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Global IMC Network

Hedge fund managers and Gov. Cuomo propel charter schools

February 25, 2015 by tim wolcott

 

           I wish getting consensus weren’t so complicated for progressives, but it is.  I wish educating our youth weren’t so complex, but it is.  I wish I could just label Gov. Cuomo a panderer to hedge fund managers selfishly pushing for charter schools, but that would be an over simplification.

NYS Wants to hear from you about the State of the Arts

February 24, 2015 by pegjohnston

NYSCA’s Executive Director, Lisa Robb, will convene constituent meetings in your region on March 10 -13, 2015. Discussion items will include: what’s new at NYSCA, the FY2016 grants program and a Q & A. Each meeting will be co-hosted by the area’s Decentralization (DEC) site and the organization that will welcome all of us to its building. The DEC sites will also present information on the NYSCA Regrant program it administers.

You are invited to attend one of the “Constituent Meetings” NYSCA is hosting in our area..
 
Two meetings in this area one in Norwich on Wednesday, March 11 from 11am- 12:30pm to discuss the state of the arts in NYS. 
 And in Binghamton Co-hosted by the Chenango County Council on the Arts and Roberson Museum and Science Center
Friday, March 13, 11:00am - 12:30pm

Sustainability -- Its Meaning and Lifestyle

February 23, 2015 by bingsierra

The Susquehanna Group of Sierra Club, on Tuesday, March 17, presents Aimee Heavey, to discuss “Sustainability, it’s true meaning and implications for the future.”
Heavey, a Binghamton native, is a former National Park Ranger who recently moved back to the area to pursue a life of sustainability. Her work focuses on educating communities and developing thriving, sustainable, local food systems and economies in order to address multiple global issues, including economic uncertainty, peak oil, and climate instability.
She will discuss how people are pursuing the sustainability movement on the ground, and how we can all strive to live more sustainably.
The meeting on Tues., March 17, at 7:30 p.m., will be held at Central United Methodist Church, 17 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott. The public is invited, free of charge. For more information, contact Scott Lauffer at lauffer.scott@gmail.com.

ABOUT SECURITY ON TELECOMS: THE ELECTRONIC MAIL

February 20, 2015 by pegjohnston

This post is from Indymedia-Barcelona. Activists all over the world are concerned with data collection by governments or corporations. This advice is about email servers and which ones "mine" your data.

Having an electronic mailbox account is like having a post office box. This means while you’re checking the electronic mail, with the computer
you’re visiting "the office" where your letters are stored. You have a password to open this mailbox, but the letters are not "in a closed
envelope".

Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and other companies that provide electronic mail apparently for free let people have a mailbox (and more services)
without having to pay an amount directly, but they obviously don’t do if for the love or art neither to make a better world. They do it in
exchange for:

1. Give your details and contacts to advertising agencies (spam) and add more advertisements on the web.
2. Analyse your communications in order to refine your commercial profile (likes, economic weakness, friends, etc.)
3. Have critical information react to social and political conflicts, and to manipulate letters delivery.
4. Promote a greater reliance on company's services.

* Big companies such as mentioned have also agreements with States in order to transfer information when are asked by the police information
brigade, or any other diplomatic or military agency. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29
* These functions are generally covered in the using conditions that we always agree and never read at first, but sometimes the company doesn't
tell them.
* A similar conduct have big public corporations such as unesco.org or uw.edu
* The e-mail itself also implicates people that we communicate with, because companies trace the relations and analyse the contacts.

In order to prevent this SERIOUS problem for social movements, it’s highly advisable to have a strong self-protection criteria on choosing
internet resources, and using an e-mail account with technical collectives with certain preoccupation on privacy and security. Here
come 5 examples:
autistici.org/en/get_service.html
actiu.info
riseup.net
aktivix.org
nodo50.org

Each one has its own e-mail servers, which are maintained and financed in different ways. Some of them ask for money, others ask for some help,
and others require a recommendation from a friend. It’s necessary to look on their websites and see which one we choose to ask for an
independent e-mail like johndoe@riseup.net , johndoe@actiu.info , johndoe@nodo50.org , etc.

As a more complete protection measure, it's convenient to care on using free software, which can be complete (GNU/Linux) or specific for an
electronic mail;
For the computer:
www.mozilla.org/thunderbird
For the mobile phone or tablet:
www.f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=com.fsck.k9

A Bad Idea Part II Metro Center Parking

February 17, 2015 by pegjohnston

A Bad Idea Part IIA Guest Viewpoint was recently published in this space regarding the questionable conversion of the MetroCenter Plaza in downtown Binghamton into a ten space parking lot, at what amounts to about $35,000 a space.  Much has happened since that initial piece.

Members of the Commission on Architecture and Urban Design (CAUD) were the first to raise concerns about this project.  Other concerned citizens also raised meaningful points and voiced these in person at City Council Meetings.  As a member of the City’s Planning Commission at the time, I also voiced my concerns. We were all told by the Administration that CAUD approval was not needed, that our claims were inaccurate and untrue.  Good citizens raising questions were told Traffic Board review and approval was not needed, that our concerns were inaccurate and untrue.  Taxpayers watching the city’s spending habits were told that the Mayor could use unspent Bond Funds from another Capital projects without any other approvals, that our objections were inaccurate and untrue.  We were told that the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) was not applicable, that our concerns were inaccurate and untrue.

How time changes circumstances.  Since these concerns were raised, the Administration has now engaged CAUD, sought approval from the City’s Traffic Board, acknowledged the need for new bonding authority to fund this project and committed to compliance with SEQRA.  All of this begs the question, what was the Administration trying to do before these issues were raised?

I think the answer is pretty clear.  The goal was to circumvent the existing process, those checks and balances that are in place to ensure good governance, and deliver a quality project that benefits the public’s interest.  This was an attempt by the Administration to force this project through the process hoping no one would notice.  The ultimate goal of the project the benefit of a select few at the expense of the many.

So what can we say to this?  At the February 18th City Council meeting, Council members will have to decide whether to borrow the funds and ultimately build the project.  Is spending $350,000 of our tax dollars a good investment for ten parking spaces?  If we are going to bond, and borrow from our future, shouldn’t it benefit more of our citizens?

A colleague pointed out to me in an e-mail that it took three years of strong advocacy to get $25,000 invested in the ball park and bathhouse at Columbus Park. West End Park will get tens of thousands of dollars in investments this coming year, but largely because of a state grant. It took eight years to reach agreement to borrow $100,000 to tear down the First Ward Pool. Through the Design Your Own Park, resident groups on the North Side and West Side worked tirelessly for a few years to get $20,000 in public investments in new park spaces.

Neighborhood parks are used by thousands of our city's families, kids, and individuals every year! Is Council really going to approve borrowing $350,000 to build a ten space parking lot in the heart of our downtown, two blocks from the City’s three parking ramps, all of which are in dire need of repair?

Obviously if the City is to borrow there are better uses that will have a broader impact on our citizens and help build community.  We all, as citizens need to be paying more attention to what goes on in City government.  Go to the City’s website, review City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board agendas and minutes.  Even better, reach out to your Council representative before the February 18th meeting and tell them to think twice about spending so much money to convert the MetroCenter public courtyard into a ten-space parking lot. Tell them to say no to “David’s Dead End.”

Good government needs you!

Mark D. Bowers is a resident of Binghamton’s West Side

IBM and Endicott residents settle toxic plume lawsuit

February 17, 2015 by pegjohnston

WIVT reports:

IBM and a group of Endicott residents have agreed to settle a lawsuit over the toxic plume. In a joint statement issued by the company and attorneys for the plaintiffs, the two sides announced that an agreement in principal has been reached to settle claims over alleged injuries related to IBM's former manufacturing facility. IBM has acknowledged a spill of the volatile organic compound trichloroethylene, aka TCE, in 1979. READ more at:

http://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/story/d/story/ibm-and-endicott-residents-settle-toxic-plume-laws/38101/O4OxFQSPBkuQ0YzSQIRdkw
IBM, Endicott residents to settle environmental lawsuit

WBNG reported on the story:

The statement said the settlements will avoid "expensive litigation." Despite the proposed agreement, an IBM spokesman said the company is still committed to the ongoing environmental cleanup at its former Endicott facility.

IBM is blamed in part for contaminating ground, water and air with trichloroethylene, or TCE. The chemical was used to clean, finish and degrease metal in the computer manufacturing process.  READ MORE at:

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/IBM-Endicott-residents-reacch-agreement-to-end-lawsuit--291480091.html
IBM, Endicott Residents End Years-Long Contamination Lawsuit

 

Reforming the Energy Vision

January 30, 2015 by pegjohnston

Last year, New York's policy-makers drafted a State Energy Plan that looked too much like the status quo. It was heavy on gas and light on concrete steps to get New York off dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and nuclear energy. In response, tens of thousands of us raised our voices at public hearings and in written testimony to demand a real plan for a renewable energy transition.

New York's energy planners are at it again, but this time, they have taken a 180. This time, they are challenging business as usual in New York's retail electricity markets, through a proceeding at the Public Service Commission called Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). There are some great opportunities in this process to move the state toward a decentralized renewable energy system, but there are also some major causes for concern. We must participate in the process so that we can ensure New York gets moving on a just transition to renewable energy.

Please join us at the Binghamton REV hearing on Thursday, February 12 at the Binghamton City Council Chambers, City Hall, 38 Hawley Street, Binghamton NY 13901.

An information session will be held at 6pm, directly followed by an on-the-record public hearing at 7pm. BRSC will host our own REV workshop 2-5 days prior to the hearing. Look for an announcement of details soon.

Last year the Energy Democracy Working Group (EDWG) was formed by the Alliance for a Green Economy, the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Center for Social Inclusion, PUSH Buffalo, and The Solutions Project. The EDWG is a broad alliance of sustainability, environmental justice, affordable housing and other diverse community organizations working to be sure that New York's transition to a clean energy economy benefits New York's communities in general, and those marginalized from these benefits in particular. EDWG works to put the people of New York, not a handful of corporations, in the driver seat.

Building on AGREE's leadership, the EDWG and dozens of allies have successfully pressed the Public Service Commission (PSC) to hold eight info sessions and hearings across the state. The first was in Syracuse last night, where nearly 100 Central New York Residents spoke up for an energy system run by and for the people of New York State. This small victory is only the beginning.

A complete schedule with great information on REV is on the AGREE website. The official hearing announcement from the PSC is attached and linked at the bottom of this message.

Upcoming public hearings offer us the chance to determine what New York's energy future will look like. Don't miss this chance.

What is REV?
REV is a major overhaul of the way New York policy makers intend to pursue clean energy, and so far, the process has been dominated by utility companies, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and other for-profit actors. It's no surprise, then, that the proposals coming out the the proceeding would hand over much of the design and control over New York's clean energy programs to utility companies. The proposals would also phase out clean energy subsidies and the state's clean energy programs in favor of the market-oriented approach envisioned in REV.

The public's voice must be heard so that we can demand an energy future that is designed by and for New Yorkers.

Join the call for energy democracy, enforceable environmental goals, consumer protection and energy affordability.

Find out more about REV at the Alliance for a Green Economy website <allianceforagreeneconomy.org/REV>, where we have posted:
- A short video introduction to REV
- Talking points
- Links to all the documents

And while we are making our voices heard to the Commission with a duty to represent the public, find out how to make this a Renewable New York by promoting renewables and energy efficiency in your community.

 

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