By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
With soccer practice, day care, dry cleaning and Grandma to deal with, who doesn’t have to drive all over town every day? Before Zev can use the subway, new lines will have to be built — but wait, that can’t happen, can it?
White House to the Rescue
For everyone who wishes they had been rescued when the rubber police bullets and billy clubs started flying last week, here’s the heartening story of Mendocino County photojournalist Kathryn Gleason. Her unlikely rescuer? None other than Clinton senior adviser Sidney Blumenthal.
Gleason and OffBeat were among the reporters who marched with protesters to the Twin Towers jail on the final evening of the Democratic Convention. When the demonstration ended, police herded the crowd onto the Red Line subway. As protesters spilled out of the train at the Seventh Street Metro station, they saw riot police grab a young man with a blue bandanna around his face and bash his head into the tiled wall. A woman with a videocam jumped off the train and had her head slammed into the tile, as well. Several of their friends locked arms and blocked the door to the train, shouting, “We’re not leaving them with you! Let them go!”
Police and Red Line workers manually shut the doors they could, leaving the rest of us locked inside. After 15 minutes, they shut off the lights, threw open the doors and ordered us to leave, “Now!” The crowd scurried up the stairs, prodded by police batons. One officer struck Gleason on the arm, and she fell to her knees, whereupon she was nearly trampled by police and fleeing protesters, she said.
Gleason eventually made her way up to the street, where OffBeat spotted her limping across the crosswalk, sobbing. We sat her down on the sidewalk and asked police to call a medic or supervisor. Our request went unacknowledged. We were trying to hail a cab, when Blumenthal, his wife, Jackie (also a White House aide), and British Labor M.P. Shaun Woodward walked up and offered to help.
“Are you guys delegates?” we asked.
“I’m on television, I’m on the White House staff, I’m Sidney Blumenthal,” Blumenthal replied, shocked, it seemed, by our ignorance.
Blumenthal and his wife offered to take us to the hospital. Gleason, who has no health insurance, declined — she was bruised and scraped, but more shaken than anything. So we suggested the Independent Media Center (IMC) at Patriotic Hall.
We crammed into the Blumenthals’ small rental — Jackie and Woodward sharing the front passenger seat to make room in the back for Gleason, OffBeat, and an annoying Deadhead, who seemed to be in it for the free ride. The Deadhead initially refused to put his tripod and video camera in the trunk.
“What do you think I’m gonna do, steal your stuff?” Blumenthal asked. He drove frantically around the flashing orange cones, speeding cop cars and street closures.
“I did nothing, I’m a journalist, they hit me . . .,” Gleason sobbed. We attempted to recount what had happened, and asked Blumenthal to tell Al Gore that the LAPD was out of control.
“The issue here now is her,” Blumenthal responded. “Who is going to take care of her? Does this woman — what was your name? — have a place to go tonight? Are there people there who are going to take care of her?”
Finally, we arrived at Patriotic Hall. The Deadhead spaced his gear and had to be reminded by Jackie Blumenthal to come back for it. As we reached for Gleason’s backpack, Mrs. Blumenthal confided that her son had been in Monday’s march, which ended in a hail of police tear gas and rubber bullets, and would have joined Thursday’s march, were he not delivering pizza.
“Tell Al Gore the police are out of control here,” we urged again.
Mrs. Blumenthal nodded and smiled. “I know,” she said.