December 22, 2011

White Only Swimming Pool - What the What?

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission in Columbus will revisit next month a case it has already determined probably represents unlawful interference with housing rights on the basis of race.
The case was brought by Michael Gunn, a white man who had unrestricted access to the pool area for himself and his guests during the nearly two years he lived in a duplex in Cincinnati, he told CNN in a telephone interview.
Gunn said he and his girlfriend, who is also white, lived upstairs; their 31-year-old landlord lived downstairs. "It's a very nice neighborhood, racially mixed," said Gunn, a software engineer.
But it turned not-so-nice last Memorial Day, when he invited his 10-year-old biracial daughter to visit and swim in the pool, he said. 
"Complainant states that the owner, Jamie Hein, accused his daughter of making the pool 'cloudy' because she used chemicals in her hair," the commission said in its summary. "Days later, the owner posted a sign on the gate to the pool which read, 'Public Swimming Pool, White Only.'"  Read here for the original article.
“According to Commission Spokeswoman Brandi Martin, commissioners are scheduled to hear Hein’s request for reconsideration at a meeting this Thursday in Columbus.”  This story also appears on The Grio.

Brandi Martin happens to be a very dear friend of mine (my sister from another mother) so I wanted to share some of what she had to say about what will happen next.
 “The meeting was re-scheduled until January 2012. However, the Commission made the finding- probable cause to believe that discrimination exists. Now, the landlord who is accused of the discriminatory act has asked that the Commission re-consider this finding and has asked that they do so in a public forum. She will have the opportunity to tell her side of the story and the tenant will have the opportunity to tell theirs. The 5 Commissioners will then make a final determination ruling for one side or the other. At that point, if they uphold the original finding it will move on to the litigation phase where the Ohio Attorney General's Office will prosecute the case in front of an Administrative Law Judge.”
Really? Are we still here?  What’s next?  Will the landlord drain the pool?  I can’t wait to speak to Brandi after the January 2012 meeting.

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