Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 5

In its April 1980 application for an $18.8 million Urban Development Action Grant [UDAG] in federal funds from HUD to create a public plaza of open space on the Copley Place Project public land at the corner of Dartmouth & Stuart streets, the City of Boston did not indicate to HUD that it would ever allow in 2011 a subsequent real estate developer to reconstruct the Copley Place project site in a way which encloses the public plaza of open space in a “winter garden”/expanded retail store entrance, that would be adjacent to a 47-story “Jim Crow” skyscraper of luxury residential apartments atop the project’s Neiman Marcus anchor retail store.

Yet according to the HUD handbook:

"In its review of the closeout documents, the Field Office staff may find that the project is not ready for closeout. This can occur for several reasons, for example: 1. The project may not have been carried out in a manner which is consistent with the terms of the Grant Agreement. For example, the UDAG may have been awarded to construct 120 single family homes, yet the closeout documents indicate that the Developer built only 110...If the Field Office staff determine that an impediment has occurred, they should take appropriate steps to deal with the situation...An action by HUD, such as amending the Grant Agreement, may be required...Generally, the Recipient should request a formal amendment in situations where the deviations from the Grant Agreement meet the threshold for a significant amendment as defined in Chapter 1 of this Handbook and as set forth in Section 570.413(b) of the UDAG regulations...

And according to HUD regulations:

§ 570.463 Project amendments and revisions.

(a) Pre-approval revisions to the application. Applicants must submit to the HUD Area Office and to Central Office all revisions to the application. A revision is considered significant if it alters the scope, location, or scale of the project or changes the beneficiaries' population.

The applicant must hold at least one public hearing prior to making a significant revision to the application.

(b) Post preliminary approval amendments. Applicants receiving preliminary approval must submit to the HUD Central Office, a request for approval of any significant amendment. A copy of the request must also be submitted to the Area Office. A significant amendment involves new activities or alterations thereof which will change the scope, location, scale, or beneficiaries of such activities or which, as a result of a number of smaller changes, add up to an amount that exceeds ten percent of the grant. HUD approval of amendments may be granted to those requests which meet all of the following criteria:

(1) New or significantly altered activities must meet the criteria for selection applicable at the time of receipt of the program amendment.

(2) The recipient must have complied with all requirements of this subpart.

(3) The recipient may make amendments other than those requiring prior HUD approval as defined in paragraph (b) of this section but each recipient must notify both the Area and Central Offices of such changes.

[47 FR 7983, Feb. 23, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 11476, Mar. 20, 1996]

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 4

Despite the opposition of most Back Bay and South End neighborhood residents, the Zoning Commission of Boston utilized an undemocratic process to recently authorize the Simon Properties Group [SPG] to enclose and over-develop (on Massachusetts Department of Transportation/Turnpike Authority public land) the open space and public plaza at the corner of Stuart and Dartmouth Streets, as part of its Neiman Marcus anchor store expansion and massive “Neiman Marcus Tower” skyscraper construction/reconstruction of Copley Place project.

Coincidentally, as the following 2004 and 2005 articles that first appeared in Indianapolis, Indiana’s alternative weekly newspaper, NUVO, indicate, the Simon Group apparently was also undemocratically allowed to over-develop and build on public open space in Indianapolis, in a project that only benefitted the private special corporate interest of the SPG.

In a June 23, 2004 article, titled “Some Critical Of Downtown Decisions," the NUVO alternative newsweekly, for example, observed:

“Downtown development is booming. But with that boom, two projects may threaten a pair of downtown landmarks. One of those projects is Simon Property Group’s plan to construct a 12- to 14-story headquarters on Capitol Commons on the west side of downtown. The plan is drawing criticism from a number of groups that want to preserve the green space that former Gov. Robert Orr fought to create in the late 1980s.

“State Rep. Tom Saunders ( R-Henry County ) joined a number of state legislators in signing a letter of opposition that was delivered to the Mayor’s Office on June 7. They stated that their understanding, at the time the park was built, was that Capitol Commons should remain a `public park’ area. They also requested a meeting with city officials to discuss a more suitable solution. Saunders said, `I appreciate the Simons, but I wish they could find another spot.’

“Other legislators who joined Saunders were Beverly Gard, Jeff Epich, Vaneta Becker and Phil Hinkle. City officials finally agreed late last week to hold an informational meeting with the state representatives who signed the opposition letter.”

And in an article, titled “Simon’s Land Grab: City Trammels Public Process,” that appeared in the Jan. 26, 2005 issue of NUVO, Clark Kahlo wrote:

“The Simon Property Group recently revised the design for the exterior of its office building, which is slated to occupy part of Capitol Commons Plaza , just south of the state Capitol. This comes just prior to the start of construction, and was recommended by Simon’s new local architect, who replaced an Atlanta-based firm. The façade was redesigned to better conform to the existing character of nearby landmarks.

“Yet at an Oct. 6 public hearing, the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) was broadly assured by a Simon executive, his architect and city officials that the building’s design was fully sensitive to the Statehouse and surrounding buildings. Thus the design change comes as a major surprise. It also invites a look back (and forward) with respect to citizen involvement in development issues in our city.

“Beginning last June, many citizens wrote to the newspapers and to Mayor Peterson to protest his plan to give part of the public plaza to Simon for its 15-story building. Many also signed petitions opposing the giveaway of the priceless open space plaza (which connects the Statehouse and the Convention Center) and $20 million in other public subsidies.

“This most recent public land giveaway well illustrates how our city officials have failed to provide an open, inclusive and reasoned public process. Instead, they opted to cater to the highly profitable Simon company, which is the largest owner of shopping malls in the country.

“Despite the opposition, Simon’s corporate headquarters was on a fast-track for city board approvals from the very beginning. The city’s planners and architects weren’t even allowed by the mayor’s economic development staff to review the proposed project before the deal was publicly announced by Peterson.

“Here’s another example. In June, just two days after Mayor Peterson announced the deal, the development commission hurriedly adopted an amendment to the new Regional Center 2020 Plan for the downtown. The amendment authorized an office building in the public plaza, which is shown on the city’s new plan as a “public park.”

“While the city may have technically complied with the legal requirements for publishing the notice of the June 2 public hearing in the Legal Notices section of the newspaper, it’s clear the public was not aware of the significance of that commission meeting, the city’s hasty action to amend the official plan or the plan’s connection to the Simon deal. Thus there was no opposition present at the hearing.

“On Oct. 6, the MDC met again to hear an appeal filed in response to the city planning agency’s approval of the initial design for the Simon building. The Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations and Citizens for a Better Future raised concerns about the proposal, including strong objections about the taking of the public plaza, which, by the terms of a previous agreement between the city, the Capital Improvements Board (a city board) and the Westin Hotel developer, was to remain an open space vista and public plaza linking the Convention Center and the state Capitol. These objections were rebuffed and the MDC unanimously supported the design.

“In addition, the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects complained in a letter to Mayor Peterson that allowing Simon to build its headquarters on prime urban parkland sets an “unfortunate precedent.” Referring to the lack of public input in the process, the group also asked, “Would this be the preferred decision if opportunity had been given to the citizens of Indianapolis to provide input on the potential loss of this public space?”

“The group also urged Mayor Peterson to immediately reinstitute an ordinance invalidated by the Republican administration of Steve Goldsmith that required a public hearing for any city proposal to dispose of major public open space or right-of-way. The mayor denied their request.

“It’s ironic that in 1996, Councilor Steve Tally, a Democrat who is now president of the City-County Council, proposed a measure which would have required a public hearing before public property disposition by a city agency. That proposal was voted down by the then-Republican council majority. But now that Councilor Talley’s Democrat Party controls the council, and now that he’s expected to support the mayor’s plan to give prime public land to the Simons, he has conveniently forgotten the need to provide an open and fair public process.

“In fact, he restricted public comment at his June 28 committee hearing on the Simon matter. He rudely cut off the testimony of the representative from the Indiana Alliance for Democracy who attempted to cite a university study about the limited value of tax abatements and other corporate welfare by municipalities. Chairman Tally told Dr. Jack Miller that he didn’t think the study was relevant to the Simon matter. However, Tally hadn’t even given Miller the chance to describe the study.

“Indianapolis citizens don’t deserve such shabby treatment from their elected representatives when they try to question the continuing corporate giveaways and parkland takeaways. Simon’s recent changes to the façade will not compensate the public realm for the loss of this priceless plaza land and the loss of part of the soul of the city. “

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Will Gambling Casinos In Massachusetts Turn Massachusetts Into Another Nevada?

Nevada, New Jersey and Connecticut all have allowed out-of-state developers to build gambling casinos in their states. Yet the official jobless rate in Nevada is 13 percent, the official jobless rate in New Jersey is 9.1 percent and the official jobless rate in Connecticut is 8.4 percent, while the official jobless rate in Massachusetts (where no gambling casinos have yet been built) is just 7 percent. So why is the Massachusetts state government still apparently inviting out-of-state developers to build gambling casinos in Massachusetts; and possibly turn Massachusetts into another Nevada?

In a recent Associated Press article that appeared in the New Zealand Herald, titled “Nevada sits right at the bottom and it’s a long way back,” Cristina Silva indicated how Nevada’s casino gambling-based economy is currently doing:

“…Across this hardest-hit Western state, a battle of perceptions is being waged over whether Nevada is on the edge of recovery, or still falling four years after the collapse of its mighty housing, tourism and construction industries.

“It's a story unfolding across the US, only in Nevada it is worse because the state depends heavily on money spent by people from elsewhere. Nevada continues to top the US in unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates.

“`We are like somebody who is wearing a lead weight. We have jumped off the dock and finally stopped sinking, but that just means we are at the bottom of the sea,’ said Elliot Parker, an economist with the University of Nevada, Reno…

“But the housing market remains in a free fall and workers are either fleeing the state or dropping out of the workforce altogether. Half of all homes are now purchased with cash. The average house price in Las Vegas fell to US$118,213 last month, down from US$329,720 just four years ago…

“`Nevada is about a year behind the rest of the country or even more because we had much deeper, much bigger problems,' Parker said. `We had a steep decline and we have a long way to go to get out of this.’"…

“New unemployment claims more than doubled to 30,190 from January 2007 to January 2010. In all, more than 300,000 Nevadans received jobless benefits last year….

“Nevada's unemployment rate has improved from above 14 per cent to just above 13 per cent in the past year and new jobs have sprouted in the hospitality sector.

But the declining jobless rate can also partly be explained by the state's shrinking workforce. Nevada had nearly 200,000 fewer workers in 2010 than it did in 2007, and that's despite a soaring population during those years…

“Hotel rooms and bar tabs are…nowhere near the rollicking levels of 2007, before tourism dropped and hotels across the Las Vegas Strip closed or filed for bankruptcy.

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board recently estimated that casinos statewide made US$53.8 million less from gamblers in September than they did a year ago, a 6 per cent drop. In Northern Nevada, which has struggled to fight off the rise of Indian casinos in California, some casinos saw revenues drop 14 per cent.

“For unemployed Nevadans, the state hitting bottom offers little encouragement. Jim Rogers, 49, lost his construction job three years ago. He has been living off money set aside in his retirement account.

“`There are no jobs,’ he said. `The casinos are operating on a meagre staff. Where they used to have 10 people, they now have six people doing the work.’..

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 3

The architect for the proposed reconstruction/expansion of Copley Place's Neiman Marcus anchor retail store stated at a late 2007 or early 2008 community meeting at the Boston Public Library that in the early 1980s "we had always planned to build" the luxury condominium skyscraper at the proposed Stuart & Dartmouth Street reconstruction site.

Yet in its misleading early 1980s legal response to the Greater Boston Legal Services' complaint to HUD (about using $18.8 million in federal UDAG funds to build the Copley Place project), City of Boston attorneys gave HUD officials (and, subsequently, U.S. federal court judges) no indication that the Stuart & Dartmouth Street corner site was going to be part of a 52-story luxury high-rise residential skyscraper. As the August 11, 1980 “Response By The City of Boston To An Administrative Complaint Submitted By Greater Boston Legal Services To HUD Concerning the Copley Place Urban Development Action Grant” stated:

“III. UIDC Does Require UDAG Funds to Construct Copley Place

“A UDAG grant…has been determined to be warranted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority's review of the Copley Place project…

“Copley Place Will Not Have A Negative Impact On the Special Problems of Low- and Moderate-Income and Minority People

“The overall impact of Copley Place will be positive through the provision of…housing for low- and moderate-income people

“The City also has rent control and condominium conversion ordinances which will help to mitigate the effect of market forces on low- and moderate-income tenants.

“The City of Boston has prepared a detailed response to each point raised in the Administrative Complaint….Copley Place is a project by which Federal funds will leverage substantial private investment to the direct and indirect benefit of low- and moderate-income people, especially members of minority groups. Under these circumstance, HUD will best fulfill its mandate by approving the City's application for UDAG funding. Copley Place deserves HUD's support.

“The Greater Boston Legal Services has filed an Administrative Complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development challenging the City of Boston's application for Federal assistance under the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) program….

“Copley Place deserves HUD's support. In fact, as documented in the UDAG application, it is only with HUD's support that Copley Place is feasible….

“With regard to the remaining allegations the City stands firm to its position that the developers of Copley Place require an Action Grant…to undertake this project. The grant request has been carefully analyzed by the BRA and its consultants. This analysis has revealed that the project's cost estimates and income projections are reasonable and that,based on these estimates , the project would not reach a fair level of return without such a UDAG investment…

In conclusion, Copley Place not only meets but surpasses all of HUD's selection criteria. The funding of this UDAG is in keeping with the intent of the program and represents significant achievements in the area of affirmative action…An objective evaluation of this project will demonstrate conclusively that Copley Place should receive UDAG funding.

“Therefore, in light of the evidence presented herein and in the UDAG application, the City of Boston requests that HUD reject this administrative complaint and fund the Copley Place UDAG. ..


“…The developer was exploring sources for public funding as early as the spring of 1978. In a document distributed to the City and State in October, 1978, the developer enumerated approximately $22 million in project site premium costs and stated that they were requesting public funding to defray much of this cost. In addition, the Air-Rights Lease signed December, 1978 between UIDC and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority makes direct reference to UDAG and other public funding assistance. (Please see Air- Rights Lease, Section 15.13, Certain Governmental Assistance)….

“A UDAG grant…has been determined to be warranted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority's review of the Copley Place project.

“6. Landscaping

“Some of the development site will be landscaped open space dedicated to public pedestrian circulation and to the visual enhancement of the neighborhood. These areas include…the plaza area near the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart Streets…At the Dartmouth/Stuart entrance to the retail center the public mall and plaza entrance will be constructed over the Turnpike deck. This entrance is designed to provide a park-like extension of Copley Square and a gateway to Copley Place …

“10. Dartmouth/Stuart Entrance to Copley Place

“At the Dartmouth/Stuart Street entrance to the proposed retail development, the Turnpike will be decked and a public plaza and mall entrance will be constructed. This entrance will provide a spatial extension of Copley Square and act as a major focal point. The public plaza and mall entrance will cover approximately 21,800 square feet.

“These activities add greatly to the construction costs of the development without adding directly to the cash flow of the project. To confirm its analysis, the BRA retained an independent consultant which has advised it that the developer's costs estimate and income projections are reasonable and that, based on these estimate, the project would not reach a fair level of return without such a UDAG investment. While the project might be able to absorb approximately $9 million of the special site costs, $18.8 million in costs cannot be supported by project income....

“The Boston Redevelopment Authority will be the recipient of the UDAG funds from the City. The BRA will administer the grant and loan portions of the UDAG…

“It is respectfully submitted that contrary to the allegations contained in Part III of the Administrative Complainant, that UDAG funds are in fact necessary to the construction of Copley Place and construction of Copley Place will further the objectives of the UDAG program by…creating opportunities for low- and moderate-income people and minorities



“As for the claim that the program will have an adverse impact on the neighborhood environment by virture of its shadows , it is to be noted that the project contains low- and mid-rise buildings and two 30-story hotel towers . Furthermore , the project does not dominate Copley Square as suggested in the complaint. Instead, it abuts only one corner of the Square and the podium height of the Western International Hotel is harmonious with the height of the Boston Public Library and the Copley Plaza Hotel.

“During the winter months the two hotel towers will cast shadows upon Copley Square as the sun sweeps low on the southern horizon. The brief period of time when the shadow is solely the result of shadows cast from Copley Place will be minimal compared to the existing shadow and duration of shadow cast by the John Haincock Tower and the Prudential Center…

“During the summer, no shadows will be cast by the Copley Place Project on Copley Square or Trinity Church. This coincides with the period of highest use of the square. The complainant implies that "a tremendous volume of casual pedestrian traffic, many of whom came there solely to sit in the sun" will be denied sun by winter shadows cast by Copley Place. It would be more accurate to state that the casual pedestrian in the winter would find some additional shadow during the afternoon…


“Copley Place will have impressive benefits for the City's low- and moderate- income citizensThe project will provide…mixed-income housing… Copley Place deserves HUD's support….”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 2

“In direct contradiction to Federal regulations, Copley Place and its UDAG will not provide an opportunity for low and moderate income persons and minorities to reside in the project area after its completion…

“It is impossible to reconcile the Copley Place Project as consistent with the concerns of the Congress as expressed in the UDAG statute and the regulations promulgated by HUD…”
(from Greater Boston Legal Services’June 5, 1980 letter to local HUD Director, which complained about use of UDAG funds to develop site of Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus’ proposed “Jim Crow” Skyscraper of luxury residential units at Copley Place)

Following is the text of Judge Caffrey’s August 17, 1981 memorandum in the Munoz-Mendoza v. Pierce court case regarding the use of $18.8 million in federal funds from HUD to construct the Copley Place project:

August 17, 1981 court decision
Viviana MUNOZ-MENDOZA, Maggie Morris, Arturo Juarbe, Pat Quintana, Marcia Wiley, Bruno Rodriguez, Kam Yun Lee, and The Chinatown Housing and Land Development Task Force, Individually and on Behalf of all others Similarly Situated, et al., Plaintiffs,v.
Samuel R. PIERCE, in his Official Capacity as Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Robert C. Embry, in his Official Capacity as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Marvin Siflinger, in his Official Capacity as Area Manager, Boston Area Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Pacquin, in his Capacity as Area Director of Community Planning and Management in the Boston Area Office, Kevin H. White, in his Capacity as Mayor of the City of Boston, and Robert Ryan, in his Official Capacity as Executive Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAFFREY


Plaintiffs, seven individuals and an unincorporated organization, the Chinatown Housing and Land Development Task Force, are before the Court challenging federal funding for the development of a project known as " Copley Place ." The plaintiffs, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, sue the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal officials, as well as two officials of the City of Boston, claiming that the award by HUD of a $ 18.85 million Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) was not preceded by adequate planning and will have a discriminatory impact on low-income residents of Boston's South End, in violation of civil rights laws (Title VI, 42 U.S.C. ? 2000d et seq. and Title VIII, 42 U.S.C. ? 3601 et seq.). Cross-motions for summary judgment have been briefed and argued.

Copley Place is a $ 318 million multi-use development which will include a 712-room luxury hotel, a 960-room convention hotel, a retail center, office space, enclosed parking and 100-150 units of housing, 25% of which are to be subsidized. The site for Copley Place is 9.5 acres of vacant land, cleared 16 years ago for construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike extension. There is no presently existing residential housing located anywhere on the 9.5 acre tract. The tract, bordering the South End, Fenway and Back Bay neighborhoods, has remained undeveloped except for several exit ramps and a rail line located in the center of the site. All of the plaintiffs live in neighborhoods close to the project site. The South End is a fully integrated residential area.

In April of 1980 the City of Boston submitted to HUD a UDAG application for Copley Place , and HUD announced preliminary approval of the funding on October 9, 1980. The Chinatown Housing and Land Development Task Force and one other organization filed an administrative complaint with HUD in June 1980 expressing concern over the displacement impact of the project on neighborhood residents. On October 21, 1980 HUD notified the complainants of the project's approval. The City of Boston and HUD signed a formal UDAG contract in the early months of 1981.

I. Threshold Issues

The federal funding at issue was authorized by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977, and a threshold issue is the application of the civil rights duties of Title VI (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) and Title VIII (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), i. e. of non-discrimination and the promotion of fair housing, to UDAG grants and applicants under that statute, 42 U.S.C. 5318. Fairly recent amendments to the UDAG regulations, effective on November 11, 1980, leave no doubt as to the relationship between civil rights laws and Urban Development Action Grants. All applicants for grants must certify, 24 C.F.R. 570.458(c)(16)(xiv)(A) and (B), that their UDAG projects comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The new regulations, 24 C.F.R. 570.458(c)(12), also specify that information about involuntary displacement of low-income minorities should be submitted.

Although the regulations in effect at the time of Copley Place UDAG approval were not as explicit, I rule that the Copley Place UDAG was, and is, subject to the civil rights obligations of Title VI and Title VIII. "It is clear that anti-discrimination statutes have a significant impact on all federal financial assistance programs." NAACP v. Wilmington Medical Center , 426 F. Supp. 919, 923 (D.Del.1977)….

The primary relief sought in the instant case, however, is further HUD study of Copley Place displacement impact, and complete relief cannot be awarded without HUD's presence in the suit. Indeed the gravamen of the complaint is that action against the City alone is not sufficient. Plaintiffs claim that representations concerning Copley Place impact presented by the City of Boston , as the interested potential recipient, should not determine the federal agency's own study of the civil rights aspects of the grant.

This is not a case of claimed past discriminatory practice raising the spectre of terminating financial assistance but an action designed to prevent such a practice and to ensure that HUD follows certain procedures...

There are two interrelated claims in this case, one alleges a procedural injury and the other alleges a substantive harm. The plaintiffs assert that prior to the UDAG award HUD failed to study the indirect displacement that low-income residents living in the impact area would suffer as a result of the Copley Place project. They trace this alleged planning failure directly to the conduct of the federal officials responsible for approving the UDAG, and they seek a procedural remedy which would mandate the completion of such a displacement study by HUD. The alleged substantive injury is that the Copley Place UDAG discriminates against low-income minorities residing in abutting neighborhoods by providing critical financial aid for the Copley Place development, which in turn will work to indirectly displace the nearby plaintiffs by triggering increased rents, condominium conversions and threatened evictions. Plaintiffs seek relief which would mitigate the alleged indirect discriminatory displacement impact.

I rule, on the basis of the limited record presently before the Court and for the purpose of these motions only, that plaintiffs' have shown sufficient standing to withstand defendants' motion for summary judgment...

The plaintiffs have the burden of demonstrating that the increased rents and threatened evictions are "fairly traceable" to the UDAG funding of Copley Place, and that court-ordered relief can redress the harm. It is arguable that Copley Place, a $ 318 million project, would have been built even without the $ 18.85 million UDAG, and that the South End's ongoing gentrification and displacement of low-income minorities would have continued to accelerate at a significant pace even without any Copley Place project whatsoever. Nevertheless, I am satisfied on the current record that the plaintiffs have sufficiently personalized issues at stake to further litigate the legal claims presently before the Court...

These plaintiffs say they face increased rents and threatened evictions. They live in the claimed impact area. Their personal stake in displacement allows them to raise the issue with HUD and City officials.

In attacking HUD's study of the civil rights implications of Copley Place, plaintiffs assert that part of HUD's failure lay in its unwillingness to review the City of Boston's general eligibility for UDAG awards...

II. Title VIII and Title VI Claims

Title VIII, particularly 42 U.S.C. 3608(d)(5), places an affirmative duty on HUD to promote fair housing opportunities. That duty extends to prospective situations as well as to past or continuing practices in the private and public sector. The Second Circuit held in Otero v. New York City Housing Authority, 484 F.2d 1122, 1134 (2d Cir. 1973), that 42 U.S.C. 3608(d) (5) "requires that consideration be given to the impact" of a proposed project "on the racial concentration" in the impact area. Accord, Marin City Council v. Marin City Redevelopment Authority, 416 F. Supp. 700 (N.D.Cal.1975).

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq., also imposes a duty on HUD, less affirmative but broader ranging than that under Title VIII, designed to eliminate racial discrimination in all federally assisted programs or activities. 24 C.F.R. 1.7(c) states that HUD "shall make a prompt investigation whenever a compliance review, report, complaint, or any other information indicates a possible failure to comply" with Title VI.

The issue in this case is whether HUD, in conjunction with the City of Boston , met or failed to meet its duties under Title VI and Title VIII. HUD satisfied its Title VIII duty to promote fair housing if it used an "institutionalized method" to reach an "informed decision," based on "the relevant racial and socio-economic information." Shannon v. HUD, 436 F.2d 809, 821 (3rd Cir. 1970). It met its Title VI responsibilities if it conducted the investigation outlined in 24 C.F.R. 1.7(c). NAACP v. Wilmington Medical Center , 426 F. Supp. 919, 924-5 (D.Del.1977). ..

I find, on the basis of a limited record, that the nature and extent of HUD's civil rights inquiries concerning the impact of the Copley Place project on low-income minority residents of the neighboring areas presents a genuine issue of material fact.

The administrative record reveals the following. In early 1980 Boston submitted a UDAG application, including assurances of Title VI and Title VIII compliance. Several preliminary observations by HUD officials attest to their awareness of displacement concerns (Record, 189; Record, 195). An administrative complaint was filed by two housing organizations on June 5, 1980, raising civil rights issues concerning the project's indirect displacement. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity was notified of the administrative complaint on June 11, 1980. The City of Boston responded to the complaint on August 25, 1980, and in the meantime the project's developer had forwarded a housing impact study, completed in late 1979 for the City, to HUD (Record, 358).

HUD officials met with the administrative complainants on September 2, 1980, but never responded to the complainants' written request for findings. The most revealing document in the record is a letter dated September 19, 1980, from the Director of the Area's Division of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to the Area Manager in charge of Copley Place UDAG review. (Record, 710). It notes that HUD is "extremely concerned about the involuntary displacement of minorities," but observes that no HUD guidelines exist on the issue and that indirect displacement is hard to measure in any event. In the absence of "hard evidence" the report recommends that "the project not be stopped based on civil rights considerations." The last sentence of the letter declares that "it does not appear that either Title VI or Title VIII will be violated." (Record, 711). No supporting material or explanation is offered.

HUD's record, granting plaintiffs all inferences, is one of reaction and bureaucratic feedback, not of initiative and study. On September 24, 1980, HUD's Area Manager merely reiterated the concerns about the project's "potential negative impact" on low income households that he had voiced in a June 3 letter (Compare Record, 713-716 and Record, 195). Nothing more substantive emerges from the present record. On October 9, 1980, a press release announced the UDAG award…The record as it now appears does not clearly establish that HUD had the "relevant racial and socio-economic information" at the time of UDAG approval…

This Court, on the present record, will not rule that defendants did all that was legally necessary to satisfy Title VI concerns….

III. Arbitrary and Capricious Agency Action

The third and final claim of plaintiffs is that HUD's funding of Copley Place was arbitrary and capricious agency action, subject to review and relief under 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(a). The ultimate standard of review under this statute is a narrow one, Citizens To Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 91 S. Ct. 814, 28 L. Ed. 2d 136 (1971), and precludes judicial review on a de novo or even a substantial evidence basis. King v. Harris, 464 F. Supp. 827 (E.D.N.Y.1979).
HUD must establish that its decision on Copley Place was based on all relevant information and included the appropriate inquiries. Given the ambiguity of the current record, and the existence of the independent claims, the Court reserves on this claim seeking judicial review. NAACP v. Medical Center, Inc., 599 F.2d 1247, 1259 n.49 (3rd Cir. 1979).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stop Simon Properties Group & Neiman Marcus' "Jim Crow" Skyscraper Reconstruction Project at Copley Place in Boston's Back Bay: Part 1

In its 2008-filed "Project Notification Form," the debt-ridden, Indianapolis-based Simon Properties Group owner of shopping malls claimed its Stuart Street and Dartmouth Street Copley Place Reconstruction/”Neiman Marcus Tower” project "promotes Boston's affordable housing objectives." Yet Simon Properties Group provided no evidence in its "Project Notification Form" that 25% of its proposed new 320 residential units on the Copley Place project land will be affordable to low-income residents of Boston or that the residential population of its proposed 47-story skyscraper will reflect the current racial diversity of the City of Boston.

But in its "Project Notification Form," Simon Properties Group [SPG] did admit that if its skyscraper is built, during the lunch period of the workweek when Copley Square is most frequently used by local office workers in the autumn, 20 percent of Copley Square will then be under a shadow. As page 3-2 of the "Project Notification Form" noted:

"From October to February, additional shadow resulting from the Project will reach Copley Square...around 12:00 noon...affecting...20% of the area of Copley Square at any one time. From November to February 23, new shadow from the Project will sweep across Copley Square starting around 11:00 a.m., again affecting...20% of the area of Copley Square at any one time."

SPG also indicated that an uncomfortable new wind tunnel along Stuart Street will be created if its skyscraper is built. As page 3-2 of its "Project Notification Form" observes: "Wind conditions along Stuart Street may...require...mitigation due to the...channeling effect between the Project and surrounding existing buildings, which could increase pedestrian level horizontal wind..."

If Simon Properties Group is allowed to start building its luxury condominium skyscraper on Stuart Street and Dartmouth Street, for at least 3 years (between 2012 and 2015) around 1,700 construction workers will be disturbing the quality of life between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. each weekday for commuters, local residents, local office workers and local hotel guests and shoppers. And, as the "Project Notification Form" also noted, to construct SPG’s skyscraper "night hours will be required as determined by the Mass Turnpike Authority for work on the Mass Pike," which will disturb the quality of life for local residents and local hotel guests during the night.

Since the new residents of the 272 luxury condominium units in SPG’s planned skyscraper are each expected to own at least one automobile, nearly 15 percent of the 1,558 parking spaces now controlled by Simon Properties Group in the Copley Place Center and Tent City (Dartmouth) garages will then be just reserved for the new residents of the Stuart and Dartmouth Street “Neiman Marcus Tower,” if the project is built. The number of available parking spaces for use by local workers, local shoppers and local residents in the Copley Place Center and Tent City (Dartmouth) garages will thus be decreased by at least 297, since at least "297 parking spaces will be reassigned to provide parking for the residential units," according to page C-1 of the "Project Notification Form."

If Simon Properties Group is allowed to begin its three-year Copley Place reconstruction project, negative "air-quality impacts from fugitive dust may be expected during the early phase of construction and during demolition," according to page 3-6 of SPG's "Project Notification Form." In addition, "The Project will generate solid waste;" and "solid waste generated" by SPG’s Back Bay-South End skyscraper project "will be approximately 1,010 tons per year," according to Simon's "Project Notification Form" of 2008

In addition to possibly creating nighttime traffic problems on the Mass Pike when Simon's construction workers are authorized to make noise during night hours, additional daytime traffic jams on Stuart Street and Dartmouth Street may also be created by Simon's project because it will produce decreased automobile lane width at the Stuart Street and Dartmouth Street intersection.

Although Simon Properties's skyscraper will be located very near to a skyscraper which was plagued by unpredictable post-construction problems, the John Hancock Building, the "Project Notification Form" doesn't seem to indicate why its skyscraper won't be plagued by similar unpredictable post-construction problems as was the John Hancock Building. But as the book Skyscraper by Karl Sabbagh observed:

"The windows of the John Hancock Building in Boston provide one example of the unpleasant surprises lying in wait for the best of architects and construction managers. One November day in 1972 a pane of glass fell out of the newly-completed sixty-story building. It was the first of hundreds of panes that were to shower down on the Boston passers-by...It took four years of falling glass for the architects and construction company to decide what to do...The true cause of the failure was never made public...It has been estimated that the total cost of the John Hancock problem, including replacing all 10,344 panes of glass, was more than the original cost of the building, $95 million..."

The same book also recalled that when a skyscraper is constructed:

"The effects of the project will inevitably spread far beyond the boundaries of the site. The constant stream of trucks to and from the site, some bringing concrete, others carrying away rubble to dumps...disrupt...the already busy traffic...Buses sometimes have to mount the pavement to skirt around the trucks...

"The history of construction is littered with disasters caused by a failure to appreciate the impact of loads and forces on steel connections and supports. In July 1981 two walkways in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City collapsed, killing 113 people and injuring more than 180..."

So, not surprisingly, most of the people who live, work, shop and visit in Boston’s Back Bay and South End neighborhood want to see Simon Properties Group and Neiman Marcus drop their plans for a “Jim Crow” skyscraper of mostly unaffordable, luxury residential units on the Copley Place project's public land.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simon Properties' Boston Industrial Financing Authority/Rubin & Rudman Law Firm Connection

In apparent violation of previous 99-year lease, amended lease, sub-lease and sub-sub-lease agreements of the late 1970s and early 1980s between the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Aetna's UIDC subsidiaries (as well as the April 1980 City of Boston's Urban Development Action Grant application to HUD) which restrict what kind of residential units can be constructed on the Copley Place project's public land, the Boston Redevelopment Authority recently undemocratically approved the Simon Properties Group/Copley Associates LLP' proposal for reconstructing the Copley Place project.

Although 25 percent of all residential units constructed on the Copley Place project site, at all times, are apparently required to be affordable to low-income or low-income/moderate-income tenants until 2077, Simon Properties wants to now reduce the percentage of low-income or low-income/moderate-income residential units on the Copley Place project site to below 25 percent--by adding a 47-story skyscraper of unaffordable, luxury apartment residential units near the corner of Stuart and Dartmouth Streets in Boston's Back Bay/South End neighborhood.

Coincidentally, the Rubin and Rudman LLP lawyer that represented Simon Properties' private, special corporate interests at the public Boston Redevelopment Authority hearing which undemocratically approved Simon Properties' proposal to reconstruct the Copley Place project--James H. Greene--has also apparently been the "Chairman of the Boston Industrial Financing Authority" in recent years, according to the Rubin and Rudman corporate law firm website.

Also, coincidentally, the Rubin and Rudman lawyer and "Chairman of the Boston Industrial Financing Authority" whose Simon Properties' client was successful in getting the Boston Redevelopment Authority to approve Simon Properties' proposed Neiman Marcus Tower/Wintergarden skyscraper building project in the Back Bay/South End has apparently made over 75 individual contributions to the campaign committees of various local and state politicians (totalling over $19,500) since 2002--including 9 individual campaign contributions (totalling $4,000) to the campaign committee of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance [MA OCPF] website, for example, between April 13, 2011 and October 15, 2011 Simon Properties' Rubin and Rudman Attorney Greene gave 2 campaign contributions (totalling $500) to Boston Mayor Menino's campaign committee and 13 additional campaign contributions (totalling $2,550) to the campaign committees of other local or state politicians in Massachusetts.

One additional reason the affirmative action and community benefit housing provisions of the Copley Place project's 99-year lease and UDAG application that apparently require 25 percent of all residential units constructed on Copley Place land to be affordable at all times to low-income or low-income/moderate-income families or persons should not be apparently violated now by Simon Properties, is that the need for new low-income residential housing units for Boston residents has increased, not decreased, since the Copley Place project was originally built in the 1980s. As the 2010 Greater Boston Housing Report Card study of Northeastern University's Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy observed:

"...Despite more than two years of a weakening economy and falling home prices, rents remained stubbornly high. We now have additional data for all of 2009 and the first half of 2010 on rents in Greater Boston, and they suggest that our original concern was not misplaced...Rents have actually increased since last year, not softened...

"...Between the second quarter of 2005 and the third quarter of 2008, average asking rents in Greater Boston rose by $186 (12 percent)...

"...At the end of 2009, the average asking rent in Greater Boston had dropped about $50 from its 2008 peak...By the second quarter of 2010, though, rents began rising again...Whatever downward correction in rents took place was rather short-lived...

"According to REIS.com, in the second quarter of 2010, only four metropolitan regions--New York City; Westchester County, New York; San Francisco; and Fairfield County, Connecticut--had higher average rents than Boston...

"...There is little reason to believe that the historically high rents of the past several years will come down anytime soon..."

But since low-income tenants in Boston apparently don't contribute as much money to local and state politicians as lawyers for out-of-state-based real estate developers like Simon Properties, the Menino Administration's Boston Redevelopment Authority apparently sees nothing either illegal or unethical about allowing Simon Properties to build a skyscraper of over 300 more unaffordable, luxury residential units on the public land upon which the Copley Place project stands.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simon Properties' Goodwin Procter Law Firm Connection

As Goodwin Procter’s website notes, besides being a member of the Brookline Massachusetts Zoning Board of Appeals in recent years, “Larry Kaplan, a partner in the firm’s Real Estate Capital Markets Group, represents institutions, owners, developers and tenants during the permitting, acquisition and financing process;” and “also has served as real estate counsel to the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority” (which is currently part of MassDevelopment, the state finance and development authority on whose board of directors Boston Zoning Commission member Jay Hurley, coincidentally, also sits).

So, not surprisingly, “Goodwin’s real estate deal team included partner Lawrence Kaplan” when “a team of Goodwin Procter attorneys served as advisors to Copley Place Associates, LLC, an affiliate of Goodwin’s client Simon Properties Group, on the negotiation of an air rights lease” that was signed by Massachusetts Gov. Patrick on June 20, 2011 (according to a June 28, 2011 Goodwin Procter press release)—in an apparent attempt to provide a legal cover for Simon Properties’ proposed Copley Place Reconstruction/Luxury Skyscraper building project in the Back Bay/South End section of Boston.

In its June 28, 2011 press release, Kaplan’s corporate law firm claims that “the new agreement supersedes the client’s existing air rights lease for Copley Place which was entered into in the late 1970s”( that apparently required 25% of all residential units constructed on the Copley Place project site between 1978 and 2077 to be affordable at all times to low-income or low-income/moderate-income households; and apparently required any new construction after 15 years on a reconstructed Copley Place project site to be subject to the affirmative action and community benefit provisions and use restrictions regarding jobs and housing that were incorporated into the late 1970s lease).

Yet according to the June 20, 2011 “Notice of Lease Agreement” which Gov. Patrick signed “this Notice of Lease …does not purport to include all of the terms thereof, and is not intended or deemed to amend, supplement, or vary any of the terms and provisions of the lease;” and “in the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the Lease and this Notice of Lease, the provisions of the Lease shall govern and control.”

Besides having sat on Brookline’s Zoning Board of Appeals in recent years and having been the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority’s real estate counsel in the past, Goodwin Procter “real estate deal team” member Kaplan also gave Boston Mayor Menino’s campaign committee two contributions, totaling $1,000, between 2005 and 2008, according to data posted on the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance [MA OCPF] website.

In addition, between 2005 and late 2011, nearly $40,000 in campaign contributions were made to the campaign committees of either Boston Mayor Menino, Massachusetts Gov. Patrick or Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley by partners or employees of the Goodwin Procter law firm that is now representing the private, special interests of the Indianapolis-based Simon Properties Group, in its Copley Place Reconstruction project “real estate deal.” Between 2005 and late 2011, for example, Mayor Menino’s campaign committee was given $12,600, Gov. Patrick’s campaign committee was given $13,600 and Attorney General Coakley’s campaign committee was given $13,700 by Goodwin Procter partners or employees—nearly all of whom do not live in either the Back Bay or South End neighborhoods into which Simon Properties wishes to push its 47-story “Neiman Marcus Tower” luxury skyscraper construction project.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Concealing U.S. Navy Losses At Pearl Harbor 70 Years Ago

After the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor 70 years ago, the U.S. government initially "claimed that only one `old' battleship and a destroyer had been sunk and other ships damaged, and that heavy casualties had been inflicted on the Japanese" in order "to prevent the American public from learning the gravity of the blow," according to The First Casualty by Phillip Knightly. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox then held a press conference in New York after returning from an inspection of the damage to the Navy's fleet at Pearl Harbor and told U.S. reporters that only the Arizona battleship had been sunk. But, according to The First Casualty, "this must have made strange reading for anyone actually at Pearl Harbor, who had only to lift his eye from his newspaper to see five United States battleships--the Arizona, the Oklahoma, the California, the Nevada, and the West Virginia resting on the bottom.

Although 68 civilians were killed when Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor 70 years ago, ironically, "most civilian casualties resulted from American anti-aircraft shells that had defective fuses" which "failed to work properly in the air but exploded upon impact when they landed," according to Modern Hawaiian History by Ann Rayson.

As U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson said in 1917: "The first casualty when war comes is truth."

(Downtown, 12/25/91)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Was The Attack On Pearl Harbor Really A Surprise?

Wall Street's mass media generally portrays the Dec. 7. 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that took place 70 years ago as being a great surprise to the Democratic administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. According to the 1981 book Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath by John Toland, however, in the fall of 1941 "another direct warning of an attack on Pearl Harbor came to Washington" when "Kilsoo Haan, an agent for the Sino-Korean People's League came to the CBS office of Eric Severeid to announce excitedly that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor before Christmas. Friends in the Korean underground in Japan and Hawaii reported they had positive proof."

In October 1941, Haan convinced U.S. Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked and "Gillette alerted the State Department, as well as Army and Navy Intelligence," according to the same book. Major Warren Clear of Army Intelligence had also alerted the War Department that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked.

On Dec. 5, 1941, "Kilsoo Haan telephoned Maxwell Hamilton (a top U.S. State Department Far East Advisor)" and told him that he had "been warned by the Korean underground that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor the coming weekend," according to Infamy. The same book also noted that after Pearl Harbor was attacked a few days later, "Kilsoo Haan got a telephone call from Maxwell Hamilton of the State Department" who "demanded that Haan's Dec. 5 warning of a Pearl Harbor attack that weekend not be released to the press. `If you do,' he warned, `I can put you away for the duration.'"

Some historians argue that in order to develop domestic support fo the U.S. military's entrance into world War II, the Democratic Roosevelt Administration wanted "to maneuver" the Japanese government "into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves," in the words of Secretary of War Henry Stimson's Nov. 25, 1941 diary entry. According to the Jan. 2, 1972 issue of the New York Times, "the declassification of British wartime Cabinet papers disclosed that Roosevelt made definite pledges...to bring the United States into the war against Germany before the end of 1941."

Infamy also noted that on Nov. 26,1941, Dr. Henry Field was summoned to the office of President Roosevelt's secretary, Grace Tully, who "told Field that the President was ordering him to produce, in the shortest time possible the full names and addresses of each American-born and foreign-born Japanese listed by locality within each state" and that "it was to be done by using the 1930 and 1940 censuses." At the Census Bureau Building "a bank of IBM sorting machines was set up to extract the Orientals for each state from 110,000,000 cards; then they were to be resorted for the Japanese."

Four days before the Japanese military attack on Pearl Harbor, according to Infamy, "the name and addres of every Japanese in the United States, a total of 126,947" was turned over to President Roosevelt's personal secretary, Grace Tully. The list of Japanese-Americans derived from the U.S. Census Bureau data was then used by the Roosevelt Administration when it ordered all Japanese-Americans to be rounded up and put in prison camps on the West Coast for three years in 1942. (which is one reason why many people in the U.S.A. may not be too eager to fill out those U.S. census forms every 10 years).

(Downtown, 12/4/91)

Remember Pearl Harbor? 70th Anniversary of U.S. Entry Into World War II

Seventy years ago, 2,008 U.S. Navy sailors, 109 U.S. Marines, 218 U.S. Army soldiers and 68 civilians were killed when Japanese government authorities decided to bomb U.S. battleships and airfields in Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands, on Dec. 7, 1941. The Hawaiian Islands had been annexed by the U.S. government in 1898--five years after Hawaii's Queen Liliukalan was removed from power. The day after its attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese military forces also began to occupy the U.S. government's Philippines colony in Asia.

The Japanese warplanes attacked military targets in Hawaii, not civilian targets in cities, and about 50 percent of the U.S. deaths resulted from their sinking of the Arizona battleship. Later in the war, U.S. warplanes attacked civilian targets in Japanese cities and hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed by either U.S. military conventional bombing or the two atomic bombs which it dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A few years before its attack on Pearl Harbor, 100,000 Chinese civilians had been killed by Japanese military forces when they occupied Nanking, China. And a few months before it attacked Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military machine had also killed 13,000 civilians in the Shansi district of China.

By the early 1990s,ironically, 9 of the 14 hotels along Oahu's Waikiki Beach in Honolulu were now owned by Japanese corporate interests. Eighteen of Hawaii's golf courses were also now owned by Japanese investors by the early 1990s. Between 1985 and 1987, Japanese corporate interests invested over $7 billion in Hawaiian real estate; and "in 1987, Japanese investors bought 4 out of every 10 condominiums sold on Waikiki Beach," according to the book Selling Out: How We Are Letting Japan Buy Our Land, Our Industries, Our Financial Institutions And Our Future by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins.

According to Noam Chomsky's American Power and The New Mandarins book:

"In July, 1940, the United States placed an embargo on aviation fuel, which Japan could obtain from no other source, and in September, 1940 a total embargo on scrap iron...On July 26, 1941, Japan announced publicly its plans to move troops to southern Indochina and the United States ordered all Japanese assets in the United States to be frozen. On August 1, 1941, a total embargo of oil was announced by the United States."

When the Fall 1941 negotiations between the U.S. government and the Japanese government failed to produce any major concessions from the United States government, the Japanese militarists, who had been attacking China since the 1930s and occupying Korea since 1910, then decided to attack Pearl Harbor.

(Downtown 12/4/91)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Black Male Worker Jobless Rate Increases To 16.5 Percent Under Obama & GOP House of Representatives In November 2011

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 16.2 to 16.5 percent between October and November 2011 under the Democratic Obama Administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data; while the unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 12.6 to 12.9 percent during the same period. The jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age also increased from 37.8 to 39.6 percent between October and November 2011.

The number of officially unemployed Black male workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 28,000 (from 1,321,000 to 1,349,000) between October and November 2011; while the number of jobless Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 9,000 (from 1,164,000 to 1,173,000) during the same period. The number of Black female workers over 20 years-of-age with jobs also dropped by 174,000 (from 8,089,000 to 7,915,000) between October and November 2011; while the number of Black male workers over 20 years-of-age with jobs declined by 18,000 (from 6,855,000 to 6,837,000) during the same period.

Between October and November 2011, the official jobless rate for Latina or Hispanic female workers over 20 years-of-age also increased from 10.5 to 10.6 percent and the unemployment rate for Latino or Hispanic youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 31 to 31.8 percent, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino or Hispanic male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 9.8 percent in November 2011..

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 21.4 percent in November 2011; while the unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 7.6 percent during that same month. In November 2011, the jobless rate for white female workers was also still 6.9 percent; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Asian-American workers in the USA was still 6.5 percent. And in November 2011, the official total number of unemployed U.S. workers (male and female) over 16-years-of-age was still 13,303,000, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data; while the number of people in the U.S. labor force decreased by 315,000 (from 154,198,000 to 153,883,000) between October and November 2011.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December 2, 2011 press release:

“…Government employment continued to trend down…The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.7 million and accounted for 43.0 percent of the unemployed…

“In November, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…

"Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in November…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because
they believe no jobs are available for them….

“Manufacturing employment changed little over the month…Electronic instruments lost 2,000 jobs.

“Construction employment showed little movement in November…Government employment continued to trend down in November, with a decline in the U.S. Postal Service (-5,000)…”