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5th December, 2001 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    5th December, 2001 (# 2) News Clippings Digest 1. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE City renews Boy Scout lease; Opponents decry group s ban on gays, nonbelievers 2.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5 10:13 PM
      5th December, 2001 (# 2) News Clippings Digest

      1. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE City renews Boy Scout lease; Opponents
      decry group's ban on gays, nonbelievers
      2. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE Words fly in debate over lease; Stakes
      termed high on land in the park
      3. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE Fence-straddling editorial: Don't
      punish kids; Renew Scout lease, but condemn bigotry
      4. ALBANY (NY) TIMES-UNION Last sentence of article about county
      budget says, Oh yes, and they also approved medical benefits for
      domestic partners
      5. RIVERSIDE (CA) PRESS ENTERPRISE Two letters about the Salvation
      Army
      6. DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS Human Rights Campaign intervenes in
      case of a local teen who says he was beaten because he's gay

      San Diego Union-Tribune, December 5, 2001
      P. O. Box 191, San Diego, CA, 92112-4106
      (Fax: 619-293-1440 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.uniontrib.com )
      City renews Boy Scout lease
      Opponents decry group's ban on gays, nonbelievers
      By Ray Huard, Staff Writer
      The Boy Scouts won an extension of their Balboa Park lease
      from the
      San Diego City Council yesterday, despite protests over the Scouts'
      policy
      of banning homosexuals and those who don't believe in God.
      Mayor Dick Murphy said he opposed the Boy Scouts' policy on
      homosexuals but did not see that as reason enough to deny the
      organization
      continued use of Balboa Park.
      "I support the Boy Scout lease because I am unwilling to punish
      25,000 San Diego Boy Scouts by prohibiting them from using Balboa
      Park in
      order to send a protest to national Scout leaders in Texas," said
      Murphy, a
      former Scout. "That would be unfair to San Diego children and I will
      not do
      that."
      The Boy Scouts, headquartered in Dallas, have a national policy
      refusing to allow homosexuals or those who do not profess a belief in
      God to
      be Scouts or Scout leaders.
      The Desert Pacific Council, which includes Scouts from San
      Diego and
      Imperial Counties, has no formal position on the national policy.
      In a 6-3 vote, the council agreed to extend the Scouts' lease
      for 25
      years, with a city option for 15 more years.
      The Scouts had sought a 50-year renewal, but Councilman Scott
      Peters
      recommended the shorter term, saying it was in keeping with
      recommendations
      from a citizens committee on government efficiency.
      Voting for the extension were Murphy, Peters, Byron Wear,
      George
      Stevens, Brian Maienschein and Jim Madaffer. Opposing it were Toni
      Atkins,
      Donna Frye and Ralph Inzunza Jr.
      "I sometimes forget that civil rights enjoyed by some people
      aren't
      enjoyed by all," said Atkins, a lesbian. Later, she added, "Liberty
      and
      justice for all doesn't mean me tonight."
      Frye said that by renewing the lease, the council was
      violating a
      city law and a council policy against discrimination.
      "If we do not agree with the law, we have the ability to
      change it,
      but we must not ignore it," Frye said.
      But city lawyers said municipal law and policy do not apply to
      Boy
      Scout membership policies but to the organization's use of city
      land. As
      long as the Scouts don't keep anyone from using the land they lease,
      they
      are within city law and policy, the lawyers said.
      And Boy Scouts representatives said they make their compound
      available to a variety of nonprofit groups, including groups for
      lesbians
      and gay men.
      Peters said he would ask the City Council at a later date to
      pass a
      resolution calling for the national Boy Scout organization to change
      its
      policy.
      Murphy said he could support a call for lifting the ban on
      homosexuals but was not so sure about calling for a change in the
      policy
      prohibiting nonbelievers from being Scouts or Scout leaders.
      The current 50-year lease on the 15.6 acres the Scouts have
      used for
      $1 a year was not due to expire until 2007, but the Scouts sought an
      early
      renewal to make it easier to raise money to improve the property.
      "You need to be able to tell your donors you're going to be
      around
      for a while," said Matt Peterson, a lawyer for the Boy Scouts.
      The new 25-year term will begin when the city manager and
      Scouts
      officials sign the deal.
      Under the lease, the Scouts must spend $1.7 million over the
      next
      seven years to upgrade Camp Balboa, the name they have given the land
      they
      use. The Scouts also will begin paying the city an annual
      administrative
      fee initially set at $2,500.
      A federal lawsuit is pending against the city by the American
      Civil
      Liberties Union, asking that the current lease with the Boy Scouts be
      canceled unless the Scouts eliminate their bans on gays and
      nonbelievers.
      Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, and others urged
      the
      council to postpone a vote to give the Scouts time to change their
      policy.
      By renewing the lease before the existing one expires, "You
      pre-empt
      what could be a very productive discussion the Scouts could have,"
      said
      Kehoe, a former member of the City Council.
      Peterson, the Scouts' lawyer, said the new lease renewal
      includes
      provisions allowing for early termination should the ACLU win its
      challenge.
      More than 400 people attended the council hearing, which was
      moved
      from the City Administration Building to the adjacent Plaza Hall in
      anticipation of a large crowd. The hall has room for up to 800
      people.
      Dozens spoke passionately for and against the lease renewal,
      their
      remarks at times punctuated by applause and cheers.
      "If you renew this lease, you send a message that all are not
      equal,
      all are not included, all are not welcome. And you will use
      taxpayers'
      money to do that," said Delores Jacob, interim director of the
      Lesbian & Gay
      Men's Community Center.
      Herb Johnson, a Scout leader, said the policy banning gays "is
      untimely and it needs to be changed." But, he said, it would be
      unfair to
      punish the San Diego region's Scouts for a national policy.
      "The truth of the matter is, you've got 25,000 kids at stake
      here.
      We can't penalize these 25,000 youngsters," Johnson said.
      John Beck urged lease opponents to be patient until the policy
      is
      changed.
      "In the meantime, let's work together with compassion and
      understanding and not create unproductive adversarial relationships,"
      Beck
      said.
      Anna Matthews, a member of the city's Human Relations
      Commission,
      said: "All residents are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of
      city
      facilities or facilities."
      She said the lease would deny that right to some.
      Several former Scouts and Scout leaders joined those objecting
      to the
      lease renewal.
      "This is no different than racism. It just has a different
      coat on
      it," said Scott McLaughlin, who identified himself as a former Eagle
      Scout.
      Peterson said anyone can use Camp Balboa when it is not being
      used by
      the Boy Scouts. He said about "one in five" people who use the camp
      are not
      Boy Scouts. Peterson said the Scouts have invited a variety of
      groups to
      use the camp, including the ACLU and the Lesbian & Gay Men's Community
      Center.
      But ACLU representative Dale Kelly Bankhead said that, as a
      practical
      matter, some people are excluded for the camp most of the time
      because of
      the Boy Scouts policy.
      "Most of the time, it is only for those boys who the Boy
      Scouts feel
      are worthy," Bankhead said.
      In a separate, unanimous vote, the council yesterday agreed to
      extend
      for 25 years the Girl Scouts' lease on 15 acres of Balboa Park land
      adjacent
      to the Boy Scout compound. That lease also has a 15-year city option.
      The Girl Scouts have leased the land for $1 a year since
      1955. Their
      current lease doesn't expire until 2005. But, like the Boy Scouts,
      the Girl
      Scouts want to begin raising money to improve the property.
      Under the new lease, the Girl Scouts must spend $1.9 million
      over the
      first seven years of the new lease on improvements.
      There was no objection to the renewing that lease because Girl
      Scouts
      do not ban homosexuals or nonbelievers.


      San Diego Union-Tribune, December 5, 2001
      P. O. Box 191, San Diego, CA, 92112-4106
      (Fax: 619-293-1440 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.uniontrib.com )
      Words fly in debate over lease
      Stakes termed high on land in the park
      By Michael Stetz, Staff Writer
      No wonder they got a big room.
      No wonder the atheist and the former Eagle Scout rumbled,
      wordwise,
      even before the meeting got under way.
      From the atheist, Philip Paulson: "Don't use my tax dollars to
      promote your bigotry . . . "
      From the former Eagle Scout, David Ruyle, who had his hard-
      earned pin
      attached to his shirt: "The Boy Scouts is not a hate group . . . "
      Yesterday's San Diego City Council meeting at cavernous Golden
      Hall
      was not the kind where you needed lots of coffee or crossword puzzles.
      It was the kind that got James Sullivan all worked up, ready
      to speak
      out, because the stakes were that high, he said.
      He's a gay man. And he's against the city leasing land in
      Balboa
      Park to the Boy Scouts because that organization doesn't allow gay or
      atheist members.
      That practice is no big secret, of course. The U.S. Supreme
      Court
      has ruled it is OK as well, because the Boy Scouts of America is a
      private
      organization.
      The question of the day was, however, should the city continue
      to
      lease public land to a group with such ideals?
      Sullivan, 30, used to be a Boy Scout. And he thinks it has
      changed -
      and not for the better. "They were the first group to be so openly
      bold
      about not allowing gays," he said.
      On the flip side, there stood Craig Lorenz, holding an
      American flag,
      saying the Boy Scouts do such good things and that disbanding the
      camp -
      which has been in place since 1916 - would hurt only young boys, no
      one
      else.
      Vote down the lease and say goodbye to Camp Balboa, a rare
      urban
      Scout setting that countless Boy Scouts have enjoyed for decades, he
      said.
      "You can take the question of discrimination to absurd
      levels," said
      Lorenz, a Boy Scouts district trainer. "Should the NAACP be ordered
      to
      accept KKK members, for instance?"
      The camp itself is not exclusionary, he maintains. Anyone,
      including
      gays, can come and use it, he said.
      The City Council ended up voting 6-3 to extend the lease, but
      that
      hardly seems the end of the matter. A lawsuit, for instance, has yet
      to be
      settled.
      Talk about combustible elements, about a changing America,
      about
      nothing being simple anymore.
      The Boy Scouts came in force, many of them in uniform.
      Gays and lesbians and their supporters also showed up, many of
      them
      wearing stickers saying: "Merit Badge, Embracing Equality."
      Some current Boy Scouts said they didn't know what to make of
      the
      controversy. They like Scouting. They like camping.
      They do not sit around the campfire and bash gays, said Brandon
      Guzik, 17, of San Carlos. He's working on becoming an Eagle Scout.
      His buddy, Josh MacDermot, 17 and from El Cajon, said Scouts
      are
      taught to be tolerant. He's also trying to make Scouting's elite
      group.
      Some local Boy Scouts leaders figured the local gay community
      was
      fighting this intensely because it wanted to send a message to the
      national
      organization, which sets policies.
      The local branches can't change policies, they noted.
      But the Boy Scouts have to do better, said Ron Sanders, a
      former
      Eagle Scout who voiced opposition to the lease. The married
      elementary
      school teacher is proud of what he learned as a Scout, but he feels
      the Boy
      Scouts' message today is wrong.
      "They've veered, not me."


      San Diego Union-Tribune, December 4, 2001
      P. O. Box 191, San Diego, CA, 92112-4106
      (Fax: 619-293-1440 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.uniontrib.com )
      Editorial: Don't punish kids
      Renew Scout lease, but condemn bigotry
      Discrimination against homosexuals is deplorable. But we
      can't see
      visiting the sins of the Boy Scouts' national leadership and their
      bigotry
      toward gays on 25,000 Scouts in the San Diego region who aren't
      responsible
      for this controversy.
      The City Council today will consider a new 50-year lease for
      the Boy
      Scouts' Camp Balboa. Critics say the Boy Scouts discriminate against
      gays
      so the organization should not receive the $1-a-year lease on the 16-
      acre
      camp in Balboa Park, which the Boy Scouts have operated since 1948.
      A close
      council vote is expected.
      The whole controversy would be unnecessary if Boy Scouts
      leaders
      would realize that discriminating against gays (or anybody else) is
      wrong.
      The Girl Scouts have no such policy discriminating against lesbians.
      Most
      nonprofit youth organizations don't even inquire about the sexual
      orientation of their leaders.
      The Boy Scouts' professed policies against gays have very
      little to
      do with the Boy Scout experience, which has benefited millions of
      youths
      nationwide. For kids aged 11 to 17, Boy Scouts teach love of the
      outdoors.
      The group teaches about achievement through various ranks and merit
      badges.
      It teaches about community service, an integral part of the Scouting
      program. It teaches kids skills they would never learn in school or
      on the
      playground, from wildlife management to semaphore code.
      Camp Balboa is a center for scouting activity. The city of
      San Diego
      can't take it away from the thousands of kids who use it, just because
      officials at the Texas-based headquarters of scouting discriminate
      against
      gays.
      The City Council should approve the lease extension for the
      Boy Scout
      camp. But, at the same time, Mayor Dick Murphy and the council should
      firmly register their disapproval of the Boy Scout leadership's
      discriminatory policies. Murphy has shown his commitment to
      diversity in
      San Diego; he must not miss this opportunity to oppose discrimination
      against a group of his constituents.
      Meanwhile, the Pacific Desert Council of the Boy Scouts, which
      serves
      San Diego, should adopt an official position against the national
      leadership's discriminatory policies. Local councils in Chicago,
      Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Boston have
      asked the
      national organization to allow them autonomy on this policy. The San
      Diego
      council needs to do the same. Church groups and dozens of individual
      Boy
      Scout troops across the country have likewise protested against the
      anti-gay
      policy.
      Public pressure needs to press the Boy Scouts to change. This
      can
      work. After all, Boy Scout troops in the South used to be racially
      segregated until they were forced to change. It's a shame the Boy
      Scout
      leadership didn't learn from that experience that any kind of
      discrimination
      is as benighted as racial segregation.
      Wouldn't kicking the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park send the
      strongest
      message?
      Maybe. But too many innocent kids who benefit from scouting
      would be
      hurt. The City Council should take action against the Boy Scout
      leadership,
      not against the scouts themselves.


      Albany Times Union, December 4, 2001

      County lawmakers approve $431.6M budget
      Albany -- Spending plan passes in unanimous vote; labor agreement for
      courthouse project also OK'd
      By BRUCE A. SCRUTON, Staff writer
      For the first time in collective memory, the Albany County
      Legislature has unanimously approved a county operating budget. . . .
      [bunch
      of stuff about county issues, leading up to this final sentence . . .]
      Legislators also approved medical insurance for county
      employees in
      domestic partner relationships.


      Riverside Press Enterprise, December 1, 2001
      3512 14th St., Riverside, CA, 92501
      (Fax: 909-782-7630 )
      (Online Mailer:
      https://www.inlandempireonline.com/lettertoeditor.html )
      Letter: The charities
      The Salvation Army kettles have again appeared. The Salvation
      Army
      has moved away from street evangelizing to become a service provider
      with
      many government contracts. We and many other gay and lesbian people
      have
      supported them in the past because of their apparent non-judgmental
      attitude
      and willingness to help the neediest.
      However, before you drop those quarters, remember that their
      May 1
      memo, which the Washington Post made public, showed their willingness
      to
      spend about $100,000 per month to lobby for President Bush's faith-
      based
      initiative. Where did those dollars earmarked for lobbying come
      from? In
      return, they required that the bill contain an exemption for faith-
      based
      programs from all state and local civil rights law which protect gay
      and
      lesbian people from discrimination. In other words, they wanted to
      get
      government contracts for their work, but they wanted to be able to
      discriminate against gay and lesbian people - people who have donated
      to the
      Salvation Army and have paid taxes to support their government
      contracts.
      We will continue to share what we have, but we will be more
      selective
      about it.
      - CONNIE CONFER, KAY B. SMITH, Riverside

      Ray Thomas (Open Forum, November 29) derides the Red Cross
      charitable
      organization because of their expensive commercials and highly paid
      administrators. It would be hard to argue that those are valid areas
      of
      concern - but he then goes on to state that he'd rather give to an
      organization that is more effective and efficient at getting his
      money to
      the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. His choice is the
      Salvation Army.
      A simple search on the Internet uncovers the fact that an
      administrative overhead comparison between the Red Cross, 5 percent,
      and the
      Salvation Army, 17 percent, shows just the opposite of Mr. Thomas'
      claim.
      - WILLIAM B. BOWMAN, Riverside


      Denver Rocky Mountain News, December 5, 2001
      400 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO, 80204
      (Fax: 303-892-2568 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn )
      http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_897
      582,00
      .html
      Gay rights group seeks charges in Rifle beating
      By Peggy Lowe, News Staff Writer
      A national gay rights group will travel to Rifle this week in
      hopes
      of getting charges filed in the case of a local teen who says he was
      beaten
      because he's gay.
      Two representatives of Human Rights Campaign, a Washington,
      D.C.-based lesbian and gay political organization, will meet with Kyle
      Skyock and his mother, Sharlene, on Thursday.
      Skyock, 17, says four boys who had asked him to a party
      instead beat
      him and left him for dead in February.
      "This family has to go to such extreme lengths - even hiring
      their
      own attorney - to make sure justice is done," said David Smith, an HRC
      spokesman.
      Mac Myers, district attorney for the 9th Judicial District in
      Glenwood Springs, didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
      Skyock's attorney, Calvin Lee, said HRC is not the only group
      interested in the case. The Colorado Anti-Violence Project has
      offered
      assistance.
      Skyock's case is "a perfect illustration" of a national hate
      crimes
      bill that HRC has been working on, Smith said. The bill, called the
      Local
      Law Enforcement Act, would give federal financial or other assistance
      to
      local officials on hate violence, he said. It also would allow for
      federal
      prosecution if local authorities don't press charges.
      Rifle police don't agree with Skyock's claim that he was
      beaten.
      Police say Skyock was drunk and fell.
      Skyock, 5 feet 4 inches and 115 pounds, was found unconscious
      along U.S. 6 on Feb. 11. He suffered a fractured skull, burn
      blisters, a black eye, three broken ribs and a bruise on his stomach
      in the shape of a
      two-by-four.
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