Hey Houston, it is Friday and thank you for ending out your work week with us here at the Houston Indymedia Show. Tonight we bring you coverage of a solidarity protest for Palestinian hunger striker, Hanane Shalabi, which took place outside the Israeli consulate last Saturday and also update you on some important celebrations for the left here locally, including the saving of the Chicano mural as well as a delay and revision of the controversial Feeding Ordinance. But first, these headlines...
On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission released decisions to implement the Local Community Radio Act. The act, passed by Congress in December of 2010 squashes pending applications for FM translators or repeater stations that rebroadcast distant radio stations and opens the door instead for community radio, like KPFT. In the longterm, the large, corporate, often conservative media stranglehold over the airwaves will decrease. The announcement concludes the first hurdle in implementing the Local Community Radio Act, the passage of which was the result of a decade-long grassroots campaign. The FCC in now on track to accept applications for new Low Power FM stations nationwide as early as fall of this year. Community groups gear up to apply for the liscenses, which will be available only to locally-based non-profit organizations. Broadcast radio remains one of the most accessible means of communication in the US, with 90% of Americans listening at least once a week.
Also in media news, Bay Area District Attorney Bob Lee is embarking on a full frontal assault against independent media in Santa Cruz, including four regular contributors to the independent news website Indybay.org amongst the eleven people charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors stemming from an occupation of an emptry bank building on November 30, 2011. Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy are Indybay photojournalists and Indybay editors who were reporting on the occupation. No charges nor arrests were made at the time, but warrants were issued over two months later on February 8th, 2012 — for Bradley, Alex, and nine other individuals. Bradley and Alex were originally charged with felony vandalism, felony conspiracy, and two counts of misdemeanor trespass, but after a three-day preliminary hearing starting March 13th the felony vandalism charge against both was dropped. Alex and Bradley remain out of police custody on their own recognizance. To learn more about the case listeners can check out indybag.org.
On Thursday in Portugal public services and transportation halted, as unions enacted a 24 hour general strike. This is the second general strike in Portugal in two months. The metros in Portugal's largest cities have closed as well as major ports. The strikers took to the streets in response to austerity measures agreed upon by the government in return for a European bailout. The events in Portugal on Thursday preclude similar strikes in both Italy and Spain among countries facing European austerity. On Wednesday Italy's largest trade union called for a general strike over labor reforms taking on Prime Minister Mario Monti and Italy's austerity. Spain's two major unions, the General Workers Union and the Workers Commissions are calling for a general strike next week, on the 29th in opposition to the Spanish governments push for cutbacks.
Cannabis dispensaries have been described as one of the newest sectors of the health care industry. Thursday Los Angeles dispensary workers announced they are unionizing. That's right, the same union that represents grocery store clerks will be representing workers at Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries. Mike Shimpock is spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770. He said the union only represents workers employed by legitimate businesses, and that dispensaries are no different. Shimpock says unionization will bring better training, less turnover, and more stability to this newly-minted sector of the health care industry. There are as many as 900 medical marijuana dispensaries LA County.
As part of a growing trend, with similar ordinances recently passing in Philadelphia and New York City, Democrat Anise Parker with City Council proposed making it a crime for community groups, such as Food Not Bombs and a number of religious organizations to prepare food and distribute it in public spaces to the city's homeless. There are approximately 10,000 homeless individuals are on the streets of Houston on any given night, with 3,000 falling into the category of 'chronically homeless' and 1 in 4 who are under the age of 18. Critics of the ordinance showed up en masse on Tuesday, March 20th to challenge the proposal as it is currently written. While the war is not over, with a revised version of the ordinance set to come for a vote at the end of the month, the delay in a vote is certainly something to celebrate
7. Palestine Today
Well that does it for another week here at the Indymedia show. A special thanks to John and Rachel for producing the content you just heard on tonight's broadcast. And a shout out to Courtney, our board op for the revolution, without whom there wouldn't be a broadcast. Tune in next week where we will bring you a very special interview with Professor Sandra Soto but until then on behalf of the Houston Indymedia collective I'm _____________ signing off reminding everyone out there don't hate the media, be the media. PEACE!!