Friday, July 27, 2007

7/28/2007 Community Gumbo

Listen | Democracy Now (7/27/07)
  • Should Impeachment Be Off the Table? A Debate with Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, Ex-CIA Analyst Ray McGovern and Democratic Strategist Dan Gerstein
  • State Repression Continues Unabated More than One Year into Oaxaca Uprising

Listen | Million Dollar Blocks
Download the presentation here.

Systemic change to the criminal justice system was on the agenda of the New Orleans City Council Criminal Justice Committee meeting on June 12th. The Vera Institute of Justice and the Soros Open Society Institute funded two innovative research projects which take a fresh look at changes that might improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. One of those projects highlighted the positive effects of establishing small community courts to try perpetrators of lesser misdemeanor crimes, and to require that those offenders participate in restorative justice projects. Another project recommended a complete inversion of investment in communities, pumping dollars into neighborhoods instead of prisons. The Million Dollar Blocks concept, advocated by Dr. Laura Kurgen of Columbia University's Spatial Design Lab, identifies neighborhoods where high concentrations of jailed perpetrators once lived. Dr. Kurgen argues that a wiser strategy of investing in social services and jobs in those problem neighborhoods -- rather than investing in prisons -- would provide opportunities and hope to people, thereby reducing the conditions of depravity which are an important factor in breeding criminal behavior.


View Dr. Laura Kurgen's Million Dollar Blocks presentation, filled with detailed maps and analysis, which was delivered to the City Council:

Columbia University Spatial Design Lab

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice, "Proposals for New Orleans' Criminal Justice System: Best Practices to Advance Public Safety and Justice"
Renovation of the city’s infrastructure will help set the stage for criminal justice reform and should be a top priority.

New Orleans can improve public safety by pursuing the following new policies or programs:

• Early triage of cases and routine communication between police and prosecutors,
• A wider range of pretrial release options,
• Community-service sentencing and greater use of alternatives to prison, and
• More appropriate and cost-effective sanctions for municipal offenses.

For each of these policy areas, this report identifies specific areas of need and proposes solutions that are based on effective practices used in other jurisdictions. Moreover, it focuses on practical steps that over the next six to 12 months promise the “biggest bang for the buck.”

Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation

New Orleans City Council Criminal Justice Committee

New Orleans City Council Meetings and Agendas

Independent Lens, Red Hook Justice


Developers Unveil a New Orleans Riverfront Development Project
The final public presentation and discussion regarding the strategic development plan for the New Orleans Riverfront between Jackson Avenue and the Holy Cross neighborhood.

Saturday, July 28
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Port Authority
Auditorium (behind the Convention Center + free parking)

Sean Cummings, "Plans for rebuilding Big Easy cause unease," USA Today, 7/27/07.
Sean Cummings, a cutting-edge developer who has created some of New Orleans' hippest hotels and condos, is tackling one of the biggest redevelopment projects of his career — and one of the biggest in the city's recent history.

The project, scheduled to be unveiled to the public on Saturday, would reconnect the city with the Mississippi River, creating a 4.5-mile stretch of bikeways, jogging trails, cruise ship terminals and hotels on city-owned riverfront property two blocks from the French Quarter. ...

"It's totally out of context and out of character and out of scale with the wonderful historic neighborhoods," said Nathan Chapman, president of a French Quarter advocacy group.

Nathan Chapman stated in an email that "no neighborhood leaders were allowed on the steering committee. Decisions were made behind closed doors." (RiverfrontAlliance.Org).

The developer's Web site is

Support Needed to Expand Low-Power FM Community Radio

Community radio hopefuls and broadcasters alike announced a breakthrough in the fight to bring low power FM radio licenses to thousands more cities and towns. On June 21st, Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) joined Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE), as well as Senators John McCain and Senators Maria Cantwell, to introduce the Local Community Radio Act of 2007. This bill -- H.R. 2802 in the House and S. 1675 in the Senate is a chance for community radio hopefuls from Omaha to Orlando to get new licenses to build their own low power FM radio stations.

The Senate spoke up in 2005 and 2006 in support of low power FM -- passing bills out of the Senate Commerce Committee to expand the service twice.

This is the first time in seven years that the House of Represenatives has considered expanding low power FM radio to your community.

Since June 21st, 23 members of Congress have signed on to cosponsor H.R. 2802, the Local Community Radio Act.

Grassroots support has been vital to getting this legislation moving through Congress.

For example, because local community radio supporters at WRFU-LP contacted their Representative, Congressman Tim Johnson, a Republican from Urbana Illinois, and asked him to expand Illinois' access to great community radio stations like WRFU-LP, Rep. Johnson will be signing on to the legislation to expand low power FM radio.

Because Jay Inslee (D-WA), the Democratic Congressman who represents the Seattle area, heard from so many great local folks that they want low power FM in the Northwest, he has moved to cosponsor this vital legislation.

And Congressman Mike Doyle recently asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if they continued to support expanding low power FM radio to America's cities -- all five Commissioners agreed.

To continue this momentum and get more Congressmembers to support low power FM radio, grassroots organizers are trying to get more Congressmembers to cosponsor this bill over the next week before Congress goes on vacation in order to set up a call for a vote to expand community radio in the fall.

Learn more about how Congress limited low power FM radio in most American cities here:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not exactly a comment about the post but it has some sort of connection with everything..


5:48 PM  

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