Monday, April 16, 2018

How Green Was/Is/Will Be My Valley?

This was the question posed on March 4, 2018, as lifelong social and environmental justice activist Howie Hawkins (pictured speaking in the photo here) joined a panel of local activists and an engaged audience of about 50 participants at the Unitarian Universalist Church Hall in Middletown, NY, in a forum organized by Hudson Valley Green Party (HVGP).  The valley thus in question is the Hudson Valley, currently under attack from the toxic, fracked and diesel fuel Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power plant in Wawayanda (Orange County) and its proposed connector Valley Lateral Pipeline (VLP) from Millennial Pipeline; the proposed toxic fracked fuel Cricket Valley power plant near Dover Plains (Dutchess County); Lincoln Park mixed fuel (including fracked fuel) plant near Lake Katrine (Ulster County); and Legoland amusement park proposed for  the Town of Goshen (Orange County).

Howie Hawkins, who is seeking the 2018 gubernatorial nomination from the NYS Green Party, was our keynote speaker on the topic of "From Resistance, to Power." He was introduced by facilitator Barbara Kidney, CoChair of HVGP, who noted that for all his life, wherever Howie went, he left behind a trail of justice, peace, and beauty.  She advised attendees to check out the Wikipedia article on Howie ( to get an overview of his many substantive endeavors to promote the common good, including: standing up against bigotry in the US and apartheid in South Africa; opposing the Vietnam War; establishing an Occupy-like construction workers' cooperative in Dartmouth in 1984; and helping to establish the Clamshell Alliance in 1976 which successfully stopped the proposed establishment of Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire.  She noted that had Howie been elected Governor in 2014, we would not be facing the construction of new toxic fuel plants and pipelines in NYS today.  During his talk, Howie spoke of how advocates for human and Earth rights can influence the political zeitgeist and policies of plutocratic politicians and officeholders, even when such advocates do not attain enough votes to win elections themselves.

Our panel of local experts and activists consisted of the following members:

~ Randy Hurst of Hudson Valley Green Party (HVGP) and Pramilla Malick, both of Protect Orange County (which Randy founded and Pramilla has chaired for the past few years). (Pramilla is seeking the Democratic nomination for State Senate District 42, to challenge incumbent John Bonacic R-C).  They spoke of the resistance to CPV, and the climatological, environmental, and public health threats CPV poses.

~ Jordan of Hudson Valley EarthFirst! who spoke of the direct nonviolent action taken by  HVEarthfirst! including 24/7 tree sitters (throughout the windy, subzero, snowy weather of December and January) who blocked and thus delayed trench work for VLP in the forest known for its populations of bog turtles, Indiana bats, and bald eagles, among many other species whose homes are being destroyed by this toxic endeavor.

~ Dave Heller of HVGP who spoke about the proposed Cricket Valley plant, to be even bigger than CPV. He noted that the power company had made a $500,000 donation to Dover Plains public schools, yet would poison the air the students will breathe.

~ Andrew Dalton of HVGP and New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, who provided information on the Lincoln Park project, and the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline, to run alongside the NYS Thruway, conveying toxic fracked materials from Albany to northern NJ.  That latter project is currently in abeyance.

It was noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is supportive of all these new toxic, greenhouse gas emitting power plants, which, according to experts such as Drs. Tony Ingraffea and and Bob Howarth of Cornell University, are conservatively estimated to add 25% to statewide greenhouse gas emissions if operative.

~ Jessica Gocke of HVGP and Concerned Citizens of the Hudson Valley, who spoke about Legoland, a massive amusement park owned by the large, foreign Merlin corporation and being forced into Goshen by the Town Board and Planning Board against the will of the people and in blatant violation of Goshen's zoning laws and Comprehensive Plan. Unless halted, it will result in close to a million more vehicles annually being driven on the already congested highways in the region, and will be a drain on already stressed water resources, as well as adding to water pollution from run-off. (Jessica also livestreamed our forum onto FB).

Three potential Green Party candidates for Congressional District 19 attended and were introduced by facilitator Barbara Kidney.  These were Victoria Alexander, Steve Greenfield, and Will Pflaum. (Will has since dropped out of the race due to personal considerations; Victoria has won the Libertarian Party endorsement and thus is out of consideration by the Green Party; Steve Greenfield has won the endorsement of the Green Party of NYS).  Barbara noted that Victoria, from Dutchess County, and Will, from Columbia County, are both scholars, holding doctorates in humanities, published authors of books, and alternative farmers.  Barbara pointed out that Steve, from Ulster County, is a professional musician, longterm volunteer firefighter, and a Green Party campaigner who helped elect Green Party Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, who started marrying homosexual couples in the early 2000's, thus initiating the political impulse to legalize the rights of homosexual citizens.

Former Green Party Deputy Mayor of New Paltz Rebecca Rotzler also attended the forum, as did three founding members of The Bronx Green Party, HVGP CoSecretary Joe Calabro, and HVGP Member-at-Large from Orange County, Bennett Weiss, and many active citizens from the greater region.  The forum helped activists to get know about  the work of other activists, and to get an overview of environmental, and thus public health, threats to the Hudson Valley.

Organic and fair trade refreshments were offered by HVGP (and it seems, eagerly accepted by attendees!)  Relevant printed materials including lists of resistance groups and websites were provided to attendees.  The book Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate, edited by Howie Hawkins, was available for sale or by a $50 donation to Howie's campaign.  Howie collected nearly $200 toward his campaign. Attendees were advised as to how they could make online donations to the Hawkins campaign and to the all the resistance groups represented at the forum.  Andrew Dalton and Barbara Kidney performed Celtic instrumental music as people gathered and during intermission, and they led people in singing "Down by the Riverside" (with second verse of "Gonna shut down that power plant/Down by the riverside/Ain't gonna harm the Earth no more!") and the famous union song "Step by Step (the longest march can be done)." Geography professor Michael Strmiska from Orange County Community College led off the second part of the forum with a rousing chant he has written against CPV.

Judging from the energy of all throughout, and at the end, three flickerings of lights finally followed by Deputy Mayor Rotzler amiably but firmly ushering people out, it seemed that the event was a great success.

If you would like further information about anything you have read here, you can contact Andrew Dalton at 845 699 3051.

HVGP is very pleased to note that Howie Hawkins will be coming to our region again on Saturday,  April 28, and will be involved in events in Middletown (Orange County) and then, along with CD 19 candidate Steve Greenfield, in Rhinebeck and Tivoli (Dutchess County).  HVGP's Dave Heller, also active in the Fair Vote organization, will be involved in some of these events, leading participants in playful activities to learn more about the process and benefits of RCV (ranked-choice voting). Stay tuned!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Continuing Horror of 9/11

Sixteen years later, and tragically, the horrific legacy of 9/11 lives on.

Manhattan is my home town. My Mom, like her own Mom, had been born in Manhattan.  My Dad (the the Irish-American Brooklynite) worked on Maiden Lane, in lower Manhattan. He had been retired for many years at the time of 9/11, and I had left even more years ago.  At the time of the 9/11 attack, I was living in the Hudson Valley, with friends & neighbors working in Manhattan, including possibly my own husband, working as courier driver.  Eventually I found out that no one close to me had died in the attack, but the brother of an acquaintance (the brother had been a Manhattan chef) was killed, and the young adult son of a lovely, typically cheerful friend of mine, on his way to visit his fiancee across the country, was on board one of the planes that hit the towers.

People caught in the attack, NYC Transit workers, police, firefighters, EMT and other emergency personnel, exerted heroic efforts to prevent further deaths and to otherwise respond to the tragedy. As a native of NYC, I certainly was not at all surprised to hear of the various stories of sudden heroism by ordinary New Yorkers, who typically rise to such occasions with down-to-earth decency, humble and amazing courage, and competence.  Many of these have had their lives impeded and shortened by harm to their health, from the asbestos and toxins they breathed in, from the lack of protective equipment, and from our nation's unique failure to provide adequate healthcare to all but the wealthy and the electeds.

And, I am proud to say, like so many of my fellow New Yorkers, including those who lost loved ones in the attack, the very last thing I wanted to have happen after 9/11 was for more civilians to be violently attacked and killed.  The last thing we wanted to have happen is for normal humans doing normal activities - people caring for their babies, caring for each other, caring for their pets, going to their jobs, taking their kids to school, growing crops (and flowers), creating art, healing the sick, making music, pursuing scientific enquiry, falling in love- the last thing we wanted after that hellish day, was to have some Americans choose to continue the work of the devil, and go around bombing people, who are just trying to live their lives in their own communities. 

However, the very thing we most abhor, the killing of other humans, just trying to live their own human lives, was what those Americans with the most decision-making power chose to do.  After arranging for Bin Laden's family in the U.S to be flown safely out of the US without questioning right after 9/11, W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, chose to violently kill, maim, torture Afghanis and Iraqis.  Had the governments of Afghanistan or Iraq declared war on us or even attacked us? No, they had not.  Which country, besides possibly our own, was most responsible, for 9/11?  Our dear friend, Saudi Arabia, to whom we give billions of US tax money for their weapons of terrorism - W. Bush, Obama, thing these presidents all have in common is that.

Many self-identified liberals and progressives opposed the invasion of Iraq during the W. Bush years, but then supported the US war on the Middle East during the Obama years.  According to well-respected human rights institutions such as Amnesty International, Reprieve, and Human Rights Watch, US military violence in the Middle East has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, displaced millions, and under Obama, sneak drone murders of civilians in several countries has increased about tenfold compared to W., resulting in thousands of civilians being murdered, and Trump continues the dronings.  I use the word "murders" advisedly - bombing people with drones operated across the world, and then bombing the first-responders who come to render aid to the victims, is officially a crime according to international courts of justice, as well to anyone with the least exacting of moral compasses.

US presidents have much decision-making power, but it takes the many to empower their decisions. So many ways to enable US military terrorism.  Even though US wars and other military actions have been unjust and often illegal according to international standards, join the military or the National Guard, encourage young people to do so, and thank military members for their service (to Commanders-in-Chief with track records of violently sociopathic policy decisions). Repeat the malarkey that the US military defends our freedoms (no, we do not have the freedom to kill people in other countries.  Are they invading us? No, we are invading them.  Are they threatening our Bill of Rights? No, we are doing that to ourselves, with, for example, the "Patriot" Acts, NSA, and Border Patrol allowed to do whatever they want to whomever they want, whenever). Repeat the malarkey that US military are all heroes.  Keep silent when others mouth the malarkey.  Never speak up about the blatant immorality of US declared and undeclared wars and the drone murders. Never join or support a peace group. Call violence "patriotic" and call failure to support mass murder "unpatriotic," call those who try to protect their communities against US military violence "insurgents" like that's a bad thing (hey, remember 1776 - who were the insurgents then?).  And when you hear others speak this way, be sure to remain silent. Never write a letter to the editor against US military decisions, never contact your electeds to protest US military actions.  Because fact is, those who can decide to initiate violent militaristic activities, would be utterly helpless to enact them, if it weren't for all the myriad enablers making all those atrocities possible.  

Special acknowledgement to all who remain silent about all that- the ongoing hellish legacy of 9/11 would be impossible without you.

So, about three thousand people killed on 9/11/01, and since then, via military actions, the US has killed or otherwise adversely impacted well over a million people, who had, incidentally, nothing to do with 9/11.  To those who did have something to do with 9/11, we continue to give heaps of our tax money and weapons.  Can we stop yet?  Can we stop the hellish legacy of 9/11?  

A reminder - in sharp contrast to the Democratic Party, as well as to the Republican Party, the Green Party accepts no corporate (think arms and drone manufacturers) funding, and the official political platform of the Green Party clearly supports peace.  Thou shalt not kill.  Is this really such a hard directive to follow? What will you do?

Barbara Kidney
HVGP Co-Chair 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Green table in Beacon

Lots of people stopped to talk. "How do we get out of
the two party, corporate controlled system?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Corn Festival

We will be at the Clearwater Corn Festival at Pete Seeger Park in Beacon on Aug 13th from noon-5.

Please come visit us. We will be handing out flyers promoting the New York Health Act., which is plan for New York to go single payer.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Picnic Today! Sat. July 22 - 3:30 - 6:30

As the weather forecast is for a somewhat cloudy but non-rainy afternoon, it does appear that our plans to picnic today are on!  Please see our July 8 post for details regarding this event.  Any last minute issues, contact Andrew at 845 699 3051. Look for our "Hudson Valley Green Party" sign, at the Highland side of the Walkway Over the Hudson.  See ya!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cuomo Pushes New Toxic Fuels in Hudson Valley...and Beyond

Despite NYS's official energy policy, which calls for 50% of state energy needs being supplied by renewable sources by 2030, Gov. Cuomo- Democratic, Working Families Party Gov. Cuomo- continues to back the construction of the CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) fracked gas power plant on County Route 6 in the Town of Wawayanda, near Slate Hill, in Orange County.

Photo shows protestors at CPV site after Apr. 21 trial of "Wawyanda 6." Speaking is local resident Maddy Shaw. Fellow Wawayanda 6 members pictured are (right to left) actor and HVGP member James Cromwell, social work professor Naomi Miller (glasses), and Protect Orange County leader Pramilla Malick (orange shirt) - photo (copyright) by Barbara Kidney.

If operative, as planned by CPV and the Democratic and WF Party Governor, this plant would increase greenhouse gas emissions of electricity generators by 10% - for the entire state!  It would necessitate the operation of 150 frack wells PER DAY and emit 130 million cubic feet of greenhouse gasses PER DAY along with carcinogenic and neurotoxic particulate matter to land wherever, including on the valuable Black Dirt farmland in nearby Pine Island and on the gardens and schoolyards of the neighboring residential community.     

CPV would be the largest power plant in NYS.  Toxic fracked materials would travel hundreds of miles by pipelines leaking at a rate of 10% as a conservative estimate, from their source in the fracklands of PA to just outside congested Middletown, NY.  Additionally, enormous tanks of ammonia and diesel fuel are, and would continue to be, placed close to ever-busy highway I-84.  What could possibly go wrong?!

These and other interesting facts were given in sworn testimony by expert witnesses including Dr. Tony Ingraffea, geo-engineering professor emeritus of Cornell University, and Dr. Robert Howarth,  professor of ecology and environmental sciences, also at Cornell, on April 21, at the Town of Wawayanda Court trial of the so-called Wawayanda 6, who were represented by civil rights attorney Michael Sussman.  Back on Dec. 18, 2015, six members of a large group of anti-CPV protestors chained themselves in front of the CPV construction site entrance, and were arrested for trespassing. The defense case rested on the fact the protestors engaged in peaceful civil disobedience in order to prevent significant harm to the community, after having tried in vain to prevent this harm by legal means. (Indeed, sworn testimony included that during Planning Board hearings for the proposed construction of the plant, the Wawayanda Planning Board Chair told residents voicing concerns to "shut up"). 

During this April trial, Assistant Orange County District Attorney Maryellen Albanese made much of the alleged inconvenience to motorists delayed for about half hour on the morning of Dec. 18, 2015 (created not by protestors but by CPV truck-drivers refusing to move onto the highway shoulder), and she totally blew off any and all consequences of the operation of this toxic, already obsolete fracked fuel plant. She even objected to the scientific facts presented by highly credentialled Dr. Ingraffea as "hearsay"!  Once again, taxpayers' money goes to lavishly reimburse ignoramuses and/or pathological liars holding public offices.  Fortunately, presiding Judge Timothy McElduff Jr. overruled Albanese's absurd objections.

On June 7, Judge McElduff issued his decision that the protestors were guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced each of them to fines and surcharges of $375 and 45 hours of community service. When Attorney Sussman asked the judge to permit the defendants to render the community service by protesting at the CPV site, the packed courtroom erupted into unbridled cheers and applause, and the judge commuted that part of the sentence. Attorney Sussman noted that the judge ruled the protestors were guilty because the extreme harm to the community that they were trying to prevent on Dec. 18, 2015, WAS NOT THEN "IMMINENT" ENOUGH, and, as much time has since passed and construction continues, we can draw our own conclusions.  HEY, JUDGE, IS HARM IMMINENT ENOUGH YET?!

Three of the Wawayanda 6, HVGP member James Cromwell, along with Maddy Shaw, and Pramilla Malick, have refused to pay the fine, and are due to be imprisoned on Friday July 14 in Orange County Jail for a week.  A rally and press conference are scheduled at the CPV site on Route 6 in Wawayanda at 2 pm Friday July 14, followed by a motor caravan to accompany James, Maddy, and Pramilla to the county jail- come join this if you can!

Meanwhile, there is the matter of CPV needing DEC (NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation) to issue a permit to Millennium Pipeline Company for the construction of a 7.8 mile lateral pipeline to bring toxic fracked gas to the CPV plant. This new pipeline would run through Deerpark, Greenville, and Minisink, in Sullivan and Orange Counties. So...

EXTREMELY URGENT!!  Here's what we must do!  Let us overwhelm DEC with comments against the construction of this inevitably leaky pipeline of toxic fracked substances. Public hearings will be held 6 pm Thurs., July 27 at Monticello High School in Monticello, and 6 pm Wed., August 2 at Paramount Theater, 17 South St., in downtown Middletown. Written comments should be submitted by 5 pm Friday August 4 to the DEC website  IF CPV CANNOT GET THAT PIPELINE,  the CPV monster will be slain!

But wait, there's more!  Before he was fired by Donald Trump, federal attorney Preet Bharara was investigating corruption involving top Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco  and CPV lobbyist Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr.  Percocco's wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco received more than $287,000 from CPV for a do-nothing job position with CPV, in exchange for Percoco's help in obtaining a state contract worth about $100 million to finance CPV, as well as millions of dollars in energy credits for another new toxic power plant in New Jersey (NYTimes, Weiser, Rashbaum, & Yee, Sept. 22, 2016). 

So,  Gov. Cuomo (Dem/WF) out-Trumps Trump when it comes to actual climate and environmental damage in NYS as well as in northern New Jersey (air pollution, greenhouse gasses) and Pennsylvania (ditto, plus 150 frack wells operating, and pipelines leaking).  Call Cuomo anytime and leave him a voicemail telling him this, at 518 474 8390.  You do not have to leave your name, and it would be an excellent idea to contact him repeatedly about this issue. Remember, CPV and its lateral pipeline violate both the Paris Climate Accord AND the NYS Sustainable Energy Plan.  And besides Cuomo, fellow Dems, Congressperson Sean Patrick Maloney and State Assembyperson James Skoufis, also support CPV and its own new dirty little pipeline.

And to think we could have had Howie Hawkins for NYS Governor.  Get real, people- when you have the choice, eschew both Red and Blue plutocrats and vote Green!

--Verde Claro 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Picnic with Us! Sat. July 22 - 3:30 to 6:30ish - Walkway Over the Hudson

     HVGP will have a picnic gathering on the Highland ("West Bank") side of Walkway Over the Hudson Park, weather permitting, on Sat. afternoon, July 22, 3:30 - 6:30 pm. 
This will be an informal social event, certainly open to family and friends, regardless of political party registration.  There will probably be political conversation, however- be forewarned : )  Please bring your own food, drink, and picnic accessories; bring food or drink to share if you would like.  Earth and human friendly food and drink are encouraged; what you consume is your choice, of course, but please be kind to your neighbors and avoid GMOs, pesticided, and high-fructose items  for sharing.
     The park has a carry-in, carry-out policy, which means you are responsible for taking your trash out with you and properly disposing off-site.  As we are Greens, let's picnic Green with no or minimalistic plastic, and recycle what cannot be re-used.  It's a simple matter to bring your own plate, cup, silverware, and (ideally) cloth napkin. 
     Rain date is Sunday, July 23, same time, with next rain date being Sat. July 29, same time.
     Activities at this park include walking, jogging, and biking.  Skate-boarding is not allowed.  Leashed pets are permitted.  Restrooms and concession stands are present.  For more particulars, check the Walkway Over the Hudson website.  There are picnic tables but we cannot count on having one, so bring a blanket or chairs.  Feel free to bring your musical instrument; for those who like we can do some singing, and acoustic instrumental music is also welcome.  If you plan to walk on the walkway, prepare for somewhat cooler and breezier conditions.

      On Sat. July 22 at 6:30 pm, the park will be offering an outdoor showing of the movie, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie" on the Poughkeepsie ("East Bank") side of the Walkway - something to look forward to after our picnic, if weather allows us our first choice of date.

       If we have to postpone due to weather, we will post that on this site, assuming we have power.  (In these days of 400 plus ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, weather "events" are common, no?)  Feel free to phone or text Andrew at 845 699 3051 for any last-minute issues or questions.