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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

  • Help end world hunger
  • Saturday, July 11, 2009

    NEW YORK STATE FOCUS: Blogs, 2009 Candidates, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events

    A lot has been going on in NY State while I was away. For now I am not including a "stories of interest" section until I have time to start it up again, but you can read a lot about it in the blogs I list.


    The Albany Project gives excellent coverage of New York State politics.

    The Daily Gotham covers both New York City (with a slight emphasis on Brooklyn) and New York State politics.

    Reform NY is the blog of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

    No Land Grab: News from the point of view of Brooklyn opposition to overdevelopment

    True News from ChangeNYC.Org: ChangeNYC.Org is an organization unifying our City’s Democratic Party by welcoming all New Yorkers back into the political process. We are a coalition of real, everyday New Yorkers – young voters, progressives, neighborhood leaders, community bloggers, good government groups, and even conservatives – who believe that in cooperation we can bring the change to our City that together we have begun to bring to our nation.

    Let me highlight some excellent candidates running in New York in 2009: (also see my borough specific sections where I also discuss candidates)

    Norm Siegel for Public Advocate
    For those of you who live in NYC, you have the chance to elect Norman Siegel, one of America's top Civil Rights Lawyers, as our Public Advocate. Norman Siegel would be, without any doubt, the best Public Advocate possible for NYC. He has 40 years experience as a civil rights lawyer and already takes on the causes of 9/11 widows, firefighters, bloggers, and just about anyone who needs help defending their rights and liberties. He has so far been endorsed by Democracy for NYC, Room 8 Blogger Rock Hackshaw, State Senator Eric Adams, New York Metro Area Postal Union, Three Parks Independent Democrats, Broadway Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, Village Reform Democratic Club, Park River Independent Democrats, New York Community Council, the Audubon Reform Democratic Club, Brooklyn Democrats for Change, and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.

    Here is Norm Siegel's 14 Point Approach to the Public Advocate's Office:

    The backbone of my campaign and my desire to serve as New York City’s Public Advocate is my vision for how this unique elected position – the only position in America that represents the people against the government – can operate as an example of democracy in action. No New Yorker would have to ask “what does the Public Advocate do?” if I were in charge of the office. The City Charter specifies in section 24g, “The public advocate shall establish procedures for receiving and processing complaints, responding to complaints, conducting investigations, and reporting findings, and shall inform the public about such procedures.” Accordingly, I’ve outlined fourteen procedures and approaches I would use to make the office more dynamic and accessible:

    1. I will not only contact the appropriate city agencies when it is appropriate, but I will also connect concerned residents and community groups to the appropriate agencies, so they do not get the run-around when trying to deal with city bureaucracies.
    2. The Public Advocate has access to the media, and he or she should use it. The Public Advocate’s office will put pressing issues into New York’s papers by writing letters to the editor and opinion editorials on a constant basis.
    3. Similarly, our office will hold press conferences to keep New York’s journalists apprised of the problems people are facing, and the work our office and our partners are doing to fix them.
    4. A Public Advocate cannot understand the concerns of the City without going directly to the people. That is why we will hold public conferences/town hall meetings throughout the five boroughs to allow residents to give feedback about the difficulties they are facing.
    5. Not only will I hold meetings in all five boroughs, but I will also decentralize the office. I would establish satellite Public Advocate offices in each borough, not just the municipal building in downtown Manhattan. No advocate waits for people to come with their problems; advocacy is about taking the first step by reaching out to people in their own neighborhoods.
    6. Once a problem has been identified, the Public Advocate’s office will designate a task force to speedily gather information, make recommendations, and if necessary, take action.
    7. If a task force is insufficient, I will not hesitate to create Public Advocate Commissions that can hold hearings, issue reports, and bring additional media attention to an issue.
    8. If our office identifies an issue that warrants substantial study, we will commission Special Reports and have experts look into those issues.
    9. There will be times when new legislation will be required to solve the issues we face. Under my direction, the Public Advocate’s office will be aggressive in recommending and supporting new legislation.
    10. As Public Advocate, I will encourage and participate in all protected First Amendment action events, including marches, rallies and protests.
    11. One of the most important features of the Public Advocate’s office is its authority to hold public hearings. When dealing with City agencies accused of wrongdoing, one can be assured that holding hearings is a tool I will use liberally. Additionally, New York law allows the Public Advocate to petition for judicial public hearings when there has been any showing of government impropriety, which allows the public to hear the acts in a court of law. As a civil rights attorney representing taxpayers I used this process to bring public attention to the “slush fund” that had been funneling city money to fictitious organizations. That case is currently on appeal in the New York Appellate Division. The incumbent has never asked for judicial hearings, but I will show no such reluctance in exposing government improprieties, such as fraud and corruption.
    12. I would create an Institute of Advocacy where the Public Advocate staff would quarterly hold weekend training sessions on the “art of advocacy.” The goal would be to create a citywide network of skilled advocates.
    13. To this end, I would recruit, train and supervise hundreds of volunteers (assistant Public Advocates) to participate in weekly intakes at housing developments, public libraries, and senior centers, identifying the systemic issues and recurring grievances that are plaguing city government.
    14. As a last resort, the Public Advocate’s office will engage in litigation. We will sue for declaratory judgments, injunctive relief, or, in state court, for a judicial public hearing.

    Go here to read Norman Siegel's statement on declaring the Gowanus canal a superfund site to clean it up.

    Here's a link to Norm Siegel on NY1.

    And here is Youtube footage of Norm Siegel and the NYC Coalition To Preserve Term Limits Press Conference:

    More Races: Here is my updated list of races I am targeting. There are lots of important races I highlight all over the city. If we want change locally, this list is a good start.

    Alternative Energy in NY State:

    Here are some stats from Repower America:

    * A $2 billion investment by Spanish energy company, Iberdrola, will double New York's 1,000-megawatt wind capacity to 2,000-megawatts - providing enough electricity for nearly 600,000 homes.

    * New York's energy efficiency programs save enough electricity to power almost 115,000 homes for a whole year, save almost $140 million in energy costs, and prevent the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking over 60,000 cars off the road. Although great progress, the state still has much more potential to increase its energy efficiency.

    * The state has a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires all public utilities to generate 24% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2013.

    What you can do for Clean Energy:

    For pennies per month more than you currently pay for energy you can buy 100% green energy from Con-Ed. Joy and I have been doing it for years, seriously reducing our carbon footprint and giving NY State cleaner air. Here's how it works:

    Clean Energy for Residential & Small Business Customers ConEdison Solutions is leading the way in promoting pollution-free electricity by offering WIND and GREEN Power - clean, 100% renewable power. Instead of drawing on traditional power sources, such as nuclear power and fossil fuel sources, GREEN Power is generated from regional wind and low-impact hydropower sources. GREEN Power is composed of 65% run-of-the-river hydro and 35% wind power. See content label WIND Power is composed of electricity exclusively generated from 100% wind power. The benefit of clean energy is that it produces none of the detrimental environmental effects associated with electricity production that results in air emissions.

    ConEdison Solutions is committed to making a difference in the environment and together we have the opportunity to help make a powerful impact. The cost for renewable energy has fallen dramatically in recent years and is only a fraction higher than electricity generated from traditional power sources. ConEdison Solutions' GREEN Power costs only an additional one cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) more than our standard offer and WIND Power is an additional 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) more than our standard offer. Upgrading to renewable energy makes a difference and is a very affordable way to show that you care about the future of our environment.

    To sign up GO HERE. Or call: 1-888-320-8991. You won't regret switching.

    Here are a handful of Organizations worth checking out:

    The Environmental Business Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to supporting the growth of the environmental industry in New York State. Specifically, we help to promote and serve serving the industry sectors of Climate Change, Greening Communities, Energy and WALCE (Water-Agriculture-Land Use-Conservation-Environmental). News here. Events list here (not recently updated).

    NY Citizens for Clean Elections: We are committed to passage of Clean Money Clean Election legislation in NYS that provides a non-partisan approach for full public funding of campaigns for all qualified candidates who refuse private money and abide by spending limits. We want to ensure that all Americans, regardless of wealth, have an equal voice in the political system and that qualified candidates are not discouraged from running because they do not have access to the money needed for a competitive campaign.

    The Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats is a community-based Democratic club. CBID has fought for reform and progressive causes since 1968. As a Brooklyn-based Club, we have been instrumental in the election of many candidates for public office. Much of this success was a result of our question-and-answer forums with prospective candidates as well as our extensive on-the-street contact with our constituents.

    Staunchly opposed to political corruption, we are proud of our independence and our commitment to progressive reform in city, state and national politics. We are a vehicle for citizen empowerment and making government more accountable to our neighborhoods.

    We meet monthly, usually the fourth Thursday evening of the month in the basement of the Park Slope United Methodist Church, on the corner of 6th ave and 8th street, at 7:30pm. All are welcome.

    New Kings Democrats (”NKD”) is a new, grassroots organization in Kings County (Brooklyn), New York whose primary mission is to recruit and prepare individuals to run for Kings County Democratic Committee. NKD hopes to achieve the goal of an inclusionary and participatory democracy by making it easy for individuals to run for local, elected office. NKD will serve as a training ground for individuals seeking higher office, and hopes to build and nurture a new group of Brooklyn Democratic leaders.

    Stonewall Democrats of Western New York is the GLBT Democratic voice in WNY. Our mission is to advocate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community within the Democratic Party and to encourage GLBT participation within the Democratic Party. Our membership includes representatives from State, County, and City government, and several Democratic committee members amongst the various County Committees in WNY.


    Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area. You can also check out their website here.

    Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area

    dfaROCHESTER. And you can check out their website here.

    Democracy for the Hudson-Mohawk Region. And you can join their Yahoo group here.

    Capital District of NY/GenDFA

    Democracy for the Hudson Valley

    Mid-Hudson Progressive Alliance

    Democracy For Westchester

    Democracy for Long Island. You can also join their Yahoo group here.

    North Country Democracy for America

    Central New York DFA

    Eastern Long Island Democracy for America

    Democracy For Saratoga Springs

    Kingston Democracy for America

    Democracy for Otsego and Delaware Counties

    Philipstown for Democracy

    DFA: Greene County

    Livingston County for Democracy

    First Wednesday of every month.

    Upper West Side - 7:00 pm, The Parlour (back room) - 250 West 86th Street (btwn B'way and West End Ave.), with hosts Bernadette Evangelist and Sally Swisher.

    West Village - 7:00pm, Kettle of Fish, 59 Christopher St. (near 7th Ave.) with host Tracey Keij-Denton.

    Astoria, Queens - 7:30pm, - Ommonia Cafe 32-20 Broadway, with host Jeremiah Frei-Pearson and Costa Constantinides.

    Sunnyside, Queens - 7:30 pm, Bliss Street Station restaurant, 47-02 Greenpoint Ave., with host Dan Jacoby.

    Bayside, Queens - 7:00 pm, The First Edition, 41-08 Bell Blvd, right near the LIRR stop, with host Steve Behar of Democrats for New Politics.

    Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn - 7:00pm, Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead 1669 E. 22nd St. with host Annette Mont and Estelle Glasser.


    Clifton Park, New York
    * First Wednesday of each month, 7:00 pm onward
    * Old Dublin Inn, 130 Meyer Rd (Google maps is wrong, please contact me for directions.)
    * Hosted by Chris Selkirk, cliftonpark (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Ithaca, New York
    * Every Wednesday, 6:30 pm onward
    * Felicia's Atomic Lounge, 508 W State St
    * Hosted by Joseph Cannon Murtagh, ithaca (at) drinkingliberally.org

    New York City, New York:

    The Original Drinking Liberally
    * Every Thursday, 7:30 pm onward
    * Rudy's, 627 9th Ave (between 44th and 45th)
    * In the backyard, weather permitting
    * Hosted by Justin Krebs, Matthew O'Neill and Katrina Baker, nyc (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Drinking Liberally Steps Out
    * Third Tuesday of each month, 7:00-9:00 pm
    * XES Lounge, 157 W 24th St (@ 7th Avenue)
    * In conjunction with the Stonewall Democrats of New York City www.sdnyc.org.
    * Hosted by Matthew Carlin and Greg Rae, outnyc (at) drinkingliberally.org

    * Second Wednesday of each month), 6:30 pm onward
    * Soundz Lounge, 3155 Broadway (between 123rd and 124th)
    * Hosted by Yolanda (Shoshi) Shoshana, harlem (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Park Slope
    * Second Wednesday of each month, 7:30-10:00 pm
    * Commonwealth, 497 5th Ave (at 12th Street)
    * Hosted by Anthony Accurso, Emilie Harkin and Emily Farris, parkslope (at) drinkingliberally.org

    * Fourth Wednesday of each month, 7:30 pm onward
    * Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11102 (group of young liberals taking up one lane)
    * Hosted by Donald Graff, queens (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Upper East Side
    * Last Tuesday of each month, 7:30 pm onward
    * Doc Watson's, 1490 2nd Ave (at 77th)
    * Hosted by Matthew Bachiochi, ues (at) drinkingliberally.org

    West Bronx
    * First and third Friday of each month, 7:30 pm onward
    * An Beal Bocht, 445 W 238th St (between Waldo and Greystone)
    * 1 to 238th, turn left, straight on 238th, just past the top of the stairs
    * Hosted by Jamin Sewell and Scott Kennedy, westbronx (at) drinkingliberally.org

    Rochester, New York
    * Every Thursday, 8:00-10:00 pm
    * Monty's Korner, 355 East Ave
    * Hosted by Tom Tucker and Tracy Logan, rochester (at) drinkingliberally.org

    And then we have: Shooting Liberally
    Tuesday, Feb 19
    From your friends at Drinking Liberally comes the SHOOTING LIBERALLY...

    For the First Amendment enthusiast ready to move on to the Second. A social evening at the gun range including training & weapon rental.

    For more info and to reserve your spot, contact: Stanley Sherman - maskarts (at) worldnet.att.net


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