Activists say reports of violence at meetings are inflated

first_imgAnd Sarno herself has been criticized for her management style, especially after DONE canceled dozens of council elections because of procedural problems. The report – which was presented to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee with no input from neighborhood councils – is just the latest incident to rankle some advocates. “I haven’t had the sense that we have a lot of violent people showing up to neighborhood council meetings,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who helped create neighborhood councils. “When you have people who are passionate about their neighborhoods, maybe you’ll have behavior that is not perfect.” Dan Curtin, with the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council, said that while there may sometimes be tensions at councils, the bad behavior that has been documented is insignificant given the number of participants. “Do the math: Eighteen incidents. There are 80 councils with one meeting a month. I don’t think the statistics back up their conclusions,” he said. But others said there are behavior issues that need to be addressed and DONE could play a stronger role in resolving conflicts. “Neighborhood councils were created to help improve our neighborhood,” said Kristine Eide with the Mid-Town North Hollywood Neighborhood Council. “As a board, we spend more time complaining and arguing then getting the `grass-roots’ work done.” While Sarno’s department has not made formal recommendations, DONE and the Human Relations Commission want to see formal rules on behavior and more authority to remove problem board members and intervene when things get ugly. “For people to say this isn’t happening and that it’s isolated instances, that’s a disservice to neighborhood councils,” Sarno said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A city report about violence at neighborhood councils has sparked an outcry among some community activists, who say it smears the local boards and inflates claims of bad behavior. The report, released earlier this week, has ricocheted among council activists who say they are shocked by the list of fistfights, threats and shouting matches that have allegedly occurred throughout dozens of councils. “Some of it may be true, some may not,” said Tammy Flores, president of the Sylmar Neighborhood Council. “In order to get the right thing out there, there should have been an investigation. This report doesn’t make us look good and it doesn’t make people want to participate in neighborhood councils.” Department of Neighborhood Empowerment Interim General Manager Lisa Sarno began compiling the report this year after hearing complaints of conflicts and intimidation. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’DONE tracked 18 incidents of disruptive behavior so far this year, compared with 15 in 2005 and five in 2004. “Our folks are volunteers,” Sarno said. “They shouldn’t have to come to meetings where all they’re doing is having conflict that takes them away from what they were originally elected to do. “We have to address these challenges so everyone can move forward. To not address the issue is where we fail everyone.” But Sarno’s report comes as neighborhood councils are at a critical point in their growth. The Neighborhood Council Review Commission is evaluating how well councils work and will recommend reforms next year. At the same time, neighborhood council leaders are increasingly clashing with the City Council over how much authority the local boards should have. last_img
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Effort to remove infants gender from health card advances equality experts say

first_imgVANCOUVER – A parent’s request to exclude their child’s sex on government-issued identification is pushing past the boundaries of gender stereotyping, experts say.Kori Doty, a B.C. parent who identifies as transgender and prefers the pronoun they, refused to provide the sex of their child Searyl to the government when they were born in November.Doty said it was a victory when Searyl’s provincial health card arrived in the mail in April displaying a “U” instead of an “M” or “F” to designate the child’s sex.Vancouver-based lawyer barbara findlay, who advocates for gender-free identification, said race is no longer recorded on birth certificates or other identification because it’s personal information and gender should be treated the same way.“One’s sex, one’s gender identity is as personal a piece of information as how you identify your race and it shouldn’t be on ID documents,” said findlay, whose legal name is not capitalized.Historically, the government used information about gender to distinguish who — specifically men — could own property or vote, findlay said. Since those barriers no longer exist, she said it’s unnecessary to continue displaying gender on ID documents.Aaron Devor, chair in transgender studies at the University of Victoria, said an infant’s gender identity may not develop as expected. Assigning gender may also force intersex babies into a category in which they don’t belong.There shouldn’t be a need to identify someone by gender on their ID at all because discrimination is prohibited, he said.People also shouldn’t be “labelled and pigeonholed” to a particular stereotypical set of gender expectations, Devor said.Stereotyping is especially damaging to people who are transgender and whose identity cards don’t match the gender in which they present.“They’re subject to any number of unpleasant circumstance, which could range simply from being looked at funny to being denied service that they require to being abused verbally or even physically,” he said.It’s because of those restrictive stereotypes that Doty didn’t want to prescribe a gender to Searyl. Instead, Searyl can determine their own gender identity when the time comes and not be limited by societal expectations of how boys and girls should be, Doty said.“I’m not imposing a non-binary gender identity on my kid, I’m just holding the space for them to figure out who they are without the application of a rigid assumption,” Doty said.Jen Marchbank, a professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University, said studies have shown that infants are treated differently when labelled a boy or girl with babies dressed in blue getting played with more than those dressed in pink.Raising a child without an assigned gender could help avoid people imposing their biases, Marchbank said, adding it would be impossible to avoid stereotypes entirely.“Even if it’s not being imposed on them, they will witness my friend Patsy, who is a girl, is treated this way and my friend Bobby, who is a boy, is treated that way,” Marchbank said.Efforts to do away with the male-female binary would benefit everyone, but simply offering a third option isn’t the solution. Marchbank said she knows many people who feel their gender is fluid, rather than permanently fixed as male or female, and a third option wouldn’t necessarily represent them.A third option displayed on government ID would unnecessarily “out” someone as being either transgender or intersex, putting them at risk of discrimination, said Marchbank, who works with transgender youth in Vancouver.In Ontario, gender was removed from health cards in June 2016 while driver’s licences have “X” as an option.It’s a move Doty and other advocates for gender-free ID want to see implemented for all government documents.— Follow @Givetash on Twitter.last_img read more

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Maxime Comtois responds to cyber bullying after missed penalty shot

first_imgMONTREAL — A week after being the target of trolls on social media, Quebec-born forward Maxime Comtois has spoken out publicly for the first time.The captain of Canada’s world junior championship squad took to Twitter Wednesday to thank all of those who sent encouraging messages following the attacks.Comtois, an Anaheim Ducks prospect and current Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, invited other victims of cyber bullying to talk about their experiences.“Cyber bullying is a real threat. No one should go through that,” he wrote. “Let’s prevent it. If you are getting bullied or ever had been please speak up.”He attached a message saying he and his teammates “gave their hearts and souls, both on and off the ice, to represent our country to the best of our abilities.”The left winger was stopped on a penalty shot in overtime in Canada’s 2-1 quarter-final loss to Finland Jan. 2, and when Finland subsequently scored, Canada failed to make the medal round for the first time in 21 years.He faced a barrage of hateful messages on social media after the loss, some of which criticized him for missing the penalty shot and others that attacked him for allegedly embellishing when he was hit on various plays.The 19-year-old had five goals and an assist during the tournament, and his NHL team revealed Saturday he was playing with a separated shoulder that will leave him on the sidelines for about two weeks.The Ducks took Comtois in second round of the 2017 NHL entry draft. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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