poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Newark council OKs policies for affordable housing
Officials also agree to anti-discrimination

NEWARK -- In a spirit of inclusiveness and making people feel that they belong in the community, the City Council has unanimously passed an anti-discrimination ordinance and an affordable-housing program.

The first prohibits discrimination based on an individual's sex or sexual orientation, while the second provides more opportunities for teachers, public safety personnel and others who work in the community to afford living in Newark.

The anti-discrimination ordinance is the product of eight months of collaboration between the city and Not in Newark, a group of parents, students and community leaders that formed after the 2002 slaying of a local transgender teen.

"The fact that you did not just listen with your ears, but you listened with your heart ... you have opened the door to people feeling safe," Pat Skillen, president of the local Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays group, said to council members.


Mobilizing for Recall in Westminster
Posted by: Debra Berube
By Joel Rubin

Parents and teachers unite in a bid to oust two school district trustees. Their campaign is built on more than a single issue, they insist. -------

A group of Westminster mothers and teachers, eager foot soldiers in the grass-roots battle to recall school district trustees Judy Ahrens and Blossie Marquez-Woodcock, clustered around Mary Mangold's kitchen counter.

Pushing aside a plate of homemade frosted cookies, they pored over computerized lists of registered voters, consulted neighborhood maps and talked strategy for getting at least 7,200 voters to sign petitions to put the recall on the November ballot.As the women grabbed their clipboards, Mangold, who lives just a block away from Ahrens, warned that, on these streets, some doors were sure to be shut in their faces. "I've sold Girl Scout cookies in this neighborhood for four years," Lisa Mathews said confidently. "People will open their doors for me."

Tensions are still simmering in the Westminster School District, weeks after resolution of a political ruckus. The turmoil began when Ahrens, Marquez-Woodcock and trustee Helena Rutkowski, citing religious beliefs, took a stand against the gender language in a state antidiscrimination law ‹ a move that threatened to cost the district millions of dollars in state funding.

Trustees eventually adopted antidiscrimination language acceptable to the state, but parents and teachers are still pursuing a recall of Ahrens and Marquez-Woodcock. (Rutkowski, whose term expires in November, is not targeted.)


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