The fact of the matter is that the city is trying to freeze us out, and using pretty shaky reasons to do so. Burn barrel ordinances? Strikes, including The Vindicator's, had multiple burn barrels for sometimes months at a time. Even though we have never blocked the sidewalk, the scaffolding on the PNC building sure did...for three years. Part of that time without permits when pieces of the building fell to the sidewalk. Where were the ordinance enforcers then? Propane heat sources are used by every street vendor that's allowed in the square to cook. And, we removed ours when asked, which by the way was one of only two times any authorities expressed that we were violating any ordinances, the other being when we were delivered the letter saying to tear down by midnight. Why are other organizations allowed canopies when we are not? And again, I will remind you we purchased the necessary insurance and applied for the same permits they received to have them. This seems like some pretty selective enforcement to me. What happened to equality of law? If the city is cracking down on ordinances city wide (the reason the mayor gave us) why were we targeted first? Why weren't the longest standing infractions targeted first? Especially those that pose safety issues? These are the questions we have for Mr. Sammerone and other figures of local authority, and we plan on getting answers. Until then we'll continue as we have. Peaceably. Welcoming all ages and walks of life.
November 12, 2011 at 12:28 a.m.
The fact of the matter is, we're not out there looking for entitlements. Although I will say that as a man who takes the Sermon on the Mount seriously, I have no problem with "the welfare state" as I believe it's my responsibility to care for my fellow man. Even if it is "all their own fault", which it very very rarely is. We're out there asking for two things responsibility and transparency both economically and politically. That's what it comes down to.
Why was our tax money used to bail out these banks and corporations when they had the capital to buy competition and give their executives exorbitant bonuses and pensions? Why were these men not forced to invest their extremely large personal fortunes into the business they own when they are failing like the rest of us of expected to? Why is there no tax on stock trades, when a piece of a company is a trade-able commodity just like the groceries you purchase? Why do men like Warren Buffett pay a smaller tax percentage than their own secretaries? Why do companies like GE and Microsoft pay only 3 percent of their taxes when the corporate rate here in the US is 35 percent? Why do we allow these loopholes to exist legally? Why are we letting these banks dump their derivative bets on to the Federal Reserve so that the losses become socialized but the gains remain privatized? These are the issues we're out there discussing.
And we're not just out there pi**ing and moaning either. We're trying to do something about it. Another member and I are seeking legal counsel to start drafting up ballot initiatives to address some of these problems. Some other members are trying to form a labor Co-op along the lines of Labor Ready that won't take the same ridiculous percentages, thereby returning the profit to the worker who's doing the job. Both of these ideas came around because people of like mind met at the site and are moving horizontally to the group to form their own organizations to DO SOMETHING about the problems we face. Not to mention the fact that we've been feeding and warming a fair share of our local homeless down at the site. What have you been doing about the poverty problem in Youngstown?
November 12, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.
Let's clear a few things up here, shall we?
First of all, we applied for the permits many of you have been harping about, but we were denied. We even purchased a months worth of liability insurance (and planned on renewing it monthly)...still denied.
Second, we were given the go ahead by certain city officials, including the police, to erect that tent no more than two days before our interim mayor ordered our site broken down. For those of you who say "toughen up", we did. We didn't have a source of heat initially, and only had that tent for two days, but we were still out there, just like we will continue to be.
Third, no deadline was EVER set. We stated to the media and to the public that we planned to occupy indefinitely, but that our MINIMUM goal was election day. You know how I know this? I'm one the media representatives for the group, it was me who spoke those words. And you can find the multitude of interviews myself and others have done online that state that, especially the videos. If Mayor Sammerone misunderstood that is his fault. It was stated very plainly in every interview, press conference, and press release.
Fourth, we are on public property. Not the property of the banks. Meaning the sidewalks that we are occupying - without blocking once, as there is more than 12 foot clearance- are owned by the taxpayers of this city and are there for use by anyone.
Fifth, we are not a bunch of college kids and recent grads out there whining about free hand outs. Recent grads like myself are actually in the minority in our group, admittedly unlike many other occupations. Almost every single person in our group is gainfully employed. And the handful that aren't are out looking. Two of those just started new jobs this week. One, a close friend of mine who has two bachelors, is waiting tables, and was so happy when he got the news I thought he was going to weep. He used to be employed installing heating and cooling systems, but got laid off. I worked hanging sheet rock and painting for a contracting firm to help pay my way through college. I've found no job in my field, and couldn't get rehired with the contractors I was working for as they had to downsize their workforce, and I was low man on the totem pole. I've since taken a minimum wage retail job to make ends meet. I'm just thankful I could find that after three months of hunting. I have 40k in college debt and make minimum wage, but I refused my deferment because I think it's irresponsible to continue to do so, and with the uncertain times we live in I want to take the opportunity to pay some of it down while I can. How's that for financial responsibility folks. Not bad for a "dirty leftist hippy" is it? Don't talk to me about ditch digging to survive. I've worked manual labor off and on since I was fifteen, and I'll continue to do so if that's what is required for me to survive.
November 12, 2011 at 12:24 a.m.
For those attacking my comment that there needs to be more focus on Occupying Washinton...Mr. Henkel only used the end of my statement for his piece. The statement in it's entirety was something along the lines of "I think the focus on Wall Street is dead on. We have to keep our sights on the financial sector since they're largely the source of the problem. But we need to start to split our focus a bit onto Washington. The bigger problem...etc." As in, the banking industry and multinational conglomerates are the ones exploiting us, but they're doing it legally through tax loopholes like The Double Irish and The Dutch Sandwich, and because of the push since the Reagan administration to do away with legislation like the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 that kept them in check. If we don't force our politicians to close these loopholes, regulate them, and prosecute the business criminals, we don't have much of a chance. It needs to be a two-headed front.
The issue at hand here is that we're allowing these corporations and banks to shirk their tax responsibilities, and in doing so build up large pools of capital. They then use that money to buy out other companies, eliminate competition, and fund special interest groups and PACs that ensure people get elected that will continue to fight for their interests and not the people's. If they have the capital sitting in offshore accounts to buy out competitors and contribute to campaign funds, why wasn't that used to reinvest in their businesses instead of your tax dollars? To say nothing of the private fortunes these men hold that could and should (if they care about their business) have been used
As for being Dems in disguise, there are a fair share of people in the movement who identify with that moniker. I however am an independent who has been vocal about my belief that both parties sold us down the river more than 30 years ago, and that we need to abolish the two-party system. If the group was some puppet for the Democrats, why would they choose someone who thinks their two party stranglehold needs to end as a spokesman? Whether you want to admit it or not, we're common citizens of varying backgrounds trying to voice our opinions in the only way we believe to be still viable.
Furthermore our focus is to educate the public, and bring issues to the forefront that up until a few months ago were largely ignored by the general public. That's what this is about, and if you don't like that, it's well within your rights to obtain a permit and stage a counter demonstration, or just continue to attack us from the comfort of your homes. That's your right as an American, and one I strongly believe in.
October 13, 2011 at 1 p.m.
Wow, is this really happening again? Well, at least this means my work is already done, due to the fact that I can just copy sections from my comment on the Titanic review and quote them here.
"I think the fact that this board has so readily turned to simple name calling and not debate shows how it is the topic that has become infantile."
"The very perception of competition between any of the local venues (community, semi-professional, or professional) is ludicrous, completely unnecessary, and utterly damaging.......These two theaters could not be more unalike in their budget, facilities, choice of season, and the type of audience that they "normally" attract. Meaning any comparison made between the fare produced by these two parties is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing they share is being fruit, much like the only thing these two venues share is the art of theater. Furthermore any competition for audience is rendered even more ridiculous by the fact that these two venues could easily reconcile their schedules as there are plenty of open weekends throughout the year. In fact I think it would be a remarkable idea as it would spread the Youngstown theater season out a bit more, letting the residents of this city attend a bit of theater any weekend during said theater production season. Of course, I doubt this will happen, as this idea requires the application of logic and goodwill. Something which, for some strange reason, seems to be lacking in our area lately."
"Finally I will make a call for the readers of this message board (who are obviously, with maybe a handful of exceptions, participants in local theater)to stop reveling in something that Youngstown seems to do so well....eating its potential alive from the inside out."
Theatre is a collaborative art form that embraces people of all walks of life, and caters to people of all interests. Also, to echo an earlier post, to say that any subject is taboo to the world of theatre shows a lack of it's history. Theatre has always been a place to express both reverence and irreverence. Just look at the ritualistic and religious nature of Grecian tragedy, and the ribald nature of Grecian comedy as one classical example.
With that, good night.
May 11, 2009 at 2:08 a.m.
I think the fact that this board has so readily turned to simple name calling and not debate shows how it is the topic that has become infantile. Mr. Joki is the one with the largest perceived attack, and yet he remains calm and for the most part professional with his comments. For that I applaud him.
Also, the very perception of competition between any of the local venues (community, semi-professional, or professional) is ludicrous, completely unnecessary, and utterly damaging. Especially between the Youngstown Playhouse and The Oakland Center for the Arts. These two theaters could not be more unalike in their budget, facilities, choice of season, and the type of audience that they "normally" attract. Meaning any comparison made between the fare produced by these two parties is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing they share is being fruit, much like the only thing these two venues share is the art of theater. Furthermore any competition for audience is rendered even more ridiculous by the fact that these two venues could easily reconcile their schedules as there are plenty of open weekends throughout the year. In fact i think it would be a remarkable idea as it would spread the Youngstown theater season out a bit more, letting the residents of this fine city attend a lovely bit of theater any weekend during said theater production season. Of course, i doubt this will happen, as this idea requires the application of logic and goodwill. Something which for some strange reason seems to be lacking in our area lately.
Finally I will make a call for the readers of this message board (who are obviously, with maybe a handful of exceptions, participants in local theater)to stop reveling in something that Youngstown seems to do so well....eating its potential alive from the inside out.
Good luck to the cast members of Titanic, I hope you give the area one hell of a show. Also know that no matter what you hear, I can tell you with an honest heart that you have the utmost support of most of the so called "friends of the Oakland", a group to which I proudly belong--including Mr. Joki who came on Friday, and who encouraged (if not pushed) the cast of The Full Monty to attend Titanic in a show of support for their fellow actors and technicians.
May 26, 2008 at 12:37 a.m.
Let me start by saying that yes this is the Brandon Smith who played Harold in The Full Monty at the Oakland. Just so we are all clear on identity here.
Quite frankly, I've kept my mouth closed throughout this entire ridiculous affair, but tonight I've had enough. First of all, let me say that almost every person on this board should be ashamed of themselves. Deserved or not (I haven't the pleasure of seeing Titanic yet) it is unfair to take away the wonderful feeling of a good review from a cast of amateurs and (I'm just guessing) semi-professionals. This board should not be turned into yet another debate over Milan's professionalism or lack thereof. If you have a problem with Mr. Paurich's reviews, do not use their board as your mouthpiece, instead call the Vindicator staff personally and complain to Mr. Paurich's superiors if you feel that strongly. Maybe send in a letter to the editor to be printed, or find any other number of appropriate ways to lodge a complaint with his employers. I especially encourage you to do so Alan84, as your remarks are only causing the situation to spiral further down.
Second, Fedup, your use of "transgendered clown" shows you to be immature and lacking in intelligence--only one with a limited mind and vocabulary stoops to common gutter-trash insults in what should be an intelligent debate, if the debate should exist at all--not to mention crass and bigoted. One of the crowning achievements of the theater community as a whole is its fostering of tolerance among its participants and inclusion of those who the wider world has a tendency to reject. I can personally say as a straight male that without theater i would have probably ended up with a homophobic mindset similar to the community I was raised in, and for that lesson I will forever be grateful. So in that spirit of tolerance I ask you Sir(or Madam) to please end your hate-speech, and i will also point out that your IP address is easily discoverable, and easily permanently banned from this site. (In other words, if i were you I'd watch what i say on a public forum because you are not nearly as anonymous as you seem to think (and seem to be reveling in)
May 26, 2008 at 12:36 a.m.