Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Introducing Ryan Madden

Monday, February 1st, 2016

MAdden Pic

My time with the LIPC has been challenging, rewarding, overwhelming, and life affirming. Through the organization and its affiliation with Citizen Action of New York, I have met some of the most kind, inspiring, and thoughtful human beings I know. In a short period of time, I have come to be a more open, vulnerable, and compassionate person. In the world of organizing for social change, this type of growth is necessary for the job.

Progressive change occurs at a frustratingly glacial pace. Compassion, openness, and patience are required tools for organizers in the fight against the structural injustices that shape our world. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, organizers do the most important thing you can to combat these forces: try. The appreciation and respect I have for my colleagues serves as a constant source of motivation in my work.

Since graduating from SUNY Binghamton in 2013, I have tried to secure an organizing position. My new role as the LIPC’s Sustainability Organizer is the first opportunity i’ve been afforded to do this work full-time and I am grateful to be here. It takes a very particular type of person to do this work. Although I have not been organizing long enough to know if I really am that type of person, I am excited to find out. I have much more to learn; much more to grow; and much more to work towards.

As the Sustainability Organizer, I will build upon the success of PowerUp Communities, which has already brought energy efficiency to hundreds of neighborhoods throughout the Island; I will advocate for renewable energy projects including offshore wind and community solar; and I will work towards sustainability by creating dialogue, policy, and programs necessary to realize further systemic change.

Ryan Stanton is the Sustainability Organizer for LIPC.  He can be contact at rmadden@lipc.org

Schneiderman and Singas Get Unusual Gifts for Their Reform Fight

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Singas Award
Original article published in the LONG ISLAND PRESS By Spencer Rumsey
January 20, 2016

 

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas wields a light saber to symbolize her promise to weed out corruption.

In a crowded union hall on a cold blustery night in Nassau County, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas were given the “Champions in Fighting Corruption Award” from the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC).

They each received their own light saber suitable for “Star Wars.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of awards over the years but I never got one of these!” Schneiderman told the appreciative audience with a laugh as he waved his toy saber through the air and pledged to take it back with him to Albany. Singas didn’t say if she intended to use her saber in Mineola.

Schneiderman and Singas were honored for their work exposing unethical practices by Nassau County and New York State elected officials and furthering ethics reform in state and local government. In their remarks, they pledged to carry on the fight.

Schneiderman award

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman shows off a toy light saber.

The occasion was a cocktail party to benefit LIPC, a grassroots community-based organization founded in 1979, which is affiliated with the Citizen Action of New York.

“During an era when residents have lost their confidence in public officials, we are grateful that we have allies both statewide and locally protecting taxpayers and putting the people first,” said  Lisa Tyson, LIPC’s executive director, at the Westbury headquarters of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, the largest grocery union in the state.

On hand was a who’s who of progressive activists, local labor leaders and Democratic politicians, including former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who earlier in the day formally announced that he’s among the dozen candidates considering running for the open Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), and current Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), who so far is the only one running against Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).

For more articles by the Long Island Press visit www.longislandpress.com

Local Groups Call for Sen. Hannon to Step Down

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Published by LI Herald. Written by Steve Smirti.
December 10, 2015

Local unions and some community activists are calling for the resignation of State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) amid reports that Hannon, who heads the Senate Health Committee, has been profiting from investments in various health care companies that fall under his committee’s purview.

In total, Hannon invested nearly $130,000 in 14 health care companies last year, according to the New York Daily News.

“He is making decisions for the people of New York state, and at the same time he’s trying to make decisions on what’s going to happen in his pocket,” said Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “One of the major ways to stop this is through publicly financed elections.”

Six labor groups marched outside the law offices of Farrell Fritz in RXR Plaza in Uniondale on Dec. 2, and demanded that Hannon, who is special counsel at the firm, either sever his ties to it or resign from the Senate. Farrell Fritz, one of the largest law firms on Long Island, represents health care companies.

As Health Committee chairman, Hannon had secured a $65,000 grant for Winthrop University Hospital. Farrell Fritz has represented the hospital periodically since 1993, and managing partner Charles M. Strain is the chairman of the hospital’s board of directors.

“Everything I have in terms of finances is public record,” Hannon said. “It has been since I got into public office. People know who I am, and there’s nothing else other than what’s there.”

Hannon, 69, of Garden City, was first elected to the Senate in 1989, and was previously a member of the State Assembly. His district includes East Meadow, Franklin Square, Lakeview, Salisbury and parts of Seaford and Wantagh. He has been an attorney at Farrell Fritz since the 1980s.

“There’s an ingrained culture of pay-to-play in Albany that’s too pervasive and needs to come to an end immediately,” said Michael Gendron, executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1108. “We need leaders whose motives are good policy, good government, not a good payday.”

Hannon described the protest as politically motivated. He noted that the labor groups calling for his resignation are supporters of the Democratic Party.

“It’s immediately a political event obviously aimed at advancing an agenda to change control of the Senate majority this year,” he said. “All of the information that they’re talking about is something that’s been voluntarily put on my disclosure statements.”

In recent weeks there has been increased scrutiny of the political dealings of elected officials in Albany, with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, convicted of corruption on Nov. 30, and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Center, currently on trial on charges of bribery and conspiracy charges.

Taking it to the Streets

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Yesterday we gathered outside Sen. Hannon’s office and spoke our minds. Legislators shouldn’t benefit personally from the decisions they’re making in the State Capitol. That’s pretty simple.

But as the chair of the State Senate’s Health Committee, Kemp Hannon has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the same industries he’s responsible for overseeing and regulating. That isn’t right.

The Daily News reported this week that, Sen. Hannon bought shares in 14 pharmaceutical and health care companies and received more than $420,000 in contributions from those industries. Sen. Hannon also steered $65,000 in state grants to a hospital that his private law firm represented.

Tell Sen. Hannon that he needs to either resign from the State Senate or give up his financial interests in the pharmaceutical and health industries.

What Sen. Hannon is doing may be perfectly legal – but that’s the problem. It’s exactly this kind of legal corruption, where huge corporations and their lobbyists have special ties to legislators that ordinary New Yorkers don’t, that breeds wrongdoing in Albany.

New Yorkers have had enough of elected officials who use their public role for private profit. We saw that in Nassau County last month as voters overwhelmingly rejected the corrupt status quo to elect a district attorney committed to prosecuting public corruption. State legislators should take note.

In order to truly end Albany’s culture of corruption, we need comprehensive campaign finance reform centered on small donors and public matching funds. But it’s senators like Kemp Hannon who are blocking that very reform.
Please join us and speak you mind! If you like to become or renew your Membership to the Long Island Progressive Coalition please see the attach sheet or call the LIPC office at 516-541-1006×10 or

Please donate here:

http://lipc.org/donate/

Thank you for all you do.

 

#GivingTuesday: Today Change Begins Again

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Daily, I drive across Long Island to the office of The Long Island Progressive Coalition, I pass a few farms, the oldest general store on the Island, and the corridor of Middle Country Road near Caleb Smith Park during fall is brilliantly filled with a massive array of beautiful colors and ​is proof to myself of why Long Island is a special place to call home. Alas, there is another side of living here n the Island, as on this same commute I pass empty storefronts, zombie homes, and main streets that have seen better days. There is racial and economic divide, schools miles apart that are so radically different financially, it is truly mind boggling. My commute takes me through the two Long Islands, when in reality there should be One Island and One community.

Myself, I help work for change, I came to the Long Progressive Coalition knowing of the great work being done here, this past year alone we have worked on such exciting projects as The Fight For $15, we work to bring equal education to all our students, and we work to bring affordable housing to all that live here. Simply put we work to make a better Long Island for all. A good definition of progress: going forward or onward; passing successively from one member of a series to the next. As a person whom just became a first time father, why would I not want to leave this Island a better place for my child? It is why we do our work, to bring the community forward.

Today, is Giving Tuesday and beginning today we are starting a campaign to raise funds to allow us to continue our fine work. Our goal is to raise additional funds over the course of the next week to prepare us for the challenges we face in 2016.  Your membership and donations allow us to reach such goals, it allows us to help you, the community, your community, your neighbors, and your children. We ask you help us improve Long Island. Help us prepare to make 2016 a year for all of us on Long Island, let’s make the image of two Long Island into One.

I thank you for your time and your efforts,

Kind regards,

John Delaney, LIPC Office Administrator

If you like to become or renew your Membership to the Long Island Progressive Coalition please see the attach sheet or call the LIPC office at 516-541-1006×10 or

Please donate here:

http://lipc.org/donate/

A Winning Formula for LI Democrats

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Published by Newsday. Written by Lisa Tyson.
November 23, 2015

It’s going to take a lot more than a stitch in time to save the “Long Island Nine” in the 2016 elections. If the Democratic challengers to these nine Republican state senators who represent the Island follow these three rules, they’ll have a real shot at winning seats and taking back the State Senate majority from Republicans.

First, Democrats need to make Republican corruption central to their campaign themes and commit to fixing the state’s electoral system by promising to support publicly funded elections. This month’s elections for Nassau County district attorney and Oyster Bay supervisor proved voters will stand up against a system that’s based on elected officials being impacted by campaign contributors.

Democrat Madeline Singas’ victory over well-known Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray for Nassau district attorney, and the very slim victory, despite recent scandals in his administration, of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto over Democrat John Mangelli are textbook examples of how to run against a corrupt political system and beat the odds.

Next year, Venditto’s son, state Sen. Michael Venditto, is up for re-election with a last name that’s linked to scandal. Will the younger Venditto stand up for real reform, including publicly funded elections, that will stop Albany’s culture of corruption? He hasn’t yet.

Second, challengers need to stand up for the issues that can truly improve voters’ lives, like increasing the minimum wage and making college tuition affordable. After all, it’s the big money interests who fight these policies by heavily contributing to lawmakers.

When it comes to having elected officials who are responsive to the needs of most New Yorkers, state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) embodies all that’s wrong with Albany. What’s worse than his alleged crimes to enrich himself and his son is the legal bribery that happens every day at the Capitol. When Skelos was head of the Senate Republicans, he set the agenda — an agenda that put corporate profits before the needs of ordinary New Yorkers. His pro-fracking, anti-living wage, and even pro-gun positions trace to corporate interests.

Third, candidates need to make sure voters look down the ballot by connecting the major presidential campaign issues like income inequality to state issues like raising the minimum wage. In 2012, President Barack Obama won seven of nine State Senate districts on Long Island. Democrats also have an enrollment advantage in seven of the nine Long Island districts.

In the last presidential election, Obama won the 7th District with 54 percent of the vote. That same year, incumbent Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) won only 52 percent. Democrats will turn out next year because their voting numbers rise in presidential elections. Democratic candidates for State Senate need to get those votes by having meaningful conversations with voters.

The Democratic enrollment advantage on Long Island and across New York gets stronger every year. So far, Senate Republicans have been able to cling to power by scaring voters — saying votes for Democrats will give control of the state to New York City; taking campaign money from big real estate moguls and hedge fund managers; and buying off a few Democrats by giving power to a small group that caucuses with the Republicans.

Next year can be one of change. It can be a historic moment when Democrats vote against corruption — legal and illegal — by demanding their issues come first and that their elected officials are accountable to them.

Lisa Tyson is director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

LIPC Applauds Governor on LNG

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Long Island Progressive Coalition’s Statement on LNG

November 12th 2015

Cuomo Veto

“The Long Island Progressive Coalitions applauds Governor Cuomo his announcement today to veto the
Port Ambrose a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port proposed off New York’s coast. This facility would threaten public safety and endanger our beaches and it would maintain our reliance on dirty fossil fuels while blocking a wind energy project proposed for the same location” stated Lisa Tyson Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

Over 150 activists from across Long Island join to build a united progressive movement

Monday, November 9th, 2015

 

 

Conf Big Picture

STONYBROOK (November 7, 2015)

Long Island organizations gathered at the first Progressive Vision for Long Island: Organizing for Success conference. This conference was organized by a new groundbreaking initiative called Long Island Progressive Network that brings together immigration, social justice, LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, labor rights, education, sustainable development and community organizations to work together to build power and to move progressive issues throughout Long Island, the state and the nation.

 

The Conference is a historic event because it is the first time Long Island organizations explored what can happen if we bring together people from many different issue areas that all have an interest in creating positive change on Long Island.  Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative, Political and Mobilization Activities for District One of the Communications Workers of America, kicked off the event by giving a national overview of labor struggles. Attendees then gathered for issue workshops and skill building trainings, to hone the skills needed to effect change.

 

“The time has come for our organizations to work and fight together to improve the lives of the residents of Long Island. Long Island is one of the most segregated communities, there is a major housing crisis, severe income inequality and major corruption. In order to win significant improvements on these issues we must do things differently by banning together and supporting allied organizations’ campaigns” stated Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

 

“This conference is a sign that progressives are fired up around key issues and are willing to work together to get the job done. It is not just about individual organizations but the issues that affect all working families. It is great to see Long Islanders strategize and leave excited to continue the fight.” said Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative, Political and Mobilization Activities for District One of the Communications Workers of America who was the Keynote Speaker for the event.

Conf Small Group Photo

“This conference allows different organizations to learn about others struggles and fights and how we, as a Labor, can better understand our members and their needs,” said Brendan Sexton, the Political Coordinator for UFCW 1500.
“In our current political and social climate the inaugural Progressive Network Conference could not be more timely. Having had the privilege to be a part of the planning process, I am confident this convening will be the beginning of a unified progressive movement that has the potential to do truly transformative work. Only by working together in solidarity and by recognizing that we cannot continue to work in silos can we achieve more inclusive, integrated, sustainable communities that provide opportunity for all,” said Nuzhat Quaderi, Community Organizer at ERASE Racism.

Conf panel Sustain photo

For more information about the Progressive Network please contact Dan at dfingas@lipc.org.

What’s a Name Worth?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Excerpt from Newsday’s The Point:
TALKING POINT
The family name
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto may still pull a win out of Tuesday’s election, but the family brand has taken a hit.

Democrats looking to take back the State Senate from the GOP in 2016 suddenly see Sen. Michael Venditto, the supervisor’s son, as vulnerable.

The younger Venditto, serving his first term in Albany, coasted to victory last year in the race to succeed Charles Fuschillo. Michael, 33, was plucked from the Nassau legislature, where he had only served 16 months on the strength of the family name.

His selection over more senior and experienced Republicans was defended by Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello, who said Venditto was from a political family and had worked on his father’s campaigns. Mondello was right, the name carried the day and Michael won easily.

A year later, that name isn’t looking so stellar.

After casting ballots for John Venditto for nine terms, voters in the heavily Republican areas of Oyster Bay rebelled, angry over badly managed town finances and a federal investigation into how town concession contracts were awarded. The year-over-year comparison in the election districts that overlap the Senate district are stark. In 2014, Michael won them with 79 percent of the vote. On Tuesday, John’s margins in his home area and stronghold were only 59 percent.

Remember when the Bush name meant victory in politics?

— Rita Ciolli

Is Senator Hannon looking out for our best interests?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Hannon Photo

New York State Senator Kemp Hannon

Below is an excerpt from Capital Tonight’s “Morning Memo”:

“Democrats Target Hannon’s Legal Work

As battleground races for the state Senate are more than a year away, Democrats are once again eyeing the Long Island district held by Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon.

In particular, allies of the Democratic conference are looking at Hannon’s legal work at FarrellFritz.

On the firm’s website, Hannon in a question-and-answer portion of his bio speaks about the FarrellFritz’s work on behalf of clients as why he chose to join the firm.

“It is the firm’s commitment to “excellent lawyering, to hard work and to performance for clients that I think is unique to Farrell Fritz. It’s an exciting and intellectual atmosphere in which to work,” he states in the Q and A. “I have been with the firm since the 1980s. This commitment is something that has consistently been a hallmark of the firm.”

Hannon isn’t referring to his own clients, and he claims none on his financial disclosure form with the joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Nevertheless, Lisa Tyson of the Long Island Progressive Coalition sees Hannon’s work with the law firm — legally allowed in a part-time Legislature — as a problem.

“Long Island needs Senators who put the people ahead of their own personal financial gain,” Tyson said in a statement. “Instead, we have Kemp Hannon shamelessly promoting his influence in the State Senate to generate business for his high-priced, special interest law firm. This is the kind of behavior that’s been allowed for too long in Albany and shows why we desperately need to shake things up on Long Island.”

The Hannon seat is one of up to a half dozen districts that could be in play for either conference heading into 2016. Democrats have routinely eyed the district in presidential election years, when Hannon’s margin of victory is typically smaller and more Democratic voters support down-ballot candidates.

In addition to the Hannon seat, Democrats are also eyeing the Hudson Valley district held by Republican Sen. Bill Larkin.

– Nick Reisman (@NickReisman)”

Want to learn more about how Fair Elections can beat corruption in NYS?  Contact Dan at dfingas@lipc.org.