Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News media in the United Kingdom are reporting that a boy under the age of 18 was served with a court summons by City of London Police because he held a placard calling Scientology a “cult” at a peaceful protest on May 10. Human rights activists have criticized the decision to issue the 15-year-old the summons as an affront to freedom of speech, and representatives for the City of London Police force explained the actions of the police.

Individuals from the group Anonymous were protesting Scientology in the fourth protest in as many months, as part of the anti-Scientology movement Project Chanology. The Project Chanology movement began when the Church of Scientology attempted to get a leaked Scientology promotional video featuring Tom Cruise removed from websites YouTube and Gawker.com.

Members of Anonymous were motivated by the actions of the Church of Scientology, and bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10, March 15, April 12, and most recently May 10.

At the May 10 protest, the 15-year-old boy was present and held up a placard which stated: “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult,” with a mention at the bottom of the sign to the anti-Scientology website Xenu.net. He attended the protest held outside the Church of Scientology building on Queen Victoria Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral in London. In a post made by the boy on the anti-Scientology website Enturbulation.org, he stated: “Within five minutes of arriving I was told by a member of the police that I was not allowed to use that word, and that the final decision would be made by the inspector.” The website describes itself as “A Source for Information on Dianetics and the Scientology Organization”. Using the pseudonym “EpicNoseGuy” at the Enturbulation.org message board, the boy goes on to describe how he was “strongly advised” by police to remove the placard.

City of London Police cited section five of the Public Order Act 1986 to the boy, which deals with “harassment, alarm or distress“. In response, the boy cited a 1984 judgment given by Mr. Justice Latey in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice of Her Majesty’s Courts of Justice of England and Wales, in which Latey called Scientology a “cult” and said it was “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”. In the actual 1984 judgment made by Judge Latey, he stated: “Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. […] In my judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. […] It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others.” According to the boy’s post at Enturbulation.org, the City of London Police told him he had 15 minutes to remove the sign in question. He was given a court summons by the police about a half-hour later, and his sign was removed and taken by the police as evidence.

I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech.

In videos of the May 10 protest posted to YouTube, City of London Police can be seen telling protesters not to use the word “cult” in their signs. Protesters discussed the issue with police and stated that they had checked with lawyers and verified that criticizing religion was a valid form of protest. The police warned protesters that if they violated police instructions regarding usage of signs “you will be prosecuted”. A female police officer read a form statement to the 15-year-old and stated: “I’ve been asked, if you could remove it [the sign] by 11:30, if not then I’ll have to come back and either summons you or arrest you.” The boy read Mr. Justice Latey’s 1984 judgment to the police, and then said: “I’m not going to take this sign down.” He told fellow protesters: “If I don’t take the word ‘cult’ down, here [holding up his sign], I will be either, I think, most likely arrested or [given] a summons. I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech, besides which I’m only fifteen.”

After the boy was given a summons one of the protesters asked a member of the City of London Police force: “Are we allowed to say Justice Latey says Scientology is a cult?”, to which the police officer responded: “I’ve already had this discussion with people. Direct quotes by individuals, I haven’t got a problem with.”

This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions.

“This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions. After criminalising the use of the word ‘cult’, perhaps the next step is to ban the words ‘war’ and ‘tax’ from peaceful demonstrations?” said Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti in a statement in The Guardian. The boy has appealed for help in order to fight the potential charges and possible legal action from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Ian Haworth of the United Kingdom-based Cult Information Centre also commented on the actions of the City of London Police to The Guardian, saying: “This is an extraordinary situation. If it wasn’t so serious it would be farcical. The police’s job is to protect and serve. Who is being served and who is being protected in this situation? I find it very worrying.”

News of the summons issued to the UK minor has received significant attention on the Internet, hitting the front pages of websites Slashdot, Digg, and Boing Boing on Wednesday. The story has also been discussed in hundreds of blog postings, including sites related to the tech-sector and others related to civil liberties.

City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May.

In a statement given to publications including The Guardian and The Register, a representative for the City of London Police explained the rationale for the summons: “City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May. Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service some demonstrators were warned verbally and in writing that their signs breached section five of the Public Order Act 1986. One demonstrator, a juvenile, continued to display a placard despite police warnings and was reported for an offence under section five. A file on the case will be sent to the CPS.”

“City of London Police upholds the right to demonstrate lawfully, but we have to balance that with the rights of all sections of the community not to be alarmed, distressed or harassed as a result of others’ actions,” said City of London Chief Superintendent Rob Bastable in a statement given to The Register and The Daily Telegraph. Unlike the City of London Police, the Metropolitan Police Service (the territorial police force responsible for Greater London excluding the City of London) has not raised an issue with protesters using the word “cult”, according to Londonist.

… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors.

A spokesman for the CPS told The Guardian that they did not give City of London Police specific instruction about the boy’s protest sign. The spokesman said that the CPS gave the City of London Police “general advice” about the laws governing protests and “religiously aggravated crime”, but did not give advice about this specific case. “… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors,” said the CPS spokesman.

The City of London Police has faced controversy in the past for its close association with the Church of Scientology. When the City of London Scientology building opened in 2006, City of London Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley praised Scientology in an appearance as guest speaker at the building’s opening ceremony. Ken Stewart, another of the City of London’s chief superintendents, has also appeared in a video praising Scientology. According to The Guardian over 20 officers for the City of London Police have accepted gifts from the Church of Scientology including tickets to film premieres, lunches and concerts at police premises. Janet Kenyon-Laveau, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in the UK, told The Guardian that the relationship between the City of London Police and Scientology was mutually beneficial, and said that Scientologists conducted clean-up campaigns in urban areas affected by drug use problems. A City of London Police spokesman released a statement in November 2006 saying: “We are conducting a review to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the force policy on accepting hospitality and to assess whether clarification or amendment of this policy is necessary.”

Each of the Project Chanology international protests against Scientology has had a theme: the February protest called attention to the birthday of Lisa McPherson, who died under controversial circumstances while under the care of Scientology, the March protest was arranged to take place two days after Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard‘s birthday, the April protest highlighted the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy, and the May protest highlighted the Scientology practice of “Fair Game” and took place one day after the anniversary of the publication of Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Another international protest is planned for June 14, and will highlight the Church of Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” or “Sea Org”.

 This story has updates See No prosecution for UK minor who called Scientology a ‘cult’ 

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With more than 150,000 deaths confirmed, the massive earthquake off Indonesia has become a global disaster with victims from dozens of nations.

  • Tsunami Help – A comprehensive up-to-date guide to distaster relief contacts and actions compiled from on-the-scene blogs and local reports.
  • January 1 – The United Nations reports promised funding nears 2 billion USD; logistics on the ground interfering with aid efforts.
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  • Report: Ukraine political crisis

    • Yushchenko claims victory in re-run.
    • Ukraine Elections commission rejects PM Yanukovych’s claims over election.

  • Idi Amin offered to act as peacemaker in NI Release of British Government documents reveals surprising peace initiative.

  • Tsunami deaths mount to more than 120,000 Indonesia stops counting, confirmed counts continue to rise.
  • Republicans seek to reduce ethics rules
  • Americans contribute to relief effort. Bush administration criticized for ‘miserly’ pledges, but ordinary Americans show true generosity.
  • DirecTV tunes out Trio, network in limbo. Loss of its largest carrier may spell doom for struggling cable channel.
  • Australian National Archives release Loans Affair documents. Scathing attack by Australian Treasury over loans in 1974.
  • Aid pledges rise; Japan promises 500,000,000 USD Nearly 2 billion USD promised, U.N. warns of logistic bottlenecks.

  • Kenyans win International Race of São Silvestre Robert Cheruyiot, aged 26, and Lydia Cheromei, aged 27, won the 80ª edition of the traditional International Race of São Silvestre in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.
  • ‘Fockers’ set to meet another weekend title. With no new wide releases, last weekend’s films are set to rule U.S. and Canadian box office receipts once again.
  • Exeem Annonunced To Be Successor Of Suprnova. Announced yesterday on Novastream, there will be a Suprnova successor “apparently”.
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

This year’s Leisure Taiwan trade show (a.k.a Taiwan Sport Recreation and Leisure Show) started yesterday, with 131 companies participating including sports media companies such as ESPN and VideoLand Television, businesses selling sports equipment and fitness clubs.

There were also a variety of sports being played in the arena built for the trade show. The events included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, free style shooting, and bicycle test-riding. In addition, conferences discussed issues related to sports and physical education.

A major topic in the trade show was energy-efficiency and, as a result, bicycles and similar sports equipment were being heavily promoted.

Next Tuesday, companies from the electronics industry plan to promote their industry at “2008 Digital E-Park.” In previous years, organizations from the electronics industry have showcased their products at Leisure Taiwan instead of at the Digital E-Park, so this move has reduced the number of markets covered by Leisure Taiwan.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of London’s most well known murals could be restored after years of neglect if plans by a group of community activists gain public support. The Fitzrovia Mural at Whitfield Gardens on London’s Tottenham Court Road was created by two mural artists and commissioned by Camden Council in 1980, but the mural has since decayed and been vandalised.

Plans will be presented at a public meeting this Tuesday, to include details of the restoration and promote local public space in contrast to potential commercial developments and the focus of the London 2012 Olympics. If enough funds are raised from charitable trusts and public donations the mural could be restored during the summer of 2011.

Plans to be put forward by the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association, and the London Mural Preservation Society, will present ways to fund not only the restoration work but also projects to raise awareness of conservation, heritage, and the residential and working community. The heritage and mural project hopes to involve many local people who could learn new conservation skills. Also planned are workshops with local children to involve them in their heritage, an exhibition by local artists, guided tours and a celebratory event at the end of the restoration project. In addition to this, a booklet would be produced containing collected oral histories of the people involved and a preservation trust to protect the mural in future years.

The playful painting was created on a Camden Council-owned building in 1980 by artists Mick Jones, (son of the late Jack Jones, trade union leader) and Simon Barber and is a mash up of scenes depicting problems faced by the neighbourhood over the preceding decade.

There is also a caricature of poet Dylan Thomas, who lived in Fitzrovia, and a mocking portrayal of then leader of the Greater London Council, Conservative politician Horace Cutler, who is pictured as a bat-like creature. Other characters include an anonymous greedy developer and a property speculator counting piles of cash.

Peter Whyatt of the neighbourhood association is jointly leading the project to restore the mural. Yesterday he told Wikinews he had a number of concerns about the possible success of the project.

“There are a great number of problems with getting this project off the ground and we also need to act pretty quickly for a number of reasons,” said Mr Whyatt.

“Firstly the mural is in a terrible state and deteriorating quickly. There is more graffiti being daubed on the site every month because one bit of graffiti attracts another bit. We really need to start the work in the next 12 months because going through another winter with the condition of the wall will causes more problems and inevitably more expense. We want to keep as much original artwork on the site as possible to keep the costs down. This is a big mural and it will be expensive to restore,” he continued.

“And that brings me to my second concern: cost. If we don’t get other community organisations on board to bid for money for this with us and to involve their beneficiaries and volunteers, it will be very difficult to secure the money needed. Money is very tight at the moment because to the current financial climate. We need to get support at this meeting on Tuesday and some firm commitments from people and organisations to get involved.

“Lastly there is a danger of a commercial development on the site. A public-private partnership to create a new art feature. Because of the existing mural’s subject matter – it mocks property speculators, and land developers, etc – a commercial scheme probably backed by a property developer would not want to restore the mural’s original message. They’d want some “good news” scheme, some greenwash idea that paints them in a positive light.

“However, despite these problems, Camden Council have offered to do a condition survey on the mural. This will save us a lot of money. But having said that there are five council departments to deal with to get permission for this restoration work, and they don’t always talk to each other.

“But if the public and local voluntary organisations show their support, we can make it happen,” Mr Whyatt concluded.

The mural restoration will be just one part of a year long project of heritage and conservation awareness-raising. “The project is not just about the mural but also wider plans to promote awareness of heritage and conservation in an area of London under threat from commercial development. In fact the bulk of the project is about the heritage and conservation and the mural is just one part of it, and the most visible because of its situation,” Mr Whyatt later added.

There will be a public meeting about the heritage and mural project at 7.30 pm tomorrow (Tuesday), at the Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street. The public can also comment about the proposals on the Fitzrovia Heritage and Mural website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The following is the tenth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews interviews the Peace and Freedom Party vice presidential nominee, analysts react to the Republican choice for vice president, and Wikinews updates readers on the candidates who challenged President Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
  • 2 Peace and Freedom Party VP nominee speaks to Wikinews
  • 3 Analysts react to Republican VP selection
  • 4 Update on 2012 Democratic candidates
  • 5 Related news
  • 6 Sources

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Almost exactly one year ago, on March 7, Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 crashed during landing at Adisucipto International Airport, near Yogyakarta, after a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight. 21 people – 16 Indonesians and five Australians – were killed when the Boeing 737-400 overshot the runway, crossed a road, struck an embankment and burst into flames in a rice paddy. Overall, the plane had traveled 252m beyond the extreme end of the runway.

The final report, released in October, blamed pilot error for the disaster. The report stated that the aircraft had approached at a speed far exceeding that at which the wing flaps could properly operate, and attempted to execute a landing at 408 kph (254 mph), which is 160 kph (100 mph) above the safe speed. It also found that captain Marwoto Komar had ignored fifteen activations of the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) informing Mr Komar that the aircraft was flying at a speed beyond that at which it could safely land, but he failed to abort.

It also commented that he missed one further opportunity for emergency evasive action when the airliner struck the runway and bounced into the air, at which point co-pilot Gagam Rochmana requested a ‘go-around‘ procedure be initiated, but was also ignored. It further criticised Mr Komar for singing during final approach, a direct violation of the Garuda Basic Operations Manual, which calls for activation of the Sterile Cockpit Rule at 10,000 feet and below.

Mr Rochmana was also criticised for his failure to take control away from Mr Komar when it became apparent that the aircraft was being operated in an unsafe manner. However, the report did note that Garuda Indonesia had failed to give him any simulator training replicating a situation whereby the co-pilot would take over control duties from the pilot in charge due to unsafe handling of the plane; in fact, training was found to be inadequate for both members of the cockpit crew.

Further criticisms were also leveled at airport and governmental authorities for failures in their respective roles to provide safety features and to enforce regulations.

However, the Indonesian authorities have recently generated intense controversy by deciding to prosecute Mr Komar for his role in the disaster. The move has been pushed for by some, but met with opposition by others.

Alexander Downer, Australian foreign minister at the time of the crash, immediately said “…I am very glad that they have reached a point now where they have charged the captain of the aircraft.” The unusually high number of Australians amongst the 140 passengers on board was attributable to a visit by Mr Downer.

One of those was Morgan Mellish of the Australian Financial Review, who died in the crash. His sister, Caroline Mellish, had specifically called for prosecution to be avoided, saying “I think having 21 deaths on your conscience is probably enough. I don’t think prosecuting the man is going to make any difference.”

There were fierce calls for prosecution of both pilots immediately after the report’s release, with Downer himself pressuring the Indonesian authorities, citing the “very credible report” and saying “I’ve asked our ambassador today (October 24) to make it absolutely clear to the Indonesians that we want people prosecuted for this accident. I want to see people who have negligently allowed Australians … to be killed, I want to see those people brought to justice.”

Australian Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd also made clear a desire for prosecutions, saying he had telephoned secretary-general of Indonesia’s foreign affairs department and former ambassador to Australia Imron Cotan, telling him that he wanted those responsible “prosecuted to the absolute full”. “This is a serious matter, many Australians visit Indonesia, Garuda is an often used airline and there is a basic national interest at stake here as well,” he said.

National Transport Safety Committee chairman Tatang Kurniadi said at the time that no information from the report could be used in any criminal or civil liability investigations. “I would like to go back to the objective of this, the report was made by NTSC for safety purposes only, not for blaming, he said. “If any institution wants to … follow up that accident, that’s their own decision. The report contained the results from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, but according to international regulations on aviation these black boxes are not allowed to be used for… liability purposes. We will not give police or any institution (information) other than for safety purposes only – it’s in international regulations and we want to follow those regulations.” He also confirmed that investigators cannot speak to the police, with the only permitted testimony under the legislation being to testify at a court hearing, and pointed out that the document does not actually appoint any blame.

The international legislation he was referring to is probably the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which stipulates that accident reports and related material, specifically transcripts of interviews, communications with crew and cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder (collectively known as black boxes) readouts, must not be used for any purpose other than determining the cause of an accident or incident. The only possible exception to this is where potential benefit would outweigh the “adverse domestic and international impact” on the investigation in question or any other either in progress or in the future. This legislation is in place to provide protection to witnesses on the basis that without it they may be less likely to cooperate with investigational procedures.

The law caused was actively opposed by some. Aridono Sukman, the police member in charge of the criminal investigation, said that the contents of the black box were vital evidence. Officials commented that some relatives had expressed their frustration over the legal challenges involved in the prosecution effort.

Early in February Mr Komar was arrested; he has subsequently been charged with manslaughter charges which carry a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. The London-based International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) issued a press release condemning this move, saying that further investigations are needed into the crash, and that criminal proceedings could prevent an accurate version of events from ever being known. Specifically, the release said that “IFALPA believes that the circumstances of the accident as set forth in the final report of the Indonesian investigation authority leaves many serious questions concerning the crew actions prior to the accident. Central to these concerns are the underlying reasons for the reported behavior of Captain Marwoto Komar. Experienced pilots have considerable difficulty in attempting to explain what is reported in the context of normal airline operations. The Federation believes that the explanations proffered by the report do not square with the collective experience of our members.” The release went on to state the opinion that prosecution may bring total foreclosure to the case and could only be counterproductive. It also said “He remains a professional who was involved in an unfortunate tragedy.”

One possible explanation had previously been suggested by the head of the Garuda pilots association, Stephanus Geraldus. He said that marital problems between Mr Komar and his wife Norma Andriani were “common knowledge” and was backed up by an industry analyst and pilot who said he believed the couple had been arguing late into the night, and expressed concern that the report had not addressed psychological issues. Mr Geraldus also said sleep deprivation could have contributed, with the flight crew reporting for duty at 4:30 am and the flight departing an hour and a half later.

The report had hinted at problems, saying The pilot was probably emotionally aroused because his conscious awareness moved from the relaxed mode “singing” to the heightened stressfulness of the desire to reach the runway by making an excessively steep and fast, unstabilised approach,” and “His attention was fixated or channelised on landing the aircraft on the runway and he either did not hear, or disregarded the GPWS alerts, and warnings, and calls from the copilot to go around.” It is also known that Mr Komar had been under police surveillance, during which time he was receiving psychological treatment.

The Indonesian Pilot’s Association has also said that the criminal prosecution should be avoided, arguing that the only people who can judge whether mistakes were made in aviation are those professionally involved and not the police. There were protests in Jakarta demanding his release and dozens of pilots across the nation also campaigned. Meanwhile, two survivors, Adrianus Meliala and Retno Gunowati, went to the House of Representatives (DPR) to challenge those opposed to legal processes against the pilot.

Mr Komar was released on police bail on February 15, and is currently awaiting trial. He was forced to resign late in February with being fired his only alternative, and his licence has been suspended. He is believed to be the only man ever prosecuted in Indonesian history over an airliner crash.

The issues thrown up by this ongoing case have now been exclusively commented on for Wikinews by Paul McCarthy. Mr McCarthy is IFALPA’s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He is both a pilot – as are all of IFALPA’s roughly 100,000 members – and a lawyer, and is an acknowledged expert on issues concerning the criminal liability of pilots. Mr McCarthy’s comments, obtained by email via IFALPA media representative Gideon Ewers are available below.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The world’s second largest auto parts maker, Delphi Corporation, has announced today that 8,500 salary workers may be out of a job soon as part of a major restructuring plan, which will also include voiding the contract with the UAW union. The move would also shutdown over a third of its factories worldwide, including twenty one located in the United States.

Eight plants in the U.S. are slated to continue operating. Those located in Clinton, Mississippi, Brookhaven, Mississippi, Lockport, New York, Rochester, New York, Warren, Ohio, Vandalia, Ohio, Kokomo, Indiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan will continue to serve as Delphi properties. The rest of the factories are said to either be sold to other companies, or to be closed entirely.

The plans were brought up to a bankruptcy judge earlier today. In addition to the proposed closings and layoffs, 34,000 workers may experience cut wages and less benefits. Hourly workers wages will drop from $27 to $22 an hour soon, and will further decrease to $16.50 in late 2007.

Delphi previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2005. In the original filing, requests were made to drop the hourly wages down to $12.50 an hour.

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Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Buffalo, New York —The proposed Elmwood Village Hotel got the final approval it needed from the city of Buffalo’s Planning Board this morning.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved most of the design and site plan of the hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed hotel by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and is designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. It is to be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo and will require the demolition of at least five properties (1109-1121 Elmwood).

Despite the fact that today’s meeting was not a “public hearing”, several citizens lashed out at the Board after the approval.

“Thanks for destroying Buffalo,” said one man.

“[I am] disgusted. Because they did not allow the community to speak, it is the bastardization of the concepts of justice and democracy, and that’s what happened [today],” said Clarence Carnahan, a local business owner and concerned citizen, to Wikinews. He also referred to some board members as “immoral pigs.”

“[I feel] frustration because no one could speak. I was going to address the displacement of all the shops that are there and that they should be grand-fathered into the new space. We did not get to say that. [I am disappointed] that they are endorsing this enormous monstrosity.” said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood.

Although the Board approved the hotel proposal, Savarino Construction must still go before the board to approve things such as signage and lighting. The Planning Board meets again on April 11, 2006 at 8:00a.m., but it is unknown if the hotel proposal will be on the agenda.

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood and owner of 605 Forest Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to sue Savarino Construction at a public meeting on March 15, 2006 saying, “if you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one. If you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you.”

Today, Georgiadis confirmed to Wikinews that he is “definitely” suing, but that his “situation is different” as compared to others looking into legal action. “This is my property. They did it [changed the code] without my approval.”

Last week, the Common Council voted and approved the rezoning of all five properties including 605 Forest.

Some are also considering taking the case to the New York State Supreme Court to “seek an injunction”and would go “pro se, meaning I am going to present the case myself,” said Carnahan.

Despite the approvals by the Common Council and Planning Board, organizers schedulaed another protest for Saturday April 1, 2006 at 2:00p.m. on the proposed site at Forest and Elmwood.

“We are not going to go down without a fight. We are going to go kicking and screaming,” said Pollina.