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.

Mitt Romney Will Fundraise In The Hamptons On Sunday

Article By: Rohma Abbas, The East Hampton Press

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate who will challenge President Barack Obama in November, will make a fundraising pass through the East End this Sunday.

Suffolk County Republican Committee Chairman John Jay LaValle this week confirmed recent news reports that the former Massachusetts governor will attend at least three fundraisers in Southampton and East Hampton towns during his whirlwind visit.

“It’s great to see Mitt Romney on Long Island,” said Mr. LaValle, who said he’s been invited to some of the events. “He’s always welcome. God only knows we need him more than ever.”

Mr. Romney will attend fundraisers at the Creeks, an estate on Georgica Pond in East Hampton owned by Ronald Perelman and at the Southampton homes of Cliff Sobel and David and Julia Koch.

The high priced fundraisers have irked some in political action groups, who claim that they promote economic inequality. The Long Island Progressive Coalition, a Massapequa group that has advocated for campaign finance reform and fairness in elections, is organizing a protest at one of the fundraisers, a dinner held at the Kochs’ Meadow Lane home in Southampton on Sunday. The fundraiser starts at 5 p.m., and the suggested contribution is $50,000 per person, or $75,000 per couple, according to a copy of the invitation circulating on the internet.

“This is a $50,000 a plate a fundraiser,” Lisa Tyson, the director of the coalition, said on Monday. “Think about it. That is what one person, maybe two people’s yearly income is. They’re not doing it for dinner. This is the elite of the elite and they’re trying to buy power and buy influence.”

Ms. Tyson said somewhere between 50 and 100 people from her group, including some from groups like Occupy Wall Street, plan to march and hold up signs near the Kochs’ home. The group will begin at Coopers Beach and walk down to protest about a quarter of a mile away from the oceanfront home.

Ms. Tyson said the protest isn’t rooted in anti-Mitt Romney sentiment, but is instead pro-economic justice.

“This is about the 99 percent,” she said.

Mr. Romney will start his visit off with a lunch at the Creeks, Mr. Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway in Wainscott, according to media reports. He will attend the event with a special guest— U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, according to a copy of the invitation circulating on the web. The event will take place at 12:30 p.m., and lunch is $5,000 per person, or $7,500 per couple. The third event, according to the political news organization Politico, will be hosted by Mr. Sobel, the ambassador to Brazil under former Republican President George W. Bush.

Randy Altschuler, a Republican businessman from St. James who is challenging Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Bishop for his seat this November, has been invited to attend, according to Chris Russell, his campaign consultant.

“He has been invited to all of them,” Mr. Russell wrote in an email. “Schedule permitting, he will attend at least one of the events. We are playing it by ear. Randy’s top priority is meeting with Suffolk County’s working families, small-business owners and seniors who are increasingly frustrated with Congressman Bishop’s record of repeatedly voting for higher taxes, more spending and irresponsible debt that has helped to destroy 30,000 jobs on Long Island since Mr. Bishop was sworn in to Congress nearly 10 years ago.”

Robert Pierce, the communications director for Mr. Bishop’s campaign, responded to Mr. Russell’s statement by claiming Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Romney support policies that hurt the middle class. “The budget Randy and Mitt support gives the average millionaire a $300,000 tax cut, while raising taxes on those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 by an average of $2,700,” Mr. Pierce said. “If shifting the tax burden onto the middle class isn’t enough for millionaires Mitt and Randy to discuss, I’m sure they’ll enjoy comparing notes about how they outsourced thousands of American jobs for their own benefit.”

Mr. Romney’s campaign didn’t return a request seeking comment last week. But Mr. LaValle dismissed the protest.

“The liberals, they love to do weird things,” he said. “I’m sure they’re up to something. There’s not much more they can do to tear the country down, so they’re into party crashing now.”

Protesters To Disrupt Koch Brothers' Romney Fundraiser On Long Island

Last week Mitt Romney held a $50K/ticket fundraiser in Park City, Utah that gave donors “an extraordinary level of access” to the candidate and other top Republicans. But Romney was apparently miffed because the Koch brothers had a fundraiser for conservative causes at the same time: “As one fundraiser noted, Mr. Romney is, after all, the candidate.” Ha, suuuure you are Mitt. But on July 8th Romney will meet with the Koch brothers to form the Eye of Sauron at David Koch’s Long Island home, and protesters are ready.

Per Capital NY, a group comprising of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Greenpeace, and Occupy Wall Street will gather at two locations that evening, the first of which is “basically at the foot of the driveway” of the home. “We’ll be making noise, holding up signs and letting everybody that has to pass by there on the way to the fundraiser know that Long Island does not support the political agenda that they’re raising money for that night,” spokesman David Segal tells Patch.

Article Courtesy of Gothamist.

Protest Plans for Romney's Visit to David Koch's Long Island Home


Here’s a map indicating the locations of planned protests of a  Mitt Romney fund-raiser on July 8 at the Southampton home of billionaire David Koch.

The first protest location “is basically at the foot of his driveway,” and the second protest site is about a third of mile down the only road that leads up to the home, according to a spokesman for the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

The director of LIPC, Lisa Tyson, said they are coordinating with Greenpeace, “Occupy Wall Street,”, Strong for All, United New York, and others.

Click here to see the map.

Progressives Plan to Crash Romney's Fundraiser at Koch's Southampton Estate

By Brendan J. O’Reilly, Southampton Patch

Billionaire industrialist and frequent donator to conservative causes David Koch is planning a fundraiser at his Southampton estate for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on July 8 for $50,000 a head — and a number of uninvited guests plan to crash the party.

The Long Island Progressive Coalition said Thursday it will help to lead like-minded groups to “non-violently disrupt” the event, which is one of three Romney fundraisers planned in the Hamptons that day, according to a Politico report.

“We’ll be making noise, holding up signs and letting everybody that has to pass by there on the way to the fundraiser know that Long Island does not support the political agenda that they’re raising money for that night,” said Long Island Progressive Coalition communications coordinator David Segal.

He said the coalition learned of the event after an invitation was leaked online. According to the invitation, the fundraiser will begin at 5 p.m. and the cost is $50,000 per individual and $75,000 per couple, with proceeds benefiting Romney Victory, Inc.

“The fact that David Koch is spearheading this fundraiser is indicative of the role that money is playing in politics right now,” Segal said.

The Romney campaign did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The protest is planned for 4 p.m. in front of the oceanfront Meadow Lane estate, though demonstrators will first assemble at the Coopers Beach parking lot at 3 p.m. They will then march to Koch’s home carrying banners.

“We want to show up in front of the Kochs’ house to say, ‘We’re tired of you promoting policies that go against the interest of everyday people,'” Segal said.

Joining the coalition are Greenpeace, Occupy Wall Street,, Strong For All, United New York, The Occupied Storefront and Occupy Huntington. Protestors from New York City will be bussed in for free.

Southampton Village has a law against protests targeting a domicile, but Mayor Mark Epley said Thursday that it is the village attorney’s opinion the law does not apply in this case because Romney does not reside at the estate.

The law was adopted after anti-illegal immigration protestors took to demonstrating outside Epley’s house.

Epley said his biggest concern is the safety hazards a large gathering on Meadow Lane poses on a Sunday afternoon when many vehicles are leaving beaches and the county park at the end of the road.

Segal said the demonstrators will not block driveways or impede traffic, and will follow the conventional rules governing protests.

LIPC Featured in Newsday's Long Island Life Section

The Long Island Progressive Coalition recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, LIPC was featured in the Long Island Life section from the Sunday, April 5th edition of Newsday.

Here is the article:

LI Progressive Coalition marks 30th year


Thirty years ago, the Long Island Progressive Coalition was a fledgling group operating out of a spare room in a philosophy professor’s Syosset home.

Since then, LIPC has grown to be a force in Long Island politics. From helping stop the Shoreham nuclear power plant to advocating for energy sustainability and smart growth long before it became popular, LIPC has inserted itself firmly into the political debate with its mix of dedication to social causes and its willingness to work with its ideological opponents.

The coalition celebrated its 30th anniversary last month with a luncheon honoring state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, among others.

“I think that they’ve been one of the more consistent and successful of voices on issues such as social equity, environmental justice, fair taxation and the general concept of sustainability,” said Lawrence Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University and a former Newsday editorial writer and columnist. “They’ve made a difference.”

LIPC began in 1979 with C.W. Post philosophy professor David Sprintzen, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, and a labor union – the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The idea, Sprintzen said, was to bring together disparate groups that were focused only on single issues or communities on Long Island.

Around a kitchen table

It became a coalition of women’s groups, environmental groups and labor unions. Planning meetings were often held around Sprintzen’s kitchen table – so often, in fact, that Sprintzen’s young son would sometimes play a game in which he would gather coffee cups and place them around the empty table. He was playing “meeting.”

LIPC went on to join movements such as the call for a public takeover of the Long Island Lighting Co., which later was taken over by the public Long Island Power Authority.

“We were the first people to call for a public takeover of LILCO,” Sprintzen said. “People made fun of us.”

LIPC helped halt the Shoreham nuclear power plant, and in 1992 it created an islandwide conference on sustainability – an issue then considered fringe, Sprintzen said.

“There are many stories of things we called for that people said would never happen and that have happened,” he said.

Today, LIPC works out of a restored private home in Massapequa with a staff of eight. Its focus is on organizing, and its interests continue to be varied: Statewide health care reform, improved education for poor children, and affordable housing are the main ones.

Director Lisa Tyson said LIPC’s success resides partly in the fact that the group works with a variety of interests.

“We’re able to work with nontraditional coalition partners, like the Long Island Association, and on another issue we might be totally against them,” Tyson said. “We’re able to have a respect and dialogue that makes things happen.”

Allowing for differences

While the coalition and the association have not always seen eye to eye (for example, the LIPC supports a progressive income tax and a mobility tax to fund transportation projects, while the LIA, the region’s largest business group, is against both of these things), still, former LIA president James Larocca said such differences have not created a natural enmity between the groups.

“While many people may have presumed a natural tension between the coalition and something like the LIA, I saw it differently,” Larocca said. “I think they’ve made real contributions over the years.”

LIPC has earned praise from politicians, such as Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, and is now working with Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi on special-district reform.

“The coalition hones in and focuses on the merits and really what is the most sustainable position for the public good,” said Jim Morgo, chief deputy county executive in Suffolk County. “I don’t agree with all the coalition’s positions myself, but I never questioned its motivation.”

As LIPC focuses on the future, it has received a boost from the election of President Barack Obama, himself a former community organizer. Tyson said the president’s past has led to a renewed interest in LIPC’s work.

“Before Obama, no one knew what community organizing was,” Tyson said. “After everyone started knowing who he was, people started respecting the work we did a little bit more.”
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