Sunday, April 08, 2007

Victories, tax cuts and mascots

In a recent mailing from the national party I read that Jason West, mayor of the Village of New Paltz, NY, is proposing a tax cut of 15% for the people of his community along with expanding infrastructure improvements and maintaining current services. I have no idea how he proposes to do this, but Go Jason! This sort of thinking, improving our communities while saving tax payer dollars, is a winning proposition all Greens should think about.

In addition, the report says that the first woman Green elected to office in Vermont, Hillary Weeks, is going to take office soon, as will Richard Polese, newly elected to the Santa Fe, NM school board.

The national party is also seeking nominations for "Party Mascot". The Democrats have a donkey, Republicans the elephant...what about the Greens? My personal preference is either the alligator or the frog.

There is more in the report, and the full text is hiding behind the "Read more!" link below...
Mayor West Calls for 15% Tax Cut

Mayor Jason West New Paltz village residents will see their property taxes slashed by fifteen percent under the 2007-2008 budget proposed by Mayor Jason West. And yet, services will continue at their current high level and the village infrastructure continue the steady improvement that has marked the last four years.

"I have been able to craft a budget that not only continues delivering high quality of life, but allows village residents to reduce their tax bill," said West. "This is the result of four years of sound fiscal management and this budget maintains my commitment to a strong financial foundation the village can continue to build upon."


West said the budget allows the village to continue making progress improving efficiency and services, use smart planning to alleviate long standing infrastructure issues, and move forward with a commitment to environmental policies that are steadily moving the village toward a more sustainable footing.

With the tax cut, the village of New Paltz is almost unique in the Hudson Valley, where town, school and county taxes steadily rise.

The tax cut is part of a series of strong policy and financial initiatives undertaken by Mayor West since he took office in 2003. These policies include shifting the financing of $2.2 million in water system improvements from USDA loans to serial bonds after a drop in interest rates, a move predicted to save taxpayers nearly $1.5 million in interest payments alone.

Since elected Mayor West's administration has accomplished:

Built the first phase of a reed bed system to turn our sewage into compost rather than mix it with toxic chemicals and ship it to landfills. We plan to expand our program to deal with almost 90% of our sewage on-site with the reeds, at an estimated cost savings of $30,000 per year.

Installed a solar panel array on the public works garage which has generated 15,333 kW of electricity, saved taxpayers $2,299 and has kept 16,743 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Are looking into building a 500,000 gallon per year biodiesel fuel facility which could supply every public works truck, fire truck and school bus with a non-toxic, biodegradable fuel with 80% fewer emissions, while generating thousands of dollars in revenue each year.

Commissioned two studies of wetlands and watercourse in the Village. Based on those studies, and the work done in the Town, we have just recently finished writing a pair of laws that will protect wetlands and watercourses; one law defining what is protected and how, and a second creating an overlay district which precisely maps which properties may have wetlands or watercourse on them.

Fought hard for student, youth, women's and human rights, establishing committees to improve landlord-tenant relations, a Youth Commission, anti-war actions, support of pro-choice events and performing the only same-sex marriages to ever occur in New York State. We continue to engage an anti-racist, anti-hate ideology after facing bigoted protests and neo-Nazi activity. We continue to work towards social justice and equality as we discuss legislation to extend protections to transgendered people facing harassment in the community.

Presented a budget to the village board that cuts taxes for the second year in a row - an 8% cut last year, and a 15% cut this year. When the first draft of the budget was finished, it came with a 22% tax cut; a cut both the Village Treasurer and myself were uncomfortable with, due to the sometimes volatile nature of municipal budgets when unfunded mandates come down from the state, or when health care costs skyrocket. The 15% is a conservative tax cut, one that leaves us with enough money in reserve to meet unexpected costs, while at the same time allowing us money to set aside to leverage into more money through aggressive pursuit of grant funding.

Jason is running for reelection May 1, 2007 and you can access his web page at: http://www.jasonwest.org

Get Ready for Reading, Pa!

The Green Party National Committee (GNC) voted on Reading, PA as the host site for this year's national meeting taking place from July 12-15. The meeting promises to be an educational, inspiring and fun time for all. We will offer an expanded campaign school, skills building workshops, an Americana music festival and a chance to meet hear from Green Party presidential candidates. The Berks County Green Party and the Annual National Meeting Committee (ANMC) are working hard to ensure that an inspiring, educational and fun time is had by all! To register click here.





Greens Win in Vermont and New Mexico, Look Forward to More Victories in 2007!

Already this year two Greens were elected to public office. Congratulations are in order for Hillary Weeks the new elections inspector of Burlington, VT. Hillary is the first woman to be elected to office as a Green in Vermont. Congrats also Richard Polese elected to the Santa Fe, NM School Board. This was Richard's first run for office.

We expect more victories this year. New Paltz, NY Mayor Jason West is running for reelection May 1st as is Boston, MA City Councilor Chuck Turner -the highest ranking African-American Green Officeholder. Washington DC's Renee Bowser, a current Green officeholder, serving as the Chair of ANC4D is running in the special election for the Ward 4 City Council seat.

As of this writing 60 candidates in 11 states. With 17 declared candidates Wisconsin takes the lead with the most candidates, so far this year. New Jersey is running a close second with 12 declared candidates.

And of course were planning for 2008! Greens candidates are making plans now to run for office at all levels, from the municipal to the national level -making sure the public can put their vote where their values are. Three candidates have already declared their intent to seek the Green Party presidential ticket; Kat Swift of Texas, Kent Mesplay of California, and former Black Panther Party chair Elaine Brown from Georgia. Kinamo Christin Moyowaisfza-Curry of California is seeking the Green Vice-Presidential ticket.


Reach Out
to your community and schools with GREEN PAGES 1 bundle (100 newspapers) $25
order here.



Help revise the Green Party Platform

The Platform Committee is open to receive amendments to the 2004 Platform in preparation for drafting the 2008 Platform. The purpose is to update the Platform to fit the political reality that confronts the Green Party.

Many policies may include new directions and our practices may need updating. All Greens are invited to review the 2004 Platform, and consider submitting an amendment.

The essence of the document may not change; however the intention is to "streamline" the 2004, 70-page, double column document and reduce it to 45-50 pages; to accomplish this goal, will entail the reduction of historical narrative, accusations and explanations, window-dressing and repetition. In effect, there will be deletions, revision of language, some re-ordering and amendments. An amendment can take any of these forms.

Below are directions for writing and submitting an amendment. Please make it your job to spread this notice to your state Green membership. By alerting all Greens of the amendment process we make the Platform work democratic.

Format for submitting an amendment to 2004 Platform:

Full Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip/Postal Code
Home Phone & Email
State Green Party or caucus affiliation

The Platform Committee may return a proposal for revision or correction if it is too long or differs significantly from earlier Platforms.

Get approval from your State Committee or Caucus before sending an amendment to the Platform Committee.

If you wish to write an explanatory comment, please place it first, at the beginning of your amendment.

Directions for amendment:

Go to the 2004 text and find Chapter (roman numeral), then Section (a,b, c) then paragraph (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) where your amendment will fit. If you re-order text, please indicate. This makes it easy to be placed parallel to 2004 text on website

Write in italics, bold or underlined , the new words, new line or new paragraph of your amendment to the 2004 text. That way the new text is easily distinguished from the old.

Indicate by dots.... when you delete words or sentences.

If you need an explanation or the answer to a question, please write to the Platform Committee:platform-work@gp-us.org or to the co-chair, Jenefer Ellingston at:
jellingston@greens.org

Green Party Initiates Impeachment Petition

The Geen Party has been opposed to the war in Iraq from before it started and we have called for impeachment almost as long. You can now sign the recently created Green Party Petition to Impeach Bush and Cheney here.

Please go here to write your congress person or local newspaper using the Green Party automated system.


Green Party Mascot???
Forget Republican elephants and Democrat donkeys it's time we have our own mascot to represent the Greens! The Green Party will elect it's mascot in 2007. The nominations process is open to all Greens. Please email your nomination for the Green Party Mascot to mascot@gp.org and help spread the word.
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Comments:
I have no idea how he proposes to do this, but Go Jason!
What if I told you he was selling kids into slavery to generate money for tax cuts? Well, actually, he's pissing away the reserve fund to win votes from the same property owners he's spent the last four years ignoring. How about finding out about an issue before supporting it?
 
More info on Hillary is at:

Green Party of Burlington
Green Party of Burlington
 
Well bob, you make a valid point. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this blogging as regularly as I would like, and have little if any time to do the sort of serious research that this idea, a blog for and about the Green Party, deserves.

My main point is, if we want to be as sucessful as we can be in advancing our values, we will do better by keeping taxes as low as possible. So long as the goals are being met, it is a good thing for people to be able to keep more of what they earn.

That does not at all include money inherited, money stolen whether with a gun or a pen, nor money above a reasonable level. I am OK with exceptionally high taxes on the super-rich.

If what you say is accurate, and again, I don't have time to find out, then Jason would seem to be doing two things wrong. First, by ignoring property owners, he is not holding fast to the key value of grassroots democracy. Owning property is commonplace, and no sign of wealth. Secondly, if he is taking money from reserve funds to pay for a tax break, that would not be sustainable. It may be legit to refund tax dollars if they are not needed, but not to cut taxes, as that has longer term implications.

bob, if you have more info you can share, please don't hesitate. I like, respect, and trust Jason, but he is not beyond reproach. There are none sacred here.

Gregg
 
Thanks for your reasonable reply to my not-so-reasonable comment. I agree with what you say. Spending reserve money (to a point below what's recommended by municipal finance experts) is not sustainable. That's my main point. My main concern in NP is that people are blindly supporting Jason because he's capital "G" Green even though many of his ideas are not at all green. For example, sometime today at ulsterpublishing.com, you should be able to read what I just read in our local paper...a bunch of letters from people rightly outraged that our village clerk in charge of elections is also actively campaigning on Jason's behalf. The arrogance of power has no loyalty to any one party. Thanks again for your response, Gregg.
 
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