Wednesday, March 19, 1997

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  • Local Campaign Finance Reform

    Lost in all the noise of the campaign finance scandals in
    Washington are the efforts of hundreds of grassroots organizations
    nationwide that are fighting for real campaign reform at a local
    level. Whether running programs designed to educate people about
    the role of money in politics, or organizing local
    initiative around limiting campaign contributions, grassroots groups are
    increasingly trying to expose and reduce the influence of private
    money and special interests on campaigns in their towns, cities and

    Over the next few days, we’re going to go around the country to
    hear what grassroots groups are doing to limit the power of money
    in politics.


  • Burial of Notorious
    B.I.G in Brooklyn

    Biggie Smalls, one of rap music’s biggest stars, was buried
    yesterday in Brooklyn, New York. Hundreds of people attended the
    funeral service — and thousands more lined the streets — for the
    24-year-old rap star who was killed 10 days ago in Los Angeles.

    Police and some mourners clashed during the funeral procession
    yesterday , creating a tense atmosphere that lasted well into the
    evening. Mourners and area residents said police used excessive
    force, beating and using mace on people. Ten people were arrested,
    including a New York Times reporter.

    Biggie Smalls’ murder follows the killing of rapper Tupac Shakur,
    who was shot last year in Las Vegas. Press reports have repeatedly
    linked the two murders, but police say there is no evidence of a


  • Mumia Abu-Jamal and Temple University

    Late last month, Temple University canceled all Pacifica
    programming on its Philadelphia radio station WRTI because
    Democracy Now was airing commentaries by Pennsylvania death row
    inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    Yesterday at Temple Law School, Professor Burton Caine — a First
    Amendment expert at the school — organized a public forum
    entitled, "Censorship at WRTI?" He invited all the parties
    concerned with the decision to cancel Pacifica programming at WRTI
    and to have, in his words, a free speech forum on free speech.

    Professor Caine invited the Temple University administration, the
    management of WRTI, and the Fraternal Order of Police, which
    opposes the airing of commentaries by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Democracy
    Now was also invited and we spoke. So were other voices from the

    But no one from the University, the radio station or the police
    spoke. In fact, Professor Caine who organized the event, said the
    university tried to obstruct him from holding the forum, demanding
    that he pay $1000 for security.

    TAPE: CHRIS LEHMANN, a student volunteer at WRTI.

    TAPE: RAMONA AFRICA, of the Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    TAPE: REVEREND PAUL WASHINGTON, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.