Department for Transport (DfT) has said that it should take no more than six months from April 2017 to bring in the new measures.Those that have compiled a list cover more than 30,000 wheelchair-accessible taxis, according to figures compiled by transport access campaigner Doug Paulley through the freedom of information requests, which were sent last November.But Paulley’s figures also show that, of the councils that have drawn up a list, not one of them has prosecuted a taxi-driver for discriminating against a wheelchair-user – under section 165 of the act – or is aware of any drivers in its area facing prosecutions by other organisations or individuals.Only Transport for London appears to have taken any steps towards a prosecution, telling Paulley in its freedom of information response that it had launched 19 investigations under section 165.It said this week that two taxi-drivers were being prosecuted under section 165, with the first due to appear in court later this month.Paulley (pictured) said he was “really disappointed” by the implementation and enforcement of the new laws, which he said had been “lamentably poor, with no sign of improvement”.He believes the figures show the legislation is not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced.He said: “I find it difficult to believe that there haven’t been any offences committed under section 165 of the Act.“It is not credible to believe that since this legislation was implemented, none of the drivers of any of those taxis have refused a wheelchair-user travel, failed to strap the wheelchair-user or their wheelchair in properly, left the meter running whilst loading a wheelchair-user or failed to assist the wheelchair-user into or out of their taxi.“I have personally experienced discrimination in these terms, by drivers of vehicles on a section 167 list.”The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to say if it was concerned about the figures or if it believed the legislation needed to be redrawn.But it said it was encouraged by the response from local authorities which have drawn up a list under section 167, and that it had provided guidance to help councils implement the requirements of the new laws, and expected all authorities to make the most of their new powers.A DfT spokesman said: “We are clear that disabled people must have the same access to transport services that others take for granted.“It is unacceptable that a minority of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers discriminate against wheelchair-users.“We have provided councils with the means to challenge such behaviour, and they should use these powers to ensure that drivers provide wheelchair-users with assistance and cannot charge them extra.“We expect all councils to take the steps necessary to ensure that all passengers can travel free from the fear of discrimination.”
Some 45 people gathered to hear speeches and eat burgers at an Anti-Eviction Block Party Saturday afternoon, thrown to protest the eviction of five tenants who claim they’ve been harassed by a property manager who glued their doors shut and has stopped accepting rent checks.“My rent’s no good after 15 years?” said Bill Condon, one of the tenants facing eviction and the organizer of the block party. “Now I’m the villain?”Their eviction is being carried out by Vlad Chernoguz, a property manager tenants say entered the picture when their building at 2693 22nd Street was sold to Martha Miranda and Rosa Marcano last year for $1.5 million. Two of the three units in the building took a buy-out earlier this year, and renovations in those units have convinced the remaining tenants that their new landlords plan to evict them and flip the property.The owners could not be reached for comment. Tags: evictions • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% “They want to try to sell each unit for $1.3, $1.4 [million],” said Condon. He said Chernoguz emptied out the other units by threatening owner move-in evictions and offering tens of thousands of dollars.“He’s threatened me several times with an owner move-in,” Condon said. “[When that happened,] I go ‘Vlad, you’ve already tried that twice.’” “Bill has had more than one conversation with him,” said Sara Coe, Condon’s girlfriend who also lives in the building. “He wanted us to sit down, and Bill [said] ‘Well, what’s going to happen here, Vlad? What’s the worst-case scenario? I really want to stay.’ And he says ‘Well, that’s not going to happen. We’re going to remodel and build a luxury TIC [tenants-in-common].’”“After that we kind of realized what he was up to,” she added. Condon received a 3-day eviction notice Friday night, alleging that two of the tenants — who Condon says are on the rental agreement — are guests and therefore in violation of the 30-day guest limit. It’s the latest in a series of back-and-forths that have seen Condon’s door glued shut twice (once fixable with tools, the other time requiring a change of locks) and his floor almost destroyed.“Soon after [the glue incident], [Chernoguz] made an appearance in the building and he went up to Bill and said ‘We’re going to have to cut a hole in the floor up here because we need to ventilate,’” Coe said. “Then [he] started asking him how much he paid in rent and said ‘Well, you could move into an SRO, you’d be happy in an SRO.’”Shortly after, Condon decided to communicate only in writing, and he hasn’t spoken to or seen Chernoguz since. While little is known about Miranda and Marcano, Chernoguz is no stranger to evictions. In 2014, he attempted to evict a family from a building he owns just around the corner from Condon’s, claiming their lack of cleanliness was a nuisance. Tenants there said Chernoguz illegally entered their apartment and photographed the alleged disorder just after the head of the household had been struck by a drunk driver and hospitalized.“At the time they were going in there and taking pictures, Estela Martinez was in the hospital having had both her legs amputated and was on the brink of death and had already been given last rites,” said Tom Drohan, her lawyer for the case. “It’s true that the family wasn’t spending a lot of time tidying up the kitchen, because they were all staying with [her] in the hospital.”Martinez, then 60, spent five months in the hospital before returning to her 23rd and York home. She beat her eviction case against Chernoguz in a trial by jury late in 2014, and came to the block party with her family to support Condon and his co-tenants.Chernoguz was also behind the attempted eviction of 86-year-old Guillermo Manzanares earlier this year, a case that drew attention city-wide after the Chronicle publicized it as a “gotcha” eviction in a July story. Manzanares, also represented by Drohan, won as well.“[Chernoguz’s] model seems to be to buy older buildings in the Mission that are filled with tenants who are mainly monolingual Spanish speakers, and he figures out ways to get them out,” Drohan said. “If he does this six times and is only successful once, it’s worth it,” said Donald Simon, a friend and neighbor of Condon. As a lawyer, he’s been looking at the papers Condon receives from Chernoguz and says they’ll wait for something substantive before taking action.“We’ll wait for him to bring an unlawful detainer action, and if it comes to that, then we fight, we fight ‘em,” he said. With a 3-day eviction notice just posted, the conflict may come to a head as early as next week. If Chernoguz posts an unlawful detainer notice and Condon contests it, the case could take months.Fighting evictions, however, was a rallying call at Saturday’s barbecue.“You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your dignity, you owe it to your community — to step up, speak out, and take action,” Simon said to the attendees. The block party, organized by Condon and Coe as well as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), heard rounds of testimony from neighbors on their own conflicts with landlords and saw organizers and neighbors informing speakers of the resources available to them. ACCE, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), the San Francisco Tenants Union, and other housing organizations had tables with “Yes on Prop I” flyers and other informational literature they passed out to those present.“That’s the whole purpose of this afternoon, to let people know about the organizations and service out there,” Condon said. This story will be updated if the owners or the property manager return requests for comment. 0%
That fight is one of the local events the play features. Another is activist and poet Tony Robles’s poetry reading on the Frisco Five hunger strikers, who protested police shootings by fasting for 17 days in the Mission District.“The Frisco Five were some friends of mine,” he says, in one of the many asides from the “Christmas Carol” storyline. “They stay hungry, Frisco stays alive.”Tony Robles performs his “Hunger Strike Reflection” about the Frisco 5. Photo by Jon Bauer. Courtesy of Peter Papadopoulos.The displacement of various arts organizations from the Mission District is a running storyline. A list of dozens of displaced and shuttered groups including Cellspace and Studio 17 is projected against the wall at one point, with the narrator muttering, “Don’t worry, there’s no money to be made in the arts.”Near the end of the play, institutions like the Mission Cultural Center, the Red Poppy Art House, and the Mojo Theater — still alive for now — are given hypothetical end dates. Papadopoulos said such groups always live on a thin margin, but San Francisco’s affordability crisis makes it that much worse.“There’s no question that Mojo Theater is not safe in any way,” he said. “You really feel like you’re going month to month just getting on, and that in this environment every month could be your last.”But a lot of the play is often funny, an objective for a group used to losing fights against market-rate development or police shootings. Ron Conway, the tech investor who has become a San Francisco kingmaker, gets a special music and dance diddley in what may be the most entertaining scene in the play. Articles describing the investor’s influence over San Francisco politicians — and Mayor Ed Lee in particular — are flashed on a wall, reminding the audience of the tens of thousands he has poured into city elections.In front, a group of women decked out in disco garb and leggings — and a man in drag — sing a catchy ukulele number: “It’s Ron Conway’s San Franciscooo, and we all do the discooo to his 1–2–3: plunder, pillage, and destroy.” Buying elections is no light topic, but the breezy dance makes you feel a little better about plutocracy. After some five minutes, the play begins lambasting other icons of the San Francisco “right.” Planning commissioner Michael Antonini is targeted, and Supervisor Scott Wiener, brooding over a Board of Supervisors meeting with dark eyes, is also criticized for his pro-development stance.If you don’t know all of those names, you don’t spend your weeks following various hearings at City Hall, which is a slight issue: The play’s hyperlocal focus is likely to be inaccessible to anyone who is not a reporter, politico, or activist daily engaged in these conversations. You’ll be able to follow the basic anti-gentrification themes, but might not understand the significance of the particular names or places referenced, like the “Monster in the Mission” or the Midtown eviction fight.Which is fine. You don’t need to know that Antonini was once called the “Donald Trump” of San Francisco to know that the housing crisis is devastating the Latino community. But the emotional impact of the marches and protests periodically projected during the play is likely to be minimal for those not engaged in those actions.Papadopoulos, for his part, acknowledged as much.“I’ll be honest, even I don’t get all of the references in the show and I’m the director,” he said. “There’s no question that to people that are more involved in Mission politics, they’re gonna get more out of it.”The play is also weird throughout and deviates from its core themes often. A magician takes the stage for some 20 minutes to do tricks, and a woman dressed in a janitor’s uniform sweeps the room and cracks a laugh when she pretends to be Super Mario with the broom as a moustache. Both are high-points for the play’s comedy, but their relation to the theme at hand is tangential. In a hopeful, if satirical, note, the Wolf learns the error of his market-rate ways. Instead of pursuing profit, he decides to renovate SROs, fund more homeless Navigation Centers, and pour money into affordable housing, becoming beloved by the community.A pipe-dream, to be sure, but a refrain often heard in activist circles. If only developers could be less greedy and cut into their profit margins, the neighborhood might grow more equitably. No one really believes this will happen, and the play ends with a line that will never be true of a housing developer in the Mission District.“Scrooge became as good a guy as the Mission knew,” the narrator says.“The Wolf in the Mission” will be playing at the Mojo Theater at 2940 16th St. on Saturday, July 9 at 8 p.m., or Thursday through Saturday, July 14-16, also at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the door.Little Red (Barbara Huxley) goes to city hall to try to fight against the Monster in the Mission and save her grandmother from eviction. Photo by Jon Bauer. Courtesy of Peter Papadopoulos.Climate change comes to San Francisco in “The Last Great Climate Change Debate.” Photo by Jon Bauer. Courtesy of Peter Papadopoulos. It’s only natural that the Mission District would respond to its gentrification crisis through theater. Artists and their organizations have been under siege in the increasingly unrecognizable neighborhood, and putting on a play is “a rare opportunity to find humor in front of the somewhat devastating,” as its director says.Peter Papadopoulos is behind “The Wolf in the Mission,” a two-hour retelling of the “Christmas Carol” story with a developer-type character — the “Wolf” — playing the Scrooge. Interwoven with cabaret-style skits, the play — on at the Mojo Theater on 16th Street this weekend and next — presents the Wolf, already hungrily eyeing Mission real estate, visions of the American dream past, present, and future.“What a shabby mess of a building,” the Wolf says looking at the Redstone Building where the Mojo Theater is based. “Surely I can flip it and turn a healthy profit.”Papadopoulos also has a past fighting the market-rate housing that so many activists see as the enemy of the neighborhood. He heads the Cultural Action Network, which was formed to fight a project activists dubbed the “Beast on Bryant.” Although recently approved for construction, Papadopoulos and others won significant concessions from the developer and are still hoping to kill the project on appeal. 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
0% A Mission leader credited with helping to place some 40,000 Latino and immigrant community members in jobs will be honored at this Saturday’s 20th Street Block Party– a free, day-long neighborhood party expected to draw some 15,000 revelers to the 20th Street Corridor.The building that houses the Mission Language and Vocational School at 2929 19th St. will be named after its founder, education and immigrant right activist Rosario Anaya, during a fundraiser hosted outside of the school and in conjunction with the music, food and art festival. Anaya died in August 2015, leaving behind a legacy in the community that includes providing thousands of immigrants and non-native English speakers with access to the vocational and language skills needed to enter the local workforce.Noise Pop, the Mission-based music promoter behind the block party, has for the first time partnered with the vocational school to honor Anaya. The newly formed alliance is also a way to encourage party-goers to help the school raise awareness about the local community’s needs and the necessary funds to expand its workforce development programs. “One woman created an entire Latino middle class in the Mission over some two-and-a-half decades,” said Daniel Brajkovich, the school’s current director. On Saturday, the building will be adorned with a plaque “commemorating [Anaya’s] tremendous influence, not just in this neighborhood, but throughout the city.”The new partnership will also make this year’s block party the biggest yet. Traditionally spanning three blocks between Harrison and Bryant streets on 20th Street, the festival will be expanded to include a three-block section on the 19th Street Corridor where the vocational school is located.On that corridor, Brajkovich said the school will curate a stage with performances by local bands such as the Bay Area Cumbia and reggae group La Gente, and will host tables that give space to community organizations. The building naming ceremony will take place during a fundraising brunch starting at 11 a.m. on the street and sidewalk outside of the school.Tickets to the brunch can still be purchased through the school’s website, and Brajkovich hopes that the Noise Pop partnership will help the school reach a wider audience willing to support and contribute to the community it serves. As gentrification has uprooted much of the Mission community at the heart of Anaya’s life’s work, Brajkovich said that remembering her decades-long fight for equity and opportunity for the under-privileged is critical. “People come to this neighborhood for the diversity and to be part of the continuing Latino character of the Mission that now makes it cool and chic,” said Brajkovich. “But the equity and value is built on the backs of generations of renters and some homeowners that have now been displaced.”With the help of the block party’s organizers, he hopes to foster a sense of community among the neighborhood’s newcomers and long-time residents alike, while ensuring that local institutions also benefit from the massive neighborhood party. “We want a seat at the table,” said Brajkovich, adding that the partnership could serve as a “greater model for community re-investment.”“Looking at the Mission’s new demographics and who’s at the 20th street block party, we felt that there is no reason the families and businesses that are in this neighborhood now can’t be a part of what MLVS does and help us,” he said.Dawson Ludwig, manager of Noise Pop, echoed this sentiment. The festival’s ultimate goal, he said, is to bridge the “progress made in the city” with the traditions and values of local communities. “This is our love letter to this neighborhood,” said Ludwig. “We are sensitive to the role that we play in the community, and this partnership gives us a chance to be more connected to it.”The Mission Language and Vocational School brunch fundraiser and building naming ceremony will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 20. Tickets ($150) are available for purchase here. The annual block party will kick off shortly afterwards, from noon to 6 p.m. and is free to the public. Tags: 20th Street • education • festivals • immigrants Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
TICKETS are still on sale for Saints next Super League home match.Nathan Brown’s side will take on Catalan Dragons on Friday April 12 (8pm) looking to avenge last season’s last gasp defeat.You can secure your spot in any of Langtree Park’s four stands and prices start at £6. Details are here.There’s also tickets remaining for Paul Wellens and his teammates’ trip to Hull KR on Sunday (3pm) too.You can find out more by clicking here.And, finally, tickets for our away trip to Leeds are now on sale too.Tickets are available by popping into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
SAINTS have agreed to allow Travis Burns to join Leigh Centurions on loan for the rest of the season.The 32-year-old half back signed for the club from Hull KR for the 2015 season – and to date has made 34 appearances in the Red Vee.But chances for first team action this year have been limited and the former Penrith Panther has been playing in the Reserves competition.Saints CEO Mike Rush said: “Travis has been a true professional this season and his dedication in training and in guiding our younger players around the field in the Reserves competition second to none. His experience has been invaluable.“It’s clear though at this stage of his career he needs to play regular football at the highest level and we thank Neil Jukes and Derek Beaumont at Leigh for making this move happen.“We wish Travis all the best for the rest of the season.”
HERE are some great images from our Members evening on Thursday night.Close to 300 2016 Members came to the event at Langtree Park to meet the players and enjoy a whole host of other fun and games in the concourse before the Saints v Warrington Reserves game.And, it was all FREE!Members gain access to great events like these and there will be more so watch this space! @Saints1890 brilliant event this evening thank you x pic.twitter.com/3ChFPZAvp2— Genix (@Genix71) July 28, 2016 Players showing the kids some moves pic.twitter.com/SMfYfXdmOG— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) July 28, 2016 @Saints1890 well done lads you done us all proud pic.twitter.com/RjcN4iIDSL— Saintjue (@Saintjue11) July 29, 2016
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say two men broke into a local sporting goods store, stole items, then sold the merchandise.Wilmington Police have charged Deshawn Hankins, 21, Rashon Roberts, 40.- Advertisement – Police say Hankins and Roberts broke into Boseman Sporting Goods on New Centre Drive early Wednesday morning and took more than $20,000 worth of merchandise, including the new Jordan 6 shoes that are scheduled to be released on Saturday.The suspects then sold the stolen goods.Police have recovered a portion of the merchandise.Related Article: Waffle House good Samaritan shot to death paying for meals, handing out $20 billsHankins is being charged with Breaking & Entering Felony, Larceny after B&E, and Possession of Stolen Goods and is being held under a $100,000 bond.Zakia Downey (Photo: Wilmington Police Dept.)Roberts is being charged with Breaking & Entering Felony and Larceny after B&E and is being held under a $12,000 bond.Zakia Downey, 25, is charged with Buying/Receiving Stolen Property. No word on any bond amount for her.
(Photo: Samuel Morse/US Air Force) (WWAY) — There are several Memorial Day events happening around the Cape Fear today, to honor those who gave their lives for our country.In Brunswick County, The VFW Calabash Post 7288 Memorial Day Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at 900 Carter Dr SW.- Advertisement – The keynote speaker is Henry Payne, a retired US Army Colonel. There will also be remarks by Calabash mayor Mary Louise Knight. The ceremony includes laying wreaths by the post and auxiliary, in memory of those that have passed.The Memorial Day ceremony in Sunset Beach also begins at 10 a.m. Due to the rain, the ceremony has been moved from Town Park to Fire Station #1 at 102 Shoreline Drive West. The event is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to bring a chair, as seating is limited.The Compass Pointe Veterans Club is sponsoring a fundraiser to send children of wounded, disabled or fallen soldiers to Camp Corral. The community Memorial Day celebration and fundraiser starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. at the Grand Lanai Lawn. There will be a flag presentation, a silent auction, food, music and more.Related Article: Fayetteville VA inland sites open; coastal sites closedThe New Hanover County Veterans Council will present its annual program at Wilmington National Cemetery. Starting at 11 a.m., a tolling of the bell ceremony will read aloud the names of more than 600 local veterans who passed since Memorial Day 2017.There is also a Memorial Day ceremony on the Battleship North Carolina today. The ship will open to the public at 4 p.m. and the free event starts at 5 p.m. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held under a tent in Battleship Park. A spokeswoman suggests arriving early and carpooling if possible.