Landslide Farmhouse Eviction Account and Support Information‏

The City has unboarded the house, but informed the residents that they may not sleep there. Legal status is being worked out. A benefit is planned, and donations are being accepted.

UPDATE!!!!

Thanks to the hundreds of phones calls of support to Council Woman Payne’s office, public works, the mayors office, and to 311; the Support of Council Woman Payne, and legal aid from the ACLU, our lawyer and one long, hard day of work from many other helpful folks, the boards will be removed from the farmhouse. We are thankful for all your support. This victory, though temporary, has shown us just how many people in our community and the larger community care about Landslide.

Personal Account of November 7th 2008 Landslide Community Farm’s Farmhouse Eviction

On the morning of November 7th 2008 the Landslide Community Farm volunteers were assembling to plan the 3rd day of their yearly farm closing work week, when Pittsburgh Public Works arrived escorted by several PGHPD vehicles, including a police wagon. The police asked for identification from all people on the sidewalk when they arrived. They then asked to see a written lease agreement or deed for the farmhouse.

No written agreement was able to be presented; police officers then notified all present that we had fifteen minutes to remove our important belongings before the house would be barred. When asked why we were being evicted, we were told that an anonymous complaint call had been made to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s 311 hotline. The caller claimed that we were violating building code.

Neighbors, visitors, and volunteers helped us retrieve as much of our property as we all could before we were denied re-entry. The Public Works employees then measured and tried to board the doors, but their van was a bit too far down the hill. They pulled the van up and backed over their own saw. They had to leave the premises to purchase a new one. Police officers remained outside watching the community farm members as we watched over the farmhouse.

Public Works returned and boarded two of the entrances. The police asked if anyone was still present in the house. A full time volunteer re-entered and checked the premises and reported that no one remained inside. Then, two police officers entered the house admittedly without permission from the owner and without a search warrant. Public Works then boarded the last door and the police informed us we would be immediately arrested if we entered the farmhouse. The PW workers left with the police shortly afterward.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a major supporter of the farm, came a bit later with the same PW employees that had sealed the farmhouse. She and the other city employees said they wished they could help us in this situation. The councilwoman didn’t know how to go about that, and the PW employees said that they could only follow orders. We are now trying to figure out our next steps and what our options are. We are currently working with a lawyer but if you have ideas or advice please email Landslide@riseup.net.

If you would like to help us out, we need you! Please come to Landslide in the next few days to help us finish our closing work. You can also attend our emergency fundraiser tomorrow, November 8th, 2008 5452 Wilkins Ave. at 8 pm. We will be having our weekly Sunday Brunch benefit (a spilt benefit between Landslide and Book ‘Em) as usual on Sunday, November 9th Noon-3ish pm. Anything that you have (especially love and support) will help get us through this tough period and build our collective strength. Monies collected will first go toward legal fees and we will also be raising money in case the farmhouse goes up for city auction soon. If you cannot physically come to Landslide but want to donate money, you can send donations via Pay Pal on http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org by selecting “Donate” then “Projects” then choosing the Sustainable Living Project. Checks should be made out to “The Thomas Merton Center” memo “Sustainable Living Project”. Checks and money orders can be sent to: The Thomas Merton Center 5125 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We will have a list of tools and materials that we could use and projects that are being completed posted on our website shortly. Please check http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates.

Thanks so much to everyone that has been a part of all the kindness, generosity, and overwhelming support that the project has received. We couldn’t be here with out it.


members
of The Landslide Community Farm

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Ravenstahl “Greens” the Hill: Landslide Farmhouse Evicted

boarded1For some strange reason, that probably has nothing to do with admitted liar and extortionist Mario Lemieux’s, gambling-funded $290 million Taj Mahal in the Hill, or overtime pay, Landslide Community Farm was Redd-Up. Instead of “cleaning up neglected and overgrown lots, towing cars, boarding up abandoned buildings, getting rid of graffiti” a group of individuals who are participating in a community farming project had their person and property put out on the curb and their home boarded up while licensed terrorists were there for some reason, maybe to provide cover fire? That is after the politicians nephews from Public Works found a
replacement for the saw that they ran over with one of their own trucks. Given the popularity of irony in recent years, it’s worth pointing out that at the time of this writing, on beloved and respected comrade mayor Ravenstahl’s web page, the first item is this Green Up Pittsburgh Application (posted here for your convenience, should you need to start a community farm of your own)

signThis was my first visit, and I was quite impressed.This incident was kind of shocking to me, as far as I knew, this was a pretty well respected and established project, with both community and a degree of political support. Hell, even the Trib, was impressed.

watering-can

The following are messages from the Landslide folks:

**Update**

Councilwoman Tonya Payne’s office has contacted us to say that she’s working on the issue and that we should stop contacting her so she can get to work helping us. Please stop calls to Councilwoman Payne’s office but continue calling Mayor Ravensthal’s hotline 311 and the Department of Public Works (412) 255-2790 (ext 3).
City officials are now telling us that we are being evicted because the house had no doors or windows. You can clearly see doors AND windows in the photograph below (which was taken at the time of the eviction). Our attorneys are advising us that regardless of any alleged building code violations, the eviction was without proper notice or opportunity to remedy any problems and completely illegal.
Thank you all for all of your support. Keep checking back to www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates. Let’s keep the pressure on!
In Solidarity,

Landslide Community Farm

harbs

At a little before 9:00 am this morning, four police officers and two representatives from Pittsburgh Public Works arrived at the Landslide Community Farm farmhouse (#3 Allequippa St.) and told everyone inside to leave—the house was being boarded up. Police and Public Works officials could produce no documentation other than a work order instructing them to board up the house.  Apparently someone had phoned in a complaint stating that 20 or so ‘vagrants’ had been living in the house. There had been no advance notice, no opportunity to fix any purported problems, just an abrupt eviction. Police demanded to see a written lease. When none could be presented (our lease agreement is verbal, as are around 40% of all leases agreements) they told us that they had ‘no choice’ but to comply with the order and board up the house. Police made it clear that the owner of the house had not requested the eviction and that they had not contacted her before We are working hard to settle the situation but we need your help to pressure the authorities to let us back into our homes. Please call: Councilwoman Tonya Payne- 412-255-2134 Mayor Luke Ravensthal’s Hotline- 311 Tell Councilwoman Payne and the Mayor that Landslide community farm is an established and respected community project. Take all appropriate action to let these farmers back into their homes! In Solidarity,
Landslide Community Farm http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org

amar

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When FEMA Questions Your Competence…

I still can’t decide what’s worse; a surveillance vehicle to protect us from the encroaching Saracen hordes or using it to tailgate at a Toby Keith concert. Fortunately I try to avoid setting up these kinds of moral hierarchies.

The City received the bureaucratic equivalent of parenting advice from Britney Spears or dog training tips from Mike Vick,
in the form of FEMA, pretending that it will cut off Fatherland Homeland Security funding.
If Pittsburgh ends up out of the loop that allows military contractors to collect payola from municipal governments, we may as well all just memorize the Shahadah.

Liberal Media Alert: Those pinkos at the New York Times stated that Luke and the Missus used the Yukon, revising the ugly reality of his “tailgating with the boys”. They corrected some other minor factual errors, in the article, but those nattering nabobs of negativism, let it seem as if Our First Couple were spending a quiet evening together, instead of the regionally embarrassing truth.

When the “Angry Inch” Takes a Mile

I don’t hate your SUV, I just don’t understand your obsession with these big plastic boxes. I understand why Crusaders, farmers, park rangers, professional flea marketeers, and even soccer moms need such a vehicle. The “U” is for utility, and it’s not hard to wrap your brain around that. It’s the “S” that loses me. What “sport” are you using that thing for? Not that I don’t doubt that the IOC would make gas burning or freestyle parallel parking into Olympic events. Personally, I’d rather see them used for polo or buzkashi.

Or does “sport” refer to the officially sanctioned outlet for homoeroticism, where there is nothing “abnormal” about spending hours watching and adulating sweaty musclebound millionaires grapple for cash and prizes? I guess we’ll never know.

Something else we may never know, is whether these big plastic boxes are a way for males who are insecure about the dimensions of their generative organs to be able to look at themselves in the rear-view mirror. Sure, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but the SUV as strap-on which uses seatbelts, is an easy explanation for fanaticism which surrounds these vehicles. Some guys seem ready to kill or die for their canary yellow “Hummer”. Others will jeopardize their public reputations and careers for these five-figure vibrators.

Two such obsessives are Pittsburgh Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, and Miami Police Chief, John Timoney both who have recently come under scrutiny for their irrational behaviors about playing with trucks.

Ravenstahl, used a vehicle that was bought with Homeland Security funds, to tailgate with friends, at what appears to be a mandatory field trip for City employees. I don’t know if Lukey actually lives at his North Side address, but since he grew up in the suburbs(unless Reserve Twp. is in the City), his Toby Keith fandom is a little more plausible. A City cop was almost disciplined for blowing the whistle on him. It’s serious when the spectre of police accountability is raised. Local religious judge Mullah Marybeth Buchanan has even promised to put her best agents on the case. Luke’s even invoking GW-style executive privilege in the name of “Homeland Security” (fatherland was already taken) on this one. Is this a variant of the RV from Stripes?

Size (and likely age) seem to matter to repression celebrity, police chief, and father of bumbling drug addicts and dealers, John Timoney, whose latest victims are in Miami. Timoney accepted the use of a free Lexus SUV with dealer tags, for more than a year, before buying it for $54,000. Maybe it’s just healthy hatred for the boss, but even his own officers held a symbolic (but aren’t they all?) vote of no confidence in T-$, as they apparently refer to him in Miami.

I don’t know why these two are willing to jeopardize their reputations and careers to play trucks. Only their wives and mistresses know for sure

Catching Up: (Part 1.) September 1-8

Apparently life goes on whether I remark on it or not, and I feel half guilty taking September off, so I’ll try and catch up. There’s some big stuff in the works, including a collaboration with a dear comrade and little brother, on a piece about the folly of ethical consumption and an overblown commentary on Mike Vick and his sporting dogs.

  • September 1 : It wouldn’t be a long weekend, if we didn’t celebrate “our freedom” with Taliban/Carry Nation checkpoints and police crackdowns.
  • September 2: Pittsburgh Food Not Bombs hosted what was apparently a great block party.
  • September 3: Labor Day is May 1, you big dummies.
  • September 4: The Pittsburgh Organizing Group began it’s “End War FAST“, in an alleged effort to close the Forbes Avenue recruiting station. I hope no one really believed that the US military cares who eats and who doesn’t, and that blue-haired liberal ladies got out their checkbooks, which seems to be a more realistic goal for a hunger strike. For some reason, their use of all-caps in the word “FAST” drove me crazy.
  • September 5: Suburban golden boy, whose family used their City address, turned Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, dropped by the Zone 3 police station, to get his picture taken using the City’s new cyber-snitch website.
  • September 6: The dollar fell. I hope it hits the ground before it wakes up.
  • September 7: The region’s second-worst “badge bunny“, head-trauma patient, and “Man of Faith” (don’t worry Mr. Zapalla, you’re still #1) donated money to buy shit for police dogs in Cleveland. Ben, you may or may not know this (or be able to read this), but police dogs have managed to bite black folks just fine, long before morons like you thought they needed body armor. Anti-American Idol, Osama (that’s Usama for you FOX viewers)bin Laden, releases a new tape and unveils his new look. I like it better than his old stuff.
  • September 8: Minor skirmishes outside the APEC summit in Sydney, Australia result in arrests.

Congratulations, Lt. Rodriguez

cops13sized.jpg

It must feel good to be Charles Rodriguez, first the big promotion, then his boss, the Mayor sticks up for him and his droogs, and now the assault charges against him get dropped. What a lucky guy. If I knew what it was, I’d play his badge number on the Big 4.

It must be nice that a history of personal violence is no impediment to a career in law enforcement, especially in the US where you can’t bag groceries without passing a urine test and a criminal background check. Are we that careless?
NOW, is contemplating a lawsuit. The enemy of my enemy…

The Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Society has note by note coverage of the public hearings, which the Mayor could not attend, as there was a celebrity golf-related schedule conflict, on UPMC’s dime.

The problem is, these properly credentialed terrorists public servants are simply taking their work home with them.

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