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GPOAC endorses the National Prison Strike

posted Aug 22, 2018, 10:52 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County   [ updated Aug 23, 2018, 12:29 AM ]

The Green Party of Allegheny County endorses the National Prison Strike that started on August 21st, 2018, and will be running into early September, and has signed on in solidarity to the list of demands. The list of demands from strikers is available here: http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike which also includes more information on how to support the strike and donate.

The national Green Party platform strongly agrees with prison strike demands. Among other reforms, the Green platform calls for humane and sanitary prison conditions, an end to racist policing and sentencing policy, protection of free speech rights and voting rights of prisoners, and educational materials and programs. Prison slavery must end. Greens also call for an end to the death penalty, an end to private prisons, and a repeal of mandatory sentencing, and an end to the drug war. Specifically, marijuana use must be decriminalized and current prisoners' records expunged of marijuana charges. You can read more at: http://www.gp.org/social_justice_2016.

GPOAC joins the strikers in solidarity and calls on local, state, and federal elected officials to take immediate action on these demands. We call on local Greens to take action to support the prison strike.

GPOAC joins calls for a cleaner, better Ohio Valley

posted Aug 17, 2018, 11:11 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

The Green Party of Allegheny County endorsed and signed on to a Sierra Club letter to the governors of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia that demands action to protect our water and air from the petrochemical industry. The Green Party has previously called for a statewide ban on fracking and large investments into renewable energy infrastructure and jobs instead.

Other organizations and individuals may sign the letter at this link. The full text of the letter is also reproduced below.

"Dear Governors Justice, Kasich & Wolf,

On March 20, 2018, you made the unfortunate decision to continue a 2015 Agreement to Enhance Regional Cooperation and Job Growth Through the Continuing Development of Shale Gas in the Appalachian Basin (the “Gas Agreement”) through 2021.

In three years, the Gas Agreement has done little to boost regional or local economies, and our states have already experienced multiple petrochemical “accidents” that have threatened public health and damaged public resources. For example, on March 16, just 4 days before you extended the Gas Agreement, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued its 40th Notice of Violation to the owners and operators of the Sunoco Mariner pipeline for releasing drilling fluids into a stream.

We, the undersigned organizations, represent tens of thousands of residents in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia who call upon you, our Governors to rescind this Agreement and uphold your sworn duties to safeguard the people, our health and our environment. The revitalization of our region is not beholden to the fading fossils of yesteryear; it depends on a continued pivot to 21st century industries such as clean energy and sustainable agriculture.

The Gas Agreement is focused on promoting the development and use of shale gas and fracked gas liquids in the Tri-State Region. However, the development and use of gas and other nonrenewable resources have very real, negative impacts on our air, our water and human life/the health of our people. It is impossible to develop fracked gas and fracked gas liquids in an environmentally sound manner. And shale gas is not the answer to our economic challenges. The production of Appalachian shale gas and fracked gas liquids will not offer significant economic opportunities for the people of the Tri-States, nor will it provide domestic security for the United States. We should keep it in the ground.

We need a new agreement that looks to capitalize on the growing green economy. Our coalition has resolved to work with the states to develop a regional strategy for sustainable economic development and job creation in the region.

Our states can cooperate to support a sustainable economy by: (1) Sharing information; (2) Organizing seminars, workshops and training; (3) Collaborating on policies to promote environmental health and economic growth; and (4) Promoting clean energy and energy efficiency, ecotourism and outdoor recreation, recycling and other sustainability practices. Let’s work together for the betterment of all.

The Gas Agreement is a bad deal for the people of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Please do the right thing, rescind this dirty compact, and give our region a chance to build the clean and thriving future that we deserve.

Thank you for listening to your constituents. We look forward to a productive conversation."

GPOAC endorses the March For Peace on August 25th

posted Aug 17, 2018, 11:04 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

The Green Party of Allegheny County joins other organizations in co-sponsoring the March for Peace on August 25th at 10:30am in Pittsburgh. Greens will join the march from Cathedral of Learning up to the Carnegie Mellon campus to speak out against ever increasing war spending by the US. Please join us!

From the press release:

"Although we understand the U.S. is not “officially” at war with another country right now, a
march such as ours is more necessary than ever. The US military budget now stands at $700
billion, which amounts to 54% of all discretionary spending. It is at its highest since 1945 in
constant dollars, exceeding military spending during the Cold War and the Korean and Vietnam
wars.
The US spends more money on its military than the combined total of the next 10 biggest
spending nations, including China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, Britain and France, according to
the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Russia's military budget is about a tenth
of America's, yet Russia is supposed to represent a top national security threat to the US.
Cutbacks in healthcare, housing, education, roads, and bridges are necessary to feed the
military machine. Other consequences are wage reduction and increasing poverty and
inequality.
The US is involved in wars and violent conflicts in the Koreas, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq,
Libya, Syria, Yeman, Somalia, Mali, and more. Increased money is being allocated for the
modernization of nuclear weapons. The US is also violating international law on its border with
Mexico in its inhumane treatment of refugees and has has militarized law enforcement
domestically. Our cities and schools have experienced record killings from gun violence. We
believe that these causes, and the fight for a world beyond war, are NOT separate issues."


PRESS RELEASE -- Green Party Holds Peduto, Fitzgerald, and Toomey Responsible at Zero Hour

posted Jul 21, 2018, 11:50 AM by Green Party of Allegheny County   [ updated Jul 21, 2018, 11:57 AM ]

Green Party Holds Peduto, Fitzgerald, and Toomey Responsible at Zero Hour

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 21, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA

Contact: Tim Jones, Chair, info@alleghenycountygreens.org

 

Today, the Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) stood alongside a cross-section of Pittsburghers and in solidarity with diverse youth and other citizens across the country in demanding action on Climate Change at the “This is Zero Hour” march held outside of the Grant Street entrance to the Grant Building in down town Pittsburgh.

 

Marchers and GPOAC called upon our elected officials at every level of government to protect and further implement strong climate policies. The marchers specifically stopped outside the offices of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Mayor Bill Peduto, and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, three politicians whose current stances are considered to be harmful to the health and future of Pittsburghers.

 

The Green Party (GPOAC) appealed to Mayor Peduto to publicly oppose the Shell Ethane Cracker Plant. It was pointed out that Mayor Peduto’s silence on the proposed Shell Ethane Cracker Plant in Beaver County directly contradicts his declaration that Pittsburgh stands with the Paris Climate Accords. Jay Walker, Green Party candidate for Pennsylvania House of Representatives said that pollution of this magnitude would contaminate our air and water at even greater levels than now, a silence that would echo across the region as our children’s health declines and their future livelihoods diminish. 

 

County Executive Fitzgerald was targeted as receiving the most campaign contributions from Marcellus Shale companies.  Speakers like Walker representing the Green Party demanded that CE Fitzgerald end his solicitation of shale gas money and instead prioritize the region’s health and well-being by forming a committee to seek clean industries and renewable energy alternatives.


As the marchers progressed past Sen. Toomey’s office, his record of voting consistently against the health and constitutional rights of Pennsylvanians was pointed out. As a Senator whose time in the Senate is not running out anytime soon, members of the Green Party stated resolutely the need to pressure Senator Toomey to support science now, especially concerning climate change, while demanding that he be held accountable to the constitution of Pennsylvania and vote to support the original work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and rigorously performed federal climate research and results.

 

As Green Party candidate for State Representative district 23, Jay Walker said during his address at the march, “Please Mayor Peduto, listen to the youth of Pittsburgh when we ask you to proudly and publicly speak out against the Shell Ethane Cracker plant in Beaver County.”

 

The message throughout the gathering was that an unpolluted environment is critical to the health of all Pittsburghers, Pennsylvanians, and Americans, especially young people, and GPOAC will continue to fight for that future with urgency in the present. The many young people at the march clearly supported these ends to defend Pennsylvanians' constitutional rights to clean air and water, redress pollution by industry and individuals, and build a sustainable future with renewable energy and energy efficiency.




Pictured: Green Party candidate Jay Walker for State Representative speaking at Zero Hour calling for Mayor Peduto to speak out about fracking and climate change.

PRESS RELEASE -- Green Party demands PWSA remains public and accountable to voters

posted Jul 18, 2018, 2:19 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 18, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Tim Jones, Chair, info@alleghenycountygreens.org


The Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) strongly opposed proposals for privatization, including so-called “public-private partnerships,” at a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) public hearing held today. GPOAC members warned that any privately-owned, for-profit business runs antithetical to our human right to water as guaranteed by the Pennsylvania constitution Article I Section 27.

GPOAC members additionally rejected Mayor Bill Peduto’s “blue ribbon” panel recommendation for a restructured, “self-perpetuating” board. A “politically independent” PWSA as suggested by the panel is one further removed from public accountability and oversight. PWSA board members should, like other public positions, be directly accountable to the voters they serve.

GPOAC members demanded that PWSA remain a public utility accountable to the residents of the city. A publicly-owned, democratically-run PWSA with proper funding and support from city council is necessary to address issues and rebuild community trust. The PWSA decision-making process should be opened up to include more members of the community in important water decisions that affect their lives, in keeping with the Green Party value of grassroots democracy. Both privatization and the “blue ribbon” panel proposals cut out democracy and public accountability and increase the odds of corruption.

Jay Walker, Green Party candidate for state representative for the 23rd district, spoke from prepared remarks at the hearing. “PWSA must remain publicly owned, publicly managed, and directly accountable to voters by means of city council as it is now,” Walker said.

Mayor Peduto had originally called for the “blue ribbon” panel in 2017 to investigate ways of reorganizing the PWSA amid concerns of growing debt and several public relations incidents. Peoples’ Gas, a San Francisco-based private company, has since started a marketing campaign in favor of a private takeover of PWSA. As shown in many examples nationwide, including Pittsburgh’s own history with the French company Veolia, water privatization leads to higher costs, inaccurate billing, and unsafe water, and most fundamentally, violates public ownership and right to water for life.

PRESS RELEASE -- Green Party of Allegheny County demands Pittsburgh City Council require more community investment from UPMC

posted Jul 17, 2018, 4:46 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 17, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Tim Jones, Chair, info@alleghenycountygreens.org


UPMC has avoided paying it’s fair share of taxes for years and it is time for the residents of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County region to require a community benefits agreement from UPMC, the Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) demanded today at a Pittsburgh City Council public hearing regarding UPMC’s plans to expand its footprint in the region.

Members of the GPOAC joined One Pennsylvania, Hospital Workers Rising, Pittsburgh United, PIIN, Thomas Merton Center, and Sierra Club in demanding UPMC do more for our community. City Council members were urged to require a strong community benefits agreement with UPMC before considering UPMC’s expansion plans in the region.

Allegheny County today has some of the highest asthma and lung disease rates in the nation, and was recently given an “F” rating by the American Lung Association for poor air quality [1]. UPMC should take its healthcare role seriously by committing significant resources to end air pollution in the region. UPMC must support local wind farm projects and switch all of its facilities to renewable energy sources, which would clean our air, improve our health, and bring local, green jobs to the region.

Additionally, as the largest employer in the state [2], UPMC must take responsibility in fighting poverty. UPMC must commit to paying a living wage of at least $15 per hour to all workers, starting immediately, and financially support affordable housing initiatives for residents affected by expansion of UPMC facilities. UPMC must also recognize workers’ rights and end any and all resistance to unionization efforts.

GPOAC recognizes healthcare as a human right and supports the establishment of a comprehensive, guaranteed, single-payer healthcare system in Pennsylvania to protect that right. We expect UPMC to provide comprehensive healthcare for all residents, including by expanding addiction treatment and mental health services at Mercy Hospital and throughout the region, and ensuring all residents regardless of insurance provider can receive affordable treatment at any UPMC facility.

As a non-profit, UPMC receives large tax breaks despite increasingly operating like a for-profit insurance giant. In 2011-2012, UPMC made nearly $1 billion in profits, which prompted past Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to sue UPMC for its non-profit status [3]. The lawsuit was dropped in 2014 under current Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration with the explanation that it would help negotiations between UPMC and the city for voluntary payments from non-profits [4]. Since then, UPMC has continued to grow its profitable business as the city budget struggles with infrastructure problems, poverty, and school funding.

-----

[1] https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-quality-is-getting-worse-2561249417.html

[2] http://www.upmc.com/about/facts/pages/default.aspx

[3] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nonprofit-hospital-makes-billions-should-it-get-a-tax-break/

[4] https://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6524239-74/upmc-nonprofits-peduto

PRESS RELEASE -- Green Party of Allegheny County joins push for Clean Air at Courthouse rally

posted Jul 13, 2018, 10:50 AM by Garret Wassermann   [ updated Jul 13, 2018, 11:48 AM ]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 13, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Tim Jones, info@alleghenycountygreens.org


Today, members of the Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) joined PennEnvironment, GASP, the Breathe Project, and other members of the Breathe Collaborative at a downtown Pittsburgh rally called Fridays with Fitzgerald. The intent of these gatherings in the courtyard of Allegheny County Courthouse is to gain the attention of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald about the very poor quality of our air and its detrimental impact on the health of our residents and our region.

With the recent statistics that Allegheny County now ranks in the top 2 per cent of counties in the U.S. for cancer risk from air pollution, GPOAC wants to encourage leaders such as Mr. Fitzgerald, who supports the air and water polluting industry of fracking, to reverse course and act now to protect our rights to clean air and pure water guaranteed under PA Constitution Article 1 Section 27.

GPOAC calls for the County Executive to crack down on local polluters and end his support for the cracker plant in nearby Beaver County and the Falcon pipeline that will feed it. The Green Party emphasis will be to present facts on how local government decisions directly contribute to either improving or detracting from the health of our region.

Jay Walker, a Green County candidate for District 23 for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, explains his sense of urgency, “Climate change is real and anything short of confronting it directly is foolish. We need to rapidly shift our economy from being powered by fossil fuels to alternative energy while also massively reducing our energy use.”

Garret Wassermann, Green Party Candidate for District 45 and vice-chair of GPOAC, expressed support for a recent Clean Air Council and Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) lawsuit against the Allegheny County Health Department for diverting Clean Air Funds meant for enforcement into building renovation projects. “Our real need is to crack down on fossil fuel polluters such as the Clairton Coke works who repeatedly get cited by the Allegheny Health Department for their infractions, yet fail to remedy their polluting business practices.” he said. “The Allegheny County Board of Health is appointed by the County Executive, so I expect Mr. Fitzgerald to speak out against this misuse of funds and call for greater clean air enforcement from the board he has appointed.”

Candidates Wassermann and Walker hope that the Fridays with Fitzgerald rallies will impress upon our government officials how unacceptable the decline in air quality and the alarming increase of pollution generated illnesses is for our city life. As representative of the GPOAC at the rallies, Wassermann and Walker both hope to make clear that Allegheny County’s successful future - that government officials profess to aspire to - will be undermined by these growing concerns if not addressed.

Unwrapping 11,000 complaints about air pollution in Allegheny County
Above: Petitioners unwrap a printed list of over 11,000 complaints about air pollution to the Allegheny County Health Department as they demand County Executive Fitzgerald to take action to protect our air. The petition was long enough to encircle the courtyard twice.

PRESS RELEASE - City & County Single Payer Resolutions

posted Jun 20, 2018, 9:11 AM by Green Party of Allegheny County


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 19th, 2018
Contact: Tim Jones, Chair, info@alleghenycountygreens.org

Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) calls for immediate action and legislative votes for single payer healthcare at both the state and federal levels, after the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County both pass resolutions in favor of a single payer healthcare system and recognizing healthcare as a human right.

On June 19th, 2018, thanks to the efforts of Corey O'Connor in the Pittsburgh city council and Anita Prizio in the Allegheny County council, both city and county councils have passed resolutions in support of a single payer, "Medicare for All" healthcare system. The county council adopted the measure by a vote of 10-4 [1], while the city council adopted the measure unanimously with a vote of 9-0 [2]. GPOAC applauds both resolutions and calls for state and federal elected officials to take the resolutions seriously as evidence that Pennsylvanians are ready for a single payer healthcare system that guarantees comprehensive healthcare to all.

Jay Walker, GPOAC candidate for state representative in the 23rd district, was present at the county council meeting, attending in favor of the resolution along with several other GPOAC members. "I am very happy to see these resolutions in support of common sense health care policy. Our legislators in Harrisburg and Washington should listen to our local elected officials by working to move these bills forward." Walker said.

GPOAC previously endorsed HR 676 as the blueprint for a national single payer system. The bill would guarantee Medicare coverage to all Americans, and expand Medicare to include additional services such as dental, vision, and cheaper prescription drugs. A similar bill, HB 1688, has been introduced in the Pennsylvania general assembly that would create a statewide single payer system with similar expanded services. Both bills represent clear alternatives to the for-profit health insurance model that has proved to be a disaster. A 2013 economic policy memo by Dr. Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts Department of Economics concluded that a Pennsylvania single payer system would result in drastic administrative cost decreases that would fully offset the increased costs of covering more people, while lowering the individual costs to most residents and businesses by utilizing a progressive income tax. [3] A large list of economic studies in favor of single payer healthcare, both at the state and federal level, is provided at [4]. The Green Party of Pennsylvania and the Green Party of the United States have both supported a single payer healthcare system as part of the party platform since 2000. [5]

"The rest of the world has some form of single payer system, it is time we joined them by guaranteeing comprehensive healthcare as a human right" said Garret Wassermann, GPOAC vice-chair and candidate for state representative in the 45th district. "It is not a lack of financial resources that prevents single payer healthcare from happening, it is a lack of political will. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year on corporate tax breaks and war, it is time that we shift our priorities."

Both Green candidates, Walker and Wassermann, have pledged to sponsor and support single payer legislation if elected. Neither of their Democratic opponents in the general election, Dan Frankel and Anita Astorino Kulik, respectively, have to-date sponsored HB 1688 according to general assembly records. [6] [7] Statewide, Green Party of Pennsylvania candidates Paul Glover for governor and Neal Gale for US senator also have both declared support for single payer healthcare.

GPOAC calls on all elected officials, regardless of political party, to work quickly to provide guaranteed, comprehensive healthcare to all Pennsylvanians. GPOAC calls for all single payer supporters to call, email, and write letters to elected officials demanding a single payer healthcare system that works for us instead of insurance companies.

GPofPA Announces 2018 Candidates

posted Mar 29, 2018, 4:16 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

The Green Party of Pennsylvania recently held its spring convention and nominated 6 candidates for office statewide, including 2 in Allegheny County: Jay Walker (state representative, 23rd district) and Garret Wassermann (state representative, 45th district).

See the state party's press release at: https://www.gpofpa.org/green_party_of_pennsylvania_announces_six_candidates_for_2018_state_and_national_election

GPOAC will be meeting for its next monthly general assembly meeting on Tuesday April 3rd at 7pm at the Panera Bread on Blvd of the Allies in Pittsburgh and kicking-off the campaigns for Garret and Jay. Both will need volunteers to help collect signatures to get on this ballot this November! If interested in volunteering, we hope to see you at the next general assembly, or if you can't make it, please Contact Us.

RSVP for GPofPA March Convention Mar 17-18th

posted Feb 18, 2018, 4:40 PM by Green Party of Allegheny County

Mark you calendars for the next Green Party of Pennsylvania statewide convention, on the weekend of Mar 17-18th in Scranton, PA.

The event consists of organizing events on Saturday and party business (including nominations of statewide candidates) on Sunday. The Saturday events are expected to focus on discussions and activities on how to run a successful campaign for political office, so if you've been thinking of running for office this year or next, this is a great chance to learn more and get advice from our past Green candidates.

If you'd like to attend, please RSVP: http://www.gpofpa.org/gpofpa_march_2018_convention

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