Gov. Cuomo to tout public financing of campaigns

Cuomo

 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will try to impose a system of public financing of campaigns and ethics reforms for New York in his executive budget proposal Tuesday, his spokesman said.

Last week more than a dozen groups led by the Working Families Party, which is influential in Democratic politics, urged Cuomo to use his extensive budget powers to overcome opposition by Senate Republicans,

Continue reading here:  http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/gov-cuomo-to-tout-public-financing-of-campaigns-1.6835175

Green With Envy

Orre, an intern at the Long Island Progressive CoalitionThere are many ways to make your everyday life greener without sacrifice. You probably waste more energy than you think, thus also wasting your money. Energy is expensive, but changing just a few of your habits can lower your usage and bills, and help save the environment at the same time. Install a low-flow showerhead, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, cut one minute from your shower time to save gallons, don’t let tap water run while you wash your dishes, and fix your water leaks. Unplug chargers and small appliances when not in use because plugged-in electronics still use energy. Use your refrigerator efficiently by adjusting the thermostat to recommended setting, allow hot food to cool before putting it inside and avoid opening the door multiple times. Before working at the Long Island Progressive Coalition I was never really concerned with environmental issues or energy efficiency. I have become increasingly more aware of adjustments in my own life I should take that will not only benefit me when it comes to utility bills, but will also have a small environmental impact on the planet. I believe that these small changes are something everyone should be able to incorporate into their everyday life.

To take your green new lifestyle to the next level and save even more money contact the Long Island Progressive Coalitions PowerUp Communities program and get your home retrofitted! It all starts with a free home energy assessment, conducted by a certified contractor who will comprehensively assess your homes energy use. Shortly after the assessment, your contractor will present a report of your homes efficiency and outline the ways you can reduce drafts and save money on your utility costs. PowerUp will walk you through the process of getting the rebates and financing you qualify for. Some energy efficiency measures that can cut your energy waste significantly are replacing and upgrading your boiler, converting from oil to gas and properly insulating your home. Make these changes, save a heap of money and make your neighbors green with envy! Working closely with PowerUp over the past couple of months I have learned about how the process can really change someone’s life. I think that it’s a program that results in a spectrum of positive outcomes, from cutting waste and saving people money to sparking job and business opportunities locally. I am sure that having a larger amount of energy efficiency programs like PowerUp would reduce green house gases emissions significantly worldwide.

I recently attended a meeting with my magnificent supervisor Marriele Robinson for New York community based organizations working for energy efficiency. One of the interesting issues we discussed was how important it is for the different organizations to have energy efficient offices. Some of the simpler changes in habits offices can implement have to do with making office operations and office purchasing more energy efficient. It can include using environmental friendly copiers, paper and ink. You can cut down on electronic waste by using power strips, setting computers to sleep after a given time and having an admin-controlled thermostat. Digitizing folders, printing double sided and having electronic signatures can significantly cut down the usage of paper.

It is a fact that the climate is changing and that people have a profound effect on that change. We need to significantly reduce our emissions and one way to do that is to use energy more efficiently. Energy efficiency improvements can slow down global warming and its frightening consequences.

 

Groups Urge Town to Settle Housing Suit

Housing advocates  on Tuesday urged the Town Board to accept a proposed settlement of a lawsuit that would allow apartment rentals at a development in Melville.

The NAACP lawsuit, which reaches back more than a decade, involves a plan for apartments on Ruland Road. The settlement would allow 77 one-bedroom, 34 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom rental apartments. Others, such as the Sweet Hollow Civic Association, say the apartments should be sold, not rented.

Richard Koubek, president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, said, “The time has come” for affordable rental apartments. Citing the decline in enrollment of students in the Half Hollow Hills school district which has led to a decision to close two schools, Koubek said, “This is a case of some people in Dix Hills working against Dix Hills.”

The Town Board is scheduled to consider the proposed settlement next Tuesday in a 7 p.m. hearing at Town Hall.

Tuesday’s press conference outside Town Hall brought together a coalition of groups and individuals, some of whom have been on opposite sides on other housing issues. Among the advocates, such as the NAACP, the Progressive Coalition and the Melville Chamber of Commerce, was Matt Harris, a community activist who opposes the Avalon Huntington Station development on East Fifth Street.

Read full article at the Half Hollow Hills Patch: http://halfhollowhills.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/groups-urge-town-to-settle-housing-suit_8fc59161

Jan. 14th – No More Excuses Rally

Rally for Education in New York

For too long the students of New York have seen their favorite classes eliminated, teachers cut, resources dwindle, and opportunities lost. It’s time for NO MORE EXCUSES! Join us on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 in Albany to demand that New York lives up to its promise of providing every student with a “sound basic education.”

WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 14th, 2014
WHERE: New York State Convention Center, 386 Broadway, Albany
WHAT: Rally at the Capitol to demand “No More Excuses: Educate Every Student”

 

Visit the Alliance for Quality Education for more information!

Rally for Rentals: Push for family friendly, affordable rentals in Melville

About 20 housing advocates gathered Tuesday in front of Huntington Town Hall, demanding that the town board settle a decadelong dispute and allow the creation of affordable, multi-bedroom rental units in Melville.

The town board is slated to vote next Tuesday on a settlement at its meeting. The outcome of the vote could end a lawsuit brought by the NAACP and Fair Housing in Huntington Committee, which first accused the town of housing discrimination in 2002.

The suit challenges a proposed affordable housing development in Melville, saying it discriminates against families and minorities. Fair Housing has since dropped out of the suit.

Click here for the full article: Rally for Rentals

Also available via Newsday.com here

Seminar on home energy use planned

Seminar on home energy use planned 
Homeowners can learn how to better insulate their homes to save money and the environment at a seminar in Manhasset this month.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock is holding a program with the Long Island Progressive Coalition’s PowerUp Communities program from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 at 48 Shelter Rock Rd. in Manhasset.

Homeowners can learn about saving on heating oil, reducing drafts, and how to get an energy audit and apply for rebates and other financial opportunities.

Marriele Robinson of the Long Island Progressive Coalition’s PowerUp Communities project, and Jaime Pereira, director of business development at Powersmith, which provides energy-efficient services to homes, will speak.

For more information, call 516-472-2941 or write ministerasst@uucsr.org.

Commission urged to push for campaign finance reform

From Newsday: November 26, 2013 by LAURA FIGUEROA / laura.figueroa@newsday.com

Speakers at a forum on public corruption this week said the state’s anti-corruption commission should push for campaign finance reform when it reports to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Dec. 1.

At the event Monday organized by the Long Island Progressive Coalition, the League of Women Voters of Nassau County, Common Cause New York and MoveOn.org, more than a dozen speakers said public financing of campaigns would help curb corruption because candidates and public officials would not be beholden to large donors.

“We have watched year after year as the big money contributions drown out the voices of ordinary New Yorkers,” said Susan Schilling, a Huntington resident and member of the coalition.

Lisa Tyson, director of the Massapequa-based Long Island Progressive Coalition, said the group would to forward testimony to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. Cuomo convened the panel in July to probe public corruption following the arrests of several state lawmakers on corruption charges.

Tyson said the groups decided to organize a local public hearing after learning that the Moreland Commission had scheduled hearings only in New York City and Albany.

“While we are glad that the Moreland Commission is doing the work of investigating public corruption, we were upset that they decided not to come to Long Island to hear from Long Islanders,” Tyson said.

Emails and calls to Cuomo’s press office seeking comment were not returned Tuesday.

Jonathan C. Clarke, a Levittown Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Nassau County Legislature against Legis. Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) on Nov. 5, told about 40 spectators he spent about $1,000 on his campaign, choosing to focus less on fundraising than on speaking to district voters.

“This is a plea to politicians: Don’t worry so much about the money, worry about the message,” Clarke said.

Felix Procacci, a Franklin Square Democrat who lost on Nov. 5 to Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, said municipalities should post contracts online and provide online videos of all public meetings to increase transparency.

“Ultimately, what it comes down to is people need to know what their government is doing,” Procacci said.

FREE HOME UPGRADES THAT SAVE YOU MONEY


Making your home more energy efficient can lower your monthly electricity and heating bills, improve the health and comfort of your home and help the environment.  The great news is that many home efficiency upgrades are available to you at no cost!

REAP (Residential Energy Affordability Partnership) helps income-eligible customers save energy and lower electric bills. During the REAP home survey, a REAP technician will suggest energy-saving techniques and may make energy-saving upgrades to your home. Upgrades may include high-efficiency compact fluorescent bulbs, energy-efficient refrigerators, and electric water heating measures. For eligible LIPA customers, the REAP program is entirely free!

If you have a LIPA account number and meet the income guidelines listed here [link to http://www.lipower.org/residential/custserv/fa-reap.html], you are eligible for REAP! Call 1-800-263-6786 or email lipa.reap@csgrp.comto set up your REAP home survey today.

An Interns View: Unequal Education for All

By Rita Iosefson

It’s true. Not every school district on Long Island gets the same funding from New York State. As an elementary education major, my education and sociology classes have exposed me to the large funding gap between school districts. A study conducted at Columbia University Teachers College in 2009 demonstrated the alarming disparities among Long Island’s school districts. Researchers studied five different Long Island school districts, each representing a different demographic, and interviewed 75 school administrators, teachers, students, parents and school board members of these districts.

It is a known fact that resources are more easily diverted to wealthier districts, allowing these systems to offer a wider selection of courses and higher experienced teachers. Students in these districts have a greater chance of moving onto college than students in poorer districts. Poorer districts are challenged to attract better prepared educators and provide other enrichment opportunities.

I went to school in one of the more affluent school districts on Long Island. It is important that I don’t take for granted the opportunities I was given because of where I live. I was able to broadcast on my district funded radio station in high school and I participated in after school activities in middle school. My teachers encouraged me to take advanced classes that would earn me credit towards my bachelor’s degree. These privileges are unavailable to many students within a short driving distance of where I grew up. The Uniondale School District is about a twenty minute drive from my town. This district, along with other disadvantaged school districts on Long Island, has fewer teachers who have earned a master’s degree, as compared to wealthier districts, where 90% of teachers typically have earned a master’s degree.

As a future educator, I would be thankful to teach in a disadvantaged school district, to help bring its reputation up, in hopes of gaining funds from New York State. This is not the same for every aspiring educator, because of district reputations. High income schools, such as Locust Valley and Syosset, spend about $26,000 per student. Low income school districts, such as Roosevelt and Wyandanch, spend about $18,000 per student. This trend exists because lower funded school districts, on average, have to spend more on ESL programs than wealthier districts, leaving fewer funds available for other programs.

I have learned that many students are disadvantaged because their school district is unable to provide the “perks” that others can on our Island. I firmly support the Long Island Progressive Coalition in its efforts to ensure quality education for all of Long Island’s students.

Click here to read more on the study referenced in this post: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleId=7175

 

We Must Speak Up To End Corruption

The People's Commission to End Public CorruptionThe people of Long Island have an opportunity to make a difference and help bring fundamental change in our state government so that it listens to us and serves our interests.

Join the League of Women Voters of Nassau County and the Long Island Progressive Coalition for a People’s Commission to End Public Corruption on Monday November 25th at 6:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church at Shelter Rock.

Gov. Cuomo created the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption with two assignments: shed light on the way big money distorts state government and make recommendations for reform. We must make sure that the Commission recommends the only campaign finance reform that will really change the way Albany works. That is public matching for small dollar donations so candidates can raise enough money to campaign without relying on big money; a limit on the amount of contributions so candidates can’t depend on a few big donors; easy to find reporting on all contributions and spending; and a tough watchdog to enforce the rules.

The Moreland Commission held a few public hearings, but none on Long Island. So we are holding our own to let the Commission know what Long Islanders want. Testimony and the views of Long Island residents will be recorded and submitted to the Moreland Commission.

Please attend and speak up to End Public Corruption.

For more information please click here or contact Dan Fingas 516-541-1006 x17 or dfingas@lipc.org.