Archive for February, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION FEB. 23, 2014

February 24, 2014

CNY Progressive Action
FEBRUARY 23, 2014 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 3

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

HEADLINES

A BLACK PANTHER SPEAKS! FORMER SEATTLE BLACK PANTHER CAPTAIN AND AUTHOR AARON DIXON TO SPEAK IN UTICA!

CNYCIA TO PARTICIPATE IN ALBANY LOBBY DAY TO DEMAND FAIR STATE BUDGET

ASK YOUR ASSEMBLY/SENATE MEMBER TO SPONSOR WAGE THEFT LEGISLATION

UTICA AND CNY SHOULD SUPPORT ARTS AS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

BEAT THE WINTER BLUES PARTY SET FOR MARCH 1

A BLACK PANTHER SPEAKS! FORMER SEATTLE
BLACK PANTHER CAPTAIN AND AUTHOR AARON
DIXON TO SPEAK IN UTICA!

Monday, February 24, 2014
7:00pm
MVCC Utica Campus
ACC Commons (Cafeteria)

Former Black Panther Aaron Dixon is slated to speak in Utica on February 24 as part of a statewide speaking tour that has six other stops. The MVCC prisoner justice organization Incarcerated Flavors decided to bring Dixon to Utica as part of Black History Month and to encourage people to become actively engaged in social justice and social change. In addition to speaking at MVCC, Dixon will also speak at Proctor High School earlier in the day, an event set up by the MVCC Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP). Dixon will speak about his life as an activist and his recently published memoir My People Are Rising. Books will be available for purchase and autographs.

In an era of stark racial injustice, Aaron Dixon dedicated his life to the revolution, founding the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 at age nineteen. In his new memoir, he traces the course of his own radicalization and that of a generation. Through his eyes, we witness the courage and commitment of the young men and women who rose up in rebellion, risking their lives in the name of freedom. My People Are Rising is an unforgettable tale of their triumphs and tragedies, and the enduring legacy of Black Power.

Although the Panthers are seen as a controversial organization to some, the group was crucial in the struggle to expand the rights of not only Black people but poor people of all races. Across the nation, the Panthers established free medical clinics and dental clinics, free schools and childcare, and countless other free services to the disenfranchised. One of their most well known programs was the Free Breakfast for Children program which fed over 10,000 hungry children every day. The Panthers were also a leading antiwar and economic justice organization.

As an adolescent, Dixon marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to end housing discrimination in Seattle, and was one of the first volunteers to participate in the busing program to integrate schools. While a member of the Black Panthers, Dixon started the Free Breakfast for Children program that fed thousands of hungry Black children; and he helped to open a free community medical and legal clinic. The clinic continues to this day as the Carolyn Downs Clinic, now part of Country Doctor Community Health Center.

AARON DIXON is one of the co-founders of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He has since founded Central House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for youth, and was one of the cofounders of the Cannon House, a senior assisted-living facility. Aaron ran for US Senate on the Green Party ticket in 2006.

CNYCIA SLATED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
EMPIRE STATE ECONOMIC SECURITY (ES2)
CAMPAIGN’S LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION AND ACTION DAY IN ALBANY ON MARCH 12TH

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will participate in the NYers for Fiscal Fairness Lobby Day in Albany on Wed. March 12.

Key issues for the Lobbying Day will be :
Demand a fair and equitable budget
Make sure that the very rich pay their fair share of taxes.
Restoration of funding for education and schools
Raise and expand minimum wage; stop wage theft
Pass Education Access Bill for Welfare Participants
Stop Welfare Sanction Abuse
Fair Taxes – Reinvest in Human Services, Job Creation
End Hunger – More HPNAP, SNAP

On the heels of six years of austerity budgets, the Executive Budget proposes another year of spending cuts in a host of areas, and lays out a multi-year plan of steep spending cuts that will extend the austerity measures for three more years, and that will result in an “austerity decade” for New York. One purpose of the multiyear expenditure cutting plan is to create the appearance of a budget “surplus” in order to justify multi-year tax cuts.

While the Governor has avoiding direct cuts in a lot of programs that we are concerned about, he continues the cuts that have totaled more than a billion dollars in recent years – and plans multi-billion cuts in years to come. Funding for emergency food (HPNAP) remains flat. Rather than say a $100 million dollars for jobs for welfare participants (paid for out of the $1.3 billion TANF surplus), the Governor wants to eliminate the meager allocation for jobs program while continuing to divert a billion dollars to local fiscal relief.

New York residents will lose $600 to $700 million in SNAP benefits due to recent cuts. So far the Governor has not proposed any response. We feel that part of the $1.3 billion surplus should be used to provide a state food supplement to SNAP participants.
Please let us know if you plan to attend.

The following is an analysis of state budget issues:

Quality education, affordable healthcare and housing, a healthy environment, a strong safety net and a sound transportation infrastructure are things all New Yorkers value and rely on. They are essential to job growth and for a strong state economy for all of us, today and in the future.

Unfortunately, though, ours is a tale of two New York’s. One New York where the wealthiest 1% of residents receive 35% of all income and have seen significant income gains over the last two decades … and another New York where families live paycheck to paycheck (if they are lucky enough to have a job) and have seen their wages remain virtually stagnant and their services reduced. New York State now has the dubious distinction of having the greatest income inequality of any state in the nation. The economic reality is this:

Either we take steps to grow together or we continue to pull apart.

New Yorkers don’t want the Governor and Legislature to continue to cut human services and the other quality-of-life services we depend on and value. New Yorkers want the safety net available for families who need it and they want people to have opportunities for economic mobility. They want existing resources used efficiently and to raise additional revenues in ways that will not harm our already fragile economy and will create jobs. Our state must not respond with
actions that will further hinder the growth of New York’s economy or hurt the children and families hit hardest by the recession.

The Governor is proposing an “austerity” budget for 2014-2015 along with a multi-year plan of steep spending cuts that will extend the austerity measures for three more years. Coming on the heels of six years of austerity budgets beginning in 2008, this will give New York an “austerity decade,” despite moderate actual or projected state personal income growth over most of the years in that period.

On top of $1.7 billion in spending cuts for 2014-2015, the budget proposal calls for further cuts of $4.4 billion in 2015-16, $5.6 billion in 2016-17, and $7.1 billion in 2017-18. This includes an average of $2.7 billion in unspecified cuts in future
years to justify multi-year tax cuts that grow to more than $2.5 billion annually. The budget plans are presented to show an apparent “surplus” in future years, a surplus called into being by severe budget cuts. That manufactured surplus is used
to pay for an array of “something for everyone (but the poor)” tax cuts.

Some of the major spending reductions instituted over the past few years:

• State school aid is $5 billion below where it would be had the state honored its 2007 legislative response to the Campaign for Equity lawsuit. In relation to total school spending, school aid is at its lowest level in 65 years;

• State aid to SUNY has declined by nearly $500 million (over 40 percent) in real terms since the start of the Great Recession;

• State funding for various human services agencies has fallen over the past three years and is projected to decline by 12 percent in real terms from 2011-12 to 2014-2015; and

• At a time when a growing number of local governments are fiscally stressed, the proposed budget holds aid to municipal governments flat for the next four years despite an inflation-adjusted 75 percent reduction in such aid
since 1980.

In assessing the tax cuts proposed in the 2014-2015 Executive Budget, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. believes that:

• The property tax freeze is ill-conceived and will disproportionately benefit wealthier localities;

• The homeowners’ and renters’ personal income tax credits are ineffectively targeted;

• The proposed business tax reductions should be put in the context of an already declining corporate share of state tax collections, and the tripling in business tax credits to $1.7 billion over the past 8 years (over $1 billion of those credits are
refundable and represent checks written by the state to individual companies);

• The proposed bank tax repeal and its replacement are likely to mean a sharp reduction in state tax payments by the largest New York City banks; and

• The proposal to slash the estate tax by 40 percent holds great irony given the state’s pronounced income polarization in recent years. This cut will cost almost $800 million annually, with more than half going to just 200 super-wealthy
households a year.

There is also a lot of hype about high-income households fleeing New York for lower tax havens. Data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that New York has a rising national share of households with incomes of $1 million or more from
2000 to 2011.

Economic conditions in the Empire State suggest that budget-makers need to do more to respond to those conditions. Although New York has fared better than many states during the Great Recession and the weak recovery, income gains
have been concentrated at the top and pronounced economic hardships have taken a toll on millions of New Yorkers. The indicators are disturbing: continued high and prolonged unemployment; high mortgage debt burdens; and faltering wages,
incomes and living standards, precipitating a rise in poverty, hunger, homelessness, and economic insecurity.

ASK YOUR ASSEMBLY/SENATE MEMBER TO
SPONSOR WAGE THEFT LEGISLATION

Ask your state legislators – especially Assemblymembers – to cosponsor a bill to strengthen action against wage theft. The bill is A8045. Assemblymember Rosenthal just sent a letter to Assemblymembers inviting them to co-sponsor.

We Work Hard. Shouldn’t We Get Paid For It?

More and more workers are getting cheated of our wages. They are not getting the minimum wage, or overtime pay, or wages for all the hours that we work. Some estimate that $1 billion a year is stolen from workers in New York City alone. Employers are using many tricks to cheat workers out of our pay. Once workers go to the Department of Labor or file lawsuits, employers are shutting down their businesses (only to reopen under another name), “selling” their homes to family members, filing for bankruptcy and emptying their bank accounts. By the time workers win a settlement agreement or court judgment, employers have hidden all their assets and plead poverty.

Workers get robbed of wages. Our government gets cheated of payroll taxes. Legitimate businesses are undermined by scofflaw employers. This hurts working families, law-abiding businesses, and our state’s economy.

It’s Time to Toughen Enforcement – We should get paid for our work!

In June 2013, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, working with SWEAT, introduced State Assembly Bill No.8045 that will greatly improve workers’ ability to secure stolen wages. The bill has three main components:

1. Expand New York’s mechanics’ lien law to include all workers – Establishes a “wage lien” so that workers can put a hold on employers’ property until their owed wages are paid. The measure would also create an alternative right of action by the DOL or NYS Attorney General to file a wage lien on behalf of claimants who they have determined are owed wages.

2. Hold employers’ assets before they run away – Allows workers to “attach” or hold an employer’s property prior to the resolution of a case that claims unpaid wages.

3. Hold the largest shareholders personally liable for wage theft – Makes it easier for workers of nonpublicly traded companies

Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi
LOB 427
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5454
Fax: 518-455-5928
brindisia@assembly.state.ny.us

Senator Joseph A. Griffo
88 State Street Room 612, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
United States
Phone: (518) 455-3334
Fax: (518) 426-6921
griffo@nysenate.gov

UTICA AND CNY SHOULD SUPPORT ARTS AS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Research shows that developing a local creative economy based upon the arts and heritage industries can help to turn around struggling rural and urban communities. A study of the craft industry in Ashville, North Carolina revealed that the “craft community contributed $122 million to our region – four times that of burley tobacco our major agricultural crop.

The City of Utica has a vibrant and growing arts community. The development of the Pratt Institute at Munson-Williams Proctor Institute demonstrates how the arts have helped to rebuild the Oneida Square neighborhood. The City of Utica needs to invest additional resources to grow arts-related businesses. Action steps include developing a community arts advisory council consisting of artists and art organizations, creating a special loan and equity fund to capitalize arts businesses, developing loft housing for artists in Downtown Utica, encouraging artists from Downstate New York to migrate to Utica and purchase low cost housing, and assisting in sponsoring arts festivals in Downtown Utica.

BEAT THE WINTER BLUES PARTY SET FOR MARCH 1

SHERRILL COFFEE HOUSE FEATURES ELVIS
TRIBUTE SHOW AND KARAOKE

The Christ Church United Methodist Community Coffee House will be hosting the “Beat the Winter Blues” party on Saturday, March 1 from 7–9:30 p.m. The coffee house, which is open to the public, will feature an Elvis Tribute show as well as karaoke by local DJ Rusty Aldrich.

The church is located at 417 Park St., Sherrill. Non-alcoholic tropical drinks as well as coffee, hot chocolate, pizza, snacks and desserts will be served. The coffee house is open to families, children, teens, seniors, and singles. Prizes will be offered for the best karaoke performances. A free will offering will be accepted.

Co-sponsored by the church’s Youth Group, the “Beat the Winter Blues” party will feature an Elvis Tribute show by Doug Tudman. Tudman, a member of the church, has been performing as an Elvis Tribute artist for over 25 years with his wife Pickie as his backup singer. His exceptional ability to sound like Elvis has captivated audiences in Canada as well as in cities in Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina. Doug has also performed on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship and at Turning Stone Resort Casino in the Showroom.

A resident of Rome, Aldrich is owner of Imaginations Unlimited Photography & DJ Service. He has been a semi-professional photographer for nine years and a DJ for two years. He has been working with people with disabilities for the past 15 years through ARC and Headstart programs. Aldrich is also producer of CNY Kids Talk. He loves training dogs and wildlife photography and plans to produce a documentary in the future.

For more information, call 363-1061 or 725-0974. The church website is http://www.christchurchsherrillny.com.

Please forward this email to friends, family, and neighbors and post the following link on Facebook and Twitter: https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news item, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411/315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/265689434204

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CNY Progressive Action – Volume 1, Number 2 February 16, 2014

February 17, 2014

CNY Progressive Action
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

HEADLINES

CNYCIA URGES RESIDENTS TO ATTEND TUESDAY RALLY TO DEMAND MORE SCHOOL FUNDING

CNYCIA CALLS FOR COMMUNITY-OWNED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO CREATE JOBS

CITIZENS IN ACTION NEEDS YOU

TELL CONG. HANNA TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE

“INEQUALITY FOR ALL” VIEWING IN UTICA ON FEBRUARY 20

WALKING TOUR OF UTICA UNDERGROUND
RAILROAD AND ABOLITIONIST SITES

A BLACK PANTHER SPEAKS! FORMER SEATTLE BLACK PANTHER CAPTAIN AND AUTHOR AARON DIXON TO SPEAK IN UTICA!

WINTER PERMACULTURE READING & DISCUSSION GROUP

LET’S ENACT A ROBIN HOOD TAX

CNYCIA URGES RESIDENTS TO ATTEND TUESDAY
RALLY TO DEMAND MORE SCHOOL FUNDING

On Tuesday, February 18th 2014, at 11:30 am at the Utica State Office Building, students, teachers, concerned citizens, and others will be gathering together to rally for an increase to State education aid.

The Central New York Citizens in Acton, Inc. stands behind local residents in demanding fair and equitable funding at levels that ensures all children have a quality education.

With the financial crisis of 2008, education funding took a great hit. By 2011, the education budget had been cut $2.7 billion from the 2008 funding level. Under Governor Cuomo’s administration, the divide between wealthy and poor school districts has only grown larger. From 2011-2014, 35,000 educator positions have been cut; summer school has been reduced or eliminated; AP, IB, and elective courses have been reduced or eliminated; Art, Music and Theater have been reduced or eliminated; sports programs have been reduced or eliminated; and extracurricular activities have been reduced or eliminated. With Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget, schools are already anticipating further cuts.

The Utica City School District, a high needs school, will be hit hard, yet again, due to inadequate funding. The District is already projecting to have to cut 94 employees. New York’s Constitution guarantees students to a “sound, basic” education, regardless of zip code, but during Governor Cuomo’s tenure the inequity between school districts has only grown.

The Utica City School District is only able to spend $15,581 per student, whereas New York State’s average amount per student is $20,906. Utica needs more money to meet the needs of its diverse community. With the $1.9 billion increase to education funding legislators and advocates have been calling for, Utica would receive nearly $8 million dollars more than the current proposal.
It’s time we come together to demand that Utica gets its fair share of education aid! We must end the tale of two school systems in our State. Our legislators must take a leading role during the budget negotiation process to increase funding for our schools!

Join us as we demand that Utica gets its fair share!

For more information, contact your Alliance for Quality Education of New York Organizer, Liz Moran at Liz@AQENY.org or 315.570.9259

CNYCIA CALLS FOR COMMUNITY-OWNED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO CREATE JOBS

Critical to the development of equitable economic development is the formation of community-owned financial institutions that can provide capital to nascent ventures. Many cities have established loan funds to foster the development of local business and some have created venture capital funds that provide them an equity stake in local companies. Pension funds have been used to target investments to assist community development ventures. It is estimated that $43.6 billion in state and local pension funds have been used for targeted investment in economic development activities.

The City of Utica should establish a venture capital fund using federal community development funds as well as private foundation grants to help capitalize community-owned business enterprises. The City should encourage one of our community credit unions to become more engaged in community lending activities to spur economic development in depressed neighborhoods. The City needs to increase utilization of federal programs such as the Community Development Financial Institutions and New Market Tax Credit program to help provide capital for economic development activities. The City should support efforts to develop a publicly owned state bank modeled after the successful Bank of North Dakota to provide an on-going stream of revenue to support local economic development activities. It is important that the City link investments to expanding areas of the local economy such as health care, recycling, green industries, energy, and food production.

The City of Utica has several large government and nonprofit institutions such as hospitals and colleges and the municipality itself, which can provide a market for community-owned businesses. The success of the Cleveland cooperative network, in part, rests on using its leveraging the purchasing power of large institutions to support the development of community enterprise. It is important that the City revise its purchasing polices to give preference to firms that locate facilities, hire local residents, and retain community-based enterprises. These strategies are important in these days of privatization of government services to ensure that any contracts with private firms hire local residents and procure locally. Local procurement and purchase will create locally anchored, living wage jobs as well as increase the tax base.

CITIZENS IN ACTION NEEDS YOU

As our area’s leading citizen watchdog coalition, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. works to protect and expand the rights of individuals and families and to ensure that government officials respond to the needs of people rather than the interests of those with money and power. Through organizing campaigns that promote economic, social, racial and political justice, CNCNYCIA encourages the active involvement of local residents in challenging the public and private institutions and agencies that impact our lives. Please consider becoming involved by attending our meetings and making a donation. We need volunteers to assist with the development of a website and videos, leadership training, demonstrations, community forums, voter registration, and community outreach. For more information, please call 725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com . Thank you for your support.

TELL CONG. HANNA TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE

BOOST IN MINIMUM WAGE WILL ESPECIALLY
HELP LOW-INCOME WOMEN

“In the wealthiest nation on earth nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty—nobody, not here in America.”-President Obama, as he signed an executive order that raises the minimum wage to $10.10 for all new federal contract workers.
The Central New York Citizens in Action agrees!
This is important because right now a full-time employee working at the federal minimum wage makes just $15,080 per year. Studies show that raising the federal minimum wage will boost both the economy and families, yet 28 million people in our nation have been stuck working at this too low minimum wage.

It’s time for a change.

The President’s signature today was a terrific start in raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for government contract workers, but now it’s up to us to make sure the minimum wage is raised to $10.10 for everyone in America—and only Congress can do that.
Too many parents are working hard and still struggling to feed their kids because they earn only $7.25 an hour, the current federal minimum wage. This hurts families. This hurts our businesses and economy. This hurts us all

*Tell Cong. Hanna that it’s past time to raise the minimum wage for hard-working moms, dads, and everyone across the country.
DC Address: The Honorable Richard L. Hanna
United States House of Representatives
319 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3222
DC Phone: 202-225-3665
DC Fax: 202-225-1891
Contact Representative Hanna: https://hanna.house.gov/email-me

WWW Homepage: http://hanna.house.gov/

Twitter: @reprichardhanna

The majority of people who earn the minimum wage are women— and 28% of them have children. Many of these moms do critical work in our communities: preparing and serving food, cleaning offices and schools, and caring for the elderly. And more than half of these workers are working full-time and still living below the poverty line.

In our consumer-fueled economy, moms make nearly three-quarters of purchasing decisions. That’s a lot of consumer power. But it also means that when moms aren’t paid fairly, and don’t have funds to spend, our entire economy is impacted.

Study after study shows that raising the minimum wage has a positive ripple effect as these wages are spent in local stores, in our communities, and fueling our economy. In fact, studies show that 140,000 new jobs would be created by raising the minimum wage, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago says a raise in the minimum wage would help our economy by increasing household spending nationwide by about $48 billion, even benefiting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Tell Cong. Hanna to take action now to raise the minimum wage

Raising the minimum wage is clearly good for all of us. The more of us who are calling on Congress for an increase in the minimum wage, the more likely this policy will move forward.

“INEQUALITY FOR ALL” VIEWING IN UTICA ON FEBRUARY 20

For the past few decades, we have seen the middle class take a beating. People are working harder than ever, but have less to show for it. The people at the top, however, are doing better than ever. The vast majority of the income gains since the crash of 2008 have gone to the top 1%. The purchasing power of minimum wage is lower today than it was in 1968. In short, income inequality is skyrocketing, and it’s killing the middle class. What can we do about it?

On Thursday, February 20, we will be meeting to view Robert Reich’s film “Inequality for All,” with a follow-up webcast by Mr. Reich himself. We will meet at 6:30 pm at the MacFarland Auditorium in DePerno Hall at Utica College. Open to all, free of charge.

Robert Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as the Secretary of Labor under President Clinton. Mr. Reich is a longtime advocate and champion of the middle class.

If you have any questions, contact Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science Kevin Nugent at kmnugent@utica.edu.

Walking Tour of Utica Underground Railroad and Abolitionist Sites
WALKING TOUR OF UTICA UNDERGROUND
RAILROAD AND ABOLITIONIST SITES
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22

The Oneida County Freedom Trail Commission
Invites you to the inaugural
Walking tour of Utica underground railroad and abolitionist sites
Saturday, February 22
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM
Join Jan DeAmicis and Mary Hayes Gordon of Utica College for the tour and open discussion of Utica’s important contributions during this pivotal time

Meet and Park at the Adirondack Bank parking lot between Elizabeth and Bleecker streets

Registration is appreciated, but not necessary. To register, or for more information, call 792- 3068 or email jdeamic@utica.edu
presented in association with the Utica Center for Small City and Rural Studies

A BLACK PANTHER SPEAKS! FORMER SEATTLE
BLACK PANTHER CAPTAIN AND AUTHOR AARON
DIXON TO SPEAK IN UTICA!

Monday, February 24, 2014
7:00pm
MVCC Utica Campus
ACC Commons (Cafeteria)

Former Black Panther Aaron Dixon is slated to speak in Utica on February 24 as part of a statewide speaking tour that has six other stops. The MVCC prisoner justice organization Incarcerated Flavors decided to bring Dixon to Utica as part of Black History Month and to encourage people to become actively engaged in social justice and social change. In addition to speaking at MVCC, Dixon will also speak at Proctor High School earlier in the day, an event set up by the MVCC Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP). Dixon will speak about his life as an activist and his recently published memoir My People Are Rising. Books will be available for purchase and autographs.

In an era of stark racial injustice, Aaron Dixon dedicated his life to the revolution, founding the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 at age nineteen. In his new memoir, he traces the course of his own radicalization and that of a generation. Through his eyes, we witness the courage and commitment of the young men and women who rose up in rebellion, risking their lives in the name of freedom. My People Are Rising is an unforgettable tale of their triumphs and tragedies, and the enduring legacy of Black Power.

Although the Panthers are seen as a controversial organization to some, the group was crucial in the struggle to expand the rights of not only Black people but poor people of all races. Across the nation, the Panthers established free medical clinics and dental clinics, free schools and childcare, and countless other free services to the disenfranchised. One of their most well known programs was the Free Breakfast for Children program which fed over 10,000 hungry children every day. The Panthers were also a leading antiwar and economic justice organization.

As an adolescent, Dixon marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to end housing discrimination in Seattle, and was one of the first volunteers to participate in the busing program to integrate schools. While a member of the Black Panthers, Dixon started the Free Breakfast for Children program that fed thousands of hungry Black children; and he helped to open a free community medical and legal clinic. The clinic continues to this day as the Carolyn Downs Clinic, now part of Country Doctor Community Health Center.

AARON DIXON is one of the co-founders of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He has since founded Central House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for youth, and was one of the cofounders of the Cannon House, a senior assisted-living facility. Aaron ran for US Senate on the Green Party ticket in 2006.

FEB – SITE ASSESSMENT – WINTER PERMACULTURE
READING & DISCUSSION GROUP

Announcing our Winter 2014 Permaculture Reading/Discussion Group!! We’re taking this year off from offering our CTED class, and in its stead, holding monthly readings and discussions about different aspects of Permaculture. Everyone is invited to participate. Sessions will be held on the 4th Tuesday of each month from January to April, starting at 7 pm.

Schedule:

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 26 – Site Assessment: the land speaks as well as you – Host: Bonnie Gale, Bitternut House at 717 Otisco St, Syracuse, NY.

Readings: Site Assessment Workbook located at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4jqPrjAiK0HRXBOaDZIeEN5MzQ/edit?usp=sharing

Participants are also asked to think of the application of the assessment book to a particular site and come with comments for discussion. If any participants took the CTED and can bring their site assessment material.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 26 – the 12 Principles of Permaculture – Host: Mack Macner, Bitternut House at 717 Otisco St, Syracuse, NY.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 23 – Sasha Batorsky, Topic, Site and Readings TBA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Frank Raymond Cetera
The Alchemical Nursery
Vice-President and Project Manager
717 Otisco St, Syracuse NY 13204
1-315-308-1372

LET’S ENACT A ROBIN HOOD TAX

Tax breaks for the rich and corporate tax loopholes for Wall Street are a drain on the economy and hurt the rest of us. Ordinary families and small businesses have to pay more for public services like roads, schools, and health care when corporations and the wealthy use tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share. We won’t have the resources to invest in America again if we don’t close giant loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs and profits offshore. Our tax system should help level the playing field and expand opportunity; instead it tilts the playing field further in favor of the rich and big corporations.

We can’t create an economy that works for everyone unless we create a tax system that works for everyone. But that’s not what we have today. Congress gives corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks each year for shipping American jobs offshore. But it refuses to make corporations pay their fair share of taxes so that we can rebuild our roads and bridges and put Americans back to work at home. Republicans in Congress refuse to provide emergency unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed because of the cost – but at the same time they give away billions in huge tax breaks to the rich and corporations. Many people who get up and go to work every day pay a higher tax rate than wealthy people living off their investments. We have a tax system that lets Wall Street hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than their kids’ teachers. Corporations get a special tax break for paying their CEOs bonuses even as they stash billions in profits offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

It is time to demand a Robin Hood Tax to make sure that the rich pays their fair share.

Please forward this email to friends, family, and neighbors and post the following link on Facebook and Twitter: https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news item, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411/315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.comFair Share Rally Flyer

CNY Progressive Action VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1

February 10, 2014

CNY Progressive Action
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1

Rally Against Education Cuts Slated for Feb. 18

Community groups are planning a rally on February 18th at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Utica State Office Buildings (207 Genesee Street). Organizers are advocating for increased and equitable education funding for Utica which receives $7,000 less per student than the New York State average. The Central New York Citizens in Action strongly supports this rally and asks that community residents from the Utica region attend it. New York State is failing to ensure that every child has the opportunity for the quality education our Constitution demands. Cuts must be restored and a more equitable school funding aid formula enacted in accordance with court decisions. We will provide our readers with more details on this important event. Please check out: #UticasFairShare

Reform Needed for NYS Minimum Wage Law

Low-wage workers from the restaurant, nail salon and other trades, joined by labor and advocacy organizations are calling on Governor Cuomo to take immediate action to ensure that all workers in New York receive a real increase in the minimum wage. The minimum-wage bill that Cuomo signed last spring will enrich employers and corporations to the detriment of workers. It will bring down the pay and conditions for millions of New Yorkers instead of raising them.

New Yorkers are facing a crisis. Millions of workers are struggling to survive, to feed their families–especially in parts of the state where the cost of living is exorbitant. Even those earning above the current minimum wage cannot stay afloat, not to mention those who earn below it. When workers file wage complaints to the State Labor Department, they face long delays or inaction; the agency admits to having a backlog of 14,000 cases.

Cuomo’s new minimum-wage law excludes hundreds of thousands of tipped workers from receiving an increase; 72% are women and many are immigrants and people of color. He treats them as a second class. In the bill, he does not allocate any resources for labor-law enforcement to investigate workers’ complaints of employers’ failure to pay minimum wage. Instead he subsidizes the corporations with millions of dollars to hire young workers, pitting the young against the old. In addition, Cuomo’s raising of the minimum wage to only $9 in three years is too little, too late. It undermines current national efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10 next year.

Workers and advocates will urge Gov. Cuomo to right his wrongs by taking the following actions:
 Increase the minimum wage of tipped workers
 Enforce and strengthen the labor law concerning employers’ failure to pay minimum wage.
 Repeal the portion of the current minimum-wage law that subsidizes corporations and pits young workers against older workers
 Increase the minimum wage to at least $10 in the coming year (indexed to inflation
New York State should be a leading example for the United States standards, not a backward example.
Stop Unfair Employer Credit Checks and Ensure Fair Access to Jobs

Have you or someone you know been denied a job or promotion, or fired from a job, based on your credit report? A growing number of employers are pulling credit reports on job applicants as a way to screen candidates. Some employers are even checking the credit reports of existing employees and firing people based on their credit history – even though there is no evidence that a person’s credit history has any bearing on job performance.

In recent years, the credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – have expanded their profits by marketing credit reports to employers, insurance companies, and other businesses. Many states have passed laws to ban the use of credit reports in the employment context, on the grounds that employment credit checks have no legitimate basis, are discriminatory, and fundamentally violate people’s privacy.

Employment credit checks have become a major barrier to economic opportunity. Many people harmed by the economic crisis are being unfairly shut out from jobs for which they are qualified, because of information on their credit reports. Foreclosure and bankruptcy judgments, now at unprecedented levels, remain on people’s credit reports for years. One uninsured trip to the emergency room can send a family into financial ruin, and taint a person’s credit over the long term. Meanwhile, millions of people, particularly of color, have had their credit ruined as a result of abusive, deceptive, and discriminatory lending practices – from toxic mortgages to high cost credit cards.

Plus, credit reports are notoriously filled with errors, and people often find damaging information on their reports stemming from identity theft. And the burden is on individuals to clear up wrong information, which can be an especially challenging and frustrating process.

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is part of a state-wide campaign to end the discriminatory use of credit checks by employers and ensure fair access to jobs. Make your voice heard! If you believe you were denied a job or other employment opportunity due to your credit report, please contact us at 3415-725-0974. We are helping people share their stories to build public awareness of this emerging problem.

CNYCIA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO RAISE COMMUNITY AWARENESS OF INEQUALITY

Our organization will be launching this spring a community campaign to raise awareness of income inequality, the need for a fair tax system, and alternatives to austerity. We need volunteers to assist with the campaign.

You can’t get a fair shot when the deck is stacked against working Americans, in favor of the wealthy and big corporations. The richest 1 percent of Americans own 35 percent of America’s wealth. CEOs make nearly three hundred times as much as the average worker gets paid. Some big corporations – Verizon, General Electric and Wells Fargo bank – pay ZERO in federal income taxes some years. That’s less than what most American families pay. Many big and profitable corporations spend more for lobbyists in Washington to protect tax loopholes than they pay in income taxes to the government. Too many politicians have stacked the deck in favor of their wealthy campaign contributors and corporate interests while the middle class gets stuck with the tab.

Utica and Oneida County Should Encourage Genuine Community-Owned Businesses

Instead of recruiting firms from the outside, an alternative economic development approach seeks to anchor local jobs while building wealth that benefits the entire community. Community-owned businesses provide a different path to create economic opportunity. In the United States over 100 million people are members of cooperatives such as food co-ops and credit unions. There are more than 4,000 community development corporations that develop housing, businesses, and community facilities. There are about 500 nonprofit social enterprises that generate revenue for community nonprofit organizations through mission related businesses. More than 11,000 employee stock ownership plans exist which have more than 8 million members Many of these types of business enterprises are not new but are underutilized as economic development tools.

The City of Cleveland has pioneered the development of a network of employee-owned, community-based companies that hire local residents. It has provided a Section 108 loan to establish the first business enterprise – the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry. Located in a newly renovated 13,000 square foot facility that cost $5.7 million, the laundry is a modern commercial facility that has major contracts with Cleveland’s major hospitals and nursing homes. Workers earn living wages with health benefits and have an equity stake in the enterprise. Other employee cooperatives include a solar installation company and a year-round hydroponic food production greenhouse that can produce more than 5 million heads of fresh lettuce and other vegetables per year.

The Utica area has the beginnings of community-based enterprise development that promotes equitable and inclusive growth. Local nonprofit organizations such as the Resource Center for Independent Living and Human Technology Corporation have established social enterprises that hire residents and produce revenue for their host agencies. Community development corporations such as JCTOD Outreach, Inc., Housing Visions, and the HomeOwnership Center are important developers of affordable housing. Black River Systems, Inc., a growing advanced engineering development company located in Downtown Utica, is employee-owned.

The City of Utica and Oneida County can play an important role in fostering the development of community-based enterprises using the Cleveland model approach. The City should undertake the following steps: 1) in conjunction with community groups, hold a conference of community residents and leaders to identify community development assets; 2) retain professional assistance from national community development groups to recommend types of firms to develop as well as develop market studies and business plans; 3) use Community Development Block Grant as well as private foundation funding to help capitalize the firms.

Please let us know if you would like to work with us to develop community-owned businesses.

SEEKING BOARD MEMBERS

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is seeking committed activists to serve on our steering committee. Meetings are reasonable in length and scheduled at convenient times. Folks may participate via telephone and web conferencing. Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNYCIA BLOG AND FACEBOOK PAGE

Check out our blog at https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

and facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/

Dirty War MOVIE

Monday, February 10, 7pm ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse
Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill down a blood-strewn trail from a remote corner of Afghanistan, where covert night raids have claimed the lives of innocents, to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a shadowy outfit empowered by the current White House to assassinate those on an ever-expanding ‘kill list,’ including at least one American. A jaw-dropping, persuasively researched film with the power to pry open government lockboxes.

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY FUNDRAISER A SUCCESS

The Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Counties Chapter of the Working Families Party held its first annual fundraiser on Thursday, January 30. The party was a great success. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Mayor Robert Palmieri were the keynote speakers for the event. Over 30 local residents attended it

DOC” WOODS TO PERFORM

Hamilton College Professor of Music “Doc” Woods, will introduce new artists and new music in an upcoming concert at Hamilton College. Jeff Jewsome of Kansas will be featured on trumpet, and will be joined by Morgan McMillon of Michigan on Saxophone. Both artists are former students of Doc’s who will be performing together for the first time. “These two are simply stellar, and the feel and energy they bring to the music will make for an exciting evening”, says Woods. “I thought it important in this month that is focused on African American History, to showcase two individuals who understand the origins of this “made in America” art form and are equally capable of creating 21st century sounds while being that musical bridge for future generations.”
The concert will be held at 7:30 .p.m., Tuesday, February 18, at the Filius Events Barn on the campus of Hamilton College. The concert is free and open to the public.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news item, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411/315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com