Views for 90 Penn: Becca’s View


Fudge-photo
      My name is Becca and I am currently an intern with LIPC. I entered this position in January during my last undergraduate semester at LIU Post, where I study sociology. At the end of this year I will be graduating from college and entering the real world. Everyone’s dream is to find a job in their field straight out of college. In my recent job search I have noticed something concerning; there aren’t many positions, at least not for someone holding a bachelors degree. Most positions require a Master Degree or higher. That is at least another two years of school that I would have to pay for while working at a job that doesn’t pay me enough to afford rent let alone pay for graduate school.

At 22 I am at that age where living with my parents is no longer desirable. However, as a Long Islander that is essentially my only option. Not only are there few jobs available to me but the salary rates do not match up with the average cost of living on Long Island. While thinking about my future it seems to me like the most feasible option is to move out of the state.  Long Island is my home, it is where I was born and it is where I’ve continued to live for the last 22 years. My parents, my sister, and my friends are all here. It is sad to think that I may not be able to afford to live on this island I call my home, because let’s face it; Long Island is not affordable; especially for people like me.

It is important that we bring affordable housing to Long Island. It is not just you people who are struggling. Senior citizens cannot afford to pay property taxes on their homes. When they are forced to move due to high costs it is nearly impossible for them to find affordable rentals. Families, who make less than 100,000 dollars a year, cannot afford to buy homes here. So even though they are not poor they have no place to live. Through LIPC’s Yes in My Backyard campaign (YIMBY) we a bringing affordable housing to long island one community at a time. LIPC encourages communities to reach out to their town officials to make sure they know that affordable housing is important to Long Islanders.

After coming to intern with the Long Island progressive coalition I realized how pressing these issues are for many Long Islanders. There are many people holding down jobs that don’t pay them a livable wage and the cost of housing here is astronomical compared to other states. The Long Island Progressive Coalition fights to ensure that people have good paying jobs, affordable housing, and other equal opportunities, regardless of their race or where they live. It is amazing to know that I became involved with an organization that helps fight for people like me and I am glad to be helping fight for a better future, not just for myself but for all Long Islanders.

Lagging Behind on Energy Innovation

Orre PhotoI recently attended a public hearing about the 2014 New York State Energy Plan. Governor Cuomo has said that he wants New York to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050 from 1990 levels, and achieve a 50 percent cut by 2030. The plan includes several initiatives that will make this goal feasible. However, most of the testimonies at the hearing were about what was missing in the plan. They urged the governor to aim attention at renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectricity and geothermal power. Most of them also talked about how far ahead Europe is when it comes to energy innovation. The hearing caused me to think a great deal about differences in energy policies in Europe and the US, and the role of renewable energy.

The US gets 85% of their energy from fossil fuels like petroleum, coal and natural gas, and is one of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases. While the US has focused on strategies to secure more oil and gas, Europe has been leading the way when it comes to transitioning from fossil fuel to clean, renewable energy. Several European countries demonstrate that it is possible to implement policies and offer incentives that are effective in encouraging investment in renewable energy sources. In Europe the energy policies seems to be environmentally based, while in the US energy policies are economically based. Americans are still in denial about the causes and effects of climate change. They set climate protection against economic growth, and of course nothing is more sacred than economic growth. American policy makers endorse quick fixes that ignore the actual market and technology for renewable energy that is available. European countries have simply been better at using government policies and the private sector to make clean energy accessible for businesses and consumers. The results are windmill farms, tidal turbines and solar panels all over the European landscape. Incorporation of green policies can also be seen in people’s day-to-day life. Being a resident of a European country myself, I can attest to the different attitudes to the benefits of living green. My parents recently installed a geothermal heat pump in their house, which has reduced their energy bill and made the temperature of the house more comfortable throughout the year. The design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems. My home country Norway is an oil rich country, but also a large producer of renewable energy. We have made use of our copious resources in hydropower, wind power and bio-energy from wood. Despite the fact that our wealth stems from oil, the government promotes policies that favor the use of renewable energy, which in turn prompts citizens to take on the challenges of climate change.

There is no doubt that we will one day extract the last of the planet’s reserves of oil and gas. Thus we all have to look towards the future at other energy sources that in principle will never cease to exist. The sun will shine, the trees will grow, the wind will blow and the waves will slosh. Governor Cuomo and New York needs to take a leading role transforming the energy system to focus on clean energy technologies. Long Island is a place where you can clearly see the devastating effects of climate change, for example with the super storms Irene and Sandy. You can also see Long Island’s potential to be a center for production of clean energy. New York’s energy future should not be about the extraction of fossil fuels, but about looking generations ahead and establishing a cleaner and safer environment right now.

 

LI groups protest Cuomo tax cuts to banks, wealthy, funding cuts to schools

Long Island Protest

Chanting “Banks got the gold mine, the people got the shaft,” “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” and waving signs calling for living wage jobs, affordable housing, affordable schools and universal Pre-K, labor and community groups rallied outside the Bank of America office in Great Neck to call attention the growing wealth gap in New York State and to call for investment of state dollars in schools and communities, not tax breaks for the largest banks, as Governor Cuomo is proposing.

Read more here: http://www.examiner.com/article/li-groups-protest-cuomo-tax-cuts-to-banks-wealthy-funding-cuts-to-schools

See more pictures here: http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/long-islanders-protest-cuomo-tax-cuts-to-banks-wealthy-funding-cuts-to-schools#slide=1

Residents Rally Outside Sen. Martins’ Office to Protest His Refusal to Support Fair Elections

Long Island Progressive Coalition

(Garden City, NY) Area residents joined with labor unions and progressive advocates on Wednesday in rallying outside of Senator Jack Martins’ office, protesting his refusal to support a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a system of publicly financed elections.

Represented at the rally were Long Island Progressive Coalition, the Working Families Party, Communications Workers of America, Common Cause New York, United Auto Workers and MoveOn.org.

“After years of corruption and broken government, Governor Cuomo has included a Fair Elections system of lower contribution limits and small matching funds, ensuring we’ll see more candidates running and more participation from small contributors. Polls consistently show that a vast majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support these reforms. Today, I’m asking my Senator, Jack Martins, to stand with his constituents and not the special interests that seem determined to keep the status quo. Senator Martins: Keep Fair Elections in the budget,” said Port Washington resident and Common Cause member Phil DePaolo.

The Fair Elections proposal would create a public matching system for small dollar campaign contributions, giving everyday voters an equal voice in the political process. Candidates who opt into the system wouldn’t have to rely on big money donations from well-connected insiders and can instead focus on catering to their constituents. Cuomo included the proposal in his 2014 Executive Budget, which is currently being debated by the legislature.

Read more: 

Interns View: “A Time for Action and Activism”

Views From 90 Penn

Interns View: “A Time for Action and Activism”

by Gil Bayone

Gil Bayonne

My name is Gil Bayonne, a college graduate, former professional athlete, and most recently an intern for the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC).  I’ve spent my entire life training, dissecting game footage, playing countless weekend matches across the world. Playing the game I love for a living, up until recently I felt as though I had found my life’s purpose. That’s when I received the phone call that would forever change my life.

Regardless of the time zone differences, I’ve always made it a priority to have daily phone or email contact with my family. However, this particular call altered my life’s course forever; my brother was being charged with a felony. Growing up a first generation Haitian-American, this call came as a complete culture shock. As a consequence of having spent the last seven years playing collegiate soccer out of state and professional soccer abroad, I naturally became disconnected with my family. Hearing that my brother was facing up fifteen years in a federal prison sent hundreds of thoughts swirling through my mind:  How could this happen? Did I put my personal ambitions before my family? Why wasn’t I there to steer my brother down a different path? I began losing my passion for the game that had done so much for me.. After my season ended in Singapore, I spent three months traveling to tryouts across the world in Vietnam, France and Israel,  pursuing another professional soccer contract to no avail.

It was during my travels, and time of reflection that I realized that soccer was only one of the gifts that God had bestowed on me. After completing my Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) exam, I began searching for an opportunity to partake in meaningful community work.  Working with LIPC has provided countless invaluable life lessons and disciplines that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Being a part of LIPC has been an extremely rewarding experience; it has allowed me to satiate my desire to pursue a career in public interest work.  Former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice once said, “Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light”.

On March 10, 2014 my brother pled guilty to two felony charges. Some may read this and say, “just another black male incarcerated”. Indeed they would be correct in their judgments; my brother is one of the 841,000 black males currently incarcerated in the United States.  All of us have, I suspect moments of illumination in our lives that revealed disturbing realities that we had long ignored, moments that have pushed us to question and ultimately to act .The pain that many families like mine have endured should push us all to think deeply about the problems that lie within our community, and prompt us to act for as long as it takes to change our communities.

As a lifelong resident of Amityville, NY I have witness the firsthand effects of socioeconomic inequality (i.e. troubled school district, poverty, crime, etc.). Despite these challenges I remain confident that justice and equality will be found. There may not be one particular answer to problems of our communities, but through the sustained efforts of courageous organizations like LIPC we are making strides in direction towards justice and equality. Drawing from my own personal life experiences has been no easy task; however I share this information in hope of sparking a discussion that will lead to the change that is desperately needed on Long Island. Instead of casting judgment on the trouble youth in our communities, let’s spark a progressive dialogue that can serve as the first step towards a better Long Island for all.

Power Up Your Home With PowerUp Communities

Powerup Communities event at Long Beach City Hall Monday, March 10, 2014 from 6-8 PM.

PowerUp Communities Event

Learn how you can save energy, save money and increase the comfort and value of your home.

PowerUp Communities will be speaking about the benefits of energy efficiency improvements, the process, the rebates and financing available, as well as the specific benefits that come with being a PowerUp Communities homeowner, such as an additional 5% discount. Representatives will be there to answer any questions and to help interested homeowners get started in the process.

PowerUp Communities connect homeowners with government funds, one-on-one support and certified contractors, in receiving energy-saving home improvements. In addition to cutting waste, reducing our carbon footprint and saving people money, PowerUp Communities sparks job and business opportunities-right here in our neighborhoods. The LIPCs PowerUp Communities is the local Community Based Organization contracted through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authorities (NYSERDA) Green Jobs Green New York (GJGNY) initiative.

Views From 90 Penn: Opening my eyes to politics

Interns View: Opening my eyes to politics

Frankie Rotolo

My name is Frankie and I currently engaged in an internship with the LIPC. I am a junior at LIU Post studying sociology. I must admit, prior to accepting this amazing offer to work with such a hardworking, and dedicated group of people I was extremely nervous and felt as if I was in the dark. I am not proud of the fact that I had intentionally ignored politics and anything that had to do with them. Partially due to ignorance, and age.  I thought to myself “I am spending most of my time to studying sociology, what could that possibly have to do with an involvement in politics?”  One month later, I have a completely different mindset.

With the help of the coalition I was able to realize not only the importance of politics, but the connection to sociology as well. Once I was able to make this connection (which came rather quickly and obviously) I was able to fully commit myself to making the most out of this opportunity.

If there is one thing that is embedded in my mind from all of my passionate sociology professors at LIU Post, it is the concept of the sociological imagination. This concept helps us to understand that most issues that occur for one person, or even a small group of people, usually end up being broad scale issues that are important to many.

A great quote I have heard over and over from my professors to explain this is: “The personal is political” which was used to great extent in feminist sociology; panning out on one women’s issue to reveal that it is actually the issue of many. In relation to the work with LIPC, I have seen that if one school district is having issues due to cuts and underfunding, it is usually similar issues to many others across the state. That one school’s issues now become not just their problem, but the problem of multiple schools and people in those communities; which is then where politics can come into play, to help solve the issues of many of these schools.

Now I must ask, what is the best way to solve or improve broad scale issues amongst a large group of people? Well I’m sure most of you already put it together; it is politics. Laws and policies over time have constantly affected and determined many social actions and constructions amongst many people, creating oppression, inequality, equality, and liberation amongst races, class, and gender; which are the most popular subjects of study in sociology.

I am so enlightened and grateful for this opportunity I was given by the LIPC and my professor. I was able to step out of my comfort zone, and I am now learning so many wonderful and useful things in relation to sociology, as well as learning a great deal about politics in the process (and enjoying it might I add). I am very eager to continue my time here and can’t wait to participate in some of the wonderful events that the LIPC is hosting and involved in.

Groups rally in Hauppauge Against Cuomo Budget

From Newsday:

Labor and liberal groups rallied in Hauppauge Thursday afternoon, protesting portions of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget as a boon to the wealthy.

“We’re here because we’re angry about the governor’s proposal to benefit the rich and corporations and make the rest of us pay,” said Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. She said portions of Cuomo’s budget would exacerbate income inequality in New York State.

Two dozen members of the groups held signs at the brief news conference in front of the New York State Office Building in Hauppauge.

Cuomo’s office declined to comment Thursday.

The coalition is protesting three parts of Cuomo’s budget: reduction of the estate tax, a provision the coalition said would reduce taxes on banks and a proposal to freeze property taxes by encouraging consolidation of local government services.

“When you talk about consolidating services, it usually means someone is laid off because someone else is doing the job,” said Nick LaMorte, Long Island regional president of the CSEA, the region’s large public employee union.

Tyson said the tax cuts for the wealthy would be paid for by taxes on the middle class or cuts to services that are relied on by the wealthy.

Tyson said the wealthy don’t need help. “Do we need help?” she asked the crowd. A woman at a nearby bus stop shouted, “That’s why we’re taking the bus.”

Dan’s View: We’re Covered!

On Saturday February 1st we, at LIPC, can say We Got Covered!

Dan FingasThe fight for expanded access for affordable care has been a long one in the United States.  There are been elected officials, like my former Congressman John Dingell (D-Michigan) who have been working on it for more than 50 years.

Congressman Dingell and others of his time were true leaders who saw that living in a modern democratic republic with as much wealth as we have as country should mean that no man, woman, or child should want for medical services when they are sick or hurt and a doctor to help keep them from getting sick.

That’s why so many in America were fighting for the passage of the Affordable Care Act when President Obama had his chance to make healthcare for all,  a reality.  I know that I was working hard in Michigan for that goal and that Long Island Progressive Coalition was lobbying elected officials, holding rallies, and energizing Long Islanders for passage of the ACA.

On March 23, 2010 the dream of affordable care became a reality.  It was an exciting time and the culmination of the activism of hundreds of thousands across the nation.  Change of that magnitude is a difficult task and our federal government definitely struggled with it this last fall.  But the importance of the measure far outweighed the headaches of implementation.

In December, LIPC staff and our Board looked into our ACA options and found that the Small Business Exchange was going to be perfect fit for our needs.  As a small staff living across Long Island we found the program that really worked for us all and met the needs of the organization.

So this weekend we officially enter the Small Business Exchange and become just 6 of the 9 million people now covered by federal healthcare.

 

Views From 90 Penn- Celebrating 10 Years of Progressive Politics

 

10 years of  Progressive Politics on Long Island

I recently found the program from the ten-year celebration of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, times have changed and maybe some names but the issues remain and we must continue to strive for results. There is work to be done still, in Affordable Housing, for Fair Elections, for developing Energy Efficient homes and Equal Education for all, in solidarity; we will make a better Long Island for the future.

March 15th is growing close and once again, it will be time to celebrate the Long Island Progressive Coalition. This year is our 35th year, as you, our members, our supporters, our brothers and sisters in the unions, our Board of Trustees, and my colleagues on staff both past and present, have worked so hard over the years in order to move Long Island Forward, let us celebrate our accomplishments.

I ask you to join us on March 15, 2014, to celebrate and honor those Long Islanders that have made a difference in the Progressive landscape that shape this island. If you cannot join us; I implore you to make a contribution to the LIPC, any donation allows us to grow and become stronger to fight for social, racial, and economic justice for you, our fellow Long Islanders and most importantly for the youth and the future.

I thank you all for your continued support and hope to see you in March: it is an event not to be missed.

Kind thoughts to all,

John Delaney
John H. Delaney

Administrative Director