Urban News

By PAT NASON, United Press International

(LOS ANGELES) -- Earvin "Magic" Johnson is talking about running for mayor of Los Angeles.

The 42-year-old basketball legend -- who combined with Kareem Abdul-Jabar, James Worthy and the rest of the "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers to bring five NBA titles to the city -- seems to be pulling back from the support he provided in last year's mayor election for James Hahn.


Hahn won the election, but Johnson now says the mayor made "a big, big mistake" in deciding to oppose a second term for L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks.

"I'm not just going to run because Mayor Hahn is not doing a good job," said Johnson in a story reported by the Los Angeles Times. "I'm going to run because the city needs a new voice, a new vision, and I think that I could do the job. That's why I would run."


Johnson's remarks came at an appearance in which he publicly California Gov. Gray Davis for re-election.

(NEW YORK) -- A federal judge has approved a $300 million settlement in a desegregation lawsuit against the Yonkers public schools -- the fourth-largest school district in New York.

The settlement ends a long school desegregation chapter in the state -- that included federal intervention in district affairs.

After two decades of litigation, federal, state, city, school and NAACP officials have agreed on a plan that would have the state fund programs in the district for five years, to cover the cost of programs intended to improve the educational performance of black and Hispanic students -- who currently account for more than three-quarters of the student population in the district.

The NAACP and the Justice Department sued Yonkers and its Board of Education in 1980, alleging racial segregation in city schools and housing. The school settlement does not affect the housing matters in the lawsuit.

(PHILADELPHIA) -- The School Reform Commission has voted unanimously to hire a team of consultants to help out in the campaign to reform public schools.

According the Philadelphia Inquirer, the contracts which will affect services and operations ranging from serving lunches to recruiting principals. The paper said some people at a public hearing booed when the board awarded the largest consulting role to Edison Schools Inc.


Germantown High School teacher Dennis Barnebey told the commission, "A mean, nasty trick has been played on us, our students and their parents."

Barnebey said the schools had been "drastically under-funded for years," and now education officials are using "our lack of success with inadequate resources ... as "an excuse to turn the public sector over to profit-making corporations."

According to the Inquirer, board members answered that the hiring of Edison and other firms shows the city is ready to transform the school district.

(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland school district will begin replacing 46 schools with new buildings this year, and will close 16 other schools beginning in 2007.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that district officials have told the staff of John Hay High School in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood that the building will close in June, for renovations expected to take two years.

During a meeting Tuesday telecast to cable viewers and audiences gathered at five high schools, schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett rolled out the draft of the district's master plan for its $1 billion construction project, the Plain Dealer reported.

However, the paper said the plan was "short on details" about the plan.

The school board is expected to vote on the plan at its May 16 meeting. State officials are to consider it this summer.


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