Thursday, April 26, 2018

HVGP Formal Spring Meeting - 7 pm Tues May 8

Our annual formal in-person spring meeting will take place Tuesday, May 8, 7 pm until about 8:30 pm.  Please note, contrary to past plans and expectations, this meeting will take place in the Town of Newburgh, Orange County, rather than in New Paltz.  Address is Suite 220, Arborgate Office Building, 275 Rt 17K, Town of Newburgh 12550. More details about location will follow at the end of this post.

Our meeting is open to: all registered (with your Board of Elections) Green Party voters; or, all who have recently filed official forms with their Board of Elections to register in the Green Party (please bring supporting documentation to this meeting); or, those who are 18 or older and who legally are banned from voting and who agree with Green Party values and would be registered Greens if they were allowed to vote (this could include immigrants); and who reside in Dutchess, Orange, or Ulster County.

Main purposes of this meeting are to elect our representatives to the State Committee (SC) of the Green Party of NYS (GPNY), to support campaigns of Green Party candidates in our region (including Howie Hawkins for Governor and Steve Greenfield for Congressional District 19), and to formulate ideas for GPNY's political advocacy regarding state issues for the upcoming year (current priorities have been: banning single use plastic bags (success!), promoting public transportation, stopping climate change, and promoting single payer access to healthcare).  And, of course, we will have the pleasant opportunity to get acquainted with each other.

HVGP is currently entitled to 10 representatives to the SC, based on the number of registered Green voters in our geographic area and on the number of those who pay dues to GPNY. (Dues are extremely affordable and are based on an honor system sliding scale. If you do not currently pay dues, you can take care of that by going to the Green Party of New York State website.  The Green Party does NOT accept ANY corporate donations, so financial resources come only from individual donations- therefore, we all need to contribute).    

So far, eight of our regular HVGP participants have agreed to run to fulfill the office of SC representative.  Duties include making a good faith effort to attend all or most of the three annual GPNY meetings (held 9am to 5pm the 3rd Saturday of January, May, and September) in the Capital District (hospitality and carpooling or train station pickup available); to keep abreast of GPNY issues via regular participation in HVGP meetings (usually via monthly conference call, usually the first Tues eve of the month) and monthly GPNY conference calls (usually the third Tues eve of the month) and by checking in with GPNY's website, and like any other engaged member of HVGP, helping to collect signatures of registered Greens in our area on official state ballot petitions which allow our candidates to appear on Election Day ballots and our SC reps to be recognized by the State Board of Elections.  This year the designated time (by State Board of Elections and GPNY) for doing this is between June 5 and July 12.  Term of office of SC reps is 2 years.  Nominations for SC reps will be taken during this meeting, presumably followed by voting.

Incidentally, next GPNY meeting and annual General State Convention is Saturday, May 19 in the Capital District - see GPNY website for details. It is open to all registered Greens in NYS, and during it, candidates for the November ballot will be formally selected.

Location details: Arborgate Offices is a small private office building that looks like a large residential house on the corner of State Route 17K and a side street called Arbor Drive in the Town of Newburgh.  Most GPS misdirects people a block or so away, so beware! There is a traffic light at that corner.  You will need to turn onto Arbor Drive (which leads into a residential development called Colden Park), immediately pass a row of mailboxes on your right, and then immediately turn right into the parking area, which holds about a dozen vehicles. If there is no room, you can park on Arbor Drive.  Enter the building by way of the solid black door by the stoop in the parking lot area (we will have a sign up saying "HVGP Meeting").  Come up the inside stairs (there's about six of them) and turn left to Suite 220.

General location is on State Route 17K between Exits 5A and 6 of I-84. If you take the Thruway, you would get off on Exit 7, and then briefly take I-84 to Exit 6 and turn right onto 17K. From New Paltz, you could do that or take "the back way" to Newburgh, ending up on Rock Cut Road and turning right off Rock Cut onto 17K and then at the next light, turn left onto Arbor Drive.

Reason for change of location:  As you may know, we originally planned to have this meeting in New Paltz, given the centrality of New Paltz for our HVGP geographic area. But, basically, no room at the inn : ) in New Paltz - we found that Village Hall rooms and library rooms were already regularly booked on Tuesday evenings, no legitimate way for us to get into SUNY NP, no free or affordable adequately sized quiet rooms that we could find. And thank you, Steve Greenfield and Andrew Dalton, for looking, and looking!

So, hope to see you - 7 pm Tues. May 8 - Suite 220, Arborgate Offices, 275 Rt 17K, Town (not City!) of Newburgh, 12550.

If you are planning on coming, it would be handy to know in advance (for purposes of having enough chairs available) - please call or text Andrew at 845 699 3051. Contact him also for any further info, or should you get lost en route - hope not!

Cheers,
Barbara Kidney
CoChair
Hudson Valley Green Party













Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Important Events - Sat. Apr 28 & Tues Eve May 8

Hudson Valley Green Party would like all Greens and Green friends to be aware of our multi-event day this coming Saturday, Apr 28.  Please see the prior post for information on the events of that day, and please spread the word about it.

Additionally, on Tues evening May 8, HVGP is having an in-person gathering and business meeting for: all registered Greens, or voters who have filed with their Board of Elections to affiliate with the Green Party and are awaiting that to take place after the next election (which is how NYS election law works), or those who would be Green but due to law are disenfranchised (e.g, Dreamers, permanent residents, etc.); and who reside in Dutchess, Orange, or Ulster County.

General location for our May 8 meeting will be New Paltz, as that is a rather central location for our large geographic area.  Please stay tuned for exact location, which will be posted here once it is established.

Meeting start time is planned to be at 7 pm.

Main items on agenda will be election of our representatives to the State Committee of the Green Party of New York State, and selection of state political issues we would like us and the rest of GPNY to focus on during the upcoming year.  (Currently, the political issues of focus for the past year have been: banning most plastic bags (recent success!); promoting public transportation; averting climate change; and promoting single payer health coverage).  Regarding our State Committee (SC) representatives, we have had none as we are a newly emerging official multi-county GPNY organization, and we are currently entitled to have up to 10 SC representatives.  The number is based on the number of registered Greens in our geographic jurisdiction and also the number of those who are dues-paying members to GPNY. (If you are not already paying dues, you can take care of that by going to the Green Party of NYS website. Dues are based on a sliding scale, and are extremely affordable. Funding for the Green Party is entirely via small individual donations - NO corporate donations are accepted. So financial backing is entirely up to us).

The Green Party of New York State will be having its annual convention in the Capital District on Saturday May 19.  All registered Greens in the state are welcome and eligible to participate. State GP candidates will be formally selected. More info, including hospitality and car-pooling arrangements, can be found on Green Party of New York State website.

Cheers!
Barbara Kidney
HVGP CoChair

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sat. Apr 28 - A Multi-Event Day

Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins will be making appearances in Orange and Dutchess Counties on Saturday, April 28.  He will be joined in both counties by HVGP Secretary and active Fair Vote member Dave Heller, and in Dutchess by HVGP member and Green Party candidate for Congressional District 19, Steve Greenfield.

Here's the schedule:

11am to Noonish - Howie will be participating in the weekly picket organized by Protect Orange County against Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Power Plant off County Route 6 in the Town Of Wawayanda near Slate Hill (just look for the humongous polluting smokestacks).

12:30 to 2 pm - Join Howie, Dave Heller, and other members of HVGP for lunch at the Saffron Indian restaurant, 130 Dolson Ave (Playtogs Plaza), Middletown.  [Important: Out of consideration for the restaurant staff, please reserve your space by calling or texting Andrew at 845-699-3051 by noon on Fri Apr 27, if at all possible].  
   Howie will make a brief presentation on his platform, on how Green leads to Green, meaning that environmental sustainability leads to good economic outcomes, as well as ecological and public health benefits, followed by conversation. Additionally, Dave Heller will lead all who would like in an enjoyable activity to demonstrate the process and benefits of Ranked Choice Voting, now to be used in Maine, and being seriously considered in Dutchess County. RCV guarantees that in a election with more than two candidates, the winner needs to gain at least 51% of the vote. (In contrast, when, for example, three candidates run, our current electoral process allows the winner to accrue no more than 33.3% of the vote).
    Basic all-you-can-eat buffet costs about $15, and a la carte menu items are also available.  Beyond the cost of your lunch, a $5 to $20 donation is suggested (but not required) for the RCV activity. Proceeds will be given to the Howie Hawkins campaign.

3:30 to 4:15 pm - Repair NY! - outside the Rhinebeck Repair Cafe - Rhinebeck Town Hall, 80 East Market St., Rhinebeck. Meet and greet with Howie, Steve, and Dave.  Learn about the candidates' ideas and positions on issues and, from Dave especially, about the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting.

5 to 6:30 pm - Presentations by Howie and Steve on their platforms, Q & A.  Dave Heller will lead an enjoyable group activity on the process and benefits of Ranked Choice Voting.  We'll all be at the Traghaven Irish Whiskey Pub, 66 Broadway, Tivoli, and we may be able to sample and rate draft beers as part of the RCV activity (non-alcoholic options for that activity will also be available). Beyond the cost of your tab, a $5 to $20 donation is suggested but not required for the RCV activity. Proceeds to be split between the Howie Hawkins and Steve Greenfield campaigns.  HVGP's Andrew Dalton & Barbara Kidney may burst into some traditional Celtic music - bring your instrument if you'd like, or your voice for a pub sing number or two!

Hope to see you Saturday! Please spread the word!

For further info, contact Andrew at 845-699-3051.

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howie_Hawkins) 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!