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Letter to the editor from Connie Hogarth re: Terry Gipson

To the Editor:

As a lifelong environmentalist, a can hardly believe the distortions and outright lies spewed by candidate Sue Serino about State Senator Terry Gipson! 

One could hardly ask for a government representative more committed to the issues of environmental funding and support for the DEC, banning of hydrofracking in NYState, shutting down the aging nuclear power plants at Indian Pt — an evergrowing danger in the entire 50 mile radius of the plan — and so much more that he is acutely aware of, if we are to survive in this period of increasing climate change with all that it portends.

On all these issues, State Senator Terry Gipson has voted for a sustainable future for us and our children, while Sue Serino has taken a consistently negative posture…ready to gut the DEC(Department of Environmental Conservation), supporting fracking which has already devastated many lives in the Hudson Valley region, and has generally taken positions given to her by the Republican party which undermine every environmental advance.  And Terry Gipson is so strong on protecting our environment… which means protecting families and children… that he has been judged to have a perfect record by Environmental Advocates. And that must be seen as an important judgment  to people in this district. 

It is important to me to mention other vital issues on which Terry Gipson has taken a strong and critical stand—supporting the Women’s Equality Act and a woman’s right to choose; raising the minimum wage; supporting firearms background checks; supporting campaign finance reform so that money is not the determinant of who runs our government and makes decisions for  us….and Sue Serino is not supporting any of this!

Her attacks on State Senator Terry Gipson have proved totally unfounded and vicious.

I urge all readers to be sure to vote on November 4th as if your future in NYState depends on it…and reelect Terry Gipson as our State Senator once again!

Sincerely,   Connie Hogarth,

20 Hartsook Lane, Beacon NY 12508

Director of the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY

(h) 845 838 2415

Next year, Chicago is to start a radical experiment in safety — a “shared street.” Argyle Street in the Uptown neighborhood will have no curb cuts and a speed limit of 15 miles per hour for everyone; cars, bikes and pedestrians will be expected to figure it out. In New York, that may be a street too far. But the solid underlying idea is of a city where multiple modes of movement are respected and sharing is encouraged.

I am still pushing for turning parts of Main Street into a ‘shared place’, but have gained little support. I plan to visit Argyle Street in Chicago next year, and research the changes that come from that.

Raise The Minimum Wage

The NY Times Editorial Board says that the attempts to raise the minimum wage in New York City and New York State are too little and too late.

As they stated, 

In a recent election-year about-face, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to support a gradual increase in the state minimum to $10.10 and to push for a new law to let New York City and other localities set minimums as much as 30 percent higher than the state level, or $13.13 if the state minimum rises to $10.10.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, for his part, recently issued an executive order to require businesses that receive substantial city subsidies to pay a “living wage” of at least $13.13 an hour if they don’t offer benefits, or $11.50 if they do, up from $11.90 and $10.30, respectively. The living-wage increase is expected to help 18,000 workers over the next five years. It is also expected to help Mr. de Blasio frame the coming debate in Albany over whether to give him the power to raise the city’s overall minimum wage.

Yet despite these efforts, it is important to realize that a state minimum of $10.10 at some future date and a city minimum of $13.13, while better than the status quo, would still be too low. The New York State minimum would be $11.11 an hour today if it had simply kept up with inflation. It would be even higher if it had kept up with labor productivity.

As for New York City, $13.13 an hour is well below the self-sufficiency standards that budget experts use to gauge how much families need to meet basic daily expenses. These standards show that a family in the Bronx in 2010 with two adults and two young children needed each adult to make at least $15.69 an hour; higher hourly minimums were needed in most of Manhattan and the other boroughs.

We have held minimum wages so low for so long that any upward movement looks good, but if we settle for anything below self-sufficiency those workers — and families — will still be reliant on other sources of support, like second and third jobs, government assistance, or charity. Why are we building that into the remedy for poverty?

MTA releases capital budget plan of $32B, but the funding gap is huge

The five year funding plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Agency has been released, and the unfunded part if a record: $15.2 billion of the $32 billion plan. At a time when the metro region is growing, and we need to get more people off the highways and onto mass transit, we can only hope that the governor will work to get this funded.

Emma Fitzsimmons, In M.T.A. Capital Budget, a Reappearing Cash Gap

The spending plan calls for $22 billion to buy new subway cars and buses and to make improvements to tracks and signals in the system, which serves more than eight million passengers a day. An additional $4.3 billion would pay for new technology like countdown clocks and a more advanced fare payment system. And $5.5 billion would pay for expansions, like the second phase of the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access project, which is to bring the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal. It also includes the first request for financing to bring the Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven line into Pennsylvania Station and to build four new stations on the line in the Bronx, a proposal Mr. Cuomo has expressed support for.

From the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge to the rebuilding of the storm-damaged Montague subway tunnel, which connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, the governor has recently focused on transportation and infrastructure issues. But transportation advocates and experts said that Albany would have to do far more if the region’s subways, buses and railroads are to cope with their advancing age and increasing ridership.

Mr. Prendergast said the new capital plan was the start of a campaign to convince riders and state and city leaders that the system needed a lot of money — and a sustainable way to finance its capital needs. The authority has not done enough to show riders how important the system is for the region’s economy, and making that case will be part of the campaign, Mr. [Thomas] Prendergast [chairman of the MTA] said.

Obvious improvements would include a better fare management system for subways, so that people would pay more for longer rides instead of a flat rate to enter the system. I hope the MTA will improve the train lines so that the travel time to NYC would drop. I — for one — would be willing to pay more for a faster ride.