A Climate Campaign that Could Get Many Involved

By Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

We don’t have to wait until laws are passed to take action to stop greenhouse gases (GG). We can campaign right now to get state and local governments, colleges and schools to voluntarily stop using gas-powered devices on their own parks, lawns and forests and land bordering roadways.

In 2018, Connecticut used 3,800,000 gallons of gas on lawn care. Much of that was used in 2-cycle engines that spew a lot of pollution and greenhouse gases. They send out microscopic particulates that go deep into lungs. They send out cancer-causing chemicals like benzene. And they send out CO2, N2O and other greenhouse gases (GG). These machines are dangerous to lawn care workers using them and the GG imperil the whole world.

Get a group together at your school or in your city. Write to the authorities and tell them why it’s important to replace gas-powered equipment. Ask them to inventory what off-road gas-powered equipment they use: leaf blowers, lawn mowers, trimmers, chain saws, etc. Call on them to replace the equipment. Use letters, petitions and phone calls and show up at relevant meetings.

Here’s something that would need action from the legislature. Ask them to give the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection a million dollars to offer consumers to exchange electric equipment for their gas-powered machines. Don’t laugh. It need not be a fantasy. Connecticut did just that in the ’90s with $500,000. They gave away lower-polluting equipment in exchange for worse polluting machines (CT Lawn Equipment Exchange Fund – LEEF).

For help with this see pepeace.org/stop-sores or call 203-444-3578.

Notice from the New Haven Board of Alders

The City Services and Environmental Policy Committee of the Board of Alders will meet on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 6 p.m., via video conference at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR and by phone at 646-558-8656 Webinar ID: 979 5435 3415.

The second of two items to hear and act on is regarding gas-powered leaf blowers.

LM20210378 Resolution of the New Haven Board of Alders concerning a public meeting to hear residents’ concerns about the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and discuss phasing out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the City of New Haven as soon as is practicable, while allowing a reasonable transition period for local landscapers and residents.

These items are on file and available in the Office of the City Clerk, Room 202 at 200 Orange Street; New Haven, CT 06510.

For accommodations to view the meeting, please email publictestimony@newhavenct.gov or call 203-946-6483. For accessibility-related accommodations, please call 203-946-7651 (V) or 203-946-8582 (TTY/TDD).

Public comment/testimony may also be submitted via email to publictestimony@newhavenct.gov before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting. If you wish to present testimony at the meeting, you must register in advance at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR or by calling 203-946-6483 or emailing publictestimony@newhavenct.gov before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Public can view the meeting at https://bit.ly/3opXAwR  or listen by phone at 646-558-8656 Webinar ID: 979 5435 3415. The password to listen by phone only is 98977126.

Legislative Battle in Misguided Bill for Aid in Dying

by Paula Panzarella, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

The Public Health Committee of the State Legislature is considering S.B. No. 88, An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients. I urge PAR readers to contact their state legislators. If this bill is to pass, it would be disastrous for individuals and society.

Below is a shortened version of my article in the CT Mirror:
https://ctmirror.org/2022/02/22/considerations-against-medical-aid-in-dying/

Considerations Against Medical Aid in Dying

We need more medical care and research, not less. It’s horrible that our medical system cannot adequately manage people’s pain, and that far too many diseases have no cures or treatments.

Long before the COVID pandemic, we had an overburdened, understaffed and inefficient medical system where all too often the cost-effectiveness of one treatment over another determined the patient’s care. Sometimes an insurance company takes the cheap route, sometimes the doctor or hospital, sometimes the patient who can’t afford the most effective treatment.

Doctors are not always right in their diagnoses and prognoses. I’ve seen patients’ wishes for care being ignored. I’ve seen attempts to pressure family members to agree to palliative care or hospice care instead of treatment for their loved ones’ conditions.

The elderly, people of color, disabled, and the impoverished already fight not to be marginalized in the medical system. We all need to fight together for increased research in pain management, treatments, and quality of life issues for as long as a person is alive.

This is a larger matter than individual rights. If S.B. 88 passes, others are threatened to have care denied. Like upholding as “freedom of choice” an individual’s right to not wear a mask during a pandemic, so too “freedom to choose death” puts others at risk.

A doctor takes an oath to heal, comfort and care for a patient. Assisted suicide casts suspicion not only on the doctors involved, but on the entire medical profession as they relinquish their responsibility to try to restore the patient to health.

The medical aid in dying bill is part of healthcare deform, not healthcare reform.

Lynda Faye Wilson March 24, 1946-Jan. 31, 2022

With great sadness, we are letting our readers know of the passing of Linda Faye Wilson. She was part of many New Haven organizations through the years, and a number of PAR activists worked with her on many issues.

Lynda was a member of People Against Injustice, Sisters with a New Attitude, Survivors of Homicide, the Ryan White AIDS Council, and Hill North Community Management Team, to name a few. She also took on a number of responsibilities for her church. She fiercely worked and advocated for her community, and maintained her optimism and humor through many hardships.

A favorite saying of hers was, “I’m blessed in all this mess.”

She was a warrior, fighting for justice on all fronts for all people. A true community leader and activist, generous and kind, she will be missed by all who knew her.

News from People’s Action for Clean Energy

by Deborah Roe, Program Manager, PACE

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is a nonprofit dedicated to helping towns transition to 100% clean energy. Here is a look at some of our most recent initiatives:

Path to 100 – Released in January, Path to 100 is a downloadable handbook for town groups working on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. Whether you’re just getting started or considering additional projects, this guide can be a valuable resource.

Under 30 in Energy – In addition to our Facebook page (@pacecleanenergy), PACE has a new Instagram account. The focus of this will be appealing to the under-30 crowd. One thing we are doing is interviewing “under-30s” doing work related to clean energy. Our first interview is with
Alex Rodriguez of Save the Sound (and formerly of the League of Conservation Voters).

Follow us on Instagram @PACEcleanenergy to hear about Alex’s work and his personal story related to environmental justice. Do you know other under-30s doing work in clean energy? Reach out to us: deb@pacecleanenergy.org.

HeatSmart Connecticut – PACE is working with towns on HeatSmart campaigns — outreach and education that help promote energy efficiency and heat pumps. We started with Branford in 2020, then Middletown and Guilford in 2021, and now Bethel and West Hartford. To assist in this effort, we created a website http://heatsmartct.org. The website is a useful resource for those wanting to learn more about energy efficiency and heat pumps.

Update from Mark Colville of the Kings Bay Plowshares

[See past issues of PAR and visit kingsbayplowshares7.org for more information on the Kings Bay civil disobedience against nuclear weapons and the trial]

Mark’s Facebook posting of Feb. 3 Update: my noncompliance hearing in Hartford tomorrow morning is canceled!

At the eleventh hour comes a communique from the judge which reads in part:

“ORDER: The Court has been advised…that (1) restitution has been paid in full by Mr. Colville’s co-defendant [Translation: the government has already stolen the inheritance of one of my co-defendants against his will], (2) Probation does not object to the Court’s waiving the drug testing condition because Mr. Colville does not have a history warranting such a condition, and (3) Mr. Colville is otherwise responsive to the Probation Office, makes himself available for home and office visits, and is respectful and communicative… [I]t does not appear that there is a need to hold a hearing on any violation. Nor does the Court see why it would be productive to have a compliance review hearing in light of the above. If the Probation Department believes at some point in the future that such a hearing is necessary, it shall file on the docket either a violation report or a request for a compliance review hearing with a clear explanation setting forth the reasons such a hearing is necessary. Further, unless anyone objects within 7 days of this order, the drug testing condition will be considered waived. Accordingly, the violation hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow (2/4) is CANCELLED. Signed by Judge Michael P. Shea on 2/3/2022.”

To all the friends who were planning to come (tomorrow), I do apologize for the late notice and hope you check your social media before getting in the car. That said, it sure is nice to get a win once in a while! The Amistad Catholic Worker will celebrate tonight.

And tomorrow we will wake up again in a country that is still spending $100,000 per minute for the coming ten years on first-strike nuclear weapons. Indeed, we have work to do–especially in Connecticut, where a huge chunk of that money is being spent at the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in New London. So stay tuned for many more opportunities to resist this criminal government.
Peace and Joy and thanks… And the next round’s on me (in a really kind of wishful-thinking sort of way)!

Mark Colville

Joe Luciano Sept. 28, 1938-Feb. 1, 2022, at Monument Health Hospice House

Joe Luciano (Facebook)

Joe Luciano (Facebook)

A staunch advocate for disability rights has died. Joe Luciano led demonstrations against his local post office in Seymour that was not wheelchair accessible. He was the founder of Disability Rights Action Group, and the creator of the 2014-2018 Underground Travel Guide, listing accessible places to visit in New Haven County via Connecticut ADA paratransit providers.

In 2019, he moved to Rapid City, South Dakota. As he wrote in the Oct. 2020 PAR newsletter, “Last year I moved west from Downtown Seymour Ct after realizing it would never become a Livable Community in my lifetime.”

Unfortunately, South Dakota didn’t live up to his expectations, as you can read in his PAR article Don’t Move to South Dakota. https://par-newhaven.org/2020/09/27/dont-move-to-south-dakota/

A true humanitarian, Joe was concerned about all issues of injustice and focused his fight on the rights of the disabled.

The PAR Planning Committee is grateful for the struggles he led, and the articles he wrote so we could bring the issues to our readers’ attention.

You can read a New Haven Register article about him at:
https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/James-Walker-Bound-a-senior-with-disabilities-13772366.php

Justice for Omar As’ad

by LouAnn Villani, Middle East Crisis Committee

On February 3, 2022 in a cold rain we protested in front of the office of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes in Waterbury. We were there trying to get her attention about the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American Omar As’ad.

Soldiers had taken the 78-year-old man from his car within a Palestinian village, handcuffed him, blindfolded him and gagged him. The Israeli soldiers held him for a while and put him on the near-freezing ground and drove away. An autopsy showed he had died of a heart attack from stress caused by assault. We had told Hayes about this killing fully, but she’s never said a word, and continues to be silent about this.

Over 500 people have signed a petition calling for justice for Omar As’ad. It’s up on Change.org. We link at thestrugglevideo.org/the-struggle. Or contact us at mail@thestruggle.org and we’ll send you the direct link to it.

What we’ve said about Hayes can be said about Congress-woman DeLauro. She has said nothing about the death of Mr. As’ad who was a grocer in the U.S. for some 40 years. She should be protested too. In fact she’s worse. She had her Appropriations Committee sponsor a bill to give Israel an extra $1 billion for missile defense on top of the half-billion they get for missile defense each year which is on top of the $3.3 billion they get for “defense.”

Neither Hayes or DeLauro have signed on Betty McCollum’s bill which would take money away from Israel’s annual gift to the extent that they use that money to mistreat children. At our protest we also held signs calling her out for this. You can learn more about this bill and other ways you can help the Palestinian cause at our website thestrugglevideo.org.

Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven/León Sister City Project

Rock to Rock is moving ahead for this spring, working with over 20 partner organizations to take real action in response to the climate emergency and raise critical support for local environmental organizations — while respecting public health guidance.

Rides this year include 12-mile, 20-, 40-, and 60-mile rides, Family Ride in East Rock Park and other hike/ride options at East  Rock Park. Join the fun Saturday, April 30. Register at
rocktorock.org.

Passport Services to Become Available at the New Haven Free Public Library

by Gina Bingham, New Haven Free Public Library

The New Haven Free Public Library is pleased to announce passport services will be available at the Ives Main Library. The NHFPL Passport Office is open to public appointments at the Main Ives Library located at 133 Elm Street. Services include processing new U.S. passports or passport cards and photographs for both U.S. and international passports.

Services are available in both English and Spanish.

The Ives Main Library Passport Office will be open by appointment Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.; Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11-3:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 203-946-2280 or online at https://nhfpl.org/passports. Application forms can be downloaded from the Department of State website travel.state.gov, can be picked up at the library, or can be requested when making an appointment.

City Librarian and New Haven Free Public Library Director John Jessen said, “Increased accessibility was central to our decision-making as convenient access to passport services is becoming more important than ever. It made sense to add a passport office to our list of services because of our centralized location, and we can offer hours outside those provided by other passport offices. As many residents already use the library as a source of information when researching travel or asking questions about government services, this makes a passport office an ideal addition to the robust services of the New Haven Free Public Library.”

For questions regarding the Library’s passport services, passport fees, and information on how to apply, visit our website at nhfpl.org/passports or call 203-946-2280.

Center for Business and Environment at Yale Energy Justice Seminar Series

The Yale Center for Environmental Justice (YCEJ) and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale (CBEY) welcome you to join them Mondays at 2:30 p.m. for the Energy Justice Seminar series, which aims to explore “the multifaceted and exciting role of justice in the clean energy transition.” The seminars are free and open to the public.

Energy justice refers to the goal of achieving equity in the social and economic participation in the energy system, while also remedying social, economic, and health impacts on those disproportionately harmed by the way we produce and consume energy. This series will draw from multiple disciplines, including but not limited to law, sociology, anthropology, and economics and will cover broad topics on policy and regulation, community advocacy, housing, transportation, labor, utilities, and more.
To register, visit cbey.yale.edu/programs/yale-energy-justice-speaker-series-spring-2022.

Upcoming lectures are listed below.

February 28 – Energy Justice and Health Outcomes – Kenneth Gillingham, Yale University
March 7 – Intersection of Energy Justice and Labor/Work-force Issues – Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council
March 14 – Housing, Energy, Health, and Equity – Diana Hernandez, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University
March 28 – Housing and Energy Justice – Donnel Baird, CEO of Bloc Power
April 4 – Energy Justice in Philanthropy – Danielle Deane, Director of Equitable Climate Solutions, Bezos Earth Fund
April 11 – Energy Justice and Public Health – Surili Patel, Vice President, Metropolitan Group
April 18 – Energy Poverty and Global Justice Issues – Narasimha Rao, Yale

A Community Unity Dialogue Page

by Frank Panzarella, PAR Committee

The PAR Newsletter has always had as its mission the bringing together of activists by sharing reports of the events and ongoing work of groups to build a progressive community.

Sometimes we have received articles that are more like critiques of controversial issues that are important to particular groups but tended to emphasize differences within the progressive and broader community. As we tend to focus on community unity and building a broad progressive constituency, we have rejected such articles and asked groups to send reports that show what groups are doing.

We recognize that within activist circles and the broader population there are many complex issues that can sometimes divide us and that require ongoing dialogue.

In this spirit we would like to present a dialogue page in the PAR newsletter that will act as a place for groups to express differing views on controversial issues.

We would like this to be a page where groups focus specifically on their own positions on these issues, points of possible unity with others, and not as a place to criticize other groups or individuals with whom they disagree.

As an example, some activists see police violence as a reason to defund the police departments and to completely change the nature of “policing.”  Others in our community feel the police are still necessary and look to other reforms.  Discussions of such issues may help people find common ground and programmatic unity to further the causes dear to our hearts or at least to clarify differences.
Other examples, for instance, are the strong differing views on the threat of war in Ukraine or the differing views on political violence in Syria.

We hope organizations will take up this offer and contact us with issues they would like to see on the dialogue page.  The PAR committee looks forward to providing a forum for all to sort out controversial issues and build a stronger progressive family.

1 2