Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our April 28th (2018) Event with Howie Hawkins & Steve Greenfield - A Photo Essay

(Photos and text by Barbara Kidney)

Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate (and lifelong activist for people, peace, and planet) Howie Hawkins came to the Hudson Valley on Saturday April 28 at the invitation of Hudson Valley Green Party.  Later we were joined by Green Party Congressional Candidate Steve Greenfield as well, for events in Dutchess County. Members Andrew Dalton (Treasurer), Dave Heller (Co-Secretary), Randy Hurst, and Barbara Kidney (Co-Chair) were instrumental in setting up this multi-event day.

We were graced with a mostly sunny spring day, and the day's activities started with Howie calling in to Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner's talk radio program on WHVW 950AM.  Joel, a highly progressive member of the Democratic Party, is also a longtime area activist for all things good.

Later in the morning, Howie and several members of HVGP joined in the rally, led every Saturday from 11am to noon by Protect Orange County, against Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) fossil fuel power plant in the Town of Wawayanda near Slate Hill and Middletown, and busy highway Interstate 84.  The Chair of Protect Orange County is Pramilla Malick, and she is currently seeking the State Senate District 42 candidacy on the Democratic Party line.


You can find out more about Protect Orange County here:  www.blog.protectorangecounty.org
They also have a page on Face Book.



At the end of the rally, which drew probably about 75 people, and garnered many honks of approval from passing vehicles, Pramilla and Howie spoke to the picketers.  In the above photo, Pramilla is in the center wearing an orange cardigan (to represent Protect Orange County) and Howie is just to her left, facing the plant.  One can get a sense of the immense size of this plant, which is in a residential area, and also close to major highways, schools, Orange County Community College, an historic site (Native American and colonial era cemeteries) and the City of Middletown.  One can also see that despite NYS DEC (Dept. of Environmental Conservation) having denied CPV pipeline access due to deleterious effects of major greenhouse gas emissions, and water and wetlands destruction, CPV has forged ahead with construction, beholden to no one but its own greed for financial profit.  (Well, heck, it's not like the owners and execs live here, after all).  Unprecendently, FERC (Federal Environmental Raping Commission, known in doublespeak as the Federal Energy Regulatory (ha ha!) Commission) over-ruled DEC and the two agencies are now in court over this issue.


 After the rally a lucky 13 of us went to eat lunch at nearby Saffron Indian Cuisine Restaurant




where Pramilla found some friends
already there.






 Besides enjoying the food and informal conversation, Pramilla and colleagues gave updates and information about the politics behind CPV,       

 and Howie told us about his platform,
which includes calling for cessation of
toxic fuel projects in the state and
complete transition to safe,
community-and -planet-friendly green
renewable energy by 2030, which is in
 keeping with the Paris Climate Accord.  (In contrast,  Democratic gubernatorial primary contender Cynthia Nixon's platform does not call for a transition to renewable energy until 2050).   More info can be found on Howie's website,  at
www.howiehawkins.org      

Howie's campaign slogan is "Demand More!" (things progressive, of course!)



 
Also during our luncheon, HVGP Secretary and FairVote.org member Dave Heller who is especially knowledgeable and passionate about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), led us in an exercise demonstrating how RCV works.  Go to www.fairvote.org for more information.

In the RCV activity, we were each given a selection of differently colored slips of paper and were directed to stack them in order of our color preference.  Given that no one color received at least 51% of the vote immediately, voters' second and third color preferences were taken into account as well.  Colors receiving only one or two first choice votes were eliminated immediately from consideration.
                                                                                    

The color receiving the most first, second, and third preference votes "won." (For those in suspense, blue won over the rest of the rainbow - Dave had not allowed green to enter the race, presuming that naturally we would all vote for green!  So in the absence of green we voted for a nice shade of blue. Once more, art imitates life!)

Ranked choice voting has been approved for use in the state of Maine. A good article about RCV can be found in inthesetimes.com/archives/covers_ind/42/04/
and in the print copy of In These Times April 2018, "Breaking the Two-Party System" by Theo Anderson.





After lunch Howie and some of us HVGP members headed to Rhinebeck where we met up with HVGP member and Green Party candidate for Congressional District 19, Steve Greenfield, in front of the Rhinebeck Repair Cafe.  From HVGP's extensive interview on March 20 with Steve when we were vetting his candidacy, we know and fully approve of his stand on issues, which include promoting peace and ceasing military misadventures and human tragedy, promoting human rights, ceasing all toxic energy such as fracking and nuclear energy, transitioning entirely to safe green energy asap, setting up universal healthcare and universal guaranteed basic income.

We enjoyed about an hour's worth of conversation on sociopolitical topics including the roots of May Day as a people's holiday, a subject near and dear to the hearts of Howie, Andrew, and Barbara especially. Howie recommended Peter Linebaugh's book on the topic -see https://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/29/historian_peter_linebaugh_on_the_incomplete

Frank H. from Putnam County, who has helped us campaign for Green candidates, came by with a list of recommended readings on the challenges of implementing democracy, ranging from Plato's Republic to Colin Woodard's American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America to Peter Moskowitz's How To Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the NeighborhoodThis sparked philosophical and political discussion, as CD 19 candidate Steve Greenfield is well-versed and interested in economics and political theory and philosophy, and Barbara and Andrew have read about and given thought to such issues as well.  Meanwhile, a local resident Sally K, an individual much interested in and knowledgeable about Nature, organic gardening, and natural healing, stopped and talked with Howie. She joined us as we next headed to Traghaven Irish Whiskey Pub in Tivoli.

There we were also joined by some others eager to meet Howie and Steve, including HVGP member Dave Giannascoli (who is one of HVGP's seven newly-elected State Committee Representatives to GPNY).  Folks were also interested in participating in Dave Heller's RCV activity (which does make for a good, educational pub game!)  Here Sally and Howie look on as Dave H carefully tallies our votes.





(If memory serves, I believe blue again "won").  We all enjoyed more political conversation over high-quality food and drink.   In the photo below, GP Congressional Candidate for Congressional District 19, Steve Greenfield (right), listens as Howie makes a point.



(Be it noted: Howie, who had to drive back to Syracuse that evening, imbibed in no alcoholic beverage, and that I, who was not driving, had the highly pleasant experience of enjoying the best Guinness I have ever tasted outside of UK and the Republic of Ireland- beer fans, Traghaven has it on nitro tap!).

In keeping with ambience of Ireland evoked by the pub, the pleasant sunny late afternoon morphed into a gentle rainy evening.

Special thanks to Howie, Pramilla,  Randy, Dave H, and Steve for making this a memorable day! Cheers, everybody!