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On Friday morning, January 16, 2004, local Latino groups united to hold a Press Conference at Portland State University in order to discuss President Bush's recent proposal for immigration reform. All groups united to call this proposal a cruel hoax.
(Excerpted from their press statement)
Indy readers will no doubt remember that last week, KPTV blatantly ignored a real story about real suffering in the storm. They turned away from a homeless man who was unable to get into a shelter, and turned back to the fluffy and mindless "storm team 12" coverage of snowballs and pretty icicles. KPTV wasn't alone in its disregard for the consequences of sub-freezing temperatures on homeless people, but they were certainly more brazen and willful about it.
Yesterday, I had an interesting encounter with Jim Hyde, long-time reporter in Portland. While wandering around killing time after the Cheney beheading at Pioneer Square, I happened back on the rowdy little band of protesters near City Hall. When I arrived, they were having a heated debate with Mr. Hyde. It seems they had found him and a camera operator trying to interview someone in front of City Hall, and they interrupted his broadcast. Jim was livid, but to his credit, he stayed and talked to the people. He was stunned and baffled by the encounter, at first calling the protesters "stupid" and "foolish," saying they surely were "more intelligent than that." They held their ground, though. One young woman insisted, "The airwaves belong to us." She pointed out that the corporate media is hijacking the voice of the people. Mr. Hyde just shook his head, but again, he did stay to listen. I think he may even think about some of what was said. Later, though, and not on the air.
As reported here less than 48 hours ago, Starbucks may be planning to open a new store in the Seven Corners district of SE Portland: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/278265.shtml
At this moment, Channel 6 is in the Red and Black filming for their own piece about the story. And guess where they heard about it? That's right, here on portland indymedia! Say what you will about "preaching to choir", "censorship", etc., but this indymedia is helping to set the news agenda in Portland these days!
Free Speech Zone is to open dialogue and freedom of speech as cattle cars are to public transportation. It isn't just foolish to allow one self to be paraded off like a monkey at the zoo. It is self-destructive.
[I]f you comply with zoned free speech you end up not communicating with the public, which is exactly what the powers that be want. Free speech is the right to communicate, verbal intercourse. Being told by 'organizers' or police that you will only be allowed to demonstrate, as they see fit is to jump their hoops... I would rather stand with four other demonstrators at a time and place we picked than with four hundred who followed the leader or cops to a Free Speech Zone. I have never stood in an oxymoron. After seeing the cage I have to ask "whose cage, Our CAGE"? [ Read More ]
i went to the cheney thing at the airport. rode the max from pioneer square. froze my ass off like everybody else.
it was interesting to see the police riding the max line. about 8 multnomah county sheriffs, wearing their new, military style fatigues boarded the train car in east portland. throughout the day the cops were alternately shaking down people they thought were protestors for their tickets and then telling people directions to their pen. it seemed like a capitalistic 2004 version of 1937 germany. ('papers, please...')
i MUCH prefer a protest like the august 22, 2002 visit, where bush, the republican fat cats, and the police were the ones in the pen. that left the entire city for us to do our thing. that was our day. we may not get another one just like it.
meanwhile, cheney, who is so respected that they won't even let him in TOWN, relies on a phalanx of police state muscle to shield him from his admirers from the moment he arrives until the moment he leaves.
Cheney Protest Pix/From the Free Speech Zone | Cheneynigans | Why It is Wrong to Stand in a Free Speech Zone | Radical Cheerleaders - Feminist Fun at Protests | Protesters You Lost, Give Up | SprayPaint at the Recruiting Station? | Indymedia PDX derails planned Cheney protest | Cheney in PDX for "mug 'n' run"as another Rethuglican is in ethics meltdown |
U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty concluded that the language adopted by the Yamhill County Commission presented exactly the same issue as similar language adopted by the Multnomah County Commission in 2003. In that case, the Judge ruled that the language was "patently false" and "inherently misleading and hinders the conveyance of accurate information to voters." The Judge stated from the bench today that he was issuing an order prohibiting Yamhill County from including the false and misleading information on ballots or in the voters' pamphlet
The U.S. District Court of Oregon today ruled that the language placed on the ballot for the March 9, 2004, election regarding a People's Utility District (PUD) in Yamhill County violates the right of the PUD petitioners under the U.S. Constitution.
The March 9 ballot includes Measure 36-54, which creates a Yamhill County PUD, and Measure 36-55, which would allow the new PUD, if created, to apply a one-time levy of 3 cents per $10,000 - State law requires that any PUD formation election include this levy.
"The actual levy would amount to a one-time charge of 45 cents on a $150,000 house," said attorney Dan Meek.
For more information:
According to an anonymous inside source, Seattle-based coffee-behemoth Starbucks is planning to start work on a store in the Seven Corners district of Southeast Portland on March 1. If this is true, it means that Urban Works Real Estate, a local property management company and the siter for Starbucks in Portland, lied to the Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Association last year when it said that a Starbucks would not be built at the particular location, SE Division at 21st. Urban Works manages many properties around the city, and if this anonymous allegation is true, then other neighborhood associations would do well to hold Urban Works' feet to the fire when it makes promises about other projects.
"If Urban Works wants to have a good name in this town," said a worker at a local eating establishment, "they'll back out of this deal, and fast."
While walking down Division Street one day this summer in Portland, Oregon, I spotted this billboard. It was a sunny day in Portland, a city well-known for its long bouts of rain, so there were quite a few pedestrians out and about enjoying the weather. No one seemed to pay much attention to the billboard. The weather was nice, and the general mood was one of enjoying the little things; walking, taking a deep breath. The visual noise of advertising was the last thing on everyone's minds. But I had my camera, and this makes me take a close look at everything I see. So I snapped a few shots. With intent.
In its manic race to secure more markets and to consolidate more power, Big Business has been unable to keep track of the ever growing ironies and absurdities inherent in its efforts. Big Business has shown (through greed and the condescending view that it is the savior and guardian of employment) that it will leave the world a worse place than before it made its appearance on the world stage.
Just got back from hearing Derrick Jensen speak.
Knowing next to nothing about I was very pleased when he floated the idea of talking about the taking down of civilization, and even more pleased when everybody else wanted him to talk about that, too.
I was hoping to write some sort of coherent response to it, but can't seem to organize all my thoughts into a logical sequence. Well, neither could Derrick -- he kept leaping off on digressions; his talk had the flavor of many scattered points. So I'll respond with many scattered points.
* The points end up being almost completely negative. Which is not to say that I disagree completely with him, I actually agreed with much of what he said. It's just that the disagreements stuck in my mind. Agreements, anyhow, don't foster debate.
* Jensen decribes himself as "anarcho-primitivist". As much as I dislike "anarcho-hyphenism", the best way I can describe myself in response is as an anarcho-post-civilizationist -- I want to go away from and beyond civilization onto an entirely new path, not return to any past model.
* The idea that there's an ideal or optimal social model (be it primitive societies or any other model) just waiting to be picked up and adopted is a fool's paradise.
No one had expected the rebellion, least of all the Mexican government. When hundreds of women and men of the "Zapatista army of national liberation" [EZLN (1)] occupied several cities on January 1, 1994 in the southeast state of Chiapas , the world looked perplexed at this speck of the earth. Hadn't these masked farm workers heard the news? Didn't the reports of the collapse of Soviet communism penetrate Mexico's mountains and primeval forests? Didn't they know that the end of history  had come as the US theoretician Francis Fukuyama wrote in an essay five years before. Revolutions belonged to the past!
The rebels remained single-minded. On the first day of NAFTA, the free trade agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico, they demanded exodus from the neoliberal model, land and freedom. Their declaration won followers around the world.
From the open publishing newswire: On Dec. 30, 2003, a refueling barge owned by Foss Maritime, at a Chevron-Texaco fuel-transfer station near Edmonds, Wa., was OVERFILLED by 4,800 gallons. The marine fuel promptly spilled into the Puget Sound in Washington State, just north of Seattle. By Dec. 31, it was a 105 square mile oil slick. The oil slick moved across the Puget Sound and landed at Jefferson Point, on the Kitsap Peninsula, to the west. This 400 acre marine estuary, which some say is the LAST PRISTINE COASTAL WETLAND IN WASHINGTON STATE, was sacred land to the Suquamish tribe, and is now an oily mess. Crabs are black with goo, the local news reported one seal has died, and birds are showing up incapacitated with the muck.
Rescue teams are on the scene to try to help the wildlife. The Suquamish tribe is devastated (this also affects their fishing, and their clam beds are now black). Herring spawn here in January, and whales migrate through these waters, as do seals, fish, shellfish, and kelp. The picturesque driftwood that sits on these Puget Sound beaches, is now black, from the oil that drifted in, regardless of containment booms put in place within 10-15 minutes of the spill. Fred Felleman, the Northwest director of Ocean Advocates, was quoted in the Seattle Times as saying the containment boom used on Tuesday's oil spill, "was inadequate." Many feel higher-quality booms are necessary if we want to protect our wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Foss Maritime says it complied with all state regulations, and the spill's cause is currently under investigation.
PCUN, Oregon's farmworker union, and CAUSA, Oregon's immigrant rights coalition, join hundreds of immigrant rights organizations across the country in expressing our disappointment in and opposition to President Bush's immigration reform plan announced January 7th.
Rather than express active support of legislation such as AgJOBS and the DREAM Act, two pieces of legislation that support earned benefits and security safeguards for undocumented immigrants, President Bush failed to make any mention of this already-introduced legislation. He instead proposed the creation of a potentially huge new guest worker program that would essentially create a workforce with second-class status with no meaningful access to legal status or citizenship. The President also neglected to provide a timeline or plan as to when he hopes to draft legislation or introduce this plan to Congress.
The details of the proposal show the President's disregard for the principle of earning legal status through work that he had previously promoted.
The Multnomah County Sheriffs office really ought to take a mandantory babysitting class. I met a gentleman at the bus stop at 2nd and Madison today who had just been released, in just a light jacket and jeans, wondering how he would get home to a far-out east-county suburb
I commented that they must have been unusually generous with him, becuase they gave back the laces to his tennis shoes, and didn't kick him out at three in the morning which seems to be their common practice.
So I gave him bus fare- and saw the definition of genuine appreciation from someone who's faith in humanity is partially restored.
Hope he got home OK.
Twenty million cubic feet of nuclear waste could be coming to Hanford within the next few years, over 70,000 truckloads traversing our highways across the country heading through Oregon across the Columbia River to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere. As the government continues to reduce the risks posed by nuclear waste, the byproducts of making atomic bombs, the question is what to do with the tons of radioactive and chemical wastes that have polluted our air, land and waterways at each site and beyond.
Critics of all persuasions agree that the Department of Energy has failed, even in a second draft document, to adequately address the extent of environmental impacts from not only transporting the wastes across the country, but from burying them at Hanford. Hanford is viewed by the government as a great site because it is far from huge population centers, and in a 560 square mile desert area. This site sits along the Columbia River. Hanford is already terribly contaminated and is in the midst of cleanup efforts. Hanford's legacy already consists of: 2100 tons of irradiated reactor fuel; the largest volume in the country of high-level radioactive wastes including 53 million gallons sitting in 177 aging underground tanks; the largest amount of buried transuranic wastes--75,800 cubic meters; and the largest amount of contaminated soil and groundwater in the country.
From the open publishing newswire: I was recently given the most incredible tour of the homeless communites and temporary-labor organizing going on in Osaka, Japan. I have lived in northern Japan for five months, but no one was willing/ able to talk about what happens to Japan`s poor. It turns out, Osaka is home to the largest temporary-workforce in Japan, vast shanty-towns of itinerant laborers, and some very organized homeless communites. Mutual aid lovers, read on.
December 27th-31st, I came down from remote Hokkaido to visit Osaka for the first time. Among us English teachers, it`s a known fact that none of our Japanese acquaintances want to talk about anything resembling social unrest, so I was operating in a vacuum. And there are very few homeless people in Hokkaido, probably because they would freeze to death in our two annual meters of snow. But I knew they must be somewhere. Coming south to Osaka, one of Japan`s biggest cities, I saw not only where Japan`s disenfranchised end up, but also some of the kick-ass grassroots organizing they`re attempting, and this in the face of the massive Japanese-societal distaste for rocking the boat.
I reached Osaka on the 27th, after a 30-hour-long ferry ride, the first leg during a big storm off the Hokkaido coast. For days after, whenever I laid still, my body seemed to rock. Arriving in Osaka, I navigated the bewilderingly huge train station and met two filmmaker friends of mine from Portland, Oregon, who had swung a ticket through Japan for a few days of filming in Osaka`s homeless villages. [ Read more... ]
From the open publishing newswire: Several days ago, a KPTV reporter stumbled accidentally on a homeless man freezing in the cold and unable to get into a shelter. A real story had actually come up and bit her on the ass. And, as reported here on indymedia, she awkwardly ignored it. Yesterday a man froze to death under a bridge, and all KOIN could say about it was that "foul play wasn't involved." Other stations never said a word. Could it have been the same man? Who knows. How is it that people are dying in the streets outside and all our television stations are allowed to blithely ignore it? Where is their service to the public? Why are they being allowed to waste our valuable airwaves?
Yesterday, someone posted an article on indymedia asking what we could do to help people who don't have hot tubs to retreat to and who can't afford to care whether the planes are flying on time. Within hours, the community came together to open the doors at Back to Back cafe as a temporary port in the storm. People were out on the streets in the ice and snow looking for people who needed shelter. I'm told by those who participated that at least two lives were saved by this effort.
The beauty and simplicity of this solution cannot be overstated. Once informed about the problem, people could use the public forum here to organize, come together, and do something about it. THIS is what television should have been doing. But they were not. They ignored the problem, and when it demanded to be heard anyway, they turned their backs.
With all their resources, with faces firmly planted in the trough of free public air, the corporate broadcasters did less than nothing for the people of this city. [ Read more... ]
From the open publishing newswire: Writing about PPRC offers a unique set of challenges. The primary difficulty is to avoid being dull. This "movement" was so obvious in its rhetoric, so simple minded and pious, that I'm afraid by writing about it I could end up with the same faults.
But I have to address it, as simple or as plodding as it might be. I'd rather write about a love affair or about all the good things involved in toasting bread, but the problem of how the world works, how we relate to each other, how we mutilate each other, this is pressing on me. I can't ignore PPRC or the war or any of it.
In Han Koning's book "Death of a Schoolboy" the kid in question sums it up:
"It's not because human joy and sorrow, individually, alone, aren't important, but because to go on writing that way, so finely, there has to be a piece missing in you. Otherwise the horrors of this world couldn't so patently fail to get to you. But, who wants descriptions of the world, of anything, from an observer in whom a piece is left out?"
From the open publishing newswire: Yesterday, it snowed really hard in Seattle, Wa. Main streets were covered with inches of snow within a few hours, and the city was shut down, basically, as Seattle does not get snow like that every year. On the "Counterbalance" on Queen Anne Hill, yesterday, chaos ensued. The "Counterbalance" is a large thoroughfare at a steep incline, for blocks, connecting downtown Seattle with Queen Anne Hill, the highest hill in Seattle. Cars began losing traction early in the day, police put up a sign closing the street, then left. Cars drove around the sign or found ways to get onto it via alleys, etc. As hours wore on, hundreds of people gathered on the Counterbalance, and we saw a snowmobile, skis, snowboards, ironing boards, box springs, all kinds of things used as sleds, coming down that steep hill for blocks. At the hill's bottom, was moving traffic. Now and then, a car would cruise down inches from children on sleds. It was truly scary to watch.
During one newscast, two people whizzed by the news reporter, and finally stopped within about a foot of an intersection with cars driving through it. Local news covered this scene for hours. I was stunned that police show up in riot gear, by the hundreds, for local anti-war protests, that are permitted and nonviolent, yet they are absolutely invisible when dangerous conditions are being broadcast on our local news, regarding the illegal use of streets, by hundreds, in the snow. It can be argued that snow is an unusual event. But so is war. We do not have permitted, week-long, anti-war demonstrations at the Federal Building every week, either. We have had them twice in Seattle, in the last 20 years. For these unusual events, we need to be flexible, I agree. Bending rules and laws, perhaps. But why for drivers and people on streets in snow, but not for people during anti-war protests? [ Read more... ]
While the corporate media blathers on hour after hour about the weather, Indymedia readers and wobblies struggle to actually do something to help the people stuck out in the freezing cold. I've been fretting all day long about the fact that the corporate media has wasted hour upon hour of valuable air time to drone on about nothing while people are literally freezing to death on the streets of Portland. Then I checked Indy, and saw several articles mentioning the impact of the storm on homeless people. Someone wanted to know what to do to help. And now, a few hours later, I see that the Back to Back has opened its doors as a temporary shelter till the storm lets up. THANK YOU! [ Read more... ]
BACK TO BACK CAFE CALL-TO-ACTION:
On December 17, 2003, in what seemed to be a rather bland setting, the one and ONLY four hour public hearing took place regarding the BISCUIT FIRE RECOVERY PROJECT, the largest proposed timber sale in modern history by the USDA's USFS and the DOI's BLM. The Biscuit Fire took place in southern Oregon and northern California, began on July 13, 2002 and reached 499,965acres and was controlled on November 9, 2002 (120 days).
The public was greeted by the Forest Service's own public relations employees or were they? As one entered the fairground building, to the left was the sign in sheet for those wanting to watch, to the right, those who wanted a chance to speak. It felt almost as everyone was forced to share who he or she was and where he or she lives.
Speakers of the public wishing to provide public comment were given only 3 minutes to speak. Let me remind you, this is not just a small 40-acre proposed clear-cut timber sale on a steep hillside with a little controversy, this sucker is enormous. This is a proposed project of a HALF-BILLION board feet of so-called timber recovery with an estimated cost to the taxpayers of 150 million dollars. The project is to be the BIGGEST public subsidy to the timber industry since the Tongass NF giveaways in the eighties. The Biscuit Fire Recovery Project scoping process has taken place during the holiday season, with the spoken public comment period occurring a week before Christmas. Close to eighty speakers spoke throughout the evening. A stenographer sat at the table next to the two men representing the agencies in charge of these projects. Additionally, a USFS employee kept time and another was there to cut off anyone going over the three-minute time limit.
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