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November 16-22, 2005

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By Michael Shapiro

No Habla Español

Latinos with an accent are likely to be discriminated against when seeking housing in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, according to the advocacy group Fair Housing of Marin. The group placed calls to 20 landlords in each of the three counties: Marin showed a 55 percent discrimination rate; Sonoma's was 80 percent; and Napa's, 70 percent. Though these numbers are based on a small sample, they do show evidence of widespread discrimination. Each call from a Spanish-accented speaker was followed by a call from a nonaccented white speaker. In many cases the white speaker would get a call back--the Latino would not, said Fair Housing director Nancy Kenyon. But discrimination ran deeper, she said: more flexible terms were often offered to white callers, and some landlords feared Latino renters would have more people in their dwellings.

Proposition 73 Redux

Backers of the state initiative that would have instituted parental notification before an abortion could be performed for anyone under 18 say they're not giving up. Advocates of parental notification blamed the defeat on the unpopularity of the special election, saying many people protested by voting no on all measures. Proposition 73 lost by about 5 percent (52.6 to 47.4). Sonoma winemaker Don Sebastiani, who contributed $350,000 to get the prop on the ballot and to campaign for it, told the Press Democrat: "There will definitely be more . . . steps to protect the unborn." Sebastiani, whose labels include Pepperwood Grove and Smoking Loon, said anti-Arnold sentiment had much to do with the defeat of Proposition 73, even though the measure was not one of the Governor's four proposals. Speaking to the Bohemian, Sebastiani said that "it's way too early to tell" what parental notification advocates will do, though it's a "safe bet" that they'll try to get the initiative on next November's ballot. Albin Rhomberg, a spokesperson for "Yes on Proposition 73," confirmed that its backers are considering another initiative.

Flu Shots Coming In

The spotty distribution of flu vaccine has caused Napa County's Kaiser Permanente to cancel a clinic slated for Saturday. However other clinics in the county are proceeding as planned, say county health officials, including one on Nov. 28 from noon to 2pm at St. Helena Presbyterian Church. Laura Keller, Napa County's assistant public health manager, said the county has plenty of vaccine and doesn't expect any shortage this winter. Some shipments were delayed but there are no long-term shortages, she said. Ironically, clinics at such stores as Safeway and Costco have had ample vaccine while some doctor's offices have run short, she said, but that shouldn't be a problem as new shipments arrive in the next couple of weeks.


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