Recycled News You Can Use (NASNA) - Tim Harris/Real Change FWD

Tom Boland (
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 14:16:30 -0700 (PDT)

FWD CC Replies to Timothy Harris <>
                  Real Change Homeless Newspaper


Hi, I just finished New on the Net for Real Change, and thought someone
else might care to use it as well.  It's mostly drawn from news items
posted on HandsNet.

Best,  Tim Harris, NASNA [North American Street Newspaper Association]

U.S. Won't Fund Needle Exchanges
Programs that let drug users exchange used needles for clean ones fight
AIDS and do not encourage illegal drug use, the Clinton administration
declared today -- but it will not allow federal tax dollars to fund the
The administration hopes that a strong endorsement will encourage
communities to start their own needle exchanges. But AIDS activists have
said that federal money -- so far banned -- is key, and they see the
decision, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Donna
Shalala, as a defeat.
``We have concluded that needle exchange programs, as part of a
comprehensive HIV prevention program, will decrease the transmission of
HIV and will not encourage the use of illegal drugs,'' Shalala said.
But she said the program should be designed -- and funded -- by local
communities. Asked why a program could not be locally designed but
federally funded, she said: ``We had to make a choice. It was a
decision. It was a decision to leave it to local communities.''
AIDS activists were stunned by the decision, questioning how federal
public health officials could say that needle exchanges work but then
decline to fund them.
Half of all people who catch HIV are infected by dirty needles, sex with
injecting drug users or are children of infected addicts -- totaling 33
people every day, AIDS experts say.
But Congress had banned letting communities use federal tax dollars to
pay for needle exchanges until Shalala certified that scientific studies
proved they both reduced spread of the HIV virus and did not encourage
drug use.

Gang Activity on Rise
AP-- The percentage of teen-agers reporting gangs at their schools has
nearly doubled since 1989, and more students reported being victims of
violent crime at schools where gangs were present.
The increased gang presence came even though overall crime
victimization, including thefts, in school buildings, grounds and buses
remained steady between 1989 and 1995 at less than 15 percent of
students, the Education and Justice department reports.
However, the percentage of youths aged 12 to 19 who reported being
victims of violence such as a physical attack or robbery by force,
weapons or threats rose from 3.4 to 4.2, equal to about 1 million of the
24 million youth that age in public and private schools.
The reports of violent victimization were higher among students who also
reported the presence of gangs, drugs or guns at their schools. The
percentage of those reporting ``street gangs'' rose from 15 to 28.
The report cautioned that the study, based on a survey of about 10,000
students, gives a snapshot of two separate years and does not
necessarily indicate a stable trend.
Indeed, other government data show that violent crime by juveniles
peaked in 1994 and declined for two years since then. Arrests of
teen-agers for violent crimes dropped 2.9 percent.
The increased gang presence indeed was reported everywhere: cities,
suburbs and small towns. In central cities, students reporting street
gangs rose from 24.8 percent to 40.7 percent; in suburbs, from 14.0
percent to 26.3 percent, and in non-metropolitan areas from 7.8 percent
to 19.9 percent.
Law enforcement authorities in mostly rural states such as Oklahoma have
reported a surge in gang activities as gangs look for expanded drug
markets. The presence of gangs in the suburbs of Detroit and other major
cities has led to police crackdowns.

Reno: Homeless, others exploited in hazardous jobs
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on Friday stepped
up her agency's fight against the "criminal" and "cruel" labor practice
of hiring homeless men and others to remove toxic asbestos and do other
hazardous jobs without proper training and equipment.
She said there have been a series of incidents in which homeless men,
teen-agers or workers hired by the day were used to carry out hazardous
jobs, such as stripping asbestos from buildings. Asbestos is a hazardous
substance known to cause cancer in humans.
Reno announced the indictments of three contractors in Madison,
Wisconsin, on charges of improperly removing asbestos from a
manufacturing plant. The contractors "transported untrained homeless men
from a Tennessee soup kitchen to Wisconsin and used them to remove
asbestos," she said.
"Knowingly removing asbestos improperly is criminal. Exploiting the
homeless and other vulnerable people to do this is simply cruel," Reno
said at a news conference in Washington.
It is common practice for homeless people to be recruited to do
unskilled work, even though some of it is clearly dangerous, authorities
said. The reason is simple: The homeless are anxious to work and accept
low pay.
But federal agencies hope their increased vigilance and aggressive
prosecutions will help stop such abusive, hazardous practices. Reno
appealed to the public to notify authorities if they learn about such

Housing Program Faces Budget Cuts
AP--The House recently agreed to take $2.2 billion from the $12.6
billion rental assistance program and use it for emergency disaster
programs and military deployments.
The Senate passed a similar bill but chose to draw the emergency funds
from an expected budget surplus. Lawmakers from the two chambers will
have to reconcile their differences when they return from their spring
break later this month.
If the House version stands, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo said, an
estimated 1 million people might find themselves homeless when the new
budget year begins in October. He accused the House of solving one
problem ``by creating another.''
``These are people who have no other resources and no other recourse,''
Cuomo said. The average annual income of the families helped by the
subsidy program is $7,500. Their contracts for rental vouchers are
renewed annually. The Clinton administration has not yet figured out how
it would choose which contracts to cut.
House Republicans insist they will not have to cut any. Rep. Rick Lazio,
R-N.Y., chairman of the House Banking subcommittee on housing, said
Congress could find new funding for the program by next fall.
``The House leadership has assured me that the federal government's
obligations to families and seniors holding vouchers will be met,''
Lazio said. But Cuomo said he was skeptical, since some Republicans have
talked about eliminating the entire Department of Housing and Urban
``They could have found other money ... that wasn't needed in October to
keep people from becoming homeless,'' Cuomo said earlier this week.

Labor Scholar Faces Slander Suit
AP--Kate Bronfenbrenner is a Cornell University labor scholar and union
organizer who zeroes in on tactics U.S. companies use to beat back
unionization drives. Now one of the corporations subjected to her
scrutiny is suing her for slander.
At a town meeting in Pittsburgh last May, Kate Bronfenbrenner described
Beverly Enterprises Inc., America's largest nursing home operator, as
``one of the nation's most notorious labor law violators.''
She maintained Beverly fired workers for union activity, harassed and
spied on others and illegally altered wages in a systematic campaign of
coercion to keep unions from gaining recognition at dozens of its
nursing homes.
Describing her comments as false and defamatory, Beverly sued her in
February for at least $225,000 in damages. The company also demanded
that she open up her research to inspection as part of pretrial
Bronfenbrenner has refused, claiming that her data is based on thousands
of confidential interviews with organizers and workers. She has vowed to
go to prison rather than turn over sensitive records to Beverly.
``This represents a real threat to the ability of scholars to do
research on corporate behavior and speak about it in a public forum,''
said Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell
since 1993.
More than 500 professors signed an e-mail petition decrying the lawsuit
an attack on free speech and academic freedom. ``People view this, and
properly, as a way of saying to people, `Don't say or do stuff that will
be displeasing to big corporations,''' said Julius Getman, a University
of Texas law professor who organized the petition.

Use Prison Money For Drug Treatment, says Reno
3/24/98 - Declaring the nation cannot arrest its way out of the drug
problem, Attorney General Reno and HHS Secretary Shalala urged public
support for President Clinton's proposal to allow states to use prison
construction money for drug treatment, Associated Press reports.
"We need to speak clearly to the American people and let them know that
treatment and testing does work,'' Attorney General Janet Reno told a
national conference on drug addiction and crime convened by Barry
McCaffrey, the administration's director of drug-control policy.
"We have a twofold policy: Zero tolerance but maximum assistance,'''
said Shalala. "Because frankly, when a drug user actually lands in
prison, we have a unique opportunity to get them into treatment, to
break their addiction and to break the cycle of drugs, violence and
The Clinton initiative would earmark $200 million in the next federal
budget to identify prison drug users through testing and to make sure
drug users get treatment. Clinton also asked that all states report on
the level of drug use in their prisons and that they be allowed to use
prison construction money for drug testing and treatment.
A day earlier, the Justice Department released a survey of people on
probation from jail sentences that found nearly half had been drinking
or taking drugs or both at the time of their crimes. Another Justice
Department study released in January showed more than 60% of adult men
arrested for an array of crimes tested positive for at least one drug.
And a study by the Federal Bureau of Prisons of recently released
inmates who had received drug treatment in prison indicated that they
were less likely to be rearrested or return to drugs.

Suicides Among Black Youth Surge
3/19/98 - Associated Press reports the suicide rate among black children
and teen-agers in the United States more than doubled between 1980 and
1995, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. In
1995, the rate was 4.5 suicides per 100,000 blacks ages 10 to 19, up
from 2.1 in 1980.
Besides factors such as drugs and the breakdown of the family, the CDC
suggested one reason may be higher stress amont the growing black
"Blacks in upwardly mobile families are dealing with more stress and may
adopt the coping behaviors of the larger society, in which suicide may
be more commonly used to deal with hopelessness and depression,'' said
Tonji Durant of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and
Control. "We think this is one possible explanation.'' The study did not
actually assess whether the suicide rate for middle-class blacks was
higher than for other blacks.
Historically, suicide rates have been higher among white youths, but
this study shows the gap narrowing. The rate among young whites was more
than twice that among blacks in 1980. But by 1995, the suicide rate
among young whites was only 42% higher, or 6.4 per 100,000 people.
>From 1980 to 1995, 3,030 blacks between the ages 10 and 19 killed
themselves in the U.S. Guns accounted for 66% of those suicides. Carl
Bell, a mental health expert who works with black youngsters in Chicago,
said middle-class blacks can feel alienated at a young age. "You don't
belong in the white middle-class and you don't belong among poor blacks.
There is an alienation that occurs," he said.


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Timothy Harris,
Director, Real Change Homeless Newspaper
2129 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA  98121
(206) 441-3247

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