CT Good Jobs for All Coalition Pushes for Full Employment Legislation in CT

by Frank Panzarella, CT Good Jobs for All Coalition

Activists and labor supporters around the country are once again working to create new full-employment legislation. I hope you all might find time to join in this effort in Connecticut.

Sen. Gary Winfield introduced SB 151, An Act Establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund, to the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The public hearing was held on Feb. 23.

Problem: Across the country, Americans have been struggling due to increased inflation, declining value of wages, and unemployment. As of October 2022, 81,406 Connecticut residents were unemployed.

Solution: SB 151, An Act Establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund. The purpose of this bill is to create a full employment trust fund that will create employment opportunities, job training programs, and recession-proof job creation in the following fields:

Green Jobs:

  • Renewable energy includes creating, installing, funding
    solar and wind power.
  • Mass transportation includes creating, manufacturing,
    operating sustainable vehicles (cars, buses, trains). New
    mass transit infrastructure in the form of additional bus
    routes, railways and train stations across the state.
  • Waste management: coordinating and collecting recycling.
    Care work training programs:
  • Childcare – training programs for childcare providers
  • Elder care – training programs to create jobs for home health aides, nursing home workers
  • Housing rehabilitation
  • Green housing construction

Please contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support this bill. In addition, help spread the word by letting others know. A sample email is below:

Dear ____,

The state legislature has introduced Bill SB 151 that could help establish guaranteed full employment in Connecticut. The bill aims to establish a full employment trust fund that would be used to create job training programs, employment opportunities, and workforce housing.

The Connecticut Jobs and Human Rights Taskforce needs your help! The bill was referred to the Labor and Public Employees Committee, which heard testimony Feb. 23. Please contact your state senator and representative, and let them know you support this bill.

Thank you.

Your Name
Phone number
Email address

News from the New Haven Bioregional Group

by Lynne Bonnet, NH Bioregional Group

Join us for “Oysters: Natural Resources of the Quinnipiac River and Morris Creek.” The program will be Saturday, March 4, 2 p.m. at the Q River Grill (event room), 2 Clifton St., New Haven, presented by The New Haven Bioregional Group, co-sponsored by Gather New Haven and Copps Island Oysters, LLC with support from the Greater New Haven Green Fund.

Zofia Baumann, Ph.D., from UCONN Avery Point, received funding from the Quinnipiac River Fund to study oysters in the Quinnipiac River and Morris Creek from spring through fall 2022. The study was in collaboration with Dr. Mary Beth Decker from Yale University and Mr. Richard Harris of Copps Island Oysters, LLC, and was supported by citizen scientists from the New Haven Bioregional Group, 10,000 Hawks, Sound School, and other volunteers. She will present the major findings and attempt to answer the following questions:

How long do oysters live, and when do they reproduce?
How many oysters are there and where are they?
What can we do to increase oysters in the Quinnipiac River and New Haven Harbor?
How can we assist oyster restoration?
Are you interested in citizen science projects?

Following the Q & A there will be a walk from the restaurant to the oyster reef; low tide is around 3:30. If you plan to walk, be sure to wear suitable boots for a muddy/shell-covered river bank!
This event is free and open to the public.

A Reading for Al-Mutanabbi Street Sunday, March 5

Sunday, March 5, 3 p.m.

On the anniversary of the 2007 bombing of the booksellers’ market in Baghdad, and in defiance of the ongoing attacks throughout the world, including the United States, against reading and readers, excerpts from the anthology “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” will be read by Daisy C. Abreu and Stephen Vincent Kobasa.

This event is free and open to the public and begins at 3 p.m. at
Best Video Film and Cultural Center
1842 Whitney Ave, Hamden

Donations for Earthquake Victims

The Feb. 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria devastated parts of those countries. Over 46,000 people were killed. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless. Ahmet Kangal, owner of Elm Diner in West Haven and Three Brothers Diner in Hamden, is collecting donations for the earthquake victims.
In addition to cash donations, the following items are needed: winter clothes, hygiene products, tents, sleeping bags, baby diapers and formula, wet napkins, aspirin and portable phone chargers.

Elm Diner
111 Elm Street
West Haven, CT 06516

Three Brothers Diner
1038 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, CT 06514

Highlights from CT Green Energy News, Feb. 17, 2023

Newsletter about clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action, focusing on Connecticut. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]. To find out more about People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), go to www.pacecleanenergy.org.

CT legislators vow harder look at utilities, and a regulator applauds

CT Mirror. “Frustrations over Connecticut’s high cost of electricity and concerns over its ability to adequately regu-late Eversource, the state’s largest distributor of electricity, are fueling a bipartisan effort to revise the complex rules of utility regulation for the second time in three years… Eversource officials sat stone-faced as [PURA Chairman Marissa] Gillett recently told lawmakers that a $103 million settlement the company negotiated with the Lamont administration in 2021, which was hailed by the governor who hired her, was instead another missed opportunity to examine Connecticut’s largest utility…“The fact that I’m going into my fourth year or fifth year here before you and have not seen a rate case from our largest utility in the state is a travesty. I honestly believe that,” Gillett told lawmakers.”

Gov. Lamont wants more CT options to buy power: ‘A clear public need’

CT Insider. “Connecticut is considering more alternatives to obtain power independent of the market exchange created during the deregulation of the electric industry a quarter century ago, amid continuing frustration with high rates this winter… [T]he Connecticut General Assembly’s Environment Committee will examine the state’s alternatives… Under the bill, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection would be able to “issue multiple solicitations for long-term contracts from providers of resources,” sidestepping the central market for electricity overseen by ISO New England, the region’s independent system operator based in Holyoke, Mass… The Connecticut bill would allow DEEP to consider a broader range of factors in making any independent purchase of power, to include whether adequate amounts of natural gas are available for the generation of electricity; reducing pollution; and infrastructure costs.”

Medical Equipment Charity Opens on Whalley Avenue

Staff, New Haven Independent, Feb. 6, 2023

New Haveners needing wheelchairs, bath seats, walking sticks and more can now borrow those supplies for just a dollar from a Whalley Avenue pharmacy, thanks to a newly opened outpost of a medical equipment charity.

That organization is called Mae’s Closet. On Monday, the group opened a new medical equipment-lending site at True-Care Pharmacy at 1300 Whalley Ave.

“Anyone with a need for Durable Medical Equipment may borrow items from Mae’s Closet,” Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers Executive Director Daniel Camenga told the Independent by email Monday. “This assumes the inventory is available to match their specific need.”

He said that the new location at True-Care accommodates walk-in requests. “Alternatively, community members may schedule a pick-up time from our Hamden-based operations.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at newhavenindependent.org/article/maes_closet]

New Haven Tenants and Landlords Needed for Research Study on Energy Costs

Yale University researchers, in partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, are conducting interviews with New Haven tenants and landlords about their experiences with energy costs and energy efficiency programs, and about how they may work together to have energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.

Each interview participant will receive a gift card of $50. If you have any questions, please call or text 203-868-0137.

Researchers want to hear from New Haven tenants and landlords about:

Finally, Some Good News: CT Governor Signs Legislation Extending State’s Free School Lunch Program

by Lesley Cosme Torres, Connecticut Public Radio, Feb. 14, 2023

Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation Tuesday extending the state’s free school lunch program for all students through the end of the academic year.

The state will shift funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act into the Free Meals for Students program.

Lamont, a Democrat, said the move will ensure that all students in Connecticut have equal access to free lunch, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The funding for the school lunch program was set to expire between last November and February of this year. State Rep. Gary Turco, a Democrat who represents Newington and New Britain, said he’s proud of Connecticut for stepping up and providing $60 million for all Connecticut school districts.

Turco said that when students are hungry, they can’t learn as well. “When you have a universal program and you make sure every child eats, it actually helps the lower-income students to ensure they were eating too,” Turco said.

He also said participation for lower-income students went up because the program eliminated the stigma some children felt about receiving a free meal.

The Palestinian Exception to Free Speech

by Noor Kareem and Craig Birkhead-Morton, Yale Daily News
Feb. 7, 2023

Although Yale claims to be a bastion of free speech that provides a forum for addressing all political and cultural issues, the one exception to this is the issue of Palestinian liberation.

The discourse around Palestine at Yale is surrounded by fear and restraint. Discussion is often prefaced with the familiar acknowledgment of how complicated the topic is, immediately obscuring the power relations between a Western-backed occupying power and a population subjected to life under occupation…

Many incorrectly frame Zionism — the political project seeking to establish Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people — as synonymous with Jewish identity. This conflation of the Jewish people with the Zionist state makes any criticism of the occupation immediately deemed “antisemitic.”

In reality, Zionism is an ideology and a political movement that, in the words of its founders, necessitates the erasure of Palestinians and the violent seizure of their land in the pursuit of creating a modern nation-state.

If we have learned one thing from the last couple of years, it is that silence kills. The lack of discussion on the systemic nature of Israeli war crimes has given total impunity to a state that murders civilians, massacres refugees and bombs a city already under siege. Since the assassination of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces in May 2022, the Biden administration has failed to hold Israel accountable. The number of murders is showing no signs of slowing down so far, as 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since the Second Palestinian Intifada. And as of Feb. 6, 2023, 36 Palestinians have already been killed…

In December 2022, Yalies4Palestine launched the first-ever BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign at Yale. Prior to this, Yale was the only university in the Ivy League not involved in the BDS movement, largely due to this campus’s pro-Zionist climate. This is despite public institutional condemnations of human rights violations in Iran and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We must overcome this culture of hypocrisy and call on Yale to take a stand against the Israeli occupation… As students at one of the most elite academic institutions in the world, we have an obligation to illuminate truth and honor light over darkness. Join us in fulfilling this obligation by signing and sharing our petition demanding that Yale cancel its contract with G4S — a security company involved in some of the world’s worst human rights abuses, including those in Israel — and by taking the initiative to learn more about the BDS movement.

[Article can be read in its entirety at yaledailynews.com/blog/2023/02/06/kareem-birckhead-morton-the-palestinian-exception-to-free-speech. To find out more about the BDS Committee for Yalies4Palestine, email [email protected] or [email protected]]

Rock to Rock Plans Are Rolling!

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven-León Sister City Project

Support local environmental and climate work through Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride!

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.

2023 Rides include 5-, 12-, 20-, 40-, 60-mile, and two Family Rides in East Rock Park, plus hikes in East Rock Park and West Rock Park. Join the fun April 29. All rides start and end at East Rock Park, with a Green Fair, live music and food trucks. Register at rocktorock.org.

Are You The Next CT Folk Board Member?

CT Folk

It takes all kinds of instruments to make music. It also takes great people working together behind the scenes to make it all happen.

CT Folk has openings on its Board. We are looking for people from all backgrounds and experiences to join us – marketing, accounting, retail, the arts, etc. to help plan CT Folk’s concerts and event offerings. CT Folk seeks to engage, entertain and inspire a diverse audience through music and conversation, and to help foster a more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable community. Info: email [email protected] or visit ctfolk.org/staff-board.

Volunteers Needed for the Marginal Drive Bird Lookout Point in West River Memorial Park

West River Watershed Coalition

West Haven residents, New Haven residents, UNH students, walkers, birders, and nature lovers: Help develop a safe, beautiful, natural destination for people of all ages. Volunteers have been hard at work getting this spot ready, but it still needs your help. Please join the effort!

WHAT? Help prepare the trails and trim vines from the trees. (And pick up trash along Marginal Drive.)
WHEN? Saturdays March 4, April 1 and May 6, 10 a.m.-noon.
WHERE? Meet at Marginal Dr. at Westfield St., West Haven.
WHO? West River Watershed Coalition, UNH students, City of West Haven, City of New Haven.
INFO? Pruners, loppers, and hand saws provided, but bring your own tools if you have them. Grabbers, buckets and bags will also be provided. Wear gloves and bring drinking water. Heavy rain cancels. Kathie Hebert 203-506-5125.

Death in the Atlanta Forest: Stop Cop City!

by Melinda Tuhus, climate activist

What can you say about a young activist killed by police while trying to stop the destruction of an urban forest for the construction of a militarized police training facility to practice urban warfare? It marks an escalation of repression against the environmental justice/climate movement in the U.S. of the kind more commonly associated with Brazil or Mexico. It has prompted rallies and vigils around the country, including in Connecticut.

On Jan. 18, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, 26, who took the forest name Tortuguita (“Little Turtle”) or Tort, was shot by police who were raiding various camps and tree sits in the forest that comprised the movement to Stop Cop City. The official police story – amplified by the mass media, the mayor and Governor Brian Kemp – is that someone shot at the officers first, injuring one, and the police returned fire. They said no camera footage is available, and for several days they didn’t produce a gun that they now say was bought legally by Paez Terán. They have also told conflicting versions of what happened. In one version police say they surrounded the tent while Tort was inside, leading to speculation that the officer was injured by friendly fire.

The Atlanta Police Foundation, a private entity, got permission from the city to build an actual town on 100 acres of forest, the better to practice urban policing. Not just activists, but local residents from the neighboring part of the city, which is majority people of color and lower income, oppose the project…

The opposition to Cop City – focused on racial and environmental injustice and climate concerns – has been militant and decentralized, with some people carrying out sabotage of heavy machinery and focusing their ire on the CEOs of companies participating in or funding the project. Some consider destruction of property violence, while others don’t, but it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of killing another human being. Tortuguita (who used they/them pronouns) declared on several occasions to reporter David Peisner their commitment to non-violence, if not as a belief system, then at least as a strategy: “The right kind of resistance is peaceful because that’s where we win. We’re not going to beat them at violence. They’re very, very good at violence. We’re not. We win through nonviolence. That’s really the only way we can win. We don’t want more people to die. We don’t want Atlanta to turn into a war zone.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at www.melindatuhus.net/blog/death-in-the-atlanta-forest-stop-cop-city]

Gateway Protesters To State: Don’t Hike Our Tuition

by Yash Roy, New Haven Independent, Jan. 27, 2023

Gateway Community College student and Board of Regents student representative Alina Wheeler lives on the edge — of affording to be able to stay in school, of being “just poor enough” to have her healthcare covered as she works towards graduating.

She and fellow community college students in similarly pre-carious spots are now worried they might not be able to finish out their educations thanks to a potential increase in tuition that could be coming down the pike now that the CT State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents has announced plans to raise tuition at state universities by 3 percent.

Wheeler and roughly 50 students, professors, high school teachers, community members and SEIU union organizers voiced those fears Thursday night [Jan. 26] during a protest outside of Gateway Community College’s campus downtown on Church Street.

They called on the Board of Regents to stop tuition hikes, and they criticized state government for failing to tax its wealthiest residents fairly, all while many students of color and from marginalized backgrounds struggle to attend college. The protesters also called for the state to put together a long-term plan to make state colleges free and increase investment in public education…

Adilene Rodriguez, a recent graduate of Hillhouse High School, spoke [at the protest]. Rodriguez said she hopes to study criminology. She said she’ll likely have to go to work instead. As an immigrant, she said she is not eligible for federal financial aid. She said both of her parents work two jobs and 80-hour weeks.

“I don’t even know if I want to go to college anymore even though I’ve dreamed of studying criminology since I came here from Mexico,” Rodriguez said. “My family just can’t afford it and I have younger siblings who also want to go to college.”

Rodriguez called on the state to lower costs and make education accessible to students like her.

[Article can be read in its entirety at newhavenindependent.org/article/protestors_demand]

Community-Unity Page — Our Readers’ Voices — Ron DeSantis / Florida’s Mussolini Clone

by Frank C. Rohrig, Milford, CT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to prove on a daily basis that he is more aligned with dictators, autocrats, fascists and oligarchic thugs just like Mussolini, and totally opposed to our secular republic democracy. He substantiates these facts daily that he’s ignorant of the nation’s benefits of diversity and a multicultural nation. His actions against other human beings seeking refuge and sanctuary amongst us have caused them to suffer enormously via his ignorant immorality. The surprising factor is that Florida’s religious entities of multiple denominations have been virtually publicly silent in chastising and condemning his immoral and inhumane actions to those who were seeking asylum from the countries they were fleeing because of various persecutions. Ron DeSantis’ “divide and conquer” mentality defies the urgent necessity for a divided nation of “red and blue” states to seek collaboration for our very salvation, as our human race is at the precipice of violent outcomes leading to world annihilation if caring and compassionate intervention is not expeditiously enacted throughout our entire nation.

Don’t Believe Everything Your Landlord Tells You

by a New Haven PAR reader who wishes to remain anonymous

A corporation bought the apartment building I was living in and told me as soon as my lease was up the rent for my apartment would be raised from $1500 a month to $2300 a month. I couldn’t afford that and gave two months’ notice that I’m moving. I was told I had to pay a penalty and the remaining balance of the lease.

I contacted Wildaliz Bermudez, Executive Director of the City of New Haven’s Fair Rent Commission. She said even when all parties sign a lease agreement, the CT General Statute 47a-11a puts limits on how much a landlord can sue the tenant if the tenant leaves early. There are very specific conditions about being penalized for breaking a rental lease.

The law states whatever the landlord receives from the new tenant must be applied to reduce what the old tenant would have owed for the rest of the lease. This will often result in a zero tenant liability or at least a liability of no more than the security deposit. If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to re-rent, the tenant’s liability is zero, even if many months still remain on the lease.

Since the new landlord was going to immediately re-rent the apartment for $800 more per month than what I was paying, I didn’t owe any additional money for leaving before the lease was up. Because I knew this and confronted the landlord, I saved many thousands of dollars.

There’s another law that allows seniors to break a lease without penalty. C.G.S. 8-116d, which was adopted in 2008 as P.A. 08-93, allows a senior to break a lease with one month’s notice to move to state or federally subsidized housing.

In addition to the Fair Rent Commission, other tenant resources include tenants’ unions (in New Haven and Hamden) and New Haven Legal Assistance.

Renters: If you move before your lease is up, investigate before paying fees for leaving early. Our state law is clear about these exceptions. People should not have to pay for what they’re not liable for.

New Haven – A City of Paradoxes

Poem by Wendy Hamilton, New Haven

A big FBI headquarters but a failing police force

A Yale School of Architecture but a new collection of ugly

A city called sanctuary where there is none

A Yale School of Public Health in a city with overwhelming health problems and homelessnessA city with colleges and universities where only 23% vote

A big non-profit entity that makes a huge profit but pays no

The motto, Light and Truth, coming from a corporation that
hoards and hides its money

A Black city that is run by white people

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