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Filipino organizations protest SF plan to cut funding
Jul 3, 2009; ABC/CBN News | Five Filipino organizations protested their exclusion from the City’s $9 million in funding for ethnic-based family services providers. It’s not just that they didn’t get new funding; they will lose $350,000 in funding that they were used to receiving previously. The article notes 50,000 Filipinos in San Francisco, 500,000 in northern California, and more than 2,000,000 in the state. These numbers reflect people of Filipino origin, not just people born in the Philippines. But according to the Migration Policy Institute, Filipinos were, as of 2006, the second largest immigrant group in the U.S., counting a growth of immigrants from 504,000 in 1980 to 1,600,000 in 2006, ranking Filipinos second behind Mexicans in terms of total authorized immigration—and half of those Filipino immigrants during that period ended up in California. Rick Cohen

Wakefield, Conrad talk health care
Jul 2, 2009; Grand Forks Herald | Senator Kent Conrad is pitching his “middle road” alternative to publicly funded single-payer or even public option health care reform strategy. As the Grand Forks Herald puts it, “Conrad said his plan would create private, consumer-owned, non-profit cooperatives that would provide an ‘affordable, accountable, transparent alternative to private insurance,’ extending health care to all while preserving patient choice and providing better value for money spent. His co-op approach would require an initial federal government “start-up” investment of $3 billion to $4 billion.” Maybe our memories are deficient, but weren’t the various health care insurers that converted to for-profit status (leaving us with health care conversion foundations of widely varying utility) originally nonprofits themselves? They found the for-profit route more attractive than staying nonprofit, often with some disastrous results for us consumers. Conrad cites the experience of power cooperatives in his region as a model for the viability of these nonprofit coop insurers. One might suggest that the experience of the energy coops—some of them—that have been quite resistant to the voices of their coop members and sometimes quite willing to sell out to big coal, is not necessary a ringing endorsement for Conrad’s health care coops. —Rick Cohen

Urban League Roiled By CEO’s Ouster
Jul 4, 2009; Hartford Courant | This story about the ouster of the head of the Urban League affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut contains a number of interesting elements. There seem to have been pluses and minuses to the leadership of this guy, but it’s pretty certain, if the Courant’s reporting is accurate, that the full board of the Urban League was not aware of what was going on, much less involved in the decision to fire the guy. We are reminded of the firing of the head of the Urban League in Albany NY. The guy bankrupted the organization, the AG characterized his leadership of the organization as financial misconduct or worse, the organization went under, and since then in his private dealings, the guy has been convicted and is serving a multi-year sentence for grand larceny, mortgage fraud, and lots of other crimes. What struck us about the Albany situation and now with Hartford is that these local Urban Leagues are members of a national network, the National Urban League. When does the national network intervene in troubled local operations and take responsibility? The value and functions of the network are in question. —Rick Cohen

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