Tag Archives: news and events 2008 election

On This Day ~~ Haiti … In memory

Massive earthquake strikes Haiti, 2010

On this day in 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastates the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The quake, which was the strongest to strike the region in more than 200 years, left over 200,000 people dead and some 895,000 Haitians homeless.

The earthquake hit southern Haiti at 4:53 p.m. local time. The nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, a densely populated city located about 15 miles from the quake’s epicenter, suffered widespread devastation. Countless dwellings were reduced to rubble, while hospitals, churches and schools collapsed and roads were blocked with debris. Numerous government structures were heavily damaged or destroyed, including the presidential palace, parliament building and main prison. (At the time of the quake, Haiti lacked a national building code, and many structures were shoddily constructed.) In the aftermath of the quake, amidst fears that victims’ decomposing corpses could spread disease, trucks picked up thousands of bodies and dumped them into mass graves.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti, which occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic occupies the other two-thirds), was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of its 9 million residents existing in poverty. Political corruption and violence, disease, malnutrition and limited access to education were a way of life for many in Haiti, which gained its independence from France in an 1804 slave revolt.

A large-scale, international relief operation was launched soon after the quake hit, with the United States taking charge and sending thousands of military troops to Haiti to deliver supplies, assist with search-and-rescue efforts and help maintain order. Relief efforts initially were hampered by earthquake damage to roads, communication systems and the Port-au-Prince airport and main port.

Governments and individuals around the world made donations and pledges of aid to Haiti totaling billions of dollars. However, on the first-year anniversary of the disaster, reconstruction efforts were still in their infancy. Thousands of people left homeless by the quake were living in tents, and only a small portion of the heavy debris resulting from the disaster had been cleared.

resource: history.com

i would like to add that the problem is getting access to education due to dollars and the fact that they are mostly privately run least we talk about the limited jobs in public schools and wages tend to be lower in non-public schools.


Dad: Affordable housing plan led to son’s demotion in league

by dave collins

DARIEN, Conn. (AP) — In one of the country’s richest towns — where Mercedes, BMWs and Land Rovers cruise tree-lined streets of multimillion-dollar homes — a man who proposed building more accordable housing says fellow residents took out their anger on his son: a 9-year-old boy demoted to a lower-level Little League team.

 Christopher Stefanoni says in a federal lawsuit that residents of Darien are so worried that affordable housing will draw black people to town that they’ll do just about anything to stop it, including using his son to retaliate against him. Town and Little League officials say that’s completely false.

“Darien is a little white enclave, sort of a holdout segregated town,” said Stefanoni, 50, a Harvard-educated father of five who has lived in town since 2000. “The attitudes that people in Darien have are very exclusionary, demeaning. When they go after your kids, they’ve crossed the line.”

The town of nearly 21,000 people on Connecticut’s Gold Coast consistently appears in Top 10 lists of America’s wealthiest towns, with a per-capita income around $95,000. About 94 percent of the population is white, with about 620 Hispanics and 70 blacks, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The lawsuit and a federal housing investigation reopened old wounds in Darien, a New York City suburb depicted in the 1947 Oscar-winning movie “Gentleman’s Agreement” starring Gregory Peck where residents conspired not to sell their homes to Jews

Stefanoni and his wife, Margaret, filed the lawsuit in 2013 against the Darien Little League and its leaders at the time their son was demoted in the fall of 2010. The demotion came just days after he filed an affordable housing application for property right next to the home of a former league official. Several months later, Stefanoni was banned indefinitely from coaching in the league.

Lawyers for the Little League deny the allegations. A federal judge in Bridgeport is now mulling the league’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. According to court documents, league officials say they made a mistake placing the Stefanonis’ son on a higher-level team, after the housing application was filed, and corrected the error by moving him to another team.

“Mr. Stefanoni is pursuing a baseless litigation as a means to harass and retaliate against defendants for an imaginary slight that has no connection to reality or to the civil rights laws that he purports to vindicate,” the defendants’ lawyers, Michelle Arbitrio and Fred Knopf, wrote in the motion to dismiss. Knopf has since withdrawn from the case.

Former Little League board members named in the lawsuit declined to comment.

Stefanoni said he has had three affordable housing proposals rejected by the town. They include a 16-apartment complex with five affordable units and a 30-apartment development with nine affordable units. A court sent both of those back to the town’s planning and zoning commission for review and approved a third. The commission cited traffic safety and other concerns.

The lawsuit includes allegations about city officials blocking affordable housing applications to keep blacks from moving into town, claims identical to those in another pending federal lawsuit against the town by a different affordable housing developer whose project was rejected.

The U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 began investigating whether the town was violating the Fair Housing Act with a zoning policy approved in 2009 that gave top priority for new affordable housing to Darien residents and other people with ties to the town, including town employees. The planning and zoning commission rescinded the policy later in 2010, and the Justice Department closed the investigation in 2012 without taking any action, the Darien Times reported.

According to state data, 2.6 percent of Darien’s nearly 7,100 housing units qualify as affordable. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has called affordable housing one of the state’s most pressing needs and has committed hundreds of millions of dollars for more affordable housing.

In 2010, Darien won a four-year exemption to a state law making it easier for developers to build in towns with less than 10 percent affordable housing and town officials expect to win another after resolving a dispute with the state. The town says it is entitled to the exemption under a complicated formula involving existing affordable housing units.

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the town has made significant efforts to increase affordable housing and its housing practices aren’t discriminatory.

“The Darien of today bears no resemblance to the allegations that the Stefanonis … are intending to propagate,” she said. “These folks are developers and they’re looking to develop housing and make some money.”

Rob Williamson, owner of Uncle’s Deli in downtown Darien, said he doesn’t believe the town is being discriminatory in rejecting affordable housing applications.

“The town’s small, very tight knit,” the resident of nearby Stamford said. “That doesn’t mean we want to keep anyone out. It’s a small, little New England town and I think they want to keep it that way.”

Making Our Communities Stronger Through Fair Housing – reminder

In this week’s address, the President discussed a new rule announced by his Administration earlier this week to make it easier for communities to implement the Fair Housing Act.

For nearly 50 years, the Fair Housing Act has prohibited landlords from turning away tenants because of race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability, and has made a big difference in this country. This week, the Administration announced new steps to provide communities with the tools they need to ensure that housing is fair, and that no American’s destiny is determined by a zip code.

Watch the President’s Weekly Address here.

Watch the Weekly Address.



Secretary Julián Castro, Department of Housing and Urban Development

The White House, Washington

When my tenure as Secretary is over, I won’t judge my time by how many initiatives my Department has launched, or how many press releases we’ve put out. I’ll judge my tenure by the results — by how we were able to make opportunity real for families across America.

I’m proud to be serving under a President who shares the same commitment to policies that put everyday Americans first. President Obama has guided our nation out of a historic crisis and into an economy that’s picking up momentum. In just six years — thanks in large part to his actions — millions of Americans have been able to stay in their homes, and home sales are up by nearly 50 percent.

We’re not stopping there. Today, the President announced that he’s directing the Federal Housing Administration to reduce mortgage insurance premiums, which will help 250,000 American families buy a home over the next three years.

Thanks to President Obama’s actions today, homeownership will be more accessible, and more sustainable for more Americans. Share the news, and take a look at a few charts that show exactly how far our housing system has come:

Share the news, and take a look at a few charts that show exactly how far our housing system has come

In 2008, home values were on the decline, but they’ve been rising for three years now.

New foreclosures are at their lowest levels since 2006.

The number of U.S. homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages — meaning they owe more than their home is worth — is down by nearly 10 million.

There’s no denying the progress we’ve made over the past few years, and we will continue working until every responsible, hardworking American is able to own a home.

Find out more about how far we’ve come, and what the President’s newest announcement means for you — whether you own a home, or hope to own one in the future. And make sure to share the news.



Secretary Julián Castro
Department of Housing and Urban Development

President Obama designates 3 New Nationals Monuments

Yesterday, the President designated three new national monuments: Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Waco Mammoth in Texas, and Basin and Range in Nevada. Together, these striking places demonstrate the wide range of historic, cultural, and natural values that make America’s public lands so treasured.

Learn more about the monument designation here.

President Barack Obama signs National Monument designations in the Oval Office, July 10, 2015. The three new monuments include Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Waco Mammoth in Texas, and the Basin and Range in Nevada. Standing behing the President, from left, are: Victor Knox, National Park Service, April Slayton, National Park Service, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Chief Tom Tidwell, Randy Moore, Forest Service, and Director Neil Kornze. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

With these new designations, President Obama has now used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 19 national monuments. Yesterday’s addition of three national monuments will protect more than 1 million acres of public land, adding to the more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters President Obama has protected for future generations — more than any other President.