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The Best of Rustbelt Radio for Summer 2006 (September 4, 2006)
by IMC Rustbelt Radio collective Monday, Sep. 04, 2006 at 10:13 PM (email address validated) 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3 FM

This week we will be presenting highlights of Rustbelt Radio stories from the last few months, including: * janitors spin the Wheel of Misfortune at the SouthSide Works * in Homewood and Garfield, the Pittsburgh police are criticized for car chases that result in multiple deaths and injuries * a local nonprofit sends help to the Caribbean * as the national spotlight was on Pittsburgh for this year's All Star Game, locals put the spotlight on the city's treatment of homeless, as well as the sweatshop conditions in factories making Pirates' apparel * several local organizations react to Israeli attacks as the war escalates with Lebanon * plus more on elections and repression in Mexico, the Mon-Fayette expressway, the South Central Farm in Los Angeles, and Immigration in the US

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Rustbelt Radio for September 4, 2006


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, every Thursday from 11am to noon on WARC Meadville 90.3 FM from the campus of Allegheny College, every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, and also every Saturday at 5pm on WPTS Pittsburgh, 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

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.

This week's show falls during WRCT's random schedule, so we will be presenting highlights of Rustbelt Radio stories from the last few months, including:

But before we begin, during our best-of program we always remind our listeners that our program is produced entirely by volunteers and depend on donations of equipment and money to exist. If you can support us with recording equipment, microphones, headphones, or funds for these supplies, please call 412-923-3000, email us at, or donate via paypal on our website,

[2:45] Wheel of MISfortune

The SouthSide Works has grown as a popular shopping, dining, and entertainment center for many people. However, not everyone at the SouthSide Works is happy. This story originally aired on July 31st.

[4:30] Police Chases in Homewood and Garfield

During the months of May and June, Pittsburgh police came under criticism for their use of high speed chases to apprehend non-violent suspects pulled over for minor traffic offenses. During those two months, two auto accidents resulted from two different chases, killing at least two people and critically injuring several more.

The first chase on May 26th began when police officers in an unmarked car attempted to pull Devon Miles over for the broken brake lights and then proceeded to chase him when he did not stop the vehicle. This high speed chase ended with Miles crashing into a full van at the intersection of North Lang Avenue and Bennet Street in Homewood. Michelle Rankin, of Wilkinsburg, and Jerome D. Smith, of Stanton Heights, died in the accident and the other 4 people in the car were injured.

From our June 5th episode of Rustbelt Radio, Andalusia Knoll has more:

That was part of a report from the June 5th edition of Rustbelt Radio. A few weeks after that, on Tuesday, June 20th, another police chase ended in a car crash that critically injured two innocent bystanders. The chase began when police in the Hill District attempted to pull over an SUV for playing music too loud and failing to use a turn signal. In the 5300 block of Mossfield St. in Garfield, the SUV crashed head-on into a Cadillac, critically injuring the two people inside. Police say their car was about 150 yards behind the SUV at the time of the crash, and that the chase had been terminated before the crash occurred. After the crash, the driver of the SUV attempted to flee, and police used tasers to subdue him, then arrested him.

[4:45] Global Links

Global Links is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit dedicated to shipping much-needed medical supplies to a variety of locations primarily in the Caribbean. Rustbelt Radio spoke with Special Projects Manager Angela Garcia, who told us more about the organization. These are some highlights from that interview originally aired on August 14.

Volunteers are an essential part of Global Links' operations! For more information please contact the volunteer coordinators at 412-361-3424 or, and you can hear more of this story on our August 14th show, available at

[4:00] Mon Fayette Expressway

As public support for the Mon Fayette Expressway sinks, so does a 17-mile section of the Expressway that opened four years ago in southern Allegheny County. The expressway cost $588 million dollars to build and the state Turnpike Commission has spent $619,749 dollars since 2004 to repair sinking pieces of the toll road. The highway is collapsing because of mine subsidence.

Rustbelt Radio has followed this story throughout the summer, and today we'll hear from two different concerned voices about the expressway.

First, we asked John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, about the implications of the Mon Fayette expressway for his community.

That was John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock. We also spoke to environmental activist Heather Sage, with the statewide group Penn Future, who expressed concern that the Mon Fayette Expressway was built despite commissioners' knowledge of the high risks involved with it:

Sage elaborated on how the Mon Fayette expressway is a drain for both this region and the rest of Pennsylvania:

You can go to to find the latest information on the expressway and to take action to help.

[7:15] All Star Game

On July 11th, Pittsburgh was home to Major League Baseball's annual All-Star game. Rustbelt Radio reporter Carlin Christy took a look at the preparations the city went through for its moment in the national spotlight.

That piece originally aired on the July 17th episode of Rustbelt Radio.


You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. This week, we are sharing some highlights from this summer's shows.

[4:00] South Central Farm Destroyed

For several months, Rustbelt Radio has reported on the South Central Farm in Los Angeles. This 14 acre urban community farm was the center of debate between immigrant and low-income farmers who worked the land, the city of Los Angeles, and Ralph Horowitz, a real estate developer who was the original owner of the land. On July 10th, we reported on the latest developement in the struggle for the farm.

Since we last reported on the status of the farm, all 350 plots have been bulldozed. Later in July, the group had a court date to dispute the legality of the city's sale of the land to developer Ralph Horowitz. As a result of that court date, Judge Helen Bendix ruled that Horowitz was the rightful owner of the 14-acre lot and that the sale was legal.

In other news, the 10 activists involved in direct actions to save the farm had their pre-trial hearings in court on August 17th and 18th. Several of the activists face jail sentences of several weeks or months.

Since the farm's destruction, the supporters of the farm have re-organized to continue their fight for land and also policies in the city of Los Angeles that favor food security and the community needs of the poor working class people of South Central LA.

[5:00] Deepa Fernandes on Immigration

Deepa Fernandes is the host of Wake Up Call on WBAI, Pacifica radio in New York City. As a radio journalist, she has been covering immigration issues since the immigrant sweeps began after Septmber 11th 2001.

At the 2006 Allied Media Conference held in June, she hosted a session on the challenges of reporting on immigration issues. Rustbelt Radio orginally aired a portion of her lecture on our July 17th show. We now bring you additional information from her lecture where she described a little known admendment to the HR 4437 bill, entitled the "Bounty Hunter" amendment.

That was just Deepa Fernandes speaking at the 2006 Allied Media Conference. For more from her lecture, you can listen to the July 17th episode of our show.

[5:45] Atenco

On Monday, May 8th, Rustbelt Radio reported on the invasion and brutal repression of San Salvador Atenco, which is located outside of Mexico City. We will now bring you that report.

Later that month, a national march was called by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas in solidarity with the political prisoners of Atenco. Over 40,000 people from all 31 Mexican states and the federal district took part in the march.

On our June 5th show, we brought you the voices of people who participated in the national march. Hear are the words of Subcommandante Marcos speaking about the injustice that took place in Atenco:

On June 7th the 20 year old university student, Alexis Benhumea, passed away. Alexix had been in a coma since the attack on Atenco, where he was hit in the head with a tear gas canister by police forces. 27 political prisoners remain in jail since the May 4th arrests and others are facing trials in the court system.

[3:30] Mexican Elections

Throughout the summer Rustbelt Radio has covered the contested Mexican elections. On July 17 we spoke with Robin Alexander of the UE about some of the controversies.

Mexico's top electoral court must declare a new president by Wednesday. Its ruling cannot be appealed. The court has thrown out Lopez Obrador's allegations of massive fraud, but it still has to give a final result, declare the election was clean, and name the winner. The initial result showed that Calderon, of the National Action Party, won by around 244,000 votes, or just 0.58 of a percentage point. Lopez Obrador, however, has vowed never to accept a Calderon win and tells supporters that he will set up a parallel government to achieve a [quote] radical transformation of the country’s government. Lopez Obrador’s supporters have been occupying Mexico City’s Zocalo square for more than a month.

[4:30] Watada

On June 22 Lt. Ehran Watada of Hawaii became the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq, citing concerns that the war is immoral and even illegal. Rustbelt Radio broadcast this interview previously conducted in Portland on July 31.

Lt. Watada has been formally charged with contempt towards President Bush, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and missing movement. On August 24, the Article 32 pre-trial hearing investigator recommended a general court martial on all charges. The future of Lt. Watada’s court martial is in the hands of the commanding general at Fort Lewis, Lieutenant General James Dubik, who will make the final decision on whether to proceed to court martial on any or all charges. If you’d like to support Lt. Watada you can call or write Lieutenant General Dubik. For more information see

[9:50] Ongoing Lebanon Coverage

While Israel dropped bombs on the civilian population in Lebanon, Rustbelt Radio brought you weekly reports on the conflict in the Middle East and the worldwide resistance to the Israeli Aggression. The 34 day war left more than 1,187 Lebanese people killed, of whom 90% were civilian, 120 dead Israelis, of whom 30% were civilian and close to one million Lebanese people displaced.

Israel claims their violent attacks were a response to actions of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah who crossed into Northern Israel on July 12th, and captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others. Much of the media coverage of the conflict focused on this capture of these soldiers. We spoke with Tom Wallace of Palestine Media Watch about this angle of media coverage.

Within days of the onset of the war, the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, Anti-Racist Action, and many other people mobilized in protest. On July 23rd, a vigil was held in Regent Square where people united to express their outrage at the ongoing murder of civilians and also express their solidarity with the Lebanese People. Lina Yassin, a recent transplant to Pittsburgh from the Middle East, described her work in Israel and Palestine and what she felt was the true aim of Israel's actions.

Speakers and attendees confirmed their commitment to fighting Israeli Aggression both in Lebanon and in Palestine and vowed that the vigil would not be an isolated incident. On August 4th about two hundred people including children and senior citizens, Muslims and Jews, seasoned activists, and many first time protesters gathered at the Islamic Center and marched through Oakland to demand an immediate ceasefire. Rafat Chungai of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh addressed the crowd and described American's role in the conflict:

On August 12th, more than 30,000 people gathered in Washington DC , to demand an end to U.S. backed Israeli aggression in Southern Lebanon and an end to Israel's Occupation of Palestine and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Two days later on August 14th, a UN backed ceasefire was implemented.

However, many Lebanese civilians continue to suffer. Thirty to fifty percent of people in Southern Lebanon are still without electricity, and major highways, bridges, airport runways and other parts of the Lebanese infrastructure need to be rebuilt. The Lebanese government has estimated that the damages from the war will cost 3.6 billion dollars to repair. An Israeli bombardment of a power plant resulted in the spilling of 15,000 tons of heavy-fuel-oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The estimated economic cost of the spill is more than 200 million dollars as it has damaged marine ecosystems, destroyed fishermen's livelihoods and rendered coastal areas lifeless.

A shipment of humanitarian aid to Lebanon will be leaving Pittsburgh early next week. If you would like to donate supplies, items must be dropped off at the Muslim Community Center or the Islamic Center before Sunday September 10th. Call 412 682 5555 for more info. To hear all of these stories in their entirety you can listen to archives of Rustbelt Radio from July 24th to August 14th.



[ Outro music ]

Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WARC Meadville, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.

Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Matt Toups, we and featured the work of Carlin Christy, Andalusia Knoll, Matt Toups, Ellen Pierson, Morgan Ress, and Rob Cullen. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.

You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, 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 or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!

Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.

The Best of Rustbelt Radio - September 4, 2006 (ogg vorbis)
by IMC Rustbelt Radio collective Monday, Sep. 04, 2006 at 10:13 PM 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3 FM

audio: ogg vorbis at 20.3 mebibytesaudio: ogg vorbis at 20.3 mebibytes

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