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Monday, August 07, 2006


David Serena--Yolo County Housing Authority

There is big and breaking news on this front. In June, David Serena filed a lawsuit in Sacramento federal court alleging that the Yolo County Grand Jury was underrepresentative of minorities. "Yolo County's apparent lack of any formal rules or procedures governing selection of grand jurors … is extremely susceptible to abuse and seems to have led directly to the years-long exclusion of Asians and Hispanics from inclusion in Yolo County's grand juries."

In late June, Serena resigned his post at the Housing Authority. In late July, Serena was arrested on 19 counts--the main charges against him involve medical and dental benefits for the children of Serena's partner, who is not his wife or domestic partner. The county contends the children were not entitled to receive those benefits. A report issued by Phil Batchelor, interim executive director of the Yolo County Housing Authority, indicates far more serious problems. According to the report, the agency, which provides housing for low-income people, is nearly $3 million in the red. The report lists 161 recommendations to clean up the foundering agency.

Inside sources tell us, that of the 19 charges, really, there are only two legitimate ones. Serena contends that in fact, he made inquiries as to whether or not he could put the children on his health benefits and was told that in fact he could.

The big news that we are waiting at on at this point is that on Friday in Sacramento Federal Court, the judge allowed the federal lawsuit to go forward.

Davis Human Relations Commission

It was reported yesterday in the Davis Enterprise that the Davis City Council would move to fill the vacancies on the defunct Human Relations Commission by September 16, 2006. They are now in the process of taking applications. Several of the members of the previous commission have already stated that they will not be applying. That will likely leave a commission that is completely toothless. Not only has the City Council's majority made it clear that they will not tolerate people who "rock the boat." But now only pliant people will even apply. It is quite clear that the new body will not be taking up the highly controversial stands of the previous body. The issue of police oversight remains only partially resolved.

The council has created an ombudsman position to handle complaints against the police department. However, that position remains unfilled.

---Doug Paul Davis Reporting