Friday, October 05, 2007


Well, I got the OD out this afternoon because the play off games don't start until about now.

Remember for the next few weeks, the OD's publication schedule will depend upon major league baseball.

And yes, I know the Phillies have already lost two - at home no less.


Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "We had anticipated some tough and worrisome findings, but the actual results are even more shocking than we had imagined at the outset".

Steiner is referring to a huge toxic waste dump in Kenya that is killing children by the score.

In a press release from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Steiner says,"It is clear that urgent action is needed to reduce the health and environmental hazards so that children and adults can go about their daily lives without fear of being poisoned and without damage to nearby river systems," he said.

The Dandora dumping site (pictured here) receives 2,000 tons of rubbish daily. The Dandora dumpsite is located 7.5 kilometres from Nairobi Central Business District, in an area surrounded by low income residential estates. In particular, the dumpsite is adjacent to Korogocho, Dandora and Kariobangi estates, which together form a network of residential housing units for over 750 000 people. The increased demand for low income housing in Nairobi over the last three decades has meant that the dumpsite is now almost at the heart of these estates.

Apart from waste discarded by Kenyans, the country also received hundreds of container loads of e-waste each month from developing countries disguised as ‘donations’.

The absence of a comprehensive legal framework for solid waste management in Kenya, coupled with wanton apathy on the part of authorities, has over the last three decades facilitated uncontrolled and indiscriminate dumping, leading to creation of one of the largest sources of human rights violations in Kenya today.

Every day, scores of people, including children, from the nearby slums and low-income residential areas use the dump to find food, recyclables and other valuables they can sell as a source of income, at the same time inhaling the noxious fumes from routine waste burning and methane fires. Waste often finds its way into the Nairobi River that runs just meters away from the dumpsite, polluting water used by local residents and farmers downstream.

Plans have been drawn up by the City of Nairobi to move the dump out of Dandora. However the chosen site for a new dump in close to the Kenyatta International Airport. This has not gone unnoticed by the various airlines that serve Kenya and they oppose any such move.

The St. John's Catholic Church and Informal School is located in close proximity to the dump. Between 2003 and 2006, the Church dispensary has treated 9,121 people per year on average for respiratory problems.

"We have been witnessing an alarming situation regarding Dandora children's health: asthma, anaemia and skin infections are by now endemic. These abnormalities are linked to the environment around the dumping site, and are exacerbated by poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition. Since waste dumping is unrestricted and unmanaged, people are also at risk from contracting blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS," said Njoroge Kimani, principal investigator and author of the report.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), a quarter of all diseases affecting the humankind are attributable to environmental risks with children more vulnerable than adults. Among children under five, environmentally-related illnesses are responsible for more than 4.7 million deaths annually. Twenty-five percent of deaths in developing countries are related to environmental factors, compared with 17 percent of deaths in the developed world.

"The children of Dandora, Kenya, Africa and the world deserve better than this. We can no longer afford rubbish solutions to the waste management crisis faced in far too many cities, especially in the developing world," Mr Steiner added in the release.

The following is from AFP.

Toxic waste dump killing children in Kenya: UN report

One of Africa's largest dumping sites is threatening the lives of thousands of children in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a new United Nations report warned Friday.

The 30-acre (12 hectares) Dandora Municipal Dumping Site, located at the centre of three slum settlements home to about a million people, receives around 2,000 tonnes of waste generated by the capital's 4.5 million people everyday.

Hundreds of impoverished slum dwellers and homeless families searching for recyclables work daily amidst the heaps of rubbish, also populated by vultures and other scavengers.

The report, commissioned by the Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP), found that half of 328 children examined had concentrations of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels.

Some 42 percent of soil samples recorded lead levels almost 10 times higher than what is considered unpolluted soil, with 400 parts per million (ppm) compared to the 50 ppm threshold, it added.

"Children have been exposed to pollutants such as heavy metals and toxic substances through soil, water and air with implications for respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatological or skin diseases," said a UNEP statement.

"Almost half of the children tested were suffering from respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma," it added.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the findings were worrying and pledged to assist authorities in developing an improved waste management system.

"The site here is killing children and people.... it is a human tragedy and an ecological disaster. Dumping sites are poisonous if they are not handled properly," Steiner said.

"The Dandora site may pose some special challenges for the city of Nairobi and Kenya as a nation. But it is also a mirror to the condition of rubbish sites across many parts of Africa and other urban centres of the developing world," he added.

The Nairobi City Council, ranked by many watchdogs as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country, has already been singled out for its failure to manage waste in East Africa's largest city.


The International Herald Tribune is reporting that three Greenpeace activists boarded the Atlantic Osprey carrier (pictured here) Friday as it was making its way to Sellafield in England with a shipment of Swedish nuclear waste for reprocessing.

The three activists who climbed onto the ship were taken into custody by police and brought to land for questioning, Swedish news agency TT reported.

The shipment was from Sweden’s first research reactor which shut down about two decades ago.

The ship left Studsvik in Sweden on Thursday, carrying 4.8 metric tons (5.3 tons) of spent nuclear fuel, including 1.2 kilograms (2.65 pounds) of plutonium for reprocessing at the Sellafield plant in northwest England. Once it has been treated in Sellafield, it will be returned to Sweden for final storage.

Sweden stopped shipments of nuclear waste to Sellafield in the early 1980s, and has since stored its waste at facilities in Sweden without reprocessing.

Greenpeace claims the Sellafield shipment is illegal and that the nuclear waste can be reprocessed in Sweden.

In a statement, Greenpeace campaigner Tarjei Haaland said the shipment broke Swedish radiation protection laws "and undermines 20 years of Swedish environmental policy not to reprocess spent nuclear fuel."

Swedish authorities have claimed that the plutonium will be returned in MOX (mixed oxide plutonium fuel) – but this is being challenged by Greenpeace. It claims that plutonium recovered from Magnox reprocessing cannot be processed into MOX fuel at Sellafield.

Greenpeace Sweden will also be challenging the return of PCM to Sweden instead of high level waste. It claims that as the UK has no facility for storing high level waste the deal contravenes Swedish radiation protection law.

Greenpeace Great Britain asks:

"...why are we importing other countries' waste into the UK anyway? The government has been very keen to stress the supposed benefits of new nuclear plants both in its original energy review and the re-run it's been forced to hold following our successful injunction. Conveniently though, there's been little or no mention of either nuclear waste disposal or reprocessing - the implication being that these issues are close to being solved, which is most definitely not the case.

There's loads of evidence that this shipment is illegal because it breaks Swedish laws regarding the export of nuclear wastes, so we have good grounds for our appeal against the initial decision to allow the shipment. In the meantime, we'll also be trying to get the governments of Norway and Denmark to put pressure on the Swedish government to keep the nuclear waste in Sweden and not dump it in the UK."

Expect more.

The following is from The Local (Sweden).

Environmental activists board nuclear waste ship

A ship carrying Swedish nuclear waste was intercepted by Greenpeace activists off the south coast of Sweden on Friday afternoon.

Four inflatable boats containing fifteen Greenpeace activists were sent out from Ystad earlier in the day.

The proximity of the rubber boats to a fishing boat meant that the activists went undetected and three of them were able to climb aboard the ship.

The three female Greenpeace members - from Denmark, Finland and Sweden - chained themselves to the Atlantic Osprey's stern ramp.

"We are demanding that the Atlantic Osprey turns back to Studsvik with its highly dangerous cargo," said Greenpeace spokesman Jan Isakson.

The Swedish coast guard is monitoring developments and has sent two of its boats to track the ship.


The Marine Worker Monitor reports on August 23, West Sacramento cops and private SSA Marine Terminal(SSA) security guards viciously attacked, two Local 10 brothers returning to work after lunch on the SSA terminal. When the guards demanded to search the car, the brothers asked to see the MARSEC (maritime security) reg and called the Local 10 business agent.

Instead the guards called the cops.

The Monitor adds:

While talking by phone to BA MacKay and without provocation, they were assaulted, dragged from the car, maced and jailed, charged with “trespassing”. How the hell can a longshoreman be “trespassing”, after returning to work at the terminal. They’d already shown PMA ID and a driver’s license. This is racial profiling and police brutality. The longshoremen were black and the cops white. Such is the brutal face of the “war on terror” on the docks.

The police action was, needless to say, done in the name of "port security." The workers, however, had all the ID necessary for their presence at the port.

A letter of solidarity from Leonard Riley of Charleston ILA Local 1422 to Local 10 read in part:

Historically it has been this arm of the government ( the police ) that has been used in the initial attack on groups of workers. They come in and attack the workers and afterwards they file charges against the same workers. It is at this point that the another arm of the government ( the courts ) takes over the assault the on these workers.

"This tactic is all to familiar. I was the same one employed on a group of workers in Charleston, SC in January of the year 2000. They later became known as the "Charleston Five".

I am deeply concerned with this most recent attack on our Brothers of Local 10. After finding out about this aggressive act, I started the process of informing the membership of ILA, Local 1422. Everyone that I have spoken to express much outrage. Local 1422 condemns this despicable act and in solid support of Local 10. Local 10 was there for the Charleston Five and Local 1422 will be there for you. "An injustice there is an injustice everywhere".

All of us in organized labor must unite to fight against this kind of organized attack on all working people."

Local 10 has a history of of progressive unionism. They took part in the international solidarity movement—helping to bring down the apartheid regime in South Africa. They have protested the war against Iraq, and they have fought against racism inside the United States.

That's about all it takes in Bush's America to be a target of repression and these guys working the docks out in the Bay Area know it.

Or does it even take that.

Like working people everywhere these men and women have to face hazards, often unnecessary on the job.

Late last month a 15-ton container was being locked onto the top of another container on the deck of a cargo ship fell on one of their brothers killing 39 year old Reginald Ross (pictured here).

The nearly 1,500 members of ILWU Longshore Local 10 stopped working immediately. John Showalter of the ILWU said the reasons for the work stoppage are self-evident, to allow a time to mourn and to inspect the equipment to determine whether or not faulty equipment caused the death, Showalter said.

But not everyone at the Port was happy about the down time. They pointed out the shut down cost time and time is money and that's what the game is all about.

Being a hard working American doesn't necessarily win you any points with the powers that be. Au contraire.

By the way, Reggi Ross was the 9th ILWU worker killed on the job since January 2005. The others were:

Joseph Alesio, killed in April 2007 after being run over by a top-loader at the APL intermodal yard in Seattle.

Ken Eddo, who died from traumatic injuries in November 2006 caused when the yard tracker he was driving rolled violently into a standing position, slamming him into the interior of the cab.

Jose "Pepe" Perez Correa, who died in August 2006 when his truck crashed through a railing and plunged into the Stockton Deep Water Channel. Divers found the truck in 32 feet of water and recovered the body only after a 31-hour delay from the time of the accident, prompting union officials to press the city and the port for rescue and recovery divers.

Kimberly Kuchman-Miles, who died in August 2005 when a container fell off an Evergreen ship and crushed her. She was part of the lashing crew that had just gone on break when the can fell. Three other workers scrambled to safety. The Local 23 casual is the first female longshore worker killed on West Coast docks.

Robert Smith, who suffered a heart attack in April 2005 after a strenuous training of how to handle heavy steel bars used to lash cargo containers to a ship. Local 23 trainers called 911 and administered CPR, but had no readily available first aid kits, oxygen masks, CPR facilities or Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). The emergency crew that attempted to save Smith was dispatched from a fire station slated for closure but that the union fought to keep open.

Douglas Espinoza, who died in February 2005 when he stepped into a paper baler at California Waste Solutions, triggering an automatic sensor that activated the machine. Espinoza, a member of warehouse Local 6, had worked at the Oakland recycling facility for five years.

Matt Petrasich, who was found dead on January 31, 2005, on the top of a container stack on the ship "Ever Deluxe" at the Evergreen Terminal in Los Angeles Harbor. He had been supervising container discharge when the accident happened.

Robert Padgett, killed in January 2005 when a walkway on a cement loading machine at the Port of Redwood City collapsed and sent him plunging 40 feet down to the deck of the ship below. Padgett, a registered member of longshore Local 10 with 14 years of seniority, was working as a walking boss when it happened.

Risk your life at work, get hassled by cops, is that what it's all about in the USA?

It's time to stand up and "Support Our Workers!"

The following is from the Daily Democrat (Woodland Hills,California). The police version of events in the article below should raise your dander.

ILWU cries foul
Union leaders say West Sac PD lost control in arrest of members.

Jack Heyman, executive board member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, leads a rallying call outside the Yolo County Superior Court Thursday morning in protest of the case against two union port workers who were arrested while working in West Sacramento earlier this year. The two men were arraigned Thursday. (Matthew Henderson/Democrat) You ready to fight?
Damn right!

That was the angry call and defiant verbal return of more than 150 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members, mostly from San Francisco who gathered outside the Yolo County courthouse in protest of an arraignment hearing of two of their fellow members charged with obstruction of justice.

The ILWU members say the two men were wrongfully assaulted and arrested by police in the port of West Sacramento in August.

The two black port workers, Aaron Harrison and Jason Ruffin, who are members of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, were returning after lunch to a port terminal in West Sacramento where they were working on Aug. 23, when, according to union officials, they were

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union gather near the front of the Yolo County courthouse Thursday morning. About 150 members from as far away as San Francisco came to the protest. (Matthew Henderson/Democrat) stopped by port security, who requested to search their car.
The two men responded by asking to see the security guard's identification and called their local union representative, according to union officials.

The security guards, in turn, called West Sacramento police, who arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.

According to union officials, the police dragged the two union members from their car, sprayed them with mace and arrested them for trespassing and resisting arrest.

Harrison and Ruffin's attorneys asked the court to continue their arraignment date until Oct. 22, to provide them time to review the police report and other evidence.

"I think this is the result of a big misunderstanding at the port of West Sacramento that day," said Jonathan Turner, Harrison's attorney. "As the court process progresses, that will be established."

Others at the protest see it as a more insidious encounter.

"They roughed them up and maced them," said Terrence Willis, former ILWU Local 10 president. "And they think they have the right to do that. You have a clear case of police brutality and racial profiling."

Willis said Harrison and Ruffin were completely innocent and the charges against them should be dropped.

Other more local activists present at the protest said the August incident is simply another example of a West Sacramento Police Department that is out of control.

"This is just more fodder against the West Sac PD," said Rev. Ashiya Odeye, director of the Justice Reform Coalition, a Sacramento-based civil rights advocacy group. "This just shows what they've been doing to the citizens of West Sacramento. But now they have made the mistake of doing this to members of a union."

Odeye, along with other activists, have been mounting a grass-roots opposition to an injunction being sought by the Yolo County District Attorney's office against a local gang in West Sacramento in part because of what Odeye said were rampant reports of police brutality against innocent residents in the area.

Henry Serrano, deputy chief of police for the West Sacramento Police Department, said that's not what happened.

Serrano said Harrison and Ruffin normally work at a port in Oakland, and were new faces in West Sacramento that day.

He said they were then randomly selected for search by port secuirty upon their return from lunch. The search was performed in accordance with Coast Guard requirements - not because of their race, Serrano said.

"Every so many vehicles they check," Serrano said. "So that's where they were confused about that."

Harrison and Ruffin refused to be searched, which resulted in West Sacramento police officers coming to the port to assist security personnel.

The police ordered the two port workers to clear the driveway if they would not submit to the search - they refused to move, Serrano said.

"For over five-and-a-half minutes our officers try and talk to these individuals and try to explain to them, 'you don't have to be searched if you don't want, but you can't just sit here, blocking the drive,'" Serrano said. "There's no compliance and eventually the officers tell them they need to get out of the car."

Failing to comply with what Serrano said was a lawful order, Harrison and Ruffin were removed from their car by the officers.

Serrano said the entire incident lasted no more than several seconds as the driver was squirted with pepper spray and taken from the vehicle.

"The passenger wasn't even touched until he was handcuffed," Serrano said. "They were not being compliant with a lawful order, which is subject to Coast Guard regulations."

Serrano added that a port security videotape of the incident, which is currently in evidence, verifies his version of events.

West Sacramento police have also previously denied any such allegations of abuse and vowed to vigorously investigate any legitimate claims of police misconduct.

Officials from SSA Marine, the company that manages the port, did not return calls for comment.

Harrison and Ruffin will have to report back at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 22 at the Yolo County Superior Court to plea to the single misdemeanor obstruction charge against them. A previous charge of trespassing was dropped.

However, Jack Heyman, executive board member of the ILWU Local 10 union warned there will be increasingly more protesters at future hearings if the charges aren't dropped.

"We're going to get our people from San Francisco, Stockton and Oakland at the courthouse - and if they're here they can't be at the docks working."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Well, folks post season play gets underway tomorrow and the Oread Daily will be impacted. I'll publish when I can, but you know how it is.....

The Oread Daily is rooting for if you care.


Once again Palestinians are paying the price for a hell they did not create. This times it's Iraq.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Palestinian refugees residing in Iraq like this little girl, pictured after fleeing to Jordan, have experienced increasing hostility and harassment.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was established, more than 5,000 Palestinians fled to Iraq. They came mostly from the cities of Haifa and Jaffa. This group now numbers 35,000 and they were officially registered as refugees by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. The other 80,000 to 90,000 Palestinians living in Iraq came via Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt; they are registered as refugees in those countries.

According to the AFSC Palestinian refugees have generally had good relations with the Iraqi people and government. They were given the same rights as Iraqi citizens, with one exception: they could not own land or cars. To partially relieve this restriction, the Hussein regime provided either government-owned housing, or fixed, subsidized rent in privately owned houses and apartments.

That all changed with the US invasion.

Thousands of Palestinian families in Baghdad have been expelled or threatened with expulsion. Landlords, who no longer receive subsidies from the government for renting to Palestinians, are forcing them out of their homes.

New refugee camps were established. The conditions in them are, of course, atrocious.

As Iraq plunged into chaos over the years, and the sectarian strife between Shi'ites and Sunni intensified, Palestinians have become more vulnerable.

They do not have an armed group or militia to protect them, as do Iraqi Shi'ite and Sunni communities, and some Shi'ite religious groups have tried to link them to insurgents fighting Iraqi troops and US forces.

According to the records of Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, there are more than 30,000 Palestinians in Iraq, including Palestinians who fled Kuwait after the Iraqi occupation in 1990. However, According to the UNHCR, nearly 20,000 Palestinians have left the country since 2003 and about 19,000 remain.

Some Palestinian citizens who spoke to Gulf News said that the government of Al Maliki, especially the Interior Ministry affiliated to the ruling Shiite coalition, is very hostile to Palestinians.

Osama, a Palestinian citizen, said to Gulf News: "The Shiite forces are still treating us ruthlessly because they believe that Saddam Hussain oppressed them using the Palestinian cause and it is the time to take revenge".

The Palestinian ambassador in Baghdad says that Palestinians living in Iraq are living a life of misery, unemployed and are subjected to abduction and assassination.

What else in new?

The following comes by the way of Electronic Iraq.

Palestinian refugees in Iraq caught in the crossfire
Report, Amnesty International, Oct 1, 2007

Palestinian refugees living in Iraq are the hidden victims of the Iraq conflict -- suffering threats, torture, killings and appalling living conditions in refugee camps such al-Waleed near the Syrian border, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The report Iraq: human rights abuses against Palestinian refugees looks at the human rights abuses committed against Palestinians living in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003 and highlights the lack of action by the Iraqi government and the Multi-National Force to protect them.

"Palestinians are currently one of the most vulnerable groups in Iraq. They are being hunted down, abducted, tortured and, in some cases, killed without any effective steps being taken to protect them," said Malcolm Smart, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. "They also face great obstacles in seeking refuge as the authorities in both Syria and Jordan, the main countries hosting Iraqi refugees, remain extremely reluctant to allow Palestinian refugees to enter their territory, and there is now a pressing need for other countries to resettle those most at risk."

Since 2003, scores of Palestinians have been abducted by armed groups with their bodies being found later in morgues or dumped on the streets, often mutilated or with clear marks of torture. Many others have been forced to flee their homes after receiving death threats. Some are currently in hiding in Iraq or stranded in camps near the Iraq/Syria border, living in extremely harsh conditions.

The joint Palestinian-International Middle East Media Centre put the number of Palestinians killed in Iraq since 2003 at more than 320 by the beginning of this year but this may have been a low estimate. The Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon sent Amnesty International a list of nearly 500 names, and the attacks and killings are continuing.

Palestinians are being targeted as a minority group by armed militia groups because they are perceived by some Iraqis to have received preferential treatment under the government of Saddam Hussain. As non-Iraqis who are mainly Sunni Arabs, they have also been suspected of supporting or sympathizing with Sunni Iraqis involved in the insurgency against the predominantly Shi'a government and the Multi-National Force.

On 13 August 2007, Mostafa Ahmad, a 27-year-old taxi driver, was waiting at a petrol station near al-Baladiyat when he was attacked and abducted by armed men believed to belong to the Mahdi Army, a militia-type force loyal to Shi'a religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr. Two days later, the abductors used his mobile phone to call his family and told them that they could collect his body from the morgue. A relative who saw the body told Amnesty International that Mostafa Ahmad had drill holes in his corpse and his teeth appeared to have been ripped out with pliers. He had also been shot six times in the head and upper body. No investigation into his abduction and murder is known to have been initiated.

"The Iraqi government, the Multi-National Force must do all they can to afford effective protection to those at risk in Iraq, including the increasingly beleaguered Palestinian refugee community, and other governments should expand and expedite their refugee resettlement programs in order to assist this especially vulnerable community," said Malcolm Smart.

The organization also called on the Syrian and Jordanian governments to allow Palestinian refugees to enter their territory and to the international community at large to assist with the resettlement of Palestinians in line with their international obligations.

Read the full report here.


The always feisty California Nurses Association (CNA) says it is issuing a 10-day strike notice to 15 Northern California hospitals, many of them in the Bay Area. The strike is likely to last two days. However, CNA spokesman Shum Preston, warned it "may be longer and messier" than just a two-day walkout.

"There has not been a nurses' strike this big in the Bay Area, the state or the nation in at least a decade, since our strike against Kaiser (Permanente) in the mid-1990s," according to Preston. The union said the threatened walkout is over a variety of issues, including retirement security, "proposed reductions in nurses' health-care benefits," and safe patient care practices, including what the union describes as Sutter's plans to reduce patient care services in San Francisco, San Leandro and Santa Rosa.

The San Francisco Business Times reports Sutter said early this year that it planned to close a leased hospital in Santa Rosa, sell another and scuttle plans to build a $250 million replacement there. The closure of the Chanate Road campus of Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa will be closed by next year, Sutter said, and the Warrack hospital that is part of Sutter Santa Rosa will be sold. Between them, the two campuses have 238 staffed beds and employ about 1,000 workers. The union says Sutter has plans to cut services at its California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, as well as at San Leandro Hospital, but Sutter officials at Castro Valley's Eden Medical Center denied in recent weeks that Sutter has plans to make cuts at San Leandro.

The following is from the California Nurses Association.

Strike By 5,500 RNs Could Hit 16 N. Calif. Hospitals - Nurses Cite Concerns About Quality Patient Care
02 Oct 2007

Registered nurses announced they will strike up to 16 Northern California hospitals with 5,500 RNs, mostly in the Bay Area, in a two-day October walkout that would place a spotlight on patient care practices and health security for the nurses at the Sutter Health chain and other facilities.

The October 10-11 strike could affect 13 Bay Area Sutter hospitals, the Fremont-Rideout Health Group in Yuba City and Marysville and, possibly, Children's Hospital Oakland, said the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee which represents the RNs.

Sutter facilities affected include Alta Bates Summit Medical Center with facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo, San Leandro Hospital, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke's hospitals in San Francisco, Sutter Santa Rosa, Sutter Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, and Sutter Novato.

"We are deeply concerned about the quality of care and the availability of patient services in communities that have long supported Sutter hospitals," said Jan Rodolfo, an RN at Summit and chair of the CNA/NNOC Sutter wide Facility Bargaining Council. "Inadequate staffing is a persistent problem at Sutter facilities. No one understands what staffing we need to provide safe patient care better than bedside nurses."

"It's notable that the same patient care issues and concerns are seen at all 10 hospitals, which appears to reflect the corporate influence of the importance of the bottom line at the sacrifice of patient care," said Genel Morgan, an RN in the cardiac intensive care unit at Mills-Peninsula Health Services and is a member of the CNA nurse negotiating team.

"RNs take the possibility of a strike very seriously and Sutter nurses believe that if conditions don't improve, a strike may be the only answer, "said Jonica Brooks, an RN at CPMC.

"There is an exodus of experienced RNs that will only get worse if we don't provide the same standards provided by most other Northern California hospitals," said Sherry Ramsey, a critical care RN at Sutter Solano in Vallejo.

"I want to help my patients, neighbors and families to have a safe medical facility to care for them," said Fremont-Rideout RN Lorrie Hart, "and that means FRHG has work to do."

Safe care for patients, health security for RNs.

Among the key issues in Sutter are:

Patient care.

RN-to-patient ratios. CNA wants all the Sutter hospitals to include the state mandated RN staffing ratios, in their contracts to add the legal clout of their contract to enforce safe staffing at all times. Different Sutter hospitals have different language, and California Pacific is refusing to guarantee adherence to the ratios at all.

Break relief. The RNs want Sutter to guarantee it will maintain safe staffing, including full adherence to the ratios, when RNs are on meal or rest breaks.

Rapid response. CNA proposed that each Sutter facility have a rapid response team support, including a critical care RN and respiratory therapist to intervene and stabilize patients which healthcare experts say has been valuable in saving lives of patients in emergencies. Further, CNA is calling for an admittance RN in emergency departments to speed up patient assessments and placements, which also promotes patient safety and recovery.

Safe patient handling. The RNs want all Sutter facilities to have a lift team on hand at all times to assist with handling of patients, which is important to prevent accidents and falls, and reduce caregiver back and other injuries. Many CNA contracts provide for lift teams.

No cuts in patient services. CNA is strongly protesting Sutter plans to close San Leandro and Santa Rosa, and slash acute care services at St. Luke's and CPMC in San Francisco.

Protecting and maintaining RN health care benefits.

Sutter is proposing for various hospitals reduction in current benefits, including increased costs for RNs in premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, for office visits, emergency care, other medical procedures, and prescription drugs.

At some facilities, Sutter wants to reduce provider option for RNs which in some facilities, such as Solano and Delta where there are fewer medical facilities and providers, would sharply limit the ability of the nurses and their families to receive timely medical care.

At Alta Bates and Summit, Sutter wants to force the RNs to submit to participation in a "wellness" program, including coaching by a non-healthcare professional six times a year, or face substantial increase in health care costs.

At California Pacific, Sutter is demanding CNA agree to allow management to unilaterally reduce health benefits at any time. CPMC is also insisting on receiving a waiver of its obligation under city ordinance to assure its nurses access to sick leave.

Retirement security

Pensions. CNA is proposing that Sutter increase the value of its retirement plan, by agreeing to eliminate a deduction for Social Security benefits, so that RNs can retire with dignity.

Post-retirement medical care. CNA is seeking enhancements in retiree health to assure RNs have all their retiree health needs met.


Tree sitters intent on saving an old oak grove on the UC Berkeley campus don't seem much interested in a judge's orders to come on down.

The tree sitters are protesting the university's plans to build a $125 million sports training center in the grove. The university has pledged to plant three trees for every one that is removed, but protesters say about 40 trees can not be adequately replaced because of their age and size.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Kelly granted the University of California Berkeley a preliminary injunction aimed at bringing the protesters down from the treetops where they have been perched for nearly a year. The judge barred the protesters from "lodging in, scaling, climbing or hanging or sitting or standing" in tree-houses, hammocks or platforms in the grove, according to the order.

University officials asked for the injunction because of what they described as rapidly increasing safety and sanitation problems at the grove.

The protesters told the local press they would not abandon the tree houses they have holed up in and questioned how allowing the oaks to be cut down was protecting university property.

That seems like a good question.

A representative of Save the Oaks, which has been supporting the tree sitters, said the ruling wasn't a total victory for the campus.

``I think UC Berkeley did not get as much as they thought they were going to get out of this,'' said Doug Buckwald. ``I think they have the same difficulty as they had before. They always thought they had the right to enforce their laws prohibiting lodging and trespassing against the tree sitters.''

Asked what effect the court ruling may have on his clients, attorney Dennis Cunningham, who represents the tree-sitters, told the Daily Planet “It remains to be seen. The only client of mine named [in the injunction] has decamped from the trees. He is subject to the order but not in violation of the order. All my clients have not been brought before the court, so it’s up to the university to make the next move.”

But Zachary Running Wolf, the Native American who led off the tree-sit by ascending a redwood in the grove at the start of the protest, said he was afraid that the university will use the ruling to take harsh action against his fellow activists.

“I’m afraid that they’re going after our ground support,” he said.

Running Wolf ridiculed the order and told the San Francisco Chronicle, "They're saying we're endangering the trees when they're planning to chop them down. It's a big joke."

In another Alameda County Superior Court room, hearings continue over the fate of the $125 million athletic training facility the university wants to build in a portion of the grove site. Judge Barbara Miller will decide if the facility would violate the Alquist-Priolo Act, a state law that bans new buildings on earthquake faults.

The City of Berkeley, a neighborhood group and the tree-sitters sued to stop the project, claiming the site is too dangerous because it's traversed by the Hayward Fault.

Testimony in the case resumes today, and closing arguments are expected next week. Miller has 90 days to issue a ruling.

Since the protest started on Dec. 2, 2006 tree sit organizers say more than 300 different people have perched in the trees at different times.

The following is from ABC7/KGO-TV/DT (California)

Tree Sitters Defiant Against Court OrderContinue Protest Over New Sports Training Facility

The tree sitters who are trying to save an oak grove on the UC Berkeley campus are defiant today, saying they won't obey a judge's order to leave. They've been there for nearly a year.

UC Berkeley police are now trying to figure out a safe way to get the protesters out of the trees.

The judge's order doesn't seem to be doing much today. The tree sitters are still on their perches in the oak grove and they say they have no plans of leaving.

With one down and several more to go UC Berkeley police are trying to find a peaceful way to remove tree sitters who have set up camp in the university's oak grove

"I respect the law, but these trees come above the law," said Casey Shobe, tree sitter.

"It's really tricky when you are serving papers on people who are 80 feet up in the trees and many of them are wearing masks" said Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley spokesman.

Casey Shobe, who has been in the trees for nearly three months, isn't afraid to show his face. He said police know who he is.

"They know who I am, I'm not quite sure why I wasn't on that lawsuit honestly, and a lot of others because they know who we are," said Casey Shobe.

On Monday university officials won a small victory when a judge ordered all tree sitters out of the limbs. The only problem is that only one name was named on the injunction. That sitter left the grove without a problem. The university hopes that other sitters will follow.

"We are going to leave no stone unturned in our effort to end this situation peacefully. Now in the wake of the judge's order, we are asking the people to come out of the trees voluntarily," said Dan Mogulof.

Protestors set up camp here last December while trying to prevent the trees from being cleared for a new athletic training facility. The fate of the facility is currently in the courts. A judge will decide if it is safe to build it next to the stadium. Some say it is too close to the Hayward fault line. But before any construction can begin the university faces the challenge of removing Casey Shobe and his friends

"My goal is to stay here until all of these trees are safe," said Casey Shobe.

Interestingly enough these trees are not even that old. A UC spokesperson said they were planted in the 1920's as part of a landscaping project and at this point they are near the end of their life span.


Remember back when you were in high school (okay, some of you may be in high school now but please bear with us old gomers for a bit). I'll bet, if you were like me, there were lots of stupid things that irked you. I, for example, spent every fifth hour in the Vice-Principal's office being harangued that my hair was too long. I then spent an extra hour after school in detention generally for the same thing.

Dumb rules.

Well some high school students in the Jacksonville, Florida area are ticked off because a fence has been wrapped around their school and they are starting to feel like they are in prison.

The school says it is for security, but come on, just how much more security does a fence provide over, say, a door and the buildings wall.

Students think the fence is just one large hassle. But students have almost zero rights.

Then again, these high school kids being high school kids decided to make their grievances known in a colorful way.

So the students at Fleming Island High School donned bright orange t-shirts Friday, (which the principal said were disrupting class - principals, of course, think virtually everything kids do is disrupting clas).

The front of the shirt read, "Fleming Island Prison." The back said, "Inmate 'Til May 2008."

Senior Katie Smith, one of the organizers said, "You have to go through gates to get into school. It's just such a hassle if you're late for school. You have to walk all the way around the school just to go to your car for two seconds."

Smith and her co-organizer Adam Taylor told local NBC 12 News they feel the school is safe without the gates. They also feel the gates aren't very strong anyway.

Taylor said, "No not at all. I've seen the gates get pushed right open. They're not sturdy gates at all."

Principal Sam Ward said the whole thing shouldn't even be discussed in the school. Students should be attending their studies after all.

By the way if you want to see what kids are saying about the rules at their own schools check out This is just one of many sites kids have put up about what goes down as far as rules at their schools.

My question is why, oh why, are all these stupid rules in effect and why or why doesn't anyone bother to even discuss them with the kids.

The only good thing about all these dumb rules is that they teach kids how idiotic and authoritarian those with the power can and will be with that power.

I, for one, would like to thank my high school Principal Carl Ison and Vice Principal Trask for all their devotion to keeping us safe from ourselves...or whatever the heck they thought they were doing. I believe they and the dumb rules at my high school (where our principal was actually known to measure how close you danced) helped me to become who I am today by teaching me to rebel.

Unfortunately I think fools like them also have to take their share of the responsibility for creating conditions that have led to the school shooter phenomenon.

Just my opinion.

The following is from the Florida Times Union.

Students protest school's new fence

A student protest apparently sparked by new fencing at Fleming Island High School in Clay County did not resurface Monday after some protesters were suspended for a half-day Friday, school Principal Sam Ward said.

About 40 students arrived Friday wearing orange shirts and proclaiming themselves "inmates" at the school. Most complied, Ward said, when he told them to turn the shirts inside out.

The students were upset by new security fencing at the school that has limited access to certain areas, the principal said.

He said the fencing was installed for safety reasons and because the school has been the target of vandals in the past.

"My number one responsibility is to provide a safe, clean environment," Ward said.

The principal called protesters together to discuss the issue and to have them remove or reverse the shirts. He said at least two refused and were suspended from the school for the remainder of the day.

Monday, October 01, 2007


As two labor campaign groups prepare to be sued for libel, big brands continue to buy from the jeans supplier taking the activists to court.

For the two prominent Dutch labour rights campaign groups, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), the past year has been a struggle.

Both groups have been banned, since July 2006, from agitating, both in India and overseas, after they allegedly defamed an Indian supplier of jeans to international brands including G-Star, Gap, Mexx, Ann Taylor, RaRe and Guess.

For several months, CCC has been asking Fibers and Fabrics and Jean Knit to engage in a dialogue – rather than legal action – with local unions and NGOs to improve working conditions and labour relations. CCC has also been urging retail brands to put pressure on the suppliers to participate in the dialogue.

All brands have written to the suppliers asking them to investigate, but have continued to source from the factories. Only Tommy Hilfiger has threatened to withdraw business unless all issues raised by the CCC are resolved.

A local analyst says: “Brands’ behaviour in this case is intriguing. Against conventional practice, they have continued to source from the supplier. This may have emboldened the supplier to go after labour activists more aggressively.”

CCC accuses G-Star – the largest customer – of doing nothing to put pressure on the suppliers. Critics say others have also merely paid lip service.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (or the "CCC" as it is popularly called) aims to improve working conditions in the garment and sportswear industry. The CCC started in the Netherlands in 1990.
The India Committee of The Netherlands (ICN) is an independent non-governmental organization, based on solidarity with deprived groups in Indian society.

The following news and call for action comes from the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Support freedom of speech and freedom of association/Make it clear that labour rights organisations will not be silenced

Legal action is being used by a company producing garments in India to silence organisations in India and the Netherlands who are speaking out about severe labour rights violations in factories producing jeans for companies including G-Star, Armani, RaRe, Guess, Gap and Mexx.

On September 26, 2007, the Indian court issued arrest warrants against seven staff members of the Clean Clothes Campaign and the India Committee of the Netherlands. Notwithstanding international pressure, FFI keeps refusing to engage with union and local labour rights organisations and stop legal action.

Instead of working with local organisations to improve labour conditions and labour relations, the jeans supplier is trying to stop labour rights groups from distributing information on the situation at FFI/JKPL and have filed restraining orders and libel lawsuits to silence them. The workers’ rights advocates are committed to pursuing justice for the women and men who stitch our jeans, but support is needed in the face of the huge legal campaign mounted by FFI/JKPL.

How you can help Support the labour rights organisations in Bangalore and abroad that are under attack by placing the urgent appeal on this case on your website, including the original report detailing the labour rights violations at FFI/JKPL facilities. By helping to post and distribute information on the FFI/JKPL case you can help make it clear that labour rights organisations will not be silenced, and that freedom of association and freedom of speech are fundamental rights.

Please also contact brands and factory owners to tell them "Enough is enough". Take action now >>

Background: Workers’ Rights Violated; Critics gagged Since July 2006, the Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU), the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), the Civil Initiative for Peace and Development (CIVIDEP), the Women Garment Workers Front Munnade and the CCC Task Force Tamil Nadu have been subject to a local court injunction, prohibiting them from distributing information inside and outside of India about the working conditions at international jeans suppliers Fibres and Fabrics International and its subsidiary Jeans Knit Pvt Ltd (FFI/JKPL). Through this court order labour support organisations are effectively prevented from supporting the workers and the trade unions, GATWU and NTUI, are prevented from organising and representing the workers. The court issued a temporary restraining order on July 28, 2006, which was prolonged in February 2007. On August 2, 2007 the parties will have to appear in court again. In the meantime, the organisations involved went to the High Court to contest the case.

In late 2005, the Indian organisations Munnade, Cividep and the trade unions GATWU and NTUI reported on violations of labour rights in FFI/JKPL facilities including high workload, forced overtime, physical and psychological abuse, non-payment of overtime, and the non-issuance of identity cards and contracts (for more information see one of the reports: ( Since then the company has dealt with a number of serious violations including physical abuse and non-payment of overtime, as documented in a second report ( by local organisations. But systematic changes are still needed. At the same time the company started intimidating the local organisations by threatening some of their staff, watching their meetings, following their members and taking legal action against them; this is a clear signal to organisations and FFI/JKPL workers that the company will harass and intimidate any organisation and trade union that tries to support the workers and that they cannot freely speak out.

In May 2006, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) started a public campaign to support the FFI/JKPL workers and local labour rights organisations in their efforts to improve the labour conditions and labour relations at FFI and JKPL. CCC and ICN have strongly campaigned for FFI/JKPL to start a meaningful dialogue with the trade unions GATWU/NTUI and the labour support organisations Munnade and CIVIDEP to solve the outstanding issues.

Following efforts to draw attention to the labour rights violations at FFI/JKPL, the CCC and the ICN and seven of their staff members were summoned to appear in court in Bangalore on June 25, 2007. The Dutch organisations are accused of “cyber crime”, “acts of racist and xenophobic nature” and “criminal defamation”. Others accused of defamation and summoned to appear in court in June are the internet providers Antenna and Xs4all.

The court case of the CCC and ICN had been postponed until 24 September, 2007 when the court issued an arrest order against the 7 persons of the two organisations. The two organisations will appeal against the case.



Dozens of anti-nuclear protesters were arrested today as they marked the end of a year-long campaign at Faslane naval base on the Clyde in Scotland.

Many started blockading the main entrance by gluing themselves to the Tarmac outside and chaining themselves together and to the fence, and police moved in quickly to start removing the demonstrators, making 94 arrests by 10am.

Witnesses spoke of a "continuous" stream of people being carried off by teams of officers.

The demonstrators brought their year of action to a close by forming a human circle in front of the gates at around 3.30pm, which was then dispersed by police. Strathclyde Police said 73 men and 98 women were arrested.

Officially called HMNB Clyde, Faslane is base to the four Trident submarines.

Scottish Lawyers Against Trident (SLAT) earlier this month dropped off a letter for Commodore Carolyn Stait, the commander of the naval base. The letter read in part:

“We fail to understand why the international community should prohibit countries such as North Korea from developing nuclear weapons at a time when the UK is contemplating renewing its weapons.”

“We are told we live in a democracy”, said Hilary Patrick. “The majority of Scots do not want Trident here. An ICM poll carried out this year found that almost two-thirds of Scots are opposed to the plan to replace Trident, regardless of the cost.

“We do not believe Scots should have these deadly and possibly illegal weapons based in their country. Their continued presence here could cause a constitutional crisis. If Westminster continues to force us to site them in Scotland, it could threaten the union.”

The following is from AFP.

Scores arrested at anti-nuclear protest

Scores of people were arrested Monday as police moved on hundreds of anti-nuclear protestors at a submarine base in Scotland gathered for the culmination of a year-long campaign.

Police made the arrests as they removed protestors blockading the main entrance to the Faslane Naval Base on the River Clyde by gluing themselves to the tarmac outside as well as chaining themselves together and to the fence.

They said they arrested 94 people by 10 am, three hours after the first of an estimated 500 demonstrators arrives in buses at the base which hosts the Trident fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.

Witnesses said there was "continuous" stream of people being carried off by teams of officers.

The year-long campaign has led to more than 940 arrests.

Politicians from around Britain, including Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and Members of the European Parliament (MEP), attended what was dubbed the "Big Blockade".

Scottish Green Party co-leader Robin Harper MSP was among the first to arrive at Faslane.

"The use, the threat of use, and the planned replacement of Trident are all illegal," he said.

"We should take a lead in fighting the wars of this century -- the war against poverty, injustice and environmental destruction -- not spend 25 billion (pounds) on weapons of mass destruction aimed at civilians.

A spokesman for Faslane Naval Base said the protests had not affected the main operations at the base.

The parliament voted in March to renew the country's Trident nuclear deterrent.

Tony Blair, before he stepped down on June 27, had pushed plans to modernise the Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost of about 25 billion pounds.

The current deterrent consists of four Royal Navy submarines, one of which is always on patrol, fitted with US-built Trident missiles.

It will become obsolete in the mid-2020s.


Do you have any idea what's going on underground where you live? Maybe you should.

Residents of a north side Indianapolis neighborhood are upset over the sudden loss of hundreds of trees. The trees were part of a large wooded area in a Community Nature Park. A couple of weeks ago Marathon Oil Company decided with almost no warning the trees had to go and away they went. Marathon cleared a 50-foot-wide swath more than 100 yards long, leaving several stumps and piles of wood chips. The company, according to WTHR, also removed trees from several nearby homes, planting new grass in their place.

Amy Hughes said she was lucky. She lost just one tree, but her neighbors on both sides lost dozens. The thick trees used to block her view of nearby Ditch Road.

"We're completely open to Ditch now," Hughes said. "Prior to the removal, we couldn't see the road at all from the house."

"They should have notified the homeowners' association - doing a cut and run is not a good situation for the community," said Mansfield.

WTHR further reports Marathon isn't done clearing. The pipeline continues through the North Willow Farms neighborhood. Park President Deb Ellman Watson (whose agency surprisingly had no say in the matter) said scores of trees there were also tagged for removal. While the pink ribbons mysteriously disappeared from the trees, the concerns have not.

"These trees are 40 years old. If I plant new ones I'll never see 40-year-old trees again," said Larry Seidman.

Seidman said he called the governor's office and other lawmakers to complain and seek help.

Good luck with that, dude.

Marathon says it is clearing the trees as a safety precaution for the underground pipeline running through the area.

Residents wonder why the trees which were there long before the pipeline have suddenly become a hazard and why they didn't have any say so about the whole mess.

Watson and others want compensation for the lost trees; they'd like to see new trees planted in other parts of the park.

Shouldn't be a problem. After all on their web site Marathon proudly proclaims, "Marathon supports various nature conservation programs that are important to host communities and their sustainability."

So how does that jive with what Marathon spokesperson Chris Fox said in regards to the neighborhoods plea for new trees. Fox said it's not the company's policy to replace trees.

This is just another story of when push comes to shove who really has rights - people or corporations?

You know the answer to that one. The big guys don't much care about what you orI think. Some big shot makes a decision in an office in some high rise somewhere and where you live doesn't look the same anymore.

Just ask some folks in South Dakota what they think about this. TransCanada is making some changes on these homeowners property.

TransCanada's plan to use eminent domain has infuriated these landowners and others who question whether a Canadian company should be able to condemn land in the U.S.

Sioux Falls lawyer Todd Epp says "I have talked to landowners in the Howard area, and I have had e-mail communication with others. They are pretty unhappy about all this."

Lillian Anderson, an outspoken foe, says "you think you have some rights. You hope you have some rights."

Well, Lillian, the truth is you don't.

South Dakota law appears to give TransCanada the right to exercise eminent domain in building the Keystone crude oil pipeline from its proposed entrance in the state at the North Dakota border to where it would exit across the Missouri River near Yankton, South Dakota.

Epp says of Keystone's ability to use eminent domain now, "The bottom line, if it holds itself out to be a pipeline ... I don't know of anything anybody can do about it."

And in Shelby County, Indiana residents are lamenting the looming loss of several old and stately trees, caught in the grinding buzz saw of what some call progress. The trees are located near a rustic and charming area on County Road 775 East between 500 and 600 North.

But not for long.

"The power company is going to destroy some of the oldest, most graceful and most beautiful trees in this neighborhood," said Jane Longstreet, who has lived in the area for almost 60 years. "Some of the cottonwoods, sycamores and poplars are more than a century old and at least 70 to 80 feet in height. They remind me of a cathedral. Some of them were old when I was young and growing up."

The Hoosier Energy electric power company of Bloomington, Indiana has decided the trees have got to go. They want some power lines to run through the area.

The Shelbyville News reports residents don't understand the route taken by the power company. They think the power lines could have taken a straighter path, cost less in right-of-way expenses and saved dozens of valuable, irreplaceable trees in the process.

"They could have gone directly east on 600 North and then turned south to bypass 775 East altogether," said Gary Nebel, who has lived in the area for 10 years. "Those wonderful trees were part of the reason we bought our house and made our home out here. They're just mowing them down, and it is a sad thing to watch. It just doesn't make any sense."

It doesn't have to Gary.

What the power company wants, the power company gets.

This stuff is not the end of the world or anything, but it is mighty galling to many Americans who grew up thinking they had some control over their "land."

It's odd that the conservatives who are always up in arms over property rights never seem to give a hoot at times like this. I mean, if he ever even heard about this, whose side do you think Mr. Bush would come down on - some local yokels or a big time oil or power company?

The following is from the Indianapolis Star.

Residents angered by cutting of trees
50-foot-wide path is cleared through Far-Northside area in pipeline's right of way
By Gretchen Becker

When Larry Seidman heard the saws buzzing in his North Willow Farms neighborhood recently, he thought someone was building a new home.
Stepping into his backyard to practice golf shots later that day, he realized his mistake.

The buzzing was coming from saws used by workers clearing a 50-foot-wide path for a Marathon Oil Co. pipeline right of way between North Willow Farms and the neighboring Misty Lake subdivision.

It's part of the company's seven-year effort to clear 5,500 miles of pipeline in 13 states, said Christiane Fox, a Marathon spokeswoman based in Findlay, Ohio.

"We are doing this for one reason and one reason only -- safety," Fox said.
Seidman disagrees.

"It's terrible," Seidman said. "These trees have been up here for 80 zillion years. We want to be green, and they want to take trees down."

The pipeline has been operational since 1950, and North Willow Farms was established in 1967.

"They can't give us any good reason why they have to be cleared all of a sudden," said Rick Tinkle, president of the North Willow Farms homeowners association.

Peter Daubenspeck, for whom a nature park at 8900 Ditch Road was named, agreed on Feb. 10, 1941, to have the pipeline right of way run through the property that was his at the time.

Residents considered the trees that were cut down part of the park.

The pipeline that runs through the Far-Northside neighborhoods is an 8-inch pipe called the Rio line, Fox said. It runs from Robinson, Ill., through Indiana to Lima, Ohio.

Refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel fuel are transported through the line, Fox said. Marathon does aerial flyovers to check on the pipeline and can't see problems if tree canopies like the one that was cleared are in the way.

"Tree roots also wrap around pipeline and cause corrosion," Fox said. "Corrosion and pipeline is a bad combination."

The Pike Township Fire Department has worked with Marathon on pre-emergency planning and clearing procedures, said Division Chief Martin Wilkey.

"The pipeline industry, and Marathon in particular, have a great track record," Wilkey said. "They do things to prevent emergencies, and tree clearing is one of those things."

Wilkey understands that homeowners don't always see it that way when trees are taken down.

"You have to put it in perspective of safety and why things are taken down," he said.
Clearing and other routine maintenance Marathon and other pipeline companies do make emergency situations a rare occurrence, Wilkey said.

"(In an emergency), if clearing wasn't done, we'd have to clear it first, leaving people exposed longer to leaks if an event does occur," he said.

City-County Councilwoman Angela Mansfield went out to look at the cleared woods last week with Deb Ellman Watson, a North Willow Farms resident and president of Daubenspeck Nature Park.

"I'm still not buying this," Mansfield said. "You may have the right of way, but there's no excuse for this."

Watson said she and her neighbors were never notified that a portion of woods owned by the homeowners association would be taken down.

"It was like a tornado went through and ripped down the trees," Watson said. "Neighbors from all directions were wandering around with their mouths open."

Watson also is upset because Marathon left large piles of mulch and downed trees in the woods near walking trails.

Watson also questioned why the right of way had to be cleared, yet Marathon left a fence standing between the woods and neighboring Misty Lake, as well as basketball goals and sheds.

Marathon, Fox said, allows fences to stand along a right of way if there are no posts within five feet of the middle of the pipe.

Watson and her neighbors also worry because dozens of trees in yards of North Willow Farms homes had been marked with pink ribbons to be cut down. The ribbons disappeared one night, and nobody is confessing to having done it. Marathon's crews are expected to return.