Archive for November, 2015

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 19, 2015

November 20, 2015

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
NOVEMBER 19, 2015
Vol. 2, No. 11

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

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

HEADLINES

TELL CONGRESS: DON’T PUT CORPORATIONS
AHEAD OF LOW-INCOME WORKING FAMILIES

TELL CONGRESS: DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR ON SYRIAN REFUGEES!

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS MAJOR AUTO INSURERS CHARGE GOOD DRIVERS 70% MORE IN PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN AMERICAN ZIP CODES THAN IN PREDOMINANTLY WHITE ZIP CODES

SUPPORT EFFORTS TO BRING ARTIST HOUSING TO UTICA

TELL CONGRESS: DON’T PUT CORPORATIONS
AHEAD OF LOW-INCOME WORKING FAMILIES

PLEASE CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO AND URGE HIM TO SIGN THE MENTAL HEALTH PUBLIC AWARENESS TAX CHECK OFF BILL (A.632A)

THE POST OFFICE IS UNDER ATTACK.

NATIONAL HOMELESS YOUTH AWARENESS MONTH

COMMUNITY EVENTS

 

eitc

TELL CONGRESS: DON’T PUT CORPORATIONS
AHEAD OF LOW-INCOME WORKING FAMILIES

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is urging you to help us protect tax credits for low income working families. Take a brief moment to send your member of Congress an email to make the tax credits for low-income families permanent by clicking here.

Congress will soon be taking up legislation to extend more than 50 tax breaks, mostly for corporations, at a cost of billions of dollars. However, key provisions of tax credits for low-income working families will expire in two years without action. Congress has passed up the opportunity to make these provisions permanent again and again, but now is the perfect time for them to cement these improvements into law.

Email Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D) and urge them to make sure essential improvements to low-income tax credits stay in place when they take up renewals of corporate tax breaks.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are effective anti-poverty, pro-work and pro-growth measures that help families and some individuals at every stage of life. If Congress fails to act and the improvements made in 2009 to the EITC and CTC are allowed to expire, millions of Americans will be hurt. More than 50 million Americans, including 25 million children, would lose all or part of their tax credit. More than 16 million people, including 8 million children, will be pushed into or deeper into poverty. A single mother with two children working full time at the federal minimum wage would lose her entire Child Tax Credit – over $1,700.

We can’t allow this to happen at home in Central New York or across America. Congress shouldn’t allow this to happen. They should fix this and also increase the very small Earned Income Tax Credit for workers who aren’t raising children, a proposal withbipartisan support. Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer need to hear from you on this issue. Send them your messageTODAY!

Take action and email Congress now.

The phone numbers for Schumer and Gillibrand are at the bottom of this newsletter.

 

syrian refugees

TELL CONGRESS: DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR ON SYRIAN REFUGEES!

Following the tragic events in Paris, members of Congress have hastily introduced a deeply disturbing bill to close our nation’s doors to Syrian refugees fleeing terrorism and persecution in their native land.

While many of our local New York electeds have rightly called this knee-jerk reaction “un-American,” Senator Chuck Schumer has folded to unfounded hysteria and fear-mongering pressures, and stated he thinks “a pause on refugees may be necessary.”
The fact is refugees—including Syrians—undergo the most rigorous screening and security vetting of ANY category of traveler or immigrant to the United States. Instead of being terrorists, Syrian refugees are overwhelmingly families and children desperately fleeing from violent and chaotic forces in a war-torn country – the same kind of violence that struck Paris.

Over the past centuries, the United States has welcomed millions of refugees from all over the world. These refugees have not only been integrated, but have thrived – enriching our society, economy and communities. Now is no time to fall prey to hasty, knee-jerk reactions that feed on fear and intolerance. The City of Utica is a prime example of the success of refugee resettlement programs.

Call Senator Schumer TODAY and ask him to retract his statement and to stay the course on the United States’ humanitarian plans to allow Syrian refugees to go through the refugee resettlement process in the United States.

Dial 202-224-6542
When you are connected you can say:

“My name is _____ and I support the Obama Administration plan to increase humane refugee resettlement for Syrian refugees. In 1980, the U.S. resettled more than 200,000 refugees, and the same is true today as it has been throughout history: people move to make life better for themselves and their families, and make our country stronger. America should welcome Syrian refugees, not close the door on them.”

After you’ve called, click here to report back and tell us what Senator Schumer said.

consumer reports

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS MAJOR AUTO INSURERS CHARGE GOOD DRIVERS 70% MORE IN PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN AMERICAN ZIP CODES THAN IN PREDOMINANTLY WHITE ZIP CODES

Good drivers living in predominantly African American ZIP codes are charged significantly higher premiums than similar drivers in largely white communities, even after accounting for population density and income levels, according to a report released today. The Consumer Federation of America reviewed quotes from the five largest insurers by ZIP code and found that, on average, predominantly African American communities are quoted premiums that are 70 percent higher than similarly situated drivers in predominantly white communities ($1,060 vs. $622).

The report is available here: http://bit.ly/1S4HL64

“These findings suggest a troubling pattern of high rates in African American communities regardless of driver history,” said Tom Feltner, Director of Financial Services at the Consumer Federation of America. “We are not rushing to judgment about why this happens, but it is urgent that regulators, lawmakers, and the industry take a hard look at these findings and address the impact of high auto insurance prices on drivers living in predominantly African American communities.”

The report also found that:

· In the densest urban centers, the average premium in predominantly African American ZIP codes is 60 percent higher than the average premium in equally dense predominantly white urban ZIP codes ($1,797 vs. $1,126).

· In rural ZIP codes, the average premium in predominantly African American ZIP codes is 24 percent more than the average premium in rural, predominantly white ZIP codes ($669 vs. $542).

· The average premium in upper middle income, predominantly African American ZIP codes is 194 percent higher than the average premium charged to a similarly situated driver in an upper middle income, predominantly white ZIP code ($2,113 vs. $717).

· Across the country, Progressive’s and Farmers Insurance’s good driver premiums show the most disparity between predominantly African American and predominantly white ZIP codes, with both companies averaging 92 percent. State Farm, Allstate and GEICO also charge substantially more—62, 56, and 52 percent respectively.

· In several metropolitan regions around the country, including Baltimore, New York, Louisville, Washington, Detroit, Boston, and Orlando, the disparity of premiums is more than 50 percent between predominantly African American and predominantly white ZIP codes.

For the past several years, CFA has studied the challenges faced by low- and moderate-income Americans who need their car but face expensive mandatory auto insurance premiums. CFA’s prior research has shown that blue-collar workers, drivers with lower levels of educational attainment, and drivers with low credit scores pay considerably higher premiums for these basic policies. With this new research, CFA finds that even when controlling for socio-economic factors and population density, drivers who live in African American communities pay much more for the most basic liability-only policies. CFA did not research differences in premiums charged for comprehensive and collision coverage required for any driver whose car is financed.

Data used in this report were acquired from Quadrant Information Services and contain annual premiums each insurer would charge a 30 year-old woman with a perfect driving record, who rents her home, works at a clerical job and has a fair credit score.

Since laws in all states except New Hampshire mandate that drivers purchase at least a basic liability insurance policy that covers accidents caused by the driver, any evidence that certain communities face steeply higher premiums demands investigation and explanation.

“In addition to mandating the purchase of auto insurance, virtually every state has laws forbidding unfair discrimination,” said J. Robert Hunter, Director of Insurance for CFA, who is also an actuary and the former Insurance Commissioner of Texas. “The pricing disparities for state mandated minimum auto insurance coverage quoted to drivers in primarily African American communities are hard to fathom actuarially and look a lot like unfair discrimination.”

CFA will present these findings along with other research on auto insurance pricing to a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on Thursday November 19, 2015 and is calling on regulators and legislators to conduct further investigation into the relationship between insurance rates and race.

The Consumer Federation of America is a national organization of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.

art space

SUPPORT EFFORTS TO BRING ARTIST HOUSING TO UTICA

During the last week, representatives of Artspace Projects Inc., a nonprofit developer of affordable spaces for artists and creative workers, toured Utica to determine the feasibility of developing artist housing in Utica.

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. supports these efforts and believes that the development of affordable rental housing for artists will help to revitalize our community. Developing a community of artists, musicians, poets, digital designers, and writers is critical to making Utica a progressive, thriving, livable, and exciting city. Please contact your elected officials to ask that they support these efforts.

stigma

 

PLEASE CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO AND URGE HIM TO SIGN THE MENTAL HEALTH PUBLIC AWARENESS TAX CHECK OFF BILL (A.632A)

Since the legislature passed the Mental Health Public Awareness Tax Check Off Bill in June, many of you have called asking what you can do to help. Well now is that time. We need your help and support to urge Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law. We are asking you to take one minute out of your day to call Governor Cuomo’s office

The Message is: “Please sign A.632A , the Mental Health Public Awareness Tax Check Off Bill into law. This bill will go a long way to help ending the stigma and discrimination of mental illness”

Since the legislature passed the Mental Health Public Awareness Tax Check Off Bill in June, many of you have called asking what you can do to help. Well now is that time. The Governor has till November 21 to sign the bill into law. We need your help and support to urge Governor Cuomo to sign this bill. We are asking you to take one minute out of your day to call Governor Cuomo’s office

The number to call is (518) 474-8390. Once you call, you will have three options, choose option 3 to speak to a person and give them that message. It is that simple. I just did it and the whole process takes less than a minute.

banking2_1

THE POST OFFICE IS UNDER ATTACK

For the past 80 years, since we built our Social Security system, Wall Street billionaires have been fighting to tear it down. One of their most effective tactics has been closing offices and limiting services from the Social Security Administration, making every interaction as inconvenient as possible.

But this isn’t limited to Social Security—The US Postal Service has been suffering from years of cuts, and has been forced to repeatedly consider service reductions.

We must fight back.

The US Postal Service—like our Social Security system—is a universal service that we all rely on. Instead of looking for ways to reduce that, we should be asking what more the Postal Service can do. One way we can protect and expand the U.S. Postal Service is by allowing them to offer more services such as postal banking.

Click here to call on Postmaster General Brennan to take concrete steps toward implementing postal banking.

Postal Banking is an affordable, non-profit, consumer-driven financial service for all U.S. residents including seniors living on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, veterans, and people living in rural areas.

Right now, nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are underserved by traditional banks and are forced to turn to payday lenders, check cashers, and other financial predators, spending on average 10 percent of their income on fees and services. This totals $103 billion a year in lost income for American families.

Our 30,000 postal branches across the country serve as a critical societal link for our underserved populations and act as a meeting place in many rural communities. In order to prevent the closing of rural post offices, protect 6-day delivery, and protect mail processing facilities across the country, it is critical that the USPS expands its current offerings.

Stand with Social Security Works and our partners in calling on Postmaster General Brennan to take the necessary steps toward implementing postal banking.

When we do, we’ll be expanding services for seniors and people with disabilities and strengthening the USPS for generations to come.

invisible

NATIONAL HOMELESS YOUTH AWARENESS MONTH

The Mohawk Valley Runaway & Homeless Youth Task Force held on November 12 a community education and forum on the challenges faced by “Our Invisible Youth”at Mohawk Valley Community College. Runaway and homeless youth are referred to as “Our Invisible Youth” because they hide their situation and work hard to be like their peers, so those around them are not aware they are homeless. A panel of formerly homeless youth explained why they became homeless, describe their struggles and offer examples of hope. In addition, there was a viewing of essays submitted by local homeless youth and a presentation on the causes of homelessness amongst our youth and possible answers to end it.

While most associate November as the time to give thanks, it is vital to remember that many people struggle on a day to day basis. Basic needs such as food, drink, shelter, and sleep obscure other areas like socialization, learning, working, and even personal safety.

As many as 1.7 million youth experience homelessness each year according to the Department of Justice. Homelessness is terrible for anyone, but youth are especially vulnerable. Not only do they face numerous dangers but have a higher risk of substance abuse, early parenthood, depression, sex trafficking, and more.
So what can you do?

1. Recognize there is a problem, understand the scope, and learn how it impacts the community. Many times homeless youth feel invisible and that no one cares. Help lead strong community message to increase awareness.

2. Understand the reasons why youth are homeless. Some reasons include conflict, abuse, homophobia, discrimination, and poverty.

3. Support programs, agencies, and systems that provide the resources necessary to help homeless youth. Agencies in Oneida County include but are not limited to, Mohawk Valley Community Action, New Horizons, YWCA, Neighborhood Center, John Bosco House, etc.

4. Endorse and support early intervention programs that can help address and even prevent youth homelessness.

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
Irish proverb

COMMUNITY EVENTS

FOLKUS PROJECT CONCERT ON NOVEMBER 20

The Folkus Project – November 20, 2015 – Ann Armstrong and Steven Hughes
Well Pilgrims…its time to saddle up and mosey on down to May Memorial for a little bit of Texas. Join us for some blazing guitar work and sensitive balladry as we present the Texas folk blues stylings of Ann Armstrong and Steven Hughes.

Ann Armstrong’s powerful vocals accompanied by her stellar guitar work, and Steve Hughes’ masterful harmonica and flute provide for a spicy Picadillo. Armstrong is right up there with the great musical exports of Texas! She plays guitar sometimes sweetly, sometimes prickly as an Ocotillo cactus, sings like a steam-powered nightingale and writes songs from a depth of experience. Her constant companion and musical partner Hughes spices up the proceedings with fine harmonica and flute work. Armstrong’s music runs the gamut from love songs to deep blues. Her talents, both as a songwriter and blues performer, are deep and diverse.

Ann Armstrong & Steve Hughes will be performing as part of The Folkus Project on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8:00 PM. Doors open at 7:30 PM. The concert will be held at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society, 3800 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY. Admission is $15.

See the website for ticket information: http://www.folkus.org (“Folk” – because that’s the music we LOVE. “Us” – because that’s WHO WE ARE!). Or, better yet, if you’ve been considering becoming a supporting member of Folkus, now would be a great time. Not only do you help Folkus, but you earn discounts on these and future tickets and guarantee yourself preferred seating at all concerts. For information on memberships, visit: http://www.folkus.org/membership.htm.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

This Friday, November 20, 2015, the Q Center will host a candle light vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance beginning at 8:00 p.m. It’s an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Reporters and the public are invited to attend.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

ACR Health is partnering with another local organization, LGBT Syracuse, to host this event at the Q Center at 617 West Genesee Street.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

Anti-TPP Rally and Press Conference

Saturday Nov. 21, 1-2PM Federal Building 100 S. Clinton St.
The United States is negotiating three massive international treaties–the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TiSA). These agreements, whose contents are classified secrets, will expand global corporate power, harming the planet and people everywhere and destroying democracy. People around the world are rising against the corporate “trade” agenda. Now it is our turn in Syracuse! We are coming together to demand that the first of these deals, the TPP, be stopped and an alternative international economic agreement that puts people and the planet first be negotiated in a transparent and democratic way. To help organize, contact Brian, brianescobar1@gmail.com

Thanksgiving Circle of Peace and Hope
Thu, Nov 26, 10:00 am Willow Bay, north shore of Onondaga Lake
Join with Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation members and supporters to express our gratitude for the presence of the Onondaga Nation in our community and to strengthen our bonds of friendship and solidarity. Please dress for the weather.

Plowshares Craftsfair
December 5 and 6, Nottingham High School
CNY’s premier crafts fair and holiday marketplace. SPC’s biggest fundraiser of the year! Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Contact SPC staff to lend a hand, 472-5478

Street Heat
November-March First Tuesday of each month
December 1st, 4:45 to 5 PM at the main gate of Hancock, East Malloy Rd. Join the Street Heat community as we show people in passing cars that war is NOT the answer. Bring your own signs or use one of ours.

Petition: The Workers’ Center of CNY is circulating a petition to demand better working conditions at Mark’s Farm dairy. September 1, two farm workers were fired from Marks Dairy Farms (near Watertown) the day after going door-to-door telling their co-workers that they are allowed to have visitors at their homes at the farm. This past spring, a farm supervisor, Michael Talbot, used physical violence against a worker (causing a concussion) and then fired him. Sign and share the petition – the goal is to collect 1000 signatures.

Exhibition: RESISTANCE: Work by Najee Dorsey
Until Saturday, 12/5. 10am-5pm. Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St.
Mixed media works by artist, collector and founder/CEO of Black Art in America, Najee Dorsey. His work features heroes of the civil rights movements and other 20th century activists. Partially inspired by the Occupy Movement, Dorsey’s renditions include the Haitian Freedom Fighter Toussaint L’ouverture, a Native American man taking up modern arms, and an ode to unsung she-ro Claudette Colvin, amongst others.

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
SUPPORT GROUP

Wkly Meetings EVERY MONDAY (except holidays)
6:30 – 8:00PM – Sister Regina Conf. Rm
1st floor (near the admitting office)

ST. ELIZABETH HOSPITAL
2209 GENESEE STREET, UTICA, NY

Persons diagnosed with OCD are invited to attend. There are no fees.

The Group is professionally assisted the 3rd Monday of each month.
For more info: 315-768-7031
e-mail: info@cnyocf.org
http://www.cnyocf.org

Brian’s OCD Support Group of Utica – created in honor & memory of Brian C. Connell

CONTACT YOUR SENATORS
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/

JOIN THE BOARD OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

We are looking for committed, passionate people of different backgrounds to serve on our Board. You must believe in progressive values, like to work hard, but have fun, and want to make positive change in our community. Please contact us if you are interested.

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./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/265689434204

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 8, 2015

November 9, 2015

mlk

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER

NOVEMBER 8, 2015

Vol. 2, No. 10

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

 

You can view newsletter on: 

https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

 

U.S. HOUSE AMENDMENT WOULD ELIMINATE 12 MILLION

IN FEDERAL FUNDING TO CENTRO

 

URGE CONGRESS TO VOTE NO ON THE TPP

THE SECRETLY NEGOTIATED TPP WILL IMPACT YOUR LIFE IN MANY WAYS; TOGETHER WE CAN STOP IT

 

#NEWECONOMYWEEK STARTS MONDAY — REGISTER TODAY FOR ONLINE PANELS ON REPARATIONS, ENERGY DEMOCRACY, CAPITALISM AND MORE

 

TELL GOVERNOR CUOMO: LET FITZPATRICK CLOSE

 

LOCAL ACTIVISTS TO MEET ON THURSDAY

 

PUBLIC HEARING ON NEW YORK’S ENERGY VISION

PETITION: STAND WITH FIRED WORKERS: TELL MARKS DAIRY FARM TO RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS!

 

VETERANS’ DAY NOW AND IN YEARS TO COME

 

 U.S. HOUSE AMENDMENT WOULD ELIMINATE 12 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING TO CENTRO

 save centro

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. issued a statement last week  opposing a last-minute amendment to a long-term highway bill, approved late Wed., Nov. 4 by the U.S. House of Representatives,  that would gut millions of dollars in much needed federal transit funding.

Under the amendment, which was approved by a voice vote, the 5340 High Density States Program would be eliminated and adversely impact transit agencies all across New York State as well as those in six other states and the District of Columbia. CENTRO would lose more than $2,000,000 a year in federal funding at a time when the agency is financially struggling to keep up with demand. The cuts would result in reductions in services and routes, hurting local transit users, particularly the elderly, low wage workers, and the disabled.

“The cuts would hurt our region’s most vulnerable citizens who depend the most on public transportation, including the elderly and the disabled,” Assemblyman Brindisi said. “It will lead directly to reductions in routes and cut backs on services in places like Utica and Syracuse.”  (Utica Observer Dispatch November 6, 2015)

The CNYCIA is asking for the restoration of program cuts, which are particularly harsh when demand for transit is at an all-time high and transit dollars are hard to come by.  The elimination of the program would cut federal funding by as much as 24 percent in areas of New York State.  In Utica and Syracuse, CENTRO would have its funding slashed by approximately $2,000,000 annually

“The recently passed House Surface Transportation bill eliminates transit funding dedicated to states with high population-density, including New York, a change that will significantly impact transit systems across the state, said NYPTA President Carm Basile and CEO of the Capital District Transit Agency (CDTA) in Albany. “A 20% or more cut in funding will force us to ask our riders to pay more for less service, and slow economic growth in our communities.”

Representatives from New York State transit agencies across the state and national transit advocates joined in NYPTA-led conference call Friday afternoon to address what some called a “devastating” turn of events. NYPTA plans to engage transit agencies in six other states impacted to include New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland as well as the District of Columbia. According to the Post-Standard in Syracuse, House members representing rural states have long tried to redirect funding from the High Density States program run by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Opponents to the amendment expect to fight it by working with the Senate, which is slated to soon work on their version of the long-term highway bill.

 

URGE CONGRESS TO VOTE NO ON THE TPP

tpp2

Text for the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been released, and after years of waiting, we now know why the administration insisted on keeping it from the public for so long: this pact is a disaster for working families.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Please urge your Congress members to vote NO on the job-killing TPP.

If the TPP is approved by Congress, this awful deal would offshore good-paying American jobs and lower wages in the jobs that are left, increasing inequality by forcing Americans into competition with workers abroad paid less than 65 cents an hour. Unfortunately, this is the all-too-predictable result of negotiating a trade deal in secret with notorious human rights abusers like Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. Put simply: it stinks.

As bad as the process for negotiating the TPP was, however, the just-released TPP text is actually worse than we imagined. Here are just a few examples of how the TPP will undercut jobs and wages:

  • The TPP forces U.S. employers into competition with companies exploiting workers in places like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is just a third of what it is in China’s manufacturing centers, and Malaysia, where an estimated one-third of all electronics workers are victims of human trafficking.
  • The TPP enables products assembled from parts made in “third party” countries that are not subject to any TPP obligations, such as China, to entire the U.S. duty-free, undercutting U.S. manufacturing.
  • The TPP includes procurement provisions effectively barring Buy American and Buy Local government purchasing preferences.
  • The TPP includes controversial investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) provisions that make it safer — and, in fact, create incentives — for U.S. firms to offshore jobs to foreign countries where they can exploit low-wage labor under privileged foreign investor status rather than be forced to deal with the countries’ regulator processes and courts.
  • We also know that the TPP fails include the currency safeguards demanded by a bipartisan majority in Congress that would prevent known currency manipulators like Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia from devaluing their currencies to gain an unfair trade advantage over U.S. employers.

The only good news about the TPP is that we can still stop it, and that the timing is actually on our side. A Congressional vote on this beast can’t be scheduled until next year — at which point we’re in the heart of election season. With your help, we can make sure a majority of elected officials listen to constituents rather than the job offshorers.

Please contact your Congress members now and urge them to vote against this awful agreement. 

 

 tpp

THE SECRETLY NEGOTIATED TPP WILL IMPACT YOUR LIFE IN MANY WAYS; TOGETHER WE CAN STOP IT

 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

Finally, the text of the TPP has been released. It is not as bad as we expected – it is worse.

Now we see why the US Trade Representative and President Obama wanted to keep the TPP secret for four years after it was ratified. It if had not been for a very aggressive fight against fast track trade authority in which hundreds of thousands of people participated, we would not be seeing the text. One of the compromises they had to make in order to get just enough votes to pass fast track was to agree to release the text publicly for 60 days before Congress officially began to consider ratification.

Why did they want to keep it secret? Because they knew that if the people saw the text it had much less chance of becoming law.

Here are 10 examples of things they wanted you not to know.

  1. Obama Trade More Unjust Than Bush Trade: The Obama administration is claiming that this is the most progressive trade agreement in history – a model for the 21stCentury. In fact, the TPP is actually weaker than every agreement since the Bush-era agreements pf 2007. The TPP has rolled back on some of the progress activists made during that era on issues like limiting monopolies to ensure access to medicines and protection of the environment. Trade pacts had included a security exception at ports that allowed governments to decide how to protect their countries security. The TPP removes that exception to trade tribunal investor-state dispute settlement.
  2. Replaces Federal Courts With Kangaroo Trade Tribunals: TPP dramatically weakens Article III constitutional courts, the third branch of government, and replaces federal courts with corporate tribunals that are designed of, by and for foreign corporations. These trade tribunals will be corporate kangaroo courts with no standards for transparency or due process common in federal courts and courts in TPP countries. The “judges” will be three corporate lawyers who can also serve as advocates for corporations suing in the tribunals. This conflict of interest would not be unethical in federal courts. Thus there is an incentive for a “judge” to expand the power of corporations in their decisions, so they can then sue on behalf of corporations they represent. There is no appeal so these “judges” will not have their decisions reviewed. The tribunal has full discretion in determining how much governments must pay in damages, which can include “expected future profits.” Even when governments win, under TPP rules they can be ordered to pay for the tribunal’s costs and legal fees. It does not matter why a government put in place a new law, e.g. an environmental crisis, financial crisis or new health discovery is not relevant.
  1. Expands Trade Tribunals to Undermine Virtually Any Policy in the Public Interest: The TPP builds on the phony corporate court system, it doubles the number of corporations that could use this system to challenge U.S. policies by newly extending it to more than 9,000 firms operating in the United States. For the first time intellectual property terms and challenges to financial regulations can occur in the corporate tribunals. Under this tribunal system only foreign corporations can sue, US corporations do not have the right to sue so US corporations have less rights than foreign corporations. Unlike real court systems where people impacted can sue if they are damaged or unions can sue if workers are damaged or environmentalists can sue to protect the environment – under the corporate tribunal system only corporations and governments can sue.
  1. Major Expansion of Immigration Causing Lower Wages: The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, claims that the TPP will have no impact on immigration. Now that the TPP has been released we can see this is an outright lie. The TPP does in fact deal with immigration. Chapters 10 and 12 will increase immigration by expanding the number of L1 worker visas and the number of tourist visas for business purposes. Under Chapter 10 foreign corporations can come to the United States to compete with US companies. These foreign corporations can bring their employees with them – they do not have to hire US workers or pay US wages. They will compete with US workers who are providing the same service, thereby displacing US workers and causing a downward spiral in wages. If the US does not allow foreign corporations entry into the US they can sue in the corporate trade tribunals and be forced to do so.
  1. Environmental Standards That Cannot Be Enforced: Environmental standards are written in very vague language making them impossible to enforce. For example the TPP says “Each Party shall strive to ensure that its environmental laws . . .” How do you enforce a standard that says “strive to” as the requirement? Or, each country agrees “to combat” trade in illegal lumber; another unenforceable phrase. Countries are required to “deter” illegal fishing. What does that mean? If they said “ban” illegal fishing you would have something enforceable but “deter” is too vague to enforce.

 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

  1. Prevent Legislation To Combat Climate Change: The greatest planetary crisis of our times is climate change. How many times in this nearly 6,000 page document is climate change mentioned? Zero. Not once. In fact the TPP will undermine climate change legislation and policy by encouraging more extreme extraction and export of oil and gas. It will give big oil the power to sue in corporate tribunals to prevent any laws written to prevent extraction in order to protect the Earth from climate change. And, corporate trade agreements will undermine any climate solutions that come out of the UN meeting in Paris. The TPP will be law and any climate agreement will not be able to be inconsistent with the rights of oil and gas to extract, export and profit from carbon polluting products.
  1. Unsafe, Inadequately Labeled Food: The TPP will undermine food safety as big agribusiness and food corporations had language included that will undermine U.S. food safety oversight and expose consumers to risky imported foods. Corporations can challenge border inspections by giving corporations new powers to second guess inspectors and push uninspected food onto the market. The US will also be required to accept foreign food safety standards that are weaker than US standards. TPP is the first trade agreement to provide specific biotechnology protections like GMO’s. Agribusiness and biotech seed companies can use trade rules to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling.
  1. End of Buy America: No Preference for ‘Made In America’ products as the Federal Government cannot give preference to US products in their purchases, known as “Buy America.” Foreign bidders must be treated as equal to US bidders. This mean the federal government cannot stimulate the economy by creating jobs within its own borders but will be required to use their spending in ways that will create jobs in other countries. And, developing nations cannot use their limited funds to create jobs in their country but must be open to bidders from developed nations. The TPP requires negotiations within three years on applying these rules to state and local governments.
  1. Open Internet Threatened: Internet service providers become copyright police enforcing expanded copyright laws with the power to take down websites or ISPs face high fines. Copyrights are expanded until 70 years after the death of the creator, keeping information, art and more out of the public domain. It does not include the “fair use” provisions of current copyright law. The TPP attacks whistle blowers by broadly criminalizing “trade secrets” and expands trade tribunals to allow corporations to sue for intellectual property damage. TPP poses a grave threat to our basic right to information and free speech on the web, and could easily be abused to criminalize common online activities and enforce widespread internet censorship.

 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP

  1. Threatens Public Health Systems Including Medicare and Medicaid: The TPP threatens health systems designed to serve the public interest like Medicare, Medicaid and single payer systems in other countries. It does so by giving greater power to pharmaceutical companies to influence the reimbursement costs for purchase of pharmaceutical drugs when even their advertising is included in the cost of the drug. TPP “recognize[s] the value” of pharmaceutical products or medical devices through their “objectively demonstrated therapeutic significance,” regardless of whether there are effective, affordable alternatives. TPP makes it much more difficult for Medicare to negotiate lower prices. The TPP also blocks generic drugs from entering the market by expanding patents from five years by allowing an additional three years for new forms, uses or methods of the drug.

These are just some of the reasons people are rising up against the TPP. A ‘movement of movements’ has developed that represents millions of Americans who oppose the TPP. This November 14 to 18 join us in Washington, DC as we protest to show the DC power structure our opposition to the TPP.  And join us in telling the congressional leadership to stop the TPP by signing this petition. We can stop this disastrous trade pact if we rise up together and say ‘No’ to the TPP.

 new econpny week

#NEWECONOMYWEEK STARTS MONDAY — REGISTER TODAY FOR ONLINE PANELS ON REPARATIONS, ENERGY DEMOCRACY, CAPITALISM AND MORE

Next week is going to be big. Starting Monday, thousands of people and dozens of organizations throughout the U.S. will elevate the public conversation about the ideas that can transform society and build an economy where people and the planet matter.  The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is asking that you participate in the activities on the Internet and social media.   We are looking for local citizens to help us organize a community-wide meeting on building New Economy. In Central New York.

This November 9-15, the New Economy Coalition will host “New Economy Week: From Austerity to Prosperity”—a public conversation about the ideas that can transform society and build an economy where people and the planet matter. One year out from the 2016 US Presidential Election, New Economy Week will convene some of the sharpest writers and activists to share their insights on what’s needed to reach a democratic and fair world.

There’s already widespread awareness that this system doesn’t work, especially for those on the margins of society. What’s less clear is what we can do about it. Now in its third year, New Economy Week 2015 will challenge us to explore what systemic change really looks like. We hope that by drawing attention to big ideas and concrete examples of real solutions, we will expand what’s politically possible, bringing us closer to a just, sustainable, and democratic society.
Here are three ways you can participate in New Economy Week: From Austerity to Prosperity:
Register for an online panel

Voices Of New Economies: Opportunity For All
Hear from a diversity of leaders in Canada’s robust New Economy movement.
Organized by the Canadian CED Network and One Earth
Monday 11/9 at 1pm EST

Using the “C-Word”: Will the New Economy Be Capitalism, or Something Else?
Gar Alperovitz, John Fullerton, Julie Matthaei, Sohnie Black, and Keith Harrington
Presented by The New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine
Monday 11/9 at 1:30pm EST

Cooperative Strategies For an Inclusive 21st Century Economy
Featuring organizers from Platform Cooperativism and The Union Co-op Symposium
Monday 11/9 at 3:30pm EST

Reparations: What It Looks Like and How We Get There
A conversation with Ed Whitfield
Tuesday 11/10 at 2:00pm EST

A Democracy for the 99 Percent: Millennial Movements Taking Power
Dante Barry, Yong Jung Cho, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Flores-Quilty, Austin Thompson
Wednesday 11/11 afternoon (TBD)

What is Energy Democracy and Why Does It Matter?
Janet Redman, Denise Fairchild, Miya Yoshitani, and Meghan Zaldivar
Presented by The Energy Democracy Project, Next System Project, and the New Economy Coalition
Thursday, 11/12 at 2:00PM EST

Contribute to the conversation on social media

Over the course of the week our partners and a wide range of online publications will be offering will be putting out articles, interviews, images, and videos, in response to five challenges (one per day) standing between us and a New Economy. Keep an eye out and add your voice to the conversation using the hashtag  #NewEconomyWeek.

Become involved in local efforts to transform the economy.   The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be organizing a community education event to raise public awareness of the New Economy movement.
Thanks for joining the conversation and speaking up for an economy that puts people and planet first.

 

 nuclear power 

TELL GOVERNOR CUOMO: LET FITZPATRICK CLOSE

The Central new York Citizens in Action, Inc. supports the efforts of the Alliance for a Green Economy to close the FitzPatrick reactor near Oswego and create clean energy alternatives.

As you may know by now, Entergy has announced that it wants to close its Fukushima-style FitzPatrick reactor near Oswego at the end of its current fuel cycle — sometime late next year.

That’s terrific news because, as the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) has been pointing out for years, FitzPatrick lacks a viable containment to protect the public from radiation in the case of an accident. Entergy’s decision is something we and our supporters and allies across New York (that means YOU!) have been fighting for since the Peace Council helped found AGREE in 2011. And AGREE’s work has built on the decades of action that people here in Syracuse and across Central New York have taken to oppose nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

 

Now we need your help because this fight is not over yet.

 

According to recent media reports, we may be about to see this victory slip through our fingers. New York Senator Schumer and Governor Cuomo have vowed to prevent FitzPatrick’s shutdown, and now Entergy and Cuomo are reportedly in negotiations to save FitzPatrick. Saving the plant would mean forcing New York’s electricity consumers or taxpayers to bail out the plant.

Please sign the Beyond FitzPatrick petition today!

 

Then, even more importantly, please take the extra step to call Governor Cuomo. (518) 474-8390. Press #2 to leave a recorded message. Press #3 to leave a message with a person.
Entergy has said publicly that an independent study found the plant is not needed for reliability in the region. FitzPatrick can close and the lights will not go out. And just last week, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) jointly published a new report on FitzPatrick, showing the reactor can be replaced with clean energy at a lower cost to consumers, with money left over to displace a coal or gas plant. Our replacement scenario would also create more than twice the number of jobs sustained by Entergy at FitzPatrick. You can read this report here. We know that FitzPatrick’s shutdown will leave New Yorkers safer, and, with implementation of the plan we provide in our White Paper, will make the region economically stronger. It’s a classic win-win situation.

Can we count on you to sign the Beyond FitzPatrick petition today?

And will you please call the Governor and tell him not to cut a deal with Entergy to save FitzPatrick? (518) 474-8390.
New York can take a leadership role by allowing FitzPatrick to close and pursuing the closure as an opportunity to further build a dynamic and cost-effective clean energy system. This will help not only with other nuclear shutdowns, but also with equally important coal plant shut-downs. In short, your action now matters.

Credit:

Jessica Azulay
Program Director
Alliance for a Green Economy
There is a lot more information about FitzPatrick and the work to close it on the Beyond FitzPatrick website and the Alliance for a Green Economywebsite.

Utica Activist Networking Meeting – Thursday, November 12

 

LOCAL ACTIVISTS TO MEET ON THURSDAY

We would like to invite you to a special networking meeting this Thursday, November 12 at 7:00pm that is open to local activist, community and student groups. The reason why this meeting was called is because there are so many great organizations and individuals doing great things in the area; however, the reality is that there is a level of disjointedness, of organizations not working together as much as they should given what we’re up against. Activists from the Love and Rage Media Collective, the Mohawk Valley Freedom School and Black Rose would like to invite you to come and meet with local activists from various organizations to see what we can do to create unity and solidarity so we can build power in a real way at the grassroots. Among other things we will discuss will be the proposal to organize for a social justice conference this spring called the Utica Social Forum. Of course, we would also love to hear about your ideas.

The meeting will be held this Thursday at 7:00pm at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School (located at Cornerstone Community Church) at 500 Plant Street in Utica. Parking is available on the street or in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot across the street. The meeting will be held in the school building. Go upstairs as you enter and take a right. The meeting room will be on your right.

Feel free to email us at loveandragemedia@gmail.com or call 315 240-3149 with any questions.

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING ON NEW YORK’S ENERGY VISION

 

Wednesday, November 18 6pm Clary Middle School Auditorium: 100 Amidon Drive, Syracuse, NY 13205

The Public Service Commission and Governor Cuomo have been engaged in rule-making and major regulatory changes aimed at moving New York toward a cleaner, more affordable energy system. The overhaul of New York’s energy policy, Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), will change utility regulations, energy ownership rules, programs for renewables and weatherization, and electricity rates. But this is not a guaranteed outcome. Utility companies, for-profits and policy makers are pushing market-driven changes over public funding and regulations. Make REV R.E.A.L! (Renewable, Equitable, Accountable and Local) Wednesday, Oct. 18 6- 7 PM: Info Session 7 PM: Statement Hearing *SPC is a coalition member of AGREE

Agree: Alliance for a Green Economy* Jessica Azulay, Alliance for a Green Economy: jessica@agreenewyork.org

PETITION: STAND WITH FIRED WORKERS: TELL MARKS DAIRY FARM TO RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS!

The Workers’ Center of CNY is circulating a petition to demand better working conditions at Mark’s Farm dairy. September 1, two farm workers were fired from Marks Dairy Farms (near Watertown) the day after going door-to-door telling their co-workers that they are allowed to have visitors at their homes at the farm. This past Spring, a farm supervisor, Michael Talbot, used physical violence against a worker (causing a concussion) and then fired him. Sign and share the petition – the goal is to collect 1000 signatures.

 

VETERANS’ DAY NOW AND IN YEARS TO COME

By Rick Cooley

Coming up later this week is Veterans’ Day, a day of reflection and demonstration of appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices of our military personnel. Right now, there are thousands of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine men and women stationed across and globe ostensibly defending our nation against threats posed by other nations and terrorist groups. Many are in harm’s way in combat zones (whether they are officially designated as such or not). Unlike Memorial Day, this holiday honors the living current and former service members as well as those who have fallen in combat.

Honoring our service members means different things to different folks, both inside and outside of government. The phrase “Support Our Troops” is a good illustration of this. Some seem to feel supporting our soldiers in time of war means unquestioning allegiance to the policies of our government during such times. Others think that under some circumstances, the best way to support our troops is to not engage in combat to begin with, or at least to stop when it becomes apparent that the war is not accomplishing its stated purpose.

The current areas where our troops are deployed and serving in the most dangerous conditions seem to be Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria. Our involvement in those countries has been controversial for years, both at home and abroad. Initial involvement in Afghanistan was met with a great degree of public approval, coming on the heels of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this country and the connection with training camps located in Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq, though popular at first, gradually lost its luster when the stated reasons for conducting the operation (weapons of mass destruction) turned out to be overblown or downright false. Syria seems to be a case where our leaders are intent on regime change in a civil conflict that has persisted for years with many casualties and the creation of a multitude of refugees driven from their homes. The quagmire also involves numerous other militant groups, including ISIS and elements of the military forces of most of the nations in the region.

Regardless of the political or humanitarian value of these and every other military adventure undertaken by our country throughout its history, most of us have valued the willingness of men and women to participate in what they see as the defense of their country and the way of life we enjoy here. When differences of opinion as to the validity of the politics involved arise, the individual sacrifices and efforts put forth by the service members are properly commended by most of us. Most believe that, when we are involved in armed conflict or striving to avoid it from a position of strength, we must ensure that our people have the weapons and defenses necessary for them to successfully carry our their mission.

The biggest disconnect in the “Support Our Troops” rhetoric comes after actual combat ceases for the individual soldier. Often, those politicians most eager to put our troops in harm’s way in pursuit of achieving some political goal or defend us from a threat (real or imagined), will go all out in making sure the Pentagon is given the arms and ammunition to carry out the mission without regard to the cost. The only time they seem to care about the price tag is after the war is over and it comes time to take care of repairing the damage to the people directly involved. Often, that is the time veterans and others among the impoverished, the aged, children and workers are asked to sacrifice in the form of austerity in order to pay costs incurred in the war by cutting programs that benefit them, while avoiding asking the wealthiest (who have benefitted the most from the conflict) to pay their fair share.

The most ardent supporters of spending mega-billions on new and improved planes, ships, tanks, missiles and all the other tools of the combat trade suddenly become cost-conscious in the extreme when it comes to funding the VA Medical system or ensuring that jobs and training are available for transitioning from military to civilian life. Part of the problem, I believe, is that our military has become significantly different than it was prior to the end of the draft after the Vietnam War. The all-volunteer force has meant that far fewer people from middle and upper socio-economic backgrounds have become involved in joining the military. While some former military members do become involved in the political process, they are far outnumbered by those whose adult lives have not become inexorably altered by their military experience.

The fact that our military is now comprised entirely of individuals who volunteer instead of being conscripted (forget for the moment the notion of economic reasons for joining, or the fact that the military is one arena in our society where advancement is available for many who may never see such opportunity outside of it) means that our military forces are composed of a much smaller subset of our citizens than used to be the case during the two World Wars, Korea or Vietnam. As unfair as the draft was during Vietnam (who can forget all the chicken hawks in Congress and the Bush Administration during the run-up to the Iraq invasion who got multiple deferments for various reasons and never had to serve even with the draft), the draft did force many people to participate who otherwise might have preferred not to. Now a smaller segment of our society serves. Repeat tours of duty to multiple battlefields affect many more profoundly than was the case in wars of shorter duration in the past. Fewer individuals are directly involved in combat. The ability of the vast majority of the population to relate to the very different life experiences of the service members becomes strained as well.

Now, as we reflect on the very different experiences of veterans from the past 70-odd years of warfare and peacetime military service still living in our society, we need to realize that justice means we owe them more than many of our austerity promoting war mongers willingly admit. Some of the biggest political advocates for supporting our troops are also among those who are the most likely to oppose the wars they have been sent to fight in. Being willing to send other people or their children to risk their lives in ways that you studiously avoid for yourselves and yours does not say so much about your patriotism as does your willingness and ability to ensure that such sacrifice is kept to a minimum and that those who do participate are adequately cared for upon completion of their service.

We need to appreciate the efforts of those who served in our military, whether they saw actual combat or not. Their willingness to serve knowing what it could potentially cost them is commendable in and of itself. The goal, of course, is ultimately to reach the point where creating new veterans is no longer necessary. That cannot happen so long as so many of those in positions of power choose to seek solution to differences through force and violence rather than negotiations. The telling point in US history on this point was after World War II, when the Department of War was changed to the Department of Defense. I don’t believe we’ve fought anything approaching a defensive war since. That includes especially the ones we are in the process of deciding whether or not to escalate now or contemplate starting in the not-too-distant future. I’d rather vote for someone like Bernie Sanders who voted against starting the Iraq War but has fought hard in his years in Congress to advocate on behalf of veterans than someone who supported that war and subsequently fought tooth and nail to save money by denying them their due benefits.

Bottom line for me in this is – Don’t start a war you aren’t willing to pay for. Don’t create a veteran you are unwilling to reintegrate into civilian society and provide with the necessary health care (including mental health) and other tools they need to become well-adjusted members of the society and nation they spent so much time and effort to defend. Furthermore, don’t send other people’s sons and daughters to their deaths to protect those who are permitted and encouraged to refuse to serve or even to deny responsibility for paying their fair share in the defense of the society they benefit from living in.

JOIN THE BOARD OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

We are looking for  committed, passionate people of different backgrounds to serve on our Board.   You must believe in progressive values, like to work hard, but have fun, and want to make positive change in our community.   Please contact us if you are interested.

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./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/265689434204

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION – NOVEMBER 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

quebec

 

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
NOVEMBER 1, 2015
Vol. 2, No. 9

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

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

HEADLINES

FEDERAL BUDGET – WE DID IT! (FOR NOW…)

CNYCIA SUPPORTS A SENSIBLE AND MOREL FEDERAL BUDGET

SUPPORT HOUSING PROGRAMS UNDER
THE NEW BUDGET DEAL

COREY’S HOUSE FUNDRAISER
SET FOR NOVEMBER 6

CNYCIA JOINS STATE-WIDE EFFORT
TO ADDRESS BOMB TRAINS

CNYCIA ATTENDS NYRL ANNUAL
MEETING IN ALBANY

SHARE YOUR STORIES OF MORTGAGE REDLINING

BRING ON THE ROBOTS

no more cuts

FEDERAL BUDGET – WE DID IT! (FOR NOW…)

While you were sleeping, around 3 a.m. on Friday, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 to raise the debt limit and provide two years of sequestration relief. In the 64-35 vote, 18 Republicans voted in favor of final passage, including Majority Leader McConnell, Majority Whip Cornyn, and Republican Conference Chairman Thune. Meanwhile, 35 GOP senators voted against the agreement, including Senators Blunt, Isakson, Paul, Cruz and Rubio. Forty-four Democrats and two independent senators backed the package.

The legislation heads to the president’s desk roughly 72 hours after it was unveiled early this week. Following passage, President Obama issued this statement:https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/30/statement-president

Advocates should take time to celebrate over the weekend. But the fight is FAR from over and we’ll need to hit the ground running next week.

Federal budget cuts would have a devastating impact on the City of Utica and Central New York. Federal funding provides important programs and services for area residents. Our community is great need for federal assistance such as housing, medical care, and other nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs Forty nine percent of children in Utica live in poverty.

This budget deal is just the first step. Now the usual appropriations process that spans over several months will be crammed into just a couple of weeks. The specific schedule is not yet known (may be unveiled early next week), but we know that leadership and the House and Senate appropriations cardinals are getting to work NOW to divvy up the $33 billion in nondefense discretionary (NDD) sequestration relief ($25 billion + $8 billion in OCO) across the 11 subcommittees. These 302(b) allocations mean everything, as they will largely determine the fate of the individual agencies, programs, projects, and activities you care about.

With 302(b)s in hand, the appropriations subcommittees will then get to work in re-writing appropriations bills to ultimately be compiled in an omnibus measure. The goal is to pass an omnibus before the continuing resolution expires December 11.

It is important to note that the threat of a shutdown still looms large. The President has made it clear he will not sign legislation that contains harmful “policy riders” that undermine his priorities. As a community, we must stay together and tell Congress to pass “clean” spending bills free of riders. Whether or not riders impact your priorities directly, we ALL stand to benefit from a clean omnibus that avoids a shutdown.

More from Senator Harry Reid on the rider issue, and Democrats’ plans to block it here: http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/harry-reid-omnibus-spending-rider-interview/

Over the coming weeks, we will be shifting gears to focus our efforts on #NoRiders. We hope you’ll join us! Stay tuned for more…

moral budget

 

CNYCIA SUPPORTS A SENSIBLE
AND MOREL FEDERAL BUDGET

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is opposed to further cuts to nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs that keep Americans healthy and secure. As evidenced in 2013 report Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Make Us Sicker Poorer and Less Secure and subsequent sector-specific reports, these cuts are already dragging down our economic recovery, denying children educational opportunities, leaving low-income seniors without food, hindering scientific discovery, delaying justice, compromising public health and safety, eroding our infrastructure, and threatening our ability to address emergencies around the world. Instead, we believe that funding for human service, health, and educational programs must be increased to address important needs. CNYCIA is opposed to sequestration or automatic spending cuts that are misguided attempts to reduce the federal deficit. If the 1% and the top corporations were taxed at reasonable levels, there would be no significant federal deficit. We are committed to the following positions:

Balanced Approach – For too long, lawmakers have tried to balance the budget on the back of the discretionary portion of the budget, which experts widely recognize is not responsible for our growing federal debt. In order to effectively and responsibly reduce the deficit, lawmakers must ensure that all portions of the budget, including revenue and entitlements, are on the table and enact a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

The Parity Principle – In the media, a majority of the stories about sequestration are focused on the impact of the cuts on the defense side of the ledger. However, the cuts are equally split between defense and NDD programs. Thus, we urge lawmakers to continue the precedent set in the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and ensure that defense and nondefense programs are treated equally. For every dollar of sequestration relief granted to defense, NDD must receive at least one dollar of relief.

No More NDD Cuts – NDD programs play a vital role in the health and well-being of our lives and communities. As a result of sequestration and other austerity measures enacted since 2011, NDD funding in 2014 was about 15 percent below 2010 levels, adjusted for inflation. Without action to stop sequestration, in 2016 NDD programs will decline to 3.1 percent of GDP — equal to the lowest level in at least 50 years. Deficit reduction efforts must recognize the contributions NDD programs have already made, and the cuts already sustained.

 

pdf-4-mb-national-low-income-housing-coalition

 

SUPPORT HOUSING PROGRAMS UNDER
THE NEW BUDGET DEAL

URGE YOUR LEGISLATOR TO PRIORITIZE
FUNDING FOR HOUSING PROGRAMS
AND STOP THE RAID ON THE NHTF

Thanks in large part to the hard work of advocates across the country, approved a two year budget deal that will provide relief from sequestration. While this is welcome news, it does not guarantee greater funding for housing programs. Housing advocates must act now to inform their legislators of their priorities. The fate of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) and other key housing programs still hangs in the balance.

BACKGROUND

Earlier this year, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed their respective Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) bills for FY16 under the constraints of the sequester caps. Both bills resulted in drastic cuts for housing programs.

The proposed budget deal, which has passed the House, will raise the sequester caps by $50 billion in FY16 and $30 billion in FY17. The deal maintains parity between defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending, resulting in a $25 billion increase to NDD spending for FY16. Congress must now renegotiate how it will allocate federal funds across NDD programs. Your lawmakers have the opportunity to enact a THUD spending bill that provides housing programs the funds they need to continue serving our country’s poorest families.

TAKE ACTION

Congress needs to make housing programs a priority. Contact your Senators and Representative and ask him or her to:

Stop the raid on the NHTF and leave it out of the appropriations process.
· Fully fund Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA).
· Fully fund the Public Housing Capital and Operating Accounts.
· Fully Fund Homeless Assistance Grants.
· Stop the drastic cuts to the HOME program.
· Fully fund Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811).
· Fully fund Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
· Oppose the expansion of the Moving to Work demonstration unless there are significant reforms.

To contact your legislator, call the Congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351, or click below.

 

corey

COREY’S HOUSE FUNDRAISER
SET FOR NOVEMBER 6

A group of community residents is seeking to raise money to restore the Gillmore Village Basketball Court, put a memorial at the park, and rededicate the basketball court to the memory of Corey Carr. They will be holding a fundraiser on November 6th 2015 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at Valentino’s Banquet Hall

Corey Carr, whose family lived at Gillmore Village, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bike home from a game on July 16, 1995. Shortly after that the city held a dedication ceremony and dedicated the basketball court to him and called it “Corey’s House” because Corey loved basketball that was his passion. He played basketball day and night no matter the season; even in the cold, snowy winters he would shovel the basketball court to play basketball. The basketball court and park has since fell into disrepair and the plaque is gone. We would not only like to do this for the memory of Corey Carr, but also for the current generation and generations to come to enjoy a new basketball court and repaired park.

Please consider buying a ticket to support restoring the park. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from Rebecca at (315)790-2126 or Brenda at (571) 215-8450.

Corey’s House Fundraising Dinner Banquet at
Valentino’s Banquet Hall
3899 Oneida Street, New Hartford, NY 13413

Please Come Out and Help Us Raise Funds to Restore and Rededicate “Corey’s House”, The Basketball Court at Gillmore Village Park.
Price: $25.00 (All Proceeds go to restoring “Corey’s House”)
For tickets Contact: Rebecca at (315)790-2126 or Brenda at (571) 215-8450
Or
Email: gillmorevillagepark@yahoo.com
Date: Friday November 6th 2015
Time: 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Location: Valentino’s Banquet Hall 3899 Oneida Street, New Hartford, NY 13413

 

oil train blast zone

CNYCIA JOINS STATE-WIDE EFFORT
TO ADDRESS BOMB TRAINS

Oil transport by rail poses serious health and safety threats to our communities. In fact, Utica is situated in an oil train blast zone. To continue our efforts to increase awareness of these threats and to develop a state-wide strategic action plan to address this concern, the CNYCIA participated in a statewide public meeting on October 24 in Albany. The featured guest speaker was Marilaine Savard of the Lake Mégantic Citizen’s committee. in 2013, Lake Mégantic in Quebec, Canada suffered the worst oil train disaster in history, which killed 47 people. Marilane shared her community’s story at the meeting. Since then, oil trains continue to derail and explode with five already this year. Four of the derailments occurred within just four weeks.

quebec spokesperson

John Furman with Marilaine Savard

 

Exploding crude oil trains do not belong on the nation’s rails, and 25 million Americans — most of them people of color — do not deserve to be living in a blast zone. The Department of Transportation needs to take responsibility, and rather than put forward wholly inadequate rules that jeopardize the health and safety of communities along rail lines, the administration should ban bomb trains outright.

For the health and safety of all Americans, we need to leave dirty, volatile fuels like tar sands and Bakken crude in the ground. We don’t have to choose between pipelines that spill and bomb trains that explode because we can choose clean energy instead.

 

CAM00906

 

CNYCIA ATTENDS NYRL
ANNUAL MEETING IN ALBANY

On Friday October 23rd, CNYCIA participated in the annual meeting of the New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL) in Albany. We were excited to have acting Superintendent of NYS Department of Financial Services Anthony Albanese address the group along with Joy Feigenbaum , Executive Deputy Superintendent Financial Frauds & Consumer Protection, Troy Oeschner, Deputy Superintendent for Health, and acting head of the Property/Casualty Bureau and Matt Anderson, Deputy Superintendent for Public Affairs.

The CNCIA is a member of New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL), a statewide coalition that promotes access to fair and affordable financial services and the preservation of assets for all New Yorkers and their communities. NYRL is committed to fighting predatory practices in the financial services industry through policy reform, education and outreach, research and direct services. NYRL’s 147 members represent community financial institutions, community-based organizations, affordable housing and first-time homebuyer groups, advocates for seniors, legal services organizations, and community reinvestment, fair lending, and consumer advocacy groups.

SHARE YOUR STORIES OF MORTGAGE REDLINING

The New York Times is eager to hear from people who’ve experienced redlining/mortgage lending discrimination. Please share a link to the below article and encourage people to share their stories. If you scroll to end of article, you’ll find this:

Share Your Experience
Can you relate an experience where you felt you were denied a mortgage because of your race? Or do you think that you’ve faced other forms of discriminatory mortgage lending, such as being charged more for a mortgage than applicants of other races or being steered toward minority neighborhoods? The New York Times would like to hear your story. Your name and comments will not appear. However, an editor or reporter may contact you to learn more about your experience for possible publication.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/nyregion/hudson-city-bank-settlement.html?smid=tw-share

 

robots

BRING ON THE ROBOTS

By Rick Cooley

Advances in technology over time have greatly increased the productivity of workers both here and abroad. Often, fears are raised that productivity increases will become so profound as to lessen the need for workers, the hours they need to work or supplant many of them entirely to be replaced by automation and/or robots. The way our society copes with these changes has already affected the lives of millions and promises to affect even more in the future.

So far, distribution of the productivity gains among our population has been extremely unequal, to say the least. Minimum wage has not kept pace with productivity increases for many years. Neither has the median wage/salary. The main gains have been seen among the highest income earners. In the corporate world, that translates into CEOs and other high level executives, along with shareholders in the form of profit redistribution known as stock dividends. CEO/Average Worker wage ratios have reached record levels in this country, with no signs of being regulated anytime soon. ATMs and other automated banking mechanisms may be replacing some human bank tellers, but this has helped to increase profits and allowed for increasing income inequality.

Banks are but one small example of how increased productivity and technological improvements have enabled corporations to lower labor costs while increasing profitability. Free Trade agreements, improvements in transportation and communication technology (use of the internet playing a key role here) have also made it easier for corporations to move capital abroad to exploit labor there, often in nations which do not provide worker rights and workplace conditions which are prevalent here. The fact that moving money abroad is far less restricted than moving people has meant that often good-paying jobs in this country are being replaced by much lower priced labor in foreign countries, leading to the economy here and in other advanced economies shifting from a manufacturing base to more of a service sector base as manufacturing shifts to countries providing lower paid workers.

Companies which outsource and offshore production are often not only permitted to do so, but encouraged by tax laws and other economic incentives to move entire manufacturing operations lock, stock and barrel, leaving workers here jobless and with dim prospects for finding comparable future employment with similar pay and benefits packages. So called Free Market Capitalism results in a race to the bottom for workers who become pitted against each other as well as against workers in other countries competing for fewer jobs at lower wages. The fact that many corporate executives and/or shareholders feel any responsibility over and above a profitable bottom line means that often, jobs providing for a comfortable standard of living among the traditional working class have become more scarce.

Many excuses have arisen over the years to extol the virtues of such an inequitable economic arrangement. Capital takes risks. Higher pay is deserved by some over others because they possess higher level skills obtained by more intensive or higher level education and experience. People must learn to adapt to a changing economy by gaining new skills which are now in more demand. Much of this resides more in the realm of mythology and a deep-seated desire to glorify greed than it does in any form of economic reality. Many economies in this world chug along merrily without the egregious income and wealth disparity prevalent in the US today. Even here, some companies prove year-in and year-out that they can remain competitive and profitable without resorting to impoverishing their employees or totally decimating their voice in the workplace.

If technology does, in fact, reduce the amount and intensity of human labor in the production of goods and services needed to support an improving standard of living among all people, that should be reflected in how most peoples’ lives are led. If we can all be adequately fed, housed, educated, clothed, etc. using fewer human worker hours today than were necessary a year, decade or century ago, why should that positive benefit not be shared more equally among all of us, rather than hoarded primarily by a very small percentage of the human race, supported by the efforts of an ever-larger class of people struggling just to survive? In a land of plenty, why should some gorge themselves on delicacies on their yachts while others starve in hovels with inadequate nutrition and deplorable sanitary conditions?
Regardless of form of government, the world economy has come to be dominated by a huge disparity in economic and political power. So-called Communist societies have become as economically stratified as so-called democratic societies have become more and more authoritarian and rigid in the everyday workplace. Increased economic and political inequality has not served to inspire us all to greater heights of human accomplishment. Rather, it seems to have weighed down the vast majority of people into a dreary fight for survival to maintain the standard of living our predecessors took for granted.

Equality of opportunity has become more of a sham in this society than ever before. Education, long held out as the great equalizer for children of middle and low income upbringing, has become even more difficult to obtain in recent years. Student debt has reached record levels as the utility of college degrees as a means of upward social and economic mobility has markedly declined. A young adult entering the workforce with a college degree and a student debt load in the tens of thousands of dollars is in no way on a level playing field with the child of an Ivy League legacy with a huge social network of contacts among others who gained their education without incurring similar financial obligations. Spending future earnings to get a coveted degree also does not guarantee the ability to get a job that will even pay for it, much less catch up to those more economically privileged from birth. Yet the powers that be, in order to maintain their power and influence, will point to a few examples of people who prove that one CAN rise above one’s circumstances and succeed and claim that proves the system works as it should.

We do not need to fear that robots, or people from poor countries, will make us obsolete as human beings. Only people who do not truly appreciate our value as human beings can do that, and only if they have the power and the will to force us to accept subordinate status to them as human beings with rights equal to their own in every way. Since they do not have the power of numbers, they rely on keeping the rest of us divided and pitted against ourselves to maintain their wealth and power (with the help of some compliant folks willing to support them for a few scraps or delusions of their own influence, of course – politicians chief among them).

The form the world economy has increasingly taken in the last century is inherently anti-democratic. Average working people are far more valuable individually and collectively than political and economic institutions are permitting them to be. Our voices have been stymied in the workplace and in our own governance to serve the interests of greed for wealth and power. We all should be benefitting from the fruits of technological improvements in all aspects of our lives, and not just those who, through luck of birth or circumstance, find themselves with more than their fair share of the world’s resources. Bring on the robots. Just don’t let them be used as yet another tool for the few to use to subjugate the many.

JOIN THE BOARD OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

We are looking for committed, passionate people of different backgrounds to serve on our Board. You must believe in progressive values, like to work hard, but have fun, and want to make positive change in our community. Please contact us if you are interested.

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
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