A disabled campaigner has succeeded in proving that he was discriminated against – twice – by the courts service.Doug Paulley, a wheelchair-user, has taken a string of cases against public bodies and companies for alleged discrimination under the Equality Act.But his latest victory has given him particular satisfaction, as he represented himself in court against a highly-paid government barrister.This latest case concerned the treatment he received from the courts service while trying to resolve another legal case, in which he had sued several companies for providing misleading and contradictory information after he tried to book accessible train travel to a family funeral in north London in May 2013.When one of the public transport companies refused to negotiate a settlement, the case ended up in Leeds County Court.But Paulley (pictured) was confronted with a series of access issues when he attended the court for a hearing, including misinformation from court staff about the provision of accessible parking spaces, the failure to provide a working accessible toilet, and the lack of a hearing loop in court.The Ministry of Justice settled the case out of court last September, paying him £3,000 damages.But the discrimination being faced by Paulley was not yet over.A judge had agreed that the transport case should enter mediation, but the courts service allegedly refused to provide Paulley with an accessible alternative to telephone mediation, even though he has a hearing impairment.He insisted that the only fair and reasonable alternative was to have a face-to-face meeting.The courts service only backed down when Paulley told them he was taking them to court.And when the mediation eventually took place, he says, he was confronted with an inaccessible room. They moved to another room, but there was no hearing loop.This time, he claims, the accessible toilet was out-of-order, and the second accessible toilet in the court building had no soap dispenser.Now Paulley has been told he has won his case against the courts service for refusing to provide an accessible alternative to telephone mediation, although he said the judge found there was no discrimination in the other access issues he faced before the hearing.This time, he was awarded £600 compensation for injury to his feelings, the lowest level possible.An HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokeswoman said in a statement: “HM Courts and Tribunals Service takes every reasonable step to ensure that access to our information and services is accessible for court users with disabilities. “Our staff have been reminded of our reasonable adjustment policy and the equality and diversity guidance issued to all court and tribunal staff.”She said later that, as the first claim was settled out of court, there was no ruling on whether discrimination had taken place.She was not able to comment on Paulley’s latest victory in time for the deadline set by Disability News Service.Paulley said his case demonstrated one of the key problems with the Equality Act: that victims of discrimination have to enforce the act themselves.He said: “You can’t complain to a statutory body and ask them to enforce the act. In these cash-strapped days, it’s nigh on impossible to get legal aid.“Even with a no-win, no-fee solicitor, funding is an issue due to recent changes in court rules.“So our right under the act to reasonable adjustments to reduce or remove the barriers we experience can generally only be enforced by us, ourselves, without representation.“If we don’t do it, then nobody will, and the Equality Act is purposeless and powerless.”He added: “There is a particular irony that the [courts service] itself has many access problems.“It is not good that when we do try to enforce our rights through the courts, we experience barriers caused by the [courts service].“I am glad to have had the opportunity to force the [courts service] to improve on this issue, albeit probably only in my corner of the country.”Paulley is now writing a guide called Legal Suage for Crips, on how to take companies and other organisations to court for disability discrimination without a solicitor.The guide will eventually be published on his website.
The Liberal Democrats have promised to raise £6 billion a year extra to spend on the NHS and social care, by increasing all rates of income tax by 1p.Although there was no mention in the announcement of working-age disabled people, the Liberal Democrats said they would spent at least £2 billion of the money on social care in the next financial year, and £1 billion on mental health.The party said the measure was its “flagship spending commitment” and its first major policy announcement of the general election campaign.It came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech at his party’s campaign launch, said Labour’s plan to “transform Britain” would mean “rebuilding our NHS and social care services with the funding they need”.He also said a Labour government would introduce a “comprehensive programme to strengthen rights at work”, and that disabled people were among those who had been left to “foot the bill” by the “rich and powerful”.And he told the audience in Manchester: “What’s remotely fair about the bedroom tax?“What was fair about racking up tuition fees? Or about taking benefits away from people with disabilities?”The Liberal Democrats said that health and social care services had been left “chronically under-funded” by the government, and the alternative to raising taxes was to “cut drastically from other essential public services, like schools and welfare, to keep the health and care system afloat”.Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Theresa May doesn’t care about the NHS or social care.“People are lying on trolleys in hospital corridors and she has done nothing. The truth is you can’t have a strong NHS with a hard Brexit.“The Liberal Democrats will rescue the NHS and social care. We are prepared to be honest with people and say that we will all need to chip in a little more.”The party’s shadow health secretary, Norman Lamb (pictured), said the new funding would be targeted to “areas that have the greatest impact on patient care such as social care, general practice, mental health and public health”.The party said it would set out a five-point recovery plan for NHS and social care in its manifesto.This will include the development of a dedicated health and care tax, which would bring together spending on both services into a single budget and set out how much was spent on them on people’s payslips.There will also be a cross-party convention on health and care, which will work with patients, the public and NHS and care staff to review the long-term sustainability of the health and care systems, and examine the need for greater integration.And a Liberal Democrat government would introduce a statutory, independent budget monitoring agency for health and care, an Office of Health and Care Funding, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility set up by the coalition.This would report every three years on how much money the system needed to cover government health targets, new initiatives, and projected increases in demand.
Disabled activists across the country have removed thousands of copies of a national newspaper from their public distribution points after it began publishing a series of advertising features that will air-brush concerns about universal credit.Members of Sheffield Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are now promising to “step up the campaign” against the Metro free newspaper.They have even offered a prize of a DPAC tee-shirt for the most creative way in which an activist can recycle or reuse a copy of the Metro, and so prevent the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advertising features being read.Photographs show all the copies of the Metro at Sheffield train station being removed in a suitcase (pictured) – while a similar action took place in Ipswich – with Sheffield DPAC encouraging people to “get to your local Metro newspaper stands and help us by removing the Metros from the shelves”.It adds: “Re-use them, recycle them, just don’t leave these LIES on the stands.”And it warns: “This nonsense is going to be going on for nine weeks from this week and each week we will be stepping up this campaign […] we are absolutely not giving up […] if anything it just makes us angrier and more determined.”Sheffield DPAC has also warned all the companies advertising in Metro that thousands of potential readers would not see the adverts they had paid for because DPAC activists “have removed thousands of copies of the newspaper” from stations, buses, trains and trams around the UK.A spokesperson for Metro – which is run by the company that owns the Daily Mail – said: “Metro is a non-partisan newspaper, which carries advertisements for a range of clients, including government departments and unions.“Metro takes advertising standards seriously and requires our advertisers to comply with all laws and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) code.“The Department for Work and Pensions has informed us that the advertising was reviewed by the ASA’s copy advice team prior to publication.“Metro is happy with this process.”The protests come as DPAC is set to release a report detailing “the reality of universal credit”, with links to hundreds of newspaper stories from across the UK that have reported on the real damage caused by UC, and were published over a period of just 16 weeks between 20 January and 12 May 2019.The report contains “harrowing stories of people forced into debt, rent arrears, homelessness, crime, prostitution, hunger, people unable to afford fares to get to food banks, parents unable to get essentials for their babies, child poverty, worsening mental health, ex-service people considering suicide and even cases of actual suicide”.Meanwhile, Disability News Service (DNS) has confirmed that DWP breached Civil Service guidelines when it decided to launch the nine-week series of “unethical and misleading” adverts without including a government logo.The Government Communication Service’s “branding guidelines” make it clear that “all government campaigns and comms should be government branded to ensure transparency and accountability”. The guidelines also say: “It is important that the public is easily able to recognise the work of government, departments, their agencies and Arms Length Bodies.”But the first of DWP’s universal credit advertorials published by the Metro newspaper last week included no government logos.The second advertisement feature, which appeared yesterday (Wednesday) in the Metro, also failed to include a government logo.The only reference to the source of the advertorials is a line – which is even less obvious on the Metro website – that states: “ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE FROM THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS.”A leaked DWP memo, signed by three senior servants – including Neil Couling, director general of the universal credit programme – proves the failure to include a government logo on the advertorials was intentional.The memo admitted that the nine-week series of advertorials in the Metro were designed to be misleading.It said: “The features won’t look or feel like DWP or UC – you won’t see our branding, and this is deliberate.”The Metro advertorials are part of a nationwide DWP campaign to “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”.They will cost DWP hundreds of thousands of pounds, and have already led to complaints being lodged with ASA.A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, which is responsible for overseeing the guidelines, said they were “at the end of the day guidelines and this is a DWP campaign”.She said the Cabinet Office was “content that the materials clearly stated that it was an advertising feature from DWP”.She pointed to information provided to DNS last week by DWP, which stated that advertising features “are generally developed to give the same look and feel as the publication they are being placed in – while clearly stating who produced the material”.DWP also said last week that its first advertorial “clearly stated that it was an advertising feature from the Department for Work and Pensions”.But Natasha Hirst, chair of the equalities council of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), who also has the disabled members’ seat on NUJ’s national executive council, said: “There appears to be a breach of the government’s own guidelines on communications, as raised by the NUJ last week.“The advertorials are shockingly poor practice but are not the only problem.“We are concerned that the integrity of journalism could be called into question by biased and uncritical features in publications.“It is vital that journalism remains independent of political interference.“The erosion of trust created by orchestrated visits to jobcentres and government-placed advertorials that dismiss people’s harsh experiences of universal credit is something we must all fight.“It is incredibly poor judgement for the Cabinet Office to show no willingness to criticise misleading communications from the DWP.”Linda Burnip, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, said the “disgraceful and fabricated” Metro ad campaign “shows just how much UC is a total failure” and how concerned DWP is about its roll out and consequences.She added: “However, even for Rudd and her DWP minions this is beyond contempt.”Picture by Sheffield DPACA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
0% Tags: Affordable Housing • housing • mission Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% A planned 157-unit fully affordable housing complex had its first of many public meetings at Valencia Gardens on Wednesday night and a Mission resident had virtually one concern: the prospect of increased sewage resulting in more flooding to Folsom Street.“This is gonna dump into the sewer system that’s been dumped onto Folsom Street, correct?” asked Michael Crahan in the first comment of the night. Flooding on Folsom is a perennial problem stemming from the capacity of the city’s pipes, and Crahan wondered whether the project had been through an environmental review and taken its sewage output into account.Sam Moss, the executive director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, one of the two non-profits behind the project, told Crahan such issues would be looked at, but Crahan replied that the housing boom is straining city infrastructure. “Sewage dumps onto Folsom Street, and no one’s been doing anything for a long time,” he said. “They keep building and it keeps getting worse.”It was an isolated comment in a meeting otherwise concerned with amenities in the new development. The 157-unit project coming to 1950 Mission St. — between 15th and 16th — was awarded to the non-profit pair Mission Housing and Bridge Housing in July 2015 and will cost some $80 million to construct. Around $30 million of that is in city funds.The project is scheduled to break ground by the end of 2017 and will take in its first residents in five years.The development is split into two buildings — one of which is four stories tall, the other eight — with a courtyard planned for the space between and public alleyways abutting the building that connect Mission Street to Weise Alley.Preliminary plans for the 1950 Mission St. project.Preliminary plans for the 1950 Mission St. project.The complex will mostly house families making between 45 and 60 percent of area median income — between $41,300 and $55,000 for a family of three — in a mix of units from studios to three-bedrooms. The studios, Moss explained, are meant to keep people in the building after their families have left, since many affordable housing complexes house individuals in two- or three-bedroom units when they could be in smaller spaces.A fifth of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless families chosen through a program of the Human Services Agency and will have a lower income cutoff.The housing project replaces the Navigation Center currently on the spot, which serves as a transitional center that can take in entire homeless encampments — pets and all — at once. Christina Olague, a former planning commissioner, brought up the closure of the center and wanted to know what would happen to the dozens of homeless people who stay there at any one time.“Where will the Navigation Center be relocated?” she asked. The non-profit developers are not responsible for that decision, but Sam Dodge, the mayor’s point-person on homelessness, said in a phone call before the meeting that sites city-wide were being explored.“We’re actively working on a lot of different sites,” he said, mentioning that Districts 5 and 10 could particularly use new centers. But the center on Mission Street won’t be relocated per se. It will be a year before it shutters, and Dodge hopes to have two others up and running by then.“My hope is that we can be operating two at a time,” he said. “I would open up a third and we could then close the Mission [center] and operate with two.”At the Wednesday meeting, groups split up and sat around posters of possible amenities for the project, placing little green stickers next to the features they would want in the new building — like bicycle pathways and a community garden — and red ones next to those they wouldn’t — like a facade similar to that at Vida Apartments.“Close your eyes,” said Oscar Grande from the non-profit Poder while leading a Spanish-speaking group. “I want you to imagine what we can do in this space,” he said, speaking of the courtyard between the buildings.The group talked murals, opportunities for local artists, and cultural activities. Juan-Jose Carrizalas, who lives in Valencia Gardens, suggested an exterior notice board so residents could put up flyers about events in the neighborhood.“Like a bulletin mural,” said Brenda Morales, a Mission District resident, while rocking her newborn. Others later suggested tai-chi classes, zumba and dancing, saying adults need to keep occupied while their children play in the park.“Also a place to get massages,” said Andres Hernandez, a Mission District resident.“Put it up,” said Grande to a note taker. “Put a little star next to that one.”The joins three other fully-affordable developments — at 490 South Van Ness, 2070 Folsom, and 1296 Shotwell — that will bring some 430 units to the Mission District in the next half-decade. It’s also the first ground-up construction for embattled Mission Housing in 15 years after the non-profit saw its city funding slashed more than a decade ago.“This is really awesome,” Moss said. “It means a lot that Mission Housing has finally gotten to the point where we’re planning for the next five years instead of worried about the past five.”
ROYCE Simmons says James Roby’s injury looks like a “pretty nasty” one but will reserve judgement until he is seen by medical professionals early this week.The hooker came off worst in a challenge clutching his knee and had to leave the field.“He has a leg muscle injury, possibly his knee and it doesn’t look too good,” he said. “We’ll get a scan and see where we go from there, but it could be a few weeks before he comes back.“We know that when he comes off, he doesn’t do that too easily does he?“Lance Hohaia stepped in well and is very experienced in that role. He has played a number of positions. Of course, the injury cost us some interchanges and changed how I was going to use Lance later on.”He continued: “We are of course disappointed we lost. You are every time you are beaten. We worked hard on our defence this week and I thought we defended very good for long periods of the game.“We had to defend a lot as the penalty count was something like 9-2 in their favour and that in turn fatigued us and affected our attacking game which has been tremendous all year.“That suffered with the amount of tackling we had to do.“We try to play bright attacking football but we are getting the least penalties than everyone else. It must be something we are doing wrong.”
A majority crowd in favor of not merging school districts crowded the Columbus county board of commissioners meeting. Hoping to get an answer, but they may have not gotten the answer they wanted.The board had two resolutions from school boards to accept or deny the merger. They say they want state leaders to make the call. They voted and approved a motion to ask the school districts to take their resolutions to the state senator and state representative to look over.“It’s not about the name Whiteville City schools,” says Wess White who’s kids will attend Whiteville City schools.”It’s about what happens after the merger.”Related Article: Charter school proposed to fill vacant middle school in ChadbournCounty commissioners cite their study that shows a loss of state funding as well as jobs at least thirty of them. Many of them surprised this issue came up citing that in prior meetings with the two school boards, that the issue of consolidation was not brought up.Teachers also spoke during public input upset that faculty and staff were not interviewed about the idea of a merger.Even though the room carried a majority of supports to remain separate, there were people who want to see a fix. County school builders date back more than fifty years according to the school system’s spokesperson who presented the resolution in front of the commission. Their student enrollment is declining as well. Whiteville City schools are not in great shape in terms of infrastructure either according to the superintendent, but they are making strides and class enrollment sits above state averages.“What are we doing as a board to create a vision for this county,” says Jack Coleman who’s kids attend school in Delco,”This county, not for Whiteville or for Delco, or Bolton.”“I’m not saying the solutions are putting them together,” says Shawn Lewis who says she attended both city and county schools growing up.”But I am saying we’ve got to be one.”Commissioners said the resolutions could come back up on their agenda any time from now. They do agree the issue begins with lack of funding and infrastructure. WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) – The debate to for merging Whiteville City schools with Columbus County schools is nothing new for neighbors in the county. Tonight they had a chance to finally hear a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from commissioners on the issue, but that did not happen.Back in the spring of 2015, Columbus County schools and Whiteville City schools were asked to give commissioners an assessment of which schools need improvements the most. The county school board met last week and unanimously approved a resolution to consolidate. However, Whiteville City schools’ superintendent says the merger would not save money and would reduce state funding.- Advertisement –
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Christmas came early for dozens of children in Wilmington Thursday afternoon all in honor of Academy Sports + Outdoors grand opening.The new Wilmington location is celebrating by giving back to the community.- Advertisement – 30 kids from Wilmington Family YMCA each received a $100 gift card for whatever they wanted. From bikes, to shoes, clothes, toys, and sports equipment the kids got an opportunity of a lifetime.“Well me and my friend Skylar we both got matching jackets. And me, Skylar, and Lacey got matching shoes. And that’s all we have so far,” Caeli Sullivan, who received a gift card, said.Academy Sports + Outdoors does a give back like this every time a new store opens.Related Article: Historic Bellamy Mansion needs volunteers to assist with storm clean up“Kids are our everything. We like to think that here at Academy Sports + Outdoors we have for all for less,” Store Director Corey Turner said.“Academy Sports is a great place to shop for like sports and toys as you can see. And a really fun place to be it’s really cool,” Sullivan said.While this is Wilmington’s first Academy store, the new location marks the tenth in the state.Starting Friday morning the store is hosting a two-day celebration full of giveaways, games, and other events for families across the community. For more on what is going on this weekend, click here.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly signaled action later this week on environment, education and possibly elections administration legislation, ending a nearly monthlong hiatus as lawmakers returned to Raleigh.A Senate committee voted late Wednesday for legislation designed to address pollution discharge permitting and high-tech testing of unregulated contaminants in response to the discharge of the chemical GenX into the Cape Fear River, the primary drinking water source for Wilmington. A Bladen County plant released GenX, used to make Teflon and other coatings, into the river for decades, officials say.- Advertisement – The House approved a different version last month, and at the time Senate leader Phil Berger suggested action wouldn’t be taken up until the year’s primary work session begins in May. But now it appears the legislature will seek a compromise in the coming days.“The Senate is going to move a bill and then we’re going to try and work out the differences that are there,” said Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, the House Rules Committee chairman.The full Senate met briefly Wednesday and confirmed four appointments by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to the state employee pension trustee board. House Speaker Tim Moore told colleagues more votes were expected the rest of the week, including a joint House-Senate session Friday to consider Cooper’s appointments to the State Board of Education. Lewis said a news conference abut an education announcement was expected Thursday, but he declined to provide details.Related Article: Trump says building wall would be act of ‘love’House and Senate Republicans have been talking privately about how to address concerns by school districts that a tougher student class-size mandate this fall in kindergarten through third grade could result in fewer music and physical education teachers — or in larger classes in other grades.Lewis also said an election committee on Friday could discuss how to address a new state Supreme Court ruling favoring Cooper. A majority of justices found the legislature violated the state constitution by requiring him to pick half of the appointments on a combined elections and ethics board from a list created by Republicans. Lewis said he’d like to pass a new law addressing the ruling before it’s returned a three-judge panel next week for review.The legislature hadn’t met to vote on legislation since Jan. 10. Lawmakers held perfunctory sessions every few days to keep the work session going while lawmakers tried to negotiate bills and awaited court rulings on redistricting and judicial primaries.Senate Republicans rolled out a new GenX measure before Wednesday’s committee. The House version of the measure approved last month included $2.3 million for the Department of Environmental Quality to test for GenX and additional contaminants in other rivers, cut an environmental permitting backlog and pay for high-tech equipment to locate chemicals in the water.The Senate version provided $2.4 million to DEQ but it’s not directed for the backlog or to purchase a mass spectrometer. Rather, the money is supposed to go to complete an audit of the state’s permitting program for entities that discharge pollutants in the water and to cooperate with any audit of the program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.As for testing equipment, the law directs an agency the legislature created at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to ensure spectrometers on UNC-system campuses are available if the EPA can no longer provide testing for free.The Senate environment committee voted for the bill, although some Democrats who complained about the lack of permitting and equipment funds for DEQ voted no. The measure now goes to another Senate panel.
We do want to warn you, some of you may find the language in this story offensive or disturbing.“Creepy people. Lazy bums sitting on porches. Porch monkeys,” Parker read from the letter. “Big lipped ape men. Blue gummed people wandering around. A stench in the air. Illegitimate kids everywhere. Etc. Where are you? Hm. And the answer I don’t even want to say.”Those are just a few of the words Parker never thought she would have to read in her own church.Related Article: New Hanover Co., Wilmington begin curfew Friday night“Just kind of shocked,” Parker said. “Dumbfounded. Like, you would really send something like this to a church?”The first thing that went through Parker’s mind besides anger was fear.“You know, it made me start to think about what happened in Charleston,” Parker said. “You know, it could happen here this is a small church. We don’t have security. You know, am I going to have to be looking over my shoulder while I’m preaching?”Parker said she hopes the letter was just random.“I see racism everyday. But there are two places where you feel like you’ll be safe from that. And that’s at home and in church,” Parker said.There is a second part to the letter. However, Parker decided not to share it with others because it is just too offensive.But she did share what she would want to say to the person who wrote the letter.“Why? Why? If you don’t like us and you know us that’s one thing,” Parker said. “But do you really know us?”Parker hopes the author of the letter will see the harm they have caused. She also wants to raise awareness and start a bigger conversation surrounding racism.“What happens when we remain silent is the people who don’t have to deal with racism don’t have to hear about it. And then they can pretend it doesn’t exist but it does exist,” Parker said.Parker said she filed a police report. However, she said the Wilmington Police Department is not considering the letter a hate crime at this time because there is no actual threat.The Wilmington Police Department is however keeping an eye on Parker’s church.To read the letter, click here. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Port City pastor was blindsided when she said she got a letter filled with hate and racist undertones over the weekend.Dierdre Parker is a pastor at Speaks Temple AME Zion Church in Wilmington.- Advertisement –
(Photo: WWAY) Across the country, groups gathered Thursday to pray for unity as part of the annual National Day of Prayer including in Hampstead. (Photo: WWAY) HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Across the country, groups gathered Thursday to pray for unity as part of the annual National Day of Prayer.In Hampstead, about 50 people gathered at noon near the gazebo off Highway 17.- Advertisement – (Photo: WWAY) Speakers representing seven fields of work including education, government, military, business and media, were asked to talk their work including WWAY’s very own Jeff Rivenbark.The event was organized by Pender East Ministerial Association, a group comprised of more than a dozen churches from various denominations. 1 of 4 (Photo: WWAY) (Photo: WWAY)