Some political stencil graffiti I spotted this weekend on the sidewalks of San Francisco and Oakland. Click an image below for a larger version.
That’s Mayor Gavin Newsom to you.
Most buildings built before June 1979 are rent controlled. However, housing prices are so high that some landlords are willing to destroy their buildings to build new ones that can rent at the city’s incredible market price.
“PROTECT THE BAY / DON’T DUMP”
There’s lots more at http://www.stencilarchive.org/.
Good-looking printed documents can complement protests, lobbying, and media work.
This Saturday, Anne Rolfes and Iris Carter Brown from the Louisiana Bucket Brigade spoke about their campaign against Shell to stop polluting their neighborhood.
They talked about a few of the ways reports and Web sites made a difference to people campaigning on the ground.
A low-cost, powerful tool for environmental monitoring by communities poisoned by industrial facilities built near their homes.
“The EPA-approved ‘bucket’ is a simple, community friendly tool that fenceline neighbors use to take air samples. Taking air samples is a powerful experience for community members who are used to being ignored, overlooked, and disrespected by corporations and government. Dorothy Jenkins, President of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, used to call the refinery to complain about the odors. A low ranking operator would tell her not to worry, that the black plume of smoke that billowed for hours near her home was not harmful. Now Mrs. Jenkins has a bucket. When refinery managers and government regulators tell her that there is nothing to worry about, she answers, ‘Why, then, was there a benzene reading of 14 in my air sample, a reading that violates the state standards?’ The bucket gives community members power to hold institutions accountable to provide a safe and healthy environment.”
From the History of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade:
“The bucket brigades were started in 1995 by attorney Edward Masry (of Erin Brockovich fame) when both were made ill by fumes from a petroleum refinery he was suing on behalf of citizens of Contra Costa County, California. When he called the local, state and federal environmental authorities, they told him that their monitors detected no problem. This so angered Masry, whose clients were being exposed to these toxic releases daily, that he hired an environmental engineer to design a low cost device, the ‘bucket’, which the community could use to monitor their exposure for themselves. This set in motion a movement which would give communities living near refineries, chemical plants or other toxic air emitting sources, a chance to take on indifferent regulators and corporations who were telling them that there is no problem with the air they are breathing while they are choking and dying.
The ‘bucket’ is a low cost $75 version of the $2000 Suma canister used by government and industry and is simple to use. Suspect air is drawn into a Tedlar bag inside the bucket. The bag is then sealed and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The lab analysis is the most expensive part of the operation. For about $500 per sample, the contents of the bag are run through a GCMS (Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer), which compares the ‘fingerprints’ of the sample with the fingerprints of about 100 toxic gases in the computer library. The bag is non-reusable and cost about $15. In practice, much of this cost has been borne by charitable and government grants.
Working closely with Masry, Denny Larson proceeded to promote the use of these buckets in other communities exposed to refinery and other toxic air emissions. Larson hired a student intern to re-engineer the buckets in order to produce a community manual to educate fenceline neighbors that they could build and operate their own air monitoring systems. When completed, the manual helped spread the buckets throughout the refinery belt of Contra Costa County to 7 communities.
The biggest hurdle was getting the authorities, who belittled the idea of citizen bucket brigades, to accept the results. Larson met with EPA Region 9 officials, including the administrator, Felicia Marcus, in 1996 and asked the agency to approve and fund bucket air sampling. To its credit, EPA Region 9 invested in a quality assurance evaluation of the bucket results and ended up accepting them. With the EPA acceptance, Denny was able to work with grass roots groups around the country to launch local bucket brigades.”
Update: Read more about the bucket in this Christian Science Monitor article from April 1, 2004.
From Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Tragedy of Haiti, 1993:
“The leader of the revolt [against the U.S. invasion], Charlemagne Péralte, was killed by Marines who sneaked into his camp at night in disguise. In an attempt at psywar that prefigured some of Colonel Edward Lansdale’s later exploits in the Philippines, the Marines circulated photos of his body in the hope of demoralizing the guerrillas. The tactic backfired, however; the photo resembled Christ on the cross, and became a nationalist symbol. Péralte took his place in the nationalist Pantheon alongside of Toussaint.”
The photograph was immortalized in 1948 by Philome Obin in his painting, Crucifixion de Charlemagne Péralte pour la Liberté.
Those little blue stickers are popping on the streets of New York again. This Saturday, on the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, millions will take to the streets to call for peace. Protests are scheduled in over 50 countries, with over 200 events planned around the United States.
United for Peace and Justice has made variations on their “flag” flyer template available for download with space to add details about your local event or create your own translation, and with rotated globes for events in Africa, Asia, or Europe.
By now there are plenty of downloadable flyers on the Web, but few designed for translation and personalization, while retaining a generally persistent brand. I’ve not seen another organization producing anti-war posters this user-oriented.
Except the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.
“The Bush-Cheney presidential campaign disabled features of a tool on its website Thursday that pranksters were using to mock the Republican presidential ticket.
The tool originally let users generate a full-size campaign poster in PDF format, customized with a short slogan of their choice. But Bush critics began using the site to place their own snarky political messages above a Bush-Cheney ’04 logo and a disclaimer stating that the poster was paid for by Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc.”
See a handful of sample posters in this nostalgic Fash piece.
On February 6th, 2004, Al Leidner, former head of New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications GIS Program, spoke to members of GISMO about the future of geographic information systems in New York City.
A version of this program was originally presented to the Municipal Data Processing Council. I’ve combined my own notes below with those taken by James Labate.
The GIS Utility: Key Integration of IT
How Do We Create Value?
Opposing the Future - Roadblocks to Progress
Al noted that more and more City data is available online, though many in audience noted felt that the City does not share enough of its data. NYCMap is not available to the public for “security reasons,” but is licensed to a couple of Universities and corporations under strict terms.
In case you missed it, yesterday Mayor Bloomberg and the Sanitation Commissioner announced that the City will resume recycling glass and return to weekly recycling collections on April 1.
Glass and plastic recycling was suspended in July 2002 as a “cost-cutting measure.” It turned out that mixing recyclable materials with the regular waste stream did not actually save much money. And, when they found out that others were willing to pay for the City’s recyclables, the City resumed the collections. Bi-weekly plastic recycling resumed July 2003.
See this previous blog post from July 2003.
From Democracy Now!:
“The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes which include Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba.
Although publishing the articles is legal, editing is a ‘service’ and the treasury department says it is illegal to perform services for embargoed nations. It can be punishable by fines of up to a half-million dollars or jail terms as long as 10 years.
Robert Bovenschulte, president of the publications division of the American Chemical Society, which decided this week decided to challenge the government and risk criminal prosecution by editing articles submitted from the five embargoed nations.”
From the Treasury Department itself:
“As you know, the importation from any country and the exportation to any country of information and informational materials, whether commercial or otherwise, regardless of format or medium of transmission, are exempt from the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560 (the ITR). ITR, § 560.210(c)....
Nevertheless, certain activities described in your letter would fall outside of the information and informational materials exemption. The collaboration on and editing of manuscripts submitted by persons in Iran, including activities such as the reordering of paragraphs or sentences, correction of syntax, grammar, and replacement of inappropriate words by U.S. persons, prior to publication, may result in a substantively altered or enhanced product, and is therefore prohibited under ITR § 560.204 unless specifically licensed.”
Boy is this ever crying out for civil disobedience from all of us bloggers. I’m not sure if republishing or translating information off the Web is covered by this (since it’s accessible anyway), but posting translations of otherwise published or unpublished material probably would be.
As far as centrally-coordinated online campaigns go, one technique I’ve particularly admired about MoveOn’s organizing is the way the coordinators gather feedback and circulate it back to the participants of a given action. Participants around the world can read about of what others are doing, and get a sense of the impact and scale of the action. Too many organizations simply fail to ask who is taking offline action. And many send out endless streams of urgent action alerts with little, if any, follow-up.
Usually MoveOn’s updates arrive as the text of an email, but this Flash driven map does the job visually and interactively. The map effectively presents both the macro and micro views of the many house parties organized across the U.S. on December 7, 2003 to view the documentary Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War.
Still, I find it more informative than MoveOn’s previous action map. This map of the February 26, 2003 phone-in rotates the display of only one tesimony per state. Instead of plotting data the map paints a more atmospheric picture of the plurality of voices and the outrage that rained upon the Capitol that day. The geographic shapes only provide a general spatial context to the ticking clock and growing tally of calls.
Between the two is a world map of candle light vigils organized on March 16, 2003. The map displays testimonies, photos, and the sites of vigils, but the user is unable to draw any actual numbers from it, only impressions. The zoom effect is gorgeous, but the testimonies quickly overwhelm, like hundreds of little pop-up windows you’re unable to move or close.
The maps were all designed and programmed by Stamen Design in San Francisco.
See also this Jully 2004 item about Stamen Design’s live, interactive conference call map.