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
buildings

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
tax

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

A Black city that is run by white people

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Confronts MAS Advocates at the State Capitol

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Seven members of the core group of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (PAMAS) attended a press conference sponsored by Sen. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, and Compassion and Choices, the well-funded advocacy group for legalization of MAS, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Legislative Office Building. They held signs identifying the group, passed out leaflets, spoke to news reporters, and had several conversations with legislators and family members who also support MAS. They were joined by a few members of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a non-partisan disability justice organization.

Before the press conference, PAMAS sent emails to all members of the Public Health Committee, with the following text:

Dear Members of the Public Health Committee, We extend our sincere condolences on the shocking and tragic death of Rep. Quentin Williams of Middletown. …

We also offer best wishes for a productive legislative session in which the Public Health Committee will address important healthcare needs and hopefully put forward policies that truly make universal, comprehensive, unrestricted healthcare available to all. We are members of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide. We strongly support health care for all, disability justice, reproductive rights, and the rights of LGBTQIA people. We equally strongly oppose Medical Assisted Suicide, called by its proponents “physician aid in dying.”

From our own experiences and those of others, we know that there are no “safeguards” that can be put in place to mitigate the danger that the legalization of this practice poses to the disabled, the elderly, the poor or anyone vulnerable in our current medical system.

As citizens of Connecticut and thus as your constituents, we request that you spend this session on legislation to expand quality healthcare access for all, including healthcare support at home for those who require it.

Please do not advance any legislation that would empower the medical system to terminate patients’ lives or prescribe drugs to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

 

[email protected]

There are now two MAS bills pending before the Public Health Committee. Please write your representatives and senators and tell them to vote NO.

Joan Cavanagh, member of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide, Second Thoughts Connecticut, and the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice.

Immigrant Workers Respond to New DHS Immigrant Whistleblower Policy

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigrant workers rights policy, representatives of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work hosted a national press call on Jan. 13 to respond to the new DHS policy, explain how it came about, and what it means for undocumented immigrant workers in the United States.

“This policy came about because of the workers in Connecticut, Mississippi, Georgia, and beyond, who organized and fought against wage theft, sexual harassment, deadly conditions, and workplace ICE raids,” said John Jairo Lugo, Director of Unidad Latina en Acción CT, in a rally with Mayor Justin Elicker in New Haven City Hall Jan. 12. “The real work begins today. This policy will only become a reality if our local and national leaders say it loud and clear: We will stand up for you when you report exploitation, instead of detaining and deporting you.”

“The threat of deportation is like a gun in the boss’s hand, pointed at workers and their rights,” said Yale Law School professor James Bhandary-Alexander, Jan. 12 in New Haven City Hall, calling on President Biden to announce the policy publicly. “Today President Biden could grab that gun right from the boss’s hand.”

People taking part in the national press call included workers, attorneys and organizations advancing first pilot cases of immigrant whistleblower protections from Las Vegas, Nevada; Jackson, Mississippi; and Gainesville, Georgia.

For more about the campaign, go to

Background about the DALE Campaign

To interview CT workers: Megan Fountain, 203-479-2959, [email protected]

For national: Erik Villalobos, 202-643-7348, [email protected]

Exciting Updates for the CT Environmental Rights Amendment

by Kimberly Stoner, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization

Under the Connecticut and U.S. constitutions, you do not have a legal right to a safe and healthy environment. Our legal system protects some rights, but not the right to clean air, water, and soil; a stable climate; and healthy environments. Because environmental rights are not recognized, government decision-makers can disregard them in favor of other political or economic priorities.

All communities suffer when there is pollution, environmental degradation, and an unstable climate. Communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities carry a disproportionate burden.

Representative Mary Mushinsky introduced the CT Environmental Rights Amendment in the state legislature this year. The CT Environmental Rights Amendment will require government officials to put environmental protection FIRST at the start of planning, decision-making, legislating, regulating industry, and the transition to renewable energy. The CT Environmental Rights Amendment will require them to avoid/prevent environmental harm, not simply manage it after the fact.

Green Amendments in Pennsylvania and Montana similar to the CT Environmental Rights Amendment have been used to overturn state laws expanding fracking and to stop a destructive gold mine at the headwaters of a major river. A new Environmental Rights Amendment in New York passed in a referendum with 70% of the vote!

The bill is now on the CT General Assembly website. The bill number is PHJ 13. Now it is easier to contact state legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and actively support PHJ 13. You can view the bill at www.cga.ct.gov/2023/TOB/H/PDF/2023HJ-00013-R00-HB.PDF.

The Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M), the Green Party of CT, and CT NOFA (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of CT) lead the effort to pass the CT Environmental Rights Amendment. We are contacting other organizations to sign on — it will take a deep and broad coalition to get this passed. Our CT Environmental Rights Amendment Organizing Group meets every Friday from 5-6 p.m. during the legislative session by Zoom.

For more information and join us, contact Kim Stoner at 203-584-5936 or [email protected].

Electricity and Heating Bills Assistance Available

Residents, advocacy groups, environmental organizations, and even some politicians are outraged over the massive increase of the prices of electricity, gas and oil.

Here are links for programs that can help lower the bills for a large number of greater New Haven-area residents:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ok4oU80L6KyhUKyq1v-u2hFgsabrSN5h/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eKfhdNH9LJjw3m70akTri7yZP6L8ZIG7/view (Spanish)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EUkiJ6YNtytnXZW8tEG9AKZImP75kCpZ/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PB8vrmbnGEqy0cQhCmvCbip-g8jyjn8L/view

News from Volume 2 – Neverending Books Collective

The Volume 2 Crew here at Neverending Books is proud to announce: We are now officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit! It has taken a village to keep this place running smoothly and everyone’s combined skills and support have made this happen. Now we can raise tax-free donations and apply for grants. This shift will allow us to remain FREE FREE FREE for all. It will also make donations to us tax-deductible all the way back to Dec. 2021! We are so happy and we have you to thank. Thank you for sticking with us, coming out to gigs, and inviting your friends to the kookiest bookstore around. Check website for schedule of events: neverendingbooks.net. Info: [email protected]. 810 State Street.

Nonprofit Organization Needs Help to Continue

Are you interested in helping rebuild the board of a New Haven-based 501(c)(3) that has an activist history of working with and helping a variety of local progressive groups? Five or more people are needed who are willing to commit to monthly meetings, take on organizational and administrative tasks (i.e., prepare agendas, chair meetings, plan activities, etc.), review bylaws and prepare for membership meetings to elect board members. Individuals and organizational representatives welcome – one representative per organization. Interested? Reply by Wednesday, March 1. For more information, call Paula at 203-562-2798.

Ban Russian Uranium, But Work with Russia against Nuclear War

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by U.S. companies to buy raw and enriched uranium from Russia. Profits from these sales are helping fund Russia’s war against Ukraine. It’s hypocritical for the U.S. government to demand European countries stop importing Russian natural gas while we import uranium from the very same country.

The U.S. has allowed itself to depend on major uranium imports from Russia and Russian-allied Kazakhstan, but we are not simply calling for increases in domestic uranium production. Uranium mining usually comes at a steep price in pollution of Native American land. There’s also the fact that the uranium is being used chiefly by the nuclear power industry.

Besides the usual worries about the safety of nuclear power plants and lack of a long-term plan for disposal of nuclear waste, this year we’ve learned of a grave new concern, that parties at war will not automatically give a wide berth to nuclear power plants. Russia shelled and took over the Zaporizhya nuclear power complex and its attacks on Ukraine’s electric power grid in November have cut normal and vital electric power to all four Ukraine’s nuclear power complexes.
The U.S. should stop importing Russian uranium and start a crash program to transition away from costly and environmentally damaging uranium and fossil fuel dependence.

The above is the text of a petition we are sponsoring along with the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign. It’s a one-two punch, one punch against Russian aggression and another against the costly and dangerous nuclear power industry. We hope you’ll consider signing. We link it at our site: PEPeace.org.

Another and even bigger nuclear issue is the possibility that the war over Ukraine could become a nuclear war. Putin has made several scarcely veiled threats to that effect. As Daniel Ellsberg has said, Putin is acting like the U.S. has done on many occasions. What can be done? While we want nuclear weapons to be abolished entirely, we see that we have to do things in the short run to dampen down the possibility that wars go nuclear. The Defuse Nuclear War campaign has many good ideas: 1) Abolish the ICBMs, the land-based nuclear-armed missiles; 2) make a no-first-use pledge and structure nuclear weapons policy around it; 3) Take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; 4) rejoin nuclear treaties that Trump renounced.

Read more about this at our site: PEPeace.org.

Coming up in late February:

Promoting Enduring Peace and Workers Voice US will support a fund-raiser for the independent miners union in Ukraine, NGPU (Independent Mineworkers Union of Ukraine). The union faces enormous challenges, first from an invader who frequently cuts electricity even while miners are below the earth and second from a government that pushes anti-labor measures in its Rada (parliament). For an interview with a miner leader see the Ukraine/Russia links in the Resources section of PEPeace.org.

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