Street Roots has two great cover articles this month about the shape of Oregon's grassroots environmental movement and Blackwater, a private militia working around the world. Nearly 1,000 park exclusions have been issued in public parks since November by private security guards in Portland without any public oversight - that's right, a 1,000!
Other featues this month include a look at prison rape, immigrant rights and a bunch of rag-tag journalist types that are rolling into town for the North American Street Newspaper Association annual conference. Get all of this and more in your issue of Street Roots out tomorrow!
Street Roots vendors have been withstanding the heat over the past few weeks selling the paper. Often times in the winter, sales spike due to what we call the charity buy. “It’s raining, it’s cold. Those poor homeless people.” People give a $1 and throw the newspaper away. Grrr….
By and large, most of you read the newspaper and we love you for it! The only reason I bring up the charity buy is that it’s odd that people have pity for poor folk when they are cold and wet, but don’t really seem to care when they are scorching in the hot sun. What’s up with that? Of course, I’m not talking about everyone, but that’s the word on the street.
Street Roots is lucky to have a private security guard across the street from us now. They’re so hard to come by these days. Looks like he’s from Securitas. According to their Web site, they are the largest and most respected security company in America. We feel safer already.
The Bush administration continues to amaze us with its inability to get things done. From the environment to homelessness, this administration has crippled any real efforts to make substantial change in domestic affairs — not to mention that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal government should be ashamed of its fascist enforcement on immigration. And while Democrats pander to constituents about the issues facing us along the border, we must not forget the real reason we have people seeking refuge in the U.S., a faulty trade agreement that punishes the world worker seeking a decent job to feed their families.
Nearly eight years ago on the streets of Seattle, a group of people carried a very strong message to Democrats and Republicans a like — fair trade, not free trade. That message couldn’t be more true today. As the folksinger Todd Snider says, “Who wants to work a minimum wage job? Do you want to do that? I wouldn’t trade that for my crooked hat, my gangs or guns, or a waist full of pagers to spend the day serving rich, white teenagers.” And to be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for a camp in the West Hills or under a bridge somewhere, either. It’s sad, but true, and all too real on the streets of Portland.