community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: A rally for an end to human rights abuses at ACJ; Allegheny County faces an unhill battle with stormwater overflow systems; Updates on the Immokalee farmworkers movement; More from Pittsburgh's Oil and Gas Summit; Voices from the ground at COP16 and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for December, 6, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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We turn now to local stories.
In January of 2010, Amy Lynn Gillespie (pronounce: ga-lep-see) and her unborn child died at Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) as a result of a viral infection and subsequent medical neglect. Gillespie was incarcerated because becoming pregnant was a violation of her work release on a retail theft charge.
Nearly a year after her death on November 23rd, a coalition of activists--including New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice--marched on ACJ to honor the deaths of Gillespie and her unborn child.
The rally and march, which drew 20 to 30 people, was also a call to address reproductive justice and human rights abuses within the Allegheny County Jail. Additionally, they demanded for institutional and cultural changes inside and outside of the facility, and to hold the jail accountable for its treatment of incarcerated women. Beginning at the Allegheny County Courthouse, the participants walked to ACJ where several speakers addressed the senseless death of Amy Gillespie.
LaTasha Mayes, co-founder and Executive Director of New Voices Pittsburgh, spoke to institutional changes needed to provide proper health care for women in ACJ.
Among the list of speakers was local community activist and mother, Yejide Kmt (PRONOUNCE: Ya-ja-day Kimt) who testified to the importance of defending the rights of all people.
Dominique Reed from the prisoner rights organization, the Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! Chapter, spoke to the criminalization of pregnancy, the lack of accountability within the jail and prison system and the inadequate administration of correctional health care policies--which led to the death of Gillespie.
Bekezela Mguni (pronounce Bek-ah-zay-la M-goo-ni), Community Organizer for New Voices Pittsburgh said this:
Heather Arnet, Executive Director of the Woman and Girls Foundation, Ngani Ndimbie (PRONOUNCE Ga-nee Dimbee), Community Organizer for the Pennsylvania chapter of the ACLU, and Christina Cann of the Women’s Law Project also expressed their outrage over the lack of proper health care.
Among the participants, Stephanie Fello, a Pittsburgh resident and social worker, gave her thoughts on the death of Amy Gillespie (pronounce: ga-lep-see).
Ms. Fello also expressed her concern that more people need to be involved in the fight for incarcerated women’s reproductive rights.
Another participant, Hazel Hastings of Action United, acknowledged the struggles of being pregnant and in jail.
Ms. Hastings went on to discuss what the Allegheny County Jail should do to rectify problems of medical neglect.
LaTasha Mayes of New Voices ended the rally with a call for solidarity and action.
For more information about this action or future events, contact New Voices Pittsburgh at 412-362-6547 or newvoices P-G-H [at] gmail [dot] com
The week of December 2, 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, all residents of Allegheny County live in violation of the 1972 federal Clean Water Act, one of the key laws that the EPA is tasked with enforcing.
Residents in Pennsylvania, 32 states, and the District of Columbia live in violation of the Clean Water Act because their local sewer systems dump untreated wastewater directly into rivers, oceans, lakes, or streams whenever it rains or snows. Here in Allegheny County, as little as one quarter of an inch of rain can cause untreated sewage to be discharged directly into our rivers and streams.
Residents are advised to avoid contact with rivers and streams within Allegheny County after wet weather incidents. Warning flags are placed along riverbanks after raw sewage has entered the river to warn residents of the dangers posed by contact with the hazardous materials in our regions waters.
Chemicals in wastewater include carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and heavy metals. There are four classes of infectious biological material within wastewater: bacteria like cholera, typhoid, and e.coli.; viruses like the Norwalk virus, leptospirosis (PRONOUNCE: lept-o-spear-ee-oh-sis), hepatitis A and E; protozoa like Giardia (PRONOUNCE: Gee ar dee ah) and Cryptosporidium (PRONOUNCE: Crypt-o-spore-id-ee-um); and finally the Helminthes (PRONOUNCE: hell-minth-s), such as hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm.
Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminthes all thrive in--and are transmitted by--contact with untreated sewage. Infection with any of these pathogens can cause serious illness and possible death, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems.
Though Combined Sewer Overflows are a problem across over 700 communities across the United States, the sewer overflows within Allegheny County are among the worst in the nation.
Since 2007, Allegheny County has been under a consent decree from the EPA that mandates the county to comply with the Clean Water Act regulations. Under this mandate, the County has until 2012 to come up with a plan to comply with the Clean Water Act and stop sewer overflows.
Even the lowest figure of 9.6 billion dollars is over TWELEVE TIMES the annual budget of Allegheny county.
One proposed solution is to build additional wastewater treatment facilities, in theory handling the increased volume of wastewater that comes through sewer pipes after it rains or snows. Another proposed solution is to build a large holding tank for wastewater- either above or underground. This holding tank would hold excess wastewater after it rains or snows and then slowly release the wastewater back to the treatment plant after it stopped raining or snowing, so the facility wouldn't be overtaxed at one time.
The Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Controllers most recent estimate for the costs of constructing such facilities range from 9.6 billion to 52.9 billion dollars.
However, organizations across the state are working to stop stormwater from reaching the sewers by non-traditional means. Here in Pittsburgh, the Nine-Mile Run watershed association provides rain barrels for residents living within the Nine-Mile Run watershed to help prevent sewage overflows into that area.
And in East Liberty, developers have unveiled an innovative stormwater management plan that uses plants-based methods—combined with impermeable concrete—to help prevent stormwater from causing sewage overflows.
In Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County submitted a plan to the EPA that will bring their city into compliance with Clean Water Act Regulation entirely using ecologically beneficial stormwater management techniques and costing only 1 billion dollars.
It has yet to be seen whether Pittsburgh will follow suit, as the City’s Clean Water Act Compliance Plan draft to the EPA won’t be filed until 2012.
For more information from the EPA about water pollution and sewer overflows, visit E-P-A [dog] gov [forward slash] N-P-D-E-S
To learn more about the local issue of sewer overflows, visit Three Rivers Wet Weather at 3riverswetweather [dot] org [that's the number 3]
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
On December 2nd, nearly 2,500 people paid $90.50 a ticket to see conservative personality—some say demagogue—Glenn Beck at the Benedum Theater. Across town at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group hosted a lecture on the Immokalee farmworker solidarity movements.
Immokalee is located on the Gulf side of Florida’s peninsula, and is one of the nation’s leading tomato-producing regions. Cruz Salucio (sal-LEW-see-oh), is a farmworker and staff member of the Coalition of Immokalee (PRONOUNCE: ihm-MAW-kah-lee)Workers, the CIW (PRONOUCE C-I-W.) The organization, which began in 1993, is a “community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.” Addressing an audience of 20, Salucio spoke about the history of the CIW, it’s victories, and current campaigns. Meghan Cohorst, co-coordinator for the Student Farmworkers Alliance--a partnering organization of the CIW—translated.
Salucio explained that in the agricultural industry, workers are not paid hourly, but paid by the bucket.
* CIW_bucket.flac: (0:19)
Workers like Salucio harvest locally in Immokalee for 8 months. The rest of the year they move from farm to farm, working for the same growers but in different locations. These giant growers own farm acreage up and down the East Coast, so the policies they enforce in one location, affect the workers even as they move on to new fields with the changing seasons.
* CIW_nobenefits.flac: (0:21)
Since 1997, there have been nine cases of modern day slavery in the state of Florida. The CIW has worked with the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute six of those nine cases.
* CIW_slavery.flac: (0:31)
In 2008, a case of modern slavery was uncovered just a few blocks from the CIW offices in Immokalee. According to the testimonials of the workers involved in the case, Salucio explains, they had to pay $5, just to use a bucket of water to bath.
* CIW_truck.flac: (0:30)
When the CIW began in ’93, they organized a number of actions targeting the growers. They undertook a 230-mile march from fort Meyers to Orlando, the home of the Fruit and Vegetable Association. They organized three general strikes with over a 1000 workers each time, and sustained a 30-day hunger strike.
* CIW_water.flac: (0:14)
The man—with his shirt bloodied from the physical violence inflicted by his employer—went to the CIW. Organizing 500 farmworkers, they marched to the employer’s house, declaring “to beat one of us is to beat us all.”
* CIW_subpovertywages.flac: (0:23)
In 2001, the CIW began the Campaign for Fair Food, targeting the major buyers of tomatoes who, as Salucio explains, are ultimately responsible for perpetuating farmworker poverty.
* CIW_corporateprices.flac: (0:53)
Despite the organization’s relatively small size, they launched a boycott against Taco Bell in 2001, a subsidiary of Yum Brands—the largest fast food corporation in the world.
* CIW_demands.flac: (0:47)
Four years later, Taco Bell came to the table and agreed to all of the CIW’s demands.
To date, the CIW has extended the Fair Foods Campaign to nine corporations in total, including the four major fast food companies in the world: McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Taco Bell.
They’ve also worked out agreements with the three largest food service providers in the country: Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass Group.
And just four weeks ago, the CIW signed an agreement with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange—an interest group that involves 90% of the state’s tomato growers.
This is a momentous victory for Florida farmworkers because up until this point, the growers were not implementing the agreements that the CIW made with the buyers. Now, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange is actively engaged with the CIW to implement the wage requirements and new codes of conduct in the fields.
* CIW_alliances.flac: (0:52)
Only one supermarket, Whole Foods Market, has come to the table with the CIW. So, the farmworkers are currently targeting regional and national supermarkets.
* CIW_grocery.flac: (0:42)
For more information about the Coalition of Immokalee (PRONOUNCE: ihm-MAW-kah-lee) Workers, visit C-I-W [dash] online [dot] org. Or visit the Student Farmworkers Alliance, at S-F-alliance [dot] org.
* Maggies_Farm_edit.flac: (3:00)
That was Rage Against the Machine, covering Bob Dylan's 1965 song, "Maggie's Farm."
The COP-16 climate negotiations are taking place this December in Cancun, Mexico. Alongside the official summit of national leaders is an alternative people’s gathering called the Klimaforum 10, which has attracted one hundred thousand people from around the world. The state negotiations show no signs of progress, and in fact threaten to regress as Japan and a small group of other nations attempt to withdraw from the Kyoto protocols. The Kyoto protocols commit industrialized nations to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by a small percentage, generally recognized by climate scientists as insufficient to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
The peoples’ gathering, however, has voiced outrage over climate change and are making demands for truly sustainable solutions. Diverse groups from around the world are organizing a multitude of events. Youth groups are calling out the injustice of the worlds’ leaders, most who will be dead before the worst effects of climate change take place. Small island nations are demanding action to save their very existence. Indigenous groups are demanding a halt to destructive industrial practices throughout the world, from the tar sands of Canada to silver mining on the sacred lands of the Huichol people in Mexico, to BP oil extraction in the Amazon of Ecuador.
As a truly sustainable way forward, many point to the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba created in April of 2010 at a summit of over 35,000 people’s organizations from around the world. The Cochabamba agreement demands that industrialized nations take responsibility for their historic and ongoing role in causing climate change, by reducing their emissions sufficiently to prevent the rise of atmospheric CO2 above 300 parts per million, and by mitigating the problems that climate change is causing in non-industrialized nations. Furthermore, it calls for industrialized nations to recognize the fundamental unsustainable nature of their current economic model based on perpetual growth and extraction. The Cochabomba agreement suggests these countries adopt and implement the UN's Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
However, the state negotiations are now centering around the REDD platform, a cap-and-trade market based program whose stated aim is to reduce emissions by reducing deforestation. The program would create a carbon market in which industrial emitters of carbon dioxide would pay the owners of forest lands for the carbon sequestration value of those forests. For a grassroots perspective on REDD we bring you excerpts from the Indigenous Environmental Network’s radio broadcast from Cancun.
Alberto Saldomando of the International Indian Treaty Council, on why indigenous people are speaking out at the climate forum:
Saldomando on REDD:
Proponents argue that REDD will alleviate poverty by providing income to the developing world, but Salomando questions the underlying assumptions of this model:
Furthermore, he argues that REDD gives industry a license to continue polluting:
For another perspective on how the climate proposals now on the negotiating table will impact people in non-industrialized nations, Rustbelt Radio correspondent Andalusia Knoll brings us this interview with Ann Maina from the African Biodiversity Network.
There is now a push for African nations to focus on biofuel production with oil crops such as Jatropha and Castor bean – but these crops compete with food production.
Despite the wide gap between the urgency of the climate problem and the solutions being proposed by the worlds’ leaders, which range from ineffective to disastrous, the strength of the people’s mobilization shows the commitment around the world to hold these leaders accountable. Alberto Saldomando:
For more on the COP16 gatherings, the Indigenous Environmental Network has ongoing coverage at redroadcancun.com
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
We now bring you more news from the Peoples’ Oil and Gas Summit held in Pittsburgh on November 19th and 20th. John Fenton is a rancher who lives in a rural area outside the town of Pavilion, Wyoming. This otherwise rural and remote region has been intensively developed for gas extraction.
Lisa Parr lost her health and her dream home when the Aruba drilling company moved into her neighborhood.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigators brought an infrared camera, which makes volatile organic compounds visible when they are released into the air.
Lisa Parr and her family are not alone. Not only do their neighbors suffer similar health problems, but health surveys have documented the same patterns in other communities with intensive gas development. Dr. Wilma Suber, who conducted these surveys, speaks on where just some of the air pollutants come from:
Jim Fitzgerald, a professor of sociology who also owns and operates a ranch in lives in the gas fields of Colorado, put the costs of deep shale gas drilling in a larger context:
* TowerofPower.flac: (3:45)
You've been listening to "Only So Much Oil in the Ground" by Tower of Power.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events, If you are organizing local events, send details to firstname.lastname@example.org (INFO at INDY-P-G-H dot ORG) with the word EVENTS in the subject line:
* Join MarcellusProtest.org this Thursday, December 6th at 5PM in front of the Carnegie Art Museum, as they tell participants in the Carnegie's Annual Holiday Happy Hour that the Carnegie's Powdermill Nature Reserve's 2,200 pristine acres and the land around it should not be leased to Marcellus Shale drillers. Powdermill has one of the "very few unpolluted streams available for ongoing aquatic research" and must be kept that way. The Carnegie should join with the thousands of citizens who oppose hydrofracking and not sell out [quote] "clean streams for revenue streams".
* A lecture entitled "The consequences of Marcellus Shale", by Political Science and Public Policy Professor Kent Moors, will take place on December 8th at 7:30pm in the McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University. E-mail reservations to ADULTLL@andrew.cmu.edu.
* Anne Feeney, a stalwart of Pittsburgh Folk Music, who has been touring for close to a decade, has been stricken with small-cell cancer on her lungs and heart. She has an avalanche of medical bills her insurance does not cover. On Sunday December 12th at 7PM, come together for TAKE A STAND, ROCK WITH ANNE, a diverse night of music from Billy Price, Joe Grushecky, Liz Berlin, Justin Sane, Hermie Granati, Mike Stout and the Human Union, The Newlanders, Tres Lads, Joe Munroe, and more! 100% of the proceeds will benefit Anne. Friends and bands are donating all of their services and Mr. Smalls Theatre is donating the venue. More info at ticketweb.com/mrsmalls
* Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year’s holiday. This mass exodus is the world’s largest human migration, an epic spectacle that reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future. Working over several years, Chinese-Canadian documentary filmmaker Lixin Fan (PRONOUNCE: LICKS-IN-FANN) travels with one couple who’ve taken the trip for two decades. Like so many of China’s rural poor, they left behind their children for grueling factory jobs. LAST TRAIN HOME, an emotional and starkly beautiful film, has been one of the best reviewed documentaries of the year and is an intimate look at one fractured family, shedding light on the human cost of China’s ascendance to economic superpower. Showing now at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' downtown Harris Theater location, at 809 Liberty Avenue. For showtimes, see pittsburghfilmmakers.org
* Marcellus Shale public hearings, trainings, and informational meetings in Pittsburgh and statewide continue to take place at a rate faster than Halliburton spokespersons see cash flow into their bank accounts. To keep up to date with the latest Marcellus Shale anti-gas drilling events, see the calendar on marcellusprotest.org.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Emily Laychak and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Lizzie Anderson, Emily DeMarco, Andalusia Knoll, Amos Levy, Laura Miller, Jessica McPherson, Nigel Parry, Dominique Reed, and Favian Xavier. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. Become our fan on Facebook to receive updates on our latest episode. All of our shows are available 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
by Bill Kell Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at 8:45 AM
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