Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dutchess Film Project launch Sat. @ Occupy Poughkeepsie (Hulme) Park-- help us document austerity, foolishness, corruption, and nonsense-- impact here locally on Dutchess County residents of regressive county government policies!...

[join Schuyler Kempton and yours truly this Sat. (May 23rd) at 11:30 am at Occupy Poughkeepsie (Hulme) Park at the corner of the eastbound arterial (44/55/Church St.) and Market St. in Poughkeepsie-- we're launching a Dutchess County Film Project-- and need your help interview folks on topics like the ones below-- and need folks to also come forward to volunteer to be interviewed as well!...contact us and/or send us your videos(!): leftunited@gmail.com; joeltyner@earthlink.net; Schuyler Kempton: 616-1661; me-- 464-2245...thx!...Joel] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - We’re Making a Film About Dutchess County [Hidden History of Last 50 Years: “Dutchess 2020”] …And We Want/Need to Interview YOU! Martin Luther King was right-- “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent”… …AND WE’RE GETTING OUR BACKS UP! Homeowners (property taxes too high; failure to innovate to income funding) Working but poor (lack of living-wage jobs; failure to innovate w/New Economy) Unemployed (needed— FDR-style public-works jobs programs; no NAFTA/TPP) Uninsured (needed— single-payer even if just at state level— Dick Gottfried) Union leaders/members (privatization of county mental health, wages) Foreclosed upon (by JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, other Wall St. banks) Renters/Homeless (hundreds of empty houses locally; rent control across NYS) Lunch Box attendees (working poor because failure to follow SF/Seattle model) Small Businesses (property taxes, crushed by large stores) Women (dom. viol./DART whole county; toxic toy concerns; HR Commission) Seniors (no more five-day week for Senior Friendship Centers) People of Color (Human Rights Commission needs to be restored) LGBTQ (Human Rights Commission needs to be restored) Youth/Violent Crime (youth programs cut, lack of summer jobs) Students (former participants in Dutchess County Youth Bureau Project Return Program, CCEDC Green Teen Community Gardening Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, high school, college, testing, overcrowded classes; those who attended Columbus, Arlington, La Grange, Hyde Park Elem—schools shutdown) Jail/Prison ex-cons (lack of funding-- alternatives/re-entry; police issues) Community (connection vs. alienation— see Russell Brand) Drug Addicts Mentally Ill (depression/other— see Johann Hari, Gabor Mate) Victims of Guns Violence (Tea-Party driven co. gov. leadership vs. SAFE Act) Poughkeepsie (sales tax revenue stolen, parking meters/garbage costs) 1960s Dutchess government (compare/contrast w/pay-to-play donations today) Consumers (no Consumer Affairs office; even Astorino’s Westchester has tho) Lyme/Tick Disease Sufferers (county-level law as in CT/RI for health insurance) Asthmatics/Bronchitis/Emphysema (air pollution; fossil fuels/incinerator) Cancer (survivors/children with cancer; pollution; incinerator; pesticides) Autism (increased pollution; toxins in environment) Pet Owners (and their pets-- abuse registry; crack down puppy mills, stores)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

eliminate school property taxes on county level; fund schools with income taxes instead-- email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov!

[new resolution here below just submitted by yours truly to our Co. Leg. offices; email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov to make sure it gets on to agenda!] [recall-- back on Apr. 13th I convinced Conservative/GOP Co. Leg. Joseph Incoronato and Dem Co. Leg.'s Francena Amparo and Micki Strawinski to sign on to the letter just below I circulated-- pushing for Albany/NYS to to at least allow us the option here in Dutchess County to completely eliminate school property taxes by funding our public schools instead through income taxes (recall-- even GOP state Sen. John Bonacic advocated for this option to be offered to counties across NYS a decade ago-- and both former state Sen. Terry Gipson and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill have proposed the Equity in Education Act-- which would, in effect, do same thing statewide-- so...ball in your court now folks-- call Cuomo and state legislators on this at 877-255-9417-- and email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov-- to help Joe, Francena, Micki, and I build the political will to actually make this reality here in Dutchess before 2525 (to actually eliminate school property taxes at least on county level here in Dutchess by funding public schools instead with a county-level progressive income tax surcharge!)...Joel (see: www.activistresource.org/calendar/cal_event.php?id=3098 ; www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Kevin-A-Cahill/story/40353/ ; www.FiscalPolicy.org )] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [new resolution here below just submitted by yours truly to our Co. Leg. offices; email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov to make sure it gets on to agenda!] WHEREAS, despite calls from many for literally decades to reform school property taxation, the most unfair of all taxes, school property taxes continue to crush the working families of Dutchess County due to their regressive nature, and WHEREAS, out of all taxes income taxes are the fairest because, of course, they are based on one’s ability to pay them, one’s income— the money that comes into a household annually, as opposed to the value of the property on which one lives, which often can have little correlation with one’s income, and WHEREAS, this April County Legislators Joseph Incoronato, Francena Amparo, Micki Strawinski, and Joel Tyner signed a letter urging state legislators and Governor Cuomo to pass and sign into law an updated version of State Senator John Bonacic’s S.164 school finance reform legislation from a decade ago-- a voluntary county-by-county plan that would allow Dutchess County voters (and those in other counties) to eliminate the property tax on all primary residences (the property tax would remain for second residences and commercial properties), set up a county administering agency here in Dutchess, and replace local costs of public education with a countywide income tax in Dutchess County, to greatly lower the burden of property taxes on the vast majority of middle and lower-income local residents, and WHEREAS, if this is to happen Dutchess County government should be involved, to make sure that our county Finance Department is able to assist as necessary should such a shift in taxation be approved, and WHEREAS, it is worth noting State Senator John Bonacic’s S.164 legislation is somewhat like bipartisan Cahill/Molinaro/Gipson Equity in Education Act legislation that would similarly, completely eliminate school property taxes across the state, funding public schools instead through a progressive education income tax surcharge, and WHEREAS, the fact is that several years ago the Equity in Education Act was co-sponsored by current Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, with chief sponsor Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Assembly co-sponsors Boyland, Brennan, Destito, Katz, Latimer, Lavine, Peoples-Stokes, Reilly, Rivera, Robinson, Schroeder, and Weisenberg, and the Fiscal Policy Institute has indicated willingness to help Dutchess County crunch numbers and do the research should such a tax shift be approved, and therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature will co-host at least one public forum with the Dutchess County Finance Department, with invitations extended to the Dutchess County School Boards Association and state legislators representing Dutchess County, to explore the cost and feasibility of allowing Dutchess County voters the opportunity to vote on eliminating school property taxes in order to fund public schools in Dutchess County instead through income taxes, and be it further RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive, Dutchess County Finance Department, Dutchess County School Boards Association, State Senators Terrance Murphy and Sue Serino, and Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Stephen Katz, Kieran Michael Lalor, and Frank Skartados - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [recall-- here below is the Apr. 13th letter I was able to convince Conservative/GOP Co. Leg. Joseph Incoronato and Dem Co. Leg.'s Francena Amparo and Micki Strawinski to sign on this issue] Governor Andrew Cuomo: State Senate Leader Dean Skelos: Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: State Senator John Bonacic: State Senators Terrance Murphy and Sue Serino: Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Stephen Katz, Kieran Michael Lalor, & Frank Skartados: Dear State Leaders: We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, strongly urge you pass and sign into law as soon as possible an updated version of State Senator John Bonacic’s S.164 school finance reform legislation from a decade ago-- a voluntary county-by-county plan that would allow Dutchess County voters (and those in other counties) to eliminate the property tax on all primary residences (the property tax would remain for second residences and commercial properties), set up a county administering agency here in Dutchess, and replace local costs of public education with a countywide income tax in Dutchess County, to greatly lower the burden of property taxes on the vast majority of middle and lower-income local residents. Out of all taxes income taxes are the fairest because, of course, they are based on one’s ability to pay them, one’s income— the money that comes into a household annually— as opposed to the value of the property on which one lives, which often can have little correlation with one’s income. It is worth noting here that, in a way, State Senator John Bonacic’s legislation is somewhat like bipartisan Cahill/Molinaro Equity in Education Act legislation that would similarly, completely eliminate school property taxes across the state, funding public schools instead through a progressive education income tax surcharge. Yes, several years ago the Equity in Education Act was actually co-sponsored by current Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, with chief sponsor Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Assembly co-sponsors Boyland, Brennan, Destito, Katz, Latimer, Lavine, Peoples-Stokes, Reilly, Rivera, Robinson, Schroeder, and Weisenberg (it is worth noting that the Fiscal Policy Institute has indicated willingness to help us on this). As Assemblyman Kevin Cahill has stated in the past about this legislation, “The Equity in Education Act would shift away from, and ultimately eliminate, the use of locally raised revenue, including real property taxes for the purposes of funding education. This bill is based on the commitment that it is the state's responsibility to ensure that every child, everywhere in New York, has an equal right to a quality education regardless of where they live Dear State Leaders: or the level of their family's income. The bill would phase out school property taxes and replace them with a progressive education income tax surcharge. By doing away with the school real property tax and changing to a more progressive statewide income tax, we will be able to fund our schools equitably, fairly and more affordably for all New Yorkers.” Of course it would be great for the Equity in Education Act to pass tomorrow— but before one can fly one must run, before one can run one must walk, before one walks that one must crawl. If progressive school property tax reform may not happen tomorrow, please allow us the option here in Dutchess County to enact the Bonacic option— to at least allow voters the opportunity to completely eliminate school property taxes in Dutchess County and fund our local public schools through a county-level progressive income tax surcharge!

"ban the box" here in Dutchess as in Ulster-- email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov!

[thx to Resonia Squire locally for puttin' bee in our bonnet on this with her advocacy on this-- along with the folks of the End the New Jim Crow Action Network; see just below-- resolution I've submitted to our County Legislature's offices to "ban the box" here in Dutchess as in Ulster (while still allowing full background checks before hiring takes place); see www.ENJAN.org ; www.BantheBoxCampaign.org ; www.nelp.org/publication/ban-the-box-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/ !…J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [again-- email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov to build support on this!] WHEREAS, nationwide, 100 cities and counties, including Ulster County, working with the End the New Jim Crow Action Network, have adopted what is widely known as “ban the box” so that employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record; these initiatives provide applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring, and WHEREAS, momentum for the policy has grown exponentially, particularly in recent years; there are a total of 16 states representing nearly every region of the country that have adopted the policies: California (2013, 2010), Colorado (2012), Connecticut (2010), Delaware (2014), Georgia (2015), Hawaii (1998), Illinois (2014, 2013), Maryland (2013), Massachusetts (2010), Minnesota (2013, 2009), Nebraska (2014), New Jersey (2014), New Mexico (2010), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2015), and Virginia (2015), and six states (Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) have removed the conviction history question on job applications for private employers, which advocates embrace as the next step in the evolution of these policies, and WHEREAS, federally, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) endorsed removing the conviction question from the job application as a best practice in its 2012 guidance making clear that federal civil rights laws regulate employment decisions based on arrests and convictions; the Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force also gave the movement a boost when it endorsed hiring practices “which give applicants a fair chance and allows employers the opportunity to judge individual job candidates on their merits,” and WHEREAS, fair chance policies benefit everyone because they’re good for families and the local community; at a recent event in Oakland for employers to discuss reentry issues, one business owner spoke to the personal benefit he finds from hiring people with records: “I’ve seen how a job makes all the difference,” said Derreck B. Johnson, founder and president of Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland; “When I give someone a chance and he becomes my best employee, I know that I’m doing right by my community,” and WHEREAS, six states, Washington D.C., and 25 cities and counties now extend the fair chance policy to government contractors or private employers; of the localities, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbia (MO), Montgomery County (MD), Newark, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County (MD), Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. extend their fair chance laws to private employers in the area, and therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature asks Dutchess County Executive, Dutchess County Department of Human Resources, and Dutchess County Attorney to evaluate the cost and feasibility of a "ban the box" initiative for Dutchess County government and certain large employers in Dutchess County, and be it further RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive, Dutchess County Department of Human Resources, and Dutchess County Attorney

ban plastic bags here in Dutchess-- email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov to make it happen!

note-- law proposal below is based on what Village of New Paltz just passed-- except I substituted $75 fee for Section 5 b instead of $150 fee; see: www.ecode360.com/29522578 ; click here to download similar laws passed in Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, East Hampton, and Southampton: www.citizenscampaign.org/campaigns/plastic-bags.asp ; for much more on this see www.plasticbaglaws.org ] [thx again tons to my colleague, Co. Leg. Micki Strawinski, for expressing interest in this issue-- but Micki and I can't do alone; email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov to build support!] [recall previous media coverage on this over the last six months: www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2014/12/13/plastic-bag-bans-debate/20360925/ ; www.columbiagreenemedia.com/river_chronicle/article_219231ce-907b-11e4-a811-173f7daef191.html ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [text here below of law I've just submitted to Co. Leg. offices on this] The Dutchess County Plastic Bag Law of 2015 Section 1. Legislative purpose. The intent of this chapter is to improve the environment in the County of Dutchess by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags and banning the use of plastic bags for retail checkout of purchased goods. Retail establishments are encouraged to make reusable bags available for sale. Section 2. Findings. Plastic bags often are discarded into the environment and end up polluting our waterways, clogging sewers, endangering marine life, and causing unsightly litter. These bags last hundreds of years in landfills and are a potential source of harmful chemicals when they do break down. Section 3. Definitions. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the following definitions: CHECKOUT BAG A carry-out bag that is provided to a customer at the point of sale. The term "checkout bag" does not include plastic produce bags, garment bags, or plastic bags measuring 28 inches by 36 inches or larger in size. GARMENT BAG A large plastic bag with two openings that is used to transport clothing from a clothing retailer or a garment cleaner such as a dry cleaner. PLASTIC PRODUCE BAG A bag made of very thin plastic used to transport produce, meats or other items selected by customers. RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG A paper bag that should have the following characteristics: A. Contains no old growth fiber; B. Is 100% recyclable overall and contains a minimum of 40% postconsumer recycled content; and C. Displays the words "reusable" and "recyclable" on the outside of the bag. RETAIL SALES The transfer to a customer of goods in exchange for payment occurring in retail stores, sidewalk sales, farmers' markets, flea markets and restaurants. The term "retail sales" does not include sales of goods at yard sales, tag sales, and other sales by residents at their homes. REUSABLE BAG A bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and is: A. Made of cloth or other fabric; and/or B. Made of durable plastic that is at least 2.25 mils thick. Section 4. Restriction on checkout bags. Any person engaged in retail sales shall provide only reusable bags and/or recyclable, biodegradable bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers. Section 5. Penalties for offenses; continuing violations. A. In the event that there is noncompliance with this chapter, the owner or local manager shall be notified in writing with a first-time warning and shall forthwith stop the violating activity. Such notice shall be served upon the person to whom it is directed either by delivering it personally to him or her or by posting the same upon a conspicuous portion of the property and sending a copy of the same by certified mail. Such notice shall provide a period of 10 business days to cure such violation and come into compliance with this chapter, after which a violation and summons may be issued. B. The penalty for each violation thereafter shall be a fine not exceeding $75 for each offense. C. Each day that such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation and shall be punishable as such. Section 6. Effective date. This chapter shall become effective on January 1, 2016, to allow retail establishments to dispose of their existing inventory of plastic checkout bags and convert to alternative packaging materials.

stop jail expansion ($125 million waste)-- help April Marie Farley, Nick Ignaffo ,and I get co-sponsors for this brand-new resolution-- email all 25 of us at countylegislators@dutchessny.gov now!...

[resolution here below from yours truly is brand-new-- just submitted it this morning to our Co. Leg. offices-- need one more co-sponsor by tomorrow 4:30 pm or GOP won't even allow this on to agenda for Committee Day in June!...(thx tons to Beacon County Legislator April Marie Farley and Green Hyde Park Co. Leg. Nick Ignaffo for already agreeing to co-sponsor this common-sense measure-- but so far those are the only two!)...for much, much more on this see www.enjan.org ; www.jobsnotjails.weebly.com ...Joel (464-2245)] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - WHEREAS, according to former Dutchess County Comptroller Diane Jablonski [in her Poughkeepsie Journal Valley Views op-ed piece last week], New York City has embarked upon an effort to significantly reduce the length of stay in jail, modeled on a successful program in the Bronx that includes collaboration among judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, correction officials, and other participants in the justice system; the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council recommended in 2012 that such needless delays in processing accused/inmates should be rectified, and WHEREAS, according to our county's Public Defender, 80 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates have merely been charged (they haven't gone to trial or been sentenced/convicted), land over 63 percent of inmates have been charged with misdemeanors (22.7%) or nonviolent felonies (40.5%), and WHEREAS, the Poughkeepsie Journal recently reported that there are over sixty state parole violators in jail, many of them incarcerated merely for failing a urine test; according to the National Institute of Corrections, they could and should be safely in halfway houses for $65/day instead of much more being incarcerated in the Dutchess County Jail, and WHEREAS, the Dutchess County Executive recently committed publicly to make sure mentally ill here in Dutchess are no longer arrested and incarcerated in our County Jail by making sure all law enforcement officers in Dutchess County get Crisis Intervention Training and putting into place services for the mentally ill; according to the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council, literally 80 percent of Dutchess County Jail inmates have substance abuse or mental health issues, and WHEREAS, diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail greatly lessens any perceived "need" for jail expansion; Miami-Dade County saves $12 million a year by diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail and was able to shut down one of their jails there for this reason (because they lowered their jail census from 7800 inmates to 4800 inmates this way), and San Antonio (Bexar County/TX) saves $8 million a year by diverting mentally ill from arrest and jail; they literally had 800 empty jail beds after they foolishly went ahead with jail expansion anyway, according to a public statement by Steve Miccio, Ex. Dir. of People, Inc. at a Dutchess CJC forum in January, and WHEREAS, there are now approximately sixty women currently incarcerated in the Dutchess County Jail, or in jail "pods", or being housed out as inmates to other county jails in New York State, and the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council recommended alternative housing for many of these women, and WHEREAS, in Brooklyn, Housing + Solutions, Inc. and District Attorney Kenneth Thompson operate a diversion program for women with children; at Drew House, families have separate apartments and receive therapy or other treatment; typically women stay for 18 months to two years and leave without a criminal record, with a yearly cost of $35,000 per family compared to $135,000 or more for incarceration and foster care; a Columbia University team concluded the plan should be scaled up and replicated, and WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, each at-risk youth put on the right track and kept on the right track, away from criminal justice system saves $1.2 million; Dutchess County has allowed far too many youth to slip through the cracks in the local school-to-prison pipeline, get mixed up in our county's criminal justice system, and be incarcerated in our County Jail, when so many cost-saving, pro-active, preventive alternatives have not been explored locally; though County Executive Marcus Molinaro promised last May to make sure youth programs are fully funded, county funding eliminated five years ago for our county Youth Bureau's Project Return program has not returned, and neither has county funding for the Green Teen Community Gardening program for Poughkeepsie at-risk youth; there is also no longer a YMCA, YWCA, or even a Big Brothers Big Sisters in Poughkeepsie any more, and Columbus Elementary, Hyde Park Elementary, Arlington Elementary, and La Grange Elementary Schools have also all be shut down over the past several years, and > > WHEREAS, according to the Washington Post last December, "Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city's high-crime, low-income neighborhoods; research conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group," but thus far Dutchess County has refused to seriously fund a program like this to meet the true level of need in our communities; Nubian Directions' Robert Wright has recently stated there are at least 100 more at-risk youth unserved, and WHEREAS, according to Dutchess County Senior Budget Analyst in her May 7th prevention to our County Legislature's Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee, Dutchess County taxpayers are paying quite a dear price indeed for at-risk youth who have not been kept out of our county's criminal justice system; she stated publicly in our County Legislature's Chambers on two separate occasions during her presentation the following: "Dutchess County taxpayers spent $33 million last year in contracted child institution costs-- about 65% of which is reimbursed by state/federal government. When you have just an extra handful of kids in detention or placement, that can change our budget in a million or two million dollarsŠLast year I asked [now retired] Dutchess County Community and Family Services Commissioner Bob Allers why a particular line item in the DCFS/DSS budget had been zeroed out when the year before it was $400,000, and he told me it was because one juvenile had left a facility," and WHEREAS, the police chief in Gloucester, Massachusetts recently decided not to arrest heroin addicts possessing heroin who turn themselves in; instead, the police department there is finding treatment to help those heroin addicts turn their lives around and make their communities safer, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro recently stated publicly that ninety percent of Dutchess County inmates are released in ten months; the current recidivism rate for Dutchess County Jail inmates is over fifty percent within five years of being released; the New York Times has recognized the effectiveness of Brooklyn's ComAlert re-entry program, which has greatly slashed recidivism there merely by investing $2300 per year per inmate after release; another program to ease re-entry, Circles of Support and Accountability, has been used successfully in Vermont, according to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation; community-based, non-professional models to assist high-risk offenders to return to the community; these programs should be embraced here and the Exodus Transitional Community program already in place much more funded, and WHEREAS, the last confirmed amount is $39.9 million in stabilized reserves in our county's fund balance, according to Dutchess County Budget Senior Analyst Jess White in her recent presentation; literally nine percent of our county budget (well over the recommended five percent); if so many are willing to waste $125 million of our county tax dollars on an unneeded expansion of our County Jail, Dutchess County would do well to invest in the ways described above to avoid this, and therefore be it WHEREAS, there are now dozens of Dutchess County Jail inmates now needlessly incarcerated with incredibly low bail amounts, accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, who pose no threat to public safety; > Opportunities for Alternatives and Resources, a United Way agency in Tompkins County supported by both Republicans and Democrats in the County Legislature there, saves $400,000 in jail costs annually in a county with a population less than a third of Dutchess County; New York City will soon be following this model, and WHEREAS, Dutchess County could and should also follow the recent example of New York City to decriminalize minor offenses like public consumption of alcohol, bicycling on the sidewalk, being in a park after dark, and failure to obey a park sign; penalties and fines will still have to be paid for those offenses but not jail time; New York City has found that literally 88 percent of folks there arrested for low-level offenses end up spending a week or two in jail awaiting trial because they cannot afford even low bail; the same is undoubtedly true here; New York City also has decided smartly last year not to prosecute youth for low-level marijuana possession; Dutchess could as well, and therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature affirms publicly that it is adamantly opposed to jail expansion, as the above alternatives have not been fully explored, and urges the Dutchess County Executive to work with the Dutchess County Legislature to explore the above alternatives instead, and be it further RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive, Dutchess County Sheriff, and the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

my Sustainable-Energy-Loan-Fund-for-Businesses resolution passes unanimously!...(just like my Solarize resolution in 2013)-- now to get word out to Dutchess businesses and homeowners on these!...

Hi all... Great news-- my resolution (co-sponsored by GOP Co. Leg.'s Angela Flesland, Don Sagliano, Gregg Pulver, April Marie Farley, Nick Ignaffo, Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Gwen Johnson, Rich Perkins, Micki Strawinski, and Alison MacAvery) for Dutchess County to have a Sustainable Energy Loan Fund so that local businesses can get free/cheap solar/energy retrofits actually passed unanimously at last night's full board meeting of our County Legislature!...(this is already reality in Ulster, Orange, and Westchester counties-- and should mean massive increase in green jobs and cost savings here for Dutchess-- along with cleaner air and less carbon emissions!). Click here to view webcast of last night's meeting for yourself: www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CLStreamingVideoLink.htm . Click here to download actual text of resolution: www.dutchessny.gov/ConCalAtt/2/2015083.pdf Click here for agenda for entire meeting last night: www.dutchessny.gov/concalendar/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=3086 . [recall-- back in June 2013 I also got a resolution passed unanimously by the full board of our County Legislature to create a Solarize Dutchess deep-discount program to help Dutchess County homeowners better afford solar installations on their properties (as already in Madison, Tompkins, and Genesee counties); see: www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2013/June/10/DCL_solar-10Jun13.html -- that has borne fruit, as Dutchess County has chosen to work with Sustainable Hudson Valley, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and NYSERDA to participate in their new Solarize Hudson Valley effort; see www.SustainHV.org ; www.saveenergyhudsonvalley.org/solarize-hudson-valley/ ; www.facebook.com/SolarizeHudsonValley ] Remember, too-- my effort for Dutchess to have a Sustainable Energy Loan Fund for businesses in our county started last October, after Hudson River Sloop Clearwater/Ulster Co. Leg. Manna Jo Greene had suggested Dutchess County do this and provided me with the local law text; Co. Leg.'s Micki Strawinski, Alison MacAvery, and April Marie Farley were the three others who originally had agreed last October to co-sponsor my resolution on this-- resolution #2014291 that actually made it on to the agenda for our County Legislature's Government Services and Administration Committee meeting last Nov. 6th: www.dutchessny.gov/concalendar/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=2753> ; www.dutchessny.gov/ConCalAtt/2/2014291.pdf . Co. Leg. Chair Rolison asked me to pull the resolution from the agenda so our county's Planning Department could have more time to fully develop the details for the project; I agreed, and set up a meeting last Nov. 10th on this with Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison, NYS Energy Improvement Corporation Treasurer Joe Del Sindaco (former Bedford Town Supervisor), Dutchess County Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Development Ron Hicks, and County Legislature Chair Assistant Catherine Durland-- in Chairman's Rolison's offices to discuss 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!... [see: www.groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/midhudsonprogressivealliance/Ll9U99i9nCM ] The November 10th meeting in Chairman Rolison's office lasted a bit over an hour-- and was incredibly positive and productive-- by the end of it, both County Legislature Chair Rolison and Ron Hicks had made a commitment together with NYS EIC Treasurer Joe Del Sindaco to get real savings for Dutchess County businesses sooner rather than later through the NYS Energy Improvement Corporation... Dutchess County Legislature Chair Rob Rolison pointed out at the end of the meeting Monday that Dutchess County joining the NYS EIS actually amounts to "a true economic development tool, making the county more attractive to businesses-- an attraction incentive, really." NYS EIC Treasurer Joe Del Sindaco pointed out at the end of the meeting that Dutchess County joining the NYS Energy Improvement Corporation "makes Dutchess County more competitive, less expensive to operate a business in-- and creates green jobs at the same time" (while cutting carbon emissions and cleaning local air quality)-- the ultimate win/win/win/win/win. PACE = Property Assessed Clean Energy; re: NYS EIC-- see: ; note-- NYS EIC Treasurer Joe Del Sindaco shared at Monday's meeting that nationwide there have been NO losses reported through PACE-- only truly responsible property owners get chosen for PACE(!). Fact: EIC/PACE agreements always written after consultation with NYSERDA experts-- so that debt service is always less than the savings to be accrued from energy-efficiency retrofit/solar work-- so that businesses who participate are always literally cash-positive (after NYS EIC literally pays for 100% of cost of up-front loan to get the energy-efficiency/solar work done)-- far exceeding any deal with Central Hudson. The NYS EIC is funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, NYSERDA, and the new Green Bank-- with literally $100 million available for financing energy-efficiency/solar loans to businesses like the ones here in Dutchess County... [Ron Hicks just wanted to come up with some specifics regarding the Memorandum of Understanding between Dutchess County and the NYS Energy Improvement Corporation-- for example, so that Dutchess County can sign off on each deal before it proceeds, if necessary, to protect county finances.] For more on EIC success already in Orange and Ulster counties: www.energizeny.org/orangecounty www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2014/July/12/OC_renw_ener_fin-12Jul14.html www.energizeny.org/announcements/detail/new-web-page-for-orange-county-program www.energizeny.org/media_orange_press_release_july_11.pdf www.ulstercountyny.gov/sites/default/files/Proposed%20Local%20Law%20No.%206%20of%202014-%20Sustainable%20Energy%20Loan%20Program%20in%20UC.pdf . [perhaps there is hope after all....] Joel (845-464-2245/876-2488) joeltyner@earthlink.net www.350.org www.TheSolutionsProject.org - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- From Sustainable Hudson Valley (www.SustainHV.org)... Solarize Hudson Valley is a 3-year, 6 county project that partners municipalities, community organizations and local solar installers to expand the market for solar electric energy in the Hudson Valley. Sustainable Hudson Valley has partnered with Catskill Mountainkeeper to make this happen in Ulster, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Dutchess and Putnam counties. We'll sponsor community workshops, solar home tours and live installation demos... each an occasion to answer questions and invite homeowners and small business owners to become part of their community’s clean & green campaign--with the added benefit of a group purchase discount. This combination of neighbor-to-neighbor outreach and economic self-interest has proven to be powerful, more than doubling the amount of solar in over 100 New England communities in two years. Plus, we've partnered with RUPCO to facilitate low-interest loans to help fund the cost of both solar systems and home energy-efficiency improvements for a broad range of consumers. Wave 1 - Kingston pilot launches May 9, 2 - 4 at Keegan Ales with a family-friendly educational workshop and celebration including demonstration site assessment of the Keegan building. Wave 2 - Regional program launches July 1 and runs through mid-November. Download the Request for Community Proposals. Due May 22, 2015.

Monday, May 11, 2015

label-GMO letter just signed by Micki Strawinski, April Marie Farley, Nick Ignaffo-- call Cuomo and state legislators at 877-255-9417 to pass/sign bipartisan S.485/A.617 legislation for NYS to follow VT example!...

[thx tons to three of my Dutchess County Legislator colleagues-- Micki Strawinski, April Marie Farley, and Nick Ignaffo-- for signing on to my letter here below pressing NYS to get off the dime and pass legislation to make sure GMO foods are labeled here in NYS as in VT!...see www.HVNoGMOs.org and www.GMOFreeNY.net for more on this...J] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Governor Andrew Cuomo; State Senate Leader John Flanagan; Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie; State Senators Terrance Murphy and Sue Serino; Assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill, Stephen Katz, Kieran Lalor, and Frank Skartados: Dear State Leaders: We, the undersigned various members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask that you please pass and sign into law bipartisan legislation to make sure genetically modified foods (with GMOs: genetically modified organisms) are labeled here in New York the way Vermont moved to do: S.485 (La Valle)/A.617 (Rosenthal). It’s time for New York legislators to stand up to Big Food and Agrichemical companies and give consumers what they want--the right to know if their food has been made with genetically modified ingredients. A simple informational label will not increase food prices or force businesses to shut their doors, and evidenced by the by 64 countries where GMO labeling is already in effect and the sky hasn't fallen. Consumers should not be kept in the dark about what they’re feeding themselves and their families. Time to rip the blindfolds off. Consumers Union, Sierra Club, NYPIRG, Natural Resources Defense Council, Food & Water Watch, GMO Free NY, NOFA-NY, Food Democracy Now, and many other organizations agree with Democratic Assemblymembers Skartados and Rosenthal and Republican State Senator Kenneth La Valle (and dozens of other legislators) on this. We have a right to know whether our food contains genetically modified ingredients. In fact, 93% of Americans want labeling of GMO food. And in a democracy, the people’s will should rule, not those of corporate interests. New York has an historic opportunity to strike a decisive blow against the junk food companies and agrichemical giants fighting to keep us all dining in the dark. An unprecedented number of New York Senators and Assemblymembers have already endorsed the NY GMO Labeling bill— time is now for action!