Pacifica Campaign update 7-12-01
JULY 10 DAY OF ACTION KICKS OFF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
TO DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF NAHB MANAGER KEN FORD
Tuesday, July 10- Irate citizens demonstrated, picketed, and carried out other peaceful actions in 12 cities around the U.S. in a day of protest that kicked off a national campaign against National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) manager Ken Ford's continuing presence on the Pacifica National Board. The actions were peaceful, autonomous actions that were locally organized and coordinated by the Pacifica Campaign to Stop the Takeover.
Protesters encountered local NAHB representatives who were already well aware of Mr. Ford's role in the Pacifica crisis. Several offices were shut down in anticipation of the protests. Meanwhile, more than 11,000 protesters also sent e-mail letters to affiliate offices of the NAHB on Tuesday, according to Progressive Portal, an Internet service for activists.
As well as calling for the resignation of Ken Ford, demonstrators protested recent threats made by the NAHB against Progressive Portal, as well as NAHB attacks on environmental protections and disability rights. Cities where protests occurred included: New York City, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Nashville, Boston, New City (New York), Piscataway (New Jersey), Whippiny (New Jersey), Walnut Creek (near Berkeley), and Diamond Bar and Calabasas in the Los Angeles area.
All of the demonstrators involved said that they met more new people who shared their outrage and fully intended to continue protesting the NAHB and its membership until Mr. Ford resigns. The national campaign has also kicked off a coalition between environmental, disability rights, and Internet activists.
Several local papers, including The Daily Challenge in New York City, as well as Free Speech Radio News, and WBIX Radio in Exile, covered the protests.
More than 100 people protested in New York City and Walnut Creek. In New York, chanting demonstrators marched in a spirited picket line for over 2 hours at the entrance of the local NAHB affiliate, accompanied by drums and Irish pipes.
Disabled in Action, an activist group calling for an end to NAHB lobbying against state guidelines for housing accessibility for the disabled, made up a sizable amount of picketers and was represented by a banner. Activists in wheelchairs passed out flyers. Scaffolding at the location was used to display at least four banners and more than 20 posters. The NAHB affiliate offices were due to the demonstration.
Bay Area demonstrators, in Walnut Creek California, rallied in front of the business offices of Bruce Smith, NAHB president. The crowd was estimated to be more than 120 people, included approximately six staff members of KPFA-Pacifica Radio and several LAB members, as well as Mathew Lazar, who spoke to the group. Some of the protestors held a discussion with Mr. Smith after the protest. Mr. Smith acknowledged that the protests were causing difficulties for the NAHB but continued to defend Mr. Ford.
In the Los Angeles area, protesters held an informational picket, handing out flyers to pedestrians, passengers in cars, and leafleted cars' windshields in the parking lot. Since the offices were locked and the telephones were shut off, a letter to the management was slipped under the door. Later that same day, another group of LA activists attended an NAHB meeting in Calabasas. Their presence was anticipated and NAHB members balled up and threw away flyers the protesters handed out.
Several labor groups, Greens, the Sierra Club, and media activists were represented at the picket held in Atlanta Georgia, while in Nashville Tennessee, a surprising 15 people showed up to demonstrate in front of their NAHB affiliate offices. In Washington DC, a racially diverse group of six leafleted the national headquarters of the NAHB, where Mr. Ford works. Many people they encountered stated that they knew who they were "because you are the folks who hung the banner off our building."
In Minneapolis a group of two picketers were met by police and barricades in anticipation of their arrival, and in Boston, an activist delivering a letter to the local office had his letter thrown away and was told to get out. In Rockland County, New York, protesters picketed at the NAHB office in New City, and later handed out flyers on New City's Main Street.
Finally, New Jersey reported that, during a picket in Whippany, "a hardy crew" went "to deliver a beautifully prepared letter.when the manager realized who we were.the manager requested to see us in his office, despite the fact that he had a client in there. He chewed us out, complaining bitterly about how the 1500 e-mails had crashed his system.and he angrily ask that we get Pacifica to fire him (Ford)." Demonstrators also picketed offices in Piscataway, New Jersey.
New people are continuing to contact the Pacifica Campaign about forming new picket groups, from places such as Maine, Alabama, Colorado, and New Mexico.
For information and support materials for setting up your own picket, go to http://www.pacificacampaign.org Photographs will also be posted there when they are sent in from picket areas. For information, call 646-230-9588.
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