Katrina summit

KATRINA EMERGENCY SUMMIT

Strategy Meeting to Launch a GULF COAST RENEWAL CAMPAIGN

When: February 7th, 2006 from 9:00 am to Noon

Where: Room 2237 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC (on Independence Ave, south of the Capitol; nearest Metro Stop: Capitol South).

What: Founding meeting, Steering Committee formation, and press conference

“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”– Coretta Scott King

January 31, 2006

Greetings,

First and foremost, we extend our condolences to the King family. Continuing in the spirit of Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr., those who struggle for justice and human dignity in 2006, face a new challenge – laid bare not by a vicious storm, but by an indifferent federal government. Administration policy in the aftermath of Katrina has evinced a horrific callousness toward black suffering. While opening the floodgates of opportunity to out-of region profiteers, current policy shuts out the poor, primarily African-American, Katrina survivors from returning home and from participating in the future of their own communities.

Five months after Katrina struck, the people of the Gulf Coast who were left behind once, are still being left behind to drown in the circumstances of their involuntary displacement. The right to return is a hollow promise by officials as survivors are still being denied access to viable short and long-term housing, jobs with living wages, public schools, healthcare, and government contracts. Access is further denied to the displaced by virtue of their inability to participate in critical decision-making as to allocation of federal resources and plans for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. On February 13, 2006 and March 1, 2006, FEMA plans to evict tens of thousands of victims from hotels without any provision for alternative housing. As despair settles in, rates of suicide and death from “Katrina Stress” escalate among the victims.

Sadly, progressive members of Congress, while sympathetic, have been unable to move comprehensive legislative solutions to this crisis. Forming a Katrina Working Group, we have been meeting regularly with Congressional staffers and grassroots activists, to overcome this legislative stalemate and build a broad-based Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign to restore all survivors. It is clear that the trigger for change is a ministry of presence. We need unified advocacy, we need YOU! It is imperative that African-American leaders from around the country “show up” on Capitol Hill – to demand accountability and justice for Katrina survivors. Your presence will make visible the imperative that an effective and just response to their plight remains at the top of the Congressional agenda.

I implore you to come stand with us before Congress, before the American people – as a united front of black leadership. We will gather – not to march or to yell, but to devise strategy with progressive lawmakers. As a young voice of conscience, the leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, I am appealing to all African-American leaders – to my elders who inspired me, to my brothers and sisters whose energy feeds my resolve, to please join me on February 7, to have all our voices rise up on the Hill in a call for unified and unflagging advocacy for a comprehensive plan for Gulf Coast renewal.

We are calling for:

  • A right of return, not a plan that gentrifies and white-washes
  • A sane rebuild that invests in those displaced; not a boon for developers
  • Temporary and long-term housing assistance
  • Protection for voting rights for the displaced
  • Community control over CDBG’s
  • Mortgage forgiveness
  • Funding for quality public education
  • Victim Restoration Fund
  • Environmental Cleanup
  • Rebuilding of Medical Facilities
  • Small Businesses Assistance
  • Tax Credits and Bankruptcy Exemptions for Victims

These programs will enable victims to safely return to their cities, to hold jobs, to restore the local tax base and the local economy.

The magazine, Black Commentator, has laid down the gauntlet:

“Although there are literally thousands of large and small Katrina-related projects operating throughout the nation, many of the New Orleans organizers are handicapped by the fact of their own displacement. A great moral and political challenge presents itself to Black and progressive America: Will they rise to the occasion in the face of a real, imminent, well-defined crisisÅ February 7th will be a test of Black political resolve and cohesion.”

I look forward to meeting with you on February 7 to fulfill this imperative for our people! Below is the current list of invitees for this historic and critical Katrina Emergency Summit. If your name is misspelled, or you have received this invitation, but your name is not on the list, please contact Ms. Tonia Rice at 202 359-6718 or email at Tonia[at]hiphopcaucus.org to be added to the list. If you need more information, are giving regrets or are a gulf coast survivor and need travel assistance please contact Ms. Diane Shamis at 845-661-3754 or email at Diane[at]hiphopcaucus.org.

For future generations,

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.
President and CEO
Hip Hop Caucus

“Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.

6856 Eastern Avenue, NW, Suite 308 ** Washington, DC 20012
(202) 545-0113 – Office ** info[at]hiphopcaucus.org ** www.hiphopcaucus.org

List of Invitees for Katrina Emergency Summit (Not in any particular order)

GULF COAST ACTIVISTS

ANNE MILLING
Women of the Storm

MURIEL LEWIS
National Association of Katrina Evacuees (NAKE)

MALCOLM SUBER
Urban Heart, People’s Hurricane Relief & Oversight Coalition

CURTIS MUHAMMAD
Community Labor United, People’s Hurricane Relief & Oversight Coaltion

MALIK RAHIM
Common Cause Relief Collective

MTANGULIZI SANGYITA
African-American Leadership Project

ISHMAEL MUHAMMAD
The Advancement Project (MS), Grassroots Legal Network

TAMIKA SINGLETON
Critical Resistance, XOCHITL BIVERA
Families & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children

CYNTHIA WILLARD LEWIS
Councilwoman, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans

SHANA GRIFFIN
People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition, Women’s Caucus

MTUMISHI ST. JULIEN
President, New Orleans Finance Authority

BEVERLY MCKINNA
Publisher/Editor, New Orleans Tribune

VINCENT SYLVAIN
New Orleans Agenda

TORY PEGRAM
ACLU of Lousiana

RUSSELL HENDERSON
Rebuilding Louisiana Coalition

JORDAN FLAHERTY
Journalist, Left Turn Magazine

LATOSHA BROWN
S.O.S. (Saving Our Selves)

VIVIAN FELTS
S.O.S. (Saving Our Selves)

BRENDA ROBICHAUX
Chief, United Houma Nation of Louisiana

SANDY ROSENTHAL
Levees.org

BILL CHANDLER
Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance

CHOKWE LUMUMBA
Southern Echo, People’s Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition

DR. KIMBERLEY RICHARDS
People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond

ANGELA WINFREY-BAUMAN
People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond

MONIQUE HARDEN
Louisiana Environmental Justice Network
Members of Congress, Leaders of Organizations and Activist

RON DANIELS (Co-Facilitator for Summit)
Institute for the Black World 21st Century

G.K. BUTTERFIELD
U.S. Representative
1st District, N
.C
.

WILLIAM L CLAY JR.
U.S. Representative
1st District, Mo.

JOHN CONYERS JR.
U.S. Representative
14th District, Mich.

CHAKA FATTAH
U.S. Representative
2nd District, Pa.

JULIA CARSON
U.S. Representative
7th District, Ind.

EMANUEL CLEAVER II
U.S. Representative
5th District, Mo.

ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS
U.S. Representative
7th District, Md.

HAROLD FORD JR.
U.S. Representative
9th District, Tenn.

MAYA ANGELOU
Poet and Lecturer

BISHOP RICHARD ALLEN CHAPPELLE SR.
President, General Board
AME Church

JAMES E. CLYBURN
U.S. Representative
6th District, S.C.

ARTUR DAVIS
U.S. Representative
7th District, Ala.

JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN
Historian

SANFORD D. BISHOP JR.
U.S. Representative
2nd District, Ga.

KENNETH CHENAULT
Chairman & CEO
American Express Corp.

DANNY DAVIS
U.S. Representative
7th District, Ill.

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN
Mayor
Atlanta

CORRINE BROWN
U.S. Representative
3rd District, Fla.

DONNA CHRISTIAN-CHRISTENSEN
Congressional Delegate
Virgin Islands

SEAN (DIDDY) COMBS
Music Entrepreneur and Clothing Designer

MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN
National Representative of the Hen. Elijah Muhammad Nation of Islam

ANN FUDGE
CEO
Young & Rubicam, Inc.

EARL G. GRAVES
Publisher
Black Enterprise Magazine

WILLIE W. HERENTON
Mayor
Memphis

JESSE L. JACKSON JR.
U.S. Representative
2nd District, Ill.

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
U.S. Representative
30th District, Texas

WILLIAM H. GRAY III
Minister and Education
Leader

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON
Congressional Delegate
District of Columbia

SHEILA JACKSON-LEE
U.S. Representative
18th District, Texas

WILLIE GARY
Attorney and Founder
MTBC TV Network

Voting in New York

From Teresa Hommel:

Voting Machines – what will New York City get?

July 2005 —
New York passes new election law
Bans lever voting machines as of September 2007
Requires each county and the City of New York to choose new machines

Jan. 2006 —
State Board of Elections may “certify” two types of equipment–

PBOS — consists of Paper Ballots to be marked by hand (or by ballot-marking devices for voters with disabilities or minority languages), and Optical Scanner machines in each polling place to check each ballot for correctness before it is cast and to print a tally at the end of the election day.

DREs — consist of “Direct Recording Electronic” voting machines (computers) with a touchscreen or pushbuttons, and a tiny printer to print a receipt-like list of each voter’s choices for the voter to verify before pressing “Cast My Ballot.” The printout stays in a secure storage box in the machine.

Individuals and organizations —
Please contact our Election Commissioners and County Leaders with a simple message — Choose PBOS!

—-Optical Scanners are reliable, time-tested, and inexpensive. Low-tech is more manageable for election staff, poll workers, and voters!

—-DREs have failed in many elections and cost three times as much. High-tech is not ready for “prime time.” Let’s learn from other states’ experience!

—-I want Paper Ballots and Optical Scanners, with accessible ballot-marking devices for voters with special needs. I don’t want electronic voting!”

WHO TO CONTACT

Election Commissioners & Executive Director, NYC Board of Elections
(2 commissioners per borough, 1 Democrat & 1 Republican. Send all mail to the Executive Office. Send a separate letter to each person.)

Address for all Commissioners and the Executive Director

Board of Elections in the City of New York
Executive Office
32 Broadway
New York NY 10004

Commissioner Joseph J. Savino (R, Bronx, same person as County Leader)
Commissioner Nero Graham, Jr. (D, Bronx)
Commissioner Frederic M. Umane (R, Manh)
Commissioner Gregory C. Soumas (D, Manh)
Commissioner Nancy Mottola Schacher (R, Bklyn)
Commissioner Jeannette Gadson (D, Bklyn)
Commissioner Anthony Como (R, Queens)
Commissioner Terrence C. O’Connor (D, Queens)
Commissioner Mary Ann Yennella (R, SI)
Commissioner James Joseph Sampel (D, SI)
John Ravitz, Executive Director

2 County Leaders per borough, 1 Democrat & 1 Republican

Bronx
Jose Rivera
Chair, Bronx Democratic Party
135 Westchester Square
Bronx, NY 10461
Phone: 718-931-5200 Fax: 718-792-3882
email: bronxcountydem[at]optonline.net

Hon. Jay (Joseph) Savino
Chairman, Bronx Republican Party ( He is also the Republican Election Commissioner)
2113 Williamsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10461-1606
Phone: 718-792-5800 Fax: 718-863-2301

Brooklyn
Hon. Hy Singer
Chairman, Brooklyn Republican Party
26 Court St, #2305
Brooklyn, NY 11242
Phone: 718-582-9454 or 718-646-5655

Vito Lopez
Chair, Brooklyn Democratic Party
Kings County Democratic County Committee
16 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11241
Phone: 718-875-5870, Fax: 718-596-4013

Manhattan
Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Chair, New York County Democratic Committee
60 Madison Ave #1201
NY NY 10010
Phone: 212-725-8825 Fax: 212-725-8867

Honorable James Ortenzio
Chairman, New York County Republican Party
122 E. 83 St
NY NY 10028
Phone: 212-517-8444 Fax: 212-517-3142

Queens
Tom Manton, Chairman, Queens Democratic Party
95-25 Queens Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11375
Phone: 718-268-5100 Fax: 718-268-7363

Hon. Serphin Maltese
Chairman, Queens Republican Party
71-20 Myrtle Ave.
Glendale, NY 11385
Phone: 718-628-9522 or 718-628-9519, Fax: 718-381-4807

Staten Island
John W. Lavelle
Chairman, Staten Island Democratic Party
County Headquarters
274 Watchogue Rd.
Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: (718) 983-5009 Fax: (718) 983-5541

Honorable Robert Helbock
Chairman, Staten Island Republican Party
58 New Dorp Plaza
Staten Island NY 10306
Phone: 718-667-4600 Fax:718-816-0718

More Info
League of Women Voters of New York State — www.lwvny.org/

New Yorkers for Verified Voting — www.nyvv.org
WheresThePaper.org — www.WheresthePaper.org/ny.html

Stay Informed — subscribe
Daily Voting News (1 page) — Send an email to DVN[at]votersunite.org
Weekly Election Integrity News (1 page) — Send an email to contact[at]votetrustusa.org
New Yorkers for Verified Voting alerts (1 page) — Send an email to contact[at]nyvv.org

The Trademark Dilution Revision Act

More “freedom” under Bush.

Important New Legislation Proposal
Written by Edward Greenberg
Wednesday, 25 January 20
06

A few weeks ago I referenced a proposed new Trademark law formally entitled “HR 683 – the Trademark Dilution Revision Act”. It passed in the House of Representatives and is under consideration by the Judiciary Committee.

Now stay with me, don’t get bored. This is important.

The Act contains certain anti-speech aspects which will directly affect illustrators, photographers and others.

It will serve to eliminate the current protection for non-commercial speech currently contained in the Lanham Act. It will prevent businesses (artists)and consumers from invoking famous trademarks to explain or illustrate their discussion of public issues.

For example, using the phrase “Where’s the Beef” could be actionable. Although you might use it in a non-commercial way, the (very) famous Wendy’s slogan when used to comment might not be protected by the fair use exception.

Read more.

The end of the Internet?

The End of the Internet?
by JEFF CHESTER
[posted online on February 1, 2006]

The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets–corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers–would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.


Under the plans they are considering, all of us–from content providers to individual users–would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing “platinum,” “gold” and “silver” levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.

Read more.

More on voting for the disabled (especially in New York)

From Teresa Hommel:
FYI, The AutoMark ballot marking machine has sip-and-puff (for voters with neck-down paralysis), but the Vote-PAD at this time does not.

NY State’s new Election Reform and Modernization Act requires sip-and-puff.

The AutoMark was modifed to comply with New York’s full face ballot requirement, and the new version was demonstrated in January 2006.

The Automark was federally certified with the ES&S optical scanner, which also was modified to comply with the full face ballot requirement, and shown in January 2006.

Teresa

Teresa Hommel
http://www.wheresthepaper.org
212 228-3803
10 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10003
Chair, Task Force on Election Integrity, Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist

New York State Info
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/ny.html
Briefing packet 4-page cover sheet
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/ChoosePBOS_notDREs.htm
1-page Summary
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/ChoosePBOS.htm
Cost Reports, NYC
http://www.wheresthepaper.org/NYCcost.html

Ohio slips below the Mason-Dixon line.

As Alito takes Supreme Court seat, Ohio GOP guts election protection

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
February 1, 2006

Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature has passed a repressive new law that will gut free elections here and is already surfacing elsewhere around the US. The bill will continue the process of installing the GOP as America’s permanent ruling party.

Coming with the swearing in of right-wing extremist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, it marks another dark day for what remains of American democracy.

Called HB3, the law now demands discriminatory voter ID, severely cripples the possibility of statewide recounts and actually ends the process of state-based challenges to federal elections—most importantly for president—held within the state.

In other words, the type of legal challenge mounted to the theft of Ohio’s electoral votes in the 2004 election will now be all but impossible in the future.

Read more.

Voting help for the disabled (and for all of us)

This obviates the need for any DRE machines! Under HAVA, Diebold, ES&S et al. have been
using our blind fellow-citizens as hostages: If we don’t use their wares, the argument goes,
we just don’t care about accommodating the disabled on Election Day.
That’s pure crapola; and now the Vote-PAD lets us call Diebold’s bluff.
MCM


From Carolyn McConnell:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dianna Smith
773-289-4705
dianna[at]vote-pad.us

Wisconsin Approves the Vote-PAD Assistive Device

Port Ludlow, WA, Wednesday, February 1, 2006. Vote-PAD, Inc. is proud to announce that the Vote-PAD (Voting-on-Paper Assistive Device) has been approved by the Wisconsin State Elections Board for use in hand-counted paper ballot municipalities.

The Vote-PAD is an inexpensive, non-computerized, voter-assist device that helps people with visual or dexterity impairments to independently and privately mark the same paper ballot as other voters. The Vote-PAD was developed to help small towns and counties comply with the accessibility requirement of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. It allows them to continue administering elections the same way they have in the past.

After meeting with U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, Kevin Kennedy, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Elections Board, announced the state’s approval of the Vote-PAD. Mr. Kennedy said the attorneys spent considerable time looking at the device and asking questions about its use in the voting process. It was indicated, he said, “that they did not see anything that should stop Wisconsin from proceeding with approval.”

Ellen Theisen, President of Vote-PAD, Inc. and developer of the device, said, “We are delighted! One of our immediate goals was to offer the small Wisconsin municipalities a low cost, low tech, reasonable alternative to electronic voting. This approval is a real win for the small communities and the state of Wisconsin.”

The Vote-PAD has also attracted interest in larger jurisdictions that use optical scanners to count ballots. It was recently purchased by Yolo County, California. See the county’s press release. (http://www.vote-pad.us/Media/HowYoloCitizensWillVote.htm)

Towns and counties all across the country are struggling with how best to meet federal requirements. The law requires each polling place to have a method by which individuals with disabilities can vote unassisted.

As evidence mounts about the failures of computerized voting systems and also the lack of accessibility of many of them, it is difficult for jurisdictions to know where to turn.

“For many jurisdictions, the Vote-PAD provides the most reasonable solution,” Ms. Theisen says. “It is neither a computerized device, nor a voting system. With the Vote-PAD, assistance is simple and direct. It allows individuals to retain the dignity of marking a paper ballot the way other voters do.”

The Vote-PAD, developed in close and continuing consultation with members of the disabilities community, has performed successfully for people with a wide range of disabilities including those with visual or dexterity impairments.

Help Lynn Landes with this crucial lawsuit!

Mark,

Anything you can do to give my lawsuit some publicity would be much appreciated.

It would also be great if others filed amicus curiae briefs on my behalf.

Lynn Landes

__________________________

http://www.ecotalk.org/Lawsuit.htm

Voting Systems Lawsuit Reaches U.S. Supreme Court

Washington DC, Jan 30 / PR Newswire (link) – A little-noticed voting rights lawsuit has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court (Docket No. 05-930). It constitutes the first legal challenge to the widespread use of nontransparent voting systems. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the use of voting machines and absentee voting in elections for public office.

The lawsuit was originally filed by freelance journalist Lynn Landes in July of 2004 in Philadelphia federal court (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Landes on November 2, 2005.

In her lawsuit Landes claims that, as a voter and a journalist, she has the right to direct access to a physical ballot and to observe the voting process unimpeded. Voting by machine or absentee, Landes claims, introduces obstacles and concealment to a process that must be accessible and transparent in a meaningful and effective manner.

Landes is representing herself in this action.

“I tried to get civil rights organizations interested in this case, but had no luck. Their disregard for this issue is incredible. It’s clear to me that without direct access to a physical ballot and
meaningful transparency in the process, our elections have no integrity whatsoever,” says Landes.

The defendants in the Landes lawsuit are Margaret Tartaglione, Chair of the City Commissioners of Philadelphia; Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States.

Attorneys for the defendants have successfully fought Landes, claiming that she did not prove an injury and therefore does not have standing. Landes counters that she has the right to challenge the constitutionality of acts of the legislative branch under federal statute and case law, most significantly under Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).

Early American history seems to favor the Landes position. Prior to the Civil War, voting was a public and transparent process. It was only after the war, as the elective franchise expanded to minorities and women, three changes to state and federal election laws were adopted that eventually made the voting process a private and nontransparent enterprise: absentee voting was allowed (1870’s), the Australian secret ballot method was adopted (1880’s), and voting
machines were permitted by Congress (1899).

Today, 94.6% of all votes are processed by machines and approximately 30% of all voting is conducted early or by absentee.

The defendants’ response is due at the Supreme Court no later than February 24, 2006.

The Landes lawsuit can be found at the following url: www.EcoTalk.org/lawsuit.doc (Editor: No password should be required to see the document, but I’ve received a comment that one is
being asked for. I don’t understand it, but try typing in anything and you should get in anyway.)

Docket no.

Source:

EcoTalk.org
Lynn Landes, publisher
215-629-3553
lynnlandes[at]earthlink.net