Help the Progressive Community. Become an Active Part of the PAR Newsletter Team!

To Our Readers:

The Progressive Action Roundtable is looking for someone who knows how to write clearly and has a good command of spelling and grammar. This person must also be interested in talking to local organizers about their groups and plans, and writing a couple of short articles (of approximately 300 words) for the monthly PAR newsletter. A small stipend will be available.

In addition, we would like more of our readers to become involved in working on the newsletter. We want to expand our Planning Committee and Production Team. Enhancement of our Facebook presence is also needed. Would you like to gather articles about local activities? Can you help with graphics? Are you a good proofreader?

If you’re interested in helping the PAR newsletter provide news about New Haven-area activism, please send an e-mail to parnewhaven@hotmail.org and let us know what you’re able to do to keep PAR promoting the work of the many wonderful progressive organizations in the New Haven area.

Thank you!

Students Rally For Green Jobs, Climate Justice

Courtney Luciana, NH Independent, Dec. 16, 2020

High school climate-change activists called on the city Wednesday afternoon to create a $1 million New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund.

Courtney Luciana Photo
Climate Health Education Project (CHEP) high school interns.

The activists, interns with the Climate Health Education Project (CHEP), made that call in a press event held on the steps of the Elm Street courthouse.

The fund would hire staffers for clean-energy jobs, energy-efficiency education campaigns, “support neighborhood resiliency and greening programs,” and “fund increased climate justice education.”

“Connecticut is already being affected by climate change. The sea level in Connecticut is rising and the storms are becoming more severe,” Hopkins School sophomore Natalie Card (at right in above photo) said at the rally. “Extremely heavy storms have increased sea level by 70 percent since 1958 and will continue to keep rising.”

Students at the rally read aloud both personal and online posts from all around the world about climate change.

Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/sstudent_climate_change_rally

No Auction for Plum Island! Now for the Next Steps!

Save the Sound

Monday, Dec. 21, Congress passed a federal budget package that repeals the auction of the island. Now the path is finally open for permanent protection of this unique place and its critical habitats, endangered wildlife, and cultural history.

This wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of our partners in Congress. The entire New York and Connecticut delegations have worked tirelessly, and on this latest effort, we especially owe gratitude to Senators Schumer, Murphy, and Blumenthal, and Congressmen and -women Zeldin, DeLauro, Lowey, and Courtney.

And it also couldn’t have happened without the immense support and consistent action from all of you. If you ever emailed your senator or representative, signed a petition, supported Save the Sound’s advocates with your membership dollars, or joined a Plunge or Paddle for Plum Island, you helped make today’s victory happen.

Now the next steps—finding the right long-term owner for this special place and implementing the Envision Plum Island plan—can begin. We can’t wait to work with you to ensure Plum Island stays in the public’s hands forever.

For questions about Plum Island, contact Louise Harrison (in NY) – lharrison@savethesound.org, and Chris Cryder (in CT) – ccryder@savethesound.org.

Grants Available for Environmental Projects

Lynne Bonnett, President, Greater New Haven Green Fund

The Greater New Haven Green Fund requests proposals for grants up to $10,000 for 2021. Community groups are encouraged to apply whether or not they have a non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.  Please check our website www.gnhgreenfund.org for the step-by-step guide to our online application followed by information you will need to complete it. It is due Friday, January 22, by 5 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns after reviewing the information please contact info@gnhgreenfund.org.

Kensington Playground: The Fight Is Not Over! Donations Needed to Support Legal Fight to Keep Playground from Being Sold

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Friends of Kensington Playground is seeking donations to support our legal fight against the construction of housing and a parking lot on our largest public parkland.

The group is fighting the sale of Dwight’s Kensington Playground to The Community Builders for $1, which was approved by the New Haven Board of Alders in October so that 15 units of affordable rental housing and a surface parking lot can be built on the parkland.

The Friends group filed a complaint against the City of New Haven in Connecticut State Court. The complaint was based on the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act and Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-131n, known as the Park Replacement Statute, which requires that when a municipality takes park or open space land for other purposes, it must be replaced with parkland of equal size and value. §7-131n also requires a dedicated public hearing on the subject.

In addition, The Friends are also pursuing historic preservation and environmental issues under federal law because the playground is in the heart of the Dwight Street National Historic District and federal monies are being used by The Community Builders in the construction of the apartment building. The Friends asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to review the proposed sale. The Hartford HUD Office has directed the City of New Haven Office of Management and Budget to consider the matter.

While the Friends understand that there is a need for affordable housing, we believe there is no reason to take our parkland for it. Loss of the mature trees in the Playground will hurt our air quality. Adults as well as children enjoy this outdoor space. The non-profit developer receiving the gift of this land has had a poor track record for decades.

The group is appealing to the community for donations to our GoFundMe Campaign to Save Kensington Playground to help with legal costs, and if they win, with a playscape. GoFundMe campaign link is: https://gf.me/u/y89852 or search for “Save Kensington Playground” on GoFundMe.com.

See www.KensingtonPlayground.org for additional details, and to sign our petition.

Energy Efficiency Program for Branford Residents

In collaboration with People’s Action for Clean Energy, Branford’s Clean Energy Committee is offering a home improvement package with the goals of saving money for homeowners and improving the environment. The first step is a Home Energy Solutions (HES) audit to evaluate energy efficiency and recommend improvements to save energy. The audit is free until the end of 2020. Branford’s preferred HES providers are CMC [(203) 294-9677, CMCenergy.com] and NECS [(877) 389-7077, neconserves.com].

CT Green Energy News — (11/20/20-Issue 193)

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA).

New Study Shows Methane Leaks Prevalent In Connecticut Cities
WNPR. “We drill wells. We hydraulically fracture the wells. We pull the gas up. We process the gas. We store it. We then put it in high- transmission pipelines,” Howarth said. “We finally get toward cities and suburbs, where we put it into lower-pressure transmission pipelines, and the fact is, that methane is emitted at each and every one of those steps.”

Connecticut’s first dairy biogas project almost complete
Bioenergy Insight. “The new facility at Fort Hill Farms in Thompson will recycle food waste and manure into renewable energy and soil products. Once complete, the digester is expected to produce 550 kW of electricity and reduce 25,000 tons of organic waste annually.”

State approves 75-acre solar energy facility in Waterford
The Day. “The [Siting] council ruled that the project would not have a “substantial adverse environmental effect” and would not create unreasonable pollution or impair natural resources…[Save the River, Save the Hills] disagreed, citing the possible negative effects to local trout from clear-cutting the land. ‘We feel that the final stormwater mitigation plan is still inadequate to capture the runoff from 75 acres of clear-cut land.'”

Hotels Lag in Energy Sustainability. One Project May Change That.
New York Times. “The hotel industry has fallen behind other real estate sectors in adopting energy-efficiency measures, but a Connecticut developer hopes to change that by converting a [New Haven] office building into what could be the most energy-efficient hotel in the country.”

Please send us links to Connecticut clean energy stories and share the newsletter with others! E-mail peter.millman7@gmail.com to be on our mailing list.

We Will Miss Mike DeRosa

by David Bedell, Green Party of Connecticut

Mike DeRosa died October 16 at Hartford Hospital after battling an extended illness. Mike was a founding member of the CT Green Party, working on the Nader for President campaigns back in 1996 and 2000. Even before that, he had a history of activism; he volunteered for the Eugene McCarthy campaign of 1976 and for Barry Commoner’s Citizens Party campaign of 1980.

Together with his wife Barbara Barry, Mike organized the Hartford chapter of the CT Green Party, and he served as co-chair of the state party from 2003 to 2020. As co-chair, he drew criticism for continually running for re-election and for holding the party to a strict set of ethical principles, but he was dedicated to the survival of the party, organizing meetings month after month for years, tape recording the proceedings to ensure transparency, and speaking forcefully against proposals that he felt would be harmful to the party’s integrity. He served on several national party committees, notably the Ballot Access Committee and the Peace Committee.

From 2000 to 2018, Mike ran ten times for public office, winning as much as 11% of the vote: four times for State Senate, twice for Congress, and four times for Secretary of State. In 2009-2010, he partnered with the ACLU to spearhead a legal challenge to CT’s Citizens Election Program, which discriminates against minor party candidates.

Mike produced a weekly public affairs radio program, “New Focus Radio,” for many years at WHUS, WWUH, and WESU, interviewing political activists and analysts both locally and nationally known.

Mike’s persistence, loyalty, and commitment to democracy will be missed in Connecticut’s political circles.

Opinion: Vote “Yes” to Move Military Money to New Haven

Kim Stoner, NH Independent, Oct. 20, 2020

I mailed my absentee ballot today, and I almost missed it. I was so focused on the people I wanted to vote for—and certain people I wanted to vote against—that I almost missed the block of text on the right-hand side of the ballot:

“Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

Fortunately, I noticed it as I was folding my ballot to stuff it inside the inner envelope, stopped, and energetically marked the oval for “Yes!” I testified to the Board of Alders last June, asking them to put this on the ballot, and they unanimously agreed. I am a scientist, so I like facts. My testimony to the alders was a compilation of facts:

  • Direct military spending in the fiscal year ending in September 2020 will amount to $746 billion — more than $2 billion per day, more than $1 million per minute.
  • The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. This is more than double the annual greenhouse gas emissions of all the automobiles in the U.S.
  • Green manufacturing—the kind of work that would employ the technical skills used in defense manufacturing in Connecticut—creates 28 percent more jobs per dollar spent than defense spending.
  • Retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency —work we desperately need to do in New Haven, with our older and less energy efficient buildings—would create twice as many jobs per dollar spent as defense spending, and would immediately benefit the people of New Haven in reducing our energy bills and improving our health and comfort.
  • Our endless wars all over the world since 2001 have killed over 800,000 people and have not added to the peace or security of our country.

Why do we have such a huge military—bigger than those of the next 10 countries combined? The events of the last six months have shown that our status as a military superpower cannot keep us in New Haven safe from disease, from economic collapse, from gun violence, and from our divisions along racial and economic lines. Neither can it protect our country from the wildfires, floods, and hurricanes that seem never to end—and that are only a foretaste of the climate disasters to come.

We can’t solve our most pressing problems here in the city of New Haven, in the state, in the country, or in the world through military domination. COVID-19 is a global problem. The solution will ultimately be a global solution. We need to do everything we can locally to prevent the spread, to support the vulnerable and to prepare for fair and rapid mobilization when vaccines and treatments become available. In the meantime, the solutions lie in cooperation, not domination.

Climate change is also a global problem. We are way behind in grappling with the complexities and the will to implement global solutions, so just as with COVID-19, we need to do everything we can locally to make sure that those most vulnerable have the resources they need to adapt to the heat, the flooding, the increases in disease and the massive economic shifts that we know are coming. We also need to radically change our city in cooperation with the state and the rest of the world to stop putting the gases into the air that will make climate change worse.

Shifting money from the military would provide enormous practical benefits—making money available for human health, jobs, and environmental sustainability in our city. It would also represent a paradigm change in the federal government by raising the focus on human needs, not just in response to a crisis, but in supporting the community to reduce and prevent the crises of the future. And maybe—just maybe—it could lead to more cooperation and less domination in our relationships with the rest of the world.

New Haven residents protest for environmental justice | Yale Daily News

Over 100 protestors gathered at the corner of Church and Chapel Streets Friday afternoon to demand greater city cooperation on environmental justice issues and a Connecticut Green New Deal.

The demonstrators circled New Haven Green along College and Elm Streets before stopping on the steps of City Hall for speeches from local organizers. The march was led by the New Haven Climate Movement (NHCM), in collaboration with the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition (EJC), Sunrise New Haven and the Connecticut Youth Climate Collective. NHCM organizer Adrian Huq kicked off the event by highlighting that the ongoing climate crisis needed to be met with a greater response from city officials.

Source: New Haven residents protest for environmental justice

Statement from Green Party of Connecticut Candidate Justin Paglino

by Ronna Stuller, Secretary, Green Party of CT

A unity of local Green Party chapters, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. These are the Four Pillars of all Green parties worldwide.

Green Party candidates accept no PAC contributions, only donations from individuals. In this year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal, state, and federal elections all across Connecticut.

In this PAR article we feature a statement by Justin Paglino MD, PhD, of Guilford, who is our nominee for US House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District, the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. We invite readers to visit our website https://www.ctgreenparty.org to learn more about our positions and our candidates. We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D., Green Party of CT candidate for US House of Representatives, CT-3:

This year I decided to run for US House of Representatives so that voters in my congressional district would have the option of voting for a representative who supports Medicare for All, Ranked Choice Voting, Reduced Military Spending, a bold Green New Deal with Carbon Pricing, Fracking Ban and Federal Jobs Guarantee, and other policies that my opponents in this race do not support. Many voters do, however, support these policies, and these issues need at least one candidate on the ballot who supports them, so that voters can show where they stand on these issues.

Unlike my opponents, but like most Americans, I support Medicare for All.   Single-payer healthcare will not only provide comprehensive healthcare without charge to all Americans, but will also save up to $500 billion a year thanks to efficiencies of scale and removing the profit motive from healthcare insurance.

Unlike my opponents, I am a strong advocate for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), an electoral reform that ends two-party dominance by eliminating the spoiler effect.  RCV accomplishes this by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference on the ballot. This reform exists now in Maine, where Lisa Savage is running as a Green Party candidate for US Senate; because of RCV, she will not act as a spoiler.

Unlike my opponents, I seek to rein in overblown Pentagon spending and redirect these funds towards the needs of Americans, including a Federal Jobs Guarantee. Rep. DeLauro, in contrast, this year voted YES for the $740 billion dollar Pentagon budget, and voted AGAINST a modest 10% cut (the Pocan amendment).

Unlike my opponents, I am willing to support bills that would enact the bold greenhouse gas-reducing policies that science calls for, such as HR763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (Carbon Tax and Dividend), or such as HR5857, the Ban Fracking Act. Neither bill is supported by our current representative.

I encourage PAR readers: always vote for what you want, not only against what you fear. If you want something, you have to vote for it, or you’ll never get it. There is a way out of the two-party system – it’s Ranked Choice Voting – but first you have to show you are willing to vote for it.

Please visit me at justin4all.org, e-mail me at justin@justin4all.org. Follow me on facebook/justin4all, twitter/justin4all2, insta/justinpaglino, youtube/justin4all.

And thank you to all you progressive activists!

– Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D.

Details on Legislative Bill Regarding Electricity Concerns

by Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

In the course of the August storm Isaias, almost 800,000 Connecticut households and businesses lost electricity, some for over ten days. This prompted the Energy and Technology Committee of the State Legislature to take on a number of issues as the failures of United Illuminating and Eversource’s understaffing, unpreparedness and non-coordination with other companies and resources were exposed, causing great hardship and expense to many customers.

The Energy and Technology Committee is reviewing a bill, LCO 3920 (pdf) (An Act Concerning Emergency Response by Electric Distribution Companies and Revising the Regulation of Other Public Utilities), that can right a lot of wrongs of United Illuminating and Eversource. It is comprehensive and includes:

  • More oversight and consumer protection regarding the business practices of 3rd party electricity suppliers;
  • Attention to microgrid development and offer a resilience grant and loan pilot programs;
    Consideration for implementation of low-income rates;
  • Reimbursement for customers who have to throw out food due to extended power outages;
  • More transparency and a review of gas and electrical companies’ financial and operating funds;
  • Calls for public hearings for rate increases; and
  • “An Independent Consumer Advocate to act as an independent advocate for ratepayer interests in all matters that may affect the rate-payers of each electric distribution company… Independent Consumer Advocate shall be instituted on the board of directors for each electric distribution company.”

    How the bill can be improved:

  1. The Legislature needs to restore the $155 million that was taken from the Clean Energy Fund in 2018 and put back into the General Fund. Safeguards must be in place so such a seizure can never happen again.
  2. Not allow the continued blackmail of Dominion regard-ing Millstone nuclear power plant. CT ratepayers should not have to pay the entire cost of keeping Millstone open.
  3. Stop the construction of the Killingly gas plant. Creation of this plant runs totally counter to the State’s moves to deal with mitigating the effects of climate change.

Save the Sound (www.savethesound.org) has also alerted people to other issues that need to be addressed in this bill:

Expand energy storage. The only way Connecticut can increase renewable energy procurement, including offshore wind, solar, hydropower, etc. is to expand storage. Otherwise, we will lack the necessary infrastructure to expand renewable energy to meet the state’s goals.

Expand the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP) to provide more economical solar options to homeowners and lower the burden on the grid.

Keep solar net metering until 2022. This will allow PURA to focus on other grid modification efforts instead of a rushed new net metering program.

More information can be accessed at this website: https://www.cga.ct.gov/et

Contact the Energy and Technology with your suggestions for what should be included.
Energy and Technology Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 3900, Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 240‑0430 ettestimony@cga.ct.gov.

And let your own State Senator and Representative know too!

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