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Federal judge throws out another part of discrimination suit

Stanislaus County leaders did not discriminate against poor Latino neighborhoods when they steered money for sewers and sidewalks to other areas, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The Committee Concerning Community Improvement “failed to demonstrate that the county intentionally discriminated on the basis of race,” Judge Lawrence O’Neill wrote in an order made public this morning.

The main area receiving preferential treatment, plaintiffs charged, was Keyes — which probably has a Latino majority, O’Neill wrote.

The county and Modesto have prevailed in three of four parts to a 2004 civil rights lawsuit brought by the Latino group, claiming unfair treatment by sheriff’s deputies and unfair tax-sharing deals between city and county leaders.

County leaders are “cautiously optimistic” that O’Neill will throw out the fourth and final part, alleging racism in parks services, in coming weeks, said County Counsel Mick Krausnick.

“We did not believe that plaintiffs would be able to meet the burden of proving discrimination,” Krausnick said today, “and that is running through all of the judge’s rulings.”