Iowa Civil Rights Commission
August 8, 2001
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Mason City’s City Hall, 2nd Floor Conference Rm.
The Commissioners’ Meeting of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission was brought to order by David Leshtz, Chairman. Present were Alicia Claypool, Rachel Scherle, Constance Gronstal, Dr. Gilberto Solivan, and Timothy Tutt. Also present were Corlis Moody, Executive Director, Ron Pothast, Business Administrator, and Araceli Goode, Executive Secretary. Lionel Foster, Executive Director of Mason City Human Rights Commission welcomed the ICRC Commissioners and staff.
Approval of Minutes
A motion to approve the June 20, 2001 Commissioners’ Meeting was made by Alicia Claypool and seconded by Rachel Scherle with the following corrections. In the Commissioners’ Report by Alicia Claypool, 4th sentence, the word "Cause" be changed to "Choice"; and; on page 2, in the Executive’s Report, paragraph 5, first sentence, "Judge Balkan" to be changed to "Senator Bolkcon". The motion passed unanimously.
Recognition of Public/Press
The Chair moved the Recognition of Public/Press up on the agenda to recognize the Mason City Human Rights Commission Commissioners and Constituents present at this meeting. Also present were members of the press.
Alicia Claypool - reported on the Commission’s Subcommittee on Sexual Orientation. Stated Maria Waterman and she were drafting a resolution in support of Sexual Orientation to be discussed at the next meeting. Stated the Des Moines City Council had approved by a vote of five to two to add Sexual Orientation as a protected class. Attended a group called El Forro which is a group of Hispanics and Hispanic supporters working on issues of . She also announced Latino Affairs was sponsoring a Latino Festival on September 15h in Des Moines and had been asked to speak at a local group regarding civil rights.
Connie Gronstal - No report
David Leshtz - reports has had a number of telephone calls and e-mails, which were positive responses. Has been invited to speak at the Ames City Council regarding giving support to make Martin Luther King Birthday a city holiday or having a letter of support being sent. The Commissioners agreed a letter be sent by the Chair in support of making Martin Luther King Birthday a city holiday for Ames.
Dr. Gilberto Solivan - reports he enjoyed the forum held in Mason City regarding the Model Cities/New Iowans issues, which need to be addressed to deal with social, economic, health, and employment problems.
Rachel Scherle - reported on the Age Discrimination Subcommittee. Has been reading and getting an overview of youth issues. Has found articles on "RAVE" and the controversy. Has found organizations that deal with youth discrimination issues as well. Requests that anyone that comes across articles regarding this issue to forward to her. She plans to compile a list of the web sites.
Timothy Tutt - reported that still being new, he getting his name out to people that deal with civil rights injustices. Also attended the El Forro’s meeting.
More Mason City Commissioners and public that came in at this time were introduced.
Executive Director’s Report
The monthly report is being perfected but not complete and would like to review in more detail next month. Mediation numbers are quite good in both the numbers of cases resolved and in the monetary compensation for complainants.
Corlis Moody informed the Commissioners the Blackford VS Casey’s case the decision had been reached not to proceed to the State Supreme Court. Complainant’s attorney did go forward so the Commission may hear about this case again.
The draft letters to Ted Stilwell, Dept. of Education, Commissioner Westfall, and Diann Wilder-Tomlinson will be forwarded to the Chair to review.
Presentation by Lori Henry regarding New Iowans - Immigration and Model Cities. Discussed how Mason City became involved and how the project was proceeding. She reviewed the impact this project was having on the city and the concerns many of the residents had conveyed at the open meetings held.
Alicia Claypool presented to the Commissioners the issue regarding Charitable Choice, which has civil rights implications particularly in the areas of employment and religious discrimination. This was passed by House of Representatives in July which allows government funding of religious activities in terms of provision of social services with no accountability on who they hire and who they serve. She felt the Commissioners should be alert to these implications.
Mr. Jonathan Narcisse made his presentation on the State of Black Iowans. He presented the Commissioners with a copy of his publication, The Bystander. He then proceeded to present facts and statistics as they pertain to African-Americans in Iowa in the areas of health, education, housing and employment and incarcerated African-Americans. He stated he believed the crisis confronting the African-American community is in the children. Moreover, while there is a crisis, something could be done about it. A motion was made by David Lesthz and seconded by Alicia Claypool to endorse his efforts on this project.
A resident of Mason City brought before the Commissioners her concerns of discrimination occurring around her community. The Chair encouraged her to contact the ICRC to file her complaints so these issues could be addressed.
After discussion the following dates were selected for the Commissioner’s Meetings:
September 20, 2001, Des Moines, IA, 10:00 AM.
October 11, 2001, Council Bluffs, IA, Noon
November 8, Cedar Rapids, IA, Noon.
In addition, it was proposed and accepted that starting in January the second Thursday of the month would be designated as the Commissioners Meeting date.
Motion was made by Connie Gronstal and seconded by Tim Tutt to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously. The Chair adjourned the meeting.