A university has been forced to remove the name of

first_imgA university has been forced to remove the name of a pioneer of the disabled people’s movement from an annual series of lectures, after it invited a leading critic of his work to deliver the first talk.The University of Leeds decided to launch the Finkelstein Lecture Series on Equality and Social Justice in memory of Vic Finkelstein, the disabled academic and anti-apartheid campaigner who died six years ago and whose ground-breaking work laid the basis for what became known as the “social model of disability”.But the decision to launch the series – which “celebrates scholars working at the intersection of academia and activism” – and invite Professor Tom Shakespeare (pictured) to deliver the first lecture, was made without any consultation with Finkelstein’s family or his closest academic colleagues.The university decided to use Finkelstein’s name in recognition of his contribution to its School of Sociology and Social Policy between 1994 and 2008 as a visiting senior research fellow.But it has now removed his name from the event after four of the academics he worked with most closely, themselves all key figures in the field – Professors Mike Oliver, Colin Barnes, Len Barton and John Swain* – wrote to the university’s vice-chancellor to ask him to “urgently” reconsider the plans.They said in the letter last week: “We have worked closely with [Vic Finkelstein], individually and collectively… and a central tenet that has guided his own work throughout this time has been ‘nothing about us without us’.“This planned series totally ignores this and we can say with certainty that Mr Finkelstein would not have consented to these plans.”Although the lecture was set to go ahead this evening (Thursday), all references to Vic Finkelstein have now been removed from the event.The lecture was being co-hosted by the university’s Centre for Disability Studies, but it stressed that it had no involvement in launching the event or in inviting Shakespeare to deliver the lecture.Oliver was the first academic to be appointed as a professor of disability studies and it was he who described Finkelstein’s redefinition of the fundamental principles of disability as “the social model of disability”.He worked with Finkelstein for more than 30 years on various projects, and the three other professors had all worked with or for Finkelstein for more than 20 years before his death in 2011.Oliver told Disability News Service (DNS) yesterday (Wednesday) that the choice of Shakespeare to deliver the first lecture was “wholly inappropriate” because he had been so critical of Finkelstein’s work, including in his book Disability Rights And Wrongs.He said Shakespeare had once said in a lecture that the social model “should be thrown out of the window”, and then pointed outside.Disability Rights And Wrongs was, he said, “an attack on Vic’s work and my work, saying the social model is wrong and it’s time we got rid of it”.He also said that Finkelstein had “no time” for the kind of “qualitative” research that Shakespeare was planning to talk about in his lecture.Oliver is close to Finkelstein’s family and he said they had confirmed that there had been no discussion with them about the lecture series.He also pointed out that the university had previously rejected a request by Colin Barnes – another key figure in the movement – for Finkelstein to be awarded an honorary doctorate.Oliver said he and his three fellow academics had heard nothing from the university’s vice-chancellor since their letter, but saw last Friday that Finkelstein’s name had been removed from publicity about the lecture.He said: “I am annoyed that they [used his name] and that they have not even bothered to reply to our letter, which is pretty tatty.“All the four of us professors know is that Vic’s name is no longer on the website.”When contacted by DNS, Shakespeare stressed that the lecture would go ahead, without Finkelstein’s name attached to it.But he said that he would be talking about disabled people in southern Africa, which is where Finkelstein was born and raised, and that he would discuss psychology, which Finkelstein had studied.He said: “I had no intention of disrespecting his memory or work. This feels like another attempt to close down debate. Are we really ‘no platforming’ people we disagree with?”He added: “Talk to Leeds Uni about their choice of speaker, not me.“Vic was a highly original thinker. He and I had very positive conversations together. I never ‘attacked’ his work, I debated it.“In a world with many huge issues for disabled people, this is a non-story.“The research on which I am reporting gives voice to over 100 disabled African people. That seems an appropriate way of marking Vic’s memory [he was born and raised in South Africa and was imprisoned for anti-apartheid activities, before coming to Britain in 1968 as a refugee].“As you know, the lecture is now going ahead but not in honour of Vic. So they got their way. End of story. No further comment.”A University of Leeds spokesman said: “We recognise the sensitivities involved and regret any upset caused.“We removed references to Mr Finkelstein from the event after being made aware of the unhappiness of his family and former colleagues.“The new Equality and Social Justice Lecture Series organised by the School of Sociology and Social Policy reflects the university’s commitment to celebrating and promoting debate. “We would like to clarify that the Centre for Disability Studies was not involved in the choice of speaker for the event or the original decision to associate it with Mr Finkelstein’s name.”*Mike Oliver is Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich; Colin Barnes is Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Leeds; Len Barton is Emeritus Professor of Inclusive Education at University College London’s Institute of Education; and John Swain is Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies and Inclusion at the University of Northumbrialast_img read more

Filmmaker Chronicles Ban on Fertility Treatment

first_imgAs the film’s producer and narrator, Quiros was first introduced to the issue of the fertility treatment in which embryos are created in a lab through her 1995 coverage of Costa Rica’s first in vitro baby for a Costa Rican newspaper. The treatments were outlawed in 2000. The 1995 birth, however, became a media sensation in Costa Rica leaving Quiros perplexed as to why it was banned.In celebration of Latino Heritage Month, Beautiful Sin will air on KQED TV on September 13. Quiros spoke with Mission Local about the political and social issues surrounding fertility treatments and the long road to legalization.Beautiful Sin explores the complex struggle of religion, politics, and infertility over a 15-year period in Costa Rica. Previous to 2000, in vitro fertilization (IVF) was legal–and practiced. What happened?In the year 2000, I had moved to the Bay Area to go to the graduate school of journalism at Cal, and was surprised to hear that Costa Rica had become the only country in the world to outlaw IVF.In the interim, from 1995 until the supreme court banned it in Costa Rica, 15 babies were born. The way IVF was performed in Costa Rica (previous to the ban) was in a very restrictive way, compared to other countries in the world. For example, all of the embryos that were fertilized in the lab had to be placed in the woman — “cryopreservation” (the process of freezing the eggs for later use) was not allowed, which is standard around the world.In other countries, doctors create as many embryos as they can and then they’ll place a few in the woman depending on her age and health issues and they’ll freeze the rest and try again if she doesn’t get pregnant. The doctors who pioneered IVF in Costa Rica tried to find a way of doing it that was unique to the country — that would be mindful of its cultural Catholic beliefs and traditions. One of the things they were doing was foregoing cryopreservation — this meant that they were putting all the embryos in the woman and making sure that, as the doctors put it, no one could say that they had caused the demise of any embryos. I remember at the time in ‘95 thinking ‘wow, that’s a very culturally sensitive and smart way of doing it.’Andrea Bianchi and her husband Alberto Moreno, and their children Camila and Alejandro, are one of the three families the documentary ‘Beautiful Sin’ follows for a decade. Bianchi and Moreno were one of several couples who took the Costa Rican government before an international human rights court to fight that country’s ban on in vitro fertilization (IVF), a fertility treatment in which doctors create embryos in the lab. Costa Rica is the only country in the world that has outlawed IVF. The country lifted its 15-year-old ban on Sept. 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Azul Films.How did you find the couples portrayed in the film, and what inspired you to ultimately tell their stories?IVF was suddenly outlawed in Costa Rica and I wanted to find out why. I wanted to try and understand how that ban had come about — and I also was curious to see its impact on infertile couples and individuals.I started filming in early 2002 and I found the couples through a husband-and-wife doctor team who had pioneered IVF in Costa Rica. When the ban came down, a number of their patients who had started the process were impacted and had to stop. That’s how I met the three couples featured in the documentary — I ended up following them for almost a decade.You witnessed these six peoples’ struggles for nearly 10 years — what were some of the hardest moments for you?The film really shows how the ban on IVF had an impact on these couples and the outcome of their lives. Banning the treatment prompted patients who could afford it to leave the country and seek it elsewhere — in South America for example, in countries like Colombia and Panama.Two of the couples that I was following did not have the resources to travel outside of the Costa Rica. The films shows how this (limitation) had a profound impact on them as individuals and also on their relationships.Other Latin American countries that allow IFV also have very strong religious and traditional ideologies. What prompted such a harsh ban in Costa Rica?What happened in Costa Rica was that a group of pro-life activists brought a complaint in front of the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court — any citizen can bring a complaint and say ‘this particular law is in violation of the constitution of the country.’What they did was very novel and unique — because in Costa Rica, no embryos were being disposed of, since the doctors did not practice cryopreservation and all embryos were placed in the uterus. So (this group) said that even though that was the case, the doctors were responsible for the demise of the embryos that were placed in the women’s uterus but never grew into a baby — they set out to protect the embryos that didn’t survive inside the woman.What I think made Costa Rica different than the rest of Latin America — that is of course also strongly Catholic — was that they found justices in the supreme court who agreed with their interpretation of the constitution’s protection of life. They were lucky — a majority of supreme court justices agreed that embryos are human beings that have legal rights, which is very novel and taking it to the logical extreme.What does that do the psyche of a person — not being able to decide for themselves what to do with their life in terms of family planning because of laws and limitations set by a government body?I think the film shows very powerfully that for these couples, not being able to pursue IVF had a huge impact on their ability to make decisions on how they want their lives to unfold. Having a child is probably the most intimate decision you’re ever going to make, and it’s very clear from their outcome that having somebody, in this case the government, come in and ‘say no you can’t pursue this medical treatment,’ had a big impact psychologically, because it comes from the fact that somebody else is thwarting your life plan.How does Costa Rica’s the IVF debate compare to the abortion debate in the U.S.?This is the exact opposite of abortion — these are couples that actually want to have children…so in a sense, this story is kind of the flip-side of abortion. The majority of these couples describe themselves as being pro-life — abortion is illegal in Costa Rica in almost every circumstance.However, that is an argument that has been made in Costa Rica by those who oppose IVF — they portray it as akin to abortion in the sense that it’s causing the destruction of embryos.But in the way that reproductive rights are constructed, as human rights, it would fall into that (category). The couples featured in my film are part of a group of 10 couples that took the Costa Rican government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (OAS) — a human rights party based in Washington D.C. that takes complaints from around Latin America and gives recommendations to governments to improve human rights situations–in 2001, and they won their case in 2010.The OAS told the government that they should legalize IVF and that by banning it, was in violation of the couples’ rights to intimacy and to make decisions about their life project. As you were filming, did you deal with any opposition from the government?There were no issues while I was filming the bulk of the documentary, but when I did try to go and film after 2010 when the commission came down with its decision, we weren’t given access to film the way we wanted.It was touchy in congress — where strong opposition to IVF exists to this day. On September 10, Costa Rica’s president signed an executive order lifting the ban on IVF after 15 years.This is a big news development in the story. After the OAS came down with its recommendations in 2010, the country did not comply. Unsatisfied with the government’s efforts, OAS took the case in front of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in 2012, which is based in Costa Rica. Under pressure from this institution… the president signed a decree yesterday.It will take a couple of years for it to be up and running in public hospitals, which is something that the OAS required the government to do. But from my understanding, IVF will be legal again in the country. Do you feel that your documentary, which aired in Costa Rica last month, had an impact on this decision?It definitely joined the international conversation around IVF at a very crucial time. The hearing in front of the court was last week, on September 3, in which the government was called to show what it had done. The documentary aired about 10-15 times in Costa Rica between the end of August and beginning of September of this year. I think for any journalist doing this type of long term following of a story — what you want is for your film to be in the mix and to join that conversation and to help people think about the issue from different points of view. The channel on which it aired got really moving comments from couples who had done IVF and couples who were hoping to do it in the future.It was also very gratifying to hear from people of faith, both catholics and evangelicals, who appreciated the documentary. It made them think. To be able to to do that is the best reward for any journalist.Beautiful Sin airs on KQED 9 this Sunday, September 13, at 6 p.m. Teaser – Beautiful Sin from Gabriela Quiros on Vimeo. 0% As the only country in the world to outlaw in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, Costa Ricans will be – for the first time in 15 years – presented with the possibility of having fertility treatments, according to an executive decree signed Thursday by the country’s president, Luis Guillermo Solis.This move comes amidst bitter opposition from the Costa Rican Catholic Church, court battles and hearings that spanned years, increased pressure from human rights organizations and a national debate about reproductive rights that divided much of the country. That struggle is captured by journalist Gabriela Quiros in her timely documentary, Beautiful Sin.Quiros, a native Costa Rican who now resides in the Bay Area and works as a TV producer at Quest, a science program produced by KQED, dedicated a decade of her life to diving into the realities of three Costa Rican couples coping with infertility in a country where in vitro treatments were outlawed.‘Beautiful Sin’ producer and director Gabriela Quirós. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez. Tags: documentary Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

Frustrated Residents Pack Meeting on Mission Street Changes

first_imgWith more than 100 people packed into a sweltering room, tempers ran hot at a three-hour meeting held by the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency to get feedback on the agency’s new transit lanes and turn restrictions along Mission Street. The changes, which were rolled out in March, include the creation of transit-only lanes, the prohibition of left turns for the entire corridor of 13th to Cesar Chavez streets, forced right turns at certain intersections, and the removal of a few bus stops within two blocks of one another.Despite outreach efforts from the transit agency, which director Ed Reiskin said were among the agency’s most extensive, many people at Monday’s meeting said they felt unwarned about the changes, disrespected once they offered opinions, or generally unheard at all.While many commentators – pedestrians, transit users, and a few drivers – voiced approval, many business owners and drivers were livid. “It’s shameful what’s happened to Mission,” said Iswari España, who is running for District 9 Supervisor. “I’ve witnessed at least three accidents…I never received any notice whatsoever…we don’t feel like we’re being listened to.”Taxi driver Jason Jordan had no complaints about the transit-only lanes, but wasn’t pleased with left turn restrictions.“It’s not like there’s a lot of business left for us,” he said. He also commented on the difficulty of explaining to a drunk passenger the need to make three right turns instead of a left.Bernal Heights resident Bruce Irving said he both rides Muni and drives.“I like the red lane,” he said, but added, “29th has become a snarled mess. There’s got to be a compromise.”Though there were plenty of exceptions, in general the senior, minority and disabled people that transit agency data shows are dependent on bus service in the Mission were largely absent from the transit advocates who spoke in support of the changes. Transit agency director Reiskin acknowledged later that one of the hardest demographic to reach out to is Muni riders.And despite plenty of diversity among opponents to the changes, many speakers critical of the agency were Latino. Some seized on the divide as a reflection of displacement pressures in the Mission.“There hasn’t been one immigrant transit rider. Those red lines might as well be lashes on my back,” said William Ortiz Cartagena, who works with the Mission Economic Development Agency.“This is redlining in the Mission,” said Gabriel Medina, also with MEDA.Zamaria, who had spoken in favor of the changes, disagreed.“I think a lot of people are pulling the race card to push emotional buttons,” he said after the meeting. “People are thinking too much with their emotions and not their rational mind, lumping all these changes together.”Toward the end of the meeting, many who had cheered and clapped for pro-transit-lane comments appeared to have left.“We are sick of people coming into our neighborhoods to tell us what they want and then just like they did today they leave,” said Miguel Bustos.Reiskin and District 9 supervisor David Campos, who helped arrange the meeting, both expressed hope for a compromise.“The forced rights seem to be the biggest concern,” Riesken said. “I heard loud and clear that we need to act quickly.”Some in the public also seemed to have hope for finding middle ground.“Don’t quit on nobody, don’t give up on their side, don’t give up on our side,” said Robert Antonelli. “We need to work this out together.”The agency will meet with smaller groups and conduct further street outreach before presenting the matter to its Board of Directors for review within a few months. “SFMTA is out of touch with small business needs in the Mission,” said Sylvia Alvarez-Lynch, who said she also works for the transit agency. “Right turns only makes it almost impossible for businesses to survive…we need to take our neighborhood back.”Added Eden Stein, the president of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association: “We are fighting for the accessibility of our neighborhood, for it to remain vibrant and thrive.”Since the program’s inception, many have complained that Mission Street small businesses have suffered a decline in business, which they attribute to a loss in parking and loading spaces. Several parking spaces were removed to make room for right turn pockets, though according to the transit agency, new parking from decommissioned bus stops outstripped the removal of spaces, and parking meter use has remained steady since the changes were put in place.The transit agency’s Matt Brill said the city has been trying to accommodate adjustments for commercial loading zones, a major concern for businesses, and encouraged proprietors with further concerns to reach out for help with adding zones.Stein acknowledged that there had been progress toward compromises, but said the forced right turns, especially on Cesar Chavez Street, had divided the Mission corridor.For some, the main effect of the changes has been that their bus rides have been faster and the streets seem more pedestrian friendly.“It feels like it takes less time than it used to,” said Eric Castro. “It feels safer when I have to cross the street.”Mission Street resident Lauren Sailor, who also approved of the changes, said she has observed from her window that drivers are able to clear a roadway for emergency vehicles faster, and also advocated for the transit adjustments.“The street is calmer and safer for people who can’t afford a car,” she said. “These people are still deserving of an efficient way to get around the city.”Artist Miles Epstein said he acknowledged that the changes have been difficult for drivers but was concerned about safety.“The number of people run over in this city is too high,” he said. “If you’re walking down the street, you don’t want to be threatened by a dangerous road.”Elias Zamaria also liked the changes.“I’m in favor of anything that makes Muni faster, even if it causes a little inconvenience to drivers,” he said.Regardless of transit speed, drivers have been confounded by the turn restrictions, and many expressed frustration with the inability to turn left from or drive through the whole corridor. The agency reported that collisions in the corridor had dropped, but the announcement was met with mutters of “false” and “not true” from some of the audience members.“Traffic deaths are a public health issue,” said Cathy DeLuca, a policy manager for the pedestrian safety group Walk San Francisco.“Bullshit!” someone shouted, setting off more dismayed and angry shouts.Campos and transit agency moderators tried several times to calm the passionate crowd.For some, relying exclusively on transit is simply not an option.“I need to drive, I’m sorry. I have to take four kids to school,” said Tracy Brown Gallardo. “But what I am most outraged by is that I didn’t get any notice. I had to hear about it from the restaurant owners I hang out with. They are losing money.” Tags: mission street • SFMTA • Transportation Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%last_img read more

Coffee With A Cop at Ls Caffe

first_img“I have experiences with cops,” he went on, tension percolating in the sparsely populated room.“Was it with me?” Garon asked. She paused and asked again. “Was it with me?”The man looked back towards his coffee. “You can’t change my experiences,” he said.Garon walked away. “Can’t change everyone,” she shrugged.As police departments across the country face harsh criticism over policing tactics, bias and officer-involved shootings, Friday marked the first official National Coffee with a Cop Day. The event technically began in 2011, and SFPD has participated before, but this year departments nationwide took part on the same day.Officers at L’s Caffe were quick to point out Mission Station hosts a number of events throughout the year, and emphasized the importance of mingling with residents in a more neutral environment.“It’s not every day people feel comfortable to approach us on a casual, more social basis,” said Sergeant Davin Cole.Police officers shuffled in and out of the cafe for most of the morning, outnumbering community members, most of whom had no idea there was a reason the cafe was packed with police.Two officers sat and talked about national crime with an off-duty crime reporter. Another set of officers talked sports with a man whose poodle snoozed on the floor tiles. A group of young women said the presence of so many police officers made them uncomfortable.“We didn’t know if we could eat here,” one said.Travis Wellman and Scott Albritton chose to meet at the cafe after reading about the event on NextDoor, though in the end they didn’t engage with any officers. Both agreed community outreach on behalf of the department was a step in the right direction, but wondered if infrequent, lightly promoted events like this could have a real impact on improving the public’s relationship to police.“I shouldn’t have to think too deep into my memory about the last time I talked to a cop,” said Wellman, a Bernal Heights resident.“I think they this should be the first Friday of every month,” Albritton suggested.Last week, the city supervisors grilled Acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin on the findings of the so-called Blue Ribbon Panel, a commission created by District Attorney George Gascón after a series of racist and homophobic text messages sent by SFPD officers were made public. The panel found pervasive bias and racism in the department and the supervisors roasted Chaplin about his political ties to the police union and censured him for the absence of a formal response to the report’s worrisome findings.On Friday, officers steered clear of the aforementioned tension and scrutiny of the department. “We just worry about the day-to-day,” one officer said. Sgt. Cole acknowledged it was “uncomfortable” having so many of the city’s institutions at odds.Cole said he’d like to see less reactionary policing policies, and more police chiefs willing to admit wrongdoing, and be more forthcoming to the public about the reasoning behind disciplinary action, or the lack thereof, in controversial cases.Officers seemed to agree that body cameras would likely bring about more transparency — and show the public they’re doing their jobs correctly.As for use-of-force reform, Sgt. Cole thinks tasers, which the Police Commission currently forbids, would be a common-sense measure to curb officer-involved shootings in San Francisco, and elsewhere. He used the death of Mario Woods, who was shot more than 20 times by five police officers in Bayview last December, as an example.“Every officer out there and every officer who watched the video said: ‘If they had tasers, it may have been a different outcome.’”He also suggested more informal interactions between officers and the communities they serve as a way to bridge the gap between police and residents. In a perfect world, he would simply ask the bigwigs to exit the conversation.“The politicians — they’d have to leave the room. I like our bosses in our department, but anybody at the command level — leave the room. Any community activists — leave the room. Bring the [community members] it’s affecting directly.”“You can’t have an open conversation with someone who has an agenda,” he added.In the end, the police and the institutions that oppose them share a strikingly similar goal. Activists and politicians call for an end to dehumanizing police tactics, and the police, in turn, aim to be more than just their characteristic blue uniforms.“We just want people to see us as humans,” Cole said. 0% Tags: SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Cops were on the scene at L’s Caffe on 24th and Florida at 8 a.m. on Friday.A man in a blue Adidas jumpsuit asked for a photo. Not of the crime scene, because there was none, but of himself with an SFPD officer and cadet standing outside the café handing out “SFPD” stickers. Officer Jamie Garon explained to the man it was his lucky day: he’d stumbled on National Coffee with a Cop Day.Not all guests were so pleased.Inside, Garon approached a large, middle-aged man in a black shirt. She offered a friendly greeting, but before she could finish introducing herself, the man said, “No cops, please.”last_img read more

A Week After Trump Leftist San Francisco Bookstore Modern Times Closes Doors

first_imgOn Monday, some left the store, known for its leftist bent and shelves stocked with feminism, anarchist, and communist literature, with stacks of books in their hands on labor theory and political economics.  Customers were taking advantage of the half-off fire sale that saw the store’s shelves slowly picked bare. Still, hundreds of volumes remained, all of which needed to be sold pay off outstanding debts, Mahaney said. Modern Times has been a center for radical and progressive politics since it first opened in the Castro, at a time when few other bookstores included literature on feminism and Latin American politics, for instance, Mahaney said.“At that point, they didn’t have a women’s section, they didn’t have a gay section, they didn’t have a Latin American section,” she said. The store has all three, along with a Spanish books section, shelves labeled “La Raza,” “Anarchism,” and “Global Activism,” and a socialist and communist pamphlet rack in the back. A fiction section was added decades ago to capitalize on novel reading, but the store was still heavily geared towards leftist politics.Its closure in the aftermath of the Trump election was difficult for long-time customers, many of whom had frequented the bookstores for decades. Carol Jean Wisnieski, a teacher of English as a second language at City College on Valencia Street, used to drop in on the bookstore weekly at its old Valencia location to pick up political pins or check its calendar for upcoming events.“We need this place more than ever,” said Carol Jean Wisnieski, a frequent customer since she moved to San Francisco in 1972. “The irony is that now with this awful man who’s been elected, there’s a deluge of people looking for books on activism and how to resist and grassroots organizing,” said Kate Rosenberger, the founder of Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street and Alley Cat Books on 24th Street.Modern Times Bookstore on its penultimate day, November 14, 2016. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Modern Times Bookstore on its penultimate day, November 14, 2016. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.Modern Times Bookstore on its penultimate day, November 14, 2016. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.The store was a hub for leftist discussion. Mahaney said that in their pre-internet days, Modern Times would get calls from those asking for the time and location of upcoming demonstrations. When those same protests got out of hand, people knew to call the bookstore to get the phone number of the National Lawyers Guild.“I remember a demonstration where 500 people got arrested and they were being held at a pier warehouse,” said Mahaney, recalling an action following the Rodney King beating in 1992. Mahaney got a call from someone held at the warehouse and hundreds of people yelling for them in the background.The Trump election, she said, was maddening but just one of several disappointments for the left in the lifetime of the store. The election of Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, the Iraq War — all were dispiriting times for progressives, she said.The AIDS epidemic in particular hit Modern Times hard. At the time, and in their old location on Valencia Street, the store employed a man named Tede Mathews, who “insisted” on the Spanish-only books section and sought to involve little-known authors in readings, according to Mahaney.But Mathews died of AIDS in the mid-1990s, which Rosenberger said changed the bookstore forever.“Frankly I don’t think the place was ever the same after Tede died,” said Rosenberger. “It’s a tough battle, it’s tough to keep your head up and keep smiling with people.”Changing locations did not help. Modern Times started at 17th and Sanchez streets before moving to Valencia Street in the 1980s, where it stayed — in two different spots — until 2011. It moved to 24th Street then, into a smaller and more out-of-the-way spot, and many of its customers did not follow, Mahaney said.The lower sales proved fatal, as the store had accumulated large amounts of debt paying rent on Valencia Street. It tried fundraising, renting out a back space as an office, and obtaining credit, but its debt hung overhead. The store has not broken even in several years, Mahaney said.The closure means 24th Street has lost a bookstore. The commercial corridor had four — Modern Times, Adobe Books, Alley Cat, and the small Press for specialty books.  The bookmarks given to customers along with their purchase noted the corridor as a book row.Andrew McKinley, the founder of Adobe Books down the street, remarked on the fact and said the street “won’t be as bookish a row” anymore. He said it was an “inspiration” that the store could carry on as a collective for so many decades. Adobe Books is now a co-op and McKinley said he was “saddened” by the news that Modern Times was closing.“I hope more bookstores open up shop here,” he said. “The more the merrier.”Erick Arguello, the president of the neighborhood association Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, also lamented the loss, which he said affected both the Mission District and the city as a whole. The store would open its doors to “neighborhood folks” who needed a meeting space and were “great allies” to other businesses along 24th Street.“They’ve been an institution around radical progressive literature and they provided a space where people can really express a different type of thought,” he said. “They were very integrated into the community.”Several tenants were interested in the space, he added, though he did not say who.Mahaney, manning the counter on Monday, echoed concerns heard throughout San Francisco in the past week: what would a future under Trump look like. As a lesbian, she has skin in the game, but said residents of the Mission District had the potential to be most affected. She had come to love the neighborhood in her decades here, she said, and worried about its inhabitants.Modern Times will not be open as a library for leftists during the Trump presidency. But Mahaney will be resisting in a more direct way.“I plan to be in the streets a lot during the Trump administration,” she said. Tags: bookstores • Modern Times Bookstore Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%center_img Modern Times is closing after 45 years in San Francisco. Today is the bookstore’s last day, coming a week after the election of Donald Trump. Ruth Mahaney, who has worked at the shop for 35 years, said closing in the wake of the presidential election was particularly painful.Mahaney, one of four who collectively own the bookstore, said she was glad the decision had been made before the election.  “It would be really hard to decide now,” she said. last_img read more

SFs Puerto Ricans are used to hardship — and secondclass citizenship

first_imgIt was a hurricane that blew them off the island. It was hunger, hopelessness and chaos that put them on that boat out of Puerto Rico, then a train, and, finally, the solid ground of San Francisco. And then things took a turn for the worse. San Franciscans awoke on the morning of Dec. 15, 1900, to a jarring, front-page photo in the Examiner of a tearful Puerto Rican woman having her toddler wrenched away from her by a droopy-mustached man, and being forced up the gangplank of a Hawaii-bound steamer. The woman, reads the caption “was unwilling to go” and “protested energetically until her child was taken from her arms. Then she went aboard.” But more than 50 of the roughly 120 islanders “escaped” from their “slave-drivers,” as the papers called them. A man named Jose Morales told the Los Angeles Times that he had no desire to be “kept with the Chinese and only earn 25 cents a day.” Rather, he was optimistic “that the people of San Francisco would take care of us and we would get plenty of work and make $2 or $3 a day.” Not quite 120 years later, Al Ruiz is standing in back yard of the ​​​​​​Club Puertorriqueño de San Francisco​​​, of which he is president. Founded in 1912, the club bills itself as the oldest extant Latino organization in the United States. This is counter-intuitive, and especially so here in San Francisco. When those 60-odd “slaves” jumped ship in 1900, there were only seven Puerto Rico-born residents of San Francisco. Even now, there are only an estimated 4,500 Puerto Ricans living in the city. The club, on the 3200 block of Mission, is in the heart of a vibrant neighborhood. But to be Puerto Rican in San Francisco is a unique experience. “We are a minority among a minority,” admits Ruiz. He hears plenty of Spanish around here, but very few Missionistas speak with the distinctive snap of Puerto Rico. Ruiz, who was born in Quebradillas, can quickly detect if you, like him, grew up in the countryside or in a big city like San Juan; Puerto Ricans have a way of truncating words, a tendency that is only emphasized in the rural areas. Ruiz actually lives in Salinas and drove a long way to meet me here today. But he makes this drive often. He feels a deep yearning to be around his people. Out in the backyard, Ruiz shows me the ramp he built so older members of the club can be wheeled in. He’s 63 years old and built like an aging rugby player; it comes as little surprise he was a cop for 32 years after leaving the Army. This ramp looks like it was constructed by a contractor, but Ruiz shrugs that off. “I built my own house when I was 18 in Puerto Rico,” he says. “I was poor. But not without will or skill.” Building that ramp was a necessity. The club “is looking for new blood.” And, it figures, new blood is on its way — to the mainland, to this and many large cities. It was a hurricane that blew them off the island. In Puerto Rico, hurricanes are named after the Saints’ Days. There are many saints and almost as many hurricanes. There was San Felipe (1928), San Ciprián (1932) and Santa Clara (1956). Hurricane Hugo did a number on the island in 1989 and, of course, so has María this year. But the big one was San Ciriaco in 1899. When that monster washed over the island, killing 3,000 or more people and leaving more than 250,000 desperate and homeless, it set in motion the chain of events that would leave Puerto Rico reeling even before this year’s devastating storm. San Ciriaco occurred during the nascent United States military occupation of the island. Now a budding colonial power, the U.S. provided aid to its subjects. But it did so in a way that made the survivors’ lives worse. Giving aid directly to the afflicted, it was reasoned, would create a nation of beggars. Instead, the relief was given to the island’s well-off planters to distribute to the needy. But only to the needy who signed work contracts — contracts “that lowered their traditional wages and made them even more dependent,” writes Stuart Schwartz, a Yale professor of Latin American history.The U.S. compounded this by devaluing the Puerto Rican currency — instantly reducing the net worth of every islander. Usurious loans and a rash of predictable defaults soon resulted in the majority of Puerto Rican land ending up in the hands of absentee overseas owners.   In short, when faced with a humanitarian crisis, the United States instituted steps that impoverished the Puerto Rican people, enriched American banks and businesses, and led to an exodus from the island. Schwartz now worries that the initial steps from the Trump administration are an echo of that past. The president’s first statement on the crisis — made via Twitter, of course — was a rebuking of the island for its troubled economic state prior to the disaster, and a pledge that Puerto Rico must continue to service its crippling debt. It was a remarkably galling position for a man with a history of serial bankruptcies. It was a statement so lacking in empathy as to border on sociopathic. Puerto Ricans, to the surprise of many Americans, are Americans (though our nation’s tepid response to this disaster belies that). The Jones Act of 1917 provided them citizenship and, just like that, 40,000 were drafted to fight in the trenches of Europe. Quite the Faustian bargain.   AlRuiz has already begun funneling money to his home island. His former police colleagues have agreed to pass the hat and, Ruiz pledges, the Club Puertorriqueño will be contributing a “significant” amount. “It’ll be a drop in the bucket,” he admits. “But there are going to be many drops trickling in. Hopefully, the bucket is filled.” In truth, however, Puerto Rico could have benefited from this money long before — or from being allowed to keep more of its own money. Even a layman like Ruiz could tell the island’s infrastructure was crumbling; rotting power poles were not replaced but, instead, braced with more poles (a poor idea in a nation that faces severe storms every year). But dollars that could have gone toward fixing this or stimulating the economy were instead spent on servicing the debt. There’s plenty of blame to go around for Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. But, for more than a century, nearly every economic decision has benefitted the mainland at the island’s expense. And while the racism and classism of the 1900s is no longer overt, Schwartz notes that Puerto Rico’s most critical decisions are still made by a “fiscal board” entirely appointed out of Washington, D.C.Like Ruiz, Schwartz knew that Puerto Rico’s electric grid, now in shambles, was a ticking time bomb. Everyone did. But the money to remedy it was, instead, sent to overseas bondholders. Also heading overseas were the nation’s professionals — and that was before the hurricane. Some 500,000 Puerto Ricans have flocked to the mainland in the last decade; many of them are doctors and lawyers and engineers, the sorts of folks the island would most want to keep. With its ablest and most well-off young residents decamping, Puerto Rico will become an island only of those who cannot leave. An island of last resort. A debtors’ prison. A downward spiral. It’s a dire future. Al Ruiz, however, is going back. Not forever. And not until he’s sure he’s not consuming resources that are needed by others. But, once back on the island, he plans to help in any way he can — delivering goods, building houses, driving trucks, clearing roads, whatever. “I am retired,” he says. “And I am fortunate.” He is not without will or skill.​​​The Club Puertorriqueño de San Francisco​​​ will on Oct. 22 hold a fund-raiser for Puerto Rico. For more information visit http://www.clubpuertorriquenosf.com/ or call (415) 920-9606. 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

State bill would put a rent cap on 11000 homes in the

first_img Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter On Tuesday night, the bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee. But, opposition from major donors in Sacramento leaves its future unknown as it heads to a forthcoming hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.  But Chiu and his staff are hopeful. Opponents to the bill include the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors, among others. If this bill were to pass, it would put a rent cap on 10,984 multi-family units in the Mission that don’t already have rent control, including 2,258 single-family homes. Still, another 7,859 units wouldn’t be covered by the rent cap. And 35,343 units will remain rent controlled by local ordinance, since it’s higher than the proposed rent cap. This information comes from a report published by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation.Chiu has put limitations on the bill: the rent cap would only cover units that are 10 or more years old. And the bill would also sunset, i.e. automatically terminate, at the end of three years, while exempting single-family homes owned by small property owners. Opponents of this bill, however, have invested heavily in our current legislators. Since 2014, the California Association of Realtors has donated $3.4 million to California legislative candidates. In the same period, the California Apartment Association donated more than one million. Debra Carlton, a spokeswoman for the California Apartment Association, told Mission Local, “The legislature has to pass legislation that will force cities to keep their housing supply in line with their jobs.” She emphasized that the rent cap will not help with housing development, which she cites as being the better long-term solution to the housing crisis. Of the limitations put on the bill, Chiu said, “To get it off the Assembly floor, we had to make a compromise.” Chiu is referencing the California Association of Realtors. He said that despite concessions, they’re still opposed to the bill. A representative from the California Association of Realtors did not comment and directed us to the California Apartment Association. “Helping people stay housed where they are is of paramount importance,” said Chiu. He continued, “We have to do everything we can to help keep people in their homes for many years.” center_img Some 20,000 housing units in the Mission continue to be vulnerable to steep rent hikes, in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis in California. But AB-1482, a bill introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu, could enforce a state-wide rent cap linked to the Consumer Price Index, capping rent increases at 10 percent annually. The bill is meant to protect tenants who face displacement, especially in cities without rent control or buildings not covered by rent control even in cities where it exists.Chiu told Mission Local that there are two main points to his bill: One, it would prevent “rent-gouging” for tenants who live in buildings that are not under San Francisco rent control. This would include single-family homes, condos, and buildings built after 1979. The second point includes “just-cause protections,” meaning landlords would be required to list a fair cause for eviction. Right now, Chiu said, “It is legal to evict them for no cause at all.” last_img read more

SAINTS have signed Matthew Haggarty from Dewsbury

first_imgSAINTS have signed Matthew Haggarty from Dewsbury Rams on a three-year contract.The 24-year-old prop forward has been immediately loaned back to the Rams but will train each week with Keiron Cunningham’s squad.Matthew played for Leigh Miners as a junior before moving into the system at Salford in 2008.He then moved to Whitehaven and made 26 appearances over two seasons before joining Barrow in 2013.There, he switched to Oldham and was picked up by Dewsbury last season where he played 27 matches.Saints CEO Mike Rush said: “We’re delighted to have agreed terms with Matthew. He is a forward of promise and we look forward to seeing him develop within our system.“We are constantly looking for new talent throughout the Rugby League pyramid and Derek Traynor, Head Coach of our 19s, recommended we took a look at Matthew.“We like what we see and we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Rams. They have been very professional in our dealings.“Matthew will train for us during the week and play with Dewsbury where we will monitor his progress.”Matthew will join Saints on March 1 and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.“I am excited by the opportunity of taking a contract with Saints but at the same time sad to be leaving Dewsbury although I will be staying with them for the rest of the season,” he said. “I’d like to thank Mark Sawyer for giving me the chance and Glenn Morrison for the hard work he has put into me over the last two seasons to get me in a position were a club from Super League shows interest.“When they signed me my career was in the balance and to be honest I’d lost my confidence. Glenn and the great atmosphere in the changing rooms got me back on track. I’d like to thank all the lads and the fans very much.“I’m really excited to be joining such a great club in Saints and with the current crop of players I’m sure we will be challenging for honours for years to come.“On a personal note I’d like to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley in breaking in and establishing myself as a Super League player.”Rams’ coach Glenn Morrison spoke about Matthew’s development as a player and how this reflects on the club.“We identified Matty while he was with Barrow and continued to keep tabs on his progress when he was playing in Championship 1,” he said. “He’s a good kid who has always been eager to learn and he’s really developed as a player during the last 12 months”“We always knew there was something there and that’s been proven by this approach by St Helens. It’s a great opportunity for him”“It’s fantastic for him that a club like Saints has come in for him and a good reflection on the club that we’re developing players of this calibre.“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Matty throughout 2015 and we’ll keep tabs on his progress with Saints, and continue to work with Saints in the years ahead.”Dewsbury Chairman Mark Sawyer added: “In recent weeks three Super League clubs have shown an interest in Matthew.“I would like to thank St.Helens for the professional manner in which they have dealt with the transfer, but also in the compensation package they offered to the Rams.“This includes Matthew being loaned at Saints cost to us for the rest of the season along with a friendly game at Langtree Park prior to 2016 with all proceeds to the Rams. These, along with the other elements, made it a very acceptable agreement.“It is important young players have the chance to step up to Super League should the chance arise. I will be sad to see Matthew go but I for one will watch his progress with great interest.”last_img read more

SAINTS produced a performance of resolve passion

first_imgSAINTS produced a performance of resolve, passion and total commitment as they beat Wakefield 20-16.Down three players through injury and rolling one sub they fought and battled to their fourth win from four and went joint top of Super League.Superlatives aplenty, this was a quality defensive effort with the ‘middle men’ absolutely superb throughout.But it was when Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival and Luke Thompson all went off injured that these boys came into their own.And that made the win all the more sweeter.Saints made a couple of changes from the side that beat Castleford last week – Paul Wellens coming in for the suspended Travis Burns and Alex Walmsley for Kyle Amor.Lance Hohaia also returned to bench for his first appearance since the home win over Catalans.Saints started brightly and broke the deadlock on eight minutes when Alex Walmsley offloaded to Mark Flanagan.Having broken through, the loose forward got the ball away to Lomax who took the tackle before Paul Wellens ‘showed and goed’ for the opener.15 minutes in another break from right inside Saints’ own 20 – after a Wakefield chance – was very nearly converted. Makinson rampaged down the middle but the defence covered the chance. Turner then combined with Swift to almost put the winger in.It was a let off for Wakefield and they punished Saints with their very next opportunity. After forcing a drop-out, Jacob Miller took a low ball, caught Matty Ashurst on the burst, and the former Saints man levelled up matters.Saints then lost Jonny Lomax, Luke Thompson and Mark Percival in quick succession to injury – and a reshuffle meant them relying on good D whilst their attacking structures were readdressed.And they almost turned that ‘backs-to-the-wall’ effort into points but Joe Greenwood just couldn’t haul in Masoe’s pass.Once again Wakefield took advantage of that missed chance – Reece Lyne going through a gap on the left hand side after the home side gained a penalty.Craig Hall giving his side a 12-6 lead at half time.Wakefield had one chalked off for obstruction on Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook early in the second half and then had another pulled back for a forward pass.That might have been a let off for the visitors and a stroke of luck, but Saints didn’t hang about.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook intercepted a Wildcats’ attack, went 70 yards and Greenwood took Makinson’s pass to go under the posts.Makinson converted and then, on 50 minutes, put Saints ahead with a penalty.And Jordan Turner scored after Craig Hall made a mess of a high ball.Saints had reversed their fortunes and looked deadly with every set. They had a number of chances too but Wakefield also looked likely when the ball went lateral. It was one of those sideways moves that got the hosts right back into it too. Dean Collis chipped over on the right hand side and Richard Owen profited.Wakefield continued to press until the very last minute and when Tim Smith kicked it deep downfield following a tap on the twenty it forced another set – with just 40 seconds remaining.Drive after drive went in and Saints swarmed all over Ali Lauitiiti as the hooter went to win the match.Truly epic.Match Summary:Wildcats:Tries: Ashurst, Lyne, OwenGoals: Hall (2 from 3)Saints: Tries: Wellens, Greenwood, TurnerGoals: Percival (1 from 1), Makinson (3 from 3)Penalties: Wildcats: 6Saints: 10HT: 6-12FT: 20-16REF: Robert HicksATT: 4104Teams:Wildcats: 1. Craig Hall; 2. Chris Riley, 3. Dean Collis, 4. Reece Lyne, 5. Richard Owen; 6. Jacob Miller, 7. Tim Smith; 18. Daniel Smith, 13. Danny Washbrook, 8. Nick Scruton, 12. Danny Kirmond, 17. Matty Ashurst, 15. Matt Ryan.Subs: 9. Paul McShane, 11. Ali Lauitiiti, 16. Mickael Simon, 23. Lopini Paea.Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 17. Mark Percival, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 20. Paul Wellens, 12. Jon Wilkin; 14. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 19. Greg Richards, 21. Joe Greenwood, 11. Atelea Vea, 15. Mark Flanagan.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Lance Hohaia, 18. Luke Thompson.last_img read more

Historian explains Confederate symbolism NC law protecting statues

first_img “It’s a shame that, you know, people with opposing views can’t just have their own views without coming to violent acts,” Wilmington resident Denise Worcester said.UNCW Professor and Historian Chris Fonvielle said it is a fight about history that is starting to look like our history.“Why are we no longer willing to accept opposing view points? Why are we willing to fight over them? You know what? This is the same kind of rhetoric we had in the lead up to the civil war.”Related Article: Tide truck providing free laundry serviceFonvielle said Confederate statues hold different meanings for different people.“For predominantly white southerners whose ancestors fought in the civil war, they represent their history,” Fonvielle said. “They may not see them as offensive symbols of racism.”“Do you think they are racist?”“I’m a historian, so I try to view it objectively and I had ancestors who fought for the confederacy,” Fonvielle said. “History is a very shared experience. Who gets to remember history, write history, commemorate history?”While he does not think that history should be removed, he does think more should be added.“Statues for African American activists for example,” Fonvielle said. “Statues to people who have a different viewpoint.”No matter what viewpoint, all of that history is protected in North Carolina.“The legislature a year ago passed a law that forbids removing a public statue without authorization from the legislature and the North Carolina Historical Commission,” Fonvielle said.Fonvielle said it is a topic that could be a healthy discussion, but in Charlottesville it turned into what looked like a war.“This was a very unAmerican way for Americans to show what they think America is or what America should be,” Fonvielle said.Fonvielle said he and a city council member are working to put up a statue of Abraham Galloway. Galloway was an African American activist in North Carolina during the Civil War. 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As tensions are high following a deadly rally in Charlottesville Virginia over the weekend, we are getting some new insight about the statue that started the controversy.A rally by white nationalists who oppose a plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park turned deadly as protesters showed up and violence broke out Saturday.- Advertisement – last_img read more