"Turn on your mike!" came a cue from the gallery. DJ Ali Solomon Pond hit the switch and smiled nervously, obviously unaccustomed to the audience. "We're on the air, live from the offices of The Stranger," he announced and, unfortunately, ripped right into a rather dull letter that his group, Free Seattle Radio, had recently sent to the Federal Communication Commission. The barrage of legalese threatened to turn a kick-ass shout of rebellion into a fucking pledge drive.
It's been three weeks since the FCC pulled the plug on FSR, a pirate radio station that's been fighting homogenization in broadcasting without government permission since late last year, at 87.9 FM. On April 2, the group set up in The Stranger's offices to broadcast illegally from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. with a whopping one-half watt of power.
But things didn't get rolling until the attending DJs dumped the legal letters and started speaking as individuals. DJ Him launched into a hilarious and well-informed rant about the wonderful world of genetically engineered food. Katie Mack spun yarns about lessons learned during an internship with NPR (lesson number one: Linda Wortheimer is a bitch and she gets her story ideas from USA Today). This was followed by more of the good stuff; music and opinionated voices rarely heard anywhere on the dial. Now that's more like it. --Ben Jacklet
Free Seattle Radio continues to broadcast, illegally, at 87.9 FM.
SEATTLE SHUNS POLICE HEADBUSTING
Vigilant members of the Puget Sound Senior Citizens Council, bow-tied Nation of Islam folks, and tie-dyed hippies were among the small but diverse crowd that turned out for a rally against police brutality in Denny Park on April 3. The rally was part of a nationwide response to the shooting of Amadou Diallo two months ago by New York City's finest. Diallo, an unarmed immigrant, was shot 41 times by a group of officers, who have been charged with second-degree murder. Since the shooting, Reverend Al Sharpton has been leading vociferous protests and acts of civil disobedience in New York. On Saturday, the protests moved to Washington, D.C., where around 1,000 people gathered for a march against police brutality. Cities around the country held rallies in support of the march.
At Seattle's rally, friends and family wearing T-shirts that said "enough is enough" angrily eulogized Michael Ealey, who died earlier this year after being arrested by the Seattle Police Department for behaving bizarrely while on cocaine. On a stage littered with bouquets of flowers, Harriet Walden of Mothers for Police Accountability spoke about Diallo's death, linking it with Ealey and four other Seattle residents who've died in police custody since 1993. Filipinos paraded portraits of Tony Dunsmoor, a mentally disabled kid who was shot 23 times after pointing an orange toy pistol at a cop.
Speakers also railed against police abuse in Pioneer Square, as well as harassment and threats of deportation directed at anyone with an accent. --Samantha M. Shapiro
ANGRY WORKERS SWARM WATERFRONT
Close to 1,000 workers descended upon Seattle's waterfront April 1, marching up Alaskan Way from Pier 48 to Pier 66 in a show of support for fellow truckers, sailors, seafood processors, longshoremen, and inland boatmen. The groups are lobbying for better wages or are facing fierce contract negotiations--the Sailors of the Union Pacific are being asked to accept 30 percent pay cuts across the board.
Marchers blocked rush-hour traffic, chanting "Waterfront Power, Union Power!" as they passed the new World Trade Center, and then took a left by the Maritime Heritage Museum. Three big trucks brought up the rear, their drivers blasting out air-horn rally cries.
The march was followed by a rowdy demonstration in front of the Global Mariner, a cargo ship exhibition documenting the crummy working conditions that result when absentee shipping companies are allowed to hire desperate Third World seamen for peanuts.
Although it was by far the largest show of working-class strength in Seattle this year, neither The Seattle Times nor the P-I wrote about the rally. That could be because, amazingly, neither paper employs a full-time labor beat reporter. --Ben Jacklet