Across Black America for September 16, 2010

9/15/2010, 5 p.m.

Here's a look at African American issues and people making headlines throughout the country.

U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr., granted a motion that allowed former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair to remain free on bond instead of having to report to federal prison as a result of a bribery case. Five other individuals involved will report to prison next week, but Doug Jones, McNair's attorney, was able to convince the judge that because of his clients age, 86, and recent stroke, that his sentencing deadline should be reconsidered at a new hearing in October.

According to research recently released by the Center for Responsible Lending, California leads the United States in the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression. Across the country, foreclosures have hit an all-time high, with nearly one in 10 homes with a mortgage currently in some stage of foreclosure. In California, nearly one in eight--or approximately 702,000--homes are currently in foreclosure, the economy is in ruins and unemployment stands at 12 percent with higher rates in Latino and Black communities. These groups represent more than half of all foreclosures, with 48 percent of foreclosures hitting Latinos and eight percent hitting Blacks. These borrowers were more likely to receive higher-cost sub-prime mortgages with loan terms that typically increased the risk of default, compared to safer loans made to similarly situated non-Hispanic White borrowers.

District of Columbia
Incumbent Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty and challenger Vincent Gray have pulled out all the stops in the closing hours of their race, and employed a host of 11th-hour strategies to earn a four-year term in the executive suite at the John A. Wilson Building. Fenty had schools chancellor Michelle Rhee at his side recently, as the pair kicked off the first day of early voting in the district, while Gray is looking to his council colleague former Mayor Marion Barry, to attract the support of some of the city's poorest residents. Fenty cast aside his reputed arrogance during a recent debate, making what appeared to be an earnest plea for forgiveness. He has admitted he's been aloof, arrogant, less than inclusive of other leaders in his administration, but promised to improve, if voters give him a second chance.

Florida's first all-boys public charter school opened recently with 83 boys in kindergarten through the fifth grade, housed in classrooms provided by Rev. Henry E. Green of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tampa, who said that it was always his dream to have a place to provide quality education and educational support programs in economically disadvantaged communities.

A judge ruled last week against board members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who formed a breakaway faction with the group's embattled treasurer Spiver Gordon and chairman Raleigh Trammell. The ruling from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alford Dempsey effectively places control of the group with the faction siding with the Rev. Bernice King, who was elected last October to lead the group. Last fall, federal and local authorities launched an investigation of allegations that the SCLC chairman and treasurer mismanaged at least $569,000 of the group's money. The two denied the allegations and have continued to challenge their dismissal by some board members. Tramell and Gordon have not been criminally charged, but the SCLC has spent nearly a year in court, wrangling over control of the organization. Separate factions that both claimed to be the SCLC's board of directors met hundreds of miles apart earlier this year, and each claimed to make moves on the group's behalf to save it from its legal woes.