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Mon Apr 29, 2013

Connecticut General Assembly expected to let undocumented immigrants drive legally -New Haven Register

HARTFORD — The leadership of the General Assembly says the votes are there and they expect to pass a bill this session that would offer driver’s licenses to undocumented residents, citing reasons including training, insurance, revenue and safety.... CONECT, or Congregations for a New Connecticut, which represents some 28 different faith communities in the state, has lobbied hard for the changes since January, making arguments on the economic benefits of insuring all drivers and bringing new revenues to the state, but mainly on the safety aspect.

Mon Apr 22, 2013

At Dorchester church, faith leaders, political candidates call for peace, unity in wake of marathon bombings -The Boston Globe

 

Area spiritual leaders from several religions and local political candidates gathered at Saint Mark Parish in Dorchester on Sunday evening to show support and unity after a sequence of brutal violence over the past week.

More than 500 people – a blend of Christians, Jews and Muslims – packed the basement of the century-old Catholic church to pray, reflect, sing and rally together.

Led by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the event also drew candidates running for the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry and others eyeing the First Suffolk District State Senate seat vacated by John A. Hart Jr.

Planning for the event began several weeks ago. Organizers said they originally intended to ask the candidates to explain their positions on key issues, including gun violence, youth programming, immigration and health care.

But after two deadly bombings on Marathon Monday followed by a manhunt Thursday and Friday that left one police officer dead and another wounded, the forum’s agenda changed.

 
Fri Apr 19, 2013

His Father’s Murder Drives a Rabbi’s Pursuit of Gun Control -New York Times

In the months after his father’s murder in early 1999, those months stretching formlessly between the mourning ritual of shiva and the impending trial of a suspect, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher received many messages of solace. There was one type, however, that tested every atom of clerical forbearance he possessed“People said in this trying-to-be-helpful way, ‘This will make you a better rabbi,’ ” Rabbi Mosbacher, 43, recalled. “And nothing made me angrier. I didn’t want to be a better rabbi. I wanted my dad back.” ...While the rabbi had done a bit of tentative speaking on gun control as early as 2000, his commitment accelerated after 2006, when he first learned about the Industrial Areas Foundation. As a legacy of the renowned community organizer Saul Alinsky, the foundation largely mobilizes religious congregations. Its style, far from being earnest, is proudly combative.

Thu Apr 18, 2013

Gun control without waiting for Congress -New York Daily News

Fifty-five days after Newtown, daily reports of bipartisan support for measures to curb gun trafficking vie with photos of caskets holding the bodies of more young victims of violence.

Meantime, it is becoming clear that the progress of new legislation in Congress will be limited by politicians’ fears that aggressive action will cost contributions and votes in pro-gun districts.

Another response, proposed for many years by mayors and our own citizens organizations, does not depend on lawmakers. The purchasing power of the largest buyers of weapons — police departments, the U.S. military and the Homeland Security Department — can and should be used immediately to create a code of responsible conduct for gun manufacturers and gun dealers.

Mon Mar 25, 2013

Mayoral hopefuls' plans for public safety should scare New Yorkers witless -New York Daily News

Seven candidates appeared at the third of the mayoral forums sponsored by the Daily News and the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation citizens group. The topic was public safety. All were advised to come prepared to explain how he or she would hold the line on crime or drive it still lower — the central duty of any mayor. All were given the opportunity to present their three most important strategies. Not one of them was convincing or spoke with a semblance of coherence or authority. Since 1990, the city has enjoyed a steady downward trend in felonies. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD has reduced crime to record levels, an achievement that strengthened the foundation of the city’s resurgence. Allow fear to return, and all will be lost, including lives.

Tue Mar 5, 2013

2,000 attend New Haven hearing on bill to give licenses to undocumented -The New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Carolina Bortolleto, an undocumented student from Danbury, came forward Monday to testify, not for herself, but on behalf of her parents, explaining what drivers’ licenses would for mean for them. “Sitting in the back seat I can see my mom shaking and praying if she sees the police behind us. ... ‘Pull over anywhere. Pretend we are stopping for coffee. Pretend we are stopping at this restaurant, because if the police stop us, we are going to be deported,” Bortolleto said of the daily fear they experience just driving to work or to school or the grocery store. “All these basic tasks that you take for granted, are filled with anxiety for me and my family,” said Bortolleto, who is a leader in CT Students for a DREAM. She was one of 2,000 people from around the state who came to Wilbur Cross High School where they filled the auditorium and spilled into the gymnasium and the cafeteria to testify on behalf of proposed legislation that would provide licenses to the undocumented.

Sun Mar 3, 2013

Promises to keep: Seven mayoral candidates make school reform pledges, and many are underwhelming -New York Daily News

At the mayoral forum sponsored last week by the Daily News and the Metro IAF citizens organization, Bill Thompson got to the heart of why we pressed the candidates to detail plans for the schools. He asked: “What defines success, not just in four years, each year. The chancellor and mayor need to be held accountable for that. We need to put that forward.” With very mixed success, the seven-member field attempted to accomplish that goal in front of an audience of about 1,000 New Yorkers gathered at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue.

Fri Feb 22, 2013

Gov. Kasich invokes 'the Good Book' while urging Medicaid expansion -Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gov. John Kasich touted expansion of Ohio’s Medicaid program in his State of the State address as the right and compassionate thing to do, invoking his personal faith and lessons from “the Good Book” as a guide in his decision. The governor urged lawmakers to examine their consciences and not let concerns about government spending, something conservative Republicans in the General Assembly have expressed, trump what he laid out as a moral imperative: helping the less fortunate.

Fri Feb 22, 2013

Governors Fall Away in G.O.P. Opposition to More Medicaid -The New York Times

Under pressure from the health care industry and consumer advocates, seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand Medicaid, giving an unexpected boost to President Obama’s plan to insure some 30 million more Americans.... Every few days, state hospital associations and advocates for poor people issue reports asserting that the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid would outweigh the costs. In recent weeks, such reports have been issued in Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. The existence of such a report was a decisive factor in Ohio, where Gov. John R. Kasich decided to embrace an expansion after months of lobbying by coalitions of churches, hospitals, business groups and others. Publication of that study — by Ohio State University, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, the Urban Institute and Regional Economic Models — was “a major watershed moment,” said Ari Lipman, lead organizer of Greater Cleveland Congregations and chairman of the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition.

Mon Feb 18, 2013

Let Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses -Hartfort Courant

In a perfect world, everyone in this country would be here legally and be eligible for all of the privileges of citizenship. In the world we've got, however, there are some 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, tens of thousands in Connecticut. The vast majority came here to work and gain a better life — the same reason people have been coming to these shores for nearly four centuries. As New York Times writer Adam Davidson recently observed, the immigrants mostly help the economy. But to do so, many need to drive.... Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, a group of more than two dozen religious congregations from the southwestern part of the state, has researched the issue and believes that allowing an estimated 54,000 undocumented immigrants to get licenses would make driving safer and less expensive for everyone.

Mon Feb 4, 2013

Ohio's Gov. John Kasich to seek Medicaid Expansion -Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --Saying that an expansion of Medicaid will help “some of the poorest Ohioans, Gov. John Kasich included the much-anticipated announcement in his two-year budget proposal Monday. The move makes Ohio one of a growing number of Republican-led states to fulfill an option under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Mon Feb 4, 2013

Hugh Bailey: Working on behalf of the powerless -Connecticut Post

The angry letters practically write themselves. Illegal means illegal. Stop rewarding law-breakers. And on and on. Few issues lend themselves to demagoguery as easily as immigration. So the idea of allowing people referred to as illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses from the state of Connecticut will be a nonstarter to many people.

Fri Feb 1, 2013

Bloomberg vows to eliminate backlog of NYCHA repairs by end of year -New York Daily News

Mayor Bloomberg promised Thursday to eliminate a stunning backlog of 420,000 public housing apartment repairs by the end of the year. But critics were skeptical the city could meet its goals. “Today marks the beginning of the end of this problem,” the mayor declared at a press conference in the Drew-Hamilton Houses in East Harlem.

Fri Jan 25, 2013

Religious, community members rally to urge Gov. Kasich to expand Medicaid in Ohio -Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --- More than 1,000 rallied at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Thursday night to show their support for expanding Medicaid in Ohio.  The assembly brought together members of religious congregations, community groups and major health care providers to demonstrate community support for expanding Medicaid.

Fri Jan 25, 2013

Religious, community members rally to urge Gov. Kasich to expand Medicaid in Ohio -Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --- More than 1,000 rallied at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Thursday night to show their support for expanding Medicaid in Ohio.  The assembly brought together members of religious congregations, community groups and major health care providers to demonstrate community support for expanding Medicaid.

Fri Jan 25, 2013

Unexpected Focus at a Mayoral Forum -The New York Times

This year’s campaign for New York City mayor was expected to turn on police tactics, education policy and economic development.  On Thursday, six of the leading candidates in the race found themselves discussing something different: mold.

Fri Jan 25, 2013

Mayoral Candidates Hold Public Forum -New York Daily News

Six major mayoral candidates squared off for the first time Thursday night, and all went on the attack — not against each other, but against Mayor Bloomberg.

Sat Jan 19, 2013

First affordable townhome of planned 22 lowered on foundation in Jackson Hill ceremony -The Jersey Journal

The first in a series of new townhomes in the Jackson Hill neighborhood of Jersey City was lowered onto its foundation yesterday as part of a ceremony celebrating the new affordable housing.

Sun Jan 13, 2013

Will Ohio Gov. John Kasich expand Medicaid? "Too important to leave hanging" -Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --
For Ohio’s health care industry and patient advocates, all eyes are on Gov. John Kasich and the two-year state budget he’s expected to propose on Feb. 4. 

Wed Dec 19, 2012

Public Housing Residents Claim NYCHA Just Paints Over Mold Problems -CBS News New York

It’s a cry for help from residents of New York City public housing. Many have been complaining about mold in their city apartments for years, but charge the New York City Housing Authority never really confronts the problem. “I’ve been having this problem over ten years now, with the mold. We [call] the complaint center, we put in a ticket and what they do is they come and they paint right over it and within three months, the mold starts to grow back again,” Rosanna De La Cuadra told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

Tue Dec 18, 2012

NYCHA's failure to stop reoccurring mold invasion spurs suit -New York Daily News

The mold in public housing tenant Patricia Gorritz’s apartment got so bad for her asthmatic children, the city Health Department ordered NYCHA to clean it immediately. A year later, NYCHA has done nothing to keep the mold from coming back again and again. On Tuesday, Gorritz will join other frustrated tenants in an action against the authority for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act — on the grounds that asthma is a disability.

Wed Dec 5, 2012

Fighting the waters in Southeast Queens -New York Daily News

As our region continues to recover from the devastation of superstorm Sandy, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have rightly said that the city and state need to update their infrastructure to deal with the increased likelihood of future flooding. Bloomberg even based his endorsement in the presidential race on President Obama’s position on climate change.

Sun Nov 11, 2012

He cleaned Nick Clegg's office – and was punished for wanting a living wage -The Guardian

Every weekday Valdemar Ventura, a gentle man with impeccable manners, leaves his small flat in south London and, until July, made his way to Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, where his duties included cleaning the floors, lavatories and office of the deputy prime minister,Nick Clegg. "A good man," Ventura says. "He always said, 'Hello, good morning'." Acknowledgment matters to a workforce often rendered largely invisible. Ventura, 44, a former soldier, came to the UK from Angola 10 years ago. Now he is one of 150 Whitehall cleaners, supported by the community organisation Citizens UK, campaigning for a living wage, the minimum hourly wage necessary for housing, food and other basic needs, calculated annually.

Thu Nov 8, 2012

Nehemiah Spring Creek is New York Magazine Space of the Week -New York Magazine

Alexander Gorlin is perhaps best known as the architect behind high-end residential constructions. He was even tasked with designing World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind’s own living space. But Gorlin firmly believes in the modernist dream of the architect as an agent of social change. Just days before Sandy hit, he took me on a tour of his latest project—East New York’s Nehemiah Spring Creek—a neighborhood of prefabricated townhouses for first-time home buyers. The process starts in this Brooklyn Navy Yard factory where the houses are constructed by Capsys.

Wed Nov 7, 2012

With Maryland ballot measures, voters do the unprecedented — twice -The Washington Post

By the time the polls closed Tuesday, Maryland voters had done something unprecedented — twice. They narrowly approved one ballot measure allowing same-sex marriage and gave broad approval to another that extends in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants. No similar measures — in which majorities conferred rights on minorities — had ever been enacted by a public vote in any state. The fact that both happened on a single ballot not only revealed a lot about the electorate in deep-blue Maryland but also offered a glimpse of where the nation may be headed on some pivotal cultural issues.

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