Archive for September, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

September 15, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 14, 2014
Vol. 1, No. 113

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

HEADLINES

CNYCIA SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS

NEW CLIMATE MOVIE TO BE SCREENED AT
UTICA PUBLIC LIBRARY ON SEPTEMBER 16

CNYCIA SEEKS DONATION OF COMPUTER EQUIPMENT FOR NEW OFFICE

MAYOR PALMIERI FUNDRAISER ON SEPTEMBER 18

PUPPETEER JIM MARTIN AND GARY GNU AT TRAMONTANE CAFÉ ON SEPTEMBER 20

GLOBAL PEACE MEDITATION AND PRAYER ON SEPTEMBER 21

LITERACY COALITION FUNDRAISER ON SEPTEMBER 25

UNTIL THE RULERS OBEY TALK ON OCTOBER 3

NAACP HOST FREEDOM FUND DINNER ON NOVEMBER 2

PERPETUAL WAR IS FINE WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES AFTER ALL

TO SERVE AND PROTECT OR OCCUPY AND REPRESS?

volunteers

CNYCIA SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS

The non-partisan advocacy group Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is seeking interns and volunteers to fill three positions. The internships require approximately 8 hours of work per week and are unpaid.

Media Coordinator: The Media Coordinator would work on establishing up a website, formatting the newsletter, using social media to promote the organization and designing a new logo for the organization.

Community Organizer: The Community Organizer would work on community outreach, contacting the local media, holding meetings, organizing public facing events and recruiting new members.

Research Coordinator: The Research Coordinator would conduct research projects which seek to connect national issues like poverty and economic inequality to the local level. Research should include the effects of poverty, austerity and budget cuts on the Central New York region.

For more information, CONTACT:

John Furman, cnycitizenaction@gmail.com, Ph: (315) 725-0974 or Kevin Nugent knuge86@gmail.com Ph: (315) 768-4115/520-3210

 

disruption movie 2

 

NEW CLIMATE MOVIE TO BE SCREENED AT
UTICA PUBLIC LIBRARY ON SEPTEMBER 16

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be screening the new climate change film “Disruption” at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 16 at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St, Utica.

The film revolves around the growing threat of climate change and the rising popular movement pushing for action. “Disruption” documents a unique moment in our history. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future.

The screening will be free and open to public. Snacks will be provided. For more information, call 315-725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. Discussion will follow the movie about short and long-term solutions to the climate crisis. Information will also be provided regarding bus from Utica for September 21 People’s Climate March in NYC. “Disruption” documents a unique moment in our history. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future.

In their description, the producers explain the film’s primary purpose is to answer a fundamental question: “When it comes to climate change, why do we do so little when we know so much?”

Like the upcoming March this month, the film will also make an attempt to inform people of the idea that the climate issue is not just an environmental concern, but a matter of social and economic justice — one that most severely and negatively impacts the poor, the marginalized, and those who strikingly have had the least to with causing it.

Information regarding the bus from Utica to New York City for the People’s Climate March can be obtained by calling 315-853-2343 Tickets can be purchased online at peoplesclimate.org/transportation.

The movie trailer can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWpK7XLqxw4

To register for the event: http://act.350.org/event/disruption_attend/8921 or
https://www.facebook.com/events/382842291866458/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

For more information, CONTACT:

John Furman, cnycitizenaction@gmail.com, Ph: (315) 725-0974 or Kevin Nugent knuge86@gmail.com Ph: (315) 768-4115/520-3210

 

donate computer

 

CNYCIA SEEKS DONATION OF COMPUTER EQUIPMENT FOR NEW OFFICE

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is seeking donations of computers and laptops for its new office on Oneida Square in Utica. Please contact John Furman at 725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

MayorPalmieri

MAYOR PALMIERI FUNDRAISER ON SEPTEMBER 18

Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri is having a fundraiser on Thursday, September 18th from 5-7 pm at the Saranac Brewery Courtyard. The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and the Oneida County Working Families Party are urging you to join us at this event. Tickets are $50 and the event includes food, beer and live music.

This truly is an exciting time in our City. Nano-Utica is on our doorstep, businesses and buildings are opening up in downtown, our Harbor is entering its first phase of development and overall there is positive buzz in our community. Let’s keep Utica moving in the right direction!

puppet

PUPPETEER JIM MARTIN AND GARY GNU AT TRAMONTANE CAFÉ ON SEPTEMBER 20

Remember the children’s show The Great Space Coaster and the puppet GARY GNU from the 80s? The Guild of Thespian Puppets is pleased to welcome puppeteer Jim Martin and Gary Gnu as the puppet celebrity guest for their show on Saturday, September 20
at 7:00 p.m.

There is limited seated so purchase your tickets now either online or at the TRAMONTANE CAFE.

$7 at the Tramontane Café 1105 Lincoln Ave, Utica, New York 13502
$10 online

To buy tickets online go to:
http://ilionfilmcompany.com/sort-of-remember-the-80s/

All online ticket sales will be held at Will Call at the Tramontane Cafe!

* This show is intended for a mature audience.

 

global peace

 

GLOBAL PEACE MEDITATION AND PRAYER ON SEPTEMBER 21

On September 21, 2014 at 1pm Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica will host a Global Peace Meditation and Prayer event at 10 Higby Rd, Utica, NY 13501. This is in alignment with over 300 groups around the globe that will participate in the even at the same time.

 

 

literacy fundraiser

LITERACY COALITION FUNDRAISER ON SEPTEMBER 25

 

Raise funds for literacy and remember Alexandra Kogut’s love of reading with a fun night out! Local celebrities will compete against 5th graders to find out who is the best speller, and a silent auction is sure to have something everyone can bid on.

Fundraiser for the Literacy Coalition of Herkimer and Oneida Counties
Thursday, September 25
at 6:00pm
Daniele’s Valley View County Club
620 Memorial Parkway
Utica

until the rulers obey

UNTIL THE RULERS OBEY TALK ON OCTOBER 3

A book talk by editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein of the new book Until the Rulers Obey

Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School (500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church)

When: Friday. October 3 at 7:00pm

Sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, CNY Citizen Action, and others.

Ross and Rein will give an overview of social movements in Latin America – what they are, their history and current struggles – and dialogue with the audience on the lessons these movements have to offer to people here in the U.S. engaged in working for a better world.

Here is a bit of information about the book itself:

Until the Rulers Obey: Voices From Latin American Social Movements includes interviews with more than 70 organizers, activists and scholars from 15 countries, Mexico to Argentina. The movements they’re part of helped bring new governments to power after decades of austerity and dictatorship. They’ve mobilized on a broad range of issues, fighting against mines and agribusiness and for housing and land; for rights as women, workers, LGBT and indigenous people; for the survival of their communities and our planet. Their organizing runs the gamut of nonviolent social change strategies, from land occupation to electoral participation to creating alternative communities.

Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein say, “This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Anyone interested in the explosion of social movements in Latin America—and the complex interplay between those forces and the ‘Pink Tide’ governments—should inhale this book immediately.”

naacp

 

NAACP HOST FREEDOM FUND DINNER ON NOVEMBER 2

The Oneida County Branch NAACP will host its annual Freedom Fund Dinner on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre 200 Genesee Street Utica, N. Y. Adult Dinner ticket with Membership is $60.00. The theme of the dinner is “All in for Justice and Equality.” Funding for the branch is primarily obtained through memberships, donations, and fundraising efforts. The Freedom Fund Dinner is the major fundraiser for the branch. Your generosity and support is imperative in our ability to demonstrate the strength and commitment of the NAACP. For more information, contact Ed Jackson at 507-2656.

 

perpetual war

 

PERPETUAL WAR IS FINE WITH THE
NEW YORK TIMES AFTER ALL

By Norman Solomon

The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now — in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end — the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.

Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.” The editorial added: “For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”

The Times editorial board was sweeping in its conclusion: “Mr. Obama told the world that the United States must return to a state in which counterterrorism is handled, as it always was before 2001, primarily by law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. That shift is essential to preserving the democratic system and rule of law for which the United States is fighting, and for repairing its badly damaged global image.”

But the “essential” shift is now dispensable and forgettable, judging from the New York Times editorial that appeared hours after Obama’s pivotal speech Wednesday night. The newspaper’s editorial board has ditched the concept that the state of perpetual war is unsustainable for democracy.Times editorial offers only equivocal misgivings without opposition “as President Obama moves the nation back onto a war footing.” Without a fine point on the matter, we are to understand that war must be perpetuated without any foreseeable end.

The concluding paragraph of the New York Times editorial in the Sept. 11, 2014 edition is already historic and tragic. It sums up a liberal style of murmuring reservations while deferring to the essence of U.S. policies for perpetual war: “The American military’s actions in the Middle East has (sic) often fueled Arab anger, even when the United States was spending billions of dollars on beneficial programs, including health and education. Mr. Obama expressed confidence that the plan against ISIS will work and, at the moment, seems aware of the risks he takes.”

Like the vast bulk of the rest of U.S. mass media, when push comes to militaristic shove, the New York Times refuses to make a break from the madness of perpetual war. In fact, with rare exceptions, the dominant media outlets end up fueling that madness. A strong challenge to it will have to come from elsewhere. From us.

______________________________________

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder ofRootsAction.org. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at http://www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

 

military police

 

TO SERVE AND PROTECT OR OCCUPY AND REPRESS?

BY RICK COOLEY

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there has been a steady militarization of police forces in many of America’s cities. This has become increasingly obvious when the subject of dealing with public protests has arisen. Whether in dealings with Occupy protesters a few years ago, or with the unrest caused recently by the killing of Michael Brown (an unarmed teenager) by police in Ferguson, Missouri, many question the use of some of the brutal tactics and military style weapons used by police across the nation. There often seems to be a difference in opinion between police and protesters (particularly when they are dealing with mainly unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who feel they are simply exercising their civil rights to peaceably assemble and speak their minds freely as is written in the Constitution and Bill of Rights), as to what is the appropriate way in which each should act.

Granted, many demonstrations that took place at the height of the War in Vietnam involved activation of National Guards and an overabundance of tear gas, but the use of military equipment and tactics appears to have spread far wider than it ever was in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Local police forces have been allowed to acquire armored vehicles, machine guns and other military surplus equipment on a scale that belies the fact that violent crime in the nation as a whole has been dropping. Is there an actual need for local military forces to fight terrorism and violent drug cartels in the streets of Everytown, USA, or is this overkill that strips ordinary citizens of their Constitutionally protected civil rights in order to provide us all with some additional modicum of security and safety from those who wish us harm?

Tactics used against Occupy demonstrators, as well as in the pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombers last year and the tactics initially employed in Missouri more recently, indicate a need to rebalance the security vs civil liberty scale a bit and re-evaluate how exactly the police should be protecting and serving the members of their communities, as opposed to repressing innocent civilians and suppressing valid expressions of dissent. It may be difficult to judge what an appropriate response would be to any given situation, or what the personal safety of officers trying to maintain order in a tense confrontational situation requires, but overdoing the military hardware and physical brutality can be displayed very graphically for all the world to see in this technological age.

Our government just last year threatened outright war with Syria over the use of chemical weapons, yet our police routinely use pepper spray and tear gas to put down demonstrations. Those weapons are not intended to be lethal when used, but they are far from harmless, as anyone who has suffered from their effects can attest. The police know that – which is why they are equipped with gas masks when using them. The point here is that the use of such weapons should have a higher threshold than was exhibited in many of the Occupy protests and the incidents in Ferguson.
Incidents involving excessive force by police officers on unarmed civilians have seemed to become more frequent of late, as well, due in no small part to the proliferation of cameras of all sorts – including security and surveillance cameras in many places of business and on city streets, as well as ordinary cellphones. Anyone, on either side of the law, who thinks they can get away with questionable behavior for very long with all the eyes and ears surrounding us is in for a rude awakening sooner or later. Trying to keep it secret by confiscating a phone or arresting someone for using it, journalist or not, is a surefire way to lose public confidence. It will come out.

The Ferguson case illustrates some other problems with the way law enforcement has become unresponsive to the needs of the people it should be striving to serve. Not only is the government of that city not representative of the population as a whole, the police department is as well. Not only that, but it seems to me that the police should immersed in the life of the community they are serving. Studies that have shown racial bias in the enforcement of the law have gone unheeded for over a decade. Police in that town don’t even need to live there. No wonder many of the residents might view them as members of an occupying force than one of their own. The fact that they were not very forthcoming with information about the case and came across as trying to demonize the unarmed victim didn’t help matters, either.

Being a police officer is not easy. It’s highly dangerous work. Dealing with demonstrations also is not easy. Looting in the midst of demonstrations complicates matters enormously, but it is usually not all that difficult to separate the destructive people from the non-violent ones and treat them accordingly. Accusations of excessive force are often easier to document now than they used to be. Perceptions that police may be abusing the authority and trust placed in them are not easy to quickly correct. Ordinary citizens should not fear their police. Nor should extraordinary people fear that the police and other authority figures will punish them for expressing their grievances in a non-violent manner.

Brutality on the part of police, ignoring or thwarting the expressed wishes of the people by those who are elected to office, should all be grounds for dismissal, either outright or at the ballot box, as may be appropriate. If a situation exists where there are so many people so pissed off that they are willing to risk publicly demonstrating, the solution is not to make them cower by using armed assault vehicles, massive firepower and gas on them. When they do that sort of thing in Cairo or Beijing or just about anywhere else in the world, Americans tend to call that tyranny.

Too often of late, we see instances where our government has responded to acts of vandalism, or terror, or attempts to redress perfectly valid grievances with unnecessary, and in my mind, unconstitutionally brutal suppression and/or curtailment of what have come to be called our inalienable rights. The more we shut down major cities the way we did in the wake of the Boston Marathon, lock up hundreds of peaceful protesters and brutalize others as occurred with the various break-ups of occupy, or send in military vehicles with people who look more like soldiers than police, the closer we get to the tyranny we are taught to abhor. We should not need to be reminded by pictures of Tiananmen Square or the Arab Spring to know that is not the way people deserve to be treated in a civilized society.

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

Opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the authors and may not necessarily reflect the positions of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.

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Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. Releases Three Point Climate Change Plan for Central New York

September 10, 2014

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. Releases Three
Point Climate Change Plan for Central New York

 

 

Climate News Conference Photo

Local advocacy group Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., along with several partner organizations, released a three point plan today to combat climate change on the local and state level in New York. Proposed in coordination with the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, the United Nations Association of the Upper Mohawk Valley, and the Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter, the plan includes banning dangerous oil trains from traveling through local communities, requiring utility companies to obtain 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2025, and enhancing and expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

“New York State is particularly vulnerable to climate change,” said John Furman, President of Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. “We have over 10,000 miles of coastline, meaning coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy pose a great threat.” Furman argues the severe weather and last year’s devastating floods in towns like Herkimer and Oneida are the direct result of climate change.

Central New York is currently a hub for the transportation of volatile crude by rail, which is troubling to many local residents. Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. points to the recent derailment and explosion of an oil transport train in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people and destroyed 30 buildings, and other similar incidents. “As recently as May of this year, we had the derailment of an oil train in Albany,” said Central New York Citizens in Action Board Member Kevin Nugent. “The train cars carrying the crude oil are unsafe, outdated, and not designed to carry the oil stored inside them. We are putting our communities and our families at risk, while reaping no benefit.”

The advocacy group urges lawmakers to mandate that utility companies obtain 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2025. “Building a renewable energy infrastructure is a no-brainer,” said Chris Amar of the partner organization Citizen’s Climate Lobby. “Not only is it better for the environment, but it will help to end our over-reliance on fossil fuel energy sources, tackle climate change, leave a livable world for us and our descendents, and improve our economy in the process.”

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. encourages citizens to contact their state and local lawmakers and demand that they support the three point plan. In addition, the advocacy organization encourages people to join them as they take a bus to New York City on Sunday, September 21 and participate in the People’s Climate March outside the United Nations’ climate change summit. “People by the hundreds of thousands will be marching in Manhattan on September 21, all voicing the same critical message: we need to act decisively to halt climate disruption,” said Caitlin Pixley of the Sierra Club. “We are uniting together to let the Presidents and the governments of the United Nations know that NOW is the time to take action against climate disruption.” Tickets for the bus can be purchased at peoplesclimate.org/transportation.

Please see https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com/ for a copy of the plan.
Contacts:

John Furman – (315) 725-0974
CNYCitizenAction@gmail.com

Kevin Nugent – (315) 768-4115
Knuge86@gmail.com

 

 

Three Step Climate Change Plan for the Central New York Region

Some have said that climate change is the geo-political, economic and environmental issue of our lifetime. While climate change remains to be a polarizing issue with the public, scientists are less divided. The National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the public statements of the professional scientific societies all endorse the notion that climate change is real, happening, and influenced by human activity. The peer-reviewed magazine Science has said, “Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.”

Climate change results from the burning of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon, which accumulates in the atmosphere. These trapped gases cause a “greenhouse effect,” and have a significant impact on earth’s climate. These changes in climate will have an increasingly severe impact on the citizens of Central New York, and some argue we are experiencing them already. Extreme weather events like flooding and monster snow storms are the direct result of climate change, and Central New York has felt this first hand over the last few years. New York State has over 10,000 miles of coastline, meaning it is particularly vulnerable to rising sea-levels and coastal storms like 2013’s Superstorm Sandy. Climate change will also disrupt delicate wetland ecosystems, erode beaches, and contaminate freshwater drinking supplies with the influx of saltwater from rising seas. In short, climate change is bad news for New York State.

Advocacy organization Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., along with several co-sponsors, have put forth a plan that the Central New York region can implement to try to mitigate the hazards of climate change and the related use of fossil fuels. These steps include:

1. Banning the shipment of Bakken shale and tar sands oil through the Central New York region.

2. Requiring utility companies to obtain 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

3. Expanding and enhancing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and its co-sponsors urge citizens and lawmakers at every level of government in New York State to seriously consider the action plan put forward. The rationale behind each component of the three step plan is described below in greater detail.

 

 

quebec oil train explosion

 

Step 1: Banning the shipment of Bakken shale and tar sands oil through the Central New York region.

According to the Environmental Advocates of New York, our state has quickly become one of the largest transportation hubs for crude oil in the country. Billions of gallons of volatile crude oil travel right through the City of Utica on a daily basis. The crude oil is shipped directly through neighborhoods where families live, work and play, and this poses a substantial health and safety risk. In fact, the DOT-111, the tanker car used in the shipment of crude oil, has been labeled by the National Traffic Safety Board as posing an “unacceptable public risk.” The proclamation came from the NTSB after forty-seven people were killed and thirty buildings were destroyed earlier this year by a derailed train carrying crude oil in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The DOT-111 is horribly outdated and not designed to ship highly explosive substances like crude oil. Rail Transport Consultant Anthony Hatch said, “Rail has gone from near-obsolescence to being critical to oil supplies. It’s as if the buggy-whips were back in style.” The old technology puts our families at risk, while providing the public with little to no benefit.

The increased use of locomotives to ship crude oil has dramatically increased the likelihood of a catastrophic derailment in the Central New York region. This is evident by the multiple train derailments that have occurred in New York State since December of last year. One incident in May 2014 prompted the maximum fine allowed under state law after the Canadian Pacific Railroad failed to report the derailment of four tanker cars carrying hazardous crude oil in Albany, New York. This illustrated the potential hazard that Central New York citizens are exposed to on a daily basis. Disallowing crude oil from being shipped through our neighborhoods will protect our families, while also making the transportation of crude oil more difficult and ultimately making alternative, green sources of energy more viable.

 

renewable energy

Step 2: Requiring utility companies to obtain 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

The New York State Energy Planning Board has set two main goals in terms of combating climate change. These goals consist of improving New York’s resilience to climate change by “creating dynamic, clean energy across the state,” and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and its partner organizations whole-heartedly agree with these goals, though skepticism remains whether the state has the political will to see that the goals become a reality.

To ensure that the state reaches its goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it is imperative that the state take active measures to succeed. Mandating that utility companies obtain at least 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025 will put New York State well on its way to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Not only will this protect the environment and discourage the burning of climate change-causing fossil fuels, it will save money in the long run. Building a clean energy infrastructure now will prevent us from having to spend time and money extracting dirty fuels down the line.

 

rggi map

 

Step 3: Expanding and enhancing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Formed in 2003, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a market-based approach to reducing carbon emissions in nine states in the northeast, including New York State. The RGGI program is essentially a cap-and-trade program aimed at reigning in carbon dioxide emissions. The power sector is given a set number of carbon allowances, which can then be bought and sold on a permit marketplace. The current emissions cap is currently set at 91 million short tons of carbon dioxide, which will decline by 2.5% every year until 2020.

Although having a cap on carbon emissions is a step in the right direction, the current cap may not have enough teeth to force carbon emitters to change their current practices. In 2012, regulators reported that the states participating in the RGGI emitted 92 million short tons of carbon dioxide. The 2014 cap is virtually identical what carbon emitters were already releasing two years ago, meaning the current cap will likely not be all that effective in pushing the power sector to find cleaner ways of obtaining energy. In order for the RGGI to be a proper green energy promotion mechanism, the cap must incentivize the energy sector to actively seek out carbon reducing technologies or force them to purchase additional carbon credits to continue their current practices. In order to do this, the cap must be significantly lower than current carbon emissions.

Additionally, the current cap only applies to the energy sector’s production of carbon dioxide. In order to truly fight climate change, the regulations laid out by the RGGI should apply to all sectors of the economy, including transportation and manufacturing. Similarly, the cap should not only be limited to carbon dioxide emissions, but to all climate change-inducing pollutants. These include, but are not limited to methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

In conclusion:

It is vitally important that citizens engage with their elected officials and push for the changes outlined above. Climate change threatens our health, our property and our way of life. We must ensure that our lawmakers are aware of the avenues for change that can mitigate the dangers of climate change. Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and its partner organizations urge people to contact their local and state representatives, as well as Governor Cuomo, and demand immediate action on climate change.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER 9-7-2014

September 8, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 7, 2014
Vol. 1, No. 12

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

HEADLINES

BUY TICKETS NOW FOR THE NYC CLIMATE MARCH ON SEPTEMBER 21

VOTE FOR ZEPHYR TEACHOUT IN THE SEPTEMBER 9TH DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY!

COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS CALL ON STATE TO IMPLEMENT CLIMATE PLAN

77 PERCENT

ITHACA’S SVANTE MYRICK, ONE OF THE NATION’S
YOUNGEST MAYORS, TO DISCUSS
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AT CAZENOVIA FORUM

NEW CLIMATE MOVIE TO BE SCREENED AT UTICA PUBLIC LIBRARY ON SEPTEMBER 16

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES ANNOUNCES OUR “RETHINKING THE CAT” SYMPOSIUM TO BE HELD IN SYRACUSE, NY
AT THE GENESEE GRAND HOTEL ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014!

HCFANY LAUDS CUOMO ADMINISTRATION’S INSURANCE RATE CUTS

TURLOCK – A FILM ABOUT AN AMAZING RESCUE – TUES. SEPT. 30 AT 6:45 P.M.

END OF THE SEASON COOKOUT

MAYOR ROBERT PALMIERI & POLICE CHIEF WILLIAMS ANNOUNCE APPLICATIONS BEING TAKEN TO JOIN UTICA POLICE DEPARTMENT

WORKER COOPERATIVES VS. TRADITIONAL HIERARCHICAL ORGANIZATIONS

 

climate march 9-7

BUY TICKETS NOW FOR THE NYC CLIMATE MARCH ON SEPTEMBER 21

A group of local citizens planning to participate in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21 in New York City have organized a bus to the event and invite interested Central New Yorkers to join them!

We need to fill the seats, but we also need to have tickets purchased so that we can pay the bus company on September 15th! If you are paying by check it must be received by Sandy Scofield (40 Williams St., Clinton, NY 13323) by Sept. 13th.

For online ticket purchase, go to peoples climate.org/transportation, scroll to New York, Utica bus, and click” Buy Ticket Here”, pay, and you are set. Please then print your ticket and also contact us with your contact information (email, home and cell phone if you have one) so that we can contact you before the trip with updates or any important change, and for communication in NYC).

The People’s Climate March is a response to the UN Climate Summit called by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “urge governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.”

As world leaders are arriving in NYC, and with the whole world watching, the largest Climate March in history will peacefully deliver the message that people all over the world want bold action taken to address the climate crisis.

The Utica charter coach bus will be leaving from two area boarding locations on the morning of September 21 and will return that evening.

Information and details about the People’s Climate March can be found at http://peoplesclimate.org/

Tickets are: $40 adults; $20 students (18 and older, or younger when accompanied by a parent or chaperone) and people with low income (limited number available).

For ticket purchases and information:
call Mona Perrotti (315) 853-2343 or
Sandy Scofield (315-853-4633);
or email cnyutica.climatechange@gmail.com.

Tickets can be purchased online at peoplesclimate.org/transportation. Click on New York, scroll down to the Utica/Rome bus, and click on “buy a ticket here”. You should print out your tickets from the pay page.

If you buy your ticket online please contact Mona with your contact information (email and cell phone and home phone) since at this point all we are getting from Eventjoy is the ticket buyer’s name. We’ll need contact info for all riders so we can send further updates and so that we will have necessary information on the day of the March.

Tickets may also be purchased by sending a check to: Sandy Scofield, 40 Williams St., Clinton, NY 13323.
On the check memo line please enter: PCM Utica Bus ticket (adult or student). You’ll be sent a receipt that you should bring to the bus as your ticket.

If you would like to donate the cost of a ticket, or any amount, to help provide student/ low income scholarships, please send this to Sandy Scofield (as above). Any donation will be really appreciated.

These should be our itinerary times when things are finalized in the next week or so:
Boarding at Wade Bus Tours, 37 Kirkland Ave., Clinton (across from the Clinton Arena) at 4:30 am.
Departure at 5:00 am sharp.
Pick up of more riders at Thruway Exit 31, Utica, at 5:15 am for ten minutes boarding.
Departure for NYC at 5:25.am.
Arrival in NYC and drop off near Columbus Circle, start point for the March.
Bus pick up near March end point on 11th Avenue.
Return to Utica Thruway Exit 31 and then Wade Bus Tours, Clinton by approximately 10:30 pm.

To summarize: we have the bus and now we’re at the crucial point when we have to sell the tickets and fill the seats! Please spread the word as much as you can by email and social media, and get your ticket to join us on the bus!!

Questions? Call Mona (853-2343) or Sandy (853-4633). Visit http://www.peoplesclimate.org for lots of information about the March.

To become involved in the community outreach campaign to mobilize citizens to participate in the March, contact John Furman of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., by phone at (315) 725-0974 or by email atcnycitizenaction@gmail.com or Kevin Nugent at (315) 768-4115 or by email at knuge86@gmail.com.

Over 850 businesses, unions, faith communities, schools, environmental groups, social justice groups, and others are partnering together for the March and in solidarity events around the world. March sponsors include local, state, and national groups such as: Central New York Citizens in Action, Sierra Club, New York Nurses Society, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Environmental Advocates of New York, NAACP, Food and Water Watch, and 350.org.

zephyr

VOTE FOR ZEPHYR TEACHOUT IN THE SEPTEMBER 9TH DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY!

Are you tired of the corruption, budget cuts, and corporatist policies of the Cuomo administration? On September 9th, you will have the opportunity to support a candidate who will fight for average, working-class folks and weed out the corruption in New York State government. Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. urges it members and supporters to vote for the Teachout/Wu ticket this Tuesday.

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu are running against Governor Cuomo in the Democratic primary this Tuesday. Unlike Gov. Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout and her running mate Tim Wu are true progressives. Teachout supports public financing of elections and strict limits on big donor and corporate money in politics. Teachout also supports increasing public funding for education, applying public funding more equitably, and fighting the privatization of our public school system. Reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, adopting green technologies and banning hydro-fracking are also priorities of Teachout. Teachout would also return the Estate tax to former levels and raise taxes on the wealthy, which have been shrinking for decades.

Tim Wu, Teachout’s running mate, is also worth noting. Wu is a Columbia Law School professor and has been an advocate in issues relating to network neutrality and the freedom of information. Wu is actually credited with coining the term, “net neutrality” and has been on the frontlines of this issue for years. Wu has given testimonies in front of Congress as to why it is important to protect the free and open internet from greedy Internet Service Providers and been featured in documentaries describing net neutrality.

If you are tired of the politics of the Cuomo administration? If so, Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. urges our members to vote for the Teachout/Wu ticket this Tuesday, September 9th.

 

polar

COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS CALL ON STATE TO IMPLEMENT CLIMATE PLAN

LOCAL RESIDENTS PREPARE FOR HISTORIC PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH

We are asking local activists to attend a news conference on Wednesday, September 10 to release a report calling for immediate and long-term actions that Central New York communities and the State of New York should undertake to fight climate change. The announcement will come just weeks before world leaders convene in New York City to talk climate, and tens of thousands of people – including local residents – will take to the streets demanding action.

Integral to the report, will be cutting climate-altering emissions, placing new requirements on public utilities and – responding to an issue that has garnered significant public concern in 2014 – banning the shipment of volatile Bakken crude and Canadian Tar Sands oil coming through Upstate cities like Utica and Syracuse.

WHAT: Residents Call for Climate Action/People’s Climate Attendees
,
WHO: Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Citizen’s Climate Lobby, United Nations Association of the Upper Mohawk Valley

WHEN: Wednesday, September 10th @ 10 a.m.

WHERE: Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501. Gallery, 2nd Floor

Please bring banner and posters regarding the Climate March,
For more information, CONTACT:

John Furman, CNYCitizenAction@gmail.com, Ph: (315) 725-0974 or Kevin Nugent knuge86@gmail.com Ph: (315) 768-4115/520-3210

raise min wage

77 PERCENT

77 percent.

That’s the number of New Yorkers who support raising the minimum wage, according to a Siena College poll.

But our minimum wage is still stuck at $8 an hour, and it’s leaving 3 million people – our friends and neighbors – behind.

Today, fast-food workers in 150 cities went on strike for a higher wage. They’re organized, they’re determined – and their ranks are growing.

Will you stand with them? New York State has the opportunity to lift 3 million low wage workers, like those on strike today, out of poverty simply by raising the minimum wage.

Click here to tell your State Senator that they must get behind raising the minimum wage.

Our state’s $8 minimum wage just isn’t enough.

Income inequality is worse here than anywhere in the country – and the gap widens every day as workers in fast-food restaurants, airports, car washes and grocery stores struggle to pay for basics.

Raising the minimum wage is about making sure that people who are working hard and playing by the rules can get by. It’s about reducing inequality – plain and simple.

Today’s strike shows how much momentum there is behind raising the wage.

This isn’t a protest, it’s a movement. The strength and collective action the workers are showing is unprecedented – and they need your support now.

That’s why I’m asking you to click here and let your state Senator know that you care about raising the minimum wage. Because everyone deserves a fair wage.

PLEASE CONTACT JOSEPH A. GRIFFO.
Albany Office
188 State Street Room 612, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
United States
Phone: (518) 455-3334
Fax: (518) 426-6921
Email address: griffo@nysenate.gov

 

ithaca mayor

 

ITHACA’S SVANTE MYRICK, ONE OF THE NATION’S
YOUNGEST MAYORS, TO DISCUSS
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AT CAZENOVIA FORUM

Ithaca’s young, dynamic mayor, Svante Myrick, will discuss public policy and community engagement when he delivers the next Cazenovia Forum lecture on Friday, September 12, 2014, at 7:00 pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre on Lincklaen Street, Cazenovia.

The event is free of charge and no reservations are required. An open reception will follow.

In his presentation, titled “Committing to Community Engagement,” Myrick will relate his experiences in city government and politics, which began with his election to the Ithaca Common Council when he was 20 years old and still an undergraduate student at Cornell University. Four years later, in 2012, he drew national attention when he was sworn in as Ithaca’s youngest mayor and the first person of color to hold that office.

Myrick grew up in a family that struggled through poverty and homelessness. He graduated from Sherburne-Earlville Public Schools in 2005 and Cornell University in 2009.

Upon his election as mayor in 2012, he led a successful effort to overhaul city government and close a $3 million budget deficit. He also championed and passed a series of economic development reforms in the city, which has led the state in job creation in 22 of the 24 months he has been in office. Ithaca today has the lowest unemployment rate in New York State.

Myrick has also undertaken efforts to move city government into the Internet age by overhauling its web presence and by embracing the use of social media as a tool to improve public engagement.

“While Svante Myrick’s personal story is one of enormous triumph against all odds, he would be the first to tell you that he is not a self-made man – that it was support from the community that got him where he is today,” said Cindy Sutton, the Cazenovia Forum’s President. “We look forward to hearing how his life experiences are driving his efforts to expand community engagement in Ithaca while meeting the challenges of delivering good government.”

The Cazenovia Forum is a 501 (c) (3), not-for-profit organization established in 2006 by community members focused on promoting the understanding and discussion of national and international issues. By organizing and underwriting lecture events featuring nationally-known experts, the group intends to further Cazenovia’s commitment to knowledge-seeking and community involvement. More information can be found at http://www.cazenoviaforum.com ( PO Box 613, Cazenovia, NY. 13035).

 

 

disruption

NEW CLIMATE MOVIE TO BE SCREENED AT UTICA PUBLIC LIBRARY ON SEPTEMBER 16

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be screening the new climate change film “Disruption” at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 16 at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St, Utica.

The film revolves around the growing threat of climate change and the rising popular movement pushing for action. “Disruption” documents a unique moment in our history. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future.

The screening will be free and open to public. Snacks will be provided. For more information, call 315-725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. Discussion will follow the movie about short and long-term solutions to the climate crisis. Information will also be provided regarding bus from Utica for September 21 People’s Climate March in NYC. “Disruption” documents a unique moment in our history. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future.

In their description, the producers explain the film’s primary purpose is to answer a fundamental question: “When it comes to climate change, why do we do so little when we know so much?”

Like the upcoming March this month, the film will also make an attempt to inform people of the idea that the climate issue is not just an environmental concern, but a matter of social and economic justice — one that most severely and negatively impacts the poor, the marginalized, and those who strikingly have had the least to with causing it.

The movie trailer can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWpK7XLqxw4

To register for the event: http://act.350.org/event/disruption_attend/8921 or
https://www.facebook.com/events/382842291866458/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

 

 

THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES ANNOUNCES OUR “RETHINKING THE CAT” SYMPOSIUM TO BE HELD IN SYRACUSE, NY
AT THE GENESEE GRAND HOTEL ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014!

This FREE day-long training is sponsored in conjunction with PetSmart Charities and features two full tracks focusing on adoptable cats and community cats. Learn about new strategies to boost adoptions, keep cats in homes, reduce intake and length of stay, expand the impact of Return to Field (Shelter Neuter Return), run a successful Trap-Neuter-Return program, and more. A continental breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack will be provided.

We expect a great turnout from rescuers, shelter workers and volunteers, community (feral and stray) cat advocates, animal control officers, municipal officials, veterinarians, and others from across New York State. Please join us and help spread the news about this exciting event.

We are very fortunate that this cat symposium is being presented by HSUS…including that Syracuse, NY was chosen as the location for this symposium! Whether you are with the public, animal welfare or government agencies as well as educational and community centers, the cat population poses real issues for our community. Some huge issues involve finding adoptive homes and spay and neuter services. Another huge challenge involves the feral cats. The public gets very frustrated with the feral cat overpopulation and how to address this issue in a humane and effective way.

Trap/Neuter/Return information will be discussed and why this is the humane and effective approach. There is also a bill right now before the NYS Legislature (S.7290/A.9487) requesting support for TNR to help out our communities. For more information, please contact Linda DeStefano at ldestefano3@twcny.rr.com.
We hope to see you there!

Click here for the event agenda and registration details!

 

 

HCFANY LAUDS CUOMO ADMINISTRATION’S INSURANCE RATE CUTS

Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), a coalition of more than 160 consumer groups including the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., seeking to promote affordable, quality health coverage for all New Yorkers lauds the Cuomo Administration’s announcement that it has slashed insurance companies’ proposed rate hikes by over 50 percent for people covered through the New York State of Health Marketplace and in the individual and small group markets.

“This is great news for consumers and small employers alike,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, a co-Founder of Health Care for All New York and Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York. “The Cuomo Administration has effectively applied the law to control premium costs-and this translates into $1 billion in real savings for New Yorkers.”

New York’s carriers had sought an average 12.5 percent rate increase on the rates individual consumers pay, but the Department of Financial Services approved an average 5.7 percent increase – consistent with the 4.2 percent rate increase approved by the Cover California’s Marketplace. Likewise, the Department cut the average 13.9 percent increase sought by carriers in New York’s small group market to 6.7 percent.

“This news proves the value of an open and transparent rate review process,” said Mark Scherzer, Legislative Counsel for New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage and co-Chair of HCFANY’s Policy Committee.

 

 

TURLOCK – A FILM ABOUT AN AMAZING RESCUE – TUES. SEPT. 30 AT 6:45 P.M.

When: Tues. Sept. 30 at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse (town of Onondaga). Phone 492-1727 for directions.

Free and open to the public

What: TURLOCK

This documentary shows the rescue of about 4,000 hens by Animal Place staff and volunteers. About 50,000 hens were left to starve when the owner of the factory farm abandoned them. The valiant rescuers endured the filth and stench of the factory farm to save as many of the hens as they could. Although infuriating and sad to see the condition of these birds, there are happy endings for many of them. We see footage of birds enjoying sun, fresh air and dust baths for the first time. From people who adopted hens, we learn about their loving and unique personalities. The birds sometimes sparked a change in their caretakers; one of the adopters interviewed became a vegan after adopting.

Sponsored by People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, (315)488-PURR, peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

If questions, contact Linda DeStefano, President, at above phone or LDESTEFANO3@twcny.rr.comLOCK – a film about an amazing rescue

 

END OF THE SEASON COOKOUT

You are cordially invited to an
End of the Season Cookout

In honor of
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi

Tuesday, September 16th
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

12 North Sports Bar
10125 Mulaney Road
Marcy, NY 13403

Requested Contribution
$30 per person or $50 per couple
Sponsor: $250 per person Co-Chair: $500 per person

Please make checks payable to “Friends of Anthony Brindisi”

RSVP’s and Contributions may be sent to
Friends of Anthony Brindisi
PO Box 8433
Utica, NY 13505
OR VISIT
http://www.votebrindisi.com/donate.shtml

 

 

MAYOR ROBERT PALMIERI & POLICE CHIEF WILLIAMS ANNOUNCE APPLICATIONS BEING TAKEN TO JOIN UTICA POLICE DEPARTMENT

Mayor Robert Palmieri and Police Chief Williams announce that applications are currently being accepted to join the Utica Police Department.

The deadline to file an application is September 30th and the exam will be given November 15th.

An information session and work shop will be offered on Wednesday September 10th at 6:00 pm in the Common Council Chambers in City Hall for any individuals interested in taking the test.

In addition, all the necessary information to fill out an application can be found at the following link; http://www.cityofutica.com/Assets/Departments/Police/PDF-Documents/X-Police%20Officer%202014.pdf. Applications can be picked up at City Hall.

If anyone has questions about the application or the hiring process they can call the City’s Civil Service office at 315-792-0225.

The Mayor and Chief encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career with the Utica Police Department to apply.

“Having a well-trained and high character police department is essential if we want to see continued growth and economic development in our City,” Mayor Palmieri said. “Being a member of the Utica Police Department is an honor and we are excited to bring in the next generation of Officers.”

Police Chief Mark Williams stated, “A major goal in this process is to diversify the Utica Police Department. The Mayor and I will be meeting with different groups throughout the City over the next several weeks in an effort to make more people aware of the great opportunities that being a Utica Police Officer offers.”

 

WORKER COOPERATIVES VS. TRADITIONAL HIERARCHICAL ORGANIZATIONS

BY RICK COOLEY

Worker cooperatives, where the workers are also owners of a company, may be an effective way to counter the trend towards large, multinational corporations which have resulted in the enormous degree of economic inequality currently plaguing our economy. The idea of continuing to follow a business model with a multinational hierarchical structure easily lends itself to greater degrees of income inequality and a sense of powerlessness on the lob for many at the lower end of the hierarchy. It also tends to lead to behaviors on the part of the few at the top of the hierarchy that further exacerbate the problems of an already unequal distribution of wealth, and of tax avoidance that enables the sort of tax avoidance strategies that have become apparent and more blatant on the part of corporations and wealthy individuals in recent years. By enabling this sort of behavior, society is allowing some of its members to benefit more than they contribute to society. But they like to call us the lazy ones.

The modern capitalist model often places inordinate emphasis on return for investment for company shareholders in the way of bottom line profits with little regard to how those profits are made and the ways in which the policies in place to achieve them affect the people involved in creating the actual profits. This can be easily seen in two of the largest areas of employment in the U.S. economy in recent years – fast food and retail sales. In both cases, the people responsible for making the corporation profitable are about as far removed from actually delivering or making the goods and services sold as humanly possible. That’s not to say that the CEO of Walmart couldn’t do the job of a cashier in one of the stores, or do the job of a factory worker in Southeast Asia making clothes for sale there. But they never have and would never want to. They have no concept of what the workers at those jobs go through in performing them, or how inadequate their wages may be in terms of supplying those workers with basic needs for survival for themselves and the people dependent upon them.

The shareholders in these companies are often even more clueless than the corporate executives when it comes to being able to sympathize with the workers and wanting to ensure their pay is fair and working conditions adequate. Often, they couldn’t care less about such matters, unless it leads to lower dividends or stock prices. Workers in foreign countries are often treated as being even more insignificant than the workers in this country, due to fewer legal protections in their own countries, and the fact that their work is usually virtually invisible to the consumers buying the products of their labors. The workers are themselves a commodity under this model. Just a cost on the way to the bottom line. They usually have no say in the way their work is performed or when, or how much they are being paid. Incentive is always there for management to keep labor costs as low as possible to keep profits high without raising prices. Governments – both here and abroad – are often more than happy to accommodate them by passing laws and providing tax incentives that encourage companies to do business or manufacture products within their jurisdiction as opposed to elsewhere.

In the case of fast-food workers, excuses are made that the work is unskilled and the workers are blamed for not being ambitious enough to gain the skills necessary to obtain a better paying job (which may or may not even exist). By keeping wages low, they keep the workers employed in often mind-numbing tasks for long hours just earning enough to scrape by and little time to do anything else. Often two or three jobs may be necessary, none of which provides benefits like sick leave, healthcare, etc. – because none is fulltime, and part-time employees are not provided them by law.

This society needs to pay more attention to how business affects each and every one of its members. People are more than just machines. Treating them as mere means to an end of creating wealth for other people whose only part in the production process is providing money for others to do the work for them, without regard for the overall impact of that process on their lives is morally bankrupt. The same may be said of consumers who can buy cheap clothing because some nameless people in a sweatshop in China or Vietnam slave away for a pittance under dangerous working conditions to make them to sell in Walmart or Target or wherever. Informing consumers of such practices is a service to us all in helping us to decide whether or not to shop in certain stores or buy certain products. Corporate transparency is as important as government transparency in this regard.

Workers who have unions and or labor laws that provide some protections for worker health, safety and compensation, are better off because they have a combined ability to raise a voice with company management that can be more effective than individual complaints are by themselves. Cooperative enterprises do this one better, however. Under co-ops, workers actually own a stake in the enterprise they are working for. Worker-owners have more of a vested interest in the overall welfare of the company than someone who is only there to collect a paycheck. Sharing in the profits or losses of the enterprise would certainly be a better incentive for each worker to ensure fairness in the workplace, as well as contributing to the better performance of the company as a whole. Separating the work from the reward has contributed mightily to the increased inequality between the incomes and wealth of management/shareholders and the average worker. Giving workers more of a voice in corporate governance would be a recipe for alleviating this inequality significantly with the passage of time.

The more that globalization takes place, where the work of production becomes farther and farther removed from the consumption of the product, the more mysterious the process becomes. Items come to be for sale on store shelves and we buy them based on our knowledge of what they will do for us, but with little understanding of what went into making them or getting them to the store. The main beneficiaries of the entire system become those who control and oversee it in its entirety, along with those who have the money to invest to grease the machinery to make it all happen. For workers to become empowered to gain adequate compensation for the work they perform, they must be seen as partners in the enterprise as well. Stakeholders may be better guides to the social usefulness and productivity of an enterprise than mere shareholders of stock. They also have a better understanding of all of the ramifications of company policies on the workers who must abide by them.

If our economy was comprised more of enterprises that operate under the principles of a cooperative, many of the problems currently plaguing our economy would likely be lessened significantly. Workers would likely seek alternatives to the outsourcing and offshoring of jobs that has basically transformed what used to be a largely manufacturing economy into a primarily service sector economy paying much lower wages. Workers need to ally with their counterparts elsewhere in the world to combat the race to the bottom that globalization, greatly facilitated by the current version of capitalist management practices, has created for workers across the world. Workers need to be able to see more of the benefits of their hard labor.

Productivity gains brought about by technological innovation also need to be more equitably distributed among all the workers, rather than primarily or only appropriated by the executive and investing classes. Rather than putting workers on the streets without jobs or incomes, increased productivity should enable all of humanity to gain, not just those at the top of corporations or wealthy enough to own stock. Establishing an economy that provided for more democracy in the workplace, and not just in the election of certain government officials, is needed to achieve a more equitable society as a whole. As things stand now, very few of us have any real say in the conditions under which we work or who we work for. By providing such workplace democracy on a larger scale, perhaps we could initiate a new economy that meets the needs of all citizens of the world equitably, rather than benefitting a few greatly at the expense of far too many others.

 

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

 

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties. Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues. Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying. Please join our email list by sending an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com with the subject heading – Join List. We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2, 2014

September 2, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
Vol. 1, No. 11

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

activism is rent

HEADLINES

CNY RESIDENTS MOBILIZING TO ATTEND NYC
CLIMATE MARCH ON SEPTEMBER 21

 

LOCAL AND STATE OFFICIALS NEED TO WORK FOR GREEN ECONOMY

 

CNYCIA SEEKING BOARD AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 

CNYCIA TO OPEN ONEIDA SQUARE
OFFICE IN UTICA

 

CHILD REFUGEES DEPORTED FACE VIOLENCE AND “CERTAIN DEATH”

 

NEW BOOK: CHANGE ELECTIONS TO CHANGE AMERICA: DEMOCRACY MATTERS: STUDENT ORGANIZERS IN ACTION

 

DAVID DEGRAW‘S NEW BOOK “THE ECONOMICS OF REVOLUTION” WILL BE RELEASED SEPT. 17, 2014

 

CECE NEEDS OUR HELP!

 

OVER 200 LOCAL RESIDENTS ENROLL WITH SOLARIZE SYRACUSE

 

“DOC” WOODS PERFORMS ON SEPTEMBER 10 AT FUNK REBELLION CONCERT

 

LAGUERRE MEDIA SPONSORS – DANCE OF THE DECADE

 

VOTING IN OUR INTERESTS

 

CNY RESIDENTS MOBILIZING TO ATTEND NYC
CLIMATE MARCH ON SEPTEMBER 21

people climate

During last week, a draft of a new UN report on climate was leaked and it shows devastating climate impact: decreased grain production, rising sea levels, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are already being felt. Another report indicates the world’s two largest ice sheets are melting faster than ever. Time is now for direct action by ordinary citizens to put pressure on political leaders to implement solutions to climate change.

A group of local citizens planning to participate in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21 in New York City have organized a bus to the event and invite interested Central New Yorkers to join them!

The People’s Climate March is a response to the UN Climate Summit called by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “urge governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.”

As world leaders are arriving in NYC, and with the whole world watching, the largest Climate March in history will peacefully deliver the message that people all over the world want bold action taken to address the climate crisis.

“We are urging our members and supporters to attend this important march,” said John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action. ‘It is vital that Central New York residents become aware the great threat posed by global warming and take action to address this issue on a local, state, national, and global basis.”

Mr. Furman said that local organizers would be happy to organize additional buses for local residents to attend the march. He is asking local groups such as colleges, student groups, civic associations, houses of worship, businesses, schools, unions, and environmental groups to sponsor buses. Grants may be available to help subsidize the cost of chartering buses.

“Climate change is a global issue that is increasingly affecting us locally here in Central New York,” said Kevin Nugent, Central New York Citizen Board Member. “As climate change accelerates, weather patterns have become more and more severe and unpredictable. We have seen unprecedented weather events from tornadoes to devastating floods happening in towns like Whitesboro, Rome and Herkimer. Unless we mobilize and act soon, we will inevitably see these weather patterns grow worse and more frequent. Climate change threatens our health, property and way of life.

The Utica charter coach bus will be leaving from two area boarding locations on the morning of September 21 and will return that evening.

Information and details about the People’s Climate March can be found at http://peoplesclimate.org/

Tickets are: $40 adults; $20 students (18 and older, or younger when accompanied by a parent or chaperone) and people with low income (limited number available).

For ticket purchases and information:
call Mona Perrotti (315) 853-2343 or
Sandy Scofield (315-853-4633);
or email cnyutica.climatechange@gmail.com.

Tickets can be purchased online at peoplesclimate.org/transportation. Click on New York, scroll down to the Utica/Rome bus, and click on “buy a ticket here”. You should print out your tickets from the pay page.

If you buy your ticket online please contact Mona with your contact information (email and cell phone and home phone) since at this point all we are getting from Eventjoy is the ticket buyer’s name. We’ll need contact info for all riders so we can send further updates and so that we will have necessary information on the day of the March.

Tickets may also be purchased by sending a check to: Sandy Scofield, 40 Williams St., Clinton, NY 13323.
On the check memo line please enter: PCM Utica Bus ticket (adult or student). You’ll be sent a receipt that you should bring to the bus as your ticket.

If you would like to donate the cost of a ticket, or any amount, to help provide student/ low income scholarships, please send this to Sandy Scofield (as above). Any donation will be really appreciated.

These should be our itinerary times when things are finalized in the next week or so:

Boarding at Wade Bus Tours, 37 Kirkland Ave., Clinton (across from the Clinton Arena) at 4:30 am.
Departure at 5:00 am sharp.
Pick up of more riders at Thruway Exit 31, Utica, at 5:15 am for ten minutes boarding.
Departure for NYC at 5:25.am.
Arrival in NYC and drop off near Columbus Circle, start point for the March.
Bus pick up near March end point on 11th Avenue.
Return to Utica Thruway Exit 31 and then Wade Bus Tours, Clinton by approximately 10:30 pm.

To summarize: we have the bus and now we’re at the crucial point when we have to sell the tickets and fill the seats! Please spread the word as much as you can by email and social media, and get your ticket to join us on the bus!!

Questions? Call Mona (853-2343) or Sandy (853-4633). Visit peoplesclimate.org for lots of information about the March.

To become involved in the community outreach campaign to mobilize citizens to participate in the March, contact John Furman of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., by phone at (315) 725-0974 or by email at cnycitizenaction@gmail.com or Kevin Nugent at (315) 768-4115 or by email at knuge86@gmail.com.

Over 850 businesses, unions, faith communities, schools, environmental groups, social justice groups, and others are partnering together for the March and in solidarity events around the world. March sponsors include local, state, and national groups such as: Central New York Citizens in Action, Sierra Club, New York Nurses Society, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Environmental Advocates of New York, NAACP, Food and Water Watch, and 350.org.

Please check the following FB page for more details:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1447527595530686/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

LOCAL AND STATE OFFICIALS NEED TO WORK FOR GREEN ECONOMY

green economy

The extreme weather of the past few years has increased the urgency to address climate change and change the way we use and produce energy. By making our homes, appliances, lighting, and transportation more energy efficient, we can reduce energy use. By adopting clean renewable energy sources and shifting away from burning dirty fossil fuels, we can curtail the carbon emissions that have warmed our planet.

These strategies give us the opportunity to build a more equitable clean energy economy with better jobs than today. But in order to achieve these goals, we must accelerate state and local policies supporting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and a more democratic decision making process.

At the same time, these policies must be designed to benefit low-income communities of color and environmental justice communities that face higher energy cost burdens, are more vulnerable to climate change, and who need good jobs to earn more and have a better path for career advancement.

In New York State, we are happy for our Green Jobs/Green New York (GJGNY), a statewide building energy efficiency program created through state legislation in 2009. At $112 million, it is one of the largest statewide energy efficiency programs initiated in the nation. Its key innovations include community based outreach of energy efficiency services; free or low cost energy assessments; on-bill recovery financing; and the aggregation model, which creates community benefits and good jobs.

Here are other strategies and policy changes we need to fight for:

· COAL DIVESTMENT: Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and largest contributor of carbon emissions that have led to climate change. The near and long term outlook for coal is unprofitable. Ongoing regulation of coal power plant emissions and forthcoming EPA regulations setting a new carbon pollution standard will continue to constrain coal demand and reduce returns on coal stocks. Yet municipal and state pension funds remain invested in coal companies. There is a huge opportunity to divest of these holdings and reinvest the resources into renewable energy companies that can create good clean energy jobs, and offer a solid financial return for the pension holder.

· COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION (CCA): Communities leverage their purchasing power by aggregating their electricity customers and negotiating cheaper bulk electric rates from power providers. Some communities also use CCA to purchase a higher mix of renewable energy sources. Chicago is the largest city in the nation currently utilizing CCA.

· USING CARBON MARKET FUNDS TO PROMOTE EQUITY: Mandating carbon market funds to benefit low to moderate income customers ensures that these communities have the resources to pursue energy efficiency and prepare for extreme weather events. In ten states, industries must purchase allowances if their operations emit carbon dioxide above a certain limit. California is the only state that requires 25% of its auction allowance proceeds to specifically benefit low-income communities. In the 9 state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), (northeast and mid-Atlantic states) there is no such requirement.

· UTILITY REGULATION REFORM: Investor owned utility companies are regulated to ensure that they provide power affordably and reliably, and meet state renewable and energy efficiency targets. However, the state public utilities commissions that serve as energy regulators have opaque policy making and decision making processes. More democratic and transparent policies and processes can benefit from customer and community input in energy policy making and rate cases. Otherwise, decisions will continue to be dominated by corporate and utility interests accountable to shareholders, not the general public.

· PUBLICLY OWNED UTILITIES: In the U.S. there are 2,000 publicly owned utilities, serving 43 million people. They tend to have cheaper utility rates, better customer service, and greater resiliency after storms knock out power. Publicly owned utilities, whether municipal, cooperative, or state owned, can be more responsive to customers, since their focus isn’t on maximizing shareholder profits. We need to explore the development of a publicly owned utility in the Utica area.

Thanks to the Center for Working Families

 

CNYCIA SEEKING BOARD AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is seeking members for our Board of Directors and Advisory Committee to help lead our social justice organization. We will be establishing an office on Oneida Square in Utica to serve as a focal point for community organizing work on issues such as living wages, environmental justice, health care, protecting Social Security and Medicate, alternatives to austerity, education funding, and progressive economic development. We also hope to offer advocacy services to folks with housing, labor, benefit, and food issues. Please let me know if you are interested in joining our efforts. Our group respects people’s time and our meetings are up to the point and brief. We also do not expect a large time commitment. Our group particularly needs youth to lead our movement in the future. We are confident about our ability to make significant change in Central New York and would appreciate your help. Please call or email me for more information. John Furman (315) 725-0974/cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

 

CNYCIA TO OPEN ONEIDA SQUARE
OFFICE IN UTICA

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is delighted to report that we will be opening an office at the Cornerstone Community Church on Plant Street on Oneida Square in Utica. The office will enable our organization to form coalitions with other progressive groups, hold meetings and events, and provide a space for community volunteers. We are seeking community volunteers and college interns to help us with organizing, community outreach, web and social media design, and public relations and issue work. We would also greatly appreciate donations of office equipment and supplies (e.g., computer, printer, copier, book case, chairs table, desk, supplies, paper). Please contact us at 315-725-0974 orcnycitizenaction@gmail.com if you would like to support our social justice work.

 

CHILD REFUGEES DEPORTED FACE VIOLENCE AND “CERTAIN DEATH”

refugee

Members of Congress left for August recess without an agreement on emergency funding to address the child refugee crisis along our borders. Nearly 60,000 children and adult migrants have come mostly from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and existing funding is running out.

Recent news reports of massacre in Honduras demonstrate the tragic fate many deportees face upon return to the gang controlled communities, what one advocate calls “certain death.” These stirring accounts make it clear that action must be taken and beefing up border security is not the answer.

Tell Congress 71% of Americans agree it’s our duty to protect children fleeing crisis and danger.

Senate Republicans killed a bill which would have provided $1.2 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for the migrant children and $1.5 billion to support border security, bring in additional judges and counsel to process asylum requests more quickly, and deal with the migrants’ home countries to address the underlying problems causing the children to flee.

The House-passed funding bill would provide only $405 million to HHS and requires other programs be cut in order to meet these emergency needs. The influx of children fleeing from violence and coercion meets the legal definition of emergency, which under federal law does not require offsetting cuts.

Tell Congress that they must provide adequate funding without cutting programs.

Rep. Richard L. Hanna

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

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
DC Address:
The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3205
DC Phone:
202-224-4451
DC Fax:
202-228-0282
Contact Senator Gillibrand:
http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
WWW Homepage:
http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/
Charles E. (Chuck) Schumer
DC Address:
The Honorable Charles E. (Chuck) Schumer
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3203
DC Phone:
202-224-6542
DC Fax:
202-228-3027
Contact Senator Schumer:
http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm
WWW Homepage:
http://www.schumer.senate.gov/

NEW BOOK: CHANGE ELECTIONS TO CHANGE AMERICA: DEMOCRACY

MATTERS: STUDENT ORGANIZERS IN ACTION

change elections

We are happy to report that local community activists and Citizen Action supporters Joan and Jay Mandel have written a new book called Change Elections to Change America. Please consider buying a copy to support their work for fair elections. Copies can be purchased from Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Change-Elections-America-Democracy-Organizers/dp/193521201X

Click here for information about the new book. http://aerbook.com/books/Change_Elections_to_Change_America-8861.html

A social movement is needed to reduce the excessive power of wealth to influence politics. Democracy Matters organizes students in the hope of building such a social movement. It seeks to achieve the enhanced political equality that could be secured with the public funding of election campaigns. Historically, young people have provided a moral compass for their elders, highlighting the need for social change. DM seeks to accomplish today what the civil rights, women’s, and more recently the LGBTQ movements have achieved in creating a more just and inclusive society.

Change Elections to Change America is a report on the ongoing experiences of Democracy Matters. It was founded in 2001 when the professional basketball player Adonal Foyle provided initial funding. It has grown and brought the issue of the distorting impact of private wealth to the attention of literally thousands of students on campuses all over the United States. But at the same time it has not yet succeeded in bringing to life the kind of a social movement needed for such a radical change.

Change Elections to Change America describes the activities of Democracy Matters on campuses. It concludes with a positive assessment of the prospects for building a social movement in the digital age. Social media are invaluable tools that facilitate organizing. But they are no substitute for face to face dialogue and persuasion. Success will require a scaling up of organizing efforts. This book is written with the hope that the Democracy Matters experience will inspire others to do the political work that democratizing politics in the United States requires.

 

DAVID DEGRAW‘S NEW BOOK “THE ECONOMICS OF REVOLUTION” WILL BE RELEASED SEPT. 17, 2014

economics of revolution

David DeGraw has written a new book called the “The Economics of Revolution” which states that growing inequality and worsening economic conditions may become breeding grounds for civil strife and social upheaval.

DeGraw states: “An extensive analysis of economic conditions and government policy reveals that the need for significant systemic change is now a mathematical fact. Corruption, greed and economic inequality have reached a peak tipping point. Due to the consolidation of wealth, the majority of the population in the U.S. cannot generate enough income to keep up with the cost of living. In the present economy, under current government policy, 70% of the population is now sentenced to an impoverished existence.”

Look at some of DeGraw’s evidence: “To see how corrupt the United States government has become, just follow the money. According to the most recent Federal Reserve Flow of Funds report, US households currently have an all-time high $82 trillion in overall wealth. If that wealth were spread out evenly, every US household would now have $712k. However, as of the end of 2013, the median household only had $56k in wealth. From 2007 – 2013, overall wealth increased 26%, while the median household lost a shocking 43% of their wealth. If median wealth continues to decline at this rate, over 50% of US households will be bankrupt within the next decade.
“The fact that the majority of households are losing so much wealth in a time of record-breaking overall wealth demonstrates how systemically corrupt the economy has become. To begin to grasp the scale of corruption, let’s analyze how much wealth has been consolidated within the economic top .01% of the population. An individual must have over $100 million in wealth to be in the .01% –Ultra-Rich. Since 1980, the .01% have more than quadrupled their share of overall wealth. Meanwhile, households who fall between the top 10% and the top 0.1% have actually been losing their share of overall wealth. As the ultra-rich .01% amasses unprecedented wealth, they are forcing the overwhelming majority of the population into extreme economic insecurity and ever-increasing debt… If you are struggling to get by and running up debt to make ends meet, it is not your fault.”

For more information, please check this link: http://daviddegraw.org/peak-inequality-the-01-and-the-impoverishment-of-society/#ER

 

CECE NEEDS OUR HELP!

cecil

Cece Tkaczyk won her seat in the NYS Senate in a district that was carved out for her opponent who is running against her again. Right-wing groups, believing that she is vulnerable, are pouring money into the race in hopes of securing a Republican majority in the NYS Senate. At stake is a progressive agenda for NY; heading the list is getting money out of politics, which Cece has so powerfully championed. With his unlimited financing, her opponent has used lies and half-truths to distort Cece’s position on nearly every issue, as exposed in a recent editorial in the Albany Times Union: “An Attack Devoid of Facts.”

Cece has been fighting for us for the past few years, now she needs us come through for her so that she can continue – it takes money, phone calls and feet on the ground. Please, even if you are not in her district, consider giving to her campaign in any way that you can.

To donate: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/cece (My easy solution is an ongoing donation of a few $ a month until the election in November.) Anything you give makes a difference.

Interns and volunteers are needed 7 days a week for day and evening shifts to help with door-knocking (possibly in your own town) and phone calls (at Dem HQ in Kingston). Walk-ins are welcome but scheduling is better so everything will be ready for you. Call 845-901-5284.

Thank you for any help you can give to keep Cece fighting for us.

 

OVER 200 LOCAL RESIDENTS ENROLL WITH SOLARIZE SYRACUSE

solarize syracuse

Solar Open House Scheduled for September 7 to Meet Public Interest

Solarize Syracuse, a grassroots community solar initiative aimed at helping residents, business owners, and landlords in the Greater Syracuse area switch to solar, is pleased to announce that 213 people have enrolled in the program to receive free solar site assessments. Due to overwhelming interest in the program, organizers have scheduled a solar open house for Sunday, September 7, 1-4 PM at 113 Cammot Lane, Fayetteville, the home of Pete Wirth, a local resident who installed solar two years ago.

“I’m excited to show off our solar panels to the community,” said solar open house host, Pete Wirth. “They work year-round and produce almost 100% of our electrical power. Good for the environment and good for my pocketbook. I started saving money the first month they were installed. I forget they’re on my roof most of the time.”

The Solarize Syracuse program is available for both residential and commercial buildings in the city of Syracuse and the towns of Dewitt, Onondaga and Manlius. Both direct purchase and leasing options are available. People can enroll for a free site assessment by attending a workshop or visiting the Solarize Syracuse website: http://www.solarizesyracuse.org. There are four more workshops to be held between now and September 13. The next Solarize Syracuse workshop will be held on Thursday, September 4, 6 PM at the Manlius Public Library. More information, including videos of the kick off press conference and various workshops, and a full schedule of remaining workshops are available at http://www.solarizesyracuse.org.

 

“DOC” WOODS PERFORMS ON SEPTEMBER 10 AT FUNK REBELLION CONCERT

Doc Woods

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Hamilton College professor of music, “Doc” Michael Woods will present his Annual Kick-off Concert. “Doc” Woods, who has written more than 700 music works in all genres, has a passion for introducing new music to audiences that provides sonic solutions to what may be occurring culturally, socially or spiritually in our community or society.

This year, Woods invites you to join him on a visit to: “Funk Republic” which is not a gated community. All are welcome to visit, or reside in the community and partake of and flourish in the funky grooves, intricate rhythms, syncopated beats, and twists and turns of each piece of this musical suite.

Woods will be joined on stage by a 6-piece ensemble comprised of CNY’s finest musicians and Guest Artist, Jakubu Griffin of Las Vegas, Nevada. Griffin, a drummer and percussion specialist, has been featured on several prior Kick-off concerts.

“Funk Republic” will be presented at Wellin Hall in the Schambach Center at Hamilton College. Please RSVP to 315-853-2577 by Monday September 8th, so that we may reserve your seat on the stage and include you in the post-concert reception.

 

LAGUERRE MEDIA SPONSORS – DANCE OF THE DECADE

Local community activist and media consultant, Dawn Laguerre and her husband David have set a goal of developing programs to benefit local youth. They have launched an initiative to raise funds through various events that will be earmarked to support educational scholarships, leadership development, school-to-work projects, and civic education for at-risk young people in Oneida County.

Their first event will be a dance party with dinner and music from the 1970s through the present. Hosted by a dynamic DJ, celebrants are asked to come in clothing from their favorite decade and dance the night away with signature moves from “Staying Alive” to “Cha Cha Slide” and “Running Man.’

A large portion of the $35 admission fee will go towards scholarship funds, micro-loans for budding entrepreneurs and other youth development causes. So dust off your dancing shoes and get in the spirit.

Dance of the Decade is being held on Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 7:00-11:00 PM at the Harts Hill Inn – 135 Clinton Street, Whitesboro, NY.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.laguerremedia.com, or by calling Dawn Laguerre at 315-733-0040. Tickets will also be available at the door.

 

VOTING IN OUR INTERESTS
By Rick Cooley

voting

In November, elections will be held in the US to fill the seats of all US House of Representatives Districts, about 1/3 of the US Senate and numerous legislators, governors and other elected posts at both state and local levels. The President is not being voted on, which historically has meant a significantly lower voter participation rate than occurs for Presidential contests. This lower voter turnout often results in elections which are won by candidates who do not share the political, social and economic interests of most of the people they are supposed to represent while in office.

Off-year elections like the ones held in 2010, while not electing a Commander-in-Chief, often have ramifications which last far longer than the 2, 4 or 6 year term the winners are elected to fill. Since 2010 was a census year, legislatures in many states were enabled to redraw districts within them to make electing members of their party easier in future elections. Such gerrymandering has made it enormously difficult for the Democrats to retake a majority in the US House, despite the fact that Democrat candidates obtained many more votes nationwide than Republican candidates did in the 2012 elections. The same is likely to happen this year – with the added danger that Republicans can conceivably recapture a majority of seats in the Senate. This is largely due to the fact that most seats up for election are currently held by Democrats, some of whom were elected to seats in traditionally Republican voting red states.

Time and time again, polls show that Republican positions on issues dealing with the economy, social issues, education, healthcare and foreign policy place them lower than Democrat positions on the same issues. Republicans are not reputed to be the party of the wealthy without good reason. They consistently on both the state and national level tend to side with the interests of the wealthy and large corporations over the interests of the less well off, workers, sick, poor and elderly, as well as small business. Democrats are not perfect on this score. Many of them are beholden to corporate interests as well. The fact that the Congressional Progressive Caucus proposes a budget every year that even large numbers of Democrats vote down is proof of that. Democrats are far from being a true people’s party, but many among them are far more progressive than most Republicans would ever dare to be.
Since the Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 elections, Congress has done an excellent job of just one thing – getting nothing of consequence done at all unless backed into a corner and then doing it half-assed, begrudgingly and set to expire as soon as practicably possible. Mitch McConnell, current Senate Minority Leader, up for re-election in his state of Kentucky, has done a good job of outlining the agenda the GOP will pursue if it regains the Senate in the fall. It is very consistent with his stated goal following the 2008 elections – to make sure that President Obama’s vision for the American future is never enacted by Congress. He couldn’t make the man a one-term president, but he sure has done his part to obstruct as much as possible getting the work of people accomplished. By filibustering nominations of positions ranging from judges and ambassadors (we don’t even have an ambassador to Russia now) to members of regulatory commissions and boards, as well as most legislation of any import, McConnell has essentially made the Senate Democratic majority almost as powerless as the Democratic House minority. If he gets his majority, he promises to do even worse. Take his word for it.

When it comes to looking out for the interests of working people, neither the House nor the Senate has passed legislation raising the minimum wage to even the modest $10.10/Hour proposed by the President in his last State of the Union Address. Congress has been unable to pass immigrations reform, despite a burgeoning border refugee crisis or deal effectively with passing legislation dealing with job creation or anything else unless it reaches a crisis point. The House GOP became so obsessed with the Affordable Care Act (passed before they retook control) that they repeatedly voted to repeal it and even shut down the government for a period last October trying to defund it. Millions of people in this country are still without affordable health care because they live in states dominated by Republican elected officials who do not care if they get the treatment they need and deserve as a human right and refuse to expand Medicaid as encouraged by the law and funded federally. At every turn, when asked to fund or expand a program as needed due to existing circumstances, they demand that it be funded by reducing expenditures somewhere else, rather than raising revenues to meet the perceived need.

Republicans controlling state legislatures, governors’ offices and the US House, as well as the filibustering minority in the Senate continue to either enact laws to restrict the rights of their people to vote, receive health care or participate in other social programs such as those designed to alleviate poverty, hunger and affordable housing availability. This is done both actively and passively, by passing legislation or refusing to pass it. Subsidies for some people and/or companies and industries have become sacrosanct, while programs to assist the truly needy are forfeit. Austerity is used as a saw to cut programs benefitting the poor and needy because retaining those benefits or expanding them would require either taking away some benefits (tax breaks, lower tax rates for the wealthy, and corporate subsidies and tax evasion strategies for corporations, etc.) or raising taxes on those who can afford it.

Every once in awhile, the GOP narrative gets exposed in a way that they do not intend. Mitt Romney’s 47% comments during the 2012 presidential campaign played a significant role in his defeat. Paul Ryan’s consistent attempted budgetary attacks on social safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as his more recent plan to “alleviate” poverty and his long-standing statements concerning makers and takers show him to likewise not be interested in governing in any way other than to maintain the status quo and increase the income and wealth inequality to benefits primarily those already at the top. Their brand of elitism tends to come to the fore when speaking to the would-be kingmakers they speak to in private fundraisers like the one McConnell was recorded speaking at recently.

Laws passed at state and local levels also reflect a blatant disregard for the rights and welfare of huge portions of the populace. The states refusing Medicaid expansion are perhaps the most obvious, but states where voting, women’s health care, public education or other programs that help to increase the ability of 99% of the people to either survive or that provide opportunities for advancement are under attack in the name of fiscal responsibility are also tend to reside primarily in so-called red states dominated by the GOP. Courts have helped to curtail some of the excesses, most notably of late in the area of marriage equality and LGBT rights, but even they are often dominated by handpicked GOP partisans. SCOTUS is not immune (Hobby Lobby or Citizens United anyone?).
Our political system will remain corrupt as long as virtually unlimited private funding of campaigns is allowed to go unchecked. Thank the Supreme Court for opening that can of worms, too. The one thing we still have going for us is that we outnumber the plutocrats. They have not yet made it impossible for enough of us to vote to throw them out if they continue not to listen. Despite the media’s obsession with covering each Presidential election for four years to the exclusion of just about everything else, we still need to make sure we participate in each election in between. Congress is now at an all-time low in popularity – a rating well-deserved based on performance. Re-electing the same folks to fill 90% of the same seats every election is unlikely to result in anything better. This year, it could even make things worse, if Boehner and McConnell get their way.

Say no to the people who seek only to further aggrandize those already at the top of the heap economically at the expense of all the rest. Elect those with true compassion for their fellow humans and our environment rather than those who shed crocodile tears and spouting platitudes while acting in a manner that does no good and much harm to the many. Vote to elect people at every level of our government who can and do honestly sympathize and empathize with more than just that segment of society that can most readily satisfy their desire for the power that their office gives them. Elect people who will act in the interest of the country by raising living standards for all by eliminating the barriers that have been placed before the vast majority of us by the system-created and system-maintaining inequality that has ravaged our society for generations and become ever worse in the past few decades.

I have direct influence in the election of no US Senators, one House representative, 2 state legislators and a governor this fall. Hopefully, I’ll vote for winners for a change. I didn’t vote for many in 2010. Hopefully, enough people in other states will see through the thin façade of the GOP campaign to turn back the clock on workers, civil and human rights and elect new state legislatures, Governors and a Congress better suited for the advancement of our society than the Scott Walkers, Tom Corbetts, Rick Scotts, Ted Cruzes, Chris Christies and myriad state and federal legislators currently holding those offices ever could or even want to be. We deserve better from Washington and our state capitals than we’ve been getting – and we need to demand it before it’s too late.

 

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
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