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Friday, January 29, 2016

re: jail-- 37% of inmates Afr.-Amer. (3x county pop.), 25% of all inmates charged only with misdemeanors, 100+ 18-year-old's and younger locked up annually, another 40% of inmates charged only with nonviolent felonies...

[this just in (new facts/figures from Dutchess County Jail Administrator George Krom himself)...over 37 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates are African-American (yet they make up less than 12 percent of our county population)...over 25 percent of DC Jail inmates have been charged merely with misdemeanors...over 100 18-year-old's and younger are locked up annually at the Dutchess County Jail for an average stay of over three weeks...another 40% of DC Jail inmates have been charged only with nonviolent felonies...and finally-- the average length of stay for DC Jail inmates is 56 days (see below how Albuquerque, Bronx, and many other places learned to safely expedite processing of inmates through system-- recall: 80 percent of DC Jail inmates haven't even gone trial yet, according to Dutchess County Public Defender Tom Angell-- and a full 80 percent of DC Jail inmates have substance abuse or mental health issues, according to the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council itself...much more on this just a bit below the schedule to speak out below!...see ENJAN.org, DDWC.org, JobsNotJails.weebly.com, Cut50.org, RightonCrime.com, CoalitionforPublicSafety.org!] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $200 Million Jail Boondoggle/Expansion Timeline (speak out to stop it!): [email all 25 of us-- at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov] February 4th – Legislative Committee Meeting · Before Presentation – Distribution of JTC Bond presentation, EAF presentation & Architectural RFP · Presentation on JTC Bond and Project - Public Works & Capital Projects Committee (6:00pm), limited time allotted for questions · Chazen to present on EAF – Environmental Committee (7:15pm), limited time allotted for questions · Committee vote on resolution CA-144-15 Resolution No. 2016023, Declaration of County as Lead Agency February 5th – Request for Proposal for Architect to be issued February 8th – Legislative Board Meeting · Full Board vote on resolution CA-144-15 Resolution No. 2016023, Declaration of County as Lead Agency February 16th – External Advisory Group Meeting (6:30pm) – Catharine Street Community Center, Poughkeepsie February 17th – County Executive Town Hall Forum – LaGrange February 24th – County Executive Town Hall Forum – Amenia February 29th – Legislative Committee of the Whole Meeting (6:00pm) · Meeting to discuss and answer questions regarding JTC bond resolution and EAF determination resolution March 3rd – County Executive Town Hall Forum – Hyde Park March 8th – Criminal Justice Council Meeting (8:00am) – Catharine Street Community Center, Poughkeepsie March 10th- Legislative Committee Meeting · Committee vote on resolution CA-145-15, EAF Environmental Review Determination – Refer to Special Board Meeting to be held on March 21 at 6:00pm. · Committee to vote on JTC Bond - Refer to Special Board Meeting to be held on March 21 at 6:00pm. March 14th – Legislative Board Meeting March 21st – Special Board Meeting – 6:00pm · Full Board vote on resolution CA-145-15, EAF Environmental Review Determination · Full Board to vote on JTC Bond - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Join Poughkeepsie Co. Leg.'s Kari Rieser and Craig Brendli, Councilmember Tracy Hermann, ENJAN/"Ban the Box" activist extraordinaire Rasonia Squire, various youth, and yours truly this Sunday (Jan. 31st) at 1 pm at Bartlett Park on Hooker Avenue in Poughkeepsie-- we're making a short group video on alternatives to jail expansion (hopefully to go viral)!...aside from restoring youth programs that have been decimated over the last decade, recall these eight crucial facts below)... FB event link for Sunday (rsvp/share!): Facebook.com/events/233242740342821 Fact: I just took my fourth tour of our county jail January 24th-- I saw 39 women in one large room ("pod") sitting peaceably together with one correction officer-- and another 48 male inmates (workers) together in a different "pod" sitting quietly together with again just one correction officer-- 87 folks who prove daily they pose no threat to public safety. Fact: According to County Public Defender Tom Angell, 80% of jail inmates haven't gone to trial (average length of stay in jail is a month)-- we should follow the example of the Bronx, where time in jail has sensibly dropped sharply because of "collaboration among judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, corrections officials and other participants in the justice system" (Diane Jablonski). Fact: Tom Angell also knows Dutchess needs a bail loan fund here in Dutchess similar to Tompkins County's and NYC's for folks accused of nonviolent misdemeanors-- he offered last fall to work with me to set one up (but our county still doesn't have one). Fact: The Bernalillo County Jail in Albuquerque cut its jail population by 40% in 3 years by similarly speeding up handling of cases in their court system with hundreds of jail beds now sitting empty. Bernalillo County used to spend six million dollars annually "housing out" Albuquerque's inmates to other county jails around the state-- sound familiar? Fact: The Hampden County jail in Ludlow, Massachusetts safely cut its inmate population by 30% over 6 years, saving $16 million annually on incarceration costs because of the jail's increased diversions to probation supervision and comprehensive investment in re-entry initiatives, cutting recidivism by 25% (same story in Brooklyn with Harvard-recognized ComAlert re-entry system). Fact: 63% of inmates in our jail have been charged merely with misdemeanors (22.7%) or nonviolent felonies (40.5%)-- NYC is decriminalizing minor misdemeanors like marijuana possession, public intoxication/urination, etc.-- not here (we still jail homeless who purposely get arrested for "three hots and a cot"). Cooperstown and Gloucester guarantee treatment instead of jail for heroin addicts-- why not here? Fact: The Drug Court needs to be restored to Poughkeepsie, and Dutchess needs a Parole Re-Entry Court as in Harlem, a Veterans Treatment Court as in Columbia, Orange, and Sullivan counties, a Mental Health Court as in NYC. Dutchess just started to divert mentally ill from arrest as in Miami/San Antonio-- Miami cut jail population 40% this way; San Antonio ended up with 800 empty jail beds-- GOP here still for $200 million Taj Mahal jail complex/boondoggle. Fact: 44% of our jail inmates are African-American-- but African-Americans make up less than 12% of our county population; blacks are six times as likely to be arrested for drugs (though whites do drugs just as much). Wake up-- black lives do matter, folks. Fact: There are 150 blacks and 249 whites currently at the Dutchess County Jail-- while blacks make up less than 12 percent of Dutchess County's population. QuickFacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36027.html (with another 28 inmates at Mid-Hudson Psych Center, Ulster County Jail, and/or Putnam County Jail)

EndoCrime Fighters are right-- Hali Pregnall, Kira Murphy, Luke Hagin, John Furcick, and Jamie Constantino-- help them and their Arlington High teacher Maribel Pregnall make sure that at least Think Dirty app is part of county health education efforts!

[see just below-- letter I sent today to my 24 Co. Leg. colleagues, Molinaro, and new DCDBCH Commissioner Dr. Henry Kurban-- pls follow up with your own emails-- and join/spread word re: EndoCrime Fighters!...see: Facebook.com/EndoCrimeFighters; ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors...(they'll be on my WHVW.com 950 AM show tomorrow 8-11 am-- tune in, call in at 845-464-2245 or 471-8180!...you never know-- just might be possibility for some bipartisan action on this-- new Co. Leg. Chair Dale Borchers confessed to me Weds. at State of the County address at Bardavon that he knew just about every one of these five students lol!...join us-- Facebook.com/EndoCrimeFighters ; EWG.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors ....joel] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From: Joel Tyner (joeltyner@earthlink.net) To: countylegislators@dutchessny.gov, countyexec@dutchessny.gov, hkurban@dutchessny.gov Cc: mpregnall@acsdny.org Subject: Colleagues-- check out work of five Arlington High School seniors-- "EndoCrime Fighters"-- can't DCDBCH website have Think Dirty app link at least? Date: Jan 29, 2016 6:23 PM Hi all...(fellow county legislators, County Exec Molinaro, DCDBCH Commissioner Dr. Kurban: Recently I had a chance to sit down with five amazing Arlington High School seniors (the EndoCrime Fighters-- Hali Pregnall, Kira Murphy, Luke Hagin, John Furcick, and Jamie Constantino) and their teacher Maribel Pregnall (Maribell and her students have won $35,000 in just two years-- Lexus Challenge): www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2016/01/28/schools-environment-scholastic-lexus-eco-challenge/79473704/ www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2015/04/23/arlington-students-tackle-environmental-issue-win/26265357/ Please take a look at their work below-- we as county legislators at the very least should ask our county Health Department website to help promote the ThinkDirtyApp.com (Think Dirty app) so that Dutchess residents can better know if personal care products being sold in stores here are dangerous to their health or not; see: SafeCosmetics.org; BreastCancerFund.org . [These students have been working with Professor Janet Gray at Vassar & Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund] Of course I would love to see us ban products here in Dutchess County containing the chemicals mentioned below-- but if we might not all be able to agree on that-- why not at least as a county government educate local residents? You can reach Maribel Pregnall directly at mpregnall@acsdny.org. Joel 464-2245 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Hali Pregnall: "The State of the Union and Endocrine Disruptors" "With the recent tragic losses of beloved human beings David Bowie and Alan Rickman, the reality of cancer has resurfaced in the media. A lesson to be learned is that cancer does not discriminate and no one is out of reach from its grasp, no matter how good of a person they are. Everyone knows at least one person in their lives who has fought the battle against cancer. One of the worst aspects is that it often comes with no warning and no obvious causation. My great uncle died of lung cancer when I was very young, and though I do not remember much of him, I do remember the palpable pain on my family's faces. However, my great uncle had also been a packadaysmoker his whole life. I believe that many people today have finally accepted that cigarettes contain carcinogens, which cause cancer. What seems crazy to me is that it took over 50 years for this information to sink in. However, I think back and understand that in the past, tobacco was entirely entrenched in society. Everyone smoked. It was socially accepted. Today, health classes across America are required to inform young students about the dangers of tobacco. Our country finally realized that prevention is the best solution. During President Obama's last State of the Union Address, I was very moved by his commitment to finding a cure for cancer-especially in light of Vice President Joe Biden's loss of his son Beau, who died of cancer last year. "For the loved ones we've all lost, for the family we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all," Obama stated Tuesday night. Biden commented online, "This is our moonshot. I know that we can help solidify a genuine global commitment to end cancer as we know it today - and inspire a new generation of scientists to pursue new discoveries and the bounds of human endeavor." I personally think that, in addition to a cure, an effective plan should also focus on prevention. As I said before, today people know to avoid cigarettes. But what if I told you that you should also avoid your personal care products? The shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, and makeup products (just to name a few) that the majority of Americans use daily are causing cancer. These products contain toxic chemicals called endocrine disruptors. Many of them are labeled directly in the ingredients: parabens, phthalates, triclosan, BPA. The list goes on forever, and they all go by multiple names. Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are directly linked to breast cancer. EDCs bind to hormone receptors on cells and block them, so the body's natural hormone messengers cannot reach their target receptors. Estrooenrelated receptor pathways may regulate metabolic activity in cells, including cancer cells, as well as proliferation of cells and tumor progression. It seems logical. You tell someone, "Hey, your mascara has chemicals in it that cause cancer," and they should stop using that mascara. However, this is not the case. When I tell my friends about the chemicals in their products, I am usually met with responses like, "No way! I love this mascara! How could the company get away with that?" There are many problems, and I do not wish to oversimplify the issue, but a main stumbling block is that humans are creatures of habit. We like the products that we use and when they run out, chances are pretty good that we will buy the same exact product. I know this because I am guilty of this exact behavior. We convince ourselves there is no problem. Humans are excellent at ignoring things they do not want to hear. We stop reading the label and focus on how soft and shiny our hair looks and how nice we smell. The truth is messy. Many companies acknowledge the presence of EDCs in their products, but claim that they are at such low doses that it does not pose a threat to human health. However, more and more scientific literature today shows that EDCs function the opposite way. The Breast Cancer Fund states, "These low-dose effects are especially prevalent in early developing tissues, before the time that complex hormonal regulation is established and during the developmental period when even minuscule levels of naturally occurring hormones have been shown to have significant effects on developing organs, including the breasts." To put things simply: even low dosages of these chemicals are extremely harmful. This is because endocrine disruptors cause the most damage during critical developmental periods, when the body is most sensitive to change. These include fetal development and puberty. Ironic then, how as recent as 2011, Johnson and Johnson was still using formaldehyde to make their baby shampoo. It is also ironic how adolescents use more personal care products than any other demographic, and are the most susceptible to marketing and advertisements. Currently, the most recent law regulating the personal care product industry is over 75 years old, passed in 1938. The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Safety Act is now too small and powerless to successfully regulate a $71 billion industry, and reform is desperately needed. 50 years from now we will look back and wonder why we didn't make a change sooner. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. We have the ability to become the generation that takes action in promoting cancer prevention. Like Obama said in his address, "We can do so much more." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From Luke Hagin: "How Do We Solve the Problem?" It was overwhelming for me when I began to learn about all the dangerous endocrine disruptors in my personal care products. It seemed that every which way I turned I found a scary chemical staring me in the face: triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and more. I questioned if I should just throw out all of my personal care products and live without hygiene in mind, but I decided that wasn't a good idea. It's important to take small steps and find products without harmful chemicals and promote them. That's the first step toward changing production practices! You can download the Think Dirty app and scan products in the store to see what's in them. It's hard to find highly safe products, but it's very possible to make them. In fact, we made our own environmentally friendly lotion, and I might add that it works quite well. We are continuing to try to improve it and make more of it. There are many homemade recipes for lotions and more that you can try out for yourself. In addition, many companies have proven that they can make safer products, such as Johnson & Johnson. However, companies continue to sell their original products with harmful chemicals. Why? Because they can. Nothing is stopping them and it's what they've always done. Therefore, legislation that encourages safe products by outlawing many harmful chemicals in personal care products would be effective. What we can do is petition local governments and spread awareness in our communities. We're learning more and more about what goes into our products and how it affects us and the environment. Now it's important to spread the word! P.S - Peppermint and vanilla work great as scents for lotion! (I was almost tempted to taste them...at least they're safe!) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Kira Murphy: "Fragrance" Pick up your favorite bottle of shampoo, body soap, or lotion and read the ingredient list. Is this the first time you've done that? Don't worry. You're not the only one. For a lot of people, ingredients in personal care products have no influence on their decision to purchase the product. It's all about how "delicious" it smells and how bubbly it is. Companies know this so that's what they produce: bubbly shampoo that works decently well and smells really great. But how safe is this shampoo? How safe are any of these products? Pick up the bottle again. Is one of the ingredients fragrance?" Over 40% of personal care products contain fragrance. So what is it? I don't know, and neither do you. The only people who do are fragrance manufacturers. What we do know, is that it's several thousandsunidentified chemicals that, when mixed together, make your personal care product smell nice. It's great that they smell nice, but they are potentially harmful to both you and the environment. The worst part? There is no government regulation on the fragrance industry. In fact, there has been federal protection of fragrance since it has come into existence. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act specifically excludes fragrance. We need to change that. Our government should protect us, and if they don't then we have to protect ourselves. So, check your labels and "vote with your pocketbooks." If personal care product companies realize consumers are buying safer products, they might start producing them. So think twice before you spray on your favorite perfume or put on your "delicious" lotion. Is it really worth it? For more information, read "Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance" by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Jamie Constantino: Becoming Aware of the Problem I am an extremely ritualized person; each morning starts off exactly the same. I wake up, take a shower, brush my teeth, do my hair, and eat breakfast, in that order. This pattern has become so ingrained into my daily routine that I do not think much about it at all. I especially do not think about all of the personal care products I am using in the short hour it takes me to get ready. On any given day I am using about nine personal care products just to get ready in the morning, and that does not include all the others I will use throughout my day. Being a male who does not wear makeup, my list is much smaller than many of my peers' lists. So what? I use a lot of products to get ready in the mornings, doesn't everyone? And they must all be safe or else companies would not be allowed to sell them, right? I, like many others, simply assumed all of my products were safe and were not doing any harm, and then did not give it another thought. After embarking on a team research project for my high school to submit to the Lexus Eco Challenge on endocrine disruptors in everyday personal care products, I discovered the gravity of my misconception. Many of my products were not safe and contained chemicals that were hurting not only me, but the water supply and aquatic life because these products are washed down the drain. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the normal functions of the endocrine system and can have negative effects on reproduction and development. By downloading a simple app, Think Dirty, I learned that my personal care products contained endocrine disruptors such as triclosan, benzalkonium chloride, parabens, and thousands of undisclosed chemicals under the ambiguous label "Fragrance." No one likes to think that their favorite shampoo or mascara is harming them and their environment, but the sad truth is, they most likely are. The longer we ignore the problem, the more damage it will cause to the environment and ourselves. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to cancer, autism and other serious illnesses. Making a change may seem daunting but resources such as the Think Dirty app provide healthy alternatives to all of your favorite products. Organizations such as The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics provide information on brands to avoid, brands that are making advances in the safe cosmetics industry, and the most current legislation regarding the regulation of chemicals in personal care products. By learning which products you use are safe and which are not, you can begin to make healthier choices that will have a positive impact on not only you but thousands of other organisms. So the next time you're at your local drug store, look closely at the ingredients in your personal care products-it will truly make a difference. And now when I look in the mirror every morning, I do not only look great, but I did not hurt myself or the environment in the process. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - John Furcick: "Why Are We the Endocrime Fighters?" Why are we the Endocrime Fighters? Well, it started off simply as a cute, catchy name that gave people somewhat of an idea of what we could possibly be doing. But as we continued the project, the Endocrime Fighters became more and more like superheroes each day. To start, our lair is located in the computer lab in the front left corner of the building (and sometimes in the biology room right below; it depends on the mission). Each day we have a task set for ourselves, and we work as a unit to get this done. We also search for danger by using the Think Dirty App, to see if any of the personal care products we come across pose a threat to our endocrine systems. Some of the threats we face are some of the most fearsome anyone could come across (like Triclosan). However, us superheroes can't do everything alone. Sometimes we have to take off the disguises and put our normal high school student faces on to work with tremendous people such as our director Maribel Pregnall, professor Janet Gray at Vassar, or Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund. We will go out into the real world and visit places and gather all of the intelligence we can with the help of others. We've been everywhere from water treatment plants to the local middle school to Burgerfi. It's a busy lifestyle being a superhero, and it's even busier being a superhero loaded with high school academics and activities. However, we still attempt to do our best in trying to make the world a little better place, and we hope we can inspire others to become their own superheroes. Together we can all #EndTheDisruption.

Monday, January 25, 2016

re: jail expansion-- Albuquerque safely cut jail population 40% in 3 years, Springfield/MA safely cut jail population 30% in six years, Miami cut jail population 40%-- thx to Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, Craig Brendli for signing on to my Rich-Perkins-inspired letter!

[thx to Co. Leg.'s Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli for just now at tonight's Co. Leg. full board meeting agreeing to sign on to this letter I circulated (inspired/informed by info former Co. Leg. Rich Perkins just shared with the Dem caucus last week about the well-respected Vera Institute's report from last May-- "The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration": www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/29/reduce-jail-population_n_7471696.html www.abqjournal.com/555688/news/bernalillo-county-jail-population-has-plunged.html www..vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/price-of-jails.pdf ...email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov-- ask why only Dems signed on to these letters!...(just below the first letter here you can see another similar letter I circulated at tonight's meeting-- covering alternatives to incarceration I've proposed for the last decade-- essentially the same resolution that Co. Leg.'s Francena Amparo, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli all agreed to co-sponsor a few weeks ago-- tonight signers were Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, & Craig Brendli-- onward ho me hearties! lol) J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - January 25, 2016 Mr. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County Executive Dutchess County Office Building 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly urge you to consider the proven, innovative, cost-saving ways that Albuquerque (NM), Springfield (MA), and Miami-Dade County (FL) have bolstered the safety of their communities while greatly lessening the number of local folks incarcerated. The Bernalillo County Jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico safely cut its inmate population by over 40 percent in just three years from literally 2667 in 2012 to 1568 as of last March, with hundreds of empty jail beds. County taxpayers there already have already seen relief-- they’re no longer paying millions of dollars a year to ship inmates to jails throughout New Mexico and Texas because of a shortage of beds in Albuquerque (at one point “housing out” inmates cost as much as six million dollars a year). Credit for the reduced population, officials say, lies in a variety of initiatives aimed at speeding up the handling of cases in the court system and better cooperation among criminal-justice agencies. The Legislature there passed a law three years ago establishing a multi-agency commission that included the state Supreme Court and Administrative Office of the Courts. They worked with representatives of state District Court, Metropolitan Court and others to come up with ideas for reducing the time inmates spend waiting for hearings. The county paid for pro tem judges to preside over some preliminary and probation hearings. Some of the changes are dramatic. People who violate their probation restrictions – by failing a drug test, for example – used to wait in jail more than 40 days for a hearing. Now it’s a little over 20 days. A state Supreme Court decision on bail also is a factor. In November 2014, the court ruled that judges shouldn’t set high bonds to keep defendants in jail pending trial. Instead, judges should use the least-restrictive conditions in each case that still will ensure public safety and the defendant’s presence at trial. In Bernalillo County, the courts are expanding use of a program that supervises people in the community as they await trial. Elizabeth Simpson, an attorney hired in 2013 to help the county work on the jail population, said the package of local changes “does not mean releasing dangerous people to the streets-- it means identifying those individuals who need to be incarcerated and those who do not and making our system work efficiently.” The Hampden County jail in Ludlow, Massachusetts cut its inmate population by 30 percent (634 inmates) between 2008 and 2014, saving $16 million annually on incarceration costs because of the jail’s increased diversions to probation supervision and its expanded investment in re-entry initiatives, which have caused local recidivism to drop by 25 percent since 2000. At the heart of the jail’s re-entry program is a community center, established in 1996 in Springfield’s Mason Square, that serves as a hub to connect soon-to-be ex-offenders with local resources. Since 2006, the program has also offered a high-risk offender initiative, and in 2007, it added a lower-security community re-entry unit in the jail and began to make available re-entry assistants to work intensively with inmates both before and after their release. The center also offers an employment team, case management, housing support, community support groups and a mentorship program to assist inmates who are returning to society. The reduced population has allowed the Hampden County jail to close multiple housing units, downsize others and reduce personnel numbers, according to the Vera Institute. Miami-Dade County recently closed one of its jails, saving $12 million annually on incarceration costs, by making sure that nonviolent mentally ill individuals who don’t need to be arrested or locked up aren’t any more, taking their jail census down to 4800 inmates from 7800 inmates over the last decade. Dutchess County has barely started to follow the Miami/San Antonio example in this fashion with crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers and new Crisis Stabilization Center not yet constructed; since 80% of Dutchess County Jail inmates have mental health or substance abuse problems (source: Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council). - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - January 25, 2016 Mr. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County Executive Dutchess County Office Building 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly urge you to consider the proven, innovative, cost-saving ways that other municipalities in New York State have cut incarceration rates. Dutchess County has not yet worked with state and city governments to press for restoration of the Drug Court to the City of Poughkeepsie, that for many years successfully ensured treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders; Dutchess County has not yet initiated a Veterans Treatment Court to help deserving veterans avoid incarceration as in Columbia, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Albany, Rensselaer, Sullivan, and Monroe counties and in Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Dutchess County has not followed the example of Brooklyn, Bronx, Seattle, San Bernardino, and many other municipalities who have enacted Mental Health Courts to divert nonviolent mentally ill from arrest and incarceration; Dutchess County has not yet followed the innovative, cost-saving example of Genesee County and initiated a comprehensive restorative justice program to help some suitable, qualifying people who have been arrested and their victims as well. Dutchess County has also not yet initiated a Parole Re-Entry Court similar to the successful one already up and running in Harlem, and Dutchess County has also failed to invest enough resources in a truly comprehensive, cost-saving, recidivism-cutting system of re-entry similar to Brooklyn's ComAlert system, recognized by both Harvard and The New York Times for effectiveness in making sure those getting out of jail don’t go back. Dutchess County has not yet followed the Bronx example and expedited processing of inmates in our jail by bringing together prosecutors, defenders, judges, and all stakeholders in our criminal justice system— while 80% of Dutchess County Jail inmates still haven't gone to trial— and Dutchess County has not yet followed the Tompkins County/Bronx/Brooklyn/Manhattan example of a bail loan fund for some accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, proven to save $400,000 annually on incarceration costs in a county with a population less than a third of Dutchess County; homeless Dutchess County residents still repeatedly try to commit minor crimes to purposely be arrested and jailed for "three hots and a cot.” Dutchess County has not yet followed example of Gloucester, Cooperstown, and many other communities across the country who have lowered jail/prison populations by guaranteeing treatment instead of incarceration for heroin addicts; Dutchess County also has not yet followed the example of the Brooklyn District Attorney working collaboratively with the Drew House to make sure that, if possible, women who have been arrested can have their children living with them in an alternative, rehabilitative setting. Dutchess County has not yet made a commitment to divert nonviolent drug offenders from arrest and incarceration, even for possession of minor amounts of marijuana, though this is being accomplished in New York City, along with decriminalizing other minor nonviolent misdemeanor offenses like littering, public urination, public consumption of alchohol, excessive noise, etc.-- these still have civil fines/consequences. Finally, African-Americans make up 12 percent of Dutchess County's population but 44 percent of the population of the Dutchess County Jail; whites use drugs just as much as blacks but blacks are arrested six times more than whites for drug "crimes"; no effort has been made here in Dutchess County to address the disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated. Moreover, you promised in May 2014 to fully fund youth programs locally, but county funding has yet to be restored for the incredibly successful Youth Bureau Project Return program for at-risk teens, Big Brothers Big Sisters (or a similar program), or the Green Teen Program in Poughkeepsie through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess— our youth deserve better.

re: GE/PCBs, Cuomo/DEC cave-in-- thx to Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli for signing my letter below!

[thx to Micki, Francena, Hannah, Kari, and Craig (five Dem county legislators) for just now at tonight's Co. Leg. full board mtg. agreeing to sign my letter here below calling on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to not look the other way any longer when it comes to making sure GE/EPA clean up all (not just 65 percent) of GE's PCB's out of our river-- feel free to call Cuomo and state legislators on this at 877-255-9417-- thx to the Poughkeepsie Journal editorial yesterday for inspiration for my letter below (wording for letter borrows heavily from PoJo): www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/01/23/state-must-end-silence-pcb-cleanup/79167 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - January 25, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo Senate Leader John Flanagan Assembly Leader Carl Heastie State Senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Stephen Katz, Kieran Michael Lalor, Frank Skartados Dear State Leaders: Recently the Poughkeepsie Journal published this spot-on editorial “State Must End Silence On PCB Cleanup”: “So was it worth it, governor? The endless courting to entice General Electric to relocate its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to New York has ended in abject failure: The manufacturing giant says those administrative offices will be going to Boston. Meanwhile, those who have been faithfully focused on restoring the Hudson River’s health have been wondering: Why has the state been so strangely quiet while others have raised legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of General Electric’s cleanup of the river? It’s time for state environmental officials to address this matter squarely, as they have been entrusted to do. Yes, General Electric has completed an ambitious six-year project that dredged contamination out of the water, but there is far more to the story. Plenty of that pollution in the form of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, remains in the water, and the contamination remains at unsafe levels. While the Environmental Protection Agency has not called for more dredging, the agency has agreed to begin the review of the cleanup this year instead of 2017. But three other agencies — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation — also have obligations when it comes to the river’s health. They still have to make their assessment of the harm done to the river’s resources, and it’s possible they will deem that more dredging is necessary. Late last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA wisely urged the EPA to have General Electric delay any dismantling of equipment. But the EPA did not adhere to that recommendation, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation has said nothing on the issue. While dredging took place over a 40-mile stretch of river between Fort Edward and Troy, environmental groups and communities along the river had been pushing for a concentrated effort of another 136 acres or so. Environmental groups also have sharply urged the EPA to resolve the ‘alarming divergence of opinion between agencies involved in this nationally significant cleanup. That is imperative, and the state’s voice must be clear on behalf of the great river that has been damaged but can be healed.’” We, the undersigned various members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly echo the editorial above and, in solidarity with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Scenic Hudson, and Riverkeeper, call on you to make sure that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation facilitates a complete cleanup of the PCBs out of the Hudson River— and doesn’t look the other way regarding 35 percent of GE’s PCBs still there.

re: solar, state building/fire codes-- thx to Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, Craig Brendli for signing my letter!

[thx tons to four of my Dem Co. Leg. colleagues-- Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli-- for agreeing just now at tonight's Co. Leg. full board meeting to sign on to the letter below I circulated calling on the NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to back off from its ridiculous assault on the solar industry, green jobs, clean air, and carbon cutting-- call Cuomo and state legislators yourself on this at 877-255-9417; contact NYSFPBCC at www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/code_council.html; see Poughkeepsie Journal article from John Ferro that inspired the letter below: www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2016/01/24/solar-panel-firefighter-setbacks-icc/78788754/ ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - January 25, 2016 Governor Andrew Senate Leader John Flanagan Assembly Leader Carl Heastie State Senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Stephen Katz, Kieran Michael Lalor, Frank Skartados Dear State Leaders: As the Poughkeepsie Journal reported today— “The future of proposed rules limiting rooftop space for solar panels in New York will depend on whether the state accepts national standards that were published by mistake. The state's Fire Prevention and Building Code Council is weighing new codes that would require a 3-foot setback from the edge of residential rooftops to allow safe access for firefighters-- but the model rules were published in error in 2014 by the International Code Council, a group that develops building and fire-prevention codes for structures. Public hearings are set to begin this week-- they will be held in Albany, Long Island, Syracuse and Buffalo. The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council's codes, more commonly known as the ‘I-Codes,’ serve as a template for states and federal agencies. All 50 states have adopted them at some level. An official for a statewide solar industry association that opposes the changes said the group only became aware of the publishing issue following an inquiry by the Poughkeepsie Journal. The group estimates the restrictions could reduce the available rooftop space in New York by 40 percent or more. Indeed, industry officials say the revelation has left them uncertain about what the state is proposing, just days before public hearings are scheduled to begin. ‘Right now, we have so little clarity,’ Mary Bartlett, spokeswoman for the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, said Friday. The potential rule change comes against the backdrop of statements made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's during his State of the State and budget address, in which he mandated 50 percent of New York’s energy come from renewables by 2030. ‘This year it’s no longer a goal — it is now a requirement,’ Cuomo said. In 2014, an International Code Council committee provisionally approved ‘Section R324.7’ containing the new setback rules for one- and two-family residential buildings. But during the public comment period, the committee reversed course. ‘The code change proposal adding Section R324.7 was disapproved,’ said David Bowman of the council. However, when the final codes were published in May 2014, the disapproved section was erroneously included. The council then published an update striking that section. States like New York weigh updates to the I-Codes, along with revisions dictated by circumstances or statutes unique to each state. New York has included the erroneously published section among the updates it is considering. ‘If New York concludes that the substance of the requirements set forth in Section (R)324.7 should be retained, such requirements will need to be included as one of the (state's) modifications to the I-Codes,’ said Laz Benitez, spokesman for the state Department of State.” We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly urge you to work with the New York State Solar Energy Industries Association and the NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to make sure new restrictions are not irrationally put in place that would limit solar rooftop space drastically.

Friday, January 22, 2016

re: jail expansion-- new "20 questions" video project-- need volunteers to help make this happen!

[sent this email below to my six fellow Co. Leg. Dems here in Dutchess County-- but can't do this video project without help from you all!...and...don't forget-- email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov-- to help build support for new Tyner/Amparo/Rieser/Brendli resolution I submitted last week calling for county action locally on all these 20 initiatives!] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Caucus-- "20 questions" proposed for video-- would love to work with u all on this asap [note-- below is work in progress-- fine with me if order of 20 issues/questions changed...or even if wording changed-- I'm probably missing a few things....let me know.....not sure when I'll be able to pull together a group of twenty people/kids to make this video reality so could really really use your help/input....and as I said last night...I think a ton of folks in Dutchess would watch this if I was the only county legislator involved.......but imagine how many folks would watch it-- and local media coverage-- if all seven of us collaborated to make this little 10-minute video together....so...pls help, input?...Joel] 1. Violent crime in Dutchess County has decreased over twenty percent over the last five years, as the Poughkeepsie Journal reported on its front page last June. 2. Dutchess County has not yet followed the Bronx example and expedited processing of inmates in our jail, 80% of which still haven't gone to trial yet here in our county (former County Comptroller Diane Jablonski's op-ed in Poughkeepsie Journal last May recommended that Dutchess follow Bronx example on this). 3. Dutchess County has not yet seen how much our jail population can be cut by diverting mentally ill from arrest/jail after our new Crisis Intervention Training and Crisis Stabilization Center initiatives have been fully implemented; Miami and San Antonio saw huge cuts in incarceration from this (Miami at 40 percent). 4. Dutchess County has not yet followed the Tompkins County/Bronx/Brooklyn/Manhattan example of a bail loan fund for some accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, proven to save $400,000 annually on incarceration costs in a county with a population less than a third of Dutchess County. 5. Homeless Dutchess County residents have repeatedly tried over the last several months to commit minor crimes to purposely be arrested and jailed for "three hots and a cot", as former Beacon County Legislator April Farley has publicly stated. 6. African-Americans make up 12 percent of Dutchess County's population but 44 percent of the population of the Dutchess County Jail; whites use drugs just as much as blacks but blacks are arrested six times more than whites for drug "crimes"; no effort has been made here in Dutchess County to address the disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated. 7. Dutchess County has not yet followed example of Gloucester, Cooperstown, and many other communities across the country who have lowered jail/prison populations by guaranteeing treatment instead of incarceration for heroin addicts; Carol Curcio of Poughkeepsie is the local representative for the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, coordinating this work across the country. 8. Dutchess County has not yet followed the example of the Brooklyn District Attorney working collaboratively with the Drew House to make sure that, if possible, women who have been arrested can have their children living with them in an alternative, rehabilitative setting. 9. Dutchess County has not yet followed the example of Daugherty County and initiated a Parental Accountability Court to help make sure that "deadbeat dads" actually can pay the child support they owe to mothers of their children and avoid unnecessary incarceration, lost of employment, driver's licenses, etc., as former County Legislator Rich Perkins has pointed out. 10. Dutchess County has not yet made a commitment to divert nonviolent drug offenders from arrest and incarceration, even for possession of minor amounts of marijuana, though this has successfully been accomplished in New York City, along with decriminalizing other minor nonviolent misdemeanor offenses (that still carry a civil fee/fine/penalty there). 11. Dutchess County has not yet worked with state and city governments to restore the Drug Court to the City of Poughkeepsie, that for many years under Judge Kathy Moloney's leadership successfully ensured treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. 12. Dutchess County has not yet initiated a Veterans Treatment Court to help deserving veterans avoid incarceration as in Columbia, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Albany, Rensselaer, Sullivan, and Monroe counties and in Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx (even County Legislator Joseph Incoronato has pointed out in a letter to the editor in a local newspaper years ago that Dutchess County would do well to have one of these). 13. Dutchess County has not yet initiated a Parole Re-Entry Court similar to the successful one already up and running in Harlem (the Center for Court Innovation is the expert on this), and Dutchess County has also failed to invest enough resources in a truly comprehensive, cost-saving, recidivism-cutting system of re-entry similar to Brooklyn's ComAlert system, recognized by both Harvard and The New York Times for its effectiveness in making sure those getting out of jail don't get locked up again. 14. Dutchess County has not followed the example of Brooklyn, Bronx, Seattle, San Bernardino, and many other municipalities who have enacted Mental Health Courts to divert nonviolent mentally ill from arrest and incarceration. 15. Dutchess County has not yet followed the innovative, cost-saving example of Genesee County and initiated a comprehensive restorative justice program to help some suitable, qualifying people who have been arrested and their victims as well. 16. Dutchess County has not yet followed the example of other counties who make sure that first-time offenders are not mixed in with other inmates charged with more serious crimes, as former County Legislator Rich Perkins has pointed out. 17. Dutchess County has not yet followed the advice of the National Institute on Correction and initiated a halfway house program for some local state parole violators who have been found guilty of violating parole for minor reasons. 18. Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro promised in May 2014 to fully fund youth programs locally, but county funding has yet to be restored for the incredibly successful Youth Bureau Project Return program for at-risk teens, Big Brothers Big Sisters (or a similar program), or the Green Teen Program in Poughkeepsie through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County; Dutchess County has not yet followed the advice to municipalities across the U.S. from the University of Chicago Crime Lab; as the Washington Post reported in December 2014, the youth crime rate decreased by 43 percent in Chicago after a comprehensive summer jobs program for at-risk youth was initiated there, and Dutchess County still has no SNUG program to effectively address crime as in Yonkers, Rochester, and elsewhere across the state. 19. Duchess County has not sent a strong message to our state and federal governments, as the New York Times just editorialized recently, to follow the smart, safe, cost-saving Second Chance Society reforms to our criminal justice system already proven successful in Connecticut, as the bipartisan #Cut50, Coalition for Public Safety and the conservative Right on Crime coalition have called for, to cut the number of incarcerated across the country by fifty percent over the next ten years. 20. Even the late great former Dutchess County Sheriff Fred Scoralick was quoted in a 2013 Poughkeepsie Journal article stating, regarding the issue of jail overcrowding in Dutchess, that "you can't build your way out of this problem."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

re: jail expansion-- new Tyner/Amparo/Rieser/Brendli resolution for alternatives needs support-- email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov!

Hi all... Great news-- thx to many of you out there who sent in emails to all 25 of us on this, just in the nick of time on Friday afternoon we were able to get the necessary minimum of four county legislators on board my new resolution for alternatives to jail expansion! [thx tons to Co. Leg.'s Francena Amparo, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli-- 'tis much appreciated] However-- since as of this moment there are only four of us on board as co-sponsors for this resolution, it's still possible that the current GOP majority of our County Legislature may decide to not even allow it to be on the agenda for a committee meeting in February... So-- pls-- if you agree with us that we need to do everything we can to avoid massive, wasteful Taj-Mahal-like jail expansion running upwards of $200 million (see just below)... ...pls email all 25 county legislators NOW-- at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov! [click here for individual contact info for county legislators: http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/countygov/departments/legislature/cllegislators.htm] Note-- I write two now instead of three... [note-- read the actual "resolved" part of the resolution: it's pretty noncontroversial, folks] Fact: There are many things Dutchess County could and should be doing re: criminal justice reforms possible on a local level-- other than wasting literally hundreds of millions of county tax dollars on unneeded jail expansion (see much, much more below on all this) www.ENJAN.org/ ; www.DDWC.org/ ; www.JobsNotJails.weebly.com/ Fact: Four years ago faith leaders and activists successfully organized to stop planned jail expansion in Contra Costa County, California(!). www.richmondconfidential.org/2012/09/07/contra-costa-tables-controversial-jail-expansion/ Now is not time to sit back, relax, let GOP go unchallenged re: jail expansion-- recall results we got with continued push to make sure mentally ill not arrested/jailed-- reality: www.dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2015/01/five-co-leg-dems-sign-my-letter-to.html www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2015/02/25/dutchess-county-state-address/24022065/ Wake. Up. [again-- I'm not stupid folks-- I know damn well that I/we may not be able to stop GOP plans for jail expansion-- we all know that....but it is beyond foolish and stupid to not even talk about alternatives that could be explored!] Joel 845-464-2245 joeltyner@earthlink.net - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [text here below of new Tyner/Amparo/Rieser/Brendli resolution-- help build support for it-- email all 25 of us on this NOW-- at county legislators@dutchessny.gov!] REQUESTING THAT DUTCHESS COUNTY CRIMINAL JUSTICE COUNCIL EVALUATE COST AND FEASIBILITY OF PROVEN WAYS TO SAFELY LOWER INCARCERATION RATE IN DUTCHESS COUNTY JAIL WHEREAS, violent crime in Dutchess County has decreased over twenty percent over the last five years, and one-fourth of the current Dutchess County Jail "pods" are empty, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet followed the Bronx example and expedited processing of inmates in our jail, 80% of which still haven't gone to trial yet here in our county, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet seen how much our jail population can be cut by diverting mentally ill from arrest/jail after our new Crisis Intervention Training and Crisis Stabilization Center initiatives have been fully implemented; Miami and San Antonio saw huge cuts in incarceration from this (Miami at 40 percent), and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet followed the Tompkins County/Bronx/Brooklyn/Manhattan example of a bail loan fund for some accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, proven to save $400,000 annually on incarceration costs in a county with a population less than a third of Dutchess County, and WHEREAS, homeless Dutchess County residents repeatedly tried to commit minor crimes to purposely be arrested and jailed for "three hots and a cot", and WHEREAS, African-Americans make up 12 percent of Dutchess County's population but 44 percent of the population of the Dutchess County Jail; whites use drugs just as much as blacks but blacks are arrested six times more than whites for drug "crimes"; no effort has been made here in Dutchess County to address the disproportionate number of people of color incarcerated, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet followed example of Gloucester, Cooperstown, and many other communities across the country who have lowered jail/prison populations by guaranteeing treatment instead of incarceration for heroin addicts, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet followed the example of the Brooklyn District Attorney working collaboratively with the Drew House to make sure that, if possible, women who have been arrested can have their children living with them in an alternative, rehabilitative setting, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet made a commitment to divert nonviolent drug offenders from arrest and incarceration, even for possession of minor amounts of marijuana, though this has successfully been accomplished in New York City, along with decriminalizing other minor nonviolent misdemeanor offenses (that still carry a civil fee/fine/penalty there), and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet worked with state and city governments to restore the Drug Court to the City of Poughkeepsie, that for many years successfully ensured treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet initiated a Veterans Treatment Court to help deserving veterans avoid incarceration as in Columbia, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Albany, Rensselaer, Sullivan, and Monroe counties and in Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet initiated a Parole Re-Entry Court similar to the successful one already up and running in Harlem, and Dutchess County has also failed to invest enough resources in a truly comprehensive, cost-saving, recidivism-cutting system of re-entry similar to Brooklyn's ComAlert system, recognized by both Harvard and The New York Times for its effectiveness in making sure those getting out of jail don't get locked up again, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not followed the example of Brooklyn, Bronx, Seattle, San Bernardino, and many other municipalities who have enacted Mental Health Courts to divert nonviolent mentally ill from arrest and incarceration, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County has not yet followed the innovative, cost-saving example of Genesee County and initiated a comprehensive restorative justice program to help some suitable, qualifying people who have been arrested and their victims as well, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro promised in May 2014 to fully fund youth programs locally, but county funding has yet to be restored for the incredibly successful Youth Bureau Project Return program for at-risk teens, Big Brothers Big Sisters (or a similar program), or the Green Teen Program in Poughkeepsie through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, and WHEREAS, Duchess County has not sent a strong message to our state and federal governments, as the New York Times just editorialized recently, to follow the smart, safe, cost-saving Second Chance Society reforms to our criminal justice system already proven successful in Connecticut, as the bipartisan #Cut50, Coalition for Public Safety and the conservative Right on Crime coalition have called for, to cut the number of incarcerated across the country by fifty percent over the next ten years, and therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature requests that the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council immediately evaluate the cost and feasibility of these sensible, proven reforms to safely cut our jail population here in Dutchess County, and report back on them to the Dutchess County Legislature as soon as possible, and be it further RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive and Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council.