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Well, this is what was promised for today’s noontime transit worker rally at the Old Federal Building on Golden Gate and Polk:
Turns out that Jesse didn’t show. (Here’s what you would have seen and heard.)
But a couple-hundred or so transit workers and allies were on hand at the plaza in front of Big Blue:
And here’s how they got there. How apropropriate!
Are riders and drivers really united? Not that I can see, not in San Francisco. I’m mean, I’m sure that all involved would like Uncle Sucker to rain cash down upon the City, but beyond that, there’s not much uniting these groups. It would be nice to cancel the already-useless Central Subway and use the extra billion (or two or three) that that would free up to pay for transit people are using today, but the system doesn’t work that way, obviously. Oh well.
On It Goes:
Anyway, here’s the spiel:
“Transit service cuts, fare hikes and layoffs affect millions of Americans every day. You can help save transit and counteract the nation-wide transit crisis by rallying with the Save Our Ride alliance.
Save Our Ride was formed by the Transport Workers Union, Amalgamated Transit Union and Reverend Jesse Jackson to raise awareness of the transit crisis and to rally for the passage of transit bills that will allow flexibility of federal aid for transit. The alliance is an advocate for more affordable and efficient transit systems, better air quality and a greener future for America.
You can download the full press release here.
Come show your support:
June 29, San Francisco: Noon, Federal Building on Golden Gate Bridge
July 1, Sacramento: Noon, Federal Building, 501 I street
July 7, Houston: 11 am, Mickey Leland Federal Building, 1919 Smith Street
July 9, Miami: 2 pm, Government Center Building
Download the San Francisco flyer here.
Speakers to include: James C. Little, President International TWU; Harry Lombardo, TWU Executive Vice President; Warren George, President of International ATU; Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Other speakers will include TWU and ATU local leadership, legislators, community and civil rights groups, riders who are suffering from service cuts and increased fares. (speakers subject to change)
Stay tuned to twu.org and ourride.org for speaker announcements and more information as the rallies approach.
The reason your fares have increased and your service has been cut is because the federal government has neglected transit for decades and the country’s on-going economic struggle that has slashed transit revenues has pushed transportation systems into their own crises.
“We can not allow our transit systems to crumble from financial neglect,” said President James C. Little. “We must work together to tell the federal government the neglect must stop.”
Federal subsidies to our country’s largest transportation systems do not allow enough flexibility for operating costs. So transit systems can use federal funds to buy news trains and buses (capital expenses), but not to pay the operators. If your bus doesn’t have an operator, you are not going to get to work on time.
Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), have proposed bills, H.R.2746and S3189, that would allow transit agencies to flex funding to suit local needs. Also, eight senators from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee introduced a bill, S. 3412, to authorize emergency funding for transit agencies to help reverse fare increases and service cuts.
This legislation will help to save our transit systems, provide thousands of green transit jobs, and keep transportation affordable. If you take the bus, train, subway or streetcar to work and use public transportation to send your children to school and if you want to work towards a cleaner environment, less congested streets and green jobs, then come share your story and your voice and Save Our Ride!
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition organizes a lot of protests here in the Bay Area, as is their right. And they seem to consistently exaggerate the number of souls who participate in their marches, as is their right. O.K. fine. But Saturday’s march down Market Street on the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War had such small numbers compared to the big antiwar marches of 2003 that a person could have easiy tallied up an accurate estimate, if only to see how much the ANSWER Coalition exaggerates.
The “answer” is this: they overestimate by 200%. It’s the Rule of Three, just like in the movie American Pie 2. So, take the “official” estimate of 4000 marchers, divide by three to get 1333 and there you have it. Bingo bango.
Here’s Saturday’s march from above. The 440 or so people marked with white circles represent a third of the total number. (It took about 4 minutes to tally this shot and another ten minutes to tally folks in other photos.) Click to expand:
(Of course lots of people want to give President Barack Obama some time to have a chance to deal with matters, and it was raining, and yada yada yada. The point is that it shouldn’t be so hard to say that the crowd was slightly bigger or smaller than last year – there’s no reason to lie about it, is there? Moving on…)
Kudos to the Socialist Worker, which came a bit closer with an estimate of 2500 people. Perhaps they use the Rule of Two.
Double kudos to local journalist and photographer Josh Wolfe, who came in with “maybe 1000 people” as his honest estimate. Bay City News kept it conservative with “hundreds,” which is literally true, but that word could also suggest 200 or so. Oh well. The San Jose Mercury News played it safe with no estimate at all.
And SFGate / San Francisco Chronicle? Well, they originally went with “massive” as a description of the masses (which was particularly inappropriate given that similar marches six years ago had numbers about 50 times greater), but then pulled back a bit later to just talking about the “crowds.” All of this is ably documented by Robert B. Livingston here on the IndyBay.
Check it, before:
Originally posted by Mr. Livingston, I presume.
Robert Livingston is also correct in stating that writers Heather Knight and Steve Rubenstein produced a bit that was “well composed, accurate, and captured much of the essence” of the event, so that’s a good thing. It’s not clear who came up with the boner “massive.”
Chronicle Editor-at-Large Phil Bronstein has recently opined on these kinds of issues – here’s a re-hash of a count controversy back in 2003.
Anyway, the correct estimate is 1330 marchers, mas o menos, depending whether you include the cops, the undercover cops, the people who didn’t have the chance to march because they were setting up in Civic Center, the people who left early, the people who arrived late, the marchers without signs who happen to be on the sidewalks, the photographers, the videographers, etc.
The Rule of Three has been tested and proven. Would certain people have more credibility if they didn’t spin so much? Yes, yes they would.
Jessica: “If a guy tells you how many girls he’s hooked up with, it’s not even close to that. You take that number and divide it by three, then you get the real total. OK, so if Kevin is saying it’s been three girls it’s more like one or none.”
Jessica: “The rule of three. It’s an exact science. Consistent as gravity.”
Well, of course, it wasn’t actually like nobody came, but the crowd at today’s International Day of Action on the 6th Anniversary of Iraq War had an unexpectedly low turnout, even considering the spates of rain. Was the crowd “massive,” as indicated by the San Francisco Chronicle? No, not at all. Do some people at the Chron have a “massive” problem estimating crowd size? Yes, apparently.
Where’s Waldo? Sadly he wasn’t there. But, where’s Code Pink and the Black Block? Click to expand and you’ll find them. This was the bulk of the crowd just after the speakers stopped speaking, with the insular International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) camera left, out of frame.
So yes, there were other groups around the Ferry Building area but they were much smaller. Oh, here’s Code Pink:
One of the speakers was a San Francisco Chronicle employee(!) From her, the crowd learned that “health care is free and will always be free in Cuba.” She urged listeners to defy the current ban on travel to Cuber by visiting this year, specifically July. O.K fine.
Heading up Market Street in light, on-again-off-again rain:
And here’s el bloque negro:
The 911 Truth crowd was there as well – it handed out varying denominations of Truth Bucks, sadly disintegrating in the wet.
A terrorist is “what the big army calls the little army.”
“Jail Greedy Bankers”
“Queer Israeli” vs. “Queer Palestinian”
Speaking of which, you had a good 50 or so counterprotesters with Israeli flags penned in right in front of City Hall.
This green-hatted NLG “observer,” avec “Specs” brand goggles, was briefly enthralled by an exchange between the blonde and the cop, who wanted her to stay on the sidewalk. She could probably get the Lieutenant for battery and maybe even false imprisonment, if he weren’t an on-duty, uniformed peace officer. See? There’s always a catch…
So there you have it.
This was the scene tonight at United Nations Plaza near the Civic Center BART station. A crowd of about 200 hundred people gathered to protest the New Year’s Day shooting death of Oscar Grant III.
“No justice, no peace, fuck the police” – that was one of the chants tonight, along with a few others. One speaker criticised the San Francisco Bay Area Answer Coalition, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (also known as International A.N.S.W.E.R.) with the response “fuck them too” from another. Ouch. (The kids over at IndyBay might not have appreciated those comments, as manifested by the edits to their site tonight. Oh well.)
There’s a lot of agreement on this issue, from Attorney General Jerry Brown to Senator Leland Yee to Assemblymember Tom Ammiano to Supervisor David Campos. Change for the BART police will be coming, sooner or later.
Now for some photos, click to expand. These two kicked things off by getting down on the ground and attracting the attention of about 20 camera people. That’s some photojournalism right there. But Young Joe Eskanazi sees this as a problem. (Yes he failed to count himself, and others.)
With City Hall in the background:
This was the bulk of the crowd, conservatively(!) estimated at 150, per an IndyBay commenter. Throw in lots of media, about 50 Canon “L” (for luxury, about $1000 a clip) camera lenses and a ton of cops and you had lots of activity:
Foster Grant, Obama, and Malcom X:
The lone San Francisco Police Department uniformed officer on site in with the crowd was a Captain, leading from the front:
Two helicopters and the Evening Star rising so it’s time to march on over to Union Square and the Financh.:
The march to Powell Station, with more leadership from the aforementioned Capitan.
Orange “less lethal” shotgun with a clip of bean bag bullets. No TASER seen:
Can you see the garbage can? This youth dragged it into the middle of Kearny Street for some reason, inciting a what’s a matter you gesture from a taxi driver. Other youts threw some aluminum chairs for a bit in Union Square:
So there you have it. To be continued.