A reader points out two lawsuit settlement stories in the NYT:
Arizona Settles Cases With Relatives of 19 Who Died Fighting Wildfire
By FERNANDA SANTOS JUNE 29, 2015
PHOENIX — Relatives of some of the 19 firefighters killed in one of the nation’s deadliest wildfires joined state officials here Monday to announce settlements in two legal cases against the Arizona State Forestry Division, the agency responsible for the firefighters on the day they died.
The agreements, disclosed on the eve of the fire’s second anniversary, include more than $600,000 in compensation for the families and an acknowledgment that commanders’ misguided decisions put the elite firefighting crew, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, at great risk. …
In one of the settlements announced Monday, forestry officials agreed to distribute the money among the seven families who were not plaintiffs in a wrongful-death lawsuit: $10,000 for each dependent.
As part of the second settlement, the 12 families who filed the wrongful-death suit will receive $50,000 per family. Their lawyer, Patrick J. McGroder III, said the payouts reflected “the priorities of the families,” who pushed not for money but for “remedial measures and changes to ensure a tragedy like this one never happens again.”
Mrs. Warneke and the wife and mother of Andrew Ashcraft, another of the firefighters, will use the money to establish a foundation to help other fallen firefighters’ families and push for greater training, Mrs. Warneke said.
Pine Bush School District Settles Anti-Semitism Suit for $4.48 Million
By BENJAMIN WEISER JUNE 29, 2015
An upstate New York school district has agreed to pay $4.48 million and enact broad reforms in curriculum and training to settle a lawsuit by five current and former Jewish students who claimed that they had been victims of pervasive anti-Semitism in the schools, a court filing on Monday showed.
The civil rights lawsuit, filed in 2012, had accused officials of the Pine Bush Central School District, which is about 90 minutes north of New York City, of failing for years to take action to protect the Jewish students from anti-Semitic bullying, slurs and other intimidation.
Who are these anti-Semitic banjo-picking rednecks in the NYC exurbs?
I looked into this question back in 2013 after reading a dubious sounding article by reporter Weiser in the NYT. It was easy to piece together what was really going on by reading the Jewish Daily Forward and Jewish Week. The community leaders accused of anti-Semitism turn out to be mostly liberal Jews who opposed the machinations of Satmar Hassidic real estate developers from Kiryas Joel to take over their town. Jewish Week reported:
As they explained it, the developers decided to fight growing opposition to the development by claiming residents don’t want Jews moving in. To prove their point, they leaked the suit to the Times as evidence of anti-Semitism in the community.
But Holly Roche, leader of the Rural Community Coalition, which is spearheading community opposition to the project because of its size in a village of 375 residents, said that theory no longer worked after she disclosed she is Jewish.
“Now they are calling me anti-Satmar,” she said. …
“The best defense is a strong offense,” explained a Jewish resident about the developers’ approach, who asked that his name not be used for fear it might complicate his business dealings in the area.
So this appears to be largely a power, money, real estate, tax, and welfare struggle between ultra-orthodox Jews and a local community led in large part by normal American Jews. You might think that the New York Times would instinctively identify with the educated liberal Jews against the smears of the reactionary Jews.
But that underestimates the media’s insatiable longing for allegations of anti-Semitism, no matter how wacky. The hunger for hate is strong these days.
The NYT should not let Benjamin Weiser continue to report on this story,