On today's show... We speak with David Rosenberg of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition about his group's efforts to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in Western Sudan. We hear from the True Cost of Coal Conference held this past weekend in Pittsburgh, part two in our three part series on Coal in our region and the grassroots organizing against its effects. A high school student in Cleveland is suspended for opposing military recruiters at his school. And police in Pittsburgh and in Ohio are getting more dangerous in their use of tasers.
Plus headlines from the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center and independent media centers around the world.
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media. The show airs every Monday from 6-7pm on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA and every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're also available on the internet, both on W-R-C-T's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and archived at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
On today's show...
We speak with David Rosenberg of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition about his group's efforts to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in Western Sudan.
We hear from the True Cost of Coal Conference held this past weekend in Pittsburgh, part two in our three part series on Coal in our region and the grassroots organizing against its effects.
A high school student in Cleveland is suspended for opposing military recruiters at his school, and police in Pittsburgh and in Ohio are getting more dangerous in their use of tasers.
But first, these headlines from the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center.
On today, June 6th, both the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will reconvene after a spring break. This will give them less than a month to address the issue of long term dedicated and reliable funding for the public transit in Pennsylvania before the end of this fiscal year.
Pennsylvania's lawmakers quit their last session without passing legislation necessary for sustainable transit funding and an end to continual funding crises. Transit activists say that legislators promised that that they would deal with the problem before the end of the 2004/2005 fiscal year. But activists now suspect that the Pennsylvania legislators may break another promise.
The independent bus and trolley riders group Save Our Transit said they are demanding that the legislature pass funding for public transit before the end of the fiscal year.
Also, Monday June 6th is the date of the first meeting of the Governor's special "Transportation Funding and Reform Commission" in Harrisburg. In a statement yesterday, Save Our Transit said it (quote) "hopes this commission will function in an open and transparent fashion. The group also hopes that this commission will not serve to simply give the General Assembly another out for not dealing with the ongoing fiscal crisis facing public transit. (end quote)
The commission is to report to lawmakers no later than Nov. 15, 2006 -- after the next election for governor and General Assembly. And despite the many promises in previous legislative sessions, many lawmakers say they don't expect to address the transit funding issue this session, an attitude that Save Our Transit and many other local residents hope to change with grassroots pressure.
[ 2 min. ] Fifth & Forbes developer quits
The Pittsburgh Post-gazette reported last saturday that Carl Dranoff, a Philadelphia developer who had been working with a private group to revitalize the Fifth and Forbes downtown area has stepped away from his position, further diminishing efforts to revitalize the Downtown shopping district.
Herb Burger, chairman of the Pittsburgh Task Force, the private group trying to improve Fifth & Forbes, said that Carl Dranoff is too involved with other projects to devote his efforts.
Dranoff, a residential developer, had been working with the Pittsburgh Task Force -- and before that with Mayor Tom Murphy -- on a new plan to rejuvenate the downtown corridor.
His plans placed emphasis on residential development, more so than previous downtown revitalization plans. He suggested the construction of 800 residential units in the initial phase of the development, with retail supplementing the housing. Included in the plans were a grocery store and coin-operated laundry, geared toward those living Downtown.
Dranoff's departure leaves the task force and the city without a master developer to oversee the proposed improvements and to recruit possible tenants for the corridor.
Asked about a master developer, Chairman Burger said Task Force members (quote) "are working hard to choose one right now. We are talking to a number of developers, several with high-quality investments and developments around the United States. We are not excluding anybody from looking at Pittsburgh or suggesting their ideas" Burger added.
Dranoff is the third developer to walk away from projects involving Fifth and Forbes. Another Philadelphia developer, Kravco Company, backed off in early 2004 about the same time that Federated Department Stores announced plans to close its Lazarus-Macy's store on Fifth Avenue.
Kravco was brought in after Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties dropped plans for a massive $522 million dollar makeover that would have transformed the corridor into a retail and entertainment district.
Mayor Murphy declined to comment on Dranoff's resignation.
For more on all of our local news stories, visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
You are listening to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to headlines from Independent Media Centers around the world.
[ 3.5 min. ] Cleveland Student suspended for anti-recruitment flyering
Last month a high school student in the Cleveland, Ohio area was suspended for two days while handing out flyers opposing military recruitment when several recruiters visited his school's cafeteria. Ian and Patrick of the Cleveland Indymedia Radio Hour on WRUW 91.1 FM in Cleveland spoke to the student, Tom, during their weekly radio program:
[ 3:21 clip ]
Tom said that after he graduates from high school this year he plans to attend college in Pittsburgh and join in direct action efforts against military contracting.
[1:30] Aid Worker Detained in Sudan
The associated press reported on May 31st that Sudanese officials have detained a second international aid worker. Vincent Hoedt, The Darfur coordinator for the group 'Doctors without Borders' was detained. In addition to Hoedt, the group's director Paul Foreman was charged last Monday with "spreading false information" and was told not to leave Sudan pending trial.
Representatives of the group Doctors without Borders have faced arrest and intimidation from Sudanese officials. This comes after a report released by the organization in March, stating that doctors have collected evidence of 500 rapes over a 4 and a half month period. The report also states that more than 80% of the victims identify their attackers as soldiers or members of government-allied militias.
Aid workers are calling the detentions an intimidation tactic by the government. They claim aid agencies are being targeted for speaking out about the rapes and killings in the Darfur region.
The targeting of Doctors without Borders is a part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests and threats against more than 20 workers from several foreign agencies over the last six months says Leslie Lefkow, a Human Rights Watch researcher who has tracked developments in Darfur.
The Sudanese government denies allegations of a campaign to intimidate foreign aid agencies. However, during the months following the outbreak of the conflict, officials severly limited international aid agencies access to Darfur. Aid workers were only allowed in after negotiations and international pressure.
Stay tuned to Rustbelt Radio for a report later in our show on the local group 'Darfur Emergency Coalition'.
[ 2m ] CAFTA, FTAA protests at OAS Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale
Despite pouring rain, 500 protesters marched on the General Assembly of the Organization of American States yesterday as it convened at the Broward Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Activists targeted the Organization of American States (or, OAS) because it is the originator of both the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas and Central American Free Trade Agreement treaties. Dozens of law enforcement agencies maintained a heavily militarized watch of the convention center, as riot armor-clad police, helicopters and snipers created a stifling atmosphere for dissent. There was no police violence at the demonstration but there was one arrest.
In the weeks leading up to protest, organizers fought a pitched legal battle over a [quote] "sticks and stones" ordinance. The law would have prohibited certain materials to be used in signs and puppets, limited the dimensions and materials to be used in signs, and would have barred carrying glass bottles, water balloons, and other objects during demonstrations. But two days before the event began, a Federal Judge granted a temporary injunction against the ordinance.
Organizers lost another legal battle, however, over the location of the security perimeter. The protesting groups were not allowed to hold their demonstration within sight and sound of the OAS delegates.
The Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale is only the second time the OAS has met in the United States since its founding in 1948. The OAS General Assembly consists of representatives from 35 countries in the Americas, excluding Cuba. Cuba is a member but is not permitted to participate.
Today a smaller crowd gathered in protest outside the convention center as Bush delivered a speech to OAS in which he urged the OAS members to get behind "free trade" treaties.
You can read more about our global news stories by visting I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G. We'll be back after a brief break.
Bad Cop No Donut
This week on Bad Cop No Donut:
A Sheriff's deputy in Westmoreland County was arrested in a prostitution ring...
A state constable in Pennsylvania has been charged with stealing money from traffic fines in Allegheny County and Butler County...
An 18 year old on his way home from a graduation party in Springfield, Ohio was killed by a police officer who shocked him with a taser...
On Tuesday, protestors in Akron, Ohio gathered to call an end to taser use...
Police taser use has increased in Pittsburgh, PA in the past year.
Ron Anicich (AN - uh - sich) has the details.
[ 4:04 segment ]
Ron's full-length radio program is available every week from radio (dot) indymedia (dot) org.
The man killed by Pittsburgh Police that he mentioned was Vincent Napper, a 28 year old man from the Hill District. He was shot 20 times at the end of a three minute car chase, after Police allege that he ran a stop sign.
This is Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[23:00] Light at the End of the Fort Pitt Tunnel -- Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition
In our weekly interview with a local grassroots organization, today we speak with David Rosenberg, local historian. David is one of the founding members of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, which has been working to bring attention to the ongoing crisis in Western Sudan.
We asked David what it was like organizing a campaign around an issue like this, which to many people could seem so far away.
Finally, we asked David about what the role of the US might be in addressing the crisis in Darfur.
[ Break? ]
You're listening to Rust Belt Radio.
[ 18 min. ] True Cost of Coal -- part2
Yesterday, June 5th, the True Cost of Coal conference was held at the Garfield Community Activity Center in Pittsburgh. The free conference was held to examine the impacts of coal power throughout its lifecycle -- from the mine to the smokestack and beyond, on urban and rural communities in South Western Pennsylvania.
Speakers examined mining and coal power production from the perspective of its environmental impacts, its human health effects, and its importance to workers and communities in the past and the present.
The conference was organized by the local group Canaries in the Coalfields, who was featured as last week's Light at the End of the Fort Pitt Tunnel featured group on Rustbelt Radio. This story is the second in a three part series on the issues of coal mining and coal energy on Rustbelt Radio -- tune in next week for our third part on the potential of sustainable energy alternatives in Southwestern Pennsylvania to provide quality jobs while maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.
Mike Ewall, an organizer with the group ActionPA in Philadelphia, spoke yesterday about the effects of coal power production in our region, as well as natural gas, waste coal, and coalbed methane.
[ ewall tracks 1-3: 5:07 total ]
Suzanne Seppi of the group GASP, Group Against Smog and Pollution, talked about dangerous air pollutant Sulfur Dioxide, or SO2 emissions, and its origins in Allegheny county.
[ s02 - 0:55 ]
Dr. Charles McCollester also spoke about the Cheswick plant, and the history of labor and coal industry.
[ mccollester - 2:50 ]
That was Charles McCollester, director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
And for the last speaker in part two of our three-part report on Coal in Western Pennsylvania and Appalachia, we'll hear from Bill Price. Bill is a resident of southern West Virginia and is the Central Appalachia Coordinator for the Sierra Club.
He addressed the effects of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining on communities, and in community involvement in opposition to Mountaintop Removal Mining.
[ price tracks 6-8: 5:38 total ]
That was Bill Price, Appalachia Coordinator for the Sierra Club.
You've been listening to part two in Rustbelt Radio's three part series on the issues of coal mining and coal energy. Tune in next week for Part Three -- the potential of sustainable energy alternatives in Southwestern Pennsylvania to provide quality jobs while maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.
[ 1.5 min ] Calendar of events
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
This Monday thru Wednesday Pittsburgh Playback Theatre, Pittsburgh Refugee Center, and Three Rivers Arts Festival presents THE MISSING POT: A New Somali Folktale in America. Pittsburgh Playback Theatre worked with the Somali youth to develop an original, interactive theatrical event that allows the refugees an opportunity to tell their story and connect to their community.Admission to this event is Free. The performance will be at 7pm nightly at various locations throughout the week. For more information you can go to www.thomasmertoncenter.org
Tomorrow June 7th, Canaries in the Coalfields and other local groups will be sponsoring a March and Rally to Say NO to Careless Coal! The rally begins at 11:30 AM Liberty Ave between Commonwealth Place & Stanwix St. Following the rally there will be a march and speak out outside the convention center to protest the National Coal Show. For more information contact: canariespgh (at) riseup (dot) net or 412-361-3022
This Saturday June 11th, the Green Party of Allegheny County will be having a Flea Market in West Park at Cedar Ave and E. Ohio St (directly across from Allegheny General Hospital) on the North Side. The group will be selling all of your unwanted goods. They are asking for donations to be brought at 7AM. For more information call 412-231-1581 or go to www.gpoac.org
Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh and WVJW Benwood.
Our hosts this week are [ Quinten Steenhuis ] and [ Carlin Christy ] with addmitional contributions from [ Matt Toups , David Meieran , and Ian Charness ]. This week's show was produced by [ Matt Toups ]. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
Your story submissions are welcome! To get involved with Rust Belt Radio, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots.