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For immediate release, June 18, 2018
Howie Hawkins, who has advocated for the legalization of marijuana in New York for decades, welcomed today’s announcement by the NYS Health Commissioner that a soon-to-be released report will, at long last, support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
But Hawkins cautioned that the devil is always in the details.
“Even though New York decriminalized small amounts of marijuana 40 years ago, local police (especially in New York City) have used the discriminatory enforcement of the law to target people of color,” noted Hawkins.Read more
For immediate release, June 14, 2018
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor, called today for the creation of a public broadband utility by New York State.
On Monday, the federal regulation enforcing net neutrality ended. New neutrality required internet service providers to treat all communications equally. Now private companies can favor some content over others, change extra fees for access to certain sites, and block certain websites and services.
“With the demise of net neutrality, which effectively regulated ISPs as common carrier public utilities, it is time to restore net neutrality for New Yorkers on a publicly-owned broadband system,” Hawkins said Thursday.
On Tuesday, a federal court approved the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, reducing an already concentrated market from four to three giant firms. 50 million Americans have access to only one ISP and more than half only have a choice of two providers. Many rural and inner city residents and business still do not have access to high-speed internet.
“Public ownership is justified when markets are monopolized,” Hawkins said. “Internet access with net neutrality must become a right if freedom of speech is to have any practical reality with today’s communications technologies. Now is the time to secure this right through a public broadband utility, operating at cost for public benefit and not for private profit. Its mission should be to provide faster connections at lower rates with net neutrality to every community in the state.”Read more
Hawkins and Lee Call on Senate to Reject Both Teacher Evaluation Bills; They Want a Complete End to High-Stakes Testing and Charter School Expansion
For immediate release: June 13, 2018
The Green gubernatorial ticket of Howie Hawkins and Jia Lee called today on the state Senate to reject both versions of the teacher evaluation bills under consideration.
Lee is a public school teacher in New York City running for Lt. Governor on the Green Party ticket. Lee said last week that the bill on state school assessments and teacher evaluations that passed the Assembly and is pending before the Senate “...is all smoke and mirrors. It does not eliminate using student scores on standardized tests to evaluate teachers. Instead, it just makes the use of such scores subject to collective bargaining. It keeps the ranking of schools by test scores in place.”
Hawkins said the teacher evaluation bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Monday night appears to share the Assembly bills’ goal of subjecting student tests for teacher evaluations to local collective bargaining, but then makes the bill even worse by proposing to expand charter schools. The bill raises the state’s charter school cap from 460 to 560 and ends regulation by the State Education Commissioner of yeshivas, a number of which have been criticized for low educational standards and poor student outcomes.
“Flanagan’s bill would undermine public education by redirecting public money to privately-owned charter schools. The hedge fund donors to Flanagan and his cohorts in both major parties will love it. They can double their money on loans to charter schools thanks to the New Markets Tax Credit. It’s good for hedge fund billionaires, but bad for the education of our children,” Hawkins said.Read more
Dunlea Calls for As. Speaker Heastie to Allow Vote on Bills to Increase Oversight of State Contracts, Economic Development
For immediate release: June 11, 2018
Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for state comptroller, today called upon Assembly Speaker Heastie to bring to a vote several bills that would restore Comptroller oversight of state contracts and economic development programs that have been part of the recent corruption scandals involving the Governor’s office.
“The Comptroller is elected to be an independent fiscal watchdog to protect the taxpayers of New York from fraud and waste. It was wrong for the Governor and state lawmakers to have stripped away the Comptroller’s oversight over SUNY and CUNY contracts. DiNapoli should have fought harder against this. And with Cuomo raking in massive campaign contributions from special interests profiting from state contracts, it is critical to increase oversight and accountability over Cuomo’s multi-billion dollar corporate welfare programs,” stated Dunlea.
Cuomo and the Legislature approved a measure in 2011 that prevented DiNapoli from reviewing contracts at SUNY and CUNY ahead of time. Shortly afterwards, Cuomo announced a billion-dollar initiative to bring a solar power manufacturing facility to Buffalo. The head of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute is the key defendant in the corruption trial about to start over the alleged rigging of the Buffalo Billion contract.
“Cuomo opposes these common sense accountability reforms because they would disrupt his pay-to-play campaign financing machine, which is under scrutiny in trials and investigations related to contracts and regulatory favors awarded to campaign contributors like Competitive Power Ventures, COR Development, LP Ciminelli, and Crystal Run Healtcare,” said Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for governor.Read more
For immediate release: June 7, 2018
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for a repeal of the state’s property tax cap. He called instead for cuts in property taxes by increasing state aid for schools and revenue sharing for local governments.
Hawkins blasted both Democratic candidates for governor for supporting the 2% property tax cap.
“Tax cap is a campaign sound bite, not a sound policy. There is nothing progressive in Nixon’s call for an easier voter override of the cap. The cap still freezes the inequities in funding schools and local government services between low- and middle-income communities and affluent communities. It still institutionalizes rising property taxes,” Hawkins said.
Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon called this week for a 60% school board override followed by 50% voter override of the cap as a reform of Governor Cuomo’s tax cap, which requires a 60% override vote by both boards and voters.
“The progressive solution is to cut New York’s property taxes, which are the highest in the nation outside of New York City. The progressive solution is a tax shift from regressive local property and sales taxes to progressive state income and stock transfer taxes. Then the state should use those revenues to provide adequate and equitable school funding and to pay for the state’s unfunded mandates on local governments with increased revenue sharing,” Hawkins said.Read more
For immediate release: June 5, 2018
(Albany, NY) Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins for Governor and Mark Dunlea for State Comptroller joined with other health care advocates in calling for single payer health care as part of their annual lobby day.
“Universal health care is a human right” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor. “The Green Party for decades has been calling upon the state to enact a single payer health care system to save money by providing universal health care while eliminating the enormous costs and waste associated with private insurance,” stated Hawkins.
Dunlea noted that he has called for years for the state comptroller to document the savings associated with a single payer healthcare system. NY Health would eliminate the need for counties to help finance the state share of the Medicaid program. Many counties say that their entire local property tax bill goes to pay for Medicaid, which is increasingly used to pay for long term care for senior citizens. Dunlea, the long-time Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS, was a co-founder of Single Payer New York.
While Governor Cuomo said last September that a state single-payer public health plan would be a “good idea,” he failed to include it in his proposed state budget. The State Assembly has passed single payer the last three years. However, it has not come up for a vote in the state Senate even though almost a majority of Senators sponsor the bill. While Hawkins faulted Cuomo for his failure to include single payer health care in his budget, he called upon Cuomo to push for a vote in the state Senate this year in order to get Senators on the record before they face voters this fall.Read more
For immediate release: June 4, 2018
Jia Lee, a New York City school teacher and the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor, called today for the State Senate to reject the bill (S8301 / A10475) on state school assessments and teacher evaluations that has already passed the Assembly. The bill, expected to be voted upon in Senate committee this week, has been promoted by the NYS United Teachers.
“This bill is all smokes and mirrors. It does not eliminate using student scores on standardized tests to evaluate teachers. Instead, it just makes the use of such scores subject to collective bargaining. It keeps the ranking of schools by test scores in place,” said Lee.
Lee said that the ranking of schools by test scores is used to justify public school closures and privatizations as charter schools. Lee said that the main reason why schools fail is poverty and a lack of adequate education funding. 82% of schools closed are in high poverty communities. 59% are in predominantly Black and Brown communities while only 4% are in predominantly white communities.
“If the goal is to improve the quality of our education system, we should address the systematic underfunding of our schools by $4.2 billion. This underfunding has led to the loss of veteran, experienced educators; custodial staff and basic supplies, leaving us with crumbling infrastructures. We have lost physical education, arts and libraries, special education, and English as a New Language programs. While more resources are devoted to administration," Lee added.
"If we want to improve public education, we have to address our policies that results in income inequality and segregation, including access to affordable housing, healthcare, and a livable wage," Lee concluded.
Hawkins Releases Statement on Fiscal Policy; Continues Fast in Solidarity with Displaced 85 Bowery Tenants on a Hunger Strike
For immediate release, May 31, 2018
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor of New York, is fasting again today with tenants displaced from 85 Bowery who are on a three-day hunger strike outside City Hall in New York City.
Hawkins was disgusted yesterday to see the city, which gave the tenants a permit to conduct their hunger strike on the sidewalk outside City Hall, revoked its permit to allow a couple of port-a-potties the tenants paid for to be placed on the sidewalk during the three-day hunger strike.
“It just shows the De Blasio administration has no respect for working-class tenants who are being driven out of the city by the conversion of affordable housing to luxury units in buildings like 85 Bowery. De Blasio is more concerned to please the real estate landlord and developer interests who finance his political campaigns. He’s no progressive,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins also released his unpublished response to Richard Brodsky’s Albany Times Union column asking gubernatorial candidates for their proposals on fiscal policy in light of higher than expected state tax revenues:
Hawkins Fasts in Solidarity with Displaced Bowery Tenants on a 3-Day Hunger Strike Calls Housing a Right, Not a Privilege, at Rally outside City Hall
New York City, May 29, 2018 – Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for governor of New York, is fasting all day outside City Hall in New York City in solidarity with hunger striking tenants from 85 Bowery who were forced out of their building in the middle of a cold night in January.
Speaking at the 11:00 am rally this morning to launch their three-day hunger strike, Hawkins noted that “Hundreds of thousands of working-class New Yorkers have lost their homes in the last decade due to the foreclosure crisis, rent decontrol, the destruction and privatization of public housing, and harassment of tenants by landlords who want rent-regulated units vacated so they can convert them to high-rent units.
Hawkins spoke to the rally about how nine members of his extended family in Syracuse were forced out of a project-based Section 8 building in Syracuse called Kennedy Square. The project was demolished and the land handed over by New York State to COR Development in a no-bid, no-money- down deal. COR is the politically-connected developer with officers who were found guilty or facing trial for bribery, fraud, and bid-rigging in collusion with top officials (Joe Percoco) in the Cuomo administration. No affordable housing was built to replace the 409 units in Kennedy Square.
“We must end the displacement of tenants from affordable housing like Kennedy Square and 85 Bowery. Decent housing should be a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it. That means strengthening tenants’ rights, expanding rent control, and building more public housing,” Hawkins said.
NY Should Join CA to require new buildings to include solar, renewable energy
For immediate release: May 29, 2017
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called upon the Assembly energy committee to approve legislation that would halt Cuomo’s anti-solar provisions adopted last year by the Public Service Commission.
Mark Dunlea, the Green candidate for State Comptroller, said that state should followed the lead of California, which recently required all new building by 2020 to include solar power in their design.Read more