Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Town of Clinton residents-- 20 ways here to make our town better-- email townsupervisor@townofclinton.com and joeltyner@earthlink.net if you like any of them!...

[this morning I emailed Clinton Town Supervisor this list below at town supervisor@townofclinton.com, suggesting these ideas, offering to work with him to help make these reality here in our town-- pls follow up if you like any of these!...J] -- categorically oppose all unneeded, destructive AC transmission line "upgrades" -- push NYSDOT: lower speed limits in hamlets of Clinton Corners and Clinton Hollow -- expand/update town website (e.g., only NextEra?...local groundwater contamination) -- publicly, consistently, strongly oppose County Exec's cut in sales tax revenue-sharing -- support more funding for town library (e.g. referendum for maintained library funding) -- Open Clinton open-source website alternative town (Open Raleigh/Project Sunlight) -- local-level campaign finance reform (ban pay-to-play as in Orange/Rockland co.'s) -- help create local clearinghouse of Town of Clinton folks with skills/needs (TimeBank) -- "road captain' initiative to expand neighbor-to-neighbor outreach (esp. re: frail elderly) -- encourage Town Justices: work w/county government towards centralized arraignment -- true public access television opportunity here as in Rhinebeck/Red Hook (PANDA) -- protect wetlands, open space, farms zoning/Master Plan (moratorium: big developers?) -- no-cost-to-taxpayers solar array on town landfill (as in Esopus/Clarkstown) -- publicize/educate inexpensive energy retrofit loans (Green Jobs Green NY) -- publicize/educate re: Solarize (75-percent discount) possibilities for local homeowners -- implement new green-building standards for large buildings (as in Rhinebeck) -- create local municipal utility (buy/sell power): Community Choice Aggregation -- become DEC Climate Smart Community like Rhinebeck/Red Hook/LaGrange/Beacon -- move meaningfully towards zero waste (reuse center as in Red Hook/New Paltz) -- move meaningfully towards TheSolutionsProject.org goal: 100% fossil-fuel-free(!)

Monday, March 9, 2015

re: power lines/HVSEC/Eshel-- new letter I got signed by Co. Leg. Dems, Green...even 1 GOP-- press PSC to stop plans!...

[thx tons to the following members of our County Legislature who signed on to this letter I circulated earlier this evening at tonight's Co. Leg. full board mtg.-- Dems Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Farley, Micki Strawinski, Rich Perkins, and Green Nick Ignaffo (even GOP's Mike Kelsey, God help us all)-- calling on the NYS Public Service Commission to immediately halt any unneeded plans for AC transmission line "upgrades" in our region (as our property values have already been destroyed-- aside from cost/viewshed/health factors)-- email secretary@dps.ny.gov-- tell the PSC: stop!...J] [see: www.hvsec.org/2014/11/03/physicists-research-shows-power-line-expansion-not-needed/ ; www.nomonsterpowerlines.com !] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - March 9, 2015 Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess Secretary to the Commission New York State Public Service Commission Empire State Plaza Agency Building 3 Albany, NY 12223-1350 Dear Secretary Burgess: We, the undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask the New York State Public Service Commission to immediately cease and desist in its ongoing “Alternating Current Transmission Project”, as the 2012 Blueprint from the New York State Energy Highway Taskforce did not and does not take into consideration the fact that no such destructive “upgrades” are needed to any AC transmission lines here in Dutchess or the Hudson Valley (besides concerns re: costs/viewshed, property values already destroyed). We are far from alone in our concerns-- the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition, long deadset against such “upgrades” to local AC transmission lines, is comprised of Dutchess County Government, Towns of Clinton, Milan, and Pleasant Valley, Scenic Hudson, Clinton Concerned Citizens, Dutchess Land Conservancy, Columbia Land Conservancy, Farmers and Families for Claverack, Farmers and Families for Livingston, Omega Institute, Olana Partnership, Pleasant Valley Concerned Citizens, Walnut Grove Farm, Winnakee Land Trust, and the Preservation League of New York State. As the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition has noted, this past November 1st at Bard College, Research Professor of Environmental Science and Physics Gidon Eshel, Ph.D, proved conclusively beyond a shadow of a doubt “in front of a crowd of over 250 gathered at the Bertelsmann Campus Center that existing electricity infrastructure can handle downstate peak power loads until at least 2040. Dr. Eshel devoted over 350 hours last summer to conduct the research, analyzing data on mean and peak energy usage, electricity congestion, climate trends and regional demographics. Dr. Eshel’s preliminary analyses have led him to three key variables determining downstate peak loads: total downstate population, annual maximum temperatures and age distribution of the population.” As Dr. Eshel himself has stated, “There’s simply no need for the proposed power lines at any time between now and 2040. The population rise in New York is not continuing at the pace that it has historically exhibited. In addition, the ratio of those ages 25 to 45 to those ages 45 to 70 has been steadily declining in recent decades, but this is expected to reverse in coming decades, which is important because the young use less energy per capita than the middle aged. Even assuming no energy efficiency gains or renewable energy proliferation, you still see no need for this project.” Finally, as Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan has said, “Dr. Gidon Eshel’s compelling presentation shows new transmission lines are not needed. The Energy Highway threatens the Hudson Valley’s beauty and farmland with towering new transmission lines. Governor Cuomo has launched another initiative to reform New York’s power grid through innovation and conservation. As a result we can immediately begin the transition to a 21st-century energy system, putting New York in the national vanguard and saving the beauty and economy of the Hudson Valley. So— please— without further delay: immediately stop all unneeded “AC Transmission Project” upgrades!

Dem caucus signs my New Economy Jobs Creation plan for Dutchess-- email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov for action now!...

[thx tons to six of my Co. Leg. colleagues-- Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Farley, Micki Strawinski, Rich Perkins, and Nick Ignaffo-- for agreeing a bit earlier this evening at tonight's mtg. of our County Legislature to sign the letter below I circulated-- calling for a new bipartisan New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County-- email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov for action on this sooner rather than later!...Joel (464-2245)] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - March 9, 2015 Mr. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County Executive Mr. Robert Rolison Dutchess County Legislature Chair 22 Market Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marc) and County Legislature Chair Rolison (Rob): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask that you work with members of the Dutchess County Legislature to launch a new bipartisan New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County, to help openly develop innovative ways to revitalize our local economy, given the fact that from 2003 to 2013, Dutchess County lost 4,396 jobs (a drop of 3.8 percent)— while four other nearby counties gained quite a few jobs over the same period (Orange up 6.5%, Putnam up 6%, Rockland up 5.1%, and Westchester up 0.8%). We also ask that you hold a series of public hearings across Dutchess to generate job-creating ideas, and ask that you include representatives from labor, business, colleges, and taxpayers in the Task Force too. Much has been written about the so-called “New Economy” movement— we in Dutchess would do well to at least try some of these ideas (see NewEconomy.net, www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/new-economy-home). Here are 8 of many innovative ways to create jobs in Dutchess our New Economy Task Force could work on: 1. LOIS (Locally Owned Import Substitution) as Cleveland has done successfully, creating worker-owned cooperatives paying a living wage, by pulling together their large businesses, colleges, universities, and institutions; Chicago Anchors for Strong Economy has done this (Northern Dutchess Alliance has agreed too). [ www.thenation.com/article/cleveland-model?page=full ; www.EvergreenCooperatives.com ; www.northerndutchess.org/images/NDABlueprintWeb.pdf ] 2. Moving towards zero waste (recycling/composting) creates 10x more jobs than incineration/landfilling. (according to Institute for Local Self-Reliance, willing to assist us: www.ilsr.org/recycling-means-business/) 3. Microenterprise is proven way to help low-income folks launch their own businesses; more is needed here. www.gethudsonvalley.org ; www.mycommunityloanfund.org 4. Solar jobs could be created with solar on all county properties and community solar farms encouraged as well as part of the PSC’s Reforming Energy Vision; Bedford in Westchester is also a good example Dutchess should follow re: educating local homeowners on the Green Jobs Green NY program ( www.EnergizeBedford.org ). [don't forget-- 100% fossil-fuel-free NYS by 2030 would create 4.5 million new green jobs (Cornell/Stanford report): www.web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf ; www.dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2009/03/our-bright-idea-growin-brighter-and.html ) 5. Dutchess County government should send unified message to NYSPSC— to stop newly proposed Central Hudson rate hike (besides FERC “new capacity zone” electric rate hike); local businesses can’t afford this. www.saugertiesx.com/2015/03/05/central-hudson-seeks-electric-and-gas-rate-increase/ 6. Recognize that raising low-income workers’ wages helps, not hurts our local economy— e.g., San Diego’s unemployment rate actually went down after implementing a $10/hour minimum wage; if workers at profitable corporate chain fast-food restaurants and stores were paid living wage, would create more jobs. (see www.Fightfor15.org ; www.sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/11/04/data-shows-unemployment-down-growth-robust-after-san-jose-adopts-10-minimum-wage-measure-d-scott-myers-lipton-san-jose-state-university/ ] 7. Nassau, Washington, Suffolk, Monroe, and many other counties help mothers more with child care subsidies than we do here in Dutchess— our county government needs to do more to help working mothers re: jobs. www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/early-childhood-report1.pdf 8. Send a strong message to Albany and Washington, D.C. to expand Medicare to cover us all— a single-payer health care system would actually help small business and corporations create jobs (BusinessCoalition.net).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

re: CCA 2.0 (Community Choice Aggregation)-- thx to Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Nick Ignaffo for signing my letter to PSC for CCA 2.0!...

[thx tons to five of my Co. Leg. colleagues-- Dems Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, and Micki Strawinski-- and Green Nick Ignaffo-- for agreeing just a bit earlier tonight to sign on to this letter below circulated by yours truly at our Co. Leg. meeting-- in support of the work of Citizens for Local Power and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) 2.0 here locally for us in Dutchess and across NYS as in California with Sonoma Clean Power/Local Power!...see www.LocalPower.com ; www.CitizensforLocalPower.com; email NYSPSC on this at secretary@dps.ny.gov-- with case number 14-M-0224 in the subject line-- and copy to localpowerny@gmail.com, joeltyner@earthlink.net; join "Dutchess Demands Community Choice Aggregation" on Facebook too!...Joel] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - February 10, 2015 Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess Secretary to the Commission New York State Public Service Commission Empire State Plaza Agency Building 3 Albany, NY 12223-1350 Dear Secretary Burgess: We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, urge the New York State Public Service Commission to follow the recommendations of Citizens for Local Power and allow the truly innovative, cost-saving, green-jobs, clean-air, carbon-cutting, “Community Choice Aggregation 2.0” model to become reality here in Dutchess County and New York State as is already the case in California with Sonoma Clean Power/Local Power— not merely Community Choice Aggregation. As Sonoma Clean Power/Local Power noted in its “Community Choice Aggregation 2.0” report—“Energy localizations are being deployed around the country and the world tovarying scales. Tellingly, the Electric Power Research Institute has predicted the end of centralized power control in favor of the distributed intelligence of the smart grid aggregating and controlling distributed energy resources. Community choice aggregation allows a rapid scaling up of this innovative approach, an embrace of virtual power plants and local energy supplies beyond the marginal, incremental scale. Cities around the USA are pursuing energy localizations to varying degrees: Sonoma, California: is implementing CCA 2.0 after Local Power conducted a detailed, bottom-up renewable and efficiency deployment analysis using five years of meter data for every customer meter in the county. Boulder, Colorado: is forming an energy authority expressly organized around ‘energy localization’ and has retained Local Power to create a Localization Portfolio Standard (LPS). Fort Collins, Colorado: is using "virtual power plants," local renewable generation and demand dispatch to mitigate 20-30% of the city’s peak load. Austin, Texas: the Pecan Street Project pilot is deploying an open-source smart grid platform in a mixed use urban development (that includes 25% new affordable housing) as part of its integrated community development plan and in partnership with their municipal utility. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Local Power’s approach builds new infrastructure, vastly outperforming the status quo alternatives in wealth creation, job creation, new local business, and economic development, in addition to creating substantial, low-cost greenhouse gas reductions and enhanced resilience. Incumbent utilities are at a disadvantage in a world dominated by virtual power plants because of existing central power plant assets; CCA provides the best framework for these areas to localize their energy supply. For cities and counties that implement CCA 2.0 and builds out a significant portion of energy resources locally, the potential economic benefits are considerable. By investing in local renewable energy supplies and efficiency, and thereby reducing the volume of money exported continuously out of a local economy to purchase fossil fuel supplies—the problem of capital flight—a city or county retains this wealth within its own borders, enriching customers and the local economy. When compared to investing in centralized renewable installations, distributed in-county generation will create approximately three times the local wealth. Even more impressive, when compared to investing in traditional energy infrastructure, such an approach creates up to twenty times as much local wealth.”

reform Albany(!) letter signed by Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski-- call Cuomo and state legislators at (877) 255-9417 to follow up!...

[thx tons to four of my Democratic Co. Leg. colleagues-- Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, and Francena Amparo-- for agreeing at tonight's Co. Leg. full board mtg. to sign on to this letter below circulated by yours truly, calling for real reform in Albany this year of our state government; note-- practically every word in the letter below is from the Feb. 3rd editorial from the Albany Times-Union (which was reprinted in today's Poughkeepsie Journal!)...call Cuomo and state legislators to follow up yourselves on this-- at (877) 255-9417-- and thx again big-time to folks like Zephyr Teachout and groups like Citizen Action for all their work on these issues!...J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - February 10, 2015 Governor Andrew Cuomo: Senate Leader Dean Skelos: Assembly Leader Carl Heastie: State Senators Sue Serino and Terrence Murphy: Assembly Members Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Steve Katz, Kieran Lalor, and Frank Skartados: Albany, NY 12224 Dear State Leaders: Today’s Poughkeepsie Journal reprinted last Tuesday’s (February 3rd) spot-on editorial from the Albany Times-Union— we, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, urge you to heed its comprehensive recommendations for public financing of elections (as in Maine and Arizona), lowering campaign contribution limits, closing the LLC loophole, overhaul of the New York State Board of Elections, along with Governor Cuomo’s five-point reform proposal-- state legislator disclosure of where outside income comes from, ending public pension for those convicted of crimes, itemized expenses instead of flat per-diem payments for legislators, tightening up campaign finance rules so that donations aren’t a legal form of graft, and true transparency for political donations and spending—along with return of the Moreland Commission to continue its (obviously undone) work, as Zephyr Teachout has called for to uncover more corruption. As today’s Poughkeepsie Journal printed (echoing the Albany Times Union Feb. 3rd): “Just what is wrong with these amply paid part-time lawmakers disclosing where their outside income comes from, and what interest those writing the checks have in what state government does or does not do? Why shouldn't public officials contemplating corruption have the threat of losing their public pension to think twice about? Why should any sitting legislators be exempt from this? Why not have lawmakers itemize expenses rather than get a flat per diem payment just for showing up in Albany — or for claiming to? Why shouldn't the campaign finance rules be tightened so that donations aren't just a legal form of graft that politicians can spend as they please? And why shouldn't New York insist political donations and spending be as transparent as possible? More from the editorial-- “Here's a thought for lawmakers feeling stuck in Mr. Cuomo's ethics trap: Why not show him up? The governor has offered a serious list, though an incomplete one. It does not bring down the state's obscenely generous campaign contribution limits, nor does it close the notorious LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to skirt the caps by creating limited liability companies — each considered a separate individual. Mr. Cuomo himself has been a prime beneficiary of this loophole. ssing, too, are an overhaul of the ineffective, highly politicized state Board of Elections and a system of public financing of campaigns. So is any discussion of a ban on outside income in exchange for a modest raise. There is ample room here to take Mr. Cuomo's plan and make it better. Or lawmakers can cry foul and try to convince New Yorkers that they're not thinking of themselves, but of future legislatures. Of democracy. Of the constitution. Of good government. Good luck getting anyone to buy that.” Finally— “A Legislature so resistant to ethical reform may finally be forced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to swallow a dose it. Mr. Cuomo, who inexplicably shut down his Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in exchange for some minor reforms, now says he'll put five major ones in his executive budget. Nor will he sign off on the 2015-16 spending plan, he says, unless lawmakers accept the changes. That means come April 1, when the budget is due, they can either go along or risk going without paychecks. Let the howls of protest begin. An abuse of the budget process, they'll declare. A violation of the principle of coequal branches of government, they'll object. He's not playing fair, they're bound to huff. Yeah? Well, tough.” [see: www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Editorial-Mr-Cuomo-s-dose-of-ethics-6060389.php ]

re: chemical train safety-- thx to Co. Leg.'s Marge Horton, Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Nick Ignaffo for signing on to Kocher/Tyner letter tonight!...

[thx tons to GOP Co. Leg. Marge Horton, Dem Co. Leg.'s Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, and Micki Strawinski, and Green Nick Ignaffo for agreeing just now at tonight's Co. Leg. full board mtg. to sign on to the letter here below circulated by yours truly inspired/informed by the work of Wayne Kocher (446-2316)-- call Congress at (866) 338-1015 to follow up!...J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - February 10, 2015 [already received personally signed follow-up letter from Foxx to four letters I got signed last year from various co. leg. colleagues re: oil bomb trains!] Mr. Anthony Foxx Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE Washington, DC 20590 Dear Secretary Foxx: Thank you for your recent response to our letter. We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, further urge that you somehow motivate the incredibly profitable CSX (making $2 billion annually in profit) to make sure that local firefighter and emergency personnel here in the Hudson Valley are provided with enough air pac/plastic suit/haz mat training to respond to chemical train spills/fires/incidents, to make sure speeds are lowered (at least down to 35 mph) for dangerous chemical/oil trains up and down our river, to make sure the all-too-often too-skinny wheels on railcars are replaced and updated forthwith, and to make sure that our trains here are made much safer by ensuring all rail ties are securely where they're supposed to be in local railbeds. As you may be aware, award-winning 31-year Penn Central/Conrail/MetroNorth employee/retiree Wayne Kocher recently made a presentation on all this us in our County Legislature January 22nd. Mr. Kocher recently saw a Riverkeeper video of propane being transported up and down the Hudson on our (eastern) side of the river; many toxic chemicals like strychnine, sulfuric acid, ethylene oxide, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl acetate, methanol, naphtha, sodium chlorate, 2-chloroacetophenone, sodium hypochloride, sodium hydroxide, ethyl dichloroarsine, tetrachloroethylene, and phenol are regularly carried by train on the other (western) side. Mr. Kocher has also noted that passenger train wheels “go to scrap” at 1 1/16"— but that freight train wheels go to scrap at 11/16"— this discrepancy must be addressed immediately as well. Thank you for your attention to this matter— many local communities here in the Hudson Valley get their drinking water directly from the Hudson River— our public health and safety depends on your quick action on all this; please work immediately with the Federal Railroad Administration to address all these issues. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [for more on all this see here: www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/chemical-disasters-are-not-unstoppable/blog/28226/ ; www.secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=341B47F0EA5D64EAF9E058C6AD6B638B.app325a? cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=655&s_src=blog&s_subsrc=campaigns ; www.mprnews.org/story/2014/09/23/trains-haul-undocumented-hazardous-chemicals ; www.wsj.com/articles/railroad-operator-csx-reports-higher-profits-1413318545 ]

Thursday, January 22, 2015

stop TPP-- thx to Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Dominic Ignaffo for signing my letter tonight-- call Congress at (866) 338-1015 to kill it before it grows!...

[thx to my Co. Leg. colleagues Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Marie Farley, Micki Strawinski, and Dominic Ignaffo for all agreeing earlier at tonight's County Legislature full board meeting to sign this letter below circulated by yours truly re: TPP-- see www.StopTPP.org !...J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - January 22, 2015 President Barack Obama: Senate Leader Mitch McConnell: House Speaker John Boehner: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Senator Charles Schumer: Representative Chris Gibson: Representative Sean Patrick Maloney: Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear National Leaders: The Trans-Pacific Partnership would create a super-treaty which would jeopardize the sovereignty of the nations involved by giving that power to large corporations like 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. We, the undersigned various members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly urge you to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the reasons noted above— and thank you for your attention to this matter.