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Dennis Kucinich Opens his East LA Office -Video

by FluxRostrum Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003 at 11:11 PM
earth

Q&A @ Garfield High School with Danny Glover & Shelly Morrison and a mini Fiesta at the new office. Some of this is in Spanish, not much, but some. Privatization of water, Human Geno, immigration, public transportation, media... and truth. 30 min.

Dennis Kucinich opens his East LA Campaign Headquarters
11-23-03

30 minutes

Q&A @
Garfield High School
with
Danny Glover & Shelly Morrison
and a mini Fiesta
at the new office.

67 meg
Downloadable
QuickTime File

Real Player Streaming files available soon

KucinichWatch.com

The QuickTime Progressive Download is a BIG file, don't bother without broadband.
Anyone with a "streaming server" is welcome to serve it if you send me the link.
Fox, Univision & API had people there.  Anybody see coverage?

The Day That Everything Went Wrong... or Did IT?
the story of why there's not more footage from a very long day

It's 5 am Sunday morning, can't sleep.  The alarm's set for 8:30.  I'd been up till 4 am meeting a deadline for a client because I'd spent my entire work day... Kuciniching .. roaming message boards, searching / distributing news, reminding media outlets, getting through the e-mail ... The computer has finally been turned off but the whir of the motor stills rings in my ears and won't let me sleep.  The last thing I remember thinking was "I should just get up because if I fall asleep now I'll never wake up in time".  I was right.

It's 11am my eyes realize there's another world on the outside of the lid.  Panic.  I've got got 2 days of desk slave funk on and at LEAST an hour's drive between me and Denis Kucinich.  It'll be OK; Danny Glover was to speak first at noon, oh well. 

Cleaned, with address in hand and all my equipment; I arrived at my car to find one tire unsafely low.  Pack the car and take off ... 10 long slow miles later there's a gas station with air.  On the freeway I pull out the map and find Garfield High.

In what appeared to be a lucky break, I was able to get  fresh tapes for the camera at the local E.LA big name electronic store.. Found the tapes and headed for the door.. there was no checkout anywhere near the door.. ?? Check outs were all in the "departments" and the ONE that was manned had 4 people waiting.  I thought about just walking out with the tapes.. but remembered seeing an armed guard on the way in.  The store design invites you to walk out with it, to your doom.  Interesting.  I bugged several chatting employees until 1 checked me out and I got back on the road.

I found the High School no problem, followed my senses.. and the signs to the auditorium.  As I'm approaching the auditorium, trying to turn on the camera as I walk.. I hear Dennis say "Thank You! Thank you very much!" and then from the audience a long, loud cheering for the words he'd just FINISHED speaking.  .. Oh well.

I found a corner with what I perceived to be a good angle, set my camera bag down and proceeded to shoot the Q & A.  Found it to be a better angle on the other side of the auditorium where all of this footage came from.  Had a blast following Dennis around as he made his way to the caravan of Kucinich Cars that was about to honk noisily through the streets of E.LA to the Campaign Headquarters for the ribbon cutting fiesta.  I even got my question in.. about the FTAA Protester / Kucinich Supporters arrested in Miami..  Things were looking up as I ran back to my car and joined the caravan... far, far, far from the front.

Several winding miles later we arrived at the Campaign office and taking 3 laps around the block; I found a parking space and checked my gear.  Camera, check, tape, check, monopod, check, camera bag...  AAAHHHHHHG!!! ( no I didn't really say "AAAAAHHHG!" in reality it started with an F and used much more percussive consonants).  Actually, I think I must have said it many times, loudly; because there was now an elderly hispanic man laughing at me from across the street.  I understood, I'd be laughing at me too.

I ran the block and a half to the campaign office while analyzing my situation.  My extra tape was in the bag that now sat in the High School Auditorium, which I didn't really remember how to get back to.  From the Office the Kucinich Train was heading to Culver City to speak at a Peace Sunday event at the Agape House.   If I must return to the school I will now be late for the Culver City event as well.  Oh well.

I got to the office, the ribbon had been cut, people were milling about, we put a call in to the person who had remained at the auditorium to clean up (maybe they could bring the bag to the office before Dennis heads of to Culver City - saving me the trip back)... no answer...The office festivities went great and the community was excited and receptive.  Dennis left and I ran for my car.  I had to stop along the way when I saw a sign along someone's fence "Ropas Gratis".  All day I'd been hearing Dennis speak of the importance of people supporting each other at the neighborhood level.  I stopped running to make sure it said what I thought it said. I don't speak much Spanish... but "Ropas Gratis" I understand.  "Free Clothes", 4 or 5 racks of various types of clothing adorned the backyard and the gate was open, kids playin'.   I thought: "THIS is East LA?   I've not had much need to be in this area and this just didn't jive with the stereotype implanted in my head.    The sense of friendly community oozed from every crack in the sidewalk.  What a cool place.

Returning to the High School... took along time.. I had not paid attention to the route from the High School to the Office, the map helped but I still got turned around the wrong way a couple times.. but finally arrived just as the last of the clean up crew was leaving... with my bag in the van.. a half minute longer and my bag would have been en route back to the office!

So, finally on my way to the Agape House in Culver City at 5700 Buckingham.  Address memorized.  Grabbing the map while cruising a strange freeway I realize the page of the map that has 5700 Buckingham Culver City on it ... is the 1 page of the map that had turned up MIA a few years back.  (LA MAPS have roughly 700 pages)   I decide I can drive the area until I find Buckingham and then everything will be fine.  I never found Buckingham.  At this point I'm so late that I'm sure Dennis has probably finished at the Agape House and moved on by now, but I still want to find this place and maybe I can catch him as he's leaving... 

As I'm lost, driving around in the dark looking for Buckingham; I see a fairly large group of striking Von's workers.  I pull in.  I have been distributing VHS copies of a video of Dennis Kucinich and local labor leaders at a Venice, CA strike rally to various strikers as I encounter them and I had 1 tape left.  I pulled in to give them a tape and get directions in hopes of salvaging something of my mission to film Dennis at Agape ( I hear he won another peace award that night).  Oh well.

That's when I met Andre and that's when I found that I had ended up in the right place after all.

During my adventures giving that video tape to strikers I encountered a strange phenomena.  When I approached the strikers offering a tape of the Venice Strike Rally with speeches from Mike Straeter and other Union leaders (because I didn't want to appear to be pushing politics on them) they routinely refused the taped and were only interested when they were told that Dennis Kucinich also spoke at the rally.  I was about to learn why.

A few minutes into a conversation with the striker who wanted to talk I was wishing I'd brought the camera over.  But I was just trying to get some directions, oh well.

There's no way I can convey the complete conversation; I did eventually ask "Andre" if I could interview him on camera and he was not interested.  "Andre" is a phony, made up name.   Another day, maybe he said and I gave him my card. 

Basically he expressed a very jaded opinion of Union leaders that sprouted a chorus of "uh huh"s, "yeah"s & "that's right"s from fellow strikers.  They feel they've been sold.  Teamsters crossed their lines.  They were told to lift the picket on Ralph's.  Other workers from so called "independent chains" who, though not union members, worked under the same contract were told to continue working.  They were told these things by People they trusted to lead them and were told these measures were necessary to show compassion on the community, who still needed a place to shop.  These tactics allowed the Company to take the strike in stride and allows the issue of the strike to be ignored and forgotten by most; leaving the workers with NO Leverage... and no income.. much longer than would have been necessary had they been given the full support of their Union.

A couple month's ago the company was bitching about paying overtime, encouraging people to "help out" a few minutes off the clock.  Now they're gladly paying untrained scabs nearly twice salary.

This is What Union Busting Looks Like.

Meanwhile these people have families to feed, mortgages to pay, rent, car payments... and it's Thanksgiving .... soon to be Christmas.   "What am I suppose to tell my son!" Andre wanted to know how to explain to his son that because he didn't want to pay a few bucks more a month for less healthcare than the current contract; because it's not fair, just or ethical considering profits for the company are up 91% and because letting it happen sets a horrible precedent for workers everywhere who will soon find themselves fighting this same fight, one at a time, until nobody has healthcare... "What am I suppose to tell my son!"

He brings his son with him to the picket line so that he can understand the reality and importance of the strike.  Many adults find it hard to comprehend how this, or any, strike effects them.  They can't see the big picture of allowing corporations to systematically lower wages and benefits across the the board in all industries with a well proven divide and conquer technique.  These strikes effect all workers by lowering "standards"; ensuring everyone gets less next time around.   But how do you make a 10 year old understand that at Christmas.

Andre spoke adamantly about putting women in positions of power because men lack the compassion to lead for the benefit of all.  He spoke adamantly about not putting all your faith into anyone.  Union Leaders, Presidential Candidates, anyone wanting your support.  He reminded me that each of us can help each other .. at the community level ... and the politicians will likely do what ever they want to do.   "Things change" he said, "times change, you can change and survive, or you can fight and get crushed.  This strike happened to me because I put myself in the position of listening to others about what was in my best interest, he said.   I'm gonna educate myself a little and take charge, get outa this kinda work... but now the strike ate up my rainy day... so it's going to take little longer."

I hope his new job has benefits.

Andre's personal struggle, between being forced to fend for self and family and the desire to stand strong for his fellow man is becoming too much to bare for him.  Undermined by People he trusted to put People Over Profit he and his fellow  workers now just feel left out in the cold.    Which reminded me how important it was to get Dennis Kucinich elected President now, to stop the decline of civilization now before it gets any worse and to put the brakes on the Corpo-Media-Military-Industrial Complex.... but it also reminded me rents due... civilization will have to wait awhile.. one person can make a difference, but one person can't make ALL the difference... not me .. not 1 striking grocery worker with a 10 yr old son at Christmas... and not Dennis Kucinich.   It will take us ALL, working together on a variety of issues at many levels, to progress to a place where People no longer accept Profit Over People.  Until then, we will each have to deal with our own "sustainabilty issues" from time to time and when forced into undesirable corners we will still need the solidarity and understanding of our brothers & sisters.

solidarity,
~FluxRostrum

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real streams FluxRostrum Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003 at 3:41 AM
The Strike Rally Video FluxRostrum Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003 at 8:47 PM

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