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Monday, September 12, 2016

re: new economy/LOIS-- thx to Francena Amparo for supporting update/expansion of Locally Owned Import Substition report!

[thx tons to Co. Leg. Francena Amparo for signing on to my letter here just below at tonight's County Legislature full board meeting-- calling on Dutchess to truly ramp up efforts for innovative job creation these ways listed below (including resurrecting the New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County I created and facilitating an expanded countywide update of the 2008 LOIS (Locally Owned Import Substitution) report that Melissa Everett of Sustainable Hudson Valley, nationally known local-economy expert Michael Shuman, and Ann Davis of the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research prepared back in 2008 for the Northern Dutchess Alliance-- "Blueprint for Economic Development"...note-- recently I pulled together a conference call with Melissa, Ann, and Michael-- they are ready, willing, able, interested in working on doing an expanded countywide LOIS update report for Dutchess-- if just a teeny tiny chunk of the current whopping $57 million county fund balance is used to help defray costs! all 25 of us at to build more support!...see:,367019156820649 (and thx again tons to HRH's Justine Porter for her inspirational Earth Day daylong conference at Vassar College with the Democracy Collaborative-- time to build off that!)]
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                                                                                                                                                         September 12, 2016
Mr. Marcus Molinaro
Dutchess County Executive
Dutchess County Office Building
22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus):

Last month New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported that Dutchess, Ulster, and Sullivan counties lost 1,700 jobs in the seven-year span from June 2009 to June 2016.  The Capital Region, comprising Greene and Columbia counties and six counties to their north, was an upstate outlier, gaining 11,600 jobs during the same period, the report says.

We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask you to help fund an update/expanded LOIS (Locally Owned Import Substitution) report for all of Dutchess County from Melissa Everett of Sustainable Hudson Valley, nationally known local economy expert Michael Shuman, and Ann Davis of the Marist College Bureau of Economic Research—updated and expanded from the 2008 LOIS report they completed for the Northern Dutchess Alliance (“Blueprint for Economic Development”). Melissa, Michael, and Ann are ready, willing, able, and more than a little bit interested in doing this work— let’s help facilitate this.

We also urge you to revive a New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County— investigate ideas like these:

Local Investment Fund as in Springfield/MA (Pioneer Valley)
Targeted CDs-- Certificates of Deposit to Fully Collateralize Loans to High-Priority Local Businesses
Issue Slow Munis— Create Bonds to Help Finance Local Businesses, Purchased Locally, Tax Exempt
Make Sure High-Speed, Affordable Broadband Available to All-- Facilitate Worker-Owned Cooperatives
Fund Local Microenterprise Entrepreneurs Not Corporate Attraction Welfare Fund
Start Local Slow Money Chapter, Join The Hudson Valley Current, Start Local Bank, Towards Zero Waste
Close Skills Gap with Manufacturing Renaissance Center with Labor and Corporations

Fact: Locally Owned Import Substitution has actually worked as an economic development strategy here:
Berea, KY
Boise, ID
Boulder, CO (Food Leakage)
Canadian Maritimes (in progress)
Cleveland (Food)
Davidson County, NC
Denver, CO (Food)
Katahdin Region, ME
Kootenai County, ID
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Michigan (Food)
New Mexico (Food)
Pioneer Valley (Food)
Santa Fe (in progress)
Spokane, WA
St. Lawrence County, NY

Wabash County, IL

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 [thx again to six of Joel's Co. Leg. colleagues-- Barbara Jeter-Jackson, Francena Amparo, April Farley, Micki Strawinski, Rich Perkins, and Nick Ignaffo-- for agreeing at the Mar. 9, 2015 mtg. of our County Legislature to sign the letter just a bit below that Joel circulated-- calling for a new bipartisan New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County... ] March 9, 2015 Mr. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County Executive Mr. Robert Rolison Dutchess County Legislature Chair 22 Market Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marc) and County Legislature Chair Rolison (Rob): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask that you work with members of the Dutchess County Legislature to launch a new bipartisan New Economy Task Force for Dutchess County, to help openly develop innovative ways to revitalize our local economy, given the fact that from 2003 to 2013, Dutchess County lost 4,396 jobs (a drop of 3.8 percent)— while four other nearby counties gained quite a few jobs over the same period (Orange up 6.5%, Putnam up 6%, Rockland up 5.1%, and Westchester up 0.8%). We also ask that you hold a series of public hearings across Dutchess to generate job-creating ideas, and ask that you include representatives from labor, business, colleges, and taxpayers in the Task Force too. Much has been written about the so-called “New Economy” movement— we in Dutchess would do well to at least try some of these ideas (see, Here are 8 of many innovative ways to create jobs in Dutchess our New Economy Task Force could work on: 1. LOIS (Locally Owned Import Substitution) as Cleveland has done successfully, creating worker-owned cooperatives paying a living wage, by pulling together their large businesses, colleges, universities, and institutions; Chicago Anchors for Strong Economy has done this (Northern Dutchess Alliance has agreed too). 2. Moving towards zero waste (recycling/composting) creates 10x more jobs than incineration/landfilling. (according to Institute for Local Self-Reliance, willing to assist us: 3. Microenterprise is proven way to help low-income folks launch their own businesses; more is needed here. 4. Solar jobs could be created with solar on all county properties and community solar farms encouraged as well as part of the PSC’s Reforming Energy Vision; Bedford in Westchester is also a good example Dutchess should follow re: educating local homeowners on the Green Jobs Green NY program ( 5. Dutchess County government should send unified message to NYSPSC— to stop newly proposed Central Hudson rate hike (besides FERC “new capacity zone” electric rate hike); local businesses can’t afford this. 6. Recognize that raising low-income workers’ wages helps, not hurts our local economy— e.g., San Diego’s unemployment rate actually went down after implementing a $10/hour minimum wage; if workers at profitable corporate chain fast-food restaurants and stores were paid living wage, would create more jobs. 7. Nassau, Washington, Suffolk, Monroe, and many other counties help mothers more with child care subsidies than we do here in Dutchess— our county government needs to do more to help working mothers re: jobs. 8. Send a strong message to Albany and Washington, D.C. to expand Medicare to cover us all— a single-payer health care system would actually help small business and corporations create jobs (   

re: pay-to-play-- Elliott Auerbach's right (and so is Francena Amparo)-- why can't Dutchess and Ulster ban pay-to-play with laws at least as strong as Rockland and Orange counties?

[thx again tons to Co. Leg. Francena Amparo for signing on to my new letter here below just now at tonight's full board mtg. of our County Legislature again calling for a ban on pay-to-play here in Dutchess-- newly inspired by Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach's recently released "Ethically Ulster" report...wake up folks-- both Rockland and Orange counties passed local laws banning pay-to-play corruption in their county governments; even the Poughkeepsie Journal has twice now strongly editorialized for this-- yet the current GOP Co. Leg. majority refuses to even allow on to the agenda for a committee meeting the very same (identical-verbatim) ban-pay-to-play law that a Republican Co. Leg. majority passed three years ago in Orange County right here in the Hudson Valley (no lie) all 25 of us at (and send in letters to the editor to local newspapers on this!):]
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September 12, 2016
Mr. Marcus Molinaro
Dutchess County Executive
Dutchess County Office Building
22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus):

We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, honoring the twin legacy and memory on this issue of the late great former Dutchess County Executive Lucille Pattison and former County Legislator Duane Smith, ask that you work with us in good faith to ban pay-to-play in our county government—in other words, to make it impossible for firms getting large county contracts to make large campaign donations.

Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach recently released an “Ethically Ulster” report sensibly recommending a number of reforms worthy of pursuit here in Dutchess County, including that “Ulster County should control the amount of money (i.e. campaign contributions) an elected official can accept from a vendor that is seeking governmental contracts.  Increased attention to this area would potentially prevent an advantage gained by a vendor who is looking to forward business before the County’s decision-makers.  This approach will ensure that vendors are selected for contracts based on merit rather than questionable economic influence. A local law pertaining to this topic had previously been proposed in Ulster County, but it was not ultimately adopted.  Orange County passed a “Pay-to-Play” law, limiting the amount a company seeking a contract with the county can donate to the Executive to $4000 over a four-year period.”

Auerbach continues— “However, such a law could be undermined through the use of the “LLC loophole.”  Companies or employees are technically not prohibited through the Orange County law-- or many other similar laws related to campaign finance-- from establishing a separate LLC that just so happens to skirt contribution limits through duplicitous campaign donations. This practice greatly undermines the intent of the law to limit the influence of such associated entities-- no matter the name attached to the company. This issue is not unique to Orange County and is a highly questioned maneuver in Albany and throughout the State.  Accordingly, Ulster’s ethics law should be amended to eliminate the ability of corporations or individuals to use this technicality as a means to unjustly magnify their financial assistance to elected official.”

As the Poughkeepsie Journal itself noted in its "Keep Improving Dutchess Ethics Law" May 29, 2004— “Accountability in Dutchess County government has taken a big stride forward recently-- though there's still room for improvement...more could be done to foster accountability. The Legislature could look to other counties, such as Rockland, for examples of strong laws. Dutchess could limit campaign contributions to $100 if they come from individuals or organizations that do business with the county.”

Recall the original Poughkeepsie Journal editorial on this issue September 16, 2000 as well-- "Ethics Law Must Cover Gift Limits—“Dutchess legislators should approve important campaign finance reform proposals still pending to the revised county ethics law passed last week. These additions, proposed by Legislator Duane Smith, D-Beekman, would demonstrate across-the-board devotion to the highest ethical standards.  To start off, Smith urges a $100 limit on all gifts to all candidates for county office from any person or company that does business with Dutchess County. That would eliminate any question of politicians returning favors for big campaign donations…Besides, the lawmaker urges closing loopholes so campaign contributors doing business with the county don't appear to be buying political influence.  Rockland County's own legislative counsel, Bruce Levine, a Democrat, and his GOP predecessor both determined that the Rockland measure is completely within the county's power and isn't in conflict with state law. If Rockland has been able to pass and enforce these campaign finance reforms without legal problems, shouldn't Dutchess be able to do the same by using the same model?”

re: stopping jail boondoggle-- thx tons to Francena Amparo and Kari Rieser for continuing to fight the good fight! (signed my new letter just now on this)

[thx tons to Co. Leg.'s Francena Amparo and Kari Rieser for agreeing just now at tonight's County Legislature full board meeting to sign my letter here just below once again calling for a limiting (as much as possible) in the size of impending jail expansion here in Dutchess County (approved Mar. 21st earlier this year for $192 million-- or $274 million after bonds fully paid out over thirty years)...wake up folks...this is STILL a timely fight-- as verified by yours truly earlier today-- I myself was in our County Legislature's chambers to hear Co. Leg. Greg Pulver, chair of our County Legislature's Advisory Committee on the Dutchess County Justice and Transition Center (DCJTC), tell everyone publicly that the design of the new jail wouldn't even start until "early 2017"(!) all 25 of us at!...see:;;] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - September 12, 2016 Dutchess County Office Building 22 Market Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, urge you to make sure the fewest number of new jail cells possible are constructed as part of the new Dutchess County Justice and Transition Center (DCJTC) project. The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce recently invited the Vera Institute there to help that community avoid a new costly jail expansion project proposed-- Dutchess County should do this too. For example, the Vera Institute’s groundbreaking recent “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America” report points out that Vera established an office in New Orleans in 2007 to work with city officials (the Mayor’s Office, the district attorney, the Orleans Public Defender, the courts, the city council, the New Orleans Police Department, and others), civic institutions, and organizations with deep roots in the communities most affected by the criminal justice system. By 2011, a working group of city officials staffed by Vera had succeeded in reducing the average time before arraignment from 64 days to 10.5 days. More from Vera-- “Washington, DC’s Pretrial Services Agency (DCPTS) has a very robust release and supervision program: 85 percent of defendants are released on ROR or with conditions supervised by DCPTS— and of that 85 percent, in 2012, just 11 percent were rearrested while released, and 11 percent failed to appear.” This is crucial, given the fact that well over half of current Dutchess County Jail inmates have yet to go to trial. The Vera Institute also points out that "Compared to low-risk defendants released prior to trial, those detained before trial were 400 percent more likely to receive a sentence of imprisonment and 300 percent more likely to be given a longer prison sentence. Compared to low-risk defendants held for no more than 24 hours, those held for 8-14 days were 56 percent more likely to be rearrested before trial, and 51 percent more likely to recidivate after sentence completion." John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge has also recognized that there are better, fairer, and more effective alternatives to excessive jail incarceration. The Safety and Justice Challenge is supporting a network of competitively selected local jurisdictions committed to finding ways to safely reduce jail incarceration-- Ada County, ID, Charleston County, SC, Cook County, IL, Harris County, TX, Los Angeles County, CA, Lucas County, OH, Mecklenburg County, NC, Milwaukee County, WI, Multnomah County, OR, New Orleans, LA, New York, NY, Palm Beach County, FL, Pennington County, SD, Philadelphia, PA, Pima County, AZ, St. Louis County, MO, Spokane County, WA, Mesa County, CO, Pennington County, SD, and Shelby County, TN. These jurisdictions participating in the Challenge are developing and modeling effective ways to keep people out of jail who don’t belong there, and more effectively reintegrate those who must be confined into the community upon release. In doing so, they are demonstrating alternatives to incarceration as usual, creating models for reducing unnecessary jail use to make communities healthier, fairer, and safer. Dutchess County should be working closely with both the Vera Institute and Safety and Justice Challenge now. Finally, the Poughkeepsie Journal editorial March 23rd-- "Borrowing Doesn't End Jail Debate"— pointed that “the public should stay engaged and not assume that as a result of a majority of county legislators voting in favor of a $192 million construction bond, this matter is completely settled. It is not…the project could wind up being smaller, should certain strategies prove effective. This is where a divided and fractured community could – and should – come together. The county, for instance, could forgo building a third floor of the facility, thus reducing the size by 72 beds. Other configurations also could be considered to lower both the capacity and cost. But that will occur only if the county can continue to reduce its average daily inmate population through alternatives to incarceration and other programming.” Design of the DCJTC should take all of this above into consideration.

re: frack barge anchorage threat-- kudos to Micki, Francena, Hannah, Kari, and Craig for signing signing my letter here to kill this thing before it grows!

[thx tons to Co. Leg.'s Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, Hannah Black, Kari Rieser, and Craig Brendli for signing on just now at tonight's Co. Leg. full board meeting to this letter below of mine!...pls follow suit before Dec. 6th and comment online before deadline runs out @; thx tons to Steve Hutkins, Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Elizabeth Spinzia; see; ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - September 12, 2016 Mr. Craig Lapiejko Coast Guard First District Waterways Management Specialist 408 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02110 Dear Mr. Lapiejko: We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, hereby strongly urge you to reject new anchorages on the Hudson River— especially the five proposed near Rhinebeck and the others proposed near Beacon and further south. In spite of the fact that some special interests are talking about the need for more anchorages along our river for safety reasons, the fact is that the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey’s own January 2st letter to the Coast Guard points directly to the growth of the oil business as a prime reason for their wanting ten more anchorages on our river (with 43 more berths for frack-oil barges): “For several years the United States of America has developed as a major energy producing nation and the great port of Albany as a leading export port for Jones Act trade of American Bakken Crude Oil and Ethanol. Trade will increase on the Hudson River significantly over the next few years with the lifting of the ban on American Crude exports for foreign trade and federally designated anchorages are key to supporting trade….” Within the last few years, traffic on the Hudson River has increased dramatically and the use of the Kingston Hub (Kingston, Port Ewen, and Big Rock) anchorages have proven to be highly valuable to the commercial marine industry and cited in the United States Coast Pilot 2 as an anchorage area. A related issue in the debate has to do with how long the barges are typically anchored. The industry claims that the barges typically anchor for only a few hours, just enough time to allow the pilots to get some rest or wait for the fog to clear. Over the past few years, however, vessels were typically anchored not for a few hours but for days at a time, often on beautiful summer days when there was no discernible problem with the weather. It was also common to see one vessel depart from its anchorage off Rhinecliff only to have another take its place a few hours later. The barges were not anchored for safety reasons like weather conditions. They were waiting for a spot in the Port of Albany, where they would take on another load of crude. It should also be noted that what happens in the Hudson Valley could have repercussions across the country. The industry would like to frame the debate in terms of aesthetics versus safety, but that’s not what the argument against the anchorages is all about. The new anchorages are parking spaces intended to accommodate the increase in traffic that’s associated with the rise of the fracking industry and the removal of the ban on U.S. oil exports. If the Coast Guard approves these anchorages, it will not only endanger the Hudson River and its riverside communities, it will also set a precedent for the rest of the country as well. Finally, a 2013 Cornell/Stanford report proved that all of New York State could go fossil-fuel-free by 2030, saving $36 billion annually in the process, saving the lives of 4000 New Yorkers annually, creating 4.5 million new green construction jobs, & 58,000 permanent new green jobs— in solidarity with Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and a growing number of others, we reject more frack barges

re: epi-pens-- thx to Micki, Francena, Kari, Hannah, and Craig for signing my letter for Dutchess to follow cost-saving Seattle model/alternative!

[email all 25 of us for action here locally-- thx again to Co. Leg.'s Micki Strawinski, Francena Amparo, Kari Rieser, Hannah Black, and Craig Brendli for signing on just now at tonight's full board meeting my letter here below; see: ;] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - September 12, 2016 Mr. Marcus Molinaro Dutchess County Executive Dutchess County Office Building 22 Market Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 Dear County Executive Molinaro (Marcus): We, the various undersigned members of the Dutchess County Legislature, ask you to consider the example of King County (Seattle/Washington) re: cost-saving alternative to "epi-pens" and help make this reality here in Dutchess County with our county's Department of Emergency Response, local schools, nonprofits, hospitals, medical centers, ambulance companies, doctors, and others. As a recent article from Charles Taylor in the National Association of Counties newsletter pointed out— “Parents of kids with allergies know that “epi-pens” can save lives if a child is having a severe allergic reaction. But since 2004, the price of the devices has quintupled and now cost about $600 for a two-pack. ‘They cost too damn much,’ Dr. Peter Taillac, chairman of the medical director’s council of the National Association of State EMS Officials, told County News. The price escalation stems from scant competition and one company’s having a virtual lock on the market, experts say. King County, Wash. Emergency Services (KCES) has come up with a cheaper solution. In many states, medical emergency responders are required to carry injectable epinephrine. Until recently, epi-pens were the go-to solution; the devices automatically deliver a measured dose of epinephrine (“epi” for short) via a jab to the outer thigh.” Taylor continues— “However, rising costs led KCES to develop a new protocol that takes an old-school approach: training EMTs to inject epi from vials of the drug using syringes. It’s part of a program called ‘Check and Inject.’ During its first year, EMS providers in King County saved $150,000, said Jim Duren, professional standards manager for KCES. Instead of auto-injectors, EMTs now carry Epi Kits that cost less than $20 per kit, according to Jim Duren, professional standards manager for KCES. Each sealed plastic case holds two vials of epinephrine, syringes, alcohol wipes, a quality assurance card, security tape and a just-in-time training card, which reinforces EMTs’ classroom instruction. ‘The nice thing about it is our costs for resupplying the kits: We’re buying adrenaline at $4 a vial and a dollar or so for the needles,’ he said. ‘For under $6, we were able to resupply versus the standard cost of the auto-injectors.’ More from Taylor— “All 34 EMS agencies in King County — fire and ambulance — piloted the program in 2013; 4,000 EMTs have been trained since then. EMS agencies in several states have adopted or are testing the protocol, including Montana, Alaska and New York. Dr. Taillac said that while epi-pen costs are a bigger problem for urban EMS — ‘because they have more ambulances to stock’ — rural agencies are suffering disproportionately. ‘They frequently have one ambulance and a very limited medication budget,’ he said, ‘and several agencies have reported the auto-injectors take up a third to half of their entire medication budget.’ Finally even Fox Business News’ Liz Claman reported earlier today in an article entitled “Hundreds May Join Mylan Class-Action Suit for EpiPen Price Gouging” that “’close to a thousand’ users of Mylan N.V.’s EpiPen have expressed interest in joining a class-action lawsuit alleging price-gouging. Mylan, which owns EpiPen, has hiked the price from $57 dollars in 2007 to more than $600 dollars for a pack of two today. Cincinnati lawyer Carl Lewis filed the suit Tuesday in the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Office on behalf of Lynda Bates, the mother of a child who suffers from severe peanut allergies. On the same day he filed his paperwork in Ohio, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices by Mylan to strong-arm schools by forcing them to agree not to buy any competitor’s product for at least a year.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

stand with 1199 for good-paying jobs and truly safe staffing @ Vassar Bros. Medical Center!

From: Joseph Stratford ( To:, Cc: Antonella Pechtel, Minerva Solla Subject: Vassar Brothers Medical Center... Re: Ground Breaking Ceremony Date: Sep 6, 2016 6:17 PM Attachments: image001.gif Greeting Elected Officials, Vassar Brothers Medical Center is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016. I am sure many of you have been invited to attend this event. Vassar is celebrating a new $466 million dollar expansion effort. This could no doubt be great for our community, but only if there will be enough staff to meet the needs of more and more patients. Let’s make sure the hospital administrators, and trustees know that we will continue speaking out until we are assured that every department is adequately staffed, and that Vassar patients will be able to count on the quality care they deserve! We are asking; if you have been invited or plan on attending this grand ground breaking event, that you strongly urge administration, board of trustees members, and others to resolve the ongoing issues that have been stumbling block to patients and staff alike. 1199 SEIU will once again make our voices heard for good staffing and quality care. We will be at the corner of Fox street and Livingston Street leafletting, from 11:00 am to 1:00pm. Please, let us know in advance if you are planning on attending the Ground Breaking Event. There will be a follow up conference call on September 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm and we would appreciate your input, feedback, or comments that were made by the Trustees and Administrators of Vassar Brothers Medical Center. Further, be advised that NYSNA (New York State Nursing Association) is also, sponsoring an action that same evening. NYSNA is holding a “Candlelight Vigil” surrounding the same issues as stated above and we ask that you also be in attendance for this action in support of the nurses and caretakers of the hospital. The Clergy and Community members have also been invited to attend this action and we hope to see you there as well. If you will and can attend it begins at 5:30 pm and ends at 8:30 pm at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Reade Place. Please, RSVP as soon as possible, to Minerva Solla and myself by phone or email if you are attending all above events. Minerva Solla (845) 406-0593 Email: Thanks In Advance For Your Support On This very Important issue Joseph Stratford Political Organizer 1199 SEIU, UHWE 155 Washington Avenue Albany, New York 12210 (845) 275-7279 Union Cell (845) 764-7663 Personal Cell (518) 436-1140 Office Fax