TODAY

– September 22, 2014

Barneys case stirs talk of 'Shopping While Black' 


(AP) — The usual scenario involves suspicious glances, inattentive clerks or rude service — not handcuffs.

Yet when a black teen said he was wrongly jailed after buying a $350 belt at a Manhattan luxury store, it struck a nerve in African-Americans accustomed to finding that their money is not necessarily as good as everyone else's. Shopping while black, they say, can be a humiliating experience.

Much attention has been paid to the issue over the years — Oprah Winfrey complained that a Swiss clerk did not think she could afford a $38,000 handbag, and even President Barack Obama has said he was once followed in stores. But according to shoppers interviewed Monday, many people don't recognize how prevalent retail discrimination is, and how the consistent stream of small insults adds up to a large problem.

"It's one thing if you don't understand. But don't ever tell me it doesn't happen to me," said Natasha Eubanks, who shops often at high-end stores in New York City. "You can't assume it doesn't happen just because it doesn't happen to you."

Sometimes, Eubanks said, it takes clerks more than five minutes to simply acknowledge her presence. Or they brush her off after a token greeting. Or they ask her question after question: "You're a black girl up in Chanel. They want to know what you're doing here, and what you do for a living."

She says she has dealt with this type of treatment at least 20 times in New York City.

"I don't look like that typical chick who walks into that type of store," said Eubanks, owner of the celebrity website theYBF.com. "It feels differently than when you go into a store and are treated properly."

Trayon Christian's problem was not how he was treated when he went into Barneys New York — it was what happened afterward. In a lawsuit filed last week, the 19-year-old said that he bought a Ferragamo belt at the Manhattan store, and when he left he was accosted by undercover city police officers.

According to the lawsuit, police said Christian "could not afford to make such an expensive purchase." He was arrested and detained, though he showed police the receipt, the debit card he used and identification, the lawsuit said.

After Christian's lawsuit was filed, another black Barneys shopper said she was accused of fraud after purchasing a $2,500 handbag, and the black actor Robert Brown said he was paraded through Macy's in handcuffs and detained for an hour after being falsely accused of credit card fraud.

For Yvonne Chan, the reports were a painful reminder of when she worked in a liquor store in a predominantly white Massachusetts town. Every few months someone would be caught stealing, and about half the time it was a black person.

"You find yourself watching black people. (The stealing) only happens once in a while, but it changes your perception," Chan said.

Chan, a graduate student, always tried to remind herself not to act on stereotypes, but, "Like it or not, I'm going to have a preconceived notion of races from my experiences. As much as I would like to force my brain not to think like that and put everyone on an even playing field, stereotypes play a role in our society ... we skew the view of people as individuals."

Those skewed views can affect who gets arrested for retail theft, said Jerome Williams, a business professor at Rutgers University who has studied marketplace discrimination.

Many people justify racial profiling by saying that black customers are more likely to steal. But one study has shown that white women in their 40s engaged in more shoplifting than other demographic groups, Williams said.

"The reason they don't show up in crime statistics is because people aren't watching them," said Williams.

Statistics showing that black customers steal more "are not really an indication of who's shoplifting," he said. "It's a reflection of who's getting caught. That's a reflection of who's getting watched. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Dido Kanyandekwe knows he is being watched. "But I joke with them; I see them looking at me and I say, 'Hello, I see you!' And I wave," said the 18-year-old college student in New York City, who was in Barneys on Monday buying a $600-plus pair of Italian designer sneakers.

"Most black people don't have the money to buy stuff at Barneys," said Kanyandekwe, the son of wealthy parents, before paying for the black leather shoes with a credit card. "But that does not mean all black people are not able to buy these things."

Black people are not the only ones who can face unequal treatment in stores. Hispanics have made the same complaints. And Sher Graham, a white woman who lives in Mobile, Ala., says black servers in the fast-food restaurants she visits often wait on black customers first.

A few months ago, she said, a black cashier started talking to black women standing in line behind her about their order.

"When I brought this to her attention, she just shrugged her shoulders and completely ignored me. This action happens more times than not here in the Gulf Coast region," Graham, a consultant and speaker, said in an email interview.

Yet if the number of complaints is any guide, the experience is most common for African-Americans.

Candace Witherspoon, a wardrobe stylist in Los Angeles, went to a store in Century City last April to buy a purse and shop for one of her celebrity clients. She was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. In a letter to the company, Witherspoon said the sales associate barely greeted her, then ignored her, in contrast with her treatment of white patrons.

"As the other customers left, she said 'Thanks ladies for shopping. Have a good day.' When I left she gave me a nasty look and didn't say anything," Witherspoon's letter said.

Toni Duclottni, who runs a fashion web site in Los Angeles, recently went to a Beverly Hills department store intending to spend about $4,000 on shoes. But she took her business elsewhere after being ignored.

"It's frustrating to be constantly ignored and people pretend it doesn't happen," she said.

To her, the solution is simple.

"They rush to judgment, they jump into it assuming something without speaking to a person," Duclottni said. "They'd be surprised if they just walked up and said, "Hello, can I help you find something?' They'd be surprised."
___
Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.

Will you continue to support the Fresno Grizzlies if they lose the Giants affiliation?

Blogs

gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

Latest Local News

Written on 09/22/2014, 11:05 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The death toll from crashes involving General Motors small cars with faulty ignition switches is at least 21.
Written on 09/22/2014, 10:57 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A reporter for an Alaska TV station revealed on the air that she owns a medical marijuana business and was quitting her job to advocate for the drug. After reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club on Sunday night's broadcast, KTVA's Charlo Greene identified herself as the business's owner and said she would be devoting all her energy to fighting for "freedom and fairness." She then used an expletive to quit her job, and walked off-camera. In a statement on KTVA's website, news director Bert Rudman apologized for Greene's "inappropriate language" and said she was terminated. Alaska voters decide Nov. 4 whether to legalize recreational pot. Measure 2 would be similar to Washington and Colorado's legalization laws.___Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com
Written on 09/22/2014, 10:55 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Pink Floyd's new album will arrive on Nov. 10. A Monday news release gives fresh details about "The Endless River," the British rock 'n' roll group's first new material in 20 years. The 18-song double album features band members David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, who died in 2008. Roger Waters left the group in 1985 and isn't involved. The album was assembled from 20 hours of material recorded during the band's 1993 sessions for "The Division Bell." Gilmour says in the release that the band "added new parts, rerecorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st-century Pink Floyd album." "The Endless River" is comprised mostly of instrumental music with just one song, "Louder Than Words," that includes new lyrics, written by Gilmour's wife, Polly Samson.___Online:http://pinkfloyd.com/theendlessriver
Written on 09/22/2014, 10:44 am by ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer
(AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining a video game company's legal fight against disgraced Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who is suing Activision over his inclusion in one of its popular "Call of Duty" games. Activision Blizzard Inc. announced Monday that Giuliani and his firm will ask a Los Angeles judge to dismiss Noriega's lawsuit, which claims his likeness was used without permission in 2012's"Call of Duty: Black Ops II." Giuiliani told The Associated Press he took the case because he doesn't want the imprisoned Noriega to profit from his crimes, which include convictions for murder, drug trafficking and money laundering. Also, Giuiliani said that if the lawsuit is upheld, it could give historical figures and their heirs veto power over their depiction in books, television, movies and video games. Noriega sued Activision in July, claiming the company depicted him as a "kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state." "I am outraged that he is seeking millions and millions of dollars that he can take down to a Panamanian prison from a great American company," Giuliani said Monday. "Noriega going after 'Call of Duty,' you should think of it as Osama bin Laden's family going after 'Zero Dark Thirty,'" he said. The lawsuit contends Noriega's inclusion in the game increased Activision's profits from "Black Ops II." The game earned more than $1 billion in sales within 15 days of its release. Noreiga's attorney William T. Gibbs declined to comment on Giuliani's statements. In addition to leading New York City's government for two terms — including during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. In private practice, Giuliani worked as a First Amendment lawyer, representing major news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the financial magazine Barron's. "This is an area of the law that brings me back to my youth," Giuliani said. Activision said in a release announcing Giuliani's involvement in the case that the company plans to argue the game's depiction of Noriega is covered by free speech provisions. The company noted its games have featured historical figures such as President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. The story line for "Black Ops II" involved the waning years of the Cold War in the 1980s, with Noriega aiding the game's key villain. The ex-dictator appears in less than 1 percent of the game and was not featured in any of its marketing, Giuliani said. In real life, Noriega was toppled in 1989 by a U.S. invasion and served a 17-year drug trafficking sentence in the United States. He later was convicted in France of money laundering, and that country repatriated him to Panama in December 2011. Noriega, 80, is serving a 60-year sentence for murder, embezzlement and corruption. He has had health issues in recent months and has been treated for high blood pressure, flu and bronchitis. His family also has said he has a benign brain tumor and heart trouble. Activision has faced lawsuits before over its use of well-known people in its video games. The band No Doubt sued the game maker after learning their digital avatars in "Band Hero" could be used to perform other artists' music. The band settled the case before trial, and terms were never disclosed. Activision is still fighting a case filed by Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, who contends the company violated an agreement not to feature guitarist Slash or his band Velvet Revolver in "Guitar Hero III." A judge dismissed the case, but it is on appeal. Lindsay Lohan is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto V" claiming a character in the game is based on her. Take Two Interactive Software Inc. has asked a Manhattan judge to dismiss the case and has accused Lohan of filing the suit to attract publicity.
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:20 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani is joining videogame maker Activision's legal team in seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega against the popular "Call of Duty" franchise.Activision Blizzard Inc. announced Monday that Guiliani will be part of the team fighting Noriega's lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for use of his likeness without permission in the 2012 game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II." Noriega filed the case in July claiming the game maker depicted him as a killer and enemy of the state. The game features a story line in which Noriega helps the game's villain. Activision says it will file a motion seeking to dismiss Noriega's lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. The 80-year-old former dictator is serving a 60-year prison sentence in Panama for murder, embezzlement and corruption.
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:17 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Apple says it sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, a record for a new model, in the three days after the phones went on sale. A year ago, Apple Inc. said it had sold 9 million of the then-new iPhone 5C and 5S models. The iPhone is available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. It will go on sale in 20 more countries on Sept. 26 and others by the end of the year. CEO Tim Cook says demand for the phones has exceeded the company's expectations. Besides larger screens, the new phones offer faster performance and a wireless chip for making credit card payments. The phones start at $199 with a two-year service contact.
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:15 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law several bills designed to boost use of clean-air vehicles in California.One bill signed Sunday allows 15,000 additional electric and partial zero-emissions vehicles, or 70,000 total vehicles, to get green stickers that allow driving in carpool lanes even when solo. Another requires freeway high-occupancy toll lane operators to allow clean air vehicles to drive for free or reduced rates. Such roads exist in Orange and Riverside counties, and the San Francisco area. Another bill requires a property owner, rather than the person leasing it, to install an electric vehicle charging station and its infrastructure in most cases. California makes up 40 percent of the nation's electric vehicle sales and the governor's press office says it surpassed more than 100,000 sold earlier this month.
Written on 09/19/2014, 3:59 pm by Business Journal staff
Kaiser Permanente Northern California was again ranked as having the second top Medicare health plan out of more than 408 health plans in in the country, according to a study released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.The study also showed Kaiser Permanente Northern California ranking 8th out of 507 nationally ranked commercial plans. Altogether, seven Kaiser Permanente Medicare plans were in the top 10 of 408 Medicare plans ranks by NCQA, including Kaiser Permanente Southern California ranking No. 1 for the third year in a row. Among commercial plans, Kaiser Permanente had three plans in the top 10 nationally for the second year in a row, including fifth-highest ranked plan Kaiser Permanente Northwest. The National Committee for Quality Assurance, established in 1990, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health-care quality. Its surveys are among the most comprehensive and widely respected in the nation and cover a wide range of clinical and service measures. Health plans are scored on dozens of measures of care covering preventive medicine, reproductive health, mental and behavioral health, management of chronic conditions, and cancer screening.
Written on 09/19/2014, 3:33 pm by Leah
Owner Bluff Pointe Golf Course What we do: Bluff Pointe Golf Course and Learning Center is one of the best and friendliest places in the Central Valley to practice and play golf. We have built a 9-hole course and a short game practice facility for all to learn, with a great coaching staff in place to help. Education:Graduate of Sanger High and Reedley College where I started playing golf as a beginner.  Attended Fresno State where I began coaching golf; attended and received Teachers Certification from the United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF): attended and received Teachers and Masters Certification from the Masters Golf Teachers Course; became a certification course instructor for the USGTF. Age:57 Family:  Two daughters Jessica and Jennifer and three beautiful granddaughters Kayleigh, Allison and Zoe. You’ve been teaching golf for nearly 35 years. Tell us a little about what brought you and kept you in the sport. Sports were very important to me growing up. I participated in everything including football, basketball, track, and tennis, but hitting a golf ball was it. There is nothing like the feeling of hitting a ball crisp and solid — you hit one good shot and you’re hooked.  The challenge of golfing was the other thing that just grabbed me — creating and figuring out the shot at hand is a huge part of the love I have for the game. What is your vision for the Bluff Pointe Golf Course? My vision started with renovating the old course from a 5-hole to a 9-hole course. I wanted an executive course with drivable par-4s, some very scenic par 3s, and different lengths. There are 4 teeing areas on each hole and the shortest are called the fun tees. Our new short game facility is one of the best, offering 6 bunkers and up to a 60-yard approach shot length. We have a putting green that is approximately 4,000 square feet. There is enough room for all with subtle breaks. We're having a grand opening celebration on September 27th from 10am-3pm, and the public is invited to attend. Buffalo Wild Wings will be serving free food, along with other restaurants. All of the major golf vendors like Callaway, TaylorMade, and more will be there as well. We'll also have a shuttle service for people after they park. How have players responded to the changes over there?We are getting great responses with people saying that the opportunity to make a par or a birdie is so much more fun, it’s an awesome challenge trying to hit over the edge of the lake, and the shorter lengths of holes are more fun. It’s great still being able to use your driver on 4 of the par 4s, or if you want more of a challenge, you can play them from the back tees as par 3s. The longest par-4 is a 330-yard dogleg right around water. The short game facility has an American flag on a 40-foot pole for our veterans. How would you describe the golf scene in Fresno?We love golf here in Fresno, and we are so fortunate that the weather is pretty good all year. We have great kids and adults playing at the first tee level and middle, high school and college level players. We have golf events for Executive Women's Golf Association and the SIRs group. There are plenty of places to play. We have some great tour players that came out of Fresno like Nick Watney, Kevin Chappell, Derek Ernst, Kevin Sutherland and Joan Pitcock. How did the economic downturn impact golf? Have things improved?The economic downturn was extremely hard on our local golf courses. Public courses were selling themselves on different discounted media like Facebook and GolfNow.com, country club memberships were offering free sign ups and just monthly memberships, and some pros were leaving the industry for lack of lessons. Luckily for me, I was able to withstand the downturn because of my loyal students and friends that continued to preserve, and I’m grateful for that. Things have now improved, and I have seen a huge turn around with people buying golf equipment, rounds of golf, and especially the new interest in lessons. My business partner Kevin Cameron and I decided to invest in an awesome piece of property and have begun the effort to create something special in Bluff Pointe. We've already done a lot in a short period of time. What’s your advice for people out there interested in becoming professional golfers?There are two different ways you can do this. If you want to be a club pro running a pro shop, you go through the PGA of America, and they expect you to go to school as if you're attending university, and it takes 4-6 years. If you already love golf and want to teach, you can go through the US Golf Teachers Federation, which offers 1-week courses where you'll have to pass oral, written, and playing ability tests and demonstrate that you can play well and teach. I say go for it! I highly recommend doing what you love, and if you have a passion for it, you will be successful. I decided to turn Pro in 1994, and am doing something that I love. What is the best advice you ever received? I remember in the 8th grade, after track practice going into the office of my PE coach Bob Gillies. I put my track shoes on his desk and told him I was quitting because I was the slowest on the team, I couldn't long jump very far and my triple jump was short. He looked at me and said, “If you quit this you will probably quit everything you do...”  Wow, that scared me so much that I just picked up my shoes and continued to get better. I finished the next race 8th out of 30 kids, and found out that I was a very good long distance runner. I often think of his statement to keep pushing onward. What was your very first job and what did you learn from it? I worked at Kellner Lumber Yard on Weber Avenue, where I cut, stacked, and moved lumber. The key things I learned at a young age was the importance of being responsible, teamwork and getting a project done on time. I also learned to always be early or on time, which is something that I live by now. What do you like to do in your spare time?Besides playing golf, I enjoy fishing, writing and going to the mountains and the ocean. I also like tooling a piece of leather and watching a great movie.
Written on 09/19/2014, 3:17 pm by ben
The Central Valley’s first trade show for heavy duty truckers was just as much about educating the industry as it was about showing off all the shiny new toys.Taking place Sept. 6-7 at the Fresno Convention Center, the West American Truck Show featured some 60 exhibitors pitching everything from new tires, trucks and trailers to loans, insurance and logistics services.Around eight of those companies were also lined up to recruit visitors with job opportunities, while other booths were offering information on emissions regulations, fuel efficiency and other trucking related topics.Outside, several exhibitors dazzled onlookers with their polished rigs during the Show and Shine competition. Attendees inside were treated with entertainment from the Marie Wilson Band performing on the main stage, as well as other multi-cultural musical acts roaming the exhibit hall.The show was organized by Desi Maxx Media Group of Fresno, parent company of Desi Trucking Magazine, along with key sponsors Papé Kenworth, Pilot Flying J and Central Valley Trailer Repair (CVTR). And while not as large as truck shows in the Midwest, such as the Mid-American Trucking Show held in Louisville, Kentucky every year, Desi Maxx President Raman Singh said it was a good start considering 75 percent of the floor space was sold out.“The response that we got right now from our exhibitors, our exhibitors are already requesting next year’s dates,” said Singh, a former truck driver himself.For Bruce Kurtt, vice president of the West Region at Volvo Trucks North America, the show was a chance to demonstrate the company’s latest models of trucks using its patented I-Shift technology.“This has a 12-speed automated manual transmission much like a Porsche would be today,” Kurtt said. “There’s no clutch pedal so it shifts itself.”Kurtt said Volvo is still the only company manufacturing such systems in its trucks after 12 years, giving drivers up to 7.5 miles to the gallon compared to the industry standard of 5.5 miles to the gallon.Since coming into the U.S. in 1981, Kurtt said Volvo Trucks has marketed Central California pretty hard, especially to Indian drivers who tend to make the long hauls to the East Coast and need the most fuel efficient and comfortable ride for the journey.Other features of the truck include a large cab with a mini fridge, multiple drawers, a table that folds down into a mattress, an inverter to plug in electronic devices and space for a 20-inch flat screen TV.Dometic, also an exclusive name in the industry, was at the show promoting its battery-powered air conditioning systems for trucks.Channel sales manager Fernando Mejia said the standalone systems, first developed by the company eight years ago, can run for up to 15 to 18 hours on just 10.5-volts, reducing the need to idle the engine in order to power the truck’s own AC unit.“We’re the first one on this model to achieve the same performance on a back cabin as you would do on your standard rear AC,” Mejia said. Also drawing attention to the units is the fact that they produce no emissions, Mejia said, earning Dometic the coveted approval of both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.For truckers needing freight to haul, Fresno transportation broker JTS Transportation was at the show offering its 43 years of experience connecting carriers to produce and dry goods throughout the country.With five offices nationwide and nearly 10,000 trucking operators in its database, Carrier Relations Manager Alicia Ruiz said the company does a good job connecting carriers in the Valley to multiple destinations and also making sure there are enough goods to deliver on the trip back.“Small- to mid-sized companies are our niche. That’s primarily what’s here in the Valley and that’s what we kind of go after,” Ruiz said. “On a monthly basis, we’re anywhere from 1,100 to 1,200 loads a week. That fluctuates obviously with the season.”With the California Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus Regulation requiring many trucking businesses to begin upgrading their fleets, Engs Commercial Finance had a lot to share about loan options and connecting them with lenders.Business Development Manager Steve Lujan said one incentive is the California Capital Access Program (CalCap) that works together with CARB’s On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program to provide up to 100 percent coverage on certain loan defaults.Emissions regulations in California have drawn many to finance brokers like Engs, which has worked closely with dealers and lenders since 1952 to provide multiple loan and lease solutions to truck, trailer and equipment operators.“We’re not a bank so the banks are going to be very low but our average rates are going to be in the 8 to 12 percentage for a VC (Venture Capital) customer and we’re going to be in the 6s for A (Angel) customers and we even get down in the fives,” said Lujan, who covers the company’s Northern California territory.Besides its latest endeavor, Desi Maxx Media has also partnered with JGK Media Inc. over the past six years to put on the biannual APNA Truck Show in Abbotsford, British Columbia, not far from its headquarters.The last APNA Truck Show in June 2013 had approximately 15,000 visitors over a span of two days. Fresno’s show saw 3,400 attendants  and generated an estimated 250 room nights in the area.With so many commercial trucks making the daily drive through the Central Valley’s busy corridor, Singh said Fresno was ripe for a similar event, especially since the nearest trade shows for the industry are in Southern California. Even the Great West Truck Show held in Las Vegas was cancelled this year due to light attendance.“That was our  main motive; cost effectiveness for the people who are in the Valley because those are the people who need the truck show,” he said. “Those are the people who need the education so that has to be brought back to the Valley.”According to the Employment Development Department, around 7,371 companies are involved in specialized freight trucking in California, including 487 in Fresno County accounting for more than 171,000 commercial trucks.

Latest State News

Written on 09/22/2014, 11:05 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The death toll from crashes...
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:20 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy...
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:17 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Apple says it sold more than 10...
Written on 09/22/2014, 9:15 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law...

Latest National News

Written on 09/22/2014, 10:57 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A reporter for an Alaska TV...
Written on 09/22/2014, 10:55 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Pink Floyd's new album will...
Written on 09/22/2014, 10:44 am by ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer
(AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy...
Written on 09/19/2014, 2:25 pm by MATTHEW CRAFT, AP Business Writer
(AP) — With Wall Street focused on...