Friday, March 7, 2008

Homeless versus parking, red light cameras, pre-Roe laws and more

News roundup for today...

When local attorney and downtown property owner Fred Mohs reconsidered his parking garage contract with a downtown Madison church, the church's homeless shelter program became a bargaining point. The church voted unanimously to give up the parking contract and continue offering shelter. The WSJ article give the background and the A Cap Times article features an active forum debate.

The Sheriff's statements about cooperating with ICE in reporting when undocumented immigrants are in custody is being reviewed. The State Journal also featured a page full of letters to the editor on immigration, probably in response to the article on the public hearing last week. One even asks why it is a problem for non-citizens to be denied a fair trial. Due process and equal protection is a Constitutional guarantee for all people in the United State, not just citizens. That's Bill of Rights and human rights basics.

Racial Justice
Assembly approves bill to end the requirement of denying students' the option to transfer schools if the transfer request would create a racial imbalance. The bill would replace race with socioeconomics. But in the history of race and segregation in our country, are socioeconomics enough?

Reproductive Rights
Rep. Jim Ott defends himself from a Planned Parenthood radio attack ad. Planned Parenthood is going after Ott and opponents of the Women's Health and Safety act (AB 749/SB 398) which would repeal the pre-Roe v. Wade criminal abortion statute that is still on the Wisconsin books. Anti-choice activists insist that Planned Parenthood is misrepresenting the pre-Roe law, but you can read the statute and its amendments for yourself. Section 940.04 on page 2 is the original law penalizing women who have an abortion. Page 5 shows statutes that exempt women from the original penalties, but could also be overturned if anti-choice extremists gain even more legislative control.

Surprisingly enough, few readers brought up objections to surveillance in their letters to the editor in response to a column objecting to a proposed Assembly bill that would allow for the installation of "red light cameras" on Wisconsin roads.