Strike another blow for the Bush Administration. On July 6, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati dismissed the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the National Security Agency. In a 2-1 decision, the court said that, because the plaintiffs – including author and NSA expert James Bamford (“Of puzzle palaces and star chambers,” RC, 7/4/07) – couldn’t prove that they themselves had been spied on, the case was defeunct.
The decision “deprives Americans of any ability to challenge the illegal surveillance of their telephone calls and e-mails,” ACLU Legal Director Steven Shapiro said in statement. “It is important to emphasize that the court did not uphold the legality” of the program, Shapiro added. The ACLU is currently weighing whether it can afford to take the case to a Bush-stacked Supreme Court.
Letdown at Lora Lake
The King County Housing Authority has turned over every stone to save Burien’s low-income Lora Lake Apartments – including offering to buy the property – but the Port of Seattle prefers a vacant lot to tenants.
The housing authority operated the 234 units for the Port, which plans to tear them down to create a clearance zone for its new third runway. But only 72 units stand in the zone. In a bid to save the rest, the housing agency and county offered $20 million to buy the property and a neighboring lot, but the Port declined.
The last tenants left in June, KCHA Director Steve Norman says, and the agency must turn over Lora Lake to the Port on July 20. “I believe it’s their intention,” he says, “to knock it down immediately.”
Revisiting Steinbrueck Park
It must be tough for condo owners at the end of the Pike Place Market. They seem to have so much trouble with walking their dogs at night with all those poor people sitting in Victor Steinbrueck Park.
The park attracts drug trafficking at night – daytime, too — and somehow the tourists manage. But recent efforts to step up police patrols and close the park early (at 10 p.m., instead of 11 p.m.) seem to have removed enough indigents to make the dogs feel safe.
According to Parks Department spokesperson Dewey Potter, the department has canceled a July 12 public hearing that it had planned on, making the early closing time permanent and now plans to let the closing time revert to 11 p.m. on Aug. 4.