Monthly Archives: March 2019

    This combination of pictures made and taken on February 28, 2019 shows US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (R) smiling during a bilateral meeting at the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP)

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On the day that their talks in Hanoi collapsed last month, U.S. President Donald Trump handed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a piece of paper that included a blunt call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States, according to the document seen by Reuters.

    Trump gave Kim both Korean and English-language versions of the U.S. position at Hanoi’s Metropole hotel on Feb. 28, according to a source familiar with the discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said.

    A lunch between the two leaders was canceled the same day. While neither side has presented a complete account of why the summit collapsed, the document may help explain it.

    The document’s existence was first mentioned by White House national security adviser John Bolton in television interviews he gave after the two-day summit. Bolton did not disclose in those interviews the pivotal U.S. expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States.

    The document appeared to represent Bolton’s long-held and hardline “Libya model” of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly. It probably would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said.

    Trump had previously distanced himself in public comments from Bolton’s approach and said a “Libya model” would be employed only if a deal could not be reached.

    The idea of North Korea handing over its weapons was first proposed by Bolton in 2004. He revived the proposal last year when Trump named him as national security adviser.

    The document was meant to provide the North Koreans with a clear and concise definition of what the United States meant by “final, fully verifiable, denuclearization,” the source familiar with discussions said.

    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The State Department declined to comment on what would be a classified document.

    After the summit, a North Korean official accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “gangster-like” demands, saying Pyongyang was considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink its self-imposed ban on missile and nuclear tests.

    The English version of the document, seen by Reuters, called for “fully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.”

    Aside from the call for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel, the document had four other key points.

    It called on North Korea to provide a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear program and full access to U.S. and international inspectors; to halt all related activities and construction of any new facilities; to eliminate all nuclear infrastructure; and to transition all nuclear program scientists and technicians to commercial activities.

    The summit in Vietnam’s capital was cut short after Trump and Kim failed to reach a deal on the extent of economic sanctions relief for North Korea in exchange for its steps to give up its nuclear program.

    The first summit between Trump and Kim, which took place in Singapore in June 2018, was almost called off after the North Koreans rejected Bolton’s repeated demands for it to follow a denuclearization model under which components of Libya’s nuclear program were shipped to the United States in 2004.

    Seven years after a denuclearization agreement was reached between the United States and Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the United States took part in a NATO-led military operation against his government and he was overthrown by rebels and killed.

    ‘MISERABLE FATE’

    Last year, North Korea officials called Bolton’s plan “absurd” and noted the “miserable fate” that befell Gaddafi.

    After North Korea threatened to cancel the Singapore summit, Trump said in May 2018 he was not pursuing a “Libya model” and that he was looking for an agreement that would protect Kim.

    “He would be there, he would be running his country, his country would be very rich,” Trump said at the time.

    “The Libya model was a much different model. We decimated that country,” Trump added.

    The Hanoi document was presented in what U.S. officials have said was an attempt by Trump to secure a “big deal” under which all sanctions would be lifted if North Korea gave up all of its weapons.

    U.S.-North Korean engagement has appeared to be in limbo since the Hanoi meeting. Pompeo said on March 4 he was hopeful he could send a team to North Korea “in the next couple of weeks,” but there has been no sign of that.

    Jenny Town, a North Korea expert at the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank, said the content of the U.S. document was not surprising.

    “This is what Bolton wanted from the beginning and it clearly wasn’t going to work,” Town said. “If the U.S. was really serious about negotiations they would have learned already that this wasn’t an approach they could take.”

    Town added, “It’s already been rejected more than once, and to keep bringing it up … would be rather insulting. It’s a non-starter and reflects absolutely no learning curve in the process.”

    North Korea has repeatedly rejected unilateral disarmament and argues that its weapons program is needed for defense, a belief reinforced by the fate Gaddafi and others.

    In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” program after the Hanoi summit, Bolton said the North Koreans had committed to denuclearization in a variety of forms several times “that they have happily violated.”

      U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed "Green New Deal" to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC153D8EA530

      (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Friday she was “very encouraged” by the Senate vote this week on the “Green New Deal,” the sweeping climate policy resolution she introduced last month, even though the Senate defeated it.

      The non-binding resolution, which proposes to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade, lost 57-0 in the Senate, with 43 Democrats voting “present.”

      “You had the Republicans voting ‘no’ and you had virtually the entire Democratic caucus voting ‘present,’ even those in tough states,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Friday. “That is an extraordinary amount of unity within the Senate to actually vote in that cohesive of a bloc, so I’m very encouraged.”

      The Green New Deal, unveiled last month by Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Senator Edward Markey, marks the first formal attempt by lawmakers to define potential legislation to create government-led investments in clean energy and infrastructure to transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.

      The plan’s name is an homage to the New Deal of the 1930s, a series of government-led programs and projects that President Franklin Roosevelt implemented to aid Americans during the Great Depression.

      CELEBRITY STATUS

      A rising political star and leader of the progressive left, Ocasio-Cortez defeated a longtime Democratic lawmaker in a 2018 primary to become the youngest woman in Congress at age 29, representing New York’s 14th district in the House.

      Her bold stance on climate policy and her strong social media presence have launched her to celebrity status among progressives nationwide.

      Republicans have criticized the Green New Deal since its inception for being too radical, and have used the plan and Ocasio-Cortez herself, as rallying points to demonize the Democratic Party.

      “The Green New Deal is a wonderful illustration of just how extreme the Democrats have become,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted on Tuesday, calling it “a radical socialist proposal.”

      The Trump administration does not believe action on climate change is necessary and has instead focused on increasing production of oil, gas and coal on federal and private lands.

      At a Trump rally in Michigan on Thursday, crowds chanted “AOC sucks!” according to television coverage of the event.

      Ocasio-Cortez shrugged off Republicans’ insults on Friday at a town hall hosted by MSNBC in her district in The Bronx.

      “I didn’t expect them to make total fools of themselves,” she said of her critics.

      Reporting by Gabriella Borter; editing by Bill Tarrant and G Crosse

        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with Venezuela to cut off revenues to President Nicolas Maduro, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters TV on Friday.

        “We’re moving exactly in that direction,” Bolton said when asked whether Trump would consider what are known as “secondary sanctions.”

        “We are even now looking at a series of additional steps we could take,” Bolton said in the interview.

        The United States and most other Western countries have thrown their backing behind Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked the constitution in January to declare himself interim president, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

        Oil provides 90 percent of export revenue for OPEC member Venezuela. The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, preventing U.S. companies from dealing with it unless revenues went to a fund available to Guaido.

        The Trump administration has not yet slapped sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with PDVSA – but U.S. officials have been having “conversations” with oil trading houses and governments around the world to convince them to scale down their dealings with Maduro, Trump’s Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams said earlier on Friday.

        MONROE DOCTRINE

        Russia and China support Maduro, who has said Guaido is a puppet of Washington. Maduro retains control of state functions and the loyalty of the country’s military.

        Bolton said he was not concerned that the push to oust Maduro was losing momentum.

        “I can tell you there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. The opposition is in constant contact with large numbers of admirals and other supporters within the Maduro administration,” Bolton said.

        “It’s a struggle against an authoritarian government and it’s obviously going to take some time,” he said.

        Trump is looking at options – including sanctions – to respond to Russia’s growing military presence in Venezuela, Bolton said. Two Russian air force planes carrying nearly 100 military personnel landed outside Caracas on Saturday.

        “We’re not afraid to use the phrase ‘Monroe Doctrine’ in this administration,” Bolton said, referring to the 1823 policy established by then-President James Monroe, widely seen in Latin America as a justification for U.S. armed intervention in the region.

        “And one of the purposes of the Monroe Doctrine was to prevent foreign interference and even recolonization,” Bolton said.

        “If you look at the presence of Cuban and Russian forces in Venezuela, you have to ask when will the people of Venezuela get to choose their government rather than foreigners?” he said.

        Venezuela’s economic crisis, which has caused shortages of food and medicine, has pushed millions of people to flee the country.

        Trump is considering granting temporary protection from deportation to the more than 70,000 Venezuelans believed to be in the United States, but wants to focus first on ensuring there is a transition in the government of the country, Bolton said.

        “We want to be sure that people are not put back into a difficult position if they’re opponents of the Maduro regime. On the other hand, there are many families of Maduro regime supporters in this country that wanted out of Venezuela to be safe,” Bolton said.

        Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Tom Brown

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        Buffalo Infringement Festival’s 2019

        Call for Work will be April 1-15

        The Buffalo Infringement Festival (BIF) is an interdisciplinary art and music festival celebrating its 15th year this summer, Thursday July 25- Sunday August 4, 2019. Theatre, busking, chalk art, live painting, workshops, film, slam poetry, photography, fill in the blank-​ if you can do it, you can infringe it! ​All levels and types of art encouraged. Participation is free!

        Please visit ​http://www.infringebuffalo.org​ for more information​ ​about BIF and to submit your ideas. Call for work this year will be April 1-15 (April Fools to Tax Day.)

        For assistance submitting, please contact organizers through the BIF facebook ​page​ or ​group​, or email ​info@infringebuffalo.org​, or attend either the ​submission assistance workshop​ on Tuesday April 2 at 6pm at Pussywillow Gallery, 141 Elmwood Avenue, or attend the ​Last Call fundraiseron Saturday April 13 at 8pm at Milkie’s, 522 Elmwood Ave. Planning meetings are every first Monday at 7pm at the Allentown Association, 61 College Street in Buffalo and all are always invited.

        This year we are also encouraging potential new venue hosts to submit your information at ​http://www.infringebuffalo.org​.​ BIF organizers will be in contact with potential new venues after the Call for Work submissions.

        Contact info

        http://www.infringebuffalo.org​ | ​info@infringebuffalo.org
        April 2 BIF19 Submission Workshop- ​fb.com/events/2337512816528232/April 13 Last Call fundraiser- ​fb.com/events/509318982914535/ fb.com/infringeeveryday​ | ​fb.com/groups/22033482171/ instagram.com/buffaloinfringementfestival/
        #infringeeveryday #buffaloinfringementfestival #BIF2019

          WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the United States makes its biggest diplomatic push in Latin America in years to try to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. military is zeroing in on a byproduct of the crisis: a strengthening of Colombian rebels on both sides of Venezuela’s border.

          U.S. Admiral Craig Faller, the head of the U.S. military’s Southern Command that oversees U.S. forces in Latin America, told Reuters the United States had sharpened its focus on the rebels and increased its sharing of intelligence with Colombian officials.

          U.S. officials see a growing threat from both Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) and factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that refuse to adhere to a 2016 peace agreement to end five decades of civil war.

          The United States believes the rebels are taking advantage of Venezuela’s crisis to expand their reach in that country and the scope of long-standing illegal activities, including drug trafficking.

          “Our principal role working with our Colombian partners is to assist in intelligence sharing. What we know, we share,” Faller said. Asked whether the intelligence sharing on the rebels had ramped up as Venezuela’s crisis deepened, Faller responded: “Absolutely.”

            Education was an important issue for Lovely Warren when she first ran for mayor in 2013. But when she was asked whether she would pursue mayoral control of city schools, something that had been hotly contested several years earlier, her answer was no.

            A lot has changed since then. Now Warren is pushing state officials to make a “complete, structural, systematic change” in the district – one that might include involving her, in some way, in the district’s operations.

            It’s clear that Warren has been studying the issue of school district governance. In a lengthy interview last week, she cited reports on school district operations and talked about successful school district and community efforts in other parts of the country.

            Warren still says she isn’t seeking mayoral control. Instead, she talks about the possibility of a “mayoral partnership” with the district, which she says could take many different forms. And in the interview, she referred several times to the need to figure out first what Rochester’s children need.

            She’s obviously unhappy with the current school board and its inability to work together. In the interview, Warren noted that the both the district’s budget and its response to the scathing report by Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino failed to receive the support of all board members.

            The revolving door of superintendents has also frustrated Warren. It’s hard to partner with the district when the leadership keeps changing, she said. And she’s facing the prospect of another new superintendent and more new board members just months from now.

            Asked if she thought the school board could bring about the changes she envisions, or implement the recommendations called for in Aquino’s report, she said, “No, they can’t.”

            But her principal concern is not this particular school board, she said. It’s the system itself, in which an elected school board hires a superintendent, who runs the district. That system is broken, she said.

            “I’m not saying that an elected school board doesn’t work on some levels,” Warren said. “I’m saying that structurally, this design as is currently being implemented is not something that works for Rochester’s children.”

            “A complete, structural, systematic change in my mind is what is needed here,” she said. “So many children are falling victim to a system. In business, we wouldn’t allow it to happen. In suburban neighborhoods, we wouldn’t allow it to happen.”

            Warren agrees that some Rochester schools are doing well. Those schools have strong principals, she said, and they have teachers in leadership positions who are “working with parents as partners.”

            But she also cited schools that went “from having a very strong principal to having an interim person to having really no direction.”

            That opens the door to chaos, she said, and “when we’re talking about children’s lives, you can’t allow chaos to ensue. We can’t.”

            City government has already been partnering with the school district in some areas, providing after-school programs at some recreation centers, for instance. “However,” Warren said, “those are not transformative things. Those are one-offs.”

            And she talked about her own frustrations dealing with the district. She has had what she called “decent relationships” with previous superintendents, but, she said, “As mayor, I’ve had in six years six different superintendents.”

            Warren wants State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and the Board of Regents to think seriously about some type of structural change. And in her call for structural change, she has the support of Roc the Future, a coalition of about 60 area individuals, business and community leaders, and nonprofits. In a letter Roc the Future sent to Elia on March 1, Warren and other RTF participants said they have no confidence in the district’s leadership. The current school system, they said, “is broken and must be replaced.”

            In addition to signing the letter, Warren has talked to Elia directly. “I’ve expressed this to her,” Warren said. “She has to do something. Doing nothing is not an option.”

            Elia can’t change the structure of the Rochester school district on her own. That would require action by the state legislature. Elia could add her weight to Warren’s call, though.

            But Elia could prefer to appoint a monitor, someone who would have temporary oversight of the district and who might help stabilize it. There could be some advantages to that approach, because it wouldn’t mean a complete disruption of the system, even though Warren and many people seem convinced that’s exactly what’s needed.

            Some scholars of urban school districts also believe that structural change is key. “If you’re dealing with a district that isn’t doing well,” Hunter College Professor Joe Viteritti said in a phone interview last week, “the first thing you need is change. You can’t do anything without change.”

            Viteritti has been special assistant to New York City’s schools chancellor and has served as advisor to Chicago and Boston superintendents. His book “When Mayors Take Charge” looks at the experience of mayoral control in several large cities.

            There’s no guarantee that student achievement will improve under mayoral control, Viteritti said, but it shifts the accountability for the city’s education system to one person: the mayor. Perhaps more important, school systems like Rochester’s, which can’t raise its own taxes, are always in a battle with their city over money.

            “The real problem with that is that they have less of a stake in investing in the school system because they don’t have a stake in it,” Viteritti said. “That’s a disconnect.” Under some forms of mayoral control, city governments tend to increase their spending on schools rather than try to cut it, he said.

            Though Warren is not easily intimidated, a major change in the leadership structure, regardless of what it’s called, will be met with fierce resistance. Already there is a petition circulating against more state intervention in the Rochester school system.

            In the interview last week, Warren talked about her concerns about the district and the reasons she’s pushing for structural change. Portions of that interview follow, edited here for space and clarity.

            What, in your view, is the best way to improve the Rochester City School District?

            WARREN: The best way to improve the district is literally through a redesign, a design that focuses more on children and their needs than on adults. When I say “redesign,” it’s really taking a step back as a community and figuring out what our children are facing on a daily basis, and how we best help them succeed. We’ve done that on a micro level when it comes to certain schools like East, School 17, School 9, and with Pre-K-3 and Pre-K-4.

            I’m not saying that an elected school board doesn’t work on some levels. I’m saying that structurally, this design is not something that works for Rochester’s children.

            To have different superintendents that have different visions and different paths forward is a problem not only for the people who work there, it’s a problem for children and parents to know what direction the district is going in.

            At one point in time, people believed that K-12 schools were a great thing. Then somebody else came in and believed that K-8 schools were great. And so when you have that sort of confusion that happens every two years, there really is no direction that people envision, that people can rally around. It’s not fair to parents, it’s not fair to students, it’s not fair to administrators, and it’s not fair to the board, really. Overall, that structure is what we’re talking about.

            What do you think is at the root of the problem?

            I can’t pinpoint it and say that it’s one thing that’s the problem, except for “the entire system.”

            Consistency, direction, leadership, a vision, and the micromanaging of the district are challenges. Do I listen to seven board members because they’re there or do I listen to the superintendent, who is in charge of the day-to-day operations?

            You have a situation where no corporation could function like that, with a board that constantly guides the day-to-day decision making and leaves the CEO basically just a figurehead. It’s complete dysfunction.

            You’ve cited East and School 17 as community schools embracing a wrap-around approach to learning. Is that the direction the district should take?

            Some people believe that we shouldn’t be everything to everybody. Unfortunately things change, and that’s one of the things that changed.

            At one point in time, city government was only expected to collect taxes and make sure that the trash was picked up, and when someone called the police officer or firefighter, that they were there, and that those basic, essential services were consistent across the board.

            But over time, government has been held to a standard where we are providing social supports, social services, after-school programming, recreation services, and housing options. Things have changed. We have to be willing to change with it.

            As you’ve said, we all recognize there’s a problem. How do we solve it? Or is it premature to ask that?

            I think that what Roc the Future was looking at was that the commissioner has all the information, right? She’s best equipped with, as the commissioner of education, to say: This is what I need the community to help me implement and be a partner with.

            But there have to be some changes here. I don’t think that anyone wants to lay out a specific vision and plan without having the authority do so, and the authority to implement it. The only body that has that power is the state legislature and the commissioner.

            The commissioner can’t do this by herself, but she can set out a vision of what she believes can happen and go to the state legislature, and ask the community to support her in that.

            After Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino released his report, people kept saying, ‘We’ve spent years nibbling around the edges of the district’s problems and we need to do something radically different.’ They said we need big ideas. What are the big ideas?

            A single option is not the answer to the problem, right? So you go to community schools as a base: That can be utilized in some fashion with schools that are in trouble and need wrap-around services. That’s an option.

            Going to a magnet school, where you have some regional draw for science and technology, for arts, or for different technology programs; partnering with EPO’s like the universities and all that: Those are all just nibbling around the edges. Some of it will work; some of it may not work. And at this point in time, I think we all have to recognize that our children are not experiments, and we’ve been experimenting with them.

            There has to be a structural change here that creates an environment for learning and a path everyone can support, everyone can follow.

            You have to look at the district as a whole and not in pieces. Pieces won’t work.

            The research shows that we’re the most segregated city in the northeast, and one of the most segregated in the country. When I think of big ideas, I think of desegregation. Where do you stand on that?

            The premise I struggle with as an African-American woman is the philosophy that people of color can’t succeed without help from other people. And that’s not true.

            Before we talked about the desegregation of schools, we had many graduates of schools that just had children of color that were in poverty. The whole premise was that no one rises to low expectations.

            Even before desegregation of schools, kids went to schools that were all students of color. They were expected to succeed. The whole point about segregation and desegregating schools was really about finances, it was really about having access to the same resources and the same opportunities as their white counterparts. That’s what gets lost in the whole thing.

            When we talk about fairness and equity, why are we asking a community of people to do it the hard way, without enough resources?

            It’s not a matter of resources. There’s almost a billion dollars that’s poured into this school district. The question needs to be: What are you putting your resources towards? The resources that you have. And are you utilizing those resources in the right way?

            In the 15 years I’ve been covering the district, there’ve been probably a dozen different kinds of summits and reports and conferences, and everybody says, “We’re gonna do this,” “We’re gonna get behind this,” and “The time is now; this is the opportunity.” And then a year later, it’s not really working.

            How are you going to keep this going? How do you prevent that from happening, when at the end of the day, a lot of these forces that you talk about hang on to their own pots?

            In all of those scenarios, what’s the one thing that’s constant? The system. The system never changed. The one thing that stayed constant was the system.

            And if the system refuses to change, then I don’t care what you do, nothing will ever work. And that’s the definition of insanity: We continue to do the same thing over and over again. We continue to introduce program after program after program into a system that’s broken.

            Over the years, there’s been criticism directed at the board, directed at the district, a lot of it coming from City Hall – some of it clearly deserved, some of it not. But under a school district-mayoral partnership or mayoral control, all of that is gonna go in your direction.

            It’s a community problem. As I said the other day, the community is to blame, because nobody wants to take the weight of the failure. And so it’s easy to point fingers.

            It is easier to keep pointing fingers and say: Oh, well, it’s your problem, it’s your fault, it’s this person’s fault. And then, while we’re pointing fingers at each other, nothing gets done.

            It’s all of our problem. It’s all of our fault. And we can acknowledge that we all have a role to play in it. People will say, Okay, city, the neighborhoods aren’t good enough; there’s drugs and activity and there are buildings that need to be torn down and there’s lead and other things. So you know what? The city has to own that. Our responsibility has to be the neighborhood.

            School district: the failure is on you, because the kids aren’t coming to school. They’re not learning. So you own that.

            Parents: you own the fact that if a child isn’t in the classroom, they can’t learn. You own the fact that there’s trauma and other things happening in the home.

            Community: you look at not-for-profit organizations that have gone from a $100,000 budget to a two million- and three million-dollar budget; are you trying to really solve poverty or solve the challenges, or are you trying to build your organization? And there’s big money in poverty. When you look at the number of not-for-profit organizations and systems and social supports and all of this billions of dollars in this community that goes towards fixing a fixed population – so you own that.

            There is enough blame to go around, but as long as we’re pointing fingers at each other it never gets solved. And there’s power in that, ’cause nobody takes the blame.

            That’s the challenge here. Nobody wants to be the person or the entity blamed, because they can always point to someone else whose problem it is. But in the end, it is all of our problem.

            And if the state Education Commissioner agrees that structural change is necessary and that Rochester’s mayor should be a big player in the new system?

            If the commissioner came back and said, “Mayor, we want you to be more involved,” we need to know what that looks like, because for me: I’m not going – and I don’t think that it’s fair to anyone – to take on a system that essentially you’re set up to fail in.

            In order to effectuate change, no one person can do it by themselves. Will there be an elected board? Are some members appointed by the mayor? Are some members appointed by the mayor, some of them elected? Who gets to appoint the superintendent? How do parents and the community play into that?

            I would want to do it with a clear plan as to how the commissioner believes that we can be most effective on behalf of children. I don’t want to just do something to do it. I want to do something to change the trajectory for our children. And if I don’t see mayoral control as changing that trajectory, then I’m not willing to go there.

            If there is a way that we can partner to change that trajectory, then I’m all in. Show me the road map to how you believe this can work. We’ll figure out a way to do it that makes sense for the children and the parents of the city.

             

             

             

              CLEVELAND, Miss. (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was walking down a street in the town of Cleveland in the rural Mississippi Delta on Monday when she stopped to examine a small home’s sagging roof.

              “You can be sure there’s a lot of love in these homes. They just can’t afford (to fix) it,” state Senator Willie Simmons told Warren during the Democratic presidential candidate’s three-day campaign swing through Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

              Affordable housing is a chief concern for the senator from Massachusetts, who recently reintroduced a $500 billion housing plan she says will create millions of housing units and reduce rental costs by 10 percent.

              But the trip to the deep South, the first extended tour of the region by any of the more than dozen Democrats vying for the party’s 2020 White House nomination, also gave Warren an opportunity to try to set herself apart from the crowded and diverse field.

              During meetings with housing advocates in Memphis, Tennessee, and walking tours of small Mississippi towns, Warren, who is white, tested and tailored her central message of combating income inequality to black voters, a critical Democratic voting bloc.

              The trip outside the mostly white early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire that are drawing much of the early 2020 campaign focus signaled that Warren, 69, intends to make a play for support in other states that also could prove important to securing the nomination.

              “I’m running to be president of all the people, and it’s important to go around the country and have a chance to talk with people face to face,” Warren told reporters after a town hall that drew about 500 people to a high school in Memphis.

              Democrats will have to look beyond the traditional early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina for opportunities to pick up voters next year if an obvious front-runner does not immediately emerge.

              Alabama and Tennessee are among the states holding their 2020 nominating primaries on the March 3 “Super Tuesday” following South Carolina’s contest. Mississippi is set to host its primary in mid-March. All three states have sizeable black populations.

              Being first to those states will not guarantee votes. But it could win local endorsements and help recruit volunteers for Warren, who lags in national 2020 Democratic presidential opinion polls behind Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

              “Warren’s biggest advantage in making this trip is that she will likely have the attention of a critical mass of African-American Democratic primary voters in a cycle where the black vote will drive the nomination process,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who managed African-American advertising for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

              ‘VISITING HELPS’

              Clinton beat Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential nominating race in large part because his insurgent campaign failed to gain traction with black voters and flamed out when the contest moved to the South from the early voting states.

              In the general election, Clinton’s loss to Republican Donald Trump was partly due to the fact that the black turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

              African-American turnout in 2016 dropped 7 points from four years earlier, when Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, was re-elected.

              During her trip, Warren touted how her housing plan was aimed at closing the wealth and housing gap between white and black Americans. Her proposal would give first-time homebuyers who live in low-income, formerly segregated areas grants to use for down payments.

              It is specifically tailored to benefit black families whose relatives faced discriminatory housing policies in the years leading up to the U.S. civil rights era.

              Many residents said they appreciated Warren taking the time to come and focus on their issues. On Tuesday, she planned to tour historic sites in Selma, Alabama, where the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march marked a turning point in the civil rights movement.

              “Visiting helps. It lets the people down here know that somebody in Washington does care about them,” said the Rev. Alice Crenshaw, 75, whose church marked the start of Warren’s walking tour in Cleveland.

              O’Rourke raises $6.1M in campaign’s first day

              The tour of Cleveland on Monday ended at Senator’s Place, the restaurant owned by Simmons, the Mississippi Democratic state senator. Simmons has not endorsed Warren, but like others she spent time with during the campaign swing, he seemed warm to her candidacy.

              Sandra Miller-Foster, 68, arrived at Senator’s Place knowing there would be a special visitor but not who. She liked what she heard from Warren.

              Asked to assess the Democratic field, which includes two black U.S. senators vying for the nomination, she said policy, not race, would earn her support.

              “All people want is a decent job, to own their own home and be able to send their kids to school. We’ve got to know what you’ll do for Mississippi,” Miller-Foster said.

              Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

                WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller, examining potential conspiracy between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, is leading the latest in a series of U.S. investigations conducted by prosecutors outside usual Justice Department channels in recent decades.

                The release of the findings by previous investigators analogous to Mueller has been handled differently over the years, sometimes with voluminous reports and other times with no reports or with key elements kept under wraps for months and even years.

                Mueller is preparing to submit a report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on his findings, including Russia’s role in the election and whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe. Trump has denied collusion and obstruction. Russia has denied election interference.

                Barr already is coming under pressure from lawmakers to make the entire document public quickly, though he has wide latitude in what to release.

                Here is an explanation of some past high-profile U.S. investigations and how their findings were made public.

                WATERGATE SCANDAL

                The Justice Department named a special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal that eventually forced Republican Richard Nixon in 1974 to become the only U.S. president to resign from office. At the time, no specific regulations or laws governed special prosecutors.

                Attorney General Elliot Richardson, as a condition of his Senate confirmation, appointed Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor to examine the 1972 break-in by Republican operatives at Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington.

                Cox found himself at odds with Nixon over subpoenas to obtain taped White House conversations. Nixon ultimately ordered the firing of Cox, and several top Justice Department officials resigned in protest including Richardson, in an event dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre.

                Leon Jaworski, subsequently named as the new Watergate special prosecutor, prepared a report with his findings, known as the “road map,” to assist Congress with possible impeachment proceedings to remove Nixon from office.

                The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee used it as a basis for hearings and passed articles of impeachment, though Nixon quit before the full House could act. The “road map” remained under seal by a federal court for 55 years until it was released by federal archivists in 2018.

                IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR

                The job of independent counsel, with broader powers, was created by Congress after the Watergate scandal. In 1986, Lawrence Walsh was named as independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair involving illegal arms sales to Iran under Republican President Ronald Reagan, with the proceeds diverted to fund rebels in Nicaragua called Contras.

                The probe lasted nearly seven years and led to criminal charges against 14 people. The convictions of some prominent officials – Oliver North and John Poindexter – were overturned on appeal. In 1992, Republican President George H.W. Bush pardoned others.

                Walsh submitted his final report to a federal court in 1993, which had the power to release it publicly but was not required to do so. Its release was delayed after people named in the report sued to keep it suppressed. A federal appeals court ruled in 1994 that it should be released in the public interest. Walsh then unveiled it at a news conference.

                WHITEWATER AND LEWINSKY SCANDALS

                Attorney General Janet Reno in 1994 appointed Robert Fiske as a independent counsel to investigate allegations of impropriety by Democratic President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton regarding real estate investments in the Whitewater Development Corporation. Fiske’s probe was expanded to include reviewing the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, which police had ruled a suicide.

                Fiske, who was not subject to the independent counsel law because it had temporarily lapsed, publicly released a 200-page interim report in 1994 clearing White House officials of wrongdoing in the Whitewater affair and confirming that Foster’s death was a suicide unrelated to Whitewater.

                On that same day, Clinton signed a law reauthorizing the independent counsel statute, which paved the way for a federal court to replace Fiske as independent counsel with Kenneth Starr. Starr turned in a report on Foster’s death to federal courts in 1997, also finding no foul play. It remained under seal for three months before being released.

                Starr’s probe expanded into other areas, including a sexual affair between Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky and alleged improprieties in the White House travel office. His expansive 445-page report, containing explicit details on Clinton’s sexual affair, was sent to Congress in 1998. Two days later, lawmakers voted to release it publicly. Its findings triggered an unsuccessful Republican effort to remove Clinton from office through the impeachment process.

                Congress let the independent counsel law expire, with some lawmakers believing Starr went too far. The Justice Department in 1999 wrote regulations creating the new job of special counsel, with more limited powers.

                FEDERAL RAID AT WACO

                Reno in 1999 appointed John Danforth as special counsel to investigate the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas. The FBI used tear gas and a fire broke out, killing more than 70 people including cult leader David Koresh.

                Danforth was the first person appointed under the 1999 regulations, the rules that now apply to Mueller. Under those rules, a special counsel must submit a confidential report to the attorney general, who then has discretion to publicly release some or all of it. The attorney general must weigh the public interest. But he also must consider thorny issues such as secrecy of grand jury testimony, protecting classified information, communications with the White House possibly subject to the principle of executive privilege shielding certain information from disclosure, and safeguarding confidential reasons for why some individuals were not charged.

                Reno specifically instructed Danforth to prepare two versions of his report, a confidential one and another for public release. Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, gave no such instruction to Mueller when he appointed him in May 2017.

                In 2000, Danforth held a news conference to publicly release his report, exonerating federal agents and Justice Department officials of any wrongdoing.

                OUTING OF CIA AGENT PLAME

                In 2003, James Comey, then the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as special counsel to investigate how CIA operative Valerie Plame’s cover was blown through media leaks. Fitzgerald was not appointed under the 1999 regulations and was not bound by them.

                Fitzgerald held a 2005 news conference to announce that a grand jury had returned a five-count indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements. Fitzgerald never published a final report on his findings.

                A jury convicted Libby. Republican President George H.W. Bush commuted his sentence in 2007. Trump gave Libby a full pardon in 2018.

                (This story has been refiled to insert dropped word in lead paragraph.)

                Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham

                Charter School of Inquiry will be hosting an Open House on March 27thfrom 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at the School located at: 404 Edison Street. Buffalo, NY 14215

                Charter School of Inquiry offers:

                Free Bus Transportation

                Free Extended Day Program 3:30pm – 5:20pm

                Inclusion: Study of world cultures with focus on African and African American History and culture.

                Art, Music, and Physical Education for All Grades 

                Enrollment has begun for students in Kindergarten through Gr. 5 for the 2018-2019 school year.

                Learn more at: http://csicharter.org

                The Charter School of Inquiry (CSI) is an exciting Kindergarten through Grade 6 School, one that believes in children, sets high expectations, and challenges students to excel. We’re recruiting children now for Kindergarten through Grade 6 for the 2019-2020 school year.

                If you are interested in enrolling your student for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, please complete the 2019-2020 admissions application and submit the completed form to CSI via hand delivery, fax, or email.

                Please contact us if you have any questions, want a tour, or would like to learn more about CSI! You can reach us by phone at 716-833-3250, or by using our contact form. Or, drop in – we’re located at 404 Edison Street, Buffalo 14215.

                We look forward to meeting you and your child!

                MISSION AND VISION

                The Charter School of Inquiry (CSI) will achieve breakthrough outcomes for City of Buffalo children in Kindergarten through Grade 6 by creating an inquiry-based learning environment with an intense focus on learning to read and write well in all subject areas. CSI offers an exceptionally high quality education using intentional reading and language development, aligned curriculum, engaging inquiry-based practices, and an outstanding system of supports. Children at CSI will learn to think critically, problem-solve and work collaboratively to enable their participation as citizens of their community and the world

                Charter School of Inquiry – 404 Edison Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215 – (716) 833-3250

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