Thursday, November 20, 2014

new-- Co. Leg. Dem caucus: "Re: County Budget -- Facts Obscured, Misplaced Priorities"(!)...

[scroll down just a bit for more on my take on the proposed county budget!...(and come out, speak up Tues. Dec. 2nd 7 pm and Thurs. Dec. 4th 7 pm on the sixth floor of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie on all this-- your two last chances to make public comment and have an impact on the county budget!...J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [here below-- Co. Leg. Dem caucus press release just sent out this evening] Dutchess County Legislature 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Telephone: 845-486-2100 Fax 845-486-2113 Press release For Immediate Release November 20, 2014 Contact Dutchess County Legislature - Democratic Caucus Democratic Legislators re: County Budget -- Facts Obscured & Misplaced Priorities. Despite all the recent fanfare about the County’s “good” fiscal position and the County Executive’s claims, the Dutchess County 2015 Tentative Budget does not live up to all its praise and rhetoric. If you look at the amount collected (taxes, surcharges, etc.) in 2013, 2014, and projected for 2015, it exceeds what was received in 2012 budget by over $107,000,000. Reducing the entire county's property tax by a mere $300,000 (or about .0028%) is not something the taxpayer should get too excited about. The fact of the matter is that the new spending plan has a series of historic highs and lows. The County Executive’s Budget sets an all-time record high for spending. The Budget borrows more and increases our debt service to record high levels and puts in motion significant future tax increases to hit taxpayers in 2016; the 2015 Budget creates a recurring structural deficit that sharply drains the fund balance; the so-called property tax relief is so negligible that some residents may actually see their taxes rise; and the Capital Plan for 2015 is incomplete and not transparent, and claims the Pod’s will save the County $1 million in 2015 which remains to be seen. A few weeks ago the County Executive took credit when he celebrated a “fiscal success” that Dutchess County Government ended its 2013 fiscal year with a surplus of $6,000,000. Upon further analysis of the fiscal year report for 2013, the county’s surplus was derived mostly from withholding over $5 million in sales tax revenues from Dutchess County’s Towns, Cities, and Villages, and slashing much needed mental health programs by nearly $7 million. This is largely a result of the County’s new sales tax plan which limits the sales tax distributions to $25,000,000, which resulted in 22.7 percent less being distributed to Towns, Cities and Villages in 2013 as 2012. In addition, public health expenditures also decreased by $6,822,973 compared to December 31, 2012. “There is a limit to the number of cuts governments can sustain before the costs—to the work lives of its employees and to services it provides—begin to outstrip the savings benefits.,” said County Legislator Francena Amparo (D-Town of Wappinger, Village of Wappingers Falls). “The County Executive’s priorities are misplaced,” said County Legislator Joel Tyner (D-Clinton/Rhinebeck) and then he added, “While he was in Albany he voted to impose a property tax cap on cities, towns, and villages without any mandate relief, and now that he's county executive, he's shortchanging these municipalities their fair share of sales tax revenue forcing them to cut services and raise taxes and fees.” “The County Budget is being balanced on the backs of our local governments and the people who rely on mental health services,” said Minority Leader Barbara Jeter-Jackson (D-City of Poughkeepsie) and then added, “The City of Poughkeepsie has imposed garbage fees and parking meters to balance their budget to make up the $2 million dollars in lost sales tax revenue from the County.” “In one breath the County Executive claims fiscal soundness and surpluses, and yet he imposed an $8 million residential energy tax in 2014 because county government faced a deficit,” said Legislator Micki Strawinski (D – Red Hook) and then she added “Can he really claim success when the county’s policies have harmed local residents in our municipalities? Legislator April Farley (D-Beacon) added, "If there really is a surplus, then consideration should be made to bringing municipalities back to the pre-2012 sales tax distribution levels or putting some of the monies back in mental hygiene and other health, wellness, nutrition and caregiver programs.” “How can we as representatives of the people of our districts vote for a Capital Plan that leaves out the cost of several projects in 2015 that could easily lead to well over $200 million in borrowing?” County Legislator Rich Perkins (D-Hyde Park, Town of Poughkeepsie) asked. “Every budget is complex; it is impacted by current economic conditions, government obligations and the goals of the administration. As Legislators it is critical to scrutinize this document with prudence as to the long term effects should it pass in its present form and that is what this caucus has done,” said Alison MacAvery, Assistant Minority Leader. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [here below-- email I sent out this morning to my list-- still pertinent!] County budget hearing today 7 pm-- speak up for seniors, youth, solar-- not jail, Wal-Mart! Hi all... [can't join us tonight? all 25 of us NOW-- at fwd] Come out and speak up at the very beginning of tonight's (Thurs.) 7 pm County Legislature Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee meeting on the sixth floor of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie(!): shift $10 million of our county tax dollars in the County Executive's proposed 2015 county budget away from investing in jail (now at $40 million) and warehousing local at-risk youth in institutions and other places away from home (now at $32 million), corporate welfare for Wal-Mart (currently $1 million annual subsidy to supplement poverty wages for their workers), fossil fuels powering county buildings ($1 million; solar could cut county electric bill in half as in Clarkstown and Esopus), and County Executive Molinaro's new additional funding for our county's Department of Tourism ($350,000)... [not to mention new $250,000 for Molinaro "business attraction"!] Instead, let's reinvest that $10 million of our county tax dollars in the 2015 Dutchess County budget(!): 1. Giving back to local towns, cities, and villages the $4 million annually Molinaro has taken from them for each of the last two years and each year going forward since he changed the county's formula for sales-tax revenue-sharing with local municipalities 2. Restoring the five-day week to our county's Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers ($230,000) 3. Restoring our county's Human Rights Commission and Office of Consumer Affairs ($200,000) 4. Restoring our county Youth Bureau's cost-saving Project Return program for at-risk youth ($250,000) 5. Restoring county $$$ for Cooperative Extension Green Teen program for Poughkeepsie ($50,000) 6. Fully fund Full Functional Family Therapy & Nubian Directions for at-risk youth ($1,000,000) 7. Bring back Big Brothers Big Sisters and youth centers-- along lines of YMCA/YWCA ($3,000,000) 8. Invest in proven innovative/effective heroin maintenance program-- see ($200,000) 9. Restore county funding cut to mental health programs (fact: $5.2 million has been cut since 2011) 10, Work with large institutions, businesses, hospitals, colleges, universities, and local governments to make sure that, as much as possible, purchasing of supplies/materials comes from Dutchess County businesses-- as Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy has shown is possible; also Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives (and even Saugerties' Economic Development Committee-- and LOIS recommendations from the 2008 Northern Dutchess Alliance Blueprint for Economic Development for Locally Owned Import Substitution-- as called for by Melissa Everett of SHV, Ann Davis/Marist, and Michael Shuman; recall new (only two months old) report from Democracy Collaborative-- "Policies for Community Wealth Building"-- -- worker-owned cooperatives are just one of many innovative, incredible, viable New Economy ideas proven to work across U.S. listed in report; others include ] [letters to editor needed to local newspapers; email us:!] Pass it on... Joel 845-453-2105/876-2488 [thx again to inimitable Charlie Davenport for wake-up call re: mental health] p.s. I'm meeting with Dutchess County Executive Molinaro in his office today at 4:15 pm-- pls feel free to follow up with a polite email to him on all this at need his support!... p.p.s. Kudos to our county Elections Commissioners Marco Caviglia and Erik Haight-- to their credit, they've found a revenue-neutral way to make sure their employees are finally fairly compensated inside the budget Molinaro has proposed for them (worker salaries there have been cruelly frozen for years)... [your assistance needed now in the form of support for bipartisan Caviglia/Haight plan-- email us, folks!] p.p.p.s. Please-- / folks-- wake up-- county budget issues are your issues-- don't let opportunity go by to speak up for alternatives to jail expansion! [bizarrely, for instance, Molinaro has described 2015 capital costs for jail expansion as "TBD"-- lol...when we all know that Molinaro, Rolison, rest of GOP long ago approved Ricci-Greene report calling for new $170-$200 million jail expansion prison/industrial complex-- wake up before too late] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [here below-- letter I emailed yesterday to Marcus-- pls read-- and follow up with your own, folks!] From: Joel Tyner To: Subject: Marc-- thx for inviting me to sit down with you tomorrow-- let's work together on these.... Bcc: Marc... Thanks for allowing me some time tomorrow afternoon to sit down with you for a bit... And-- thank you for allocating $100,000 for a cost-saving housing-first program for chronically mentally ill homeless drug addicts and alcoholics (I've literally been advocating for that steadily since Jan. 2005), and allowing my progress with Dutchess County Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Development Ron Hicks towards a Solarize Dutchess program for homeowners, and soon the possibility of Dutchess County's following the examples of Westchester, Ulster, and Orange counties and joining the NYS Energy Improvement Corporation so that businesses here in Dutchess County, can get, completely free of cost, energy-efficiency and/or solar retrofits paid for 100%-- to be paid off on their property taxes (and even implementing my idea from years ago for an online county budget survey)... Now-- of course you and I are not going to be able to tackle all this below in one meeting... You speak often of "transformation" and "innovation"... To me, transformation and innovation mean these common-sense initiatives below to help our county... So-- let's work together with you over the next year to make 2015 the time for action on these(!): -- save two million dollars annually for Dutchess County taxpayers (cost of heating/lighting/powering Dutchess County government buildings)-- by making 2015 the year that finally, solar panels are added on county buildings/property-- many local municipalities for many years now have proven this saves tax dollars (Rhinebeck, Clinton, Red Hook, Town of Poughkeepsie, Rosendale, Woodstock, et. al.; Esopus and Clarkstown, and Schenectady County, at no cost to local taxpayers, are getting their power from massive solar arrays over local landfills-- why can't we do this?) -- save a million dollars annually for Dutchess taxpayers with a living-wage tax on large retail stores -- restore the funding taken from local municipalities after county sales tax agreement recently changed -- find the $230,000 needed to fully restore a five-day week to our Office for the Aging Senior Centers -- fully restore funding to our county's Human Rights Commission and Office of Consumer Affairs -- take another look at whether our county's Department of Tourism truly needs another $350,000 -- look at whether Dutchess should be spending an additional $250,000 on "business attraction" -- instead of that additional $250,000-- as an alternative, work with large institutions, businesses, hospitals, colleges, universities, and local governments to make sure that, as much as possible, purchasing of supplies/materials comes from Dutchess County businesses-- as Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy has shown is possible; also Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives (and even Saugerties' Economic Development Committee-- and LOIS recommendations from the 2008 Northern Dutchess Alliance Blueprint for Economic Development for Locally Owned Import Substitution-- as called for by Melissa Everett of SHV, Ann Davis/Marist, and Michael Shuman) [again-- check out amazing new (only two months old) report from Democracy Collaborative-- "Policies for Community Wealth Building"-- -- worker-owned cooperatives are just one of many innovative, incredible, viable New Economy ideas proven to work across U.S. listed in report; others include ; ] -- end pay-to-play in our county government as GOP and Dems have done in Orange and Rockland counties (as the late Lucille Pattison called on us to do-- and as the Poughkeepsie Journal has as well) -- work with student government leaders to set up youth leadership summit with our County Legislature -- work with our county's Criminal Justice Council to implement recommendation for 24-hr. crisis center -- work with Grover Norquist and Jeb Bush of to stop new jail expansion [even at $125 million this would be the largest public works project in our county ever-- unnecessary!] -- work with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones of CNN's "Crossfire" to stop new jail expansion -- make sure that services for drug addicts and other mentally ill folks are actually expanded in 2015-- not flatlined, as pages 258-260 in the Tentative Executive Summary point out-- for "Outpatient Clinic Services", "Methadone Services" , "Lexington Center for Recovery Outpatient Clinic Services", "Chemical Dependency Crisis Center", "Chemical Dependency Services", "Crisis Residence" ("for short-term respite and stabilization for individuals in acute psychological distress in an effort to avoid hospitalization" -- work to pro-actively save county tax dollars by making sure mental health services are fully funded; as Community and Family Services Commissioner Robert Allers noted yesterday in his comments to our County Legislature's Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee meeting, "we've seen a 19 percent increase in kids coming into care because of the decrease in service to the mental health community." [recall-- as Dutchess County Undersheriff Kirk Imperati noted in his comments to our County Legislature's Democratic Caucus last year in an open meeting June 6th regarding jail overcrowding-- "what do you think is going to happen when Hudson River Pschiatric Center and Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center close-- many of those people end up at the Dutchess County Jail"] -- make good on your promise to us in May to fully restore county funding cut to youth programs [including the incredibly cost-effective Project Return program our county's Youth Bureau had for many years up until several years ago for at-risk youth‹ and the Green Teen Community Gardening program for Poughkeepsie at-risk youth run by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County; recall-- there is no longer a YMCA, a YWCA, or even a Big Brothers Big Sisters in Poughkeepsie any more, and at the 20th annual Mid-Hudson Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March this past January, Nubian Directions' Robert Wright stated publicly that there are at least another hundred at-risk youth locally that could and should be taken off the streets and put in his programs, but can¹t do now due to lack of funding; each at-risk youth kept out of criminal justice system saves $1.2 million, according to USDOJ; highly ironic that a Conservative/GOP Dutchess County Legislator last week wondered aloud during one of our County Legislature's Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee meetings why the cost to county taxpayers of dealing with juvenile delinquents in our county's criminal justice system has skyrocketed over the last few years-- little wonder when so many youth programs eliminated: Recall these five other crucial facts regarding reforms possible for our county's criminal justice system: Fact: Tompkins County's bail loan fund for some accused of nonviolent misdemeanors saves $400,000 a year for taxpayers there (in a county with a population less than a third of ours). Fact: It only costs $65/day to house a nonviolent offender like a state parole violator in a halfway house, according to the National Institute of Correction in a July 22, 2013 Poughkeepsie Journal article. www.poughkeepsiejournal.comarticle/20130721/NEWS01/307210065/ . Fact: Newark's fraternity for fathers behind bars cut recidivism rate there from 65% to 5% (Time/CNN). . Fact: Albany's comprehensive Peter Young re-entry program of treatment, housing, and employment saves $14 million annually and cut recidivism rate there from 68% to 9%, according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice: . (Peter Young's been here-- wants to work with us!) Fact: For only $2300 a year per ex-con Brooklyn's ComAlert system of re-entry cut recidivism rate there to 22% in just twelve months-- yet Dutchess GOP refuse to support a county-level version here of Brooklyn's amazing ComAlert program-- clearly model for us, as here in Dutchess, 60% of jail inmates let out are locked up again in three years. (ComAlert's John Chaney's been here-- will work with us!) C'mon Marc-- let's do this!...(there are just too many viable ways listed above to save tax dollars)... Joel

Monday, November 10, 2014 call Congress: (866) 338-1015!...(thx to Co. Leg.'s April Marie Farley and Micki Strawinski for signing letter)...

[call Congress toll-free at (866) 338-1015, Obama at (202) 456-1111; see!] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [here below is the letter to stop TPP I circulated at tonight's Co. Leg. full board meeting that two of my Dem colleagues signed-- April Marie Farley and Micki Strawinski...J] November 10, 2014 President Barack Obama Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer Representatives Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney Washington, D.C. Dear National Leaders: We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, in solidarity with the Sierra Club, CWA, United Steelworkers, Public Citizen, MoveOn, and Friends of the Earth, strongly urge to not approve the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership” for the following reasons: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would create a super-treaty which would jeopardize the sovereignty of the nations involved by giving that power to large corporations like IBM, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Halliburton, Philip Morris, GE, GM, Apple. There are currently 11 nations involved: U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada. Japan has shown interest. The economic power of this group is more than 40% larger than the 27- nation European Union. TPP will offshore millions of good-paying jobs to low-wage nations, undercutting working conditions globally and increasing unemployment. TPP will expand pharmaceutical monopoly protections and institute longer patents that will decrease access to affordable medications. TPP will limit food GMO labeling and allow the import of goods that do not meet US safe standards. TPP will institute SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA-like regulations and Internet measures which restrict our right to free speech. TPP will roll back Wall Street regulations, and prohibit bans on risky financial services. TPP will give multinational corporations and private investors the right to sue nations in private tribunals. These tribunals have the power to overturn environmental, labor, or any other laws that limit profit, awarding taxpayer funded damages. TPP will encourage the privatization of lands and natural resources in areas where indigenous people live. Thank you for your attention to this matter!

help save USPS, good-paying jobs!...(bus rally Fri.; seven Dem Co. Leg.'s signed letter tonight)

[scroll down just a bit for details on big APWU bus rally throughout Hudson Valley this Friday (Nov. 14th); I can't take any more time away from work for now; have to work my day job across the river with at-risk youth as teacher's aide (NYSUT member!) 'til 3 pm or so this Friday otherwise I'd be on the bus all day!] [here are the other Dutchess County Legislators who signed on to this letter below I drafted and circulated at tonight's Co. Leg. mtg.-- Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Alison MacAvery, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, and Rich Perkins] [more info: , , !] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - November 14, 2014 Mr. Patrick Donahoe Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors 475 L’Enfant Plaza Washington, D.C. 20260 Dear Postmaster Donahoe and USPS Board of Governors: This Friday employees from every craft in more than 125 locations will send an urgent message to you— to stop delaying America’s mail. Our friends at the American Postal Workers Union inform us that you are poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people– cuts that would forever damage the U.S. Postal Service. On Januray 5th, the USPS is slated to lower "service standards" to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town. All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, newsletters, bill payments, letters and invitations) throughout the country would be delayed. Beginning Jan. 5, 82 mail sorting centers are scheduled to close. This is the same misguided thinking that’s behind efforts to end Saturday and door deliveries, cut back post office hours, and make other reductions in service. Degrading service would hurt residents, small businesses and communities across the country – and eventually destroy the Postal Service by driving away customers. Note— none of this is necessary. In fiscal year 2014, the USPS earned more than $1 billion in operating profit, and its finances have been improving for four years. This Friday, the USPS Board of Governors will hold its final public meeting of the year. The four postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for their livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. They have many allies in the fight against the proposed changes, including more than half the Senate and 160 U.S. Representatives, and we, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature. As Jim Hightower recently wrote— “Since 1971, the postal service has not taken a dime from taxpayers. All of its operations — including the remarkable convenience of 32,000 local post offices — are paid for by peddling stamps and other products. Each day, six days a week, letter carriers traverse 4 million miles toting an average of 563 million pieces of mail, reaching the very doorsteps of our individual homes and workplaces in every single community in America.” More from Jim Hightower—“ In 2006, the U.S. Postal Service was hit with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act— an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to pre-pay the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who'll retire during the next 75 years-- including employees not even yet born. No other agency and no corporation has to do this. Worse, this ridiculous law demands that USPS fully fund this seven-decade burden by 2016. Imagine the shrieks of outrage if Congress tried to slap FedEx or other private firms with such an onerous requirement—this mandate is costing the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year— money taken right out of postage revenue that could be going to services. That's the real source of the ‘financial crisis’ squeezing America's post offices.” We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County legislature urge you to stop any more proposed cuts to the U.S. Postal Service— to save our post offices, mail processing centers, and the good-paying jobs we need. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From ... [contact Mid-Hudson APWU Legislative Director Diana Cline for more info on any of this-- at!] NOVEMBER 14, 2014 will be a "NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION" Mark it on your calendar! We need everyone to come out!! There will be public awareness events all across the country! We will be filling a bus in Newburgh and riding to several local post offices to rally and to generate public support and awareness. ALL are welcome. Union members, non members, friends, family, and members from other unions are invited to join us. lunch and snacks will be provided. The bus will be leaving from the Teamsters union hall at 15 Stone Castle Road in Rock Tavern (just outside Newburgh, off of 17-K) at 7:00 A.M. If you cannot spend the day with us, please join us at any of our scheduled stops.Our schedule is as follows: 7:30 A.M. Middletown 8:30 A.M. Mid Hudson P&DC (Processing and Distribution Center) 9:30 A.M. Broadway, Newburgh 10:30 A.M. Beacon 11:30 A.M. Wappinger Falls 12:30 P.M. South Road (Rt. 9) Poughkeepsie 1:30 P.M. Poughkeepsie Main 2:30 P.M. Highland 3:30 P.M. New Paltz 4:30 P.M. Kingston Then returning to the Teamster hall. STAND UP and FIGHT BACK!!!!! We Still have MANY seats open for our National Day of Action bus tour rally on this Friday, November 14. We will be decorating our bus with banners and such to gain local attention. We really want to have an impact so PLEASE take some time and join us! Friends and family are very welcome. The schedule is already posted below. Lunch will be provided. And if you can't spend the day with us, please stop by at one of our scheduled locations and join us!! Let's fight together to save our plant!!! Yours in Solidarity! The struggle continues John McCaffrey

Thursday, November 6, 2014

stop Molinaro's corporate welfare proposed in his 2015 Dutchess County Budget-- eight ways to get involved here!...

Hi all... 2015 campaign to take back control of Dutchess County government from GOP starts now! Eight ways here to get involved and make a difference folks: So-- first-- please come out tonight (Thurs.) 7 pm for official public hearing (on 6th floor of County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie) on the monstrosity of a county budget that Molinaro has proposed for 2015!... [see just below for all the budget deficiencies] And-- put these seven other events on your calendars to get involved: 2. Thurs. Nov. 20th 7 pm— Co. Leg. Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee Mtg. 6th Floor COB, Poughkeepsie 3. Tues. Nov. 25th 5:30 pm-- Public Hearing on County Budget (Hosted by Yours Truly): Rhinebeck Town Hall (80 E. Market St.) 4. Tues. Dec. 2nd 7 pm— Public Hearing on County Budget: 6th Floor of COB, 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie 5. Thurs. Dec. 4th 7 pm— Speak Up Before Co. Leg. Budget Vote, 6th Floor of COB, 22 Market St. Poughkeepsie 6. Saturdays 8-11 am-- call into my “Real Majority Project” show: 950 AM (call 471-8180 or 453-2105) 7. Contact County Exec, all 25 of us Co. Leg.’s-- email,! 8. Write letters to the editor to and! [what happens if another year continues without y'all holding Molinaro accountable?...wake up, folks!] A dozen reminders here below on how not just Molinaro-- but his accomplices Serino, Kelsey-- fail us: Fact: Dutchess County now literally has a massive budget surplus-- an "audited general fund balance of $26.4 million-- up from $14.3 million in 2012." [according to Molinaro press release Oct. 7th] Fact: Unfunded requests from nonprofits for youth services, etc. for Molinaro's so-called "Agency Partnershikp Competitive Grant Program" total literally a million dollars worth over the last two years alone(!). Fact: Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro proposed Tues. Oct. 28th at Arnoff Moving/Storage in Pleasant Valley (employer for GOP Co. Leg. Don Sagliano: lol) that the taxpayers of Dutchess County literally spend three million dollars more on corporate welfare in his proposed 2015 Dutchess County Budget(!). Fact: Molinaro stated (10/28) not only that he's proposing an additional $250,000 in the 2015 Dutchess County Budget for "additional business attraction"-- but also literally a $350,000 increase in the current county subsidy for "tourism promotion"-- along with the fact that Molinaro stated openly and publicly 10/28 that he's "seeking immediate approval for a $2.6 million bond request for a water pipeline to the Dutchess County Airport"(!). These are the WRONG priorities, Mr. Molinaro, Mr. Rolison (and the rest of GOP)! Fact: At a recent Rhinebeck Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia reminded all of what many already know-- that Town Board, Village Board, and City Council members all across Dutchess County are still incredibly frustrated-- literally livid-- that there have been no indications from the Molinaro administration that anyone in GOP power structure has any plans to start giving back to local municipalities at least a little bit of the ten million dollars in county sales tax revenue-sharing that Molinaro et. al. has been stealing from local cities/towns/villages ever since Molinaro changed formula a few years ago... Therefore-- here forthwith are ten questions here below for Molinaro, Rolison, Serino, Kelsey, Flesland, and rest of county GOP power structure bent on running Dutchess further into the ground (hold 'em accountable NOW folks): 1. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP give back county sales tax revenue to municipalities stolen from since Dec. 2012 (over five million dollars annually)? 2. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP give refund on county fuel tax revenue collected earlier this year? (where there's will there's way; state law can be changed) 3. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP restore five-day week for Office for the Aging senior centers? 4. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP restore funding for county Human Rights Commission? 5. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP restore funding to bring back Office of Consumer Affairs (that they eliminated in 2010, wiping out the department completely)? 6. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP restore cost-saving youth programs they eliminated-- and housing-first? 7. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP save tax dollars with solar on county land (as so many local municipalities do)? 8. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP enact county tax on Wal-Mart for poverty wages-- save $1 million annually? 9. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP fund microenterprise revolving loan Gateways/Entrepreneurial Tomorrows (as in Orange County)? 10. Why won't Molinaro/Serino/Kelsey/GOP end pay-to-play amounting to literally millions in county tax dollars yearly? Email and!... [NOW] [and yes-- now more than ever over next month during budget deliberations: letters to editor needed!] Pass it on... Joel 845-453-2105/876-2488 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From: Zephyr Teachout [go to : help!] To: Joel Tyner Subject: Let's Keep Fighting Date: Nov 5, 2014 8:17 PM Joel -- Like many of you, I'm disappointed that the New York State Senate is now firmly in the hands of Republicans in this big-hearted, egalitarian, Democratic State. And like many of you, I¹m disappointed that Andrew Cuomo refused to help Senate Democrats, and has shown every indication that he plans to continue implementing his big-donor agenda. We have our work cut out for us. And the national news that Democrats lost--well, that's a sign we need to return to our core progressive values with Elizabeth Warren-style populism if we're going to win, not a set of manufactured milquetoast messages with no real ideas behind them. People feel powerless--we should address that honestly and directly, and take on the monopolists that are rigging the system. We need a trust-busting, pro-public school, clean energy Democratic Party that is unafraid to speak the truth and refuses the trickle-down ideology. So let¹s keep up the fight . This is the statement that we put out last night, on receiving news of the election results: We will fight for the best public schools in the country. We will fight for an economy grounded in the health of our small businesses. We will fight to be a welcoming state for immigrants. We will fight to ban fracking and build a clean energy future. And we will fight to restore our democracy with public elections and end the corrupt influence of wealthy interests. Because we don¹t want to be the most unequal state in America any longer ‹ whether Andrew Cuomo is governor or not. Even though Governor Cuomo and the Republicans may have control in Albany this term, we still own our dreams of a populist progressive Democratic state. And we will continue to broadcast that vision loudly. No matter who is in office, I'll keep fighting. Will you? Zephyr Teachout Join us on Facebook and Twitter ! -=-=- Zephyr for New York · 225 Broadway, Suite 1902, New York City, NY 10007, United States This email was sent to . To stop receiving emails, click here . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [lol-- "you've got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative...."] From ...(today's Times): The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL In Red and Blue States, Good Ideas Prevail From Marijuana to Gun Control, Liberal Initiatives Passed By THE EDITORIAL BOARDNOV. 5, 2014 The Democratic brand did not fare well, to put it mildly, in congressional and governors¹ races on Tuesday. Most were contests of political blame, driven by ideological hatred for President Obama. But when the ballot offered a choice on an actual policy, rather than between candidates with a D or R next to their names, voters made notably liberal decisions in both red and blue states. On at least six high-profile and often contentious issues ‹ minimum wage, marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform, abortion rights, gun control and environmental protection ‹ voters approved ballot measures, in some cases overwhelmingly, that were directly at odds with the positions of many of the Republican winners. MINIMUM WAGE Initiatives to raise the minimum wage appeared on the ballots in four deep-red states ‹ Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota ‹ and passed in all of them . The new hourly minimums range from $8.50 in Arkansas by 2017 to $9.75 in Alaska by 2016. Minimum-wage increases were also approved in San Francisco (to $15 an hour by 2018) and Oakland (to $12.25 an hour by 2015). In all, an estimated 609,000 low-wage workers will see raises from these approved increases. In addition, voters in Illinois and in several cities and counties in Wisconsin approved nonbinding measures calling for minimums of $10 or more. If legislators follow through on the voters¹ will, 1.1 million workers in those states would see raises. The latest increases bring to 29 the number of states that exceed, or soon will exceed, the paltry federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, which has been in place since 2009. They underscore the broad support for higher minimums and suggest that Republicans who continue to oppose a higher federal minimum could pay a price in the 2016 elections, when lower-wage workers and those who support them could turn out in higher numbers. MARIJUANA Oregon and Alaska became the third and fourth states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes (Colorado and Washington were the first two), while the District of Columbia repealed all criminal and civil penalties for possession and allowed limited, private cultivation of the drug. Even where pro-legalization measures lost, advocates had reason to feel positive. A proposed constitutional amendment in Florida to legalize medical marijuana received 57 percent of the vote, but it still failed because amendments there require at least 60 percent approval. Before Tuesday¹s election, it was already clear that Americans had turned against prohibition because more than 30 states had liberalized their marijuana laws. Maybe elected officials, who have lagged behind the public on this issue, will finally have the courage to embrace change. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM For the second time in three years, Californians voted to shorten the sentences of people serving time in prison. The state ‹ which created the notorious three-strikes law ‹ remains under federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding. In 2012, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 36, which has led to the early release of more than 1,900 three-strikers serving life in prison. And there has not been an increase in crime . Proposition 47 on this week¹s ballot converts low-level drug and property offenses ‹ like shoplifting, writing bad checks or simple drug possession ‹ from felonies to misdemeanors. It is expected to reduce the sentences of as many as 10,000 inmates. On Tuesday, the measure, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support, passed with more than 58 percent of the vote. Many politicians are still afraid of looking soft on crime, but California¹s experience shows that voters can lead the way. ABORTION RIGHTS The overwhelming rejection of ³personhood² measures in Colorado and North Dakota dealt another well-deserved blow to the effort by some opponents of reproductive rights to ban all abortions (and some common forms of contraception) by passing laws giving fertilized eggs legal rights and protections that apply to individuals. The defeat in Colorado was not unexpected. Voters there handily quashed earlier ³personhood² initiatives in 2008 and 2010, and they were not deceived by this round¹s revised wording. But few expected a similar proposal to be rejected by 64 percent of voters in North Dakota, a conservative state that ‹ like Mississippi, which roundly defeated a ³personhood² initiative three years ago ‹ has just one abortion provider remaining. Unfortunately, opponents of abortion rights scored a victory in Tennessee, where nearly 53 percent of voters approved a state constitutional amendment that gives the Republican-led State Legislature leeway to curtail access to safe and legal abortion care. While nothing will change immediately, there will likely be a rush to enact new abortion restrictions beyond those already in place in the months ahead. But politicians in Tennessee would be wrong to read Tuesday¹s relatively close vote as a mandate to obliterate a woman¹s fundamental right. GUN CONTROL In the aftermath of the school massacre in 2012 in Newtown, Conn., Congress ‹ caving to the National Rifle Association ‹ did nothing to protect the public from gun violence. In Washington State, a campaign started by outraged church and community leaders fared much better. Initiative 594, which will require criminal and mental-health checks on gun buyers, drew an impressive 60 percent voter support on Tuesday. Just as important, the gun lobby¹s measure ‹ Initiative 591, which was on the same ballot ‹ would have blocked background checks and was defeated by 55 percent of the vote. Other campaigns are underway at the statehouse level, supported by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg¹s well-financed gun-safety movement and others. Opponents decried Mr. Bloomberg¹s campaign as outside interference but got nowhere this time. CONSERVATION Environmentalists who may be singing the blues over the election results can take heart from approval of a record $13 billion in land conservation measures in states and cities across the country. Two were especially significant. In Florida, a constitutional amendment will dedicate $9 billion in real estate transfer taxes over the next 20 years to preserving open spaces, including major investments in the threatened Everglades. New Jersey voters dedicated $2.15 billion in corporate tax revenue to land conservation, also over the next 20 years, rescuing a popular program that was on the verge of extinction. The message for President Obama is that the public will support executive actions to protect threatened wilderness, even if Congress does not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Serino, Kelsey refuse to sign bipartisan letters vs. monster power lines and DOT-111 oil "bomb" trains...

Hi all... Here below are the texts of the four letters I circulated just now at the monthly October full board meeting of our County Legislature-- thanks tons to GOP Co. Leg.'s Marge Horton and Don Sagliano (not Serino or Kelsey) for signing on to this first updated one here below again against monster power lines (and for real REV); thanks also to Republican Co. Leg. Marge Horton (not Serino or Kelsey) for signing on to the letter here below for U.S. to follow Canada's lead and immediately phase out the DOT-111 so-called oil "bomb" trains; finally, thanks much to the following members of our County Legislature's Democratic Caucus who agreed to sign on to all four letters below (the other two relate to getting our county's Health Department to more fully inform local residents of what roads/streets DCDOH has found MTBE contamination in over 150 spots over the last decade-- and to pushing EPA/GE to make sure another 136 acres of PCB-contaminated sediment is safely dredged as soon as possible from the Hudson River)-- thx again to these Democratic County Legislators for signing on to all four of these letters below at tonight's meeting-- Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Alison MacAvery, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Rich Perkins (and to Co. Leg. Francena Amparo for signing on to the letters to the PSC, about the oil trains, and about GE/PCBs)!...Joel ############################################# October 14, 2014 Governor Andrew Cuomo NYS Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224 Chair Audrey Zibelman NYS Public Service Commission Three Empire State Albany, NY 12223-1350 RE: In the Matter of Alternating Current Transmission Upgrades— Comparative Proceeding Case 13-E-0488; Proceeding on Motion of Commission to Examine Alternating Current Transmission Upgrades Case 12-T-0502 Dear Governor Cuomo and NYS Public Service Commission Chair Zibelman: We, the undersigned Dutchess County Legislators, applaud Chair Zibelman’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” proposal and the directives of Governor Cuomo regarding transmission/power line upgrades as laid out in his State of the State address, and strongly urge you to stop immediately the fatally flawed transmission upgrade proposal and let "Reforming the Energy Vision" (REV) take the lead. We appreciate how Chair Zibelman has asked utilities to think creatively utilizing new processes and technologies that improve the way electricity is generated and transmitted. The REV has the potential to end the status quo that costs billions annually and results in the proliferation of old/dated technology, higher prices to rate payers, and monster power lines that destroy farms, deface scenic and historic landscapes, and damage tourist and agri-based economies. The problem is that this REV is a separate and parallel proceeding from the one we are battling -- the one using "old school" processes and technologies that creates new/bigger monster towers and permanently defaces and scars the Hudson Valley for the next 100+ years. Please-- STOP this proceeding and let REV lead the way to better energy solutions for New York— especially considering how a March 2013 Cornell/Stanford report pointed out that 4.5 million new green jobs could easily be created here in New York State if we were to transition to a 100-percent fossil-free future, getting our energy from wind, water, and sunlight instead— actually saving $36 billion a year and 4000 lives annually just in New York State alone if we were to transition to locally generated renewable energy sources (thus obviating the need for ridiculously costly transmission “upgrade” proposals). [see,,, and for more info!] Furthermore, we also strongly echo the recommendations of Scenic Hudson and the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition, who strongly criticize your proposal for “upgrade of over 150 miles of high-voltage transmission lines for failing to demonstrate need for the proposed project and failing to call for an independent study of current electricity demand, technological innovations and efficiency efforts such as demand-side management, lacking any consideration of a multitude of current electricity projects that are further along in the regulatory process and likely to answer demand and reliability issues, failing to require projects to conform to existing rights-of-way to minimize environmental/landowner impacts (both height and width rights-of-way), proposing a lengthy process for project applicants that will leave property owners and businesses like the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies suffering economic harm from decreased property values and stifled business opportunities while also providing limited time for groups or citizens to study and comment on proposals moving forward, and proposing that consumers— including ratepayers in areas of the Hudson Valley that would be hardest hit by negative impacts from the proposed transmission lines— pay for cost overruns associated with the projects.” Boundless Energy has proven that these problems can be solved inexpensively—without monster power lines! ############################################### October 14, 2014 Mr. Anthony Foxx Secretary of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, D.C. 20590 President Barack Obama Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer Representatives Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear National Leaders: We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly echo the recent recommendations below from Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper, especially in light of the fact that Canada decided this April to ban dangerous DOT-111 train cars— there is no excuse for the U.S. to not do the same immediately to protect communities up and down our river here in the Hudson Valley. Despite the fact that the Department of Transportation’s new regulations proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration acknowledge that DOT-111 railcars (the most common railcar used in crude-by-rail transport), “can almost always be expected to breach in the event of a train accident,” and that the cars provide “insufficient puncture resistance” and are “vulnerable to fire and roll-over accidents,” the proposed regulations would very slowly phase out DOT -111s for Bakken crude use, but would allow tens of thousands of these outdated tanker cars to remain on the rails for shipping heavy Canadian tar sands crude, which presents different but equally serious safety and environmental risks. The Department of Transportation’s proposed regulations fail to require full disclosure of rail traffic information to first responders, and instead ask the industry if it would prefer to keep this information confidential. They also fail to require the most protective braking improvements or speed restrictions, and fail to even consider limits on the length of trains that could reduce the accident risk and impacts of a derailment. Finally, the USDOT’s regulations would allow railroads to continue operating 120 car unit trains of Bakken crude oil without requiring any train specific spill response plans – this despite the fact that a 120 car unit train carries as much oil as an oil barge or tanker, both of which must have spill response plans approved by the Coast Guard. The spike in volume of crude oil being transported down the Hudson River makes us far more vulnerable to serious accidents. A crude oil spill into the Hudson River would be catastrophic to the public health and natural resources of our region. The federal government has the responsibility to create a system of regulations, inspections and emergency response procedures to protect our communities and Hudson River. We need much stronger action — particularly in eliminating loopholes through which the regulations fail to cover tar sands crude transport or trains with fewer than 20 cars — and we need these changes immediately. We strongly echo the call of Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson for immediate adoption of the most stringent tank car standards, speed restrictions and use of electronic controlled pneumatic braking in all trains carrying crude, as well as a closing of loopholes in the rule that leave heavy tar sands crude and trains carrying fewer than 20 cars of Bakken crude completely unaddressed. Thank you for your attention to this matter. ############################################### October 14, 2014 Dr. Kari Reiber Commissioner, Dutchess County Health Department 85 Civic Center Plaza Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear Dr. Reiber: The Dutchess County Health Department reported this April that there seven local public drinking-water samples last year tested dangerously poisonous at over ten parts per billion MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), six in 2012, nine in 2011, twelve in 2010, twelve in 2009, eleven in 2008, thirteen in 2007, fourteen in 2006, eighteen in 2005, twenty-four in 2004, and twenty-seven in 2003, and my previous FOIA requests of DCDOH have revealed that MTBE has been found long after it was banned from gasoline all over Dutchess— in Amenia, Beekman, Pleasant Valley, Stanford, Washington, East Fishkill, Fishkill, Hyde Park, La Grange, & Wappinger. We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, request that you prominently inform county residents on the county Health Department website on exactly which roads/streets those 153 MTBE contaminations occurred. Eight years ago the Albany Times-Union reported, using information from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Toxics Targeting, that serious groundwater contamination had been found in literally every single municipality in Dutchess County. Recall-- page 32 of the "Departmental/Administration Annual Summary" to our County Executive's 2011"State of the Union" report stated that, “During 2010, there were 195 separate sampling events for organic compounds at 98 public water supply wells; of all samples collected, 123 (63%) returned without an MTBE detect and 31 indicated the presence of MTBE but at a concentration below the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 ppb" (leaving one to wonder where, exactly, where the 37% of samples with MTBE detect found in the county?). Earlier on page 31 of the same document it stated that, "The organic chemical of primary concern remains MTBE (methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether), which, though banned as a gasoline additive in New York State as of January 2004, is nevertheless still detected at various wells serving public supplies." 63% of the 195 separate sampling events in 2010 without an MTBE detect means that 37% of the samples did have dangerous levels of MTBE levels. Note, too-- 10 parts per billion is twice the minimum concentration (5 ppb) that the DEC has given filters out when MTBE contamination has been found over the last decade in polluted areas like the MTBE-contaminated Greenbush section of Hyde Park. Even our county's Water and Wastewater Authority Board Chair Tom LeGrand warned county legislators in our County Legislature's chambers in 2004 about how quickly this dangerous carcinogen spreads underground once an MTBE contamination plume forms. Five years ago there were over 400 MTBE spills here in Dutchess not yet been cleaned up to the DEC's own standards in Dutchess, according to Walter Hang of Toxics and NYSDEC information. The Dutchess County Health Department found MTBE contamination at 55 parts per billion in June 2004 at the Getty gas station at corner of Rt. 9 and Rt. 9G-- six months after MTBE was banned. Groundwater contamination from MTBE even in the Town of Clinton on Ruskey Lane and Fiddlers Bridge Road has been an ongoing issue off and on for several years at Clinton Town Board meetings, and six out of 36 private wells tested a few years ago here in Clinton were found to be contaminated with various chemicals. Thank you for your attention to this matter. ############################################### October 14, 2014 Administrator Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20460 We, the undersigned Dutchess County Legislators, strongly echo the recommendations below of Pete Seeger’s own Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Natural Resources Defense Council, Riverkeeper, and Scenic Hudson that all the PCBs dumped by General Electric into the Hudson River must be safely dredged as soon as possible. From the mid-1940s through much of the 1970s, the General Electric Corporation (GE) discharged well over 1.3 million pounds of toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) into the Hudson River. Although GE is now addressing this pollution after decades of delay, the company plans to stop its removal and cleanup operations of PCB-contaminated sediment from the river bottom for good. New Yorkers deserve cleanup of the Hudson River that removes enough PCB pollution to allow the damaged natural resources and wildlife populations of the Hudson River to recover quickly , safeguard public health in river communities generations sooner, and revive long-dormant economic opportunities by reopening the river and upstate New York to renewed commercial and recreational activity. The second phase of the clean-up in the Upper Hudson River that started in 2009 is approaching completion. However, the clean up does not adequately address area that require navigational dredging, which is needed to allow larger commercial vessels full use of the river. Clearwater, NRDC, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson are calling on GE to agree to work with the NYS Canal Corporation and the Federal Natural Resource Damage Trustees to be sure the Hudson River is restored to its full potential— and we strongly echo this call. Despite GE’s progress, 136 acres of contaminated sediment are outside the delineated dredging area and will remain un-remediated unless an agreement is reached with GE. Many studies have confirmed that PCB removal is the best solution to ensuring that the river will recover as a vigorous natural and economic resource for Hudson River Valley and New York State.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beth Soto's local contacts for Sean Eldridge, Terry Gipson, Cici Tkaczyk, Eric Schneiderman, & Tom DiNapoli campaign-- connect with these folks now for victory in Nov.!...

[my old friend Beth Soto of Pawling wanted me to make sure y'all had u go!...and check out and -- AND of course !] [I've already done a bunch of phone-banking for Sean Eldridge... ...y'all need to too!...joel] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Campaign Contacts for Sean Eldridge & Statewide Date: Sep 11, 2014 2:42 PM Sean Eldridge for Congress NY-19 Ulster County 260 Fair Street, Kingston Andrew (South Ulster) Email: Micah Yannatos (North Ulster) Cell: 845-706-6422 Email: Columbia County 743 Columbia Street, Hudson William Email: – Rensselaer County County Dems office, 5 Broadway, Troy Evan (RFD: Rensselaer/Columbia/Dutchess) – Greene County County Dems office, 418 Main Street, Catskill Cody (Greene/Schoharie/Montgomery) – Otsego County 152-154 Main Street, Oneonta Tyler (Otsego/Delaware/Broome) – Sullivan County 452 Broadway, Monticello Jerry Georgatos Cell: (516) 633-0031 Emai: Dutchess County 4236 Albany Post Road Hyde Park, NY John Lipe Cell: 845-444-6030. Email: Field Director: Josh Hyman Cell: 518-495-1324 Email: Campaign Manager: Gabbi Greenfield Cell: 301-793-2569 Email: Press: Sophie Friedman Cell: 845-309-8286 Email: Terry Gipson for State Senate SD-41 Wappingers 1839 South Road, Poughkeepsie, NY Office Number: 845-891-3684 Campaign Mananger: Laura Manno Cell: 845-453-8176 Email: Field Director: Audrey Molsky Cell: 914-489-9961 Email: Press: Jon Heppner Cell: 845-594-3141 Email: Scheduler: Dylan Miyoshi Cell: 845-489-7073 Email: Cecilia Tkaczyk for State Senate SD-46 Main HQ: 1704 Western Avenue Suite 128 Guilderland, NY Kingston: Ulster Dem HQ 32 John Street, Kingston, NY Deputy Campaign Manager & Field Director: Alec Lewis Cell: 802-688-4008 Email: Campaign Manager: Matthew Lerch Cell: 646-385-1654 Email: Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General Campaign Manager: Rich Dziepak Cell: 917-609-8500 Email: Tom DiNapoli for Comptroller Regional Director: Kyle Seeley Cell: 845-978-0357 Email: -- ~Beth If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. ~Thomas Paine

Monday, September 8, 2014

oil train/barge spill FOIA request signed by 7 Co. Leg. Dems and GOP's Marge Horton...(not Serino or Kelsey tho!)

[scroll down just a bit to see the letter I just circulated at tonight's full board meeting of our County Legislature echoing yesterday's Poughkeepsie Journal editorial pushing for the NYSDEC to release details from their oil spill drill last Nov. in New Windsor-- six of my Democratic colleagues signed on-- along with one GOP county legislator (Marge Horton)...thx again to the six Dems who signed on tonight-- Co. Leg.'s Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Alison MacAvery, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Rich Perkins!...J] [click here for yesterday's (9/7) PoJo editorial-- "Public Has Right To Response Data": ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - September 8, 2014 Commissioner Joe Martens New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 625 Broadway Albany, New York 12233-0001 Dear Commissioner Martens: We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly echo yesterday’s Poughkeepsie Journal editorial asking that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation release details from your oil spill drill last November in New Windsor— especially the “after-action review”. As the Poughkeepsie Journal noted yesterday on its Opinion page in its "Public Has Right To Response Data” editorial, “for months, the state has tried to assuage critics who have accurately pointed to glaring holes in the government's response to the dramatic increase of crude-oil shipments coming through the area. State and federal offcicials have rattled off a list of changes, including strengthening inspections and participating in emergency response drills. Nevertheless, government officials have had an alarming propensity to withhold vital information from the public, details that could prove important and empower communities to help protect themselves.” More from yesterday’s Poughkeepsie Journal editorial—“This outrageous trend must come to an end. First, the government and industry were ridiculously slow to respond when the media and environmental and government watchdog groups asked for rudimentary information, such as the number and frequency of shipments coming through the area. Now the state is taking way too long to release details of a key oil-spill drill that could shed valuable light on emergency response. In fact, it was 10 months ago that such a drill was held in New Windsor, but the public still has no idea about the effectiveness of the exercise. The Poughkeepsie Journal has been trying to get the information since January. But, as Journal environmental reporter John Ferro recently reported, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has repeatedly delayed an open-records request for the report.” Finally, the Poughkeepsie Journal concluded in its editorial yesterday—“Specifically, the Journal wants access to ‘an after-action review’ that summarizes the drill's outcomes and, just as importantly, likely reveals areas for improvement. Significantly, the New Windsor drill involved simulations of both a rail derailment and massive oil leak into the Hudson River, and both types of disasters pose a major threat, especially to communities along the river. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [recall-- I convinced the rest of the Dutchess Co. Leg. Dem caucus (without any help or support from GOP county legislators) to sign letters of strong concern regarding the marked increase in dangerous oil trains/barges rolling through our communities: ; ; ] [wake up folks-- fact that Serino/Kelsey/Rolison/Flesland have failed all year to act on this is one more reason to put our noses to grindstone to re-elect/send Terry Gipson/Didi Barrett back to Albany; recall: ; ] [again-- none of this oil train/barge insanity is necessary-- recall-- as Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo have been saying for well over a year now, eighteen months ago (in March 2013), scientists from Cornell and Stanford released a report proving that NYS CAN go 100% fossil-fuel-free and 100% nuclear-free-- through energy from wind, water, and sunlight-- creating 4.5 million green jobs by 2030 and saving $36 billion and 4000 lives annually here in NYS(!): ; ; ] [finally-- on that note-- see -- help Josh Fox, Bob Eklund, and me bring the Solutions Grassroots Tour here to Poughkeepsie (hopefully to Vassar) sooner rather than later! me at 845-453-2105 or to get involved...Joel]