On this week's show...
* Over 1000 people march in Pittsburgh to demand "Education not Occupation, Healthcare not Warfare, Buses not Bombs," and "Bring the Troops Home Now."
* Steelworkers Lawyer Dan Kovalik speaks about the connections between the Chiquita Fruit Company, Drummond Mining, Paramilitaries and Human Rights Abuses in Colombia
* New anti-immigration legislation is introduced into the Pennsylvania house
* And, a court decision in Arizona sets a precedent for Native americans' rights to protect sacred sites.
* and more in our local and global headlines
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.
On today's show...
Over 1000 people march in Pittsburgh to demand "Education not Occupation, Healthcare not Warfare, Buses not Bombs," and "Bring the Troops Home Now."
Steelworkers Lawyer Dan Kovalik speaks about the connections between the Chiquita Fruit Company, Drummond Mining, Paramilitaries and Human Rights Abuses in Colombia
New anti-immigration legislation is introduced into the Pennsylvania house
And, a court decision in Arizona sets a precedent for Native americans' rights to protect sacred sites.
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on at a new time on WPTS - 10-11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[1:30] New Power Line
Plans are in the works to create a new 240-mile long power line that will stretch from Southwest Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. The 500 kV power line will be a joint project between Allegheny Energy and Dominion Virginia Power. According to a report by the Gettysburg group Civil War Preservation Trust, the towers will be 15 stories high and require a 150 to 200 foot right of way. Allegheny Energy says the project is necessary to meet increasing demands for power transmission.
PJM Interconnection, which manages electric transmission services of the Mid-Atlantic power grid in 13 states and Washington, D.C, approved the new line in June 2006.
Allegheny Energy spokesman David Neurohr said a final route has yet to be established, although it is expected to be filed with the state Public Utility Commission by the end of March or in early April. The PUC will hold public hearings on the routing. The route will definitely run through Washington and Green Counties. It will also require the construction of two new substations. One will be built in North Strabane, Washington County, and one would be built in Dunkard, just northeast of Mount Morris in Greene County.
However, a substantial grassroots movement opposing the powerline has developed in Southwest Pennsylvania. A recent meeting in Somerset drew more than 300 people. Rich Yanock spoke to the crowd, saying "I'll tell you the truth, this is wrong. It's up to us to expose it for what it is, not a national defense issue, but a profit issue."
Mr. Yanock believes the power line will scar the landscape, lower property values and be a detriment to the health and safety of the residents.
[4:15] East of Liberty Movie
Many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh are facing redevelopment and changes, especially along the Penn Avenue corridor. The neighborhood of East Liberty is no stranger to housing demolitions, resident displacement, and the appearance of new stores that formerly found no home in this area.
In an effort to examine the changes in development and the gentrification that East Liberty is currently experiencing, local Filmmaker Chris Ivey spent hundreds of hours filming the neighborhood. He also spoke to concerned residents, business owners and people involved in development corporations. The result of his filmmaking is a new documentary entitled “East of Liberty: A story of good intentions.”
We bring you some of the voices included in this film. First, a representative of East Liberty Development, Incorporated describes the struggles they have faced in their work:
el dev corp (1:10)
Althea Sims, President of the Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty has hope for the future:
beautiful picture (0:20)
One part of the movie focues on the new development on the border of East Liberty and Shadyside, which has been named "East Side." The East Side development includes a Whole Foods grocery store, Walgreens pharmacy, Starbucks, and a Borders Book Store. Local recording artist Davu Flint, and a friend, share their thoughts on the naming of the East Side development.
Ernest Prescott, manager of the Shadow Lounge, a hip-hop venue in East Liberty, shared his viewpoint on the name "East Side."
shadow lounge man (0:29)
Another focus of the film was on Baum Blvd, and its function as a dividing line between predominantly white Shadyside, and predominantly black East Liberty. After a public screening of the film, one audience member stated he was shocked to see how major roads in Pittsburgh act as lines of neighborhood segregation:
road segregation (0:12)
For more information on the film East of Liberty: A story of good intentions, or to view a trailer, visit www. east of liberty. com . This film is the first part in a series and in the future documentaries on youth in east liberty as well as East Liberty's history will be released.
[3:00] anti-immigrant legislation in PA
A five-bill package introduced into the Pennsylvania House aims to reduce undocumented immigration in the state by cutting off basic services, tightening citizenship checks for employment, and using state police to enforce immigration laws. The “National Security Begins at Home” package was introduced last week by state rep Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County. At a press conference for the introduction of the bills, Metcalfe said: (quote) I am appalled that our federal government continues to ignore its constitutional duty to defend the liberty, property and ultimately the lives of American citizens from illegal alien invaders. (endquote).
The legislation would deny access to all non-medical-emergency public services for undocumented people, including welfare, education and unemployment benefits. Both government and private entities, including public schools, would have to verify legal immigration status of any applicant for benefits. Another provision requires all employers to participate in a federal program to verify employees' social security numbers. Employers that hire undocumented workers would have their professional licenses terminated. And, the bill would enable state police to help enforce immigration law. Law enforcement officers would be required to report the citizenship status of anyone they arrest.
House representative Angel Cruz, from Philadephia, opposes the bills. He says "it is very disturbing to me that people would use the word reform as a way to encourage discrimination. Many Latinos who are not yet American citizens are working 12 or more hours a day in jobs that no other American wishes to do, all with the hope that they can become honest citizens. Instead of installing additional hurdles for immigrants to become full-fledged citizens, let’s look toward true reforms that streamline the immigration process and educate those coming into this country on how to become legal."
A study published last year in Tax Lawyer determined that undocumented immigrants contribute more to the economy, and pay more in taxes, than they consume. The study's author is Francine J. Lipman, of the Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif . According to Lipman, undocumented people are already barred from receiving most government benefits, even though they pay taxes for them. She said most undocumented immigrants provide false information to get jobs and have Social Security and Medicare taxes deducted from wages.
The National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, published a position paper on enforcement of immigration law by local authorities. It says such policies "would erode the relationship between immigrant communities and law enforcement officers, would mean that fewer people report crimes, and would take scarce resources away from other police functions, leaving entire communities less safe. This type of legislation would also likely result in increased racial profiling and civil rights violations by state and local police officers."
A similar package of bills failed to get approval last year when Republicans controlled the state House and Senate. Supporters now must try to push the package through a Democratic-controlled House.
[3:30] Word on the Street
And now, this week's edition of 'Word on the Street':
That was 'Word on the Street'.
[2:30] Arena Development
When the Mellon Arena was constructed in the 1950's the concerns of Hill District residents seemed to be the last thing on the minds of the developers. This time around, with the mayor pledging $290 million for the construction of a new Penguins Arena, Hill district community leaders are making sure that their voices are heard. They are demanding to be included in development plans for housing and businesses surrounding the new hockey arena. Marimba Milliones (ma-lions) Hill District Stakeholder and CEO of Milestone New Media Group, explains what kind of development she feels is important for the HIll District.
Last week a meeting was held with Hill district community leaders in the office of Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato to discuss how to develop the arena area. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl missed the meeting since he was in NYC on an overnight wine and dine trip with Ron Burkle the co-owner of the Penguins. Ravenstal did send his chief of staff to the meeting but HIll District leaders hope he will attend future meetings.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
[3:30] Brad Will Investigation
A popular uprising shook the Mexican City of Oaxaca last year when teachers, community activists and Oaxacan citizens banded together to demand the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruis Ortiz. They formed APPO, The popular assemly of Oaxacan People to protest government repression and highlight the social and economic inequalities that characterize the state.
The Oaxacan and federal government responded to these massive protests with severe repression that left hundreds wounded, many more arrested and over 20 people dead including New York Indymedia Journalist Brad Will. Months later noone has been prosecuted for these deaths.
This past weekend Brad Will's family travelled to Mexico to demand that Will's murders as well as those responsible for the other murders be held accountable. When describing the purpose of their trip Brad's Brother Craig said "It is our hope that this upcoming visit will increase the spotlight on the inadequacies of the Mexican judicial system and encourage responsible leadership on the part of the state and federal governments to pursue real justice."
Brad's family speaks at a press conference in Mexico:
Thanks to IndyBay and Indymedia Oaxaca for the audio recording. For more information on Brad Will's case go to bradwill.org and for more info about the popular assembly in Oaxaca go to http://elenemigocomun.net/
[1:00] New Penalties for Crimes against Homeless
The New Standard News' TNS radio brings us this next report:
[2:30] Native rights to sacred sites upheld
A recent court ruling in Arizona creates a legal precendent establishing Native American tribes' rights to have their sacred sites remain undesecrated as more important than developers' rights to alter land. The Navajo nation and a dozen other tribes sued to prevent the owners of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort from expanding their operation. On Monday, a U.S. appeals court panel ruled in favor of the tribes. The Snowbowl expansion plan called for a new chairlift, new ski paths that would be covered snow made from treated wastewater, and the clearance of about 100 acres of forest. Resort owners hoped the new trails would extend the ski season, as they would be on a cooler slope.
The tribes' suit claimed that the plans would have violated their religious freedon, and that the government did not adequately address the impact of wastewater on the environment. Judge William A. Fletcher wrote in the ruling that "We are unwilling to hold that authorizing the use of artificial snow at al already functioning commercial ski area in order to expand and improve its facilities, as well as to extend its ski season in dry years, is a governmental interest 'of the highest order'." Fletcher also said the snowmaking scheme violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and was akin to using wastewater in Christian baptisms.
The ruling overturned a lower court's finding last year that the tribes "failed to present ay objective evidence that their exercise of religion will be impacted by the Snowbowl upgrades."
Klee Banali, a Navaho with the Save our Peaks coalitIon:
The judges also ruled that the U.S. Forest Service did not adequately address the possible health risks of drinking water tainted by runoff from snow made with treated wastewater.
The snowbowl resort has opened late due to a lack of snow for three out of the last four years. Judge Fletcher wrote: "We are struck by the obvious fact that the Peaks are located in a desert. It is (and always has been) predictable that some winters will be dry."
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[15:00] Chiquita and Drummond in Colombia
Chiquita the Cincinnati based Fruit Company recently admitted that they had paid the AUC or United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group responsible for countless Human Rights Abuses and murders. These payments are in violation of U.S. law since the AUC is considered a terrorist organization by the United states government, Chiquita has agreed to pay 25 million dollars to the us government on the condition hat they as long as they will not have to release the names of the top executives involved.
Chiquita is not the only U.S. Corporation that has helped fuel the brutal civil war in Colombia. The Drummond Mining company who moved their coal mine facilities from Alabama to Colombia has been accused of paying paramilitariesparamilitaries to assassinate union leaders. Dan Kovalik a lawyer with the United Steelworkers has filed a lawsuit against Drummond for their grave violations of human rights. He spoke with rustbelt Radio about the connections between Chiquita, Drummond, the AUC, the colombian military and the U.S. government.
That was just Dan Kovalik, a lawyer for the steelworkers speaking about the Drummond Mining Company and Chiquita Fruit companies human rights record in Colombia.
[13:30] 4th Anniversary Actions from SF to Pittsburgh
This past week hundreds of cities across the country organized marches, rallies vigils and direct action to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the Iraq War.
Many of these actions took place on Monday March 20th. In San Francisco, more than 50 protesters were arrested taking part in "die-ins" that blocked Market Street throughout much of the afternoon. Among the arrested was 76-year-old Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg.
Meanwhile, across the bay in San Ramon, 12 activists locked down to oil barrels painted with "No Blood for Oil" and "Stop the Iraqi Oil Theft Law" as they blockaded the front entrance of Chevron's world headquarters.
In New York, 44 people were arrested in protests against war profiteering at the New York Stock Exchange.
In New Brunswick 400 students, veterans and local residents commemorated the fourth anniversary by walking out of class and work, swarming the streets, taking a highway and blocking a Marine recruitment station.
In Washington, DC on Tuesday, a platoon of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) re-eenacted their experiences in Iraq on the Capitol Building lawns, the gates of the White House, the Washington Monument and a military recruiting station.
Meanwhile, here in Pittsburgh, anniversary actions also continued throughout the course of the week. On Monday night, Pittsburghers Against War Supplementals held a vigil outside Congressmen Mike Doyle's office, and Pittsburgh Organizing Group picketed the Oakland recruiting station before marching to CMU. Starting Friday night, as many as 60 activists stopped by an all-night candlelight vigil at the Community of Reconciliation Church in Oakland.
Then on Saturday, one day after the House voted to give Bush another $100 billion to continue wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 1,200 took to the streets of Oakland, Pittsburgh on Saturday in to demand, "Education not Occupation, Healthcare not Warfare, Buses not Bombs," and Bring the Troops Home Now."
Leading the 1.5 mile march organized by the Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee were members of Iraq Vets Against the War and Veterans for Peace, followed by high school and college students comprising a "youth against enlistment" contingent.
A separate "feeder march" organized by the Anti-War Committee and SEIU 1199P stepped off from the VA Hospital in North Oakland, in which activists sought to draw attention to the inadequate health care and treatment of thousands of wounded Iraq vets. There was also a women's feeder march organized by CodePink and other women's groups and a feeder that began at the Friends Meeting House in Oakland.
Code Pink is a “women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities” Before the march, Rustbelt Radio spoke with Francine Porter about previous Code Pink events and demonstrations.
For more information about Code Pink you can go to www.codepink4peace.org.
Rustbelt Radio also had the opportunity to speak with Veteran Geoff Millard, the DC Chapter President of Veterans Against the War, about the importance of this demonstration.
Of the 1200 people who marched on Saturday many vowed to continue the fight against the Iraq War. The Anti-War committe, the main organizer of the march, encouraged people to attend their meetings. They will be holding a strategy session on Sunday, April 22nd at the Thomas Merton Center. For more information please call 412-361-3022 or visit their website at pittsburghendthewar.org
Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
On Thursday and Friday, join The Project to End Human Trafficking for a 2day conference on this issue. Come to learn about this emerging issue, what is being done to combat it, and how you can be a part of the growing movement to end human trafficking. The conference will take place all day on the 29th and also from 8am-noon on the 30th at AJ Palumbo Hall at Carlow University. Carlow is located at 3333 Fifth Avenue in Oakland.
On Friday the 30th, join Pittsburgh Critical mass for their monthly bike ride through Pittsburgh. Meet at 5:30 at the dinosaur in front of the Carnegie library in Oakland to join the ride.
The East End Community Thrift Shop is holding its 14th Annual Affordable Chic Fashion Show on Saturday, March 31, from 11:00am to 2:00 pm. The Fashion Show will be at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church at Penn and Highland in East Liberty. Tickets can be purchased at both the Merton Center and Thrifty. The event benefits the Thomas Merton Center and Sojourner House.
Also on Saturday, March 31st PUSH (PA United For Singlepayer Healthcare) will host a revolutionary tea party at noon at the First Unitarian Church, Morewood and Ellsworth in Shadyside. Please visit www.just HYPHEN healthcare DOT net or call 412-341-2075.
On Sunday, April 1st from 2 to 4 PM there will be a discussion on fair trade and ethical living at the Amani International Coffeehouse & Cafe, located at 507 Foreland Street on the Northside.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Andalusia Knoll and Diane Amdor with additional contributions from Carlin Christy, Tracy Braswell, David Meieran, Jessica McPherson and Lizzie Anderson. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Matt Toups. 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.