Monday, February 15, 2010

Cross your fingers for KMUZ grant application!

Salem very much needs a nonprofit community radio station, and the good people behind KMUZ (note much-improved new logo!) are trying to ride to the rescue. Cross your fingers (or cross your fingers and get involved to help too) for their grant application to defray construction costs!

KMUZ-FM, the proposed Salem-area community radio station, has submitted a federal grant request as part of its effort to get the station on the air at 88.5 FM.
Thirty-four community groups or individuals, including Salem Art Association, A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village and the League of Women Voters, endorsed the request.

If successful, KMUZ would receive a grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Program for $93,000. KMUZ is among hundreds of radio and television stations applying for the grant program. About 50 percent of applicants will succeed; they will be notified in October.

The station has also applied for matching grants from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund and the city of Salem; and it is submitting requests to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Collins Foundation and the Meyer Memorial trust, among others.

The station needs about $200,000 for construction alone, said Jeanine Renne, the grant writer. It also will need to pay rent and utilities.

The station hopes to be on the air by August 2011, serving an area ranging from Albany north to Keizer, and Stayton west to Dallas. The transmitter tower will be in Turner, with a broadcast studio at the Historic Grand Theatre building in downtown Salem.

The station would feature community-generated programming including music, civic events and politics.

Significant for Salem re: Census

TN State Prison 28TN state prison. Image by Exothermic via Flickr

One of the worst aspects of the War on Americans that is labeled (for PR purposes) as a war on drugs is that it has led to a huge population shift from cities to prisons that are located in (generally) pretty rural areas, where the prisoners are counted as residents for census purposes despite their being unable (in almost every state) to vote.

Thus, a vicious circle of insane drug laws and prison expansion turn into a mutually reinforcing dynamic, where communities that stand to benefit by imprisoning young men from urban areas keep electing politicians who demand ever more draconian sentencing schemes and criminalize even more aspects of life. Prosecutors try to amp up the cycle at every turn, becoming the true kings of the criminal justice system and turning judges into errand boys and bystanders who have no discretion while prosecutors are totally without accountability or balancing incentives.

To add insult to injury, most federal aid programs rely on census data, so in addition to causing over-representation of rural areas where prisons are housed, it diverts federal aid to those communities that is needed even more in the cities where the prisoners come from.

LWV reports that a good first step has been made at the federal level that might help with this problem:
New option for the states on inmates in the Census
The Census Bureau has agreed to release information on prisoner populations to states before they are set to redraw their legislative districts. This would give the states an option in deciding how they count prisoners. Census director Robert Groves made the decision after weeks of discussion with Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., and with public interest and black groups. They called it an important first step toward shifting federal resources and representation back to urban communities, where they believe the aid is needed the most. To read the complete AP article, click here.

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