Archive for April, 2015

Groups Call on Representatives Hanna, Katko, and Stefanik to Stand with Middle Class Families against Fast Tracking Trade Deals

April 24, 2015

Local Leaders Release Analysis Showing Central New York Losing Jobs under Free Trade Agreements; Small Businesses’ Exports Limited

 

CNYCIA Photo

At a news conference today in Utica, a coalition of national, state, and local labor, environmental, and consumer groups called on Representatives Hanna, Katko, and Stefanik to stand with middle class families against Fast Tracking trade deals that will offshore more good-paying jobs, dampen state manufacturing and agricultural exports, and fuel the demise of New York’s middle class. Advocates also raised concerns that this trade deal will weaken environmental protections such as New York’s fracking ban, threaten food safety, gut regulations to protect people from Wall Street banks, and raise prescription drug prices.

The TPP is currently being pushed by global corporations and negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam which make up 40 percent of the world economy. Trade policies adopted under Fast Track have already resulted in one million American jobs lost and 60,000 factories closed. The rushed deals have jeopardized the safety of our food and overturned environmental protections.

The news conference was sponsored by the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Central New York Labor Council, Sierra Club, MoveOn.org of New York, Syracuse Peace Council, Citizen Action of New York, Food and Water Watch, and Mohawk Valley Climate Change and Political Action.

Call 888

 

The group released an analysis that shows a growing trade deficit for the top ten New York exports to Korea since the 2011 trade pact. The Korea trade pact serves as the template for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the deal for which President Obama is now seeking Fast Track. The data also shows jobs lost in New York under the past trade pacts, New York income inequality trends, and small business share of state exports.

“Despite promises that past controversial trade pacts would boost exports, government data show that New York’s exports to trade pact partners have actually lagged behind its exports to the rest of the world. And in the first two years of the Korea trade pact used as the template for the TPP, U.S. exports to Korea have fallen in the top ten products that New York exports to Korea – from apples to transportation equipment – while the U.S. trade deficit with Korea in those products has grown 24 percent, displacing New York jobs. Now that the same broken promises are being trotted out for the TPP, New York’s workers have every reason to reject an expansion of the trade status quo,” said John Furman, president of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.

Mr. Furman also pointed out that under NAFTA and corporate globalization, between 1970 and 2000, the Utica-Rome area economy lost over 20,000 manufacturing jobs and 42,000 residents or 12 percent of its population. Major local plants such as Oneida LTD, Chicago Pneumatic, and General Electric closed due to foreign competition and NAFTA. Mr. Furman said that it is likely that manufacturing and many other jobs like call centers may be outsourced if Fast Track and TPP are approved.

The report also shows how the proposed trade deal will negatively affect the local economy, undermine local economic development efforts, and overturn laws protecting family farmers. Mr. Furman continued: “TPP will restrict local governments from reducing pollution and environmental protection, make it possible for corporations to undermine local and state fracking bans, and allow global corporations to challenge Buy American and Buy Local Laws.”

The groups are asking local residents to contact their members of Congress at 877-852-4710 and tell them vote NO to Fast Track authority for secret trade deals like the TPP. Mr. Furman said: “The TPP and Fast Track are a bad deal for the residents of Central New York and will cripple our community efforts to get back on track from the recent recession. We must let our representatives know that they are accountable to us and must put our interests first before those of big corporations and other countries.”

A new original song – “Let’s Stop the TPP” – composed by local musician Albert Izzo – was debuted at the news conference. This song will be made available to groups throughout the nation fighting for trade policies that protect workers, communities, and the environment. The link to the song is: https://youtu.be/H8BKUs3IhWw

The spokespeople for the sponsoring organizations also took issue with TPP and Fast Track.

“Will we let tribunals of Corporate Lawyers overturn Buy American and Buy Local laws? Will we give Multinational Corporations more power to ship jobs overseas, close family farms and pollute our environment?” said MoveOn.org organizer Joe Seeman. “It’s up to you to tell Congress not to Fast Track this NAFTA-on-steroids.”

Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch said: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. It endangers what matters most: the health and well-being of our families and communities. The TPP puts all of this at risk by authorizing foreign corporations to sue our government if they believe a law or standard hurts its bottom line. It’s all about deregulation that puts corporate interests over public health, safety and the environment.”

Brian Escobar of the Syracuse Peace Council said: “The TPP is not about “freedom” or “trade.” It’s a Trojan horse for rewriting US and foreign laws to reduce workers’ power, reduce internet freedoms, and lengthen drug patents, and all in the name of trade. Most of its provisions have little to do with what most people think of as trade. Like NAFTA before, the TPP is bad for both US and foreign workers and good for owners of major companies. Rather than merely allowing products to flow across borders more easily, it protects investors who move their operations between countries, disrupting communities and workers’ lives in what amounts to a race to the bottom for workers. Both unionized and nonunionized workers can expect job insecurity, lower wages, and worse or non-existent retirement if TPP passes. While most trade agreements have been passed by Congress without ‘fast track’ or Trade Promotion Authority, the most controversial and harmful agreements like NAFTA have required TPA to allow them to bypass normal Congressional process.

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CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION – APRIL 19, 2015

April 22, 2015

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
APRIL 19, 2015
Vol. 2, No. 8

 

ProgressiveChange_medium

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

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

LOCAL GROUPS TO RELEASE REPORT ON IMPACT OF
FAST TRACK ON CENTRAL NEW YORK ON THURSDAY

DEMONSTRATE ON WEDNESDAY TO DEMAND CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

THIS WEEK AT THE OTHER SIDE UTICA COLLEGE’S CENTER FOR SMALL CITIES AND RURAL STUDIES RETURNS!

PAST MEETS PRESENT IN GLACIER PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT
LOSING A LEGACY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC STORY OF DISAPPEARING GLACIERS

 

tpp8

 

LOCAL GROUPS TO RELEASE REPORT ON IMPACT OF FAST TRACK ON CENTRAL NEW YORK ON THURSDAY

GROUPS CALL ON REPRESENTATIVE HANNA, KATKO, AND STEFANIK TO SAY
NO TO FAST TRACKING THE TPP TRADE DEAL

A coalition of community, labor, environmental, and consumer groups, along with concerned Central New Yorkers, will be releasing a report at a news conference showing the detrimental impact fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will have on Central New York. Leaders will ask Representatives Hanna, Katko, and Stefanik to oppose fast tracking the trade deal.

We are asking you to attend a special briefing and news conference, which will start at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, at the offices of the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501. Please show your support by attending this event and bringing signs. For more information please call 725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

The TPP is currently being pushed by global corporations and negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam which make up 40 percent of the world economy. Trade policies adopted under Fast Track have already resulted in one million American jobs lost and 60 thousand factories closed. The rushed deals have jeopardized the safety of our food and overturned environmental protections.

The report will discuss how the trade deal will negatively affect the local economy, undermine local economic development efforts, and overturn laws protecting family farmers. Concerns will also be raised how the trade deal will: 1) outsource local jobs to offshore countries, 2) restrict local governments from reducing pollution and environmental protection, 3) make it possible for corporations to undermine local and state fracking bans, and 4) allow global corporations to challenge Buy American and Buy Local Laws.

The news conference will also debut a new original song – “Let’s Stop the TPP” – composed by local musician Albert Izzo. This song will be made available to groups throughout the nation fighting for trade policies that protect workers, communities, and the environment.
WHO: Event sponsored by the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Central New York Labor Council, Sierra Club, MoveOn.org of New York, Syracuse Peace Council, Citizen Action of New York, and other local, state, and national groups

WHAT: Groups will release a report detailing the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Central New York jobs, farms, environment, businesses, and economy. They will also call on Congress to oppose Fast Track authority for secret trade deals like the TPP.

WHERE: Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501 (Corner of Genesee Street and Dakin Street, Downtown Utica, near Utica Public Library); parking in the rear of the building off Dakin Street.

WHEN: 2:00 p.m. Thursday, April 23

Please bring signs and banners with slogans such as Just Say No to Fast Track and Stop TPP.

climate

 

DEMONSTRATE ON WEDNESDAY TO DEMAND

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Members of the Mohawk Valley Climate and Social Justice Action group will demonstrate in front of the office of Congressman Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, which is at 258 Genesee St.
The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The demonstration, according to a news release from the group, will remind the public of the urgency of the global climate crisis and demand that Hanna demonstrate leadership and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. (From Utica Observer Dispatch)

 

utica2

THIS WEEK AT THE OTHER SIDE UTICA COLLEGE’S CENTER FOR SMALL CITIES AND RURAL STUDIES RETURNS!

Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. “Civil Society and the City: A Community Discussion.” a talk by Achim Knoeddermann and Greg Fulkerson of SUNY Oneonta and Fellows of the Center for Small Cities. Earlier this month, Alex Thomas, the Director for the CSCRS got us to think a about the sense it makes for Utica – and all the towns and villages that consider Utica the commercial center – to think more regionally. He also showed us how Utica totters between returning to its former status as a “second order” city in the state of NY and becoming a “third order” city. The change is not necessarily a demotion, but many in the room appeared eager to see Utica take the necessary steps, such as an airport, that would return the city to its former position as a major hub.

This time we may be asked to think differently. Sociologist Fulkerson and philosopher Koeddermann have interesting input to this discussion. Big and flashy development in cities may draw attention but it’s not always the route to success, they suggest. The speakers will explore the relationship between small-scale development and a healthy and sustainable community. Those interested in and committed to the future health and sustainability of Utica and our region should make a point to join us for this potentially stimulating discussion! Free to the Public.

Sunday, April 26, 4-6 pm MV Climate Change Political Action group meets at The Other Side. For info, email Ken at bengershon@aol.com.

glacier

 

PAST MEETS PRESENT IN GLACIER PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT
LOSING A LEGACY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC STORY OF DISAPPEARING GLACIERS

“Losing a Legacy” a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) photography project on the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park, blending the science of climate change research with the aesthetic of landscape photography from Glacier National Park, Montana opens the week of April 20 at the MOST – Museum of Science and Technology, 500 South Franklin St., Syracuse.

Striking new glacier retreat photographs created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) visually illustrate the effects of climate change on Glacier National Park.

The exhibit reveals dramatic glacial decline over a century and indicate that all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park are projected to disappear by 2030. In order to illustrate, document, and analyze this recession, USGS scientists paired historic glacier images with contemporary photographs of the same areas. The result gives global warming a face and helps the public understand the environmental impact of losing glaciers

The repeat photography project images have also garnered interest from the art community.

“While our original intent was to use the photography for science, through time we’ve found that these photographs do more than document, they inspire,” said USGS researcher Lisa McKeon, who has spent numerous hours in the backcountry of Glacier National Park taking repeat photographs of the remaining glaciers.

The concept was inspired by the discovery of historical park images from as far back as 1861, when the first photographs were taken of the boundary markers between Canada and the U.S. This location became the world’s first peace park—Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park—in 1932. Over time, numerous park images were taken for purposes ranging from promotion of tourism to scientific research of the area’s glaciers.

The USGS, based out of the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in West Glacier, Mont., began the repeat photography project in 1997. Scientists set out to replicate exact historical images to illustrate glacier recession over a century.

Since the onset of the project, over 70 photographs of 19 different glaciers have been repeated in Glacier National Park. Thirteen of those glaciers have shown marked recession; however, all are shrinking. Some of the more intensely-studied glaciers have proved to be just 1/3 of their estimated size at the end of the last cold period in 1850. Additionally, only 25 of the 150 named glaciers present in 1850 remain today, and those that do are mere remnants of their previous size.

The USGS repeat photography Web site was developed to illustrate the park’s dynamic glacier changes. Thirteen glacier pairs have been updated to reflect changes that have occurred between the early 20 the century and summer of 2008. The site also provides the option to download individual glacier photographs or image pairs. This is an excellent resource for all audiences interested in climate change who wish to use the images for educational or illustration purposes.
Visit the site at http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/overview.htm

This exhibit was brought to Syracuse with help from: Black Oak Wind Farm & SolarizeCNY

Black Oak Wind Farm – a grassroots investor owned wind farm being constructed in Tompkins County that will produce electricity for 5,000 homes. http://www.blackoakwindny.com

“SolarizeCNY – a program of the CNY Regional Planning and Development Board, a public agency serving Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego Counties. In partnership with dozens of local partners including municipalities and not-for-profit organizations, Solarize CNY helps residents and businesses to install solar PV through grassroots education and volume discounts. http://www.solarizesyracuse.com

For more information on the photography exhibit which runs through June 30 at the MOST please contact Peter Plumley 425-9068 Ext. 2163

DONATE TO CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION

Please support the work of Central New York Citizens in Action!

Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.
Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.
Thank you for your support.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED
Please submit your articles, news items, 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 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/265689434204

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER APRIL 19, 2015

April 19, 2015

ProgressiveChange_medium

 

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
APRIL 19, 2015
Vol. 2, No. 7

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

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

TELL REPRESENTATIVES HANNA, STEFANIK, AND KATKO TO

OPPOSE JUST-REINTRODUCED FAST TRACK LEGISLATION

CNYCIA SIGNS ON TO NATIONAL LETTERS FOR A FAIR FEDERAL BUDGET

TELL HANNA, STEFANIK, AND KATKO TO OPPOSE PAINFUL FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS

HOLD HANNA, STEFANIK, AND KATKO ACCOOUNTABLE

FOR THEIR VOTES ON ESTATE TAX REPEAL

EARTH DAY EVENTS

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY BEGINS ENDORSEMENT

PROCESS IN ONEIDA, HERKIMER, MADISON, LEWIS COUNTIES

2015 UTICA MAYOR’S BENEFIT GALA – SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2015 – RADISSON HOTEL

TOLERATING INTOLERANCE

FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES

 

tpp3

  Tell Representatives Hanna, Stefanik, and Katko to

Oppose Just-Reintroduced Fast Track Legislation

http://org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=loRz3bt2HXPfSJsnvRw%2F2l0uwU5PZhrS

The bill that would fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was introduced on Friday — so it’s all hands on deck. This bill would put the TPP on an expedited path to approval, while Congress and the public would be even further removed from the process. We need to kill this bill in order to stop the TPP. Based upon Central New York’s experience with NAFTA, TPP will have a disastrous impact on our remaining manufacturing jobs, local small business, and food and environment.

There’s a long list of reasons why the TPP would move us in the wrong direction, and we have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks and months to defeat it. Whether you care about food safety, protecting communities against fracking, keeping good-paying jobs in the U.S., or safeguarding environmental and worker protections in developing countries abroad — we all need to work together to kill this secretive, pro-big business trade deal.

The TPP is being called NAFTA on steroids and has been negotiated in secret since 2008 among some of the world’s most powerful corporations. But leaked documents have revealed just how terrible this trade deal is, including a key provision that would allow companies to sue local governments over democratically enacted laws that they claim hurt their profits. That means that if the TPP goes through, local initiatives like GMO labeling laws and fracking bans could be challenged in international trade courts.

Share the number to call Congress on Facebook and through your networks help build momentum against Fast Track. http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/R?i=E2CY5crmkfDUhwnEYH2R5A  Use the hashtag #NoFastTrack to plug in and spread the word. Here’s sample language to post:

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership would hurt workers, threaten food safety and give corporations even more power over our democracy. Call Congress at 877-852-4710 and say NO to Fast Track authority for secret trade deals like the TPP! #NoFastTrack”

You deserve to weigh in. Tell your members of Congress: Vote NO on the bill that would fast track approval for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/R?i=zyfRkj7qI9FWc2IhnWxrpg

Take action to oppose Fast Track for the TPP and protect everyone’s right to safe food and clean water. http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/R?i=L7NBbxNE5TmXOCgqGAkXVA

To stop the TPP, we need to stop the Fast Track bill that would expedite its approval and limit public input even further.

Send Congress a message to vote NO on the bill that would Fast Track the TPP.  http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/R?i=z_agMnSSCOJvfyChosL37w

stop cuts

CNYCIA SIGNS ON TO NATIONAL LETTERS FOR A FAIR FEDERAL BUDGET

The Central New York Citizens in Action joined with more than 1,330 other organizations across the nation in signing the SAVE for All federal budget letter.  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=kk1Tafh2%2FK7KSO3iuSP9Z1a957Au0gyp  We were able to tell every member of Congress that service providers (more than 400) faith groups (more than 250), labor, civil rights, policy experts, community-based and small business groups and other advocates support a federal budget that protects low-income and vulnerable people, invests in a stronger economy for ALL of us, and is responsible in paying for the services we need through increased revenues from fair sources and savings by curbing waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere. At this count, 218 national organizations joined with more than 1,100 state and local groups in signing the letter.

We were also one of 3,020 local, state, and national organizations who sent a letter to Senate and House appropriators, urging them to increase the FY16 302(b) allocation to their respective Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) to the highest possible level. Click here to view the letter. http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/302b_THUD_final_031915.pdf

tax rich

 

TELL HANNA, STEFANIK, AND KATKO TO OPPOSE PAINFUL FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS

The Senate and House are making critical budget decisions that will deeply affect all Americans in 2016. All members of Congress need to hear from constituents as soon as possible that cuts to programs that help Americans are not acceptable. The budgets that have been advanced do not reflect our priorities and are built on drastic cuts to basic programs like Medicaid, SNAP, low-income tax credits, and the Affordable Care Act, plus unsustainable cuts to other domestic programs. Total funding expected in the final budget would force painful cuts to education, housing, child care, Head Start, home energy assistance, meals for seniors, and so much more. Our children, families, and communities are at risk while some in Congress opt for wasteful tax give-aways to corporations and the rich, and wasteful Pentagon spending.

That’s where we come in. Together, we can prevent harmful cuts. But we have to speak out and show that constituents understand how painful and wrongheaded these cuts would be.

The path to preventing cuts: The budget is a blueprint, not a done deal. If Congress passes bills to make the actual cuts, the President can veto them. By speaking out, we can ensure vetoes and prevent Congress from overriding them. That starts with you – today.
Please sign and share this petition telling Congress to invest in America and #StopTheCuts.  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=LQghfI2Hkg57r97Y4XcXx2XVgEIOj95M
Posts to share:

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/144519585571873/photos/a.385759741447855.99027.144519585571873/923007494389741/?type=1&theater

Twitter
https://twitter.com/CoalitiononHN/status/580712950064898048

cuts hurt2

 

HOLD HANNA, STEFANIK, AND KATKO ACCOOUNTABLE

FOR THEIR VOTES ON ESTATE TAX REPEAL

All three local Representatives Hanna, Stefanik, and Katko voted to repeal the estate tax. We make it easy for you to express your anger at their votes. Click here to send an email, letting your representative that you are upset that if he/she voted for repeal.  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=vNTIGpdTgFqYfUALPfIywF8ES38X1bk0

Why this is so important: On April 16, the House voted in favor of total repeal of the estate tax (H.R. 1105). The vote was 240-179. That does not mean it will become law. We should be able to defeat this in the Senate. But we have to contribute to an important shift: we have to make sure elected officials know their constituents understand who really pays the estate tax, and how much the billions it raises is needed for vital services. Despite this vote, support for repeal is waning. More Democrats used to support repeal; now few do. We need to tell every Rep. that the last thing this nation needs is to make inequality worse by giving the richest estates billions more. So please click here to tell them.  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=9mqORR7nvvrvYk%2FziopXTF8ES38X1bk0

There could not be a clearer-cut choice posed to Congress. Are members in favor of giving $269 billion to a handful of multi-million dollar estates? Or will they preserve those funds to invest in the education, health care, job training, housing, child care, and other services we need? Your email will hold your Rep. accountable for the choice (s)he made.

Pretty much every claim made in support of repeal was inaccurate. No – 99.8 percent of estates will NEVER pay the estate tax; they’re not millionaires. No – only a tiny number of small businesses and family farms owe any estate tax. Thanks to Americans for Tax Fairness for debunking all the claims. We need to use every opportunity to tell the truth about the estate tax: its repeal would hand $269 billion to a handful of multi-million dollar estates.

Thanks for taking action – it matters!  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=ryHI61g0lpIUrbVstwO6H18ES38X1bk0

Please see the bottom of this newsletter for contact information regarding members of Congress.

.earth day

EARTH DAY EVENTS

Here are some announcements of climate related events in the Utica area during Earth Week.

On Monday, April 20, there will be a presentation about wind and micro-hydro energy generation at the Kirkland Town Library at 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Kirkland in Transition.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2 pm to 6 pm, 2 films on climate change, followed by discussions, will be shown at Kunsela Hall Auditorium at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

Finally, on Wednesday, April 22, Earth Day itself, there will be a demonstration in front of Congressman Hanna’s Utica office, 258 Genesee Street. The demonstration will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Bring your signs to protest Congressman Hanna’s voting record on climate-related initiatives.

wfp

WORKING FAMILIES PARTY BEGINS ENDORSEMENT

PROCESS IN ONEIDA, HERKIMER, MADISON, LEWIS COUNTIES

 

progressive Third Party Makes Questionnaire Available Online

The Working Families Party today announced the beginning of its annual endorsement process with the release of its online candidate questionnaire. Hundreds of candidates for local office around New York are expected to vie for the progressive third party’s endorsement. The local chapter located in Utica is seeking candidates from Oneida, Herkimer, Madison (Eastern portion), and Lewis counties. In 2015, candidates will run for county, city, town, and judicial elections.

“We want to know where every candidate, whether they’re running for Mayor or County Legislature, stands on the issues that matter to Working Families,” said John Furman of the Herkimer – Oneida Counties Chapter of the Working Families Party (WFP). “The questionnaire gets at the heart of the Working Families Party’s priorities: health care for all, paid sick leave, clean elections, green jobs, affordable housing, and living wage jobs.”

Candidates must complete the questionnaire, which can only be done on the WFP’s website, by May 21. Afterward, candidates are screened by Working Families Party Chapters around the state.
The questionnaire, which is a requirement for screening, can be found at:
http://workingfamilies.org/endorsement/new-york/apply-wfp-endorsement/

Candidates are also encouraged to send a letter and a resume to Working Families Party, c/o John Furman, P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. For more information, please contact Furman at (315) 725-0974. The email address is uticaromewfp@gmail.com.

Mr. Furman said: “Founded in 1998, the Working Families Party has emerged as one of the most powerful forces for progressive politics in New York State. We have stood up to powerful interests in Albany as the voice for working families of every stripe across New York. Our victories in 2014 included winning back 250 UPS drivers their jobs back, banning fracking after years of struggle, helping fast food workers earn living wages, assisting in the organizing the largest climate march in history, and fighting for an equitable state budget. In 2015, the .Working Families Party will be in the halls of Albany and in the streets fighting for working families — to raise the wage, pass the DREAM Act and the Women’s Equality Act, win campaign finance reform, increase affordable rental housing, provide fair and greater funding for schools, end tax breaks for the wealthy and big business, and tackle the challenge of climate change.”

The Working Families Party platform supports living wage jobs, affordable housing, accessible health care, better public schools, and more investment in public services. It has been successful in organizing campaigns to increase the minimum wage, reform the Rockefeller drug laws, enact a Green Jobs Program, and restore funding for public schools in New York State.

The Working Families Party was organized by a coalition of community and labor groups including the Communication Workers of America, SEIU, Citizen Action of New York, and neighborhood and community groups. The Central New York Citizens in Action (formerly the Utica Citizens in Action) as well as area unions such as the CWA and UAW helped to organize the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison WFP organization. The party has expanded to several states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Oregon.

 

2015 UTICA MAYOR’S BENEFIT GALA – SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2015 – RADISSON HOTEL

Mayor Palmieri’s 2015 Benefit Gala will be held on Saturday, May 2nd from 7PM- midnight at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre.

Upstate Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is this year’s Gala recipient and all proceeds will enable them to construct and equip its sensory park for disabled children at their New Discoveries and Tradewinds Education Centers here in Utica.

The cost is $50.00 per person. To make reservations, please contact: Lauren Lottermoser at 724-6907, ext. 2487 or lauren.lottermoser@upstatecp.org.

For further information and to make reservations online, please visit http://www.upstatecp.org/mayors-gala.

TOLERATING INTOLERANCE
BY RICK COOLEY

Lately, conservative republican dominated state legislatures and governors have been in the news scrambling to pass legislation known as a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”. Designed as a move to counteract recent developments which have seen the legalization of marriage equality and appeal to the sensitivities of evangelical Christian conservatives, such laws are little more than a new way to justify and legalize anti-LGBT bigotry at the state level which has been rapidly disappearing due to the demise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military and judicial and legislative moves to legalize same-sex marriage in most states.

While claiming publicly that this legislation merely solidifies religious freedom for those who oppose granting equal rights to members of the LGBT community, these laws have the effect of justifying yet another form of bigotry that has no place in a free and open society. They disagree with what they see as an immoral lifestyle from the perspective of their religion. Granting LGBT people rights equal to their own rewards behavior which they believe should not be permitted at all, let alone rewarded with societal benefits equal to their own.

Such arguments are, in my opinion, very similar in tone and results to the arguments which throughout time have enabled certain segments of our society to feel superior to others based on race, gender, religion and other seemingly irrelevant criteria which have no bearing on whether or not they are just as valuable members of the human race as those seeking to subjugate them and force them to live in accordance with what their perception of religious propriety deems to be proper behavior. Since the founding of this nation, rights have been fought for and won with respect to both literal freedom from slavery and a political voice in the form of the vote, among others.

The sense of this line of thinking seems to be that tolerating such aberrant behavior on the part of anyone infringes upon the religious freedom of those who find it abhorrent, whether or not it impinges on any of their other civil and human rights. It also places their religious beliefs and freedom above the liberties and beliefs of those who do not share them. “Religious” beliefs can be and often are very arbitrary in nature, and have been used to justify any number of practices – many of which most of us would agree to be barbaric. Even in this country. Some would say even to this day. Our history is one of constant struggle to raise up members of one disadvantaged group after another. Few would dispute that we have reached neither equal rights nor equal opportunity for all regardless of race, gender or other circumstances beyond our ability to control as individuals.

One of the founding precepts to this country was the concept of freedom of religion, but this was to prevent the establishment of a state-sanctioned religion and a backdoor route to a theocracy. People are permitted to worship in freedom, but that does not give them the right to impose that religion on others or interfere with the rights and freedoms of others. As long as the LGBT community is not harming the rest of us, or society as a whole, in any demonstrable way, why should bigotry, discrimination and intolerance of them be permitted and legally protected? How is this form of discrimination any more valid than discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender or any other class of individual that has been deemed illegal and unconstitutional in the past? All other laws apply to them just as they do to everyone else.

Several factors have combined to mitigate, to a certain extent, the ability of these forces of bigotry to hold sway, even in some of the states which have elected some of the most rightwing governments. One is the great shift in support for the LGBT community among younger generations. Another is the economic strength that supporters of equality can have in states where such laws have become enacted. Demonstrated strength of commitment to oppose this sort of bigotry has included public determination to economically boycott states operating under such laws. Private businesses and even large corporations have become involved. The response from business and industry has already caused Indiana to at least partially rewrite its law. Walmart, headquartered in Arkansas and the country’s largest private employer, similarly helped convince that state to rethink its legislation before the governor would even sign it.

Bigotry and intolerance may never be entirely removed from our society, but our history has shown that great strides can be made to bring about a greater degree of justice and equality for all. The forces that seek to keep us divided so they may continue to rule over us are not easily defeated. Changes in demographics help to a certain extent. However, through voter suppression and economic impoverishment of many of us our current corrupt and immoral economic system that rules our political system, the few strive mightily to maintain control over the many.

Business is not as easy to convince to respond to some of the other arenas of our discontent as has been the case so far in this situation. They seem much less persuaded to act on other issues of social justice, such as wages, poverty, economic inequality and political influence. Some gains have been made recently in some sectors of the economy, exemplified by recent pledges by some employers of low wage workers to raise wages, but they are far from sufficient to make up for the intransigence of the status quo when it comes to responsiveness to the needs of all the people as opposed to the desires of the economic elites and their corporations.

Obviously, it is far easier for those on top to stay there when they control most of the resources and political power than it is for the rest of us to correct the injustices which have been decades, even centuries, in the making. We need to continue to call the oligarchs out on their economic, social and political lies, despite their obvious and more subtle attempts to thwart our efforts. The next year and a half promises to be a time filled with more rhetorical obfuscation and governmental lack of concrete action than ever. The job before us is to reverse the trend towards ever-increasing economic and political oligarchy and start moving in a direction of more democracy and freedom in all aspects of our lives.

FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES

Representative Elise Stefanik
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
DC Phone: (202) 225-4611
DC Fax: (202) 226-0621
Email: https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email

Representative John M. Katko
24th Congressional District
1123 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
DC Phone: (202) 225-3701
DC Fax: (202) 225-4042
Email: https://katko.house.gov/contact/email

Rep. Richard L. Hanna
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/

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
21st Congressional District
Washington, DC Office
512 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4611
Fax: (202) 226-0621
https://stefanik.house.gov/contact/email

John M. Katko
24th Congressional District
Washington, DC Office
1123 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3701
Fax: (202) 225-4042

https://katko.house.gov/contact/email

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