The Seattle Parks smoking ban is shitty but obviously it passed anyway

Just in time for summer joy-killing, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners passed a ban on smoking in public parks, despite some very righteous and extremely visible resistance. It doesn’t go past the City Council or anything; pending approval by the Parks Superintendent, the ban goes into effect July 1.

While early versions of the ban carried a $27 fine and possible arrest for multiple violations, pressure from the ACLU, the NAACP and Real Change slowly softened the ban, which, guess what, would likely disproportionately effect homeless folks, who don’t have a whole lot of other places to go. The version passed by the board gives warnings for violations, and a possible ban from parks grounds. Regardless, the ban is pretty pointless, since you’re not allowed to smoke within 25 feet of other parkgoers anyway, which was the compromise we hit the last time we talked about banning smoking in parks, because it was a bad idea then too and it is stil a bad idea.

Despite the alterations, it’s still more extreme than it probably should be, in that it exists at all, and it’s certainly more extreme than even council member Sally Bagshaw wants it to be. After PubliCola’s Josh Feit tried to reach her for a quote in favor of the smoking ban yesterday, the one remaining Council Sally was like, actually…

I am in favor of having an area in our downtown parks equipped with tables, chairs, ashtrays where people CAN smoke. The remainder of the park can be smoke free. Frankly, my position evolved after talking with [Real Change’s] Tim Harris. I’m a total nonsmoker, but recognize some people DO choose to smoke and this could be a compromise that works for most of us.

Real Change did so much good here, but looks it wasn’t enough to stop the ban – which is a terrible, smug idea even without fines and arrests, but ~*~Precious Angels~*~ are gonna precious angel. But hey, maybe all this work folks have been putting in in the name of treating people like decent human beings will make a couple of people think twice before going all NIMBY (NIMP?) on a few goddamn cigarettes.

And uh, mayyybe the Superintendent will toss that proposal out? I mean it seems extraordinarily unlikely since the proposal is totally Ed Murray’s baby and Superintendent Jesus Aguirre is totally Murray’s dude appointed just in time to pass Murray’s baby, but anything is possible! Right?!

When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a black transgender woman, walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being “known for prostitution,” that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution. It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.

In April of this year, Monica was convicted of violating this overbroad and vague law. Today she appeals that conviction, and the ACLU, along with other advocacy and civil rights organizations, filed a brief in support of her appeal.

We #StandWithMonica because transgender women of color should be able to walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being arrested, or worse, for simply being themselves.

When Walking Down the Street is a Crime. Chase Strangio, ACLU

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.
Do you stand for gender equality in the film and television industry?


From the ACLU website:

“Gender disparities in film and television directing are striking, and despite a number of reports and headlines about the issue in recent years, not much has changed. Over the last year, the ACLU has heard directly from more than 50 women in the directing industry. Their stories mirror the dismal numbers reported, but more importantly give ​voice to the discrimination they endure.

We believe that the failure to hire women directors and give them a fair opportunity to succeed in the field is a civil rights issue. This is why the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the ACLU of Southern California have a campaign demanding that our government launch an investigation into the systemic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film and TV industry ​in violation of state and federal civil rights laws. Learn more.

Join us in asking our government to investigate this issue and stand with women directors. Sign our petition below today.”

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Grumblings that Hollywood is a man’s world have percolated for decades and are borne out in studies that show how few women are hired to direct top-grossing films: only 4 percent over the last dozen years. Now this apparent truism is being challenged as a violation of civil rights.

On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.

ACLU Requests Official Investigation Into Hollywood’s Sexist Hiring Practices

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union officially requested that state and federal agencies launch an investigation into Hollywood’s sexist hiring practices.

Nydia, a transgender woman, was granted asylum in the United States after repeated physical and sexual attacks in Mexico. Her protected status didn’t stop Border Patrol from twice deporting her to Mexico without a hearing despite verifiable evidence that she had asylum. Back in Mexico, Nydia was repeatedly attacked and raped, and then she kidnapped by a gang that trafficked her into the sex trade. She later successfully fled back to safety in the United States and applied for and was granted lawful permanent residence. “I didn’t know the immigration agents could have helped me,” Nydia said, recalling her previous attempts to enter the United States. “They had known all the reasons I was trying to come back to the U.S., and even knowing them, they sent me back.”

Read more at the ACLU report American Exile: Rapid Deportations that Bypass the Courtroom 

Sign the petition:

Today marks a huge legal victory for the Native American children of South Dakota. A summary judgement was issued in the case of Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick in favor of the plaintiffs!

Federal Court Judge Viken has ordered that South Dakota offficials have violated due process as stated by the 14th Amendment and the Indian Child Welfare Act, “The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

ACLU Press Release:…/federal-court-rules-indian-families-…

45-page summary judgement for Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick:…/oglala-sioux-tribe-v-van-hunnik-summ…

Please sign our petition to show your support for the return of the Indian children in South Dakota:

On Thursday, Feb. 26, Federal Judge John Kronstadt from Los Angeles, CA finalized the Lopez-Venegas v. Jeh Johnson case. The finalization of this case will allow thousands of Mexican nationals who were misinformed or coerced to sign voluntary departures a chance to return lawfully into the United States. The 2014 settlement stemmed from a lawsuit brought in June 2013 in Los Angeles by the ACLU of Southern California. They sued on behalf of 12 individual plaintiffs who were deported from the United States by Border Patrol or ICE officials who utilized coercion or deceit to sign voluntary departure forms. The ACLU SC filed on behalf of 3 organizational plaintiffs that used their resources in response to coercive voluntary departures. 2 of the 3 organizational plaintiffs are based out of the Inland Valley including the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center and the San Bernardino Community Services Center.

Today was the launch of our educational campaign to find potential class members. If you know anyone that might qualify please call the hotline # 619-398-4189 or for this in Mexico 01-800-681-6917

I have always firmly believed that every director should be judged solely by their work, and not by their work based on their gender. Hollywood is supposedly a community of forward thinking and progressive people yet this horrific situation for women directors persists. Gender discrimination stigmatizes our entire industry. Change is essential. Gender neutral hiring is essential.

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and the only woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director


The ACLU requests a federal investigation into Hollywood’s gender bias

Earlier today, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women’s Rights Project reached out to state and national agencies to request an investigation into what they deemed the “systemic failure” to hire women directors in the film and television industry. The two groups sent a fifteen-page letter to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that included extensive statistical and anecdotal evidence on the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors. The complete letter has been published on The New York Times’ movie blog.

The civil rights organizations are asking for an in-depth probe into the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors for episodic television and feature films. They cite the fact that women made up only 7 percent of the directors of the top 250 grossing films (down from 9 percent in 1998) of 2014, and only 1.9 percent of directors for the top 100 grossing films in 2013 and 2014. Overall, women directors helmed only 4.1 percent of the 1300 top-grossing films from 2002-2014. Television remains almost as impermeable—a DGA analysis cited inThe New York Times of about 220 shows (comprising 3500 episodes) from 2013-2014 found that only 14 percent of directors were women.

More at

Fired for Being Trans

By Patricia Dawson

The day I got my driver’s license with the gender marked “F” and my new legal name was one of the best days of my life. I was assigned male at birth, and my parents named me Steven. But I’d known for many years that I am a woman, and now I had the identification to prove it.

That year also included many of the hardest days. My parents, who belong to a conservative church, disowned me. My next-door neighbor hosed me in the face with a chemical poison. And I was fired from the job that I loved – all because I am transgender.

I’m an electrician, and I was working at H & H Electric, a contractor in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The day after I got my new driver’s license, I told my boss that I am a transgender woman. He looked shocked. He told me that I was one of his best people and that he would hate to lose me. I was stunned that his first reaction was that he might have to fire me.

He didn’t fire me right away, but he didn’t let me come to work as a woman, either. He told me I couldn’t discuss my transition with anyone at work or use my legal name, Patricia.

Even though I didn’t say anything, people at work noticed that I was transitioning. My hair was growing out, and I’d started hormone therapy. Some of my co-workers were kind to me, but others were cruel. Twice, co-workers tried to sabotage my work. One of those instances could have caused an explosion that could hurt or even kill someone. Fortunately, I discovered it in time, and no one was hurt.

The more time passed, the more it became obvious that I am a woman. Eventually I felt brave enough to wear makeup and a blouse to work. I was on top of the world. I had a great job, and I was finally being myself. That week, my boss pulled me aside and said, “I’m sorry, Steve, you do great work, but you are too much of a distraction and I am going to have to let you go.”

I am not a distraction. I am a woman, and I shouldn’t be fired for being who I am. That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on my behalf arguing that firing me because I am transgender is illegal sex discrimination.

Even though federal law prohibits employers from hiring or firing people because of their gender, here in Arkansas and in 31 other states, there are no laws that explicitly tell employers that discrimination against transgender people is illegal. I’m here to make sure that transgender workers are judged on their job perf

Through his lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Snowden did not specifically address the government’s theory of how he obtained the files, saying in a statement: “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”

The ACLU wants state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s biggest studios, and the inquiry may end in charges. Let’s hope it does. Hollywood is a cesspool of misogyny and racism. Bring on the lawsuits. While you’d be hard-pressed to think of an industry that doesn’t get a free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination, the point still stands. The investigation the ACLU is requesting is an incredibly important and long overdue step. Not because lawsuits are so great or anything like that, but because it’s clear, and has long been clear, that Hollywood can’t self-correct on this one. Discrimination persist despite women’s talents, their capacity to make bank for studios and their resolve to keep their heads up in an industry that’s stacked against them.

For decades, sexism has run rampant in Tinseltown. Only radical measures can change it

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Excerpt from a New York Times article by Cara Buckley that mentions SPSTWD. Our voices are being heard

“On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.”


A federal judge on Monday issued an injunction barring police from enforcing what became known as “the five-second rule,” in which protesters in Ferguson, Missouri could only stay still for that brief amount of time. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry ruled that the statute was unconstitutional because it violated protesters’ freedom of speech rights, as well as due process.

“[T]he policy fails to provide sufficient notice of what is illegal and because it was enforced arbitrarily,” wrote Perry in response to a case brought by the ACLU.

In the aftermath of unarmed, black teen Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a white Ferguson police officer, local police commonly relied on the rule as a crowd control tactic and even insisted that reporters had to be in the media staging area or keep walking. It led to one of the defining images from nights of upheaval in Ferguson: Bands of protesters marching along city streets, helping those who were elderly stay moving.

Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, noted that such rules tend to increase tension when applied “haphazardly.” He add that “Judge Perry’s injunction is a huge win for peaceful protesters and those who believe in the rule of law.”

The police-enforced rule also prevented people from gathering on sidewalks, which also violated freedom of speech, according to Perry’s ruling.

“Citizens who wish to gather in the wake of Michael Brown’s tragic death have a constitutional right to do so, but they do not have the right to endanger lives of police officers or other citizens,” Perry wrote, adding that the ruling still allows officers to enforce refusal-to-disperse laws, one of the most commonly used charges used to arrest protesters in Ferguson. “The police must be able to perform their jobs, and nothing in this order restricts their ability to do that.”