Alex White spoke on May 26 2016 on Corporate Welfare and what it costs the people of Rochester. The event was held at presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' headquarters. Sanders has been an outspoken critic of Corporate Welfare on the national level. But the local costs are mostly due to Democrats.
Alex White has run for mayor and city council as a Green Party candidate.
To suppress resource scarcity in all of society, would be to eradicate poverty. Since the inception of anti-poverty in 1964, when former President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty in his state of the union address, no organization has documented findings proven to eradicate poverty. Yet, the only answer to the question, “Can poverty be eradicated?” are, “It's always been around,” or, “It's human nature,” but never any positive analysis. In order for all of society to live with an insufficient level of scarcity to allow poverty to subsist, some invention or new technology must be produced. Could poverty eradication be a technology? Technology does come in the form of methods and systems as well as machines and gadgets. Wouldn't it be safe to say that research and development is the next step to take in order to achieve the technological breakthrough that is poverty eradication?
What must we research in order to eradicate poverty? The simple answer is economics. There are theories for poverty eradication and existing systemic barriers that can be explored by applying the scientific method. For example, the Profit Theory, which provides that one party’s profit comes at the cost of another party’s economic mobility. Another is the scarcity suppression theory which provides that poverty cant subsist if scarcity of goods and services to everyone in society is suppressed. Last but not least, the Commerce Theory, which provides that scarcity justifies the use of commercial exchange and without scarcity, commerce is irrelevant. So, why aren’t anti-poverty organizations working in this regard?
Some of us have come to believe that poverty will always exist due to religious ties like that of the Holy Bible, in the Book of Matthew, chapter 26, verse 11, in which, Jesus is quoted saying, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Take it any way you want but Christians have interpreted this dialog as the Lord Jesus Christ prophesying poverty to be an ever existing factor of life outside of Heaven. This interpretation may seem harmless but in the case of anti-poverty, it fuels pessimism against inquiring the possibility of permanently ending poverty.
Commerce is also a reason many of us believe that poverty will always exist; being the preferred system of resource distribution and fulfillment in the American culture. Our economy, culture, and values, are shaped around the buying and selling of scarce resources. If all services and goods were abundant, buying and selling would be counterproductive, in that, commerce would introduce scarcity to an abundant situation. We would revert away from commerce which includes business, wage labor, profit, money, banks, insurance, life as we know it; raising the question, “What would people do?” So, instead of inquiring the possibility of suppressing scarcity and fine tuning cultural design thereafter, we indirectly dismiss the opportunity of progressing in the war on poverty.
My favorite belief rests on the idea that technology has some sort of foreseeable limit that prohibits the permanent suppression of scarcity in society. It’s reasonable to conclude that poverty eradication would require science-fiction like advancements but it is incorrect to assume these advancements are unobtainable. For example, as long as service is based on human labor, it will contain a level of scarcity that conflicts with the eradication. So, there needs to be some sort of invention or breakthrough to succeed human service which many believe is impossible regardless of the constant progression of automation.
Despite all the strong arguments against this path in anti-poverty, neither has the backing to render it impossible which is why this uncharted territory deserves a shot at wide scale exploration. The government has the R&D resources in their $135-billion-dollar annual budget split between defense and non-defense. This is clearly a non-defense project but considering the behavior influenced by the environmental conditions of finite resources scarce to many and abundant to a few, the defense budget should be in question of splitting resources for the eradication of poverty as well.
Related: Bookchin's Post Scarcity Anarchism | A Trickle-Up Economy | Why we're not protesting the economic collapse like the rest of the world, or What's Next? 'Inverted Totalitarianism' | American Harvest: a superficial, patronizing, and smug film
On May 2, 2016, I sat in court to observe jury selection with other members of Enough is Enough in support of Scean Gordon, arrested as he filmed the illegal handcuffing, search, and abduction of his friend, Daryl Appleberry who was racially profiled and targeted by Rochester Police Department officers Nicholas Thomas and Christopher Kosch. The infamous race-baiting, bully cops insisted their behavior was a legitimate case of mistaken identity. Mr. Gordon, however, recorded Mr. Appleberry repeatedly clarifying his identity, his family members anxiously shouting that the police had the wrong person and naming him correctly, the cops illegally searching Mr. Appleberry's person without permission, and then police forcing Mr. Appleberry into a police cruiser and beginning to drive away with him. All this activity occurred without a warrant or any legally required effort to speak with the family members who offered identification, or required response to Mr. Appleberry’s saying he did not consent to search.
Having infuriated the police with his loud insistence on legality, Mr. Gordon was targeted, chased down, beaten and maced, and arrested under false charges. He chose to stand trial, rebutting police lies and their brutal treatment of him, rather than admit to guilt in a false plea deal.
I'd been part of a small team that attended the Huntley Hearing for the case, listening to police testimony. Later we FOILed and transcribed the sworn testimony of the two officers' claims and compared their words, frame by frame to the videos that Mr. Gordon himself, and Daryl Appleberry's sister, Diamond, had taken of the episode. I could easily see for myself that the accusations were largely untrue; the police lied in answer to nearly every question asked about their behavior from the start of the episode to its brutal end. There seemed some hope that if we could get the video and the testimony shown to a jury Scean might have, before a jury of his peers, a chance at justice.
We already understood that the jury would be drawn from the wide county, not many from those who live in the city, and realized then that the pool would be predominantly white, matching the county population. From earlier study of the overwhelmingly white and suburban composition of the police force (there isn't a single city dweller on the Professional Standards Section that reviews complaints of police violence, for example), we understood the risk of going before a likely white jury. Still, Assistant Public Defender, Christine Seppeler, was sharp and remarkably clear about the issues, we had the video and still shots as proof, and were confident any jury could practically touch the bigotry and racial undercurrents in the materials and testimony. So when we viewed officer Thomas complain that the "houses were all jammed together, the way they are in the city," we knew he brought suburban standards not only to Scean's neighborhood, but to ALL city neighborhoods in this country and around the world. The pattern he complained about, "a house just separated from the next house by a driveway," is the format of streets in Washington DC, San Francisco, St. Louis, Paris, Tokyo – poor neighborhoods and rich, sophisticated and impoverished. His bias seemed so obvious, it gave us hope. But we knew it would be easy to exaggerate fears if the jury selection didn't include anyone from city neighborhoods.
Luckily, there was hope of unbiased possibilities among the sixteen selected, one an IT specialist working for Xerox, another a homecare nurse raising a family not far from the courtroom. All but one other lived in the suburbs. Two of the three city dwellers were black and had some experience with profiling, (The remaining city resident, a woman my age, was surly, inattentive throughout the trial, and was snide in response to questions involving race.) There was, in the remaining mix, an out lesbian, not Caucasian, who acknowledged police might make errors based on racial expectations and may have been profiled herself. Everyone else was white. Very white. Sunglasses-on white. My own kind of pink people. And not a single one of the jury pool – not one – could (or would) explain what the Black Lives Matter movement was about. (Christine Seppler, asked them all that very question.) None of them had ever had anything but the most "positive treatment" by a police officer and none expressed any concern at being pulled over for traffic infractions – their ONLY experience with police. So only the three with darker complexions had darker experiences with cops. Guess who were the first to be eliminated in the backroom selection. The two black potential jurors were dismissed, immediately and only because their experiences with police paralleled Scean Gordon's, by the vigorously racist assistant district attorney, Hillary Levitt. (More about her handling of the prosecution in another piece.) We expected their truth telling, however careful and delicate, might cause their dismissal, but watching such cultural bias in action solidifies my beliefs that the system is carefully designed and extremely effective in maintaining racial imbalance.
Among those still standing were many golfers, men whose hobbies included working on their large homes and lawns, a pilot who enjoyed trips in his private plane, several college professors, and most astonishing, a judge who knew the prosecutor, had been a police officer in Gates – long known as a Sundown Town, where black people are unsafe being pulled over after dark – who spoke in puffy absolutisms that sound like overacting on a one-season cartoon cop show. Representing the middle class, just a bit less privileged, were a suburban stay-at-home mother and a man who worked as a dishwasher in a franchise restaurant.
As the selection continued, the judge actually lobbied for retention of her colleague, a judge who radiated such bias in every phrase that we supporters cringed at his oblivion and sanctimony. Naive and hopeful to the last, not for a second did I think he'd be even considered. Yet Judge Ellen Yacknin used her position to insist the judge stay – a sickeningly obvious ignorance of both her own and his cultural bias, of systemic injustice. Luckily, the assistant public defender had just enough clout to assure he would not serve. He tottered off, likely relieved, to his country club.
So this was 'a jury of one's peers.' All white. Nearly entirely suburban. None with the daily experience of profiling, racism and violence that the RPD has been known for from its inception. [Do a search for "Rochester Police Department" on Rochester.Indymedia.org to get a sense of the problem, Ed.] None who would question the many overt lies of the police, even when they were demonstrated by the video and the still photos blown up for details. None questioned the pretense of officer Thomas that he was offended at the phrase, 'You don't have to listen to that niggah,' or 'Get the fuck off the property,' when he is known for his own abusive, vile, racist sputtering. Street talk shocked the suburbanites and the DA played them like lutes. Their own cruelties take place behind large picture windows and vast lawns. Police assure and comfort them when they veer from polite and quiet exchange. They don’t risk arrest for conferring with a neighbor about music production schedules in their own yards! Shocked, they were, that Scean Gordon was loud and angry at repeated and extensive abuses against him, his friends. I was sick at heart, exhausted each day by the pretense of 'justice' in a courtroom of lies. Mr. Gordon maintained equanimity and grace – and utter silence – throughout the four-day ordeal.
This experience did not surprise Scean or Daryl or their families, for they are used to such abuse every day. It will not shock my other black friends and allies. This is their daily diet.
I, who have lived next to racism and have experienced its advantages, who have seen it regularly in our city where I work and play, have read and watched its nationwide effects online and know its history, have worked against it in Enough is Enough and other local groups fighting police bias, have tried to work with the police and finally determined it is only possible, and truly necessary, to work against the entire policing system, I, for all my efforts to understand racism, was stunned by the ugly implications of this jury selection.
The roots of racism are like those of black walnut trees: they reach both deep and wide, holding up a productive and beautiful tree as they poison everything beneath its crown in a wide radius. We must, as so many gardeners have learned when their nearby crops fall as the tree roots touch their beautiful tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, to uproot that thing that poisons everything else. Our local police union calls itself the Locust Club for the hardwood used in its billy clubs. Better, I think, we call it the Black Walnut Club, poisoning every part of city lives in a huge radius. Get the saws and axes. This deadly police system must fall.
– Katherine Denison, 12 May 2016
Related: Two Black men, one falsely arrested & the other brutalized by RPD, tell their stories | Gordon's motions denied by judge in police violence case | Motion to suppress statements denied in police violence case | According to civil suit, RPD officers Kosch and Thomas have violent histories on the force
Went to see REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM - The Chomsky Documentary yesterday at The Little Theatre. This was the first time Noam Chomsky saw the film himself. He was seated right in front of me. I was tempted to take a picture of the back of his head, with the film playing in front of him and post it with the caption "Chomsky watching Chomsky" or something to that effect but then I thought it would be too juvenile and with much self-discipline, I abandoned the idea.
photo: Mara Ahmed
The documentary is excellent. It parses hours and hours of interviews with Professor Chomsky and creates a clear and engaging narrative. As a filmmaker, I understand the challenge. How do you take a series of lectures by one of the most eclectic intellectuals of our time and cut them into a cogent and gripping 73 minute film? The answer: sharp editing, copious b-roll and terrific graphics and animation. The importance and urgency of what Professor Chomsky is saying helps too, of course. He talks about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few (a fraction of one percent) and puts this phenomenon in a historical context, he explains how the "rabble rousers" of the 60s and 70s were crushed, how the media and their focus on consumption have produced a "me" culture and undermined solidarity, and how this will continue to shape an increasingly ugly society. The film ends on a positive note by reminding us of Howard Zinn and his bottom-up view of history - the idea that the countless small actions of unknown people drive all great historical events. Ultimately it's always been, and it continues to be, up to us.
photo: Mara Ahmed
watch the Q & A with Noam Chomsky (sadly, the video cut out at the last question and a half and so audio was utilized toward the end)
In the post screening Q&A, I got to make a comment. I told Dr Chomsky that as a Pakistani American filmmaker I had shot a film in Lahore in 2009. The film was a broad survey of public opinion about issues of interest to Americans, e.g. the Taliban, the War on Terror, American foreign policy in the region, and a polling of what average Pakistanis thought about Americans. I interviewed a wide spectrum of people and most of them were quite politically astute. Many talked about the corporate nature of American media and how the American public was totally brainwashed. Yet some mentioned Dr Chomsky by name and said, "But then there are also people like Noam Chomsky in America." The audience applauded vehemently. I concluded with how it was important for him to know that, even as a single individual, he's an antidote to American imperialism and aggression. Again much applause. In typical Chomsky style, he evaded the compliment completely and began to talk about international polls and how public opinions around the world are of immense consequence. He ended by complimenting me on recognizing that fact. Nate Baldo asked a brilliant question about American military aid to Israel and increasing grassroots resistance to the occupation. Interestingly enough that was the issue Dr Chomsky spent most of his time discussing. Of course he did not mention BDS, but this was a full house (500 people or more) and an excellent forum for educating people on Israel/Palestine. All in all, a spectacular evening with an intellectual icon.
Related: Noam Chomsky gives talkback about decline of American dream | Direct Action, Occupy and the Power of Social Movements: An Interview With Noam Chomsky | Noam Chomsky on the Cuban 5 | Atypical Tea Partier A Typical Tea Partier | The Propaganda Box | BTL:Noam Chomsky Offers Views on Motivation for Iraq War and...
feature photo: Miriam Steinberg
April Monday Mayhem was about Jalil Muntaqim and his parole hearing coming up on June 14, 2016, with a focus on ways to support him. The event included an open discussion on parole reform in New York State and letter writing to the parole board on Jalil's behalf.
On the first Monday of every month, the Flying Squirrel Community Space hosts special programming that forgoes the technical and logistical concerns of running an open-use community space in order to take a closer look at the impact of our actions on the community and our potential as a catalyst for change.
Portion of audio from the presenters
Jalil is an ex-Black Panther and the longest held political prisoner in the United States. He's served 44 years and is about to have his 9th parole hearing. In his time incarcerated he has been a consistent voice for revolutionary change and liberation for oppressed people, having organized a number of successful programs and events inside and outside of prison walls. Our Rochester community needs him to be granted release so that his kind wisdom and insight can help inform us in our current and ongoing struggles for justice!
Watch RBG| New Afrikan Freedom Fighter Jalil Muntaqim VOICE OF LIBERATION
Please check out Jalil's website below for more info and updates, sign the petition, and write a letter to the board to advocate for his release on parole this June 14th. And stay tuned to Rochester Indymedia for more upcoming events and ways to get further involved with Jalil's campaign. Spread the word!
Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283
P.O. Box 149
Attica, NY 14011-0149
Rochester Indymedia's Ted Forsyth spoke with Ursula Rozum of the Syracuse Peace Council about the New York Tactical Officers Association's "SWAT Conference" happening in Syracuse, NY, April 26 - 28 and what is being done to stop it.
Here's the press release from the Syracuse Peace Council and the War Resisters League:
This coming Wednesday the 27th, the Clarion Project's Ryan Mauro - designated as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center for his anti-Islam views - will be addressing attendees of the New York Tactical Officers Association Conference. Attendees will include police officers from from across NY state, including the NYPD and the Syracuse PD, as well as officers from around the country: LA, Colorado, and Ohio.This has caused alarm among advocacy groups such has the Council on American Islamic Relations which called this past Thursday for police departments to probe Mauro's upcoming training.It has also led local media in Syracuse, as well as other websites, to question both Mauro and the Larry Beresnoy, Executive Director of the New York Tactical Officers Association which puts on the conference. This has only led to defenses of Clarion by Beresnoy, who will not allow media to attend the conference, and will not disclose the full list of attendees, nor its funding sources.Mauro promotes the surveillance and profiling of Muslim Americans, often propagates the myth that there are Muslim 'no-go' zones across the US., attempts to link CAIR and other groups to terrorist activity, and has even argued that Islamists have infiltrated the Republican Party. The organization for which he works, The Clarion Project, was at the center of controversy for supplying the NYPD with anti-Islam films such as The Third Jihad, that then police chief Ray Kelly apologized for showing to his department.NYTOAC also features several major weapons manufactures at their expo including Northrup Grumman - the 5th largest arms dealer in the world, amidst ongoing concern regarding the militarization of the police, including the NYPD.Finally, at at least one of NYTOAC's workshops will promote the idea that SWAT Teams are the ideal entity to engage people having mental health crises, though a third or more of people killed by the police have such a disability. According to the ACLU there are more than 100 SWAT raids a day in the US, the great majority of which impact Black and Latino neighborhoods. (See this video of SWAT testimony.)The many US conferences like NYTOAC, such as the controversial Urban Shield in the Bay Area (see recent Guardian coverage), are often funded directly by the Department of Homeland security through the Urban Areas Security Initiative.A cross-community effort, including Black Lives Matter Upstate, the Syracuse Peace Council and the Arab American Association of New York, to oppose this conference which produces such harmful effects in so many communities, promotes militarized mentalities among the police, and dovetails disturbingly with the rising culture of fear in the US and worldwide. WRL's petition calling for its cancellation has reached nearly 2,000 singers.Endorsing organizations:AF3IRM NYC * Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) * Black Lives Matter Upstate NY * Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration (CAAMI) * CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities * Civilian Soldier Alliance * Equality for Flatbush * The Icarus Project * Iraq Veterans Against the War * Jewish Voice for Peace - National * Jewish Voice for Peace - Westchester * Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice * Muslim American Women's Policy Forum * New Yorkers Against Bratton * Organization for a Free Society (OFS) * Palestine Solidarity Collective * Raha - Iranian Feminist Collective * Stop LAPD Spying * Syracuse Peace Council * Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP)To add your organization, contact stopNYTOAC@gmail.com
Another forceful and violent use of Rochester's SWAT team was the unjust eviction of Catherine Lennon-Griffin over a fraudulent eviction order pursued in the courts by Fannie Mae. The bank, that had taken $90 billion in taxpayer bailout money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), refused to negotiate with Ms. Lennon-Griffin after her husband died suddenly of brain and lung cancer.
The SWAT team arrived early on the morning of March 28, 2011 and removed her from the home, dispersing 11 of her family members, including seven grandchildren, and landing her in a motel. Around two dozen police remained as bank-contracted workers boarded up her home and removed her belongings. In the middle of this, five people committed civil disobedience and were arrested as they attempted to block the doorway to the home. Two others were arrested for failure to move, one being a 70 year-old neighbor in her pajamas. Local mainstream media got coverage of the arrests as did Rochester Indymedia. Four years later, Ms. Lennon-Griffin got her home back free and clear, after squatting her own home shortly after being evicted, while fighting to have a new day in court. Ms. Lennon-Griffin's story went viral and was picked up nationally. Former Obama Administration official Van Jones called her a “modern day Rosa Parks."
On the War Resisters League petition site, part of their statement reads:
Over the past several years regular, militarized attacks on Ferguson and Baltimore’s Black communities have gained increased attention--but they are not new and they are not stopping. Police repression continues to grow across the U.S. and globally through coordinated efforts to militarize policing tactics and weapons. As our communities increasingly lack basic infrastructure, local police departments are now directly funded and trained by the Department of Homeland Security and many receive military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense. Now in its 10th year, The New York Tactical Officers Association Conference (NYTOAC) is a two day training conference taking place this April 26th to 28th with participating agencies from across NY state and the country, from Buffalo to Brooklyn, Colorado to Ohio and beyond. NYTOAC plays on a growing culture of fear and hate by featuring as its keynote speaker Ryan Mauro with Clarion Project, which defends the profiling and surveillance of Muslim-Americans, absurdly attempts to link advocacy groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with terrorist activity, and has provided the NYPD with its notoriously Islamophobic “training” film The Third Jihad which drew such outrage in 2012.
As part of the growing movement against militarization in cities everywhere, activists across New York state are continuing our fight by calling on decision-makers to reject NYTOAC for good!
The War Resisters League also released a video exposing these #SWATstories and the militarization of police:
#SWATstories from the War Resisters League
In Kristian Williams' Our Enemies In Blue: Police and Power in America, he offers the equation "Community Policing + Militarization = Counterinsurgency," which is to imply that the militarization of police (a jargon term) works in tandem with another jargon term, community policing, in order to not only repress disorder, but to actually prevent it from occurring in the first place. This, according to Williams, is counterinsurgency (from page 358):
Understood in terms of counterinsurgency, community policing represents [a] strategy for establishing and maintaining police control over the community--an approach enhanced by the insights of military experiences in restless colonies. Organizationally, militarization provides the model by which the police can work in teams, enhance officer discretion, and maintain tight command and control; community policing efforts, meanwhile, create the infrastructure for intelligence gathering and co-optation. Strategically, community policing strives toward directed, proactive action, with a geographic focus and attention to the causes of disorder; military planning gives a central role to intelligence work and takes an aggressive approach to confronting the enemy. Hence, military tactics are used to clear and hold contested areas, while community policing programs seek to build partnerships that bring the police legitimacy, information, and access to community resources. Ideologically, community policing serves to legitimize military-type efforts, while the rhetoric of a 'war on crime' can be used to mobilize the community to aid the police. And of course, the threats of a militarized 'Bad Cop' encourage cooperation with the 'Good Cop's' community policing projects.
It's a lot to take in but makes a lot of sense in terms of a coordinated effort at counterinsurgency. The dual efforts of community policing (in all its vagueness) and militarization of police (with all that that phrase connotes) are both locations of resistance and confrontation within our communities. It is vital that we not lose sight of these efforts and only focus on the grandeur and fearsomeness of high powered weapons, uniforms, and military vehicles, controlled by our local police departments.
Ms. Rozum did say that these SWAT conferences would be in New York for the next four years and that a growing, state-wide movement is coming together to force officials to cancel the remaining conferences. It's time to demilitarize our police and hold them accountable for the crimes they've committed.
Enough Is Enough!
Related: Military Academy Report a Sham | Islamophobia: The New Racism | McGriff family evicted; two arrested | #SayHerName #JusticeForIndia | Joey Lipari on Syracuse's Citizen Review Board | Cornel West's "Connecting the dots: Poverty, Racism, & Drones" | Suspended Justice: Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline | BYP100/We Charge Genocide activist Jason Ware shares his experiences | From the Vault! Rochester Indymedia digs for content from the past | New venue found for Palestinian rights speaker after divinity school rescinds invite | Remove the cloak of secrecy! Police transparency now! | "Youth Organizing Against War" a workshop at the Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire convergence | Civil Resistance, What is it? and why do we do it?--a workshop
True subversions require a model that is nourished not by capitalist reward but by an effective shock sounded out from the artist, through an observing (group of) human, and back into artist. A moment thus created is pure moment of potential change.
Bloody Noes: Pope It Up
Subversive efforts necessarily require that familiar or educational slogans are abandoned. Familiar elements are crucial for an initial level of acceptance or recognition by viewer/absorber/audience, but must undergo a serious level of deconstruction and/or uncomfortable recombination with potentially dissonant elements. Messages must be condensed into a form streamlined into essential nugget[s], delivered perhaps with an additional (non)emotional (ritual) twist, a new and further dissonance.
Follow the leaders
To witness the combination of these complex elements creates (locates) a space in the body of the viewer.
We are seeking to disrupt the harmonies and repeated thoughtforms in every viewer through a thoroughly textured absurdity tied to a firm and secret certainty. For us to speak our own private certainties would dissolve the opportunity for any truth to be recognized by a viewer, plugging the possibility with pedantry.
Frankenstein Revival--The Rise Of Uterus Face!
Every human contains this possibility, that is the faith, and whether it has been exhaustively proven or not, well, the experiment waged is worth it every time. The idea is that every human needs to be rescued from a particular destructive mania that is thoroughly dictated in every aspect of Social Structure, but that no man can be fully rescued by the adoption of another man's slogans. A man must recognize his own slogan, whatever that is, common to humanity or self-specific, and it is toward the progression of this aim that the subversive artist excels.
Joey Flowers responded to WXXI reporter Veronica Volk's story Report Finds Rochester Community Favors Potential Military Academy.
What a bunch of malarkey. Having read the actual "report", I can say, without a doubt, that its conclusion was determined before the committee was even formed and comes directly from the desires of Van White, Todd Baxter, and other interested parties.
Nearly half of the committee was comprised of those with military, police, fire department background. Of the ten "key community leaders" who were interviewed, one was Klein Steel (educating children is a lot like selling steel after all), another was the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, then there was the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Instructors, as well as the Leadership Academy for Young Men, which just happens to have a JROTC component.
Got all the military and sympathetic business leaders in, but "Time and scheduling constraints prevented the Committee Co-Chairs from interviewing the RCSD Interim Superintendent, members of the Rochester City School Board, and the surrounding town supervisors." Don't remember seeing any parent groups listed either... And "When asked about other types of school options that should be considered, key leaders [read military and business] suggested boarding school and charter school models." No surprises there.
Support for this (non)-idea comes overwhelmingly from the suburbs (83%) according to surveys. Survey participation was also 19% Black, 14% Hispanic, 41% White. RCSD breakdown is 60% Black, 26% Hispanic, 10% White. Not exactly what I'd call representative. Thankfully, the committee took the time to get input from a completely unbiased group of RCSD students. "The student group was made up mainly of JROTC cadets.." Oops...
The report also claims to have the support of RTA President Adam Urbanski. Except, according to Adam Urbanski, RTA only supported the participation of RCSD on the committee. Semantics, semantics...
I could go on and on, but here's the kicker: "What did the Advisory Committee determine to be the best configuration for the military component of the school? Answer and Results Summary: Submit an application for a National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC), which results in a full RCSD cost-incurred plan..." That's right, according to this report, we need this military academy so badly that we ought to assume the full cost ($25million+ over first 4 years) rather than apply for funding and suffer any delay! Of all the programs we could be putting our money into this is the big idea proposed by our school board's president? I'm disappointed to say the least.
What you can do: Get involved! Come down to the next Rochester City School District Board meeting and give 'em hell! The Board meets at 131 W. Broad Street 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Conference Room 3A. You can sign up to speak by calling the board at 262-8100 before noon today. But even just having people there to show support will be helpful.
See the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/243261486061536/
Read the REPORT OF THE RCSD SPECIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO EXPLORE EDUCATIONAL ALTERNATIVES Military-style High School Feasibility Study below:
Related: High number of expulsions at Western New York Maritime Charter School draw questions | Cornel West's "Connecting the Dots: Poverty, Racism, & Drones" | Counter-Recruitment: Building Skills and Thinking Strategically | Report Back: Rochester City School Board Meeting on Student Privacy and Military Recruiters | Report Back School Board / Military Recruitment 4/28 | School Board Military Recruiters and Student Information | Military Recruiting and Student Privacy Report Back 3: School Board Meeting May 28, 2009 | Rochester City School District: Answer to Parents, Not Marines | School of the Arts Students Confront Military Recruiters | Brief Report - Military Recruiters' Access to Student Information
About 80 people gathered in Washington Square park on April 21, the day before Earth Day, to raise awareness of Climate Change. The event was organized by Mothers Out Front. Some were wearing hats topped with windmills. Non-polluting wind energy is one of the "renewable" options to replace fossil fuels which add carbon to the atmosphere. A proposal to build an off shore wind farm on lake Ontario is facing political opposition. The problem, as many stated, is a system which puts profit for a few over people. The march continued around the block with a stop and some songs in front of the Rundell library, and ended back at the park a half hour later.
2015 was the warmest year since weather records have been kept. In Rochester we were outdoors in T-shirts on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 2016 is expected to be even warmer.
Solutions to the problem involve more than simply eliminating the burning of fossil fuels. Organic Farmer Liz Henderson explained that 1/3 of the excess carbon entering the atmosphere comes from poor land management and "industrial" farming practices. Carbon is actually good when it's in the soil. It helps keep plants healthy. Organic farming practices such as crop rotation, maintenance of ground cover and leaving forests intact can remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil where it is needed.
As explained by Myra Brown of Spiritus Christi church, we must challenge the wrongheaded religious theology of domination over the Earth with humans at the top of the food chain instead of partnering with the very creation that sustains us. Pope Francis has become an outspoken ally in this cause.
More local events will be taking place in 2016. Meanwhile we can all help by contacting our representatives in Albany and DC and demand action on this threat to our very survival and by voting for candidates who recognize the problem.