August 5, 2022
work from home for justice
In a rare do-over, New York’s City Council will have an opportunity to “revisit the school budget and vote again.”
The State Supreme Court judge, Justice Lyle E. Frank, heard from lawyers representing parents and teachers, who have argued that the cuts come at a terrible time for schools trying to recover from the pandemic, and from lawyers for the city, who have argued that New York can’t keep paying for thousands of students who have left its schools.
Justice Frank agree[d] with parents and teachers who contended that the schools chancellor had improperly used an “emergency declaration” at the end of May to delay a public meeting on the budget until after it had been adopted.
You may also recall that the budget vote was rushed, leaving many council members feeling steamrolled.
The idea that a budget is a moral document has been variously attributed — most often to Martin Luther King, Jr., and sometimes to Gandhi, Eisenhower, or the book of Matthew. Public money belongs to all of us and should be spent on real needs to serve the greatest number of people (if you’re a utilitarian).
In any case, budgeting should be done without coercion. In fact, everything should be done without coercion.
Police who abuse their power are seldom punished, even though lawsuits against the city involving allegations of police misconduct have cost us almost $68 million in settlements since January of this year.
One of the biggest payouts was related to police violence in the Bronx during the protests that followed George Floyd’s murder. Another involved a wrongful murder conviction of a man who served more than 20 years in prison because the police framed him.
A lawyer with the Legal Aid Society pointed out that
[t]he city’s “inaction” in dealing with officers who commit misconduct furthers “the culture of impunity that thrives at precincts throughout New York City” and “costs taxpayers millions of dollars that would be better spent on services for vulnerable communities.”
Last year, I worked with a group of sixth graders who were entirely serious about getting racist cops off the streets of New York. They came immediately to mind when I read about settlements and the failure to hold officers accountable.
If you want to talk to people who believe in fairness, sixth grade is a great place to start. When I think like a sixth grader, I wonder: Why aren’t the costs of the legal defense and damages paid out by the city on behalf of officers subtracted directly from the NYPD’s budget?
Let’s ask our elected officials! Contact your city council rep about the school budget and the NYPD budget. This is a 30-second action!
Money talks. This is one of the biggest problems in American life, from my perspective. Climate writer Emily Atkin solved a mystery for me by exposing a diabolical
GOP-linked dark money organization running deceptive ads on Google and other platforms in an attempt to kill historic climate legislation.
Because I had seen many ads from United for Clean Power in the Politico newsletter I read daily, I had been wondering about the group. Atkin points out that the ads have run every day since the Manchin-Schumer agreement on climate and tax legislation.
Read Atkin’s full post. Here’s a taste:
It’s clear that United for Clean Power isn’t really a bastion of progressive values. But does it matter that they’re pretending to be?
After all, there are real problems with the climate bill, and climate justice groups have not been shy about pointing that out. Just like United for Clean Power, actual climate justice groups like WE ACT, Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Center for Biological Diversity have released scathing statements condemning the pro-fossil fuel provisions in the bill.
But none of those real climate justice groups are outwardly calling for the bill to be killed. The actual climate groups instead urge Democrats to keep fighting against the provisions that boost fossil fuels, and for President Biden to declare a climate emergency in addition to passing the bill.
After subjecting the rest of us to her mercurial silence, Kyrsten Sinema seems to have finally signed on to support the bill. Let’s remind the president to do even more.
Urge President Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency. This 15-second action is from Th!rd Act.
We are not going to be fooled by astroturf advocacy groups into misunderstanding our own interests. Nor will we give in to the false idea that money is the only thing that talks.
Today is the last day to to submit public comments on New York State’s disadvantaged community (DAC) criteria for its Climate Action Plan.
These ready-made actions from NY Renews. You need not live in NYS to comment AND you can comment more than once!
Submit a comment on the definition of “disadvantaged communities” in the state’s Climate Action Plan.
Comment on the importance of an interactive map of disadvantaged communities.
Weigh in on the importance of equitable investment in NYS’s disadvantaged communities.
Extreme weather is keeping climate issues front and center for many of us. Here are some repeat climate actions if you missed them:
Urge the president to regulate cryptocurrencies and crypto mining in order to address the climate crisis and reduce rising energy costs. This 30-second action has been updated.
I wrote at some length on last week about the impact of cryptomining in Texas, where the state’s electric grid cannot receive power in an emergency from other states.
Sign the petition to oppose the Riot Blockchain Mine in Navarro, County, TX. Pass it on to friends and family in Texas!
Because cryptomining is both inessential and energy-intensive, we have to push Governor Hochul to sign the NYS cryptomining moratorium.
Sign this petition from EarthJustice to urge the governor to sign the moratorium. It takes just 15 seconds!
I’m taking Monday off to look in on my mama, whom I haven’t seen since our family super-spreader event. You can catch COVID even from close friends and family, so wear your mask indoors and eat outside!
Back late Tuesday with some good news.