Category Archives: News

Same sex marriage decisions!

The United States Supreme Court has struck down DOMA! DOMA is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of federal programs and benefits such as Social Security and immigration. In a separate decision today, the Court also dismissed the appeal by supporters of Prop 8. Prop 8 was the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California. In 2010, District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down that proposition as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s order today means that Judge Walker’s decision is the final word, and clears the way for same-sex couples to marry again in California. Unfortunately today’s Supreme Court decisions do not mean that other states that do not presently allow same-sex marriage, have to do so.

This handout from NCLR will answer a lot of your questions about what this means for same-sex couples in California.

Settlement reached in Justice for Oscar Grant mass arrest lawsuit!

The federal court has granted preliminary approval for a class action settlement agreement resulting from the mass arrests of anti-police brutality protesters on Nov. 5, 2010 in Oakland. Rachel Lederman and a team of NLG attorneys brought this case on behalf of 150 people who were kettled, arrested and jailed on the day that Johannes Mehserle was sentenced Plaintiffs sued local government authorities for violations of their civil rights. The settlement includes monetary damages for class members and requires changes in police practices and policies regarding arrests of demonstrators.

The Court has given until August 5, 2013 for potential class members to submit claim forms. If you were arrested on November 5, 2010, in the mass arrest on 6th Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets, and were not charged with any crime related to this arrest, go to this link to obtain a claim form and more information about the settlement.

SF tenants win fight for moratorium on condo conversions!

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation today that will preserve rental housing by stopping condo conversions.

Legislation originally proposed by Scott Wiener and  Mark Farrell to allow landlords to turn rentals into Tenancies in Common (TICs) to bypass the city’s annual cap on condo conversions, was turned from a major threat to S.F. tenants, into legislation which will protect tenants by putting into place anti-displacement safeguards to help curb real estate speculators and preserve rent controlled housing. Under amendments crafted by Sups. David Chiu, Jane Kim & Norman Yee, all condo conversions will be stopped for at least the next decade and, if and when they resume, conversions will no longer be allowed for 5+ unit buildings. In addition, future conversions will need a higher level of owner-occupancy, which will prevent condo conversions from being used solely for rent control repeal. There will be a one time, expedited condo conversion process for existing TICs over the next few years, to allow TIC owners to obtain more favorable financing.

In depth article on this here.