Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brussels Sprouts, Local Crop Along Pacific Coast

The People of Watsonville 1 -- Picking the Colonizers' Vegetable
by via David Bacon
Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM
In both California and Baja California, the vast majority of the people who harvest brussels sprouts, like those who pick other crops, are Mexican. In Baja they're migrants from the states of southern Mexico. In California, they're immigrant workers who've crossed the border to labor in these fields. On a cold November day, this crew of Mexican migrant workers picks brussels sprouts on a ranch outside of Watsonville.

The People of Watsonville 1 -- Picking the Colonizers' Vegetable
By David Bacon
Watsonville, CA 11/19/10

The California coast, from Davenport south through Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Castroville, is brussels sprouts country. Most of this vegetable in north America comes from these fields, although a growing harvest now takes place in Baja California, in northern Mexico.

In both California and Baja California, the vast majority of the people who harvest brussels sprouts, like those who pick other crops, are Mexican. In Baja they're migrants from the states of southern Mexico. In California, they're immigrant workers who've crossed the border to labor in these fields. On a cold November day, this crew of Mexican migrant workers picks brussels sprouts on a ranch outside of Watsonville.

Many people love this vegetable, and serve it for dinner on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Native people in the U.S. point out that Thanksgiving celebrates the beginning of the European colonization of north America, which drove them from the lands where they lived historically. The brussels sprouts came with the colonizers. While the Romans probably grew and ate them, the first plants came to this continent with the French to the colonies of Quebec and the Atlantic seaboard.

Today the people picking in this field may be immigrants to the U.S., but in a longer historical view, they are the descendents of indigenous people whose presence in north America predated Columbus and the arrival of the brussels sprouts by thousands of years. Now they cross the border between Mexico and the U.S. as migrant workers, many speaking indigenous languages as old, or even older, than those of the colonizers - Mixteco, Triqui or Nahuatl. In the soft conversations among the workers of this picking crew, and other crews harvesting the sprouts, you can hear those languages mixed with that of the Spaniards.

Brussels sprouts may be a colonizers' vegetable, but it has many healthy properties. It contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, both of which are believed to play a role in blocking the growth of cancer. In yet another irony, in non-organic fields, picking crews often get exposed to the agricultural chemicals that are one important cause of the explosion of cancer in the U.S. Farm workers get much higher doses than the supermarket patrons who buy the produce they pick.

But it's a job. Putting the food on the table is really one of the most important jobs people do, and one that gets the least acknowledgement and respect. So the next time you decide on brussels sprouts for dinner, first, don't boil them. It removes those healthy anti-cancer chemicals. And don't overcook them either - that's what produces the sulfur taste many people don't like. But then, when they're out there on the table, remember who got them there.
by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

by via David Bacon Monday Nov 22nd, 2010 10:40 AM

Glass Art: Lundberg Studios Suffers Big Fire Just Before Dawn November 24, 2010

Exquisite Glass Art Showroom Gutted by Fire early this morning.

Heartbreaking for me, a lover of glass art who once even owned and sold some. When my children were youngsters, we used to go there and they would find lovely "shards" and cast-off blobs of transluscent and semitransluscent glass. Beautiful just watching them!

I'm not much of a consumer, but Lundberg Studios is one of my favorite places. If I became suddenly wealthy, my children and all those folks who have been helping and supporting me would be getting a glass creation as part of my gratitude that needs toi be espressed.

Lundberg Studios is world reknown. You can see their work in shops in Santa Cruz, too. The photo below and caption are thanks to the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

PG&E meter reader Ryan Kitchen goes about his normal rounds in Davenport as firefighter Andrew Ziegler works the Lundberg Studios showroom fire on Wednesday morning. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

PG&E meter reader Ryan Kitchen goes about his normal rounds

in Davenport as firefighter Andrew Ziegler works the Lundberg

Studios showroom fire on Wednesday morning.

(Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Ian Larkin walks past the wreckage of the Lundberg Studios showroom in Davenport which burned in an early morning fire on Wednesday. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Ian Larkin walks past the wreckage of the

Lundberg Studios showroom in Davenport which burned in an early

morning fire on Wednesday. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

The Year is 1621 ~ ~ THANKSGIVING from an American Indian Native's Perspective

Linda's Hearth Note: I love reading this daily, brief, nonfiction (often historical) emails from DELANCYPLACE.COM . Here's one timely short story that helps complete the elementary school teachings about "why we celebrate Thanksgiving." If you like this kind of stuff, check out Delancy Place!

Hoping for you a Happy, safe, warm n dry, wholsome Thanksgiving.

delanceyplace logo |

'In today's encore excerpt - Thanksgiving. The meeting in 1621 between "Squanto," other Native Americans and the Pilgrims, as seen from the perspective of those Native Americans:

"On March 22, 1621, an official Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to negotiate with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum ['Squanto'], a distrusted captive whom Massasoit had reluctantly brought along as an interpreter.

"Massasoit was an adroit politician but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated [from disease] - indeed the foreigners ahead now occupied one of the empty sites. It was all he could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag's longtime enemies - the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon Massasoit feared they would take advantage of the Wampanoag's weakness and overrun them.

"Desperate threats require desperate countermeasures. In a gamble Massasoit intended to abandon, even reverse, a long-standing policy. Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century. Shorter than the natives, oddly dressed, and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of the masks of bristly animal-like hair that encased their faces. They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery, and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks. But they also made useful and beautiful goods - copper kettles, glittering colored glass, and steel knives and hatchets - unlike anything else in New England. Moreover they would exchange these valuable items for cheap furs of the sort used by Indians as blankets. It was like happening upon a dingy kiosk that would swap fancy electronic goods for customers' used socks. ...

"Over time the Wampanoag, like other native societies in coastal New England, had learned how to manage the European presence. They encouraged the exchange of goods, but would only allow their visitors to stay ashore for brief, carefully controlled excursions. ... Now Massasoit was visiting a group of British with the intent of changing the rules. He would permit the newcomers to stay for an unlimited time - provided they formally allied with the Wampanoag against the Narragansett.

"Tisquantum the interpreter had shown up alone at Massasoit's home a year and a half before. He spoke fluent English because he had lived for several years in Britain. But Massasoit didn't trust him. ... And he refused to use him to negotiate with the colonists until he had another independent means of communication with them. ... Their meeting was a critical moment in American history. The foreigners called their colony Plymouth; they themselves were the famous Pilgrims. As schoolchildren learn, at that meeting the Pilgrims obtained the services of Tisquantum - usually known as 'Squanto.'

"[In our high school texts the story is told that] 'a friendly Indian named Squanto helped the colonists. He showed them how to plant corn and how to live on the edge of the wilderness. A soldier Captain Miles Standish taught the Pilgrims how to defend themselves against unfriendly Indians.' The story isn't wrong so far as it goes. But the impression it gives is entirely misleading."

Author: Charles C. Mann
Title: 1491
Publisher: Vintage
Date: Copyright 2005, 2006 by Charles C. Mann
Pages: 34-36
About Us

Delanceyplace is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, mainly works of history, are occasionally controversial, and we hope will have a more universal relevance than simply the subject of the book from which they came.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

San Francisco Back-N-Forth essays on Lying Down or Sitting on Sidewalks: Will of The Electorate, or a Higher Law

Cruel and Unusual Punishment Deemed Best
For Our Twenty-First Century Homeless Folk

Linda's Hearth Note: Two columnists talk to each other about San Francisco's recently counted electoral "majority" decision to pass laws intended simply to shepherd (or worse) homeless and poor people off the sidewalks and streets. It remains disturbing to me that everywhere in this country, overwhelmingly, those in power act to restrict further the ability for homeless people to survive.

Are we to believe they are so naive? Leaders say at each other, for an example in my town, "The OTHER two thousand homeless people can hide, why can't THESE folks?" and, "We spent all this money, why aren't they gone yet?"

All the while avoiding the very people being targeted. "Criminalize them some MORE, I almost had to see one of them in the corner of my eye." (? - no not really ~ that last is my synthesis, not a quote I've heard.

The people of that City by the Bay are asked in the face of such shuck-n-jive to make a rational and reasoned choice in the voting booth! It is part of a misinformation campaign; a form of sequential and intentional abuse and neglect shot toward homeless and apparently homeless people. However, this kind of "thinking" is not aimed JUST at folks reduced to poverty and homelessness for the sake of Bankers' inflation and deceit-based wars. It is quite disturbingly also neglect of duties elected leaders had to swear to keep and uphold: regard for both the National and California Constitutions.

Have they read those documents?

The only "fact-based" criticism I can comment on here: In C.W.Nevius' piece, he asserts, "
In fact, in most cities - from Santa Cruz to Portland, Ore., and beyond - the sit/lie controversy seems to have died down."

I believe that 'controversy' is a media blackout of anything besides "holiday feature" stories to beg funds for our "Good" homeless folks, or else the highest-contrast news about politically desperate and insistent homeless people's "criminal" behaviors?

For whatever reason, I recommend that Mr. Nevius do his homework and check other sources besides his own paper if he want's to know who has died down (unfortunate colloquial metaphor here). But enough of Linda's Hearth reacting: read on for journalism's punditry about the homeless struggle that continues to become more and more morbid.

Hnt: Blaming the victim does not make them go away. Criminalizing them doesn't either. It is clear to me that homeless people being targeted by these get-lost laws are most often those who have no place to go
whatsoever, and truly are at the literal mercy of the world of housed and largely oblivious people. Let us face the problem of our own deficient
humanity at the root of our collective
indifference to the daily and growing
suffering on our streets and sidewalks,
and we may find lots of solutions to
problems we have mis-named so far.

Sit/lie opponents must stand up for voters' wishes

by C.W. Nevius, November 6, 2010

Nobody likes to lose an election, especially when you are convinced
you will win. But now that the voters of San Francisco have spoken in
favor of the sit/lie law, opponents have to make a decision.

If they want to mutter and grouse about the election, that's fine.
They've been muttering and grousing about other, similar issues they
opposed - Care Not Cash, the Community Justice Center - for years.

But if they follow through with threats to challenge sit/lie in the
courts, we have to question their motives. They can't say that
putting the financially strapped city through a costly lawsuit -
which they would probably lose - is representing the will of the
people. More than 105,000 voters supported sit/lie.

"That would be like giving the middle finger to the city," said
Police Chief George Gascón, who supported the measure. "This is more
of an ideological statement. It is not about winning in court, which
is unlikely since it has been challenged and confirmed in our courts
and in our circuit. It is more about continuing to fight."

Opponents can say that the San Francisco version is citywide, not
just confined to the business corridors as it is in Seattle. But this
was a citywide vote, and the measure passed handily.

It brings into question that age-old question: Who really speaks for
the majority of residents? Sit/lie opponents were certain that they
did, and that the proponents were just a few malcontents and big
money developers.

"You'd hear that it was a couple of merchants in the Haight, or
downtown interests," Gascón said. "That's bull crap."

Clearly the tide has turned since a less restrictive sit/lie ballot
measure failed in 1994. But the far-left advocates seem intent on
ignoring the voice of the voters.

Opposition leaders have claimed the sit/lie law violates the Fourth
and Eighth Amendments. But the Fourth defines "unreasonable search
and seizure," and the Eighth concerns "excessive bail, fines and
cruel and unusual punishment."

Those arguments may be tough to prove. A cornerstone of the measure
is that a warning is required from the officer before someone sitting
on the sidewalk can be cited. There won't be any unreasonable search
or cruel and unusual punishment if the person simply gets up and moves.

"The experience we have seen in other cities is that most people
move," Gascón said. "Hardly anyone is arrested, and very few
citations are issued."

Gascón knows the police will be under a magnifying glass. Nothing
would hurt the measure more than a legal screwup by one of his
officers, handing the opponents a tailor-made test case.

Gascón says he will be doing a careful, very public rollout of the
ordinance. There will be training, a public oversight commission with
representatives from all sides of the issue, and a delay until
January before enforcement begins. All of that will be done in
public, with news conferences along the way. Even the training video
that will be shown to officers will be given to the media.

There will be the lemonade-stand enthusiasts who insist that sit/lie
will mean that little girls selling lemonade on the sidewalk and
tourists resting on their suitcases will be arrested and hauled off
to jail. Laws, they will insist, cannot be enforced selectively.

Actually, Gascón says, "We do it all the time. I always tell officers
that you don't write a ticket because you can, you write it because
you should."

In fact, in most cities - from Santa Cruz to Portland, Ore., and
beyond - the sit/lie controversy seems to have died down.

Advocates can try to keep the fight alive in San Francisco. But they
will have to admit they are sailing against the tide of public opinion.

C.W. Nevius' column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

John Burton:
I believe that it is not unreasonable for people to wonder about the discretionary enforcement of this law.

by John Burton, Nov. 23‚ 2010

My good friend C.W. Nevius seemed to miss the point about
the opponents of Sit and Lie and the Constitution of the United
States. Chuck said that people are not in good faith when they go to
court to challenge the will of the voters. Under that reasoning,
civil-right activists should not have challenged Proposition 14 in
1964 which placed discrimination in the sales and rentals of housing
into the California Constitution. The State Supreme Court promptly
overturned "the will of the voter." Now even the real estate industry
that sponsored Prop 14 would not want to re-institute racial
discrimination or inhibit people's ability to rent or own a home.
Also under Chuck's logic, gay-rights activists should not have gone
to court to challenge Proposition 8, which basically took away a
person's constitutional right to marry the person of their choice.

The fact that both Chuck Nevius and Chief Gascon considered it
outrageous that people would challenge a law that they considered
unconstitutional shows ignorance and lack of respect for the
Constitution of the United States. If the court upholds the law, it
is one thing, but to say that once people vote nobody should
challenge it is another matter. If that were the case,
African-Americans, Asians-Americans, and Latino-Americans would not
be able to buy the homes of their choice and the dream of same-sex
marriage would not exist because "majority of people is for it." The
beauty of democracy is that majority cannot take away rights of
people in the minority.

I believe that it is not unreasonable for people to wonder about the
discretionary enforcement of this law. I have strong doubts whether
construction workers sitting on the sidewalks across from a
construction site having a coffee break or eating their lunch would
be rousted and cited by the police. On the other hand, some scraggly
homeless person sitting on the street not violating any other law
would be told to move along or be cited. The real concern that must
be answered is how selectively will the enforcement of Sit and Lie
be. Everybody should know that there are sufficient laws in both the
State Penal Code and the San Francisco Municipal Code to stop
aggressive behavior toward people whether they are on sidewalks,
streets, or in public establishments.

I am sure that if Chuck and I were to sit outside the Chronicle on
the street having a Diet Coke or a cup of coffee, we would probably
be ignored. On the other hand, some scraggly-looking person on Sixth
Street maybe told to move along.

So let's see how the court hearing plays out and how enforcement
works. Let's see how things change in the city as the result of this
law. Let's not denigrate people's right to challenge a law because
"it is the will of the people."

John Burton is the former President of the California State Senate, and currently serves as Chair of the California Democratic Party

Monday, November 8, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream . . .

What Does Lodging Mean Today?

Santa Cruz County's Superior Court hears Friday, Nov 12, Constitutionality of state Lodging law 647(e) used against demonstrating sleepers from Peace Camp 2010.

by Linda Ellen Lemaster

While I was attempting to support demonstrating homeless and other sleepers at PeaceCamp2010, I got a lodging ticket. So now am slated to appear in Superior Court Friday, November 12, at 1o am to plea.

Continued Arraignment?

I have asked my Public Defender, Mark Garver, to ask for a court hearing to determine whether or not the lodging law is even constitutional these days. Am told I can demurr having to say "guilty" or "not guilty" until after this hearing.

While it is hard to imagine such an antique law being constitutional, use of similar cruel tools is spreading around the country, and especially "lodging" gets applied against homeless people. I feel this resumption of laws from the past is a form of retaliation against people for their status of being "homeless" and often without money or significant property.

Another concern I felt when I first GOT a citation for allegedly trying to sleep on cement: the legal words appear to be supportive of private property and it's agents, yet the presumed crime of "sleep" occurred on public property. I believe teh courthouse entryway was selected initially by PeaceCamp2010 creators because it could be a refuge, however briefly (PeaceCamp2010 lasted over 3 months but in two locations).

Hopeful that the Court can deliberate from a place beyond provincial alliances, and keep it's focus on what will unfold in the future because of it's interpretation of justice, and will consider who becomes hurt and who benefits by it?

Consider witnessing this hearing to determine the constitutionality of California's Lodging law: Friday, November 12, 10 am. And join me if you want, I'll be "warming up" for it in the Court/County Bldg Atrium at 9:20am, or out on the same walkway PeaceCamp2010 occupied this summer if it's warm.

Let's talk. Lives are at risk by what unfolds. This story feels "incomplete" without mention of campers' totem, Porto Potty, but you'll have to show up to hear more.

Linda's Hearth
note: I posted this article in Indybay santa Cruz today. Come to court with me on behalf of standing up to the Big turnip Blood Combine machine that's spitting out more and more homeless people than ever.

RESTORE DEMOCRACY: Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation

elections ~~ VOTING IS USELESS

by Tina Phillips

How many times do we hear that the election system is broken?

The system was set up by two mainstream and capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans, as a way to keep voters from voting for who they truly want to see in office— and that is just one way they maintain a monopoly when it comes to being elected to political office. Most people resort to strategic voting (voting for the lesser of two evils).

This begs the question: is there an alternative?

The answer is yes. There are actually many alternatives that make up electoral reforms desperately needed for our country to become more democratic and to ensure those we vote for not only have a chance of winning, but that it will not inadvertently mean candidates we do not want elected, get elected.

One way to help us avoid this situation is to use instant run-off voting. Instant run-off voting is a preferential voting system where voters rank which candidate they want in order of who they want to see elected, from the most to the least. Then there are rounds of counting votes in which all votes are counted.

In the first round all the first preference votes are tabulated. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated. Then that candidate’s votes are redistributed according to the next preference of the voters. This process repeats itself until one candidate gets a majority of votes within the candidates remaining. This helps make the system fairer.

Another way to make elections fairer is putting limits on the use of personal funds in elections— both in personal wealth and from outside donations. Furthermore, we need to eliminate the Electoral College because representation should be based on population and thus the popular vote.

In addition, allowing for ballot access will give all candidates from every political party a chance to be voted on and elected. Moreover, since all citizens have the right to vote, incarcerated people in jails and prisons should not be disenfranchised. Also, access to media for candidates should be free and there should be equal access—including allowing third parties into the televised debates so more people can be exposed to their ideas too because that is only fair.

Another major problem for us as voters that makes the system unfair is the dominance of money and corporate influence in the electoral system. If people with a lot of money are able to donate to campaigns, when politicians get into office they are generally seen as owing those who donated to them political favors. How are politicians going to serve our needs when they are busy serving their big corporate donors? How is that democratic?
"A recent Los Angeles Times article stated that people who do not vote “are younger, poorer, less educated and more liberal than likely voters.” Imagine what would happen to our society if overnight those voters had a voice?" - Tina Phillips

One of the ways to free ourselves of corporate influence of elections is by providing public funding for candidates, which has also been called “clean elections.” This involves using tax payer money to fund elections so that any candidate can run no matter how much money they start off with. Under a clean election system, candidates who want to get public funding must first get qualifying donations from registered voters.

After collecting enough contributions they are given money from the government, but only after they sign an agreement not to take money from private donations. If opponents take corporate donations the “clean” candidates can get additional matching funds. This will allow for more candidates to run for office who represent our interests instead of those of corporations. Sadly, California voters have turned down measures to create publicly funded campaigns in the past. We should really think hard about how much our democracy is worth to us. This is a reform worth paying for upfront to break us of the hold that corporate-funded elections has on us now, which is actually much more costly in the long run.

The last and largest issue we have that stops us from being able have true representation and true change in our society is the way the system is set up as a winner-takes-all system. This is due to having single-member districts where one person (the person who got the most votes) is supposed to represent us all. Being as diverse as we are as a populace, that is simply not possible. To think that if one candidate gets just 51% of the vote that means 49% of us have to live with someone who does not represent us is just plain wrong. No wonder so many people just do not vote. They can see that their votes will not count. A recent Los Angeles Times article stated that people who do not vote “are younger, poorer, less educated and more liberal than likely voters.” Imagine what would happen to our society if overnight those voters had a voice?

Instead of living with this broken system we need what is used by most of the world’s democracies: proportional representation. The basic principle of proportional representation is that all political groups and parties in society need to be represented in our legislatures in proportion to the people who support them. So if say, 20% of America is truly supportive of the Green Party, then 20% of our legislators would be Green Party members. This would give everyone fair representation via multi-members being elected in a single district and finally we would all be free to vote the way we truly want to. Our elected officials will finally reflect the population they are supposed to and be able to serve us fully. That is true democracy.

Linda's Hearth note: Excellent article! I agree with this. Given the Supreme Court's promotion of "Corporate Personhood" within the year, when Corporations have already flooded the Beltway with visions of greed, I'm thinking there's a greatly expanding urgency for folks to become more active than ever! Our middle class, Americans' most equitable solution so far to balance past greed and gang-driven polity, so long in hatching, is slipping away before our eyes (whether we open these eyes or not). And America's true greatness, which depends on our diversity and spunk and civic activity, dies on the vine. But hopefully my cynicism is premature and Tina's ideas will find a growing following and it will surge within the next few years. ...

This entry was puplished on The Pioneer Online on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 4:08 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.