W.F.P. turns on Cuomo over ‘monopoly’ comment

via Capital NY

 

wfp-turns-cuomo-over-monopoly-comment

 Cuomo at a pro-charter schools rally earlier this year. (AP Photo/Tim Roske)

By Laura Nahmias and Jessica Bakeman 


 

ALBANY—The Working Families Party released a statement Wednesday criticizing Andrew Cuomo, the party’s candidate for governor, for his comments comparing the state’s public school system to a “public monopoly.”

 

“Governor Cuomo is wrong on this one,” the W.F.P.’s state director Bill Lipton said in a statement to Capital.

 

“His proposed policies on public education will weaken, not strengthen our public education system, and they would represent a step away from the principle of high quality public education for all students. High stakes testing and competition are not the answer. Investment in the future is the answer, and that means progressive taxation and adequate resources for our schools.”

 

Earlier this week Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board that, if he’s re-elected, he intends to “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies,” vowing to challenge public school teachers by supporting stricter teacher evaluations and competition from charter schools.

Those comments drew some cautious criticism from the state teachers’ union.

Asked by Capital for comment Tuesday morning, a spokesman for New York State United Teachers addressed Cuomo’s comments about teacher evaluations but initially declined to comment on the governor’s likening of public education to a “monopoly.”

But the union later released a statement, in which president Karen Magee said: “Public education is for the public good. It is not a monopoly. It is the centerpiece of our democracy and what makes our nation great.”

A labor-backed advocacy group, Alliance for Quality Education, also criticized the governor’s comments, using harsher language.

“Gov. Cuomo has laid clear plans to expand his frontal assault on our public schools through high stakes testing, starving our public schools and privatization,” Billy Easton, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “It’s not that shocking when you look at the enormous pile of cash he has raked in from the Wall Street billionaires who are investing in charter schools. He is rewarding his financial backers at a devastating cost to our children.”

Teachers lashed at out Cuomo on Twitter throughout the day, using #CuoMonopoly.

The W.F.P. statement marks an unusual rebuke for a party of its own candidate, less than one week before the general election, and comes amid ongoing tensions between Cuomo and the left-leaning party.

The W.F.P. endorsed Cuomo earlier this year only after extracting significant concessions from him to support some key components of the party’s platform, including his promise to push for Democratic control of the state Senate, seek an increase in the minimum wage, and pass the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants access to public college tuition assistance.

But Cuomo and the party hold very different positions on education, and the governor, who has become a champion for charter schools, notably did not sign on to the party’s education platform as part of the terms of his endorsement deal.

Teachers have been a problem constituency for Cuomo, who has touted the state-mandated teacher evaluation system and a property-tax cap that limits school districts’ abilities to raise revenue as signature accomplishments of his first term. Magee was elected as NYSUT’s new leader in April partly because union members were frustrated that former president Richard Iannuzzi didn’t sufficiently oppose Cuomo’s policies.

Although NYSUT remained neutral in the gubernatorial race, some local teachers’ unions supported Cuomo’s Democratic opponent, Zephyr Teachout, in the primary, and are backing Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in the general. Phil Rumore, an active Working Families Party member and president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, was particularly outspoken in his criticism of Cuomo.

Read more>>


 

 

Hawkins, to protest and push progressive ideas

ENDORSEMENTS 2014: FOR GOVERNOR

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About Howie Hawkins

Endorsing Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is a form of protest, but it’s also an endorsement of Hawkins’ dogged effort to put important, progressive ideas before the public.

Hawkins has received almost no coverage in this campaign. The media seem to mention him (along with Libertarian candidate Michael McDermott) simply because he’s on the ballot. And some dismiss him as having ideas too far out in left field to pay attention to.

Some of Hawkins’ ideas are indeed not realistic. Others may be sound, but they’re expensive, and Hawkins’ tax-reform proposals aren’t likely to pay the full cost. But on many issues, progressive New Yorkers are more in sync with Hawkins than with Andrew Cuomo. And that’s likely true of many moderates as well.

Hawkins’ position papers contain more detail, and more food for thought, than those of all the other candidates combined. And through them, he is painting a picture of the kind of New York many of us wish we could aspire to.

On Hawkins’ list of reforms:

• A $15 minimum wage and “a living income above poverty level” for everyone who can’t work.

• A publicly funded single-payer health care system.

• An end to high-stakes testing, Common Core, and Race to the Top. Free tuition to SUNY and CUNY.

• Tax credits for renters. A moratorium on home foreclosures. Requiring that all mortgages be refinanced at the homes’ current market value. Construction of new, high-quality mixed-income housing. Expanded public transit and construction of intra-urban rail lines and high-speed long-distance rail lines.

• A ban on fracking. No new fossil-fuel infrastructure: no trains, trucks, or barges carrying shale oil through the state. No storage of natural gas, liquefied propane, or liquefied butane in the Seneca Lake salt caverns. Closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant and phasing out of all the others.

• An end to “corporate welfare.” Requiring the state to pay for services it mandates local governments to provide. More progressive estate taxes and an increase in taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, taking them back to the levels of the 1970’s, which, Hawkins says, would enable the state to reduce taxes for others and could fund investment in infrastructure and other initiatives.

• Publicly owned power and fuel companies. Universal access to high-speed internet. Preservation of net neutrality and blockage of the Comcast-Time Warner merger.

• Restoration of funding for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Promotion of a “zero-waste solid waste policy,” including boosting reuse and recycling efforts. Stronger wetland protection.

• Ending segregation in housing and schools. Establishing a state civil rights department. Banning solitary confinement, expanding educational opportunities for prisoners, and restoring voting rights for convicted felons.

• Requiring 12 weeks of paid family leave. Subsidized high-quality child-care and elder care. Extension of labor rights to farmworkers. Medicaid funding for abortions. Restoration of state funding for homeless-youth centers. Public financing for campaigns.

There’s much, much more on Hawkins’ website (howiehawkins.org): progressive ideas on agriculture, women’s rights, criminal justice, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, ethics in government.

Hawkins has no chance at becoming governor. Sadly, few of his proposals stand any better chance at getting adopted. That’s proof of the drift of the state and the country away from the progressive philosophies of the past, when measures like Social Security and national park protections could get adopted and Republicans like Theodore Roosevelt thought that huge companies had too much power.

There was a time when New York political campaigns included a robust discussion of progressive ideas. Now, only people like Hawkins are talking about them, and Hawkins is routinely ignored.

That’s an indication of the strength of the conservative movement. And Hawkins deserves support in his effort to push back.

Read more at Rochester City Newspaper>>

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Hawkins Ready To Debate Major Party Opponents

English: Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Howie Hawkins said today that while he is looking forward to participating in a gubernatorial debate in Buffalo with Governor Cuomo and Republican Rob Astorino, he said that all debates should be open to all candidates on the ballot.
“The law should be changed so that if you want to run for office in New York State, you have to agree to participate in a series of public debates with all candidates who meet the legal requirements to be on the ballot,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins noted that after Jesse Ventura’s first debate in Minnesota, his support doubled, and after seven more open debates, he was elected Governor. At 9% in the polls, Hawkins is polling better than Ventura was before debates were held.

“New York State has a progressive majority and I am the only progressive left on the ballot. New York progressives have a right to have their candidate in all the debates,” Hawkins said.

“Debates aired over the public airwaves, co-sponsored by a public radio station, should include all candidates. The arbitrary selection of who is allowed to participate in debates is an affront to the democratic process,” Hawkins said, in reference to the sponsorship of public radio’s WNYC and the Wall Street Journal of a debate to which Hawkins has not been invited. The Wall Street Journal’s own September 24 poll showed that 78% of voters want all of the candidates on the ballot in debates.

Hawkins’ poll numbers have steadily increased during the campaign season since he polled 4% in June in the first poll that included him. A Siena poll released on Sept 23 showed Hawkins at 24% in his hometown of Syracuse. Hawkins is polling better than any independent progressive statewide candidate in New York’s history. Polls released the week of September 22 show Hawkins at 9% (Marist) and 7% (Siena) statewide.

Hawkins has accepted the debate invitation from The Buffalo News and WNED-WBFO. Hawkins has also accepted an invitation to a televised debate proposed by WRGB (CBS) the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

Green Party of England and Wales candidate Andrew Boswell elected to city council

Breaking News: Voters in the city of Norwich have elected Green Party of England and Wales candidate Andrew Boswell to city council. Boswell took over 56% of the popular vote, becoming the new representative for Nelson ward. The victory means there are now 15 Green Party councilors elected in Norwich!

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I’m Over Obama, and Over to the Green Party

By TIM SULLIVAN  at WNYC’s It’s A Free Country 

Opinion im over obama and over green party

After several years as a Democrat, followed by more than a decade as an unaffiliated voter, I decided to change my registration to the Green Party for this year’s election. I joined the Greens not because I support every plank of their platform, but because I am tired of voting for the least bad candidate. The response of both major parties to the 2008 financial crisis compels me to join a party that really believes in changing the power structure in the United States.

The Green Party seemed the most reasonable choice. I think it is now beyond arguable that voting for Democrats and/or Republicans is essentially voting to maintain the status quo, which is precisely what needs changing. The personnel in office is less important than the system that personnel serves.

A vote for Obama (not to mention Romney), is a vote for the status quo. I am choosing to vote for a party, and a presidential candidate in Jill Stein, that would actually change things if elected. Like a lot of independents who voted for Obama in 2008, I thought I was voting for change. I was not naive, I knew he was a politician from the Democratic Party Establishment, but I thought a liberal intellectual, our first black president, might change things in important ways, especially in foreign policy.

But I was wrong. He withdrew from Iraq, yes, but on Bush’s timetable; he escalated the war in Afghanistan; he spent a billion dollars intervening in Libya; he continued the “extraordinary rendition” program; and failed not only to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but even to prosecute its inmates in our civilian federal courts.

Domestically, I don’t even want to discuss Obamacare, which is not national health insurance by any stretch of the imagination, but we must. I still find it surreal that the Democrats, controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, failed to institute national health insurance, partly because the administration, and the party’s recent vice-presidential nominee (Joseph Lieberman), bowed to the insurance lobby.

On the energy front, the U.S. has not even begun a serious transition to alternatives to carbon fuels. And, somehow, the Democrats have become a party that supports capital punishment, despite massive evidence that it has failed miserably and is applied in a racist manner. Economically, the president extended the Bush-Paulson bailouts and acquiesced in renewal of the Bush tax cuts, despite repeated vows to the contrary.

As for social spending, I expect the Republicans to advocate cuts in Medicare and Social Security, but I’m still trying to figure out how the Democrats can, with a straight face, do the same.  Furthermore, in a policy that boggles the mind, Obama brags about having cut the payroll tax, the primary source of funding for Social Security.

The Green Party is on the other side of all those issues, foreign and domestic. I don’t agree with everything the Greens advocate, but on the issues that I consider most significant for America’s future, the Greens are on the right track. They certainly do not represent the status quo. For one thing, Green candidates do not accept corporate donations. Their program, which is called the “Green New Deal,” calls for a cut of 70 percent in military spending, massive public investment in renewable energy, a carbon tax, single-payer national health insurance, tax reform and limits on credit interest rates.

To my friends who argue for economic justice, tax fairness, and true campaign finance reform, I say: you will never see any of that if you continue to support candidates and parties that are beholden to wealthy donors, whether they be individuals, unions, or the financial, defense and insurance industries. The system works as well for the Democrats as it does for the Republicans, and I no longer think being an unaffiliated voter choosing between the two is a viable option.

I know Jill Stein has no more chance of getting elected than Ralph Nader had, but I reject the argument that a vote for her is wasted. Either Obama or Romney will lose the election, so by that reasoning a vote for one of them is going to be wasted, as well. Change has to start someplace. 

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Gar Alperovitz’s Green Party Keynote: We Are Laying Groundwork for the “Next Great Revolution”

From Democracy Now!: At the Green Party’s 2012 National Convention in Baltimore over the weekend, Massachusetts physician Jill Stein and anti-poverty campaigner Cheri Honkala were nominated the party’s presidential and vice-presidential contenders. We air the convention’s keynote address delivered by Gar Alperovitz, a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. Alperovitz is the author of, “America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy.” In his remarks, Alperovitz stressed the importance of third-party politics to challenge a corporate-run society. “Systems in history are defined above all by who controls the wealth,” Alperovitz says. “The top 400 people own more wealth now than the bottom 185 million Americans taken together. That is a medieval structure.”


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