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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Cameras, Corporatism, & Chuck Berry


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There are several variations of this quote, incorrectly attributed to the hated fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini:

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

While it is unknown who first made this statement, one thing is certain: almost everyone in the US (if not the world) can point to an example of a violation of a perceived boundary between business and government that rubs them the wrong way. Most people also feel that “corporate persons” have too much influence.

The latest harebrained corporatist scheme proposed by the Mayor is even sillier than the hiring of a California based ad agency to identify and market regional assets that are in need of some corporate sponsorship, in the form of naming rights and being branded the “official ___ of Pittsburgh”. Hopefully this goes better than the sale of our water has. First they sold it to the Brits (shame on you, Tom Murphy, with your Hibernian posturing), who then merged with the Germans, who constantly raise rates and ignore the crumbling infrastructure. This kind of nonsense doesn’t go over so well, in other places.

Given the cutthroat world of corporate mergers, takeovers, and bankruptcies, is there any way to be sure that your public park is named after a company that even still exists? Enron Field and Erickson Stadium come to mind.

Despite the aesthetic and linguistic nastiness that municipal branding creates, the outward signs of corporate ownership is a kind of honesty. It looks like shit and if the corporate sponsored college football bowl games are any indicator, these names don’t exactly roll off the tongue, but a comedian once suggested that politicians could wear race car-style jackets covered in corporate logos, so we know exactly who owns them.

This is even worse than the diversion of already depleted public funds to promote tourism. Maybe this is just sour grapes on my part, since no one will take me up on my idea to showcase our 19th century patronage machine-style local government, ala Colonial Williamsburg.

The City is proposing a merger of public and private surveillance systems. While not as absurd as the Lake Erie Homeland Security Radar System, if this was a video store, I wouldn’t know whether to file this under “comedy” or “horror”, but the possibilities for both (and combinations of the two) are endless. This also includes a ‘gunshot detction system’ for Point State Park, an are where a firearm hasn’t been discharged since the French and Indian War. I’m not sure where the $826,000 for the initial phase, is coming from, but I could have sworn the City was broke, and just installed cameras last year. If there are any doubts about the ineffectiveness of heavy surveillance, there’s this place called London, and if their cameras and microphones are helping, someone forgot to tell the people who regularly attack civilians there.

The Mayor was inspired by the work of another fortunate son, who like most of their kind, also rose to a position of power through the difficult process of being born:

“The mayor of Chicago, Mayor [Richard M.] Daley, has a goal to have a camera on every street corner in the city Chicago, and he’s well on his way to achieving that,” Mr. Ravenstahl said. “If you would sit in the 911 center in the city of Chicago, [you would] see your ability to, with the touch of a button, look at different buildings, different intersections.”

Daley (I’m not making this up) wanted to meet to meet with him

After seeing Mayor Ravenstahl on the Late Show with David Letterman

City Council’s ardent champion of symbolic, non-binding civil liberties, Bill Peduto, was not afraid issue his tough demands for a “transparent set of rules on who views , who’s authorized to view it, and that it’s not being specifically targeted”.

It’s no mystery why the starstruck Ravenstahl would be in favor of centralizing public and private camera systems. This could help him keep track of actors, Broadway stars, golfers, and whatever Sienna Miller does, if he could view hotel lobby cameras to make sure he’s not missing out on a photo-op or autograph.

Would “barely legal tanning bed cams” be linked up to the Wal-Mart shoplifting cameras? Will the Chuck Berry-style toilet cameras be integrated into the system? Nanny cams? The live polar bear and tiger feeds at the zoo?

Will your employer be granted access to footage that shows you didn’t really have the flu or interviewed for another job? Will your pastor view the ATM camera footage at a strip bar and question how you spend your time and money? Will your HMO drop you, because they’ve seen footage of you smoking outside of work? Government, business, and religion all share a common interest: monitoring and controlling our lives, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the worst when they team up to do it.

What can you do? It’s your life, and complex, high-tech toys are fussy. They don’t like dust, static, water, fire, and other basic common things. Reclaiming privacy and dignity demands the use of imagination and whatever other tools we have laying around. For further reading, check out “The Pig’s Eye in the Sky”, from Modesto Anarcho!, The New York Surveillance Camera Players, and Anarchism in Action’s “Guide to CCTV Destruction”

Three Stooges Coming to Pittsburgh

stooges.jpgPittsburgh’s panhandling ordinance will be put to the test in the coming weeks, according to the P-G

Jesus Christ himself, I mean Barack Obama, man of the People, will be dining on $500 stuffed chicken breast with his friends at the choice hangout for salt of the earth types, The Rivers Club, located in humble, quaint Oxford Center, June 20th. My apologies to downtown workers whose lunch break will be spent waiting for motorcades to pass while crossing the street and being freaked out by the SS men on the roofs with binoculars.

Hillary (not Duff, sadly) is expected to be in ‘tahn before the end of the month, for a fundraiser, as well as a well-deserved day off from whatever it is senators do at work. Keep your cash in your shoe.

Last but not least, art theorist, devoted family man, and “America’s Mayor” (would you take credit for that?), Rudy Giulliani will stand tall on his platform made from the ashes of the people who died in the 9/11 attacks, at the Duquesne Club. Expect gentle, angry liberal protests, and a brutal drinking game if you drink every time he says ‘terror’.