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:: Alternative Media

William Pitt Interviews Howard Dean

William Rivers Pitt the adminstrator of Truthout.org interviews Howard Dean, the only Presidential Candidate, who can win, and that took a stand against the war in iraq.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Racism Really Does Make You Stupid

Prejudice can diminish mental abilities, study finds

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News :: Alternative Media

Suit Seeks to Ban Kids From Eating Oreos

AP - Mon May 12, 8:37 PM ET

Kids in California may have to give up their Oreos, if a lawsuit filed by a San Francisco public interest lawyer is successful.

-=-=-

At first, I thought: "How cute." But then I read the article. It's chilling.

Here's what I found most compelling:

The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine… said last summer that this kind of fat should not be consumed at all. It is directly associated with heart disease…

And:

Informing customers about trans fats on food labels could prevent 7,600 to 17,100 cases of coronary heart disease and 2,500 to 5,600 deaths per year…

And:

Even food labeled "low in cholesterol" or "low in saturated fats" may have high percentages of trans fats.


Peace,

aM.

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News :: Resistance & Tactics

Capitola Amends Public Space Ordinance Following War Protests

Capitola Amends Public Space Ordinance Following War Protests

http://www.mcpost.com/archives/2003/050603.html#ordinance

by Michael Thomas
5/06/03

Following gatherings of anti-war protestors near the Capitola Mall that ended in numerous arrests, the Capitola City Council revised a City ordinance to strengthen laws against blocking public sidewalks.

As protestors rallied in front of military recruiting offices on 41st Avenue, a counter-protestor created a strange spectacle on a sidewalk across the street. The man, accompanied by a dog tethered to the Kentucky Fried Chicken sign, posted a banner reading: "Don't mislead our kids" on a utility box and proceeded to unload a van full of personal possessions onto the sidewalk.

Capitola Police officers received complaints from nearby businesses and warned the individual about obstructing the sidewalk, but no law was found that prohibited his activity. He remained at the spot with his belongings for over two days.

In response, the City drafted an amended ordinance to prohibit "placing obstructions in any right-of-way."

Although the City's report stated that the intention was to alleviate "problems of encroaching on City property by protestors or any other person," Council Member Dennis Norton opposed the ordinance on the grounds that it could place unnecessary restrictions on Capitola homeowners.

"If you have vegetation or a fence that is in the way, the City can come and ask you to remove it," Norton said.

"We've become so reactionary," he added. "We have one instance and we write an ordinance for it. We are a City of laws and ordinances as it is."

But Council member Stephanie Harlan said the change fills a gap in the City's codes, and that organized public protest remains possible.

"People can certainly still gather and use the public space," she said.

.

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News :: Resistance & Tactics

Capitola War Protesters Won't Be Charged

Capitola War Protesters Won't Be Charged

http://www.mcpost.com/archives/2003/050603.html#protesters

by Michael Thomas
5/06/03

Protesters arrested outside the military recruiting offices on 41st Avenue will not face charges. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office made the announcement on Friday, May 2.

As the nation prepared for military action against Iraq in mid-March, the recruiting offices, which are located in a complex that houses a variety of commercial and private businesses, were besieged with protesters. On several days, a colorful group demonstrated along the sidewalk in front of the building, singing and chanting. A smaller group physically blocked the entrances to Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine recruiting stations, and openly expressed their intention to be arrested.

The Capitola Police Department sent a large number of its limited staff of officers to the scene on most days, at an estimated cost to the city of more than $20,000.

On Mar. 21, 13 protesters were arrested by the Capitola Police Department with assistance from a team of County Sheriff Deputies dressed in full riot gear. The individuals were issued misdemeanor trespassing citations and immediately released.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $400 or up to 90 days in jail.

According to District Attorney Bob Lee, such penalties "would not justify the time and expense in prosecuting these individuals."

Lee also cited the peaceful nature of the protest and the demonstrators' nonviolent cooperation with arresting officers as reasons for not pursuing penalties.

Capitola Police Department Lieutenant Mike Card said "we would have liked to have the matter prosecuted. We worked with the demonstrators to ensure a peaceful resolution. It wasn't until they insisted on being arrested that they were."
Protesters Upset at Missing Day in Court

The protesters' citations required appearance for arraignment on Apr. 23. The group staged a press conference and demonstration at the County Courthouse on that day, but discovered that they weren't on the court calendar.

Activist Nan Beltran said "I was upset that at least the first step hadn't been concluded to at least tell me what the charges were. Most of us have jobs, We have to take off work. It doesn't seem fair to inconvenience people like that."

Lee said the hearing dates are set by police officers, not by the County, and that his office needed some extra time to consider the charges.

"Any time you are dealing with people's constitutional rights, you have to consider those rights. It takes a lot of research," he said.

Realizing they wouldn't be charged that day, the protesters entered the building and filled the DA's reception area, until Lee came out to address them.

Lee said the demonstration at the Court House and the doors to his office was "no disruption whatsoever."

With the citations still on the books, the County could revisit them if the protesters are involved in similar incidents over the next year.

But with charges currently set aside, protester Nan Beltran expressed pride in the group's action.

"I feel good about what I did. I was trying to put myself forward to save lives," she said.

Beltran said that the fight isn't over. A group of activists was planning to pass out leaflets to potential recruits at the military offices in the coming week, but none have been seen there yet.

.

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News :: Peace & War

Yellow Ribbon Week will honor men and women in the military

Yellow Ribbon Week will honor men and women in the military

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/May/09/local/stories/05local.htm

May 9, 2003
By JONDI GUMZ
Sentinel staff writer

SCOTTS VALLEY — Twice last month, Ann Wright put up ribbons to show her support for American troops deployed in Iraq. But each time, they were taken down, the yellow ones as well as the red, white and blue.

When she went to City Hall, she found out her ribbons were considered a "public nuisance" under city regulations. So she asked the City Council if they would follow the example set by Burlingame, and declare a Yellow Ribbon Week to honor the men and women serving in the military.

"Freedom isn’t free," said Wright, 72, a petite and perky blonde whose son is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. "You have to work for it."

She had hoped to tie yellow ribbons on traffic light poles, but City Attorney Robert Logan advised against it, citing the recent federal court decision against Caltrans.

Caltrans had allowed the American flag on overpasses but took down other banners, and the judge ruled that Caltrans had to give both forms of speech equal access.

But council members had no problem supporting Yellow Ribbon Week, which will be the first in Santa Cruz County since U.S. forces arrived in Iraq.

Mayor Randy Johnson issued a proclamation to begin the observation Saturday and Councilman Stephany Aguilar offered to put a yellow ribbon in front of her house.

Wright already has her plans laid out. She has arranged for a march and a rally Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Her friends, Bob and Priest Owens, both Air Force veterans, are helping her. They will meet at the lawn next to Walgreen’s on Mount Hermon Road, with their two teenagers.

"We’ll tie a yellow ribbon around everyone’s arm and sing ‘This Land Is Your Land,’" Wright said.

The march will make its way to Skypark on Kings Village Road, then to City Hall, off Scotts Valley Drive, where Priest will lead the group in singing "God Bless America."

People of all ages are invited.

"This is not political, it’s a tribute," said Wright. "One doesn’t have to support the war or the president, military people are doing what they are told to do."

Wright’s son, John, graduated in 1975 from Harbor High School and earned his college degree from Brigham Young University. He trained at Laughlin Air Force Base and has been flying for 20 years.

"He loves the B52s," his mom said. "He told me "I can’t believe I’m being paid to do something I love.’"

Married and the father of a teenage son, he is stationed in Louisiana. With 18 years in the military, he has moved around a lot, from Guam and Sacramento to South Dakota and Virginia. A decade ago, he was sent to Middle East for Operation Desert Storm.

His mom kept the voice message he left when he was deployed in February. Two weeks ago, she got an e-mail wishing her a happy Mother’s Day.

She remembers how veterans were treated when the Vietnam War ended and doesn’t want history to repeat itself for the veterans sent to Iraq.

"They deserve and need our support," she said.
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Contact Jondi Gumz at jgumz@santa-cruz.com

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Commentary :: Resistance & Tactics

Democracy at Home

Democracy at Home

http://www.gdtimes.com/pages/politics.htm

by Christopher Krohn
5/08/03

The Santa Cruz Action Network, SCAN, met on April 17 at the Louden Nelson Community Center to discuss the current state of progressive politics in Santa Cruz. It was SCAN's bi-annual membership meeting. Around 50 members showed up to discuss everything from impeaching George Bush to post-war Iraq to designating their "major issue of focus" for the next six months. SCAN is one of those rare community electoral political clubs that has survived. The group is now in its third decade. It's total membership numbers over 250. The SCAN membership chose to focus their energies for the next six months on watch-dogging "the Santa Cruz City and County Budget" process and increasing "participatory democracy," this according to a resolution passed by SCAN.

Why the focus on municipal budgets? SCAN Steering Committee member Nora Hochman says she believes the leading public policy question is how they (city and county electeds) “spend our money,? adding that no other issue came up as “the issue? to work on.

Robert Guzley, also a SCAN steerer, stated that SCAN has spent a lot of time revitalizing and reorganizing itself and that there is an amazing amount of energy right now among the nine steering committee members. “There's subcommittee work being done and hopefully that will translate into accomplishing the main goals of the organization ... participatory democracy," he says.

Interestingly, two nights before this meeting, just down the street at the Santa Cruz City Hall, the city council took steps to seemingly limit participatory democracy and public input by "sun setting" three citizen committees and curtailing the number of times per year other commissions actually meet. Under cover of stemming the flow of red ink, the Council voted to "sunset" the following city-wide citizen advisory groups: the Integrated Pest Management Committee (IPM), the Habitat Conservation Plan Committee (HCP), and the Watershed Management Technical Advisory Taskforce (Watershed TAC). It would now appear that the 28 men and women who serve on these committees will be getting their advisory body pink slips very soon, thus threatening to end what has become part of the guts of environmental oversight in this city. The volunteer members—and volunteer is the operative word here—comprising these three advisory committees includes hydrologists, lawyers, and biologists. The city often pays big bucks to consult with these kinds of professionals. Over the past couple of years these committees stand out for the impacts they've had on the environment such as lowering city pesticide use (IPM), keeping loggers at bay while maintaining water quality on city-owned watershed lands (Watershed TAC), and protecting endangered species and habitat within the city (HCP). It is instructive to note that the decision to sunset these committees comes on the heels of the dissolution last December of our city's police oversight body—the Citizen's Police Review Board (CPRB), ostensibly done to also save money.

According to local activist and SCAN member Sherry Conable, who was present at the Council meeting, "few people spoke to the Council as they voted to scale back citizen involvement in the advisory body process in order to save around $25,000." (The total city budget is over $100 million.)

Mayor Emily Reilly, in a phone interview, said, "Believe me, $25,000 is a lot of money," adding that the Council is seeking to make cuts now where it can "because we anticipate laying off staff—"we are dependent on the state budget outcome and we are waiting on that." Isn't living in a state and municipal economic brave new world fun?

Celia Scott, a SCAN member, former Mayor, a member of the HCP Committee, and chair of the IPM committee, says the work (public outreach and education concerning alternative pest control techniques) of the IPM committee should be completed by the end of June, noting that it would be good to have a [IPM] citizen oversight group after June as well: “the HCP work is a little more complicated, that was a multi-year project," she adds.

When informed of the Council decision to sunset the advisory body he serves on, Tim Zorach, a Watershed TAC member, says he was never informed about any decision before it was made. Zorach, who has a doctorate in Aquatic Biology says “the group has many more months of work in order to complete our charge."

Mayor Reilly stated unequivocally: "We are not eliminating anything and we are not merging anything. We are cutting back, but when times are good again we will have the infrastructure to have more meetings as needed. All committees will finish their work."

This will be good news to Zorach and Scott, but what is not so clear then is where the cost savings will come from. Former Mayor Scott says the HCP will have to go out to four different commissions: “I'm not so sure where the savings will come in."

The new city budget year begins July 1, so something will have to give if any savings are to be realized. And SCAN's "reorganization and revitalization?" Maybe it is being handed a ripe enviro-political issue here, along with some potential volunteers whose services will not be utilized by the city when their committees "sunset." What remains to be seen is will SCAN live up to its mission statement and promote real democratic action in this community or will the sporadic bouts of progressive political infighting continue? SCAN steering committee member Robert Poen offered a simple, and reasonable, analysis on the prospect of revitalization: "The progressive approach will be defined by the people who get involved and it will hopefully be a community effort."

And who or what will fall prey to the necessary budget-cutting ax? Will the city's budget woes force not only layoffs and down-sized public advisory commissions, but worse still, will it cause cuts in department head salaries, or cuts in the $500 per month car allowances, or create every other month council meetings? Stay tuned—all politics is local.
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Christopher Krohn is an educator and former mayor of Santa Cruz. E-mail him at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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Commentary :: Resistance & Tactics

Marching Onward

Marching Onward

http://www.gdtimes.com/pages/news.htm

Now that the war in Iraq is over, what’s next for the anti-war crowd?

by Scott Hutchins
5/08/03

Baghdad has fallen. A new regime change is in the works. Now that war is winding down, what’s next for the peace movement? Did the worldwide protests over the past few months have an impact? Is there anything left to protest?

According to some politically active residents of Santa Cruz County, the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes.? Susan Zeman, a founding member of the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition believes that the protests had a very positive and influential impact on many people.

“I do think that the protests had an impact on the world,? Zeman says. “Protesting is partially about making a statement to the world but it’s more about making a statement to ourselves and letting the world see that we don’t agree with that policy. When you look at the effect, we know that we didn’t stop the war. But what we did do was exercise our rights and we saw the power that we did have, which was to put off the conflict for many months. George Bush first started talking about invading Iraq back in October and really started driving hard for it back in November. So I think that the protests all over the world were effective in delaying it.?

But what was more important to her was the cohesion of responses by the American people.

“By protesting we also raised the issue of peace and justice in every American home,? she says. “It has raised the issue of citizens’ involvement for peace and justice and how we are responsible for what our government is doing. I think that we were very effective in doing this. No, we didn’t stop this war, and we might not stop the next war. But, what we are doing is building a system of citizen engagement, a system that has been in the process for decades. We are definitely helping to further that and it has grown and developed so much in the past few years. I would like to think that, in the not too distant future, we will have built a system [in which] citizens are engaged in what their government is doing.?
Photo

Other activists believe that, while the anti-war movement didn’t stop the war in Iraq, it did hold the hawks accountable and possibly restrained their itchy trigger fingers. “It’s the peace movement that kept that war in check,? says Bob Fitch with the Resource Center fro nonviolence. “It had a lot to do with preventing a nuclear holocaust.?

Justin Mayer, an activist who helped organize the Civilian Weapons Inspection Team, which tried to “inspect? Lockheed Martin’s Santa Cruz facility last month, believes the protests that went on had a significant impact on world events.

“The fact that so many people around the world joined together and stood up to be counted to say that war should be the very last resort when solving conflict is amazing,? he says. “The key thing that I believe needs to be done is to educate Americans because they seem really in the dark about what our foreign policy is about. Protesting and education are tied together.?

What’s Next?

What happens now in terms of the peace movement?

“A lot of study,? Fitch says. “One of the things that made the protests prior to the war so strong, not only locally but globally, was that there had been a lot of studying and discussion after the Vietnam War and, particularly, the Gulf War. What is the financial cost of war? What are the emotional costs? Everybody felt that war, the uneasiness and the uncertainty. There will still be action related to the costs of war.?

Activists also say that they will keep up the pressure against the Bush administration and its priorities. “We should continue to protest the U.S. government’s foreign policy,? Mayer said. “Second on the list would be to protest Patriot Acts 1 and 2. Not many people know about Patriot Act 2, which is just a real erosion of the Bill of Rights. We also need to protest all this expenditure on the military as opposed to what gets put into education. Hopefully more people will wake up when they look at their pocket books and continue to wonder why they can’t pay their bills or why their child’s classroom has twice as many kids than it had just a few years ago.?

With all the focus on war, there’s been little discussion of the upcoming presidential election in 18 months. But one name that has emerged from the pack of look-alike Democratic candidates is Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat congressman from Ohio, who has openly spoken out against the war in Iraq, called for the United States’ withdrawal from NAFTA, and introduced a legislative bill to create a Department of Peace. (He will speak at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 25, at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.)

Despite the positive outlook that Kucinich exudes, there are individuals like Zeman who believe that the problem lies deeper than who is in the White House.

“There are local groups who are working for Kucinich’s campaign for presidency,? Zeman says. “He is an absolutely wonderful candidate. One thing that is important to remember is that electoral politics is not the be-all and end-all in terms of where we’re at. What we need more than anything else is more citizen engagement because even if Kucinich wins the presidency, that is not going to solve all of our problems. He is just another guy walking right into the same system that every other president walks into. There is already a system there and this one individual can only do so much. We have an entire system that we have to address.?

Fitch agrees that the systematic dysfunction of the current American body politic transcends one president. Nevertheless, President Bush has managed to grab an inordinate amount of power, and continues to grab. Fitch thinks that people are fed up, and their discontent will fuel the election process.

“There are a great number of people who are annoyed by Bush’s schoolyard bully approach,? Fitch says. “Bush is saying to the globe, ‘I don’t need no [f-ing] badge.’ That annoys a lot of the conservative people who believe that they have a connection to the government, that the president is there for them, and he’s not. He’s there for himself and his corporate comrades. There’s no end to this.

“People have been waiting for a chance to say the things that are in their hearts,? he says. “I think people will say the things that are in their hearts during this campaign.?

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