In November, New York voters will be asked to pass judgment on a constitutional amendment that changes the way legislative and congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years based on the U.S. Census. The ballot proposition is wonky and complicated and therefore open to manipulation. And manipulated it was.
The state Board of Elections approved the language of the ballot proposition on Friday. It includes the word "independent'' to describe the 10-member commission that will be formed to redraw the district lines. The commission will be nothing of the sort.
Eight of its members will be appointed by the four leaders of the state Legislature -- the people who have a direct stake in preserving the status quo. The remaining two commission members will be chosen by the eight legislative appointees -- one degree of separation from the leaders.
The commission of 10 is almost guaranteed to deadlock. In the event it does, the proposed constitutional amendment puts redistricting in the hands of -- guess who -- the Legislature. And then we're right back where we started, with legislators drawing lines to stack the deck in favor of incumbents. So much for independence.
If it feels like you've seen this movie before, you have. Last November, voters were asked to approve casino gambling. It was described in ballot language larded with sweetness and light (or its equivalent in jobs, lower taxes and increased school aid). The gambling proposition passed with 57 percent of the vote.
We'll have more to say on the redistricting amendment as Election Day nears. The wording of the ballot proposition is not a good start.
Tue Oct 28 2014 - 7:00 PM
Bundy Museum of History and Art, Main St. Binghamton NY
MONEY FOR ARTISTS! BCAC in collaboration with CFSCNY
ARTISTS FUND GRANTS for visual artists in Broome County Get guidelines & applicationsCall 607-723-4620 Request a hard copy application OR Schedule a REQUIRED consultation BEFORE writing your grant.
Submission deadline: 5:00 pm Friday November 7
Please share this with an artist who might be interested!
Broome County Arts Council 81 State St Ste 501 Binghamton, New York 13901
Last year VINES had a successful fundraiser by challenging people to create art, functional items and gifts out of burlap coffee bags from Laveggio Coffee Roasters which will then be auctioned off to benefit the garden intitiative. Each bag is $6 and are available at Laveggio M-F 7:30 - 4 pm Sat 9-1 at 101 Court St. The fundraiser will be Nov. 15th at Laveggio and at Chroma Bakery and the Loft at 99. See mosaic bag from last year.
Here in NY, we are targeted for fracking infrastructure.
Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) -- the same folks that brought you Cove Point LNG -- is now threatening to dramatically expand the use of fracked gas in New York State and pump hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas into the air. Dominion calls it their "New Market Project".
The project would increase by 112,000 Dekatherms per day the capacity of Dominion's main pipeline, which brings gas north from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to the Finger Lakes, Syracuse, and points east to Albany. But to push larger and faster volumes of gas through its aging pipeline, Dominion intends to build two big new compressor stations in Chemung County (Horseheads) and Madison County (Georgetown), and massively expand a third one in Montgomery County, south of Fort Plain near the Otsego County line. Additional facilities would also be built or modified in Dryden, Utica, and Schenectady.
More gas means more fracking, air and water contamination, risks to public health, and accelerated climate change. And the three proposed compressor stations would be huge, noisy 11,000 horsepower industrial facilities that threaten public safety and continuously pump carbon dioxide, methane, and hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere 24/7. Altogether, they would be responsible for over 200,000 tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year.
To make matters worse, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not even requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider impacts. Instead, the project is being reviewed through a much more abbreviated process called an Environmental Assessment (EA). Furthermore, despite the fact that Dominion's New Market Project impacts much of New York State and spans 200 miles of pipeline, the public has been granted only ONE scoping hearing.
This is an outrage, which is why we need a massive turnout of people to voice objections and concerns to FERC bout their process this Wednesday! Here's where to go:
Dominion New Markets Project Scoping Hearing
Wednesday, October 8th at 7:30 pm
Georgetown Town Hall in Madison County
995 State Route 26, Georgetown, NY 13072
This is a "scoping" hearing, which allows for preliminary input on the review process. So in addition to objecting to the project, here are a few things to insist be part of FERC's scope of review...
It is an outrage that FERC has scheduled only one scoping hearing for a major project that impacts much of New York and 200 miles of pipeline. Demand that additional scoping hearings be held and that the timeframe for submitting comments be extended.
FERC should require a full Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) instead of letting Dominion pursue an expedited Environmental Assessment (EA). The EIS process would require a much more comprehensive analysis of direct, indirect, and cumulative induced impacts, critical to a project of this scale. Demand a full EIS.
Dominion has named this its "New Market Project" because it wants to create new markets for fracked gas. Therefore, in addition to studying impacts of the project's components, a comprehensive build-out analysis of cumulative impacts resulting from the increased use of fracked gas should be performed, including the likelihood of future power plants, CNG/LNG facilities, and other types of gas-related infrastructure for distribution. A build-out analysis should also be performed of negative environmental, health, and societal impacts of more drilling and fracking enabled by additional flow capacity in the pipeline. Both upstream impacts (like harm to air, land, and water resources from gas wells) and downstream impacts (like radon gas in homes) should be studied.
The Dominion pipeline connects to the Iroquois pipeline, which is planned for reversal so that it will carry gas from the U.S. to Canada. Dominion will therefore be a direct conduit for exporting fracked gas. FERC must analyze this conflict in determining domestic public need. It is also improper segmentation to consider this project without regard to all of the economic and environmental impacts of exporting natural gas, which the project facilitates.
A comprehensive health impact assessment should be performed to evaluate the potential negative effects, short and long-term, to people living near and at various distances from the proposed compressor station projects.
Surrounded by homes and farms, the expanded Brookman Corner compressor (south of Fort Plain near Otsego County) would spew over 96,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the air every year, nearly twice the emission rate of the other two proposed compressors (each projected to release 54,000 tons per year). This is unacceptable.
The public must be granted full access to information, including critical energy infrastructure information (CEII) necessary to assess emissions and safety factors.
The greater risk of pipeline failure due to increased pressure and flow rate must be fully analyzed, especially since parts of Dominion's pipeline network are up to 50 years old, have corroded with age, or may have been constructed using outdated, inferior welding techniques. Maximum allowable operating pressure must be made public and verified.
Safety and compliance records of the operator must be disclosed in the record and considered by FERC.
Link to a video series about the project, compressor stations, and pipelines:
4th BOB JOHNSTON MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW AND COMPETITION
SPONSORED BY Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club
January 2 – 31st, 2015
The Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club are sponsoring the 4th Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition January 2-31st, 2015. “This is one of our most popular shows at the Cooperative Gallery,” according to Peg Johnston. “It speaks to how many great photographers we have in this area and their desire to share their art.” It is an open themed Photography Show and Competition and all photographic media and all photographers are eligible to enter. Photographs will be judged by a local professional photographer.
The Competition is named for Bob Johnston, a lifelong photographer and a gallery member who died in 2010. “Bob Johnston was an ‘Ansell Adams’ kind of photographer who worked mostly in black and white film and favored both urban and natural landscapes,” said Bill Gorman, also a photographer and member of the Cooperative Gallery. Johnston’s work was also featured in his daughter Peg’s recent “Binghamton: a Photographic Memoir.” This fourth Exhibit is a tribute to his photography. Bob Johnston defined a good photo this way: “For me, the successful photograph is one in which both the abstract elements and the subject matter of the image reinforce each other to provide an emotional experience for the viewer.”
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Each entrant may submit up to 3 photos with an entry fee of $10 each. The open themed show will be judged and cash prizes will be given for Best in Show and two Judge’s Choice photos one each in Color and Black and White. Photos may be sold and the standard 20% commission will be paid to the gallery. All photos must be framed and ready to hang. Two non-adhesive labels must accompany each entry with Title, Name of Photographer, Medium, Price using Arial 14 pt type on a label no larger than 2” X 3” (labels in envelope attached to wire is recommended). In addition, name and complete contact information must be affixed to the back of each photo.
Submissions may be dropped off at the Cooperative Gallery 213 State St. Binghamton NY on Saturday, December 27, 2014 1-3 pm or Sunday, December 28th 6-8 pm. Photos may be picked up Sun. Feb 1st 2-5 pm and Monday Feb 2nd 3-6 pm. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (607) 7757-0499 for more information.
Prizes and cash awards for the winners will be announced at First Friday, January 2nd at 7 pm at a reception for the artists. The Cooperative Gallery 213 is regularly open Fridays 3-9 pm and Saturdays 12-4 pm; there may be additional events announced.
The Binghamton Poetry Project is looking for cover art for its Fall 2014 printed anthology! The Binghamton Poetry Project conducts poetry workshops with diverse audiences in a number of different locations. This poetry is collected from those workshops.
♦ Art can be in color, but cannot be a solid color page (must be able to fit onto a white background)
♦ Binghamton-related art is encouraged, but not mandatory
♦ Include a brief artist biography in email (100 words or less)
This text will be distributed to the Broome County community as a representation of local artists and their works.
- Deadline: October 31, 2014 - Email submissions as a PDF to email@example.com the subject line Artist’s Name: Cover Art Fall 2014
October 1, 2014, Syracuse, NY. UPDATE
John “Jack” Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY and Upstate Drone Action, was sentenced to three months incarceration,three years probation, and $1000 fine by De Witt (NY) Town Judge Robert Jokl.
"It's time for our justice system to identify the real criminals...not those who carry the message to stop the killing to the gates of Hancock Air Base," said Gilroy in his sentencing statement. Gilroy was convicted by a six-person jury on July 15th of trespass and obstructing government administration after a twoday jury trial.
The trial was based on Gilroy’s participation in a solemn funeral procession and die-in outside Hancock’s main gate. The event symbolized the terrorizing and killing of innocent people by MQ9 Reaper drone missiles and bombs piloted by Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing. Hancock, near Syracuse, is one of many drone bases perpetrating US drone attacks in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
"I was proud of the way Jack spoke truth to power, stood for nonviolence instead of war, and brought the reality and names of victims of drones into the court," said Fr. Tim Taugher, Gilroy’s long-time friend and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Binghamton. "Our courts can't allow the truth to be heard. This is one of many ways our country is trying to squelch truth, debate, dialogue, and discussion of the morality of the use of drones.”
Immediately upon sentencing Gilroy, a military veteran and retired high school teacher, was taken in handcuffs to Jamesville Penitentiary [http://www.ongov.net/correction/visitingHours.html].
Jack Gilroy, 79, Broome County Peace Action Board member and longtime activist who has Honorable Discharges from both the US Navy and US Army will be sentenced by Judge Robert Jokl on Wednesday, October 1st at 4:30 PM at the DeWitt Court House, 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY 13057-8509.
Gilroy was convicted of trespass and obstructing government administration for his participation in a solemn funeral procession and die-in at Hancock Killer Drone base where missiles and bombs are fired via satellite just sixty miles away from Broome County. The maximum penalty is one year and 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary.
Gandhian waves of nonviolent resisters to drone warfare by the 174th Attack Wing of the Hancock Air Force National Guard has been ongoing for the past five years. His trial was based on his participation in an April 28th 2013 solemn funeral procession and die-in to illustrate the death and destruction of innocent people by drone missiles and bombs fired out of Hancock Air Force Base. Hancock is one of many drone bases around the United States doing assassinations of Muslim suspects in foreign nations.
Gilroy had an opportunity to plead guilty without penalty but noted that “the guilty are not those who carry the message to stop the killing.” He and others who have been arrested at the gates of the 174th Attack Wing all have taken oaths of non-violence. Gilroy and many others believe the United States extrajudicial killing of suspects is not only immoral and illegal but has become the premier recruiting tool for terrorists.
For more information on this issue please call Jack at 754-8105
US Federal Judge Thomas Griesa scheduled Argentina to appear for a contempt hearing on Monday, September 29. At issue is Argentina's failure to follow a court order to only continue to pay the 92% of bondholders who restructured after the country's 2001 default if Argentina pays a group of hold-out hedge funds. Argentina organized payment to restructured bondholders via an Argentine bank to avoid paying the hedge funds. The hedge funds, popularly known as "vulture funds," are asking the judge to hold Argentina in contempt and fine the South American country $50,000 per day.
"A contempt ruling probably won't help resolve the situation," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious financial reform organization Jubilee USA. "The case continues to highlight how ineffective US courts are at resolving debt disputes."
At a similar hearing in August, Judge Griesa declined to find Argentina in contempt, noting: "In my judgment, it does not add to the scales of settlement to make a finding of contempt." In September, however, the Argentine Congress approved a debt swap bill to pay the restructured bondholders and circumvent the US court's decision to pay the hold-outs. Judge Griesa has called that bill "illegal." In a brief to the US Appeals Court in 2012, the US government argued Judge Griesa's ruling would harm New York as a center of finance because countries would avoid jurisdictions where predatory behavior is tolerated.
"This predatory behavior hurts investors and countries of all sizes," noted LeCompte. "The precedent in this case will hurt developing countries like Grenada and the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
Monday's contempt hearing comes days after Argentine President Christina Fernández de Kirchner's speech to the United Nations General Assembly about the dangers of predatory behavior. Fernández thanked countries that supported a recent UN resolution to advance an international bankruptcy process. The resolution passed September 9 by a vote of 124-11. A global debt resolution process could potentially prevent holdout litigation and limit defaults.
"In UN votes and IMF meetings, most of the world is saying the status quo is not working," said LeCompte, who serves on UN debt expert groups and attended the Argentine President's UN speech. "World leaders want both the predators to be stopped and defaults to become less likely. Only a bankruptcy process can achieve both."
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 400 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org
Weather-related disasters associated with climate change have driven regional mitigation plans to address infrastructure and personal property. But what are the grander scale impacts to agriculture, energy and ecosystems? What adaptations must be made to ensure a reliable food supply? Thinking long-term, what practical steps can help convert from conventional energy sources to those that help slow and ultimately reverse emissions that spur climate change? This year’s Conference on the Environment (COE) will explore a series of topics that attempt to answer these complex questions, illustrated with best practices and ways to take action. Registration $95, includes ticket to Horse Flies concert, $20 Local Tour. Topics covered include our three breakout tracks:
• Local Food Systems: Learn about innovative local food programs in the Southern Tier, discuss new frontiers in urban agriculture, and discuss multidimensional aspects of local food systems.
• Climate Change, Adaptation and Natural Resource Management: Managing natural resources, climate smart communities and local adaptation strategies, and the ecosystem effects of climate change in New York.
• Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: This track features lessons learned from solar energy campaigns across the state, successes and challenges in the Green Jobs, Green New York program, and the remaking of New York’s energy system.
Opening Event: Musical guests the Horse Flies will kick off the 2014 Conference on the Environment. This event is included in your conference registration fee and there will be a cash bar during the event. General admission tickets are also available for $20 ($15 for students). Proceeds beyond cost will benefit BRSC and the Broome Country Environmental management Council.
Dynamic Field Tour: The conference concludes with a tour that includes stops at the Binghamton Urban Farm with a representative from VINES (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments). As a part of the 19th National Solar Tour, participants will also visit area homes that have been upgraded for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Transportation will be provided by Binghamton University OCCT and sponsored by the Binghamton University Outdoors Club.
Deadline for Registration Sept. 30th! http://www.nyscoe.org/register/