[update-- here's the response he sent to me at 9:03 am this morning-- "Joel: Thank you. Let me review these, get through tomorrow evening and discuss with our team and you. I am sure we can find some areas of commonality. All the best MJM"....(so-- we'll see exactly how serious he is about finding those "areas of commonality"-- email him folks (and us in the County Legislature!)...if enough of you out there actually care enough to push for a few of these initiatives they might happen!...J]
From: Joel Tyner
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Marc-- twenty ways here to make Dutchess County a better place-- let's work together...
County Executive Molinaro (Marc):
Let's work together over the next few years to make these twenty common-sense, cost-saving, green-jobs, clean-government initiatives reality here-- Dutchess taxpayers deserve no less:
[note regarding the first three listed here below-- over and over again over the last decade the Poughkeepsie Journal has repeatedly editorialized on the need to clean up our county government with campaign finance reform with legislation similar to Rockland County's, a well-testing law for when properties change hands (as in Rockland and Westchester), and a truly independent redistricting commission for County Legislature's lines; hope you agree with the Poughkeepsie Journal on these!]
1. Follow the Poughkeepsie Journal's editorials in 2000 and 2004 for campaign finance reform to clean up county government and end the current pay to play-- literally millions of our tax dollars annually in county contracts going to entities making thousand-dollar campaign contributions to folks in our county government's power structure-- even the appearance of impropriety and corruption hurts us all.
[see: http://www.petitiononline.com/cleangov ; Rockland County has had this in place since 1998;
2. Follow the Poughkeepsie Journal's editorials for a well-testing law for when properties change hands. The former County Executive's annual report to us all last Feb. showed that six years after MTBE was banned from being put in gasoline, literally 37% of the time MTBE was found in our public water supplies all over the county-- and your report to us this month shows that "principal organic contaminants" like MTBE were detected in 14 public water supplies last year as well (by our own county's Health Department). Note-- since 2003 the Poughkeepsie Journal has also called for annual testing of older underground bulk petroleum storage tanks (as in Rockland and Westchester counties) .
[see: http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-are-caldwell-steinhaus-gop-still-so.html ;
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-157998419.html ; http://www.petitiononline.com/cleanh20 ; http://www.co.westchester.ny.us/health/PBS.htm ]
3. Follow the Poughkeepsie Journal's editorials for an independent redistricting/reapportionment commission to redraw our County Legislature's district lines (this needs to be done every ten years after the U.S. Census)-- Ulster, Suffolk, and Tompkins counties all used independent commissions for this.
Recall-- in the past you strongly supported this principle for NY legislature reapportionment/redistricting.
http://www.co.ulster.ny.us/reapportionment/index.html ; http://www.CitizensRedistrictNY.org ;
4. Restore full funding for our county's Human Rights Commission, Office of Consumer Affairs, Youth Bureau's Project Return program for troubled teens, a full five-day week at our county Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers (instead of the current four-day week); appoint a County Historian. Also, our county DSS' Day Care Unit needs to be fully funded-- as your annual report's 2011 Departmental Annual Summary informs us all that, "Effective July 1, 2011 the income guidelines for the Day Care Unit were changed to those whose income is below 125 percent of the poverty level-- from those whose income is below 200 percent of the poverty level." As a state legislator you supported legislation to eliminate school property taxes by shifting the burden for funding education to income tax-- because you knew that some government functions (like schools) are worth fully funding; Dutchess could easily pay for all the programs listed here-- and slash county property taxes and sales taxes-- by shifting burden for funding to making our county's tax structure be based on folks' income-- not property.
[http://www.petitiononline.com/cobudget (for local tax reform); http://www.petitiononline.com/hirehist ;
5. Save county tax dollars by moving meaningfully towards zero waste-- instead of wasting another $4 million this year on incineration through our county's Resource Recovery Agency (RRA "service fees")-- instead of saving millions meaningfully moving towards zero waste by properly incentivizing businesses in the private sector to help create an eco-industrial resource recovery park to recycle and compost our county's "garbage." Recycling creates ten times more jobs than incineration/landfilling.
[90+ already on board @ http://www.petitiononline.com/zeroyes ; "Zero Waste Dutchess" on Facebook;
http://www.cectoxic.org/ZeroWaste.html ; http://www.ilsr.org/recycling/recyclingmeansbusiness.html ;
6. Save county tax dollars by avoiding jail expansion-- and another $4.2 million in this year's budget on housing out inmates-- instead of investing pro-actively in our youth-- and instead of following the proven, cost-saving, recidivism-cutting re-entry system examples of Brooklyn's ComAlert system and Peter Young. Dutchess also needs to restore funding (recently cut by local GOP) for cost-saving preventive programs for troubled teens like our county Youth Bureau's Project Return program-- at the Mediation Center of Dutchess County as well. Nubian Directions currently only has enough funding for programs with 31 Poughkeepsie High School drop-outs-- yet half of Poughkeepsie High School students drop out before they graduate. Note, too-- your annual report informs us this month that, "The 2011 survey of females in the Dutchess County Jail found that 81% of the incarcerated women had a history of treatment for a mental disorder and 33% were diagnosed as seriously mentally ill"-- how different can these percentages be for men? Crucial-- Quality pre-K saves $17 for every $1 invested.
[ http://www.fightcrime.org/ny/nyissue_earlyed.php , http://www.winningbeginningny.org ;
http://www.JobsNotJails.weebly.com ; http://www.petitiononline.com/comalert ; http://www.PYHIT.com ;
http://www.BrooklynDA.org ; http://www.FightCrime.org ; http://www.petitiononline.com/comalert ;
7. Save $1.5 million annually in the county budget with the same Canadian prescription drug option that Schenectady and Rensselaer counties have used over the last decade for their county employees and retirees (without being hassled by the FDA). Schenectady County has a smaller number of county employees and retirees than we have here in Dutchess-- yet they save $1.2 million a year with a Canadian prescription drug option for county employees and retirees; Rensselaer County does this too (with GOP County Exec Kathy Jimino there); Food and Drug Admin. isn't cracking down on these two.
[ http://www.PetitionOnline.com/SaveOnRx ]
8. Save $27 million annually for 110,000 homeowners every winter on home heating oil bills with a plan here similar to one already successfully run in Cortlandt, Putnam Valley, Somers, and Peekskill (saving $250 annually for each homeowner there)-- this idea has been embraced by my caucus; we need you.
[ http://www.townofcortlandt.com/cit-e-access/news/index.cfm?NID=12528&TID=20&jump2=0 ]
9. Cook County (IL) and Wayne County (MI) recently decided to stop county tax auctions of foreclosed properties because of so many unfairly losing their homes (recall recent Hudson Valley News cover article on this happening in Hyde Park)-- this process needs to be reformed in our county, obviously. Also, Dutchess County now has a $50 million account with Bank of America, a $50 million account with JPMorgan Chase, and a $50 million account with Wells Fargo (three of the most notoriously irresponsible financial institutions in the country re: foreclosures)-- at the same time Steinhaus himself told us all in a letter Dec. 15th that, "Foreclosure rates in Dutchess County are at record numbers: over 4,000 foreclosures in Dutchess over just the last three-year period." Albany County ended a $90 million account w/Bank of America; L.A., Ithaca, Hempstead, Freeport moved similarly-- time for Dutchess.
[ http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/print-edition/2011/06/10/albany-county-legislators-want-to.html ;
http://www.nycommunities.org/taxonomy/term/2 ; http://MoveYourMoneyProject.org ;
10. The Town of Wayne, PA adopted a "three strikes you're out" rule for corporations-- we should too.
[ http://www.newrules.org/governance/rules/corporate-accountability ]
11. Ban fracking here in Dutchess-- as in Ulster, Onondaga, Sullivan, and Tompkins counties.
[see: http://www.citizenscampaign.org/special_features/fracking/hydro-fracking-resolutions.asp ;
http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/frackingReport.pdf ; http://www.FrackAction.com ;
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html?_r=2&hp ; http://www.ToxicsTargeting.com ;
12. Facilitate a friendly competition among municipalities to see which town, city, or village could have the highest percentage of homeowners helping to turn our county around creating green jobs locally-- by getting free energy audits and energy-efficiency retrofits through Green Jobs Green NY. The new on-bill financing mechanism for Green Jobs/Green NY now makes it easier than ever for homeowners to help pick our own local communities up by our bootstraps-- with savings on electric bills paying for it all-- making homeowners cash-positive from year one. Sustainable Hudson Valley Chair David Dell of Poughkeepsie crunched the numbers and determined that our county could save $1 billion on energy costs over next decade for homeowners and business owners with an energy-efficiency/renewables loan effort similar to what GOP-led Town of Bedford in Westchester has put in place-- creating thousands of green jobs and cleaning up our county's air (just ranked "F" for third year in a row by the American Lung Association of NY)-- Dutchess County government shouldn't delay; let's get off dime.
[ http://www.dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2009/03/our-bright-idea-growin-brighter-and.html ; http://www.nyserda.org/GreenNY/ ; http://www.energyfinancesolutions.com/main/homeownersnyfour ;
http://www.petitiononline.com/pacehere ; http://www.LIGreenHomes.com ; http://www.NWEAC.org ;
13. Help local municipalities facilitate green jobs through solar farms in all our communities-- and also delay no longer with solar panels for all county-owned buildings. Dr. Richard Perez of SUNY-Albany has conclusively proven that ALL of NYS's energy needs could be met completely by solar energy alone-- by covering 0.75% of NY's surface with photovoltaics. Germany has less sunlight than NYS but has solar panels all over, the Town of Babylon lends homeowners money for solar, and NJ, PA, MA, CT, and DE all more heavily incentivize the purchase of solar for their state residents than New York does here. GOP County Executives in Orange, Rensselaer, and Rockland counties have all enacted county-level sales tax exemptions on sale/installation of residential solar panels; also NYC, Albany, Broome, Clinton, Columbia, Erie, Essex, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Nassau, Oneida, Schuyler, Suffolk, Tompkins, Warren, Yates counties-- Dutchess should do this too.
[see: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/realestate/commercial/23solar.html ; http://www.NYSEIA.org ;
http://www.asrc.cestm.albany.edu/perez/publications/Other%20Papers%20and%20Applications/Is%20there%20really%20enough%20sun-07.pdf ; http://www.lipower.org/company/powering/solar-bp.html ;
http://www.newyorkstatesolarfarm.com ; http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news21983.html ;
http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/sales/pub718s_510.pdf ; http://www.HVCE.com/ ]
14. Save county tax dollars on Medicaid costs-- protect public health-- keep toxins out of environment.
Ban milk made from cows with bovine growth hormone, chlorinated chickens, ban the flame retardant chlorinated Tris in all children's products (not just clothing), ban cadmium in novelty products, ban formaldehyde in beauty products, ban the herbicide atrazine (and the chemicals imidacloprid and metalaxyl) from being used here in Dutchess County (atrazine was banned across Europe in 2003).
\Neighbor notification for pesticide application (75% of NY'ers now have this-- including Ulster County);
PBT-free purchasing re: persistent bioaccumulative toxins (as in Erie County)-- Precautionary Principle.
[see: http://www.cleanhealthyny.org/2012/01/hidden-hazards.html#more ;
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/forCasey , http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071105/schapiro .
http://www.citizenscampaign.org/news/story.asp?id=492 ; http://www.petitiononline.com/zeroyes ;
http://www.petitiononline.com/neighbor ; http://www.petitiononline.com/PBTFree ;
15. Resurrect our county's middle class-- countywide $10/hour minimum wage as in San Francisco.
[see: http://www.petitiononline.com/livwage -- reports show this will help (not hurt) our local economy:
16. Help facilitate community broadband for our municipalities-- to help small businesses and students.
[see: http://www.newrules.org/information/rules/community-broadband ; http://www.SpeedMatters.org ]
17. Fund microenterprise lending through Gateways for Entrepreneurial Tomorrows (as in Orange Co.).
[see: http://www.GetHudsonValley.org ; http://www.MicroBizNY.org ]
18. Feebate for fuel-efficient vehicles-- paid for by sales tax on gas guzzlers (Rocky Mountain Institute).
[ http://www.petitionline.com/cleancar ; http://www.petitiononline.com/hybrids ]
19. Public jobs summit (to get ideas openly from academia, labor, business, taxpayers, electeds) and youth leadership in government summit-- my caucus has strongly supported these two-- we need you.
[see: http://dutchessdemocracy.blogspot.com/2010/04/gop-killed-jobs-summit-not-jobs-fair.html ;
20. Dutchess Sustainability Indicators Summit-- with stakeholders from all over-- redefine progress here.
[see: http://www.SustainableMeasures.com , http://www.SustainabilityIndicators.org ]
Hopefully we can agree to come together across party lines for the good of Dutchess County and make these innovative yet common-sense initiatives reality over the next few years; please let me know your thoughts on these (see you tomorrow in Beacon!).