Jackson, Sharpton join protest
Hundreds of protesters led by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton rallied Saturday, saying the city’s election plans will disenfranchise voters displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
The system of mail-in voting set up for the April 22 election for mayor and other positions in the city will make it difficult for voters living elsewhere to cast a ballot, Jackson and other activists said.
Jackson and other activists are demanding satellite polling places for displaced voters in cities outside New Orleans, and even outside Louisiana. Fewer than half of the city’s 460,000 residents have returned since the Aug. 29 storm flooded the city.
Harris’ campaign loses key staff
Katherine Harris’ U.S. Senate campaign lost what was left of its core team when a top adviser, campaign manager, and communications director resigned this weekend.
Harris, a Republican congresswoman challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, said Saturday she would introduce new members of her campaign early in the week.
Among those resigning over the weekend were Ed Rollins, a political adviser to President Reagan; campaign manager Jamie Miller; press secretary Morgan Dobbs; and other key staff.
McDonald’s focus of workers’ rally
Farmworker advocates crowded the sidewalk outside McDonald’s flagship restaurant Saturday, demanding better wages for the people who pick the tomatoes used by the fast-food giant.
Rolando Sales, 26, said workers who must fill 125 buckets to make $50 a day are being exploited so that McDonald’s can purchase tomatoes at a low price.
The rally was organized by the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which represents the largely Hispanic work force. The coalition is urging consumers to pressure McDonald’s Corp. to support a campaign to boost wages for more than 3,000 Florida pickers. They’re proposing a penny per pound increase in pay.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said Saturday the company had hired an independent research group to study the farmworkers’ conditions and the potential impact of their proposal.
Rising Red River threatens homes
Volunteers filled and stacked sandbags Saturday to protect homes in North Dakota and Minnesota from the rising Red River and its tributaries, swollen by a combination of melting snow and heavy rain.
Mayor Bruce Furness said Fargo was preparing for a flood crest next week of 37 to 38 feet, well above the official flood stage of 18 feet. However, he has said that would threaten only about 30 homes – compared with about 130 flooded in 1997.
On the Minnesota side of the Red River valley, the Buffalo River went over its banks and the Rev. Brad Lewis had to use a canoe to get around his five-acre farmstead, about 15 miles south of Fargo near Sabin, Minn.