NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. –
CNY CHAPTER OF CITIZEN
ACTION OF NEW YORK
(ESTABLISHED IN 1997)
Now celebrating 19 years of community organizing, the Central New York Citizens in Action invites YOU to be part of a movement for progressive change based on shared social values. We believe in educating, advocating, and legislating for the collective good. Join us!
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CNY CITIZEN ACTION JOINS 2,000 GROUPS TO CALL ON CONGRESS
TO PROTECT DOMESTIC PROGRAMS FROM CUTS
CALLS ON REPRESENTATIVES TENNEY, STEFANIK, AND KATKO TO REJECT HARSH CUTS TO NONDEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
While We Were Dreaming – President Trump Stole What We’ll Need When We Wake Up .
Deep cuts to domestic spending to fuel increases in defense expenditures make American dreams impossible to become realities.
Today, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. along with more than 2,000 federal, state and local organizations making up the NDD (Nondefense discretionary) United coalition, delivered to Congress a letter calling on Congress and the President to “work together to protect NDD programs from further cuts and end sequestration.” The letter continues, “Such sequestration relief must be equally balanced between nondefense and defense programs.”
John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. said: “We are calling on Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY 22nd District), Elise Marie Stefanik (R-NY 21nd District) and Representative John Katko (R-NY 24th District) to listen to Central New York residents and oppose cuts to NDD programs. Overall NDD appropriations have been cut severely and disproportionately in recent years. More cuts will have a painful impact on Central New York, depriving residents of vital and necessary services in areas such as infrastructure and housing, veterans services, education and job training, National Parks, medical and scientific research, and public health, safety and security. Local governments and nonprofit agencies rely on federal funding to provide many services to residents. Cuts will hurt real people, devastate the local economy, deprive children and seniors of services, and undermine our health and security.”
One-third, or $54.3 billion, of New York State’s FY 2018 All Funds Budget is comprised of federal funds. Under President Donald J. Trump, and with a newly-empowered, Republican-dominated Congress taking control of the federal budget, the potential for substantial cuts in domestic spending poses gargantuan challenges for the New York State budget and the budgets of local government entities throughout the state (as in other states and localities around the country). local governments are also highly dependent on federal aid receive a total of roughly $16 billion annually in federal funding. Federal aid received by local governments around the state mainly goes to social welfare, public health and transportation programs. While federal aid represents six percent of local government revenues, state aid accounts for 23 percent of local revenue; so, local governments would certainly be affected if significant federal budget cuts severely constrain the state’s financial picture and its ability to provide local assistance.
“While we were dreaming, the President stole what we’ll need when we wake up,” said NDD United co-chair Benjamin Corb following the President’s remarks. “The reality is, every single area the President highlighted in his dramatic close are areas that rely on a robust investment from the federal government in non-defense discretionary spending, the very part of the budget President Trump is slashing by $54 billion in order to pay for his military buildup.”
Examples of Nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs are veterans affairs, medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Each day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.
NDD United co-chair Emily Holubowich added, “Since the President wants to increase funding for such things as border security, homeland security, and veteran’s health, all of which are within NDD, that will make cuts to biomedical research, education, environmental protection, workforce training, children’s programs, and more that much worse.”
The letter, signed by thousands of organizations including the Central New York Citizens in Action, reminds Congress that NDD programs are essential to national security, have already been cut too much after years of austere budget policies, and have consequences. “These cuts are dragging down our economic recovery, hampering business growth and development, weakening public health preparedness and response, reducing resources for our nation’s schools and colleges, compromising federal oversight and fraud recovery, hindering scientific discovery, eroding our infrastructure, and threatening our ability to address emergencies around the world. Simply put, these cuts are bad for the country and are not sustainable,” the letter explains.
With the letter’s delivery, NDD United hopes to highlight how the variety of programs supported by domestic spending are as important to America as a strong national defense. Final NDD United Founding Co-Chair Joel Packer said, “We are confident that Congress will reject these unprecedented cuts. We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with supporters of these critical programs to protect these investments in our education, health, safety, and indeed, our future.”
In 2013, NDD United published a report, “Faces of Austerity, How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure” highlighting example after example of how austere fiscal policies cutting domestic spending are eroding many of the programs Americans rely on for their own quality of life and well-being.
A copy of the letter can be found here. https://cnycitizenaction.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/908c1-nddunited2017-signonfinal-mar2017.pdf
A copy of the Face of Austerity Report can be found here. http://publichealthfunding.org/NDD_report/NDD-report-digital.pdf
NDD (Non-Defense Discretionary) United is an alliance of thousands of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans. The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is a grassroots public interest and advocacy organization.
St. Patrick Day Pre-Parade Decorating Party
When: Sunday March 5th (6:30-8:30 PM)
Where: DeSales Center, 309 Genesee Street, Utica
How about a little Sunday Funday! We will be meeting to collaborate on decorations for our float in the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We will be focusing
on patriotic themes like: Lady Liberty, Unity in Our Community, Everyone is Welcome.
Art supplies (water-resistant pens, poster boards, etc.)
A contribution to our potluck dinner
Friends & family!
We’ll be busy creating artwork that’ll be hung on the sides of the float vehicle but we’ll also have time to chat, eat some food and listen to music. It’s sure to a fun and productive evening. Hope to see you there!
Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 11th (8:30~9:00 AM meet up) More details will be forthcoming.
CNY Citizens in Action will be joined by other progressive groups in the area to represent those of us who are fighting to make change in our community and resisting the new administration. There will be literature to distribute along the parade route, music on the float and perhaps a little “street theater” too.
Let our voices be heard loud and proud!
Thursday, March 2
“NY State Politics: How to Win the Map Game”
MVCC Utica Campus, AC116
Bill Thickstun, Chair, Oneida County Democratic Committee
Networking at 6:30 pm followed by a 7:00 pm talk with local maps on how districts are created, how gerrymandering works, why districts at all the different levels of government have confusing and overlapping boundaries, why they change every 10 years, what districts at each level are currently held by which party, and related subjects. Aimed at new party committee members, first-time activists, and concerned citizens interested in how the political system works.
Co-Sponsored by Progressive Action Huddles, Rise Up Mohawk Valley, and CNY Citizens in Action.
RALLY/PICKET IN FRONT OF REP. TENNEY’S OFFICE ON FRIDAY 4-6 PM
RESIST TRUMP’S POLICIES IN CD22
What: Resistance Picket/Rally in front of Rep. Tenney’s New Hartford, NY Office
Where: Representative Claudia Tenney’s office at 555 French Road, New Hartford, NY.
When: Friday from 4-6pm
How: Citizens will be letting Rep. Tenney know that it is important for members of Congress to listen to their constituents, everyone needs health care, immigrants are valued members of our community, and Medicare and Social Security need to be protected.
Who: Local citizens, members of the grassroots advocacy organization – Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
We are urging Citizen Action members and supporters to attend a rally/picket in front of Representative Tenney’s office this Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. There will be an ‘Organic’ gathering to maintain a weekly presence at Tenney’s office. Demand the following: Protect the ACA, Stop Cuts to Domestic Programs, Keep the EPA and Dodd Frank, All groups/ organizations are welcome to participate. Bring posters! Consider parking elsewhere ( i.e., Home Depot). Must remain within 4 feet of the roadway (public space). Dress for the weather! This is our weekly Resist Trump event. Please share!
Running to Win Candidate Training Workshop Slated for March 6
The second in a series of candidate training workshops to recruit, train, and elect the next generation of progressive leader will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 6 at the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee Street, corner of Dakin Street, Utica. Parking is available in the rear.
“The Running to Win” workshop is free and open to persons who share progressive values and are interested in running for office or assuming party positions. The workshop is designed to teach candidates and campaign volunteers the nuts and bolts of running—and winning—a progressive campaign. The workshop is sponsored by the New York State Working Families Party, Oneida County Democratic Committee, and the Central New York Citizens in Action.
Running to Win is part of the WFP’s pipeline training program that seeks to arm progressives with the strategies, tools, and skills needed to win elections. Topics include fundraising, canvassing, budgeting, speeches, planning, volunteer recruitment, canvassing, and voter engagement. Local organizers are hoping to run a slate of progressive candidates for local offices this year.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315.725.0974.
Ombudsmen Volunteers Ensure “You have the right to remain you” For Residents of Local Long Term Care Facilities
As an independent living center, RCIL’s personal motto is “you have the right to remain you.” The Resource Center for Independent Living, in Utica, NY, works tirelessly to ensure individual rights and freedoms to individuals. RCIL offers a variety of programs, including ‘Open Doors’ that make it possible for seniors and those living with disabilities to remain independent in the community.
But what about those residing in local long term care facilities that are not able to return to the community? Sometimes it is necessary for an individual to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The nursing home is home to many throughout the region. At RCIL, we believe; residents living in facilities deserve dignity, respect and to maintain the power of personal choice.
Navigating the long term care setting can be tricky for residents and their loved ones. Many are unsure of this transition and are not well informed of their rights residing in a nursing home. RCIL provides consult for those with nursing home inquiries through its NYS Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. The local Ombudsman Program provides a presence in over 50 long term care facilities and serves Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego and Madison Counties consisting of 5,000 residents. The Ombudsman Program is often a voice for residents who are unable to advocate for themselves.
Exemplary volunteer spirit is the livelihood of the local Ombudsman Program. The program relies on a strong group of state certified volunteers and coordinators to educate, investigate and resolve resident related concerns within local nursing home facilities. All volunteers undergo a vetting process and a state certification course prior to becoming a state Ombudsman.
This unique volunteer experience requires a professional and committed individual. Ombudsmen provide a regular presence in their assigned nursing home. Ombudsmen work to educate, empower and advocate on behalf of the residents. Ombudsmen put forth effort to promote quality of life and quality care for the residents they serve.
Fiona Dejardin, Ombudsman in Otsego County, claims her role as an Ombudsman can be complex at times, but she enjoys the problem solving and helping residents resolve their concerns with the facility. The highlight of her role as an Ombudsman volunteer is getting to know the residents. “They have led very rich lives and I am honored to be able to make a contribution to their last chapter. I have so much respect for them.” She believes this experience has opened her eyes to the problems of elder care. In the future, Fiona would like to become more of an activist for issues impacting the elderly living in facilities.
Ten-year Ombudsman Veteran, Tom Talbot of Oneida County spends his time advocating for the residents. When asked what keeps him so actively involved in the volunteer program he proclaims, “Far and away, the residents; they are the ones we serve and they keep us going.”
Talbot and other Ombudsmen also work to raise awareness of the Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) through letter writing campaigns and other mechanisms. The PNA is an allotted budget of fifty dollars per month allocated to nursing home residents. This minimal monthly allowance allocated to our elderly and other long term care residents has remained stagnant since 1981. Many believe this amount is inadequate for a monthly allowance in 2017 and leaves many nursing home residents with little quality of life.
Whether it be consulting, advocating, empowering, educating or investigating; the powerful presence of an Ombudsman makes a difference in our local nursing homes. People residing in nursing homes are guaranteed more dignity, respect and rights than those fortunate enough to live in the community. It’s about time we raise awareness of that. The nursing home is their home after all.
If you are interested in more information on the Ombudsman Program, or to become an Ombudsman at our next state certification training this April please call RCIL at (315)272-1872 or (315)272-1873.
Krystal Wheatley is the Senior Coordinator of RCIL’s NYS Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, RCIL is a local organization providing resources, information and tailored advocacy for individuals in need.
U.S. Dept. of Labor Program
Free Career Training for 16-24 Year Olds
An Opportunity for a Better Life – Go for It
ORIENTATION & INTERVIEWS
WEDNESDAY MARCH 15th
NYS Dept. of Labor, NYS Office Building
207 Genesee St., Room 103D, Utica, NY 13501
Note: You Must Have ID To Enter The Building
YOU MUST CALL
Admissions Counselor David Brown at (315) 478-5529
To see if you are eligible for the program and to find out what documents to bring
• Students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
• Students must bring their documents to Orientation
• Application Interviews will follow Orientation
RCIL and MyFreeTaxes Offer FREE Tax Preparation!
Keep as much of the money you’ve earned as possible by filing your taxes for FREE with our IRS-certified volunteers!
If you live in Herkimer or Oneida County and your total household income is $54,000 or less, the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) and the Mohawk Valley Asset-Building Coalition have a trained group of certified volunteers that will electronically file your taxes for FREE!
Do you know if you qualify for Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs)? Our IRS-certified volunteers can work with you to determine if you qualify for any special tax credits that increase your return and help you keep more of what you earned!
Schedule your appointment today by calling 315.272.1888 or emailing EITC@rcil.com.
We’ll be scheduling appointments from January 27th through April 15th, on Wednesdays – Saturdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at our fully-accessible Super-Site, located in the Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy at RCIL (1607 Genesee Street, Lower Level, Utica, NY). Additional hours are also available at the Herkimer and Rome locations, please call to make an appointment.
If you would like to file your taxes on your own, you can do so using My Free Taxes. Visit http://www.myfreetaxes.com, click on “File for Free”, and create a new account. All you’ll need is a computer and internet connection, and if those aren’t available, call 272-1888 and make an appointment to come use one of the computers at our Super-Site on Genesee Street in Utica!
For more information about Free Tax Preparation, or to schedule an appointment, please call 272-1888 or visit http://www.rcil.com/taxes.