2010 Year In Review

OW Staff | 12/29/2010, 5 p.m.

Mitrice Richardson remains discovered
Sherriff's department scrutinized

By Juliana D. Norwood
OW Staff Writer
The 11-month search for 24-year-old pageant winner, and Cal State Fullerton graduate Mitrice Richardson came to a tragic end, when her remains were found by park rangers who were looking for illegal marijuana plants in a Malibu ravine. She was found no more than two miles out of the range of the last major search for her.
The main question that the family and supporters posed was whether or not the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station handled Richardson's arrest and release appropriately. Much controversy arose, when it was reported that the young college grad was released in the middle of the night with no transportation and no money. Additionally, the family said that Richardson suffered from bipolar disorder, and they argued that she shouldn't have been released in that state.
According to the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review (OIR), under the circumstances as the Malibu/Lost Hills Station personnel knew them, they acted in accordance with the state law and department policies and orders in the booking and release of Richardson.
Richardson's family and many community activists called for Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca and his department to take lie detector tests to verify the information that they had provided regarding the events surrounding her arrest, booking, and release.

Comcast merger angers minorities
Media ownership diversity called threatened

By Juliana D. Norwood
OW Staff Writer
At a Congressional field hearing, the public pressed the House Judiciary Committee to demand that Comcast guarantee expanded opportunities for minority-backed cable services, television shows, and films in exchange for approval of its proposed deal to take control of NBC Universal.
The Greenlining Institute, which strives to empower communities of color through civil rights and anti-redlining activities, was one of the organizations that testified in opposition to the merger. Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Steve Cohen, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congressman Louis Gohmert made up the committee that expressed their concerns and questions about the proposed merger.
Some African American interest groups were in support of the merger, due to Comcast's reputation of promoting diversity through their various employment and business practices and being a committed community partner in the markets they serve.
Congresswoman Waters, however, was not convinced that what the cable conglomerate had contributed was evidence that the merger will be in favor of the minority community.
Representatives from Hip Hop on Demand; National Coalition of African American Owned Media; Communications Workers of America; University of California, Los Angeles; National Association of Latino Independent Producers; Tower of Babel LLC; Radio One; and NBC Universal testified before the committee. No representative from Comcast was willing to testify.

Governor OK'd to cut state salaries to minimum wage
Controller John Chiang refused to comply

By Marisol Aguilar
OW Contributor
After a two-year battle, a state appeals court ruled that it was legal to pay thousands of hourly state employees the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for the month of July, or at least until a budget passes.
However, State Controller John Chiang refused to comply with the policy and was ready to file a new lawsuit against the Governor's minimum wage order. The state's Department of Personnel Administration filed a lawsuit in Superior Court seeking a restraining order to force the controller to comply with the governor's actions.
According to Chiang, reducing the salaries of 200,000 employees to minimum wage "was practically unfeasible to do so without violating federal labor laws and the state constitution." The federal Fair Labor Standards Act entitles a worker to "double damages," if an employer cuts pay to minimum wage.
This was the second time Gov. Schwarzenegger had taken such a path. In 2008, when the legislature failed to come up with a budget, the governor issued the order to cut pay to the federal minimum, but court challenges delayed implementation. By the time the ruling came down in favor of the administration, a budget had been approved.

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