Oct 4, 2011

The Republican attack on voting

"...Restrictive voting laws in states across the country could affect up to five million voters from traditionally Democratic demographics in 2012, according to a new report by the Brennan Center."

Can you say Jim Crow?  Its time to speak up people; you're next!

Apr 7, 2011

Letter to the editor: Indian Point’s danger threat is real

To the Editors:

In J. D. Piro’s last column he reports that Nan Hayworth and Robert Castelli agree that “while safety is their paramount concern, the likelihood of a Japan-style tragedy at Indian Point is fairly low, since a tsunami hasn’t hit the North Atlantic coast since, well, never.” A simple googling of “nuclear accidents” will yield a seemingly endless list of disturbing events from just scary to breathtaking.

Major failures don’t have to involve a tsunami. Recent studies by Columbia University seismologists have revealed that fault lines near Indian Point have the potential to give rise to magnitude 7 earthquakes, higher than the design criteria used for the plant. The more basic fallacy here is that there could be some acceptable level of risk we are willing to take against worst-case scenarios for the metro region. No private company has the right to foist this unlimited risk on us. Ms. Hayworth is very free with references to the wonders of liberty and free markets as solutions for just about everything, yet we hear nothing from her about the corporate socialism represented by the legislative cap on liability provided to the nuclear industry by the Price Anderson Act (effectively making you their insurer).

Area towns, including Lewisboro (2004) and officials at all levels have demanded that we not relicense Indian Point. Mr. Castelli has been supportive of green energy initiatives; I hope he will come out clearly against Indian Point. Ms. Hayworth has a much larger leap to make to join her constituents.

South Salem, April 4

Mar 26, 2011

Ledger: Board considers Complete Streets policy

Spearheaded by Town Board member Dan Welsh, officials are taking a look at adopting a Complete Streets policy for the town of Lewisboro.

Mr. Welsh has long been an advocate of improving the livability of the town with bike paths, walking trails and other initiatives that would provide links both within and between hamlets.

Complete Streets is a national advocacy organization. “It is an approach to thinking about our streets and roads,” Mr. Welsh told The Ledger. “It is not by origin a government program, but its proponents are encouraging governments at all levels to adopt its principles. Its policies have been adopted in states, counties and towns.”

Mr. Welsh submitted a draft policy for Lewisboro at the March 14 Town Board meeting. Nadine Lemmon, a staff member with the Tristate Transportation Campaign, a proponent of Complete Streets, was on hand at his invitation to answer questions.

Mr. Welsh said the Trsitate Transportation Campaign works to create more sustainable, equitable and transit friendly communities in downstate New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond.
Draft policy

In the policy drafted for review by the Town Board, Mr. Welsh said there is an increased interest and awareness of bike and pedestrian access and safety issues in Lewisboro.

“At its simplest, it is neighbors lamenting that their kids can’t bike around or walk to a friend’s the way they did when they were young,” he said. “More urgently, unsafe conditions at our major intersections have been studied and await improvements. I have prepared a resolution to establish a Complete Streets Policy in response to, and in support of, activity in this area.”

Mr. Welsh said such a policy would provide guidance as the town develops specifics and plans for addressing the deficiencies in the town’s road network and enhances the livability of the community. “Documentation such as this will provide a stronger base for requests made to the state to remedy conditions which negatively impact our residents and limit accessibility in streets and intersections,” he said.

Ms. Lemmon said the driving force behind the policy is that it takes into account all users of roads. She said it allows communities to direct their transportation planner and engineers to design and operate roads with safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability or means of transportation — walking driving or bicycling.
Board response

Town board members said they saw both positives and negatives.

“My concern would be making sure that the state roads, which are central to most of our hamlets and businesses, would benefit from this,” Town Board member Peter DeLucia said. “And if we do adopt something, we have to be very mindful of what happens afterwards. We also have economics to consider.”

Town Board member Frank Kelly said: “We do want a plan for pedestrians and bike access. We just have to figure out the best way to do it.”

Officials agreed that Lewisboro is a “bike-friendly” town and that safety issues for both bikers and pedestrians were an important concern.

At the end of the discussion, Town Board members agreed the policy was worth consideration. “Let’s send this on to the Planning Board and Kellard Sessions to see what they think of the concept,” Mr. Welsh said. “We can then discuss it again.”

Mr. Welsh said more information on Complete Streets is available at www.completestreets.org.

... and here's the resolution itself

Resolution : End the Wars, Redirect Resources to Critical Needs
March 14, 2011 Lewisboro Town Board

Whereas, March 19, 2011 is the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and October will be the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan war, arguably the longest in U.S. history, and

Whereas, our country and community face the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression; and

Whereas, 58 cents of every tax dollar spent by the Federal Government on discretionary appropriations is spent to pay for past, present and future military expenditures;

Whereas, not including U.S. military forces presently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, our country maintains more than 350,000 troops stationed in 146 countries and a network of more than 800 bases in 63 foreign countries, which together cost more than $372 billion annually; and

Whereas, U.S. military spending is nearly equal to the total military spending of the rest of the world, and interest payments alone on the military portion of the national debt consumed $30.25 billion in 2009; and

Whereas, between FY 2001 and FY 2008, federal grants to state and local governments increased 0.57% for every 1% increase in total federal budget authority; yet, during the same period, federal military expenditures increased 1.47% for every 1% in total federal budget authority - 258 times the rate of increase in grants to state and local government; and

Whereas, for every $1 billion spent on the military 11,600 jobs are created, while for the same billion dollars 14,800 jobs are created in consumption derived from tax cuts; 17,100 jobs are created by investments in clean energy; 19,600 jobs are created by funding health care; and 29,100 jobs are created from spending on education; and

Whereas, the Pentagon budget was $297 billion when President Clinton left office, and the proposed 2011 fiscal year Pentagon budget was $708 billion, more than double, and military spending by other agencies raises that total to more than $1 trillion; and

Whereas, instead of making us safer, this massive misallocation of resources and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created more enemies and actually increased the risk of terrorism, and have already cost the lives of over 5000 U.S. troops, wounding more than 100,000 others, and when future medical treatment for injured veterans, replacement equipment and armament, interest payments on the military portion of the debt, and other residual costs are factored in, by 2017 total expenditures are projected to run between $3 and $5 trillion; and

Whereas, this drain on the public treasury is bleeding our nation and forcing a choice between ever greater debt that will be borne by future generations or severe cuts in vital social programs and public services, resulting in government’s inability to meet the most basic needs of our people; and

Whereas, there is no military solution to the problem of terrorism, but terrorists have been effectively dealt with as a criminal justice problem, using police and intelligence methods, choking off finances, and through development assistance, education and other means to address the underlying grievances that are a seedbed for terrorism;

Be it resolved, that the Town Board of the Town of Lewisboro calls upon the Congress and the President to change course by ending the wasteful and unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dismantling the global network of military bases, bringing all our troops and tax dollars home, and dramatically shifting our national priorities to meet human needs, restore vital social programs and public services, rebuild our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure, decaying inner cities and the still devastated Gulf Coast, thereby creating stable jobs at living wages for all who seek employment, and by putting our nation on an environmentally sustainable, ecologically responsible path that addresses the challenge of global warming and environmental degradation while reinvigorating our economy; and

Be it finally resolved, that our nation’s security can be more effectively enhanced by using our resources to address the causes of global poverty, hunger, disease, and under-development that are the seedbed for conflict, and by relying on diplomacy, development aid, and international cooperation rather than force of arms, war and military occupation to protect our national security and promote peaceful relations with other countries and peoples.

Ledger: Welsh’s resolution: Raised and rejected

Town Board members quickly shot down a resolution to “End the Wars, Redirect Resources to Critical Needs” presented by Town Board member Dan Welsh at the March 14 meeting.

The proposed resolution describes in detail the enormous financial toll taken by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and asks that the Town Board “call upon Congress and the President to change course by ending the wasteful and unwinnable wars … dismantling the global network of military bases, bringing all of our troops and tax dollars home, and dramatically shifting our national priorities to meet human needs.”

The resolution states that our nation’s security may be more effectively enhanced by using our resources to address the causes of global poverty, hunger disease and underdevelopment that are the seedbed for conflict.

Although the resolution was lengthy, Town Board members took only a minute to shoot it down.

“This is one of the most infantile and puerile things I have ever heard,” said Town Board member Frank Kelly, a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq.

Town Board member Peter DeLucia agreed. “The reason we have the freedom to sit here tonight and listen to this is because of our great armed forces. There is no way I would ever even consider seconding a motion on this.”

Supervisor Duffy said he was in agreement with his two colleagues. There was no rebuttal from Mr. Welsh.