Thursday, July 1, 2004
Farr Opens Suggestion Box
Congressman Sam Farr will host a town hall meeting at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) this Thursday evening.
The idea is not for Farr to enumerate what he is doing for Monterey County residents, but for voters to tell Farr what he should be doing.
“Open discussion is the basis for our democracy,” Farr said in a statement released to the press last week.
According to Jessica Schafer, Farr’s press secretary, the Congressman specifically goes into these meetings without an agenda, and allows his constituents to lead the discussion.
“The purpose is to get people to come out and talk,” Schafer said. “He wants to know what people are thinking and feeling.”
Issues like immigration and the war in Iraq are likely discussion points, but Farr’s efforts in DC to bring money to the county for environmental and gang-related issues may also be hot topics.
Thursday’s meeting (6:30-8:30pm in the Irvine Auditorium at MIIS) is one of nine scheduled meetings that will continue in August. [DH]
Moore Film Overstuffs Theater
Opening night on June 25 was so big it was covered by the TV evening news, and the masses have not stayed away from Fahrenheit 9/11 since. Nearly every seat in two theaters at the Osio in downtown Monterey have been full for every show, and there are no signs of a let up.
“It’s highly unusual, especially for us,” says Osio manager Mark Donovan. “This has shattered every record.”
In four days over the opening weekend, Michael Moore’s controversial anti-war and anti-Bush film has brought in $24,000, nearly filling an 85- and 140-seat theater with each show.
Of course, Fahrenheit 9/11 has benefited from heaps of pre-release publicity. Donovan says many moviegoers have told him they’re looking for political change from the movie, comparing street protests of the Vietnam-era to protest movies in the Iraq-era.
He says people who have not been able to get tickets for the sold-out Moore film have been substituting another current Iraq War film, The Control Room.[AS]
UFW Says Walk For Workers
As this issue goes to press, an effort to organize some 50,000 immigrants working in the fields and packing sheds of the Central Coast is moving, slowly, on a march from Greenfield, through Gonzales to Salinas.
Responding to increasing INS raids in border towns and immigrant communities of California, the United Farm Workers union says it is spearheading a campaign to assure that people working in this state have the rights they deserve.
“We take for granted the deep inequalities around us,” says Paul Johnston, executive director of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council. “The more aware we are of the conditions folks are living in, the less tolerable it becomes.”
According to Johnston, the prevalence of gang violence, along with a general sense of hopelessness among young people in gang-infested communities, can be directly attributed to the standard of living they are forced to endure in order for their parents to find work on the Central Coast.
“Ten to 15 years down the road, things are going to get very ugly,” Johnston says.
Organizers say they expect the five-day march, and a second one scheduled for next week, to be the most significant labor events since the strawberry strikes in the ‘90s, and maybe even bigger than anything since the historic strike movements of the ‘70s.
Besides targeted raids on undocumented workers, Johnston says the INS agents display themselves in communities they are not going to raid to “inspire fear in a calculated way.”
Johnston hopes the campaign of marches and rallies sends a simple message to the INS: “Stay the hell out of our valley.” [DH]