“If the court has to weigh rights here, on the one hand you are talking about voting rights, and on the other you are talking about equal rights.”
— Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay gave gay and lesbian newlyweds in San Francisco another reprieve when he ruled that lawyers for the Campaign for California Families’ failed to prove the weddings would cause irreparable harm.
U.S. Gives $200 for Beheading
The Guam War Claims Review Commission in Hagatna, Guam planned to met with historians, attorneys and former Navy officials in Washington last week in its ongoing inquiry into compensation for mistreatment during World War II.
The meeting sought to determine whether Guam’s residents had sufficient time to apply for compensation after the war and what exactly some received, officials said.
After the meeting, commission member Benjamin Cruz planned to visit California and Nevada for approximately one week to inform former Guam residents of the commission’s work and ask them to lobby their congressmen to support Guam’s war claims.
During the occupation of Guam, Japanese soldiers tortured and terrorized the Chamorros, the indigenous people of Guam, who concealed the presence of American soldiers in the U.S. territory, about 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) west of Hawai‘i.
After World War II, the U.S. government agreed to compensate Guamanians for property, personal injury or death, but many of the payments were never made. More than three years ago, the U.S. House passed a measure to look at how to compensate Guam residents for war claims.
The House vote established the review commission, which has collected more than 5,000 questionnaires from Guam residents, asking about their treatment during the Japanese occupation and whether they were compensated.
Many who have received reparations say they have not been given much. The family of one man beheaded by the Japanese reportedly received just $200 from the U.S. government.
The commission must determine whether Guam residents were subjected to forced labor, or were injured, interred or killed.
The Guam War Claims Review Commission is required to complete a draft report by May.
— The Associated Press
IRAQ WAR ACCIDENT
Fil-Am Awarded Bronze Star
Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bunda, a Stryker Brigade squad leader who drowned in an accident while serving in Iraq, was honored Feb. 20 as a hero.
Bunda, 29, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service by Maj. Gen. James Collins of Fort Lewis in Bremerton, Wash.
Bunda died Jan. 25 during a mission on the Tigris River when the boat he was riding in capsized. Before he drowned, Bunda attempted to save an Iraqi policeman who also was riding in the boat, Army officials said.
Bunda, a 1992 graduate of Olympic High School in Bremerton, joined the Army in 1994 after serving two years in the Navy Reserve.
He leaves two children: daughter Chrizchele, 6, and son Christian James, 3.
Ex-professor Charges UNCG with Bias
A former assistant professor at UNC-Greensboro has filed a lawsuit in which she said the School of Human Environmental refused to rehire her because she is Chinese.
The federal discrimination lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court.
He Yan, a former assistant professor in the Department of Textile Products Design and Marketing, said her superiors gave her an unusually heavy workload and altered her employment files to prevent her from being reappointed when her contract expired.
The former department chairman also threatened to have He deported, the lawsuit said.
He said human environmental sciences officials refused to consider her for reappointment, even after the university ordered a second review of her application. Non-Chinese, American-born workers were not subjected to the same treatment, the lawsuit said.
A business professor who reviewed He’s application before her second review wrote: “The facts of this case overwhelmingly support the reappointment of Dr. He,” according to the complaint.
“It would be Dr. He’s contention that she was a victim of wrongful termination,” professor Paul Muchinsky wrote to the dean of the School of Human Environmental Sciences. “Based upon the evidence presented to me, I would find it difficult to refute such an assertion.”
The suit also says He’s teaching, research and employment records were altered or misrepresented before and during her reappointment hearing, though it does not specify how.
Locke Drops Billion-dollar Plan
Gov. Gary Locke on Feb. 16 abandoned efforts to persuade Washington lawmakers to approve a $1 billion tax increase for education, turning his efforts to a citizen initiative this fall.
The governor, who considers education his signature issue, had helped develop a plan for a one-cent increase in the state’s sales tax to benefit early childhood education, K-12 schools and colleges.
But Locke has concluded that the Legislature in Olympia, Wash. is disinclined to take up such an ambitious and politically risky plan, even to simply place the measure on the ballot as a legislative referendum.
“The governor has decided not to introduce the trust fund legislation,” said spokesman Roger Nyhus. “Legislators have made it very clear they did not want to tackle the trust fund issue.
The Democratic governor has decided that a better strategy will be to throw his weight behind a citizen initiative that the League of Education Voters had planned as a backup should the Legislature punt, Nyhus said.
“This will become the citizens initiative,” he said. “There is interest in this not being seen as coming from Olympia.
—David Ammons, A.P.
CAPTAIN JAMES YEE
Court Date Rescheduled to March
A preliminary hearing for a Muslim chaplain accused of mishandling classified information from the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been postponed for a fifth time.
James Yee, who grew up in Springfield, N.J., was due to appear before a military judge in Fort Benning, Ga. on Feb. 18. Base officials rescheduled it for March 10.
The hearing, originally set for Dec. 2, has been repeatedly delayed so the Army can review classified documents — the reason again cited in the latest postponement.
Yee had spent 76 days in a prison cell while authorities tried to build a capital espionage case against him. Charges of spying could carry the death penalty.
“I don’t know what takes so long about completing this classification review, but it certainly supports our position that there is no ‘there’ there,” Yee’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a telephone interview.
City Light to Pay Fil-Am $200,000
Seattle City Light has agreed to pay $200,000 to a former Filipino American employee who claimed he was wrongfully denied promotions, the man’s lawyer said Feb. 17.
Paul Nonog, 63, and a management systems analyst in the utility’s Rockport office from 1981 to 2002, alleged he was wrongly denied two promotions four years ago.
In each case, a less-qualified white applicant was hired, and Nonog was required to train them, his attorney John Sheridan said.
In addition to the $200,000, City Light also agreed to rehire and promote Nonog, giving him a senior management systems analyst job that pays about $35 an hour — up from $27 an hour he was earning when he retired in 2002, Sheridan said.
The case had been set to go to trial in King County Superior Court in June.