Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NYC-built roads in Catskills imperil environment, health, safety of residents & NYC water

A great article in the Woodstock Times, about how New York City's Department of Environmental Preservation, which manages upstate reservoirs, is skimping on road building techniques so as to imperil not only the environment in the Catskills, and the health and safety of its residents, but also the safety of the very New York City water supply it's charged with protecting. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll mention that the author of the article, Mel Sadownick, is my brother in law, but the problem he describes is very real, and very disturbing, and I agree with the article 100%:

New reservoir roads create peril to our water, air quality, drivers, vehicles

by on • 6:30 am

Ashokan Reservoir (photo by Dion Ogust)
Ashokan Reservoir (photo by Dion Ogust)

One might ask what would be the thread that ties the above, diverse issues, together. The answer to that question came knocking on my door, in the form of a dust cloud, during the weekend of September 8, 2013.

My house is next to Route 28A, the road that winds around the Ashokan Reservoir. That weekend, the dust on 28A was so intense that it made me wonder if I had been transported, in time and space, to the dust bowl of Oklahoma, in the 1930s. The dust was all over the road, in the air, in my car, in my house, and in my lungs.

I assumed that the project to repave 28A was somewhere in mid-construction. I called to ask when the trucks were going to come, to finally lay down the pavement. I quickly learned that the road was owned by the New York City DEP, and that they were the ones, to call and to ask.

A very nice and very forthcoming gentleman, the man in charge of the road project, took my call and answered my question. His answer shocked me. The answer was “never.” They were done. This was the final layer.

Over a period of a few phone calls, he explained that this was a road that was called a “tar and chip” road, and that it was the most economical (least expensive) way to keep DEP’s roads up.

I researched “tar and chip roads” on the internet and learned that the “chip” in this road is not made from natural stone, but is made with Bitumen (more about Bitumen later). I learned about the impact of this kind of road on cars, drivers, waterways, drinking water, and air quality.

I learned that “tar and chip” roads are most commonly used by economically strained (poor) rural counties, on their less traveled, rural roads.

Some of the drawbacks of this kind of road:

“Can cause safety and environment problems such as cracked windshields, loss of control, and crashes (especially for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and small trucks);” That “the rough surface causes a notable increase in vibration and rolling resistance for cars and bicyclists, and increased wear on all types of tires;” and that “There are incidents of loose chips hitting the underside of your car, debris from passing trucks hitting the sides of your car and striking your windshield.”
The “tar and chip” road may appear to be economical way to build a road, but it creates hazards for drivers, cars, trucks and bicyclists.

However, the environmental impact of building such a road, particularly near reservoir waters, is more profound..........

Complete article

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Network for Public Education -- 1st National Conference - March 1 & 2, 2014 @NetworkPublicEd

Volume 1, Issue: #30 
November 23, 2013

Inside NPE News


Check out NPE News Briefs - a service from the Network for Public Education - for the latest headlines from journalists and bloggers around the country. You can even subscribe to our once-daily digest - delivered via email every day.

NPE News

Reign of Error
the new book by Diane Ravitch is now available for purchase from major outlets.

Find details here!

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

The Network for Public Education is pleased to announce our first National Conference. The event will take place on March 1 & 2, 2014 (the weekend prior to the world-famous South by Southwest Festival) at The University of Texas at Austin. In the coming weeks, we will release more details. In the meantime, make your travel plans and click this link and submit your email address to receive updates about the NPE National Conference 2014. Information will also be available on FacebookTwitter, and on the NPE website.


Sue Peters - Seattle School Board Director-Elect -
Thanks NPE Members for Contributing to Her Victory

Dear Diane and members and supporters of the Network for Public Education,

Once again, I am pleased to extend my thanks to you and NPE for your invaluable support and endorsement of my grassroots candidacy for Seattle School Board. I am thrilled to announce that we won - convincingly!

On Election night, we led by 51-48 percent, and that lead has only grown with every new vote tally. We are now approaching a 9-point margin, at 54-45 percent. That is nearly a 14,000-vote lead.

Why Our Win Matters:

This is a victory not only for my campaign, but for communities, families, and educators everywhere who are the key stakeholders in public education, but whose voices are not always heard in the national debate over education reform, or in our own local school district.

This is also a victory for authentic, grassroots democracy. Seattle voters did not allow a small group of moneyed interests to buy this election.

My opponent's campaign and political action committee (PAC) spent a record-breaking $240,000+, much of it on negative campaigning, most of it bankrolled by a small group of wealthy proponents of corporate ed reform and charter schools.

The PAC attacked my candidacy four times throughout the campaign with progressively more mendacious and offensive mailers. The attacks focused almost entirely on defending the Gates Foundation, in a bizarre and unsuccessful attempt to discredit me, and completely ignored the important issues facing our school district like overcrowding, inequity of resources among our schools, excessive testing and low teacher morale.

This amount of money and such tactics are unprecedented not only in Seattle but Washington State for a school board race.

Thankfully, voters were not fooled by the distortions and diversions.

I am proud of my authentic, fiscally responsible, volunteer-driven campaign, which remained focused on the issues and maintained its integrity.

I am also grateful to everyone who helped us counter the barrage of misinformation, and to those of you who promoted my candidacy personally. I want to particularly thank Dr. Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and national education historian, who recognized that my campaign represented a national battle over the integrity and future of public education. Her support gave important legitimacy to our campaign and to my efforts over the years to engage on education issues, as both a journalist and parent.

I believe my near decade of experience with the Seattle Public School District resonated with voters, as well as my clear commitment to keeping the public in public education.

Thank you again.


Sue Peters
Parent, journalist, public education advocate,
and Seattle School Board Director-Elect

Please forward this newsletter far and wide! 

In solidarity,

The Network For Public Education

Join Walmart workers on Black Friday #occupy #occupywallstreet #ows

This Black Friday Join the Walmart Strikers on the Front Lines!

Walmart workers are mobilizing to take action on Black Friday in your area and they need you to support them directly, in the streets.

Even Ashton Kutcher gets it. Can you join them and attend a direct action training? Companies throughout the world have followed Walmart’s example, creating low-pay, low-security jobs.

We have all seen our friends, family and neighbors struggle as they are forced to take jobs they know can’t cover their bills. We’re all paying the price for the Walmart economy.

But there is hope for change. All around the country, Walmart workers are standing up. They have gone on strike in Dallas, Cincinatti, and Southern California to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence them by firing and disciplining those who stand up for their coworkers’ rights. They’re tired of looking their children in the eyes and having to explain why there’s no food in the cabinets while they work for one of the most profitable companies in the world.
 Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, they’ll be holding protests to call  on Walmart pay a real wage of $25,000/yr for fulltime work and to end the retaliation against those who speak out. Workers in YOUR CITY are planning to act. Making Change at Walmart is holding a quick course in how you can support them and mobilize for action.

Can you attend a protest training this week to learn how you can get more involved? If you’re interested in supporting Walmart workers as they let companies know that Walmart-style jobs aren’t good enough for our country, RSVP and get more information.

On OccupyWallSt.org:
Show Your Solidarity While Supporting the #WalmartStrikers
#BlackFriday Practical Protest Techniques: Using Your Body and a Few Simple Tools
2013 The Occupy Solidarity Network, Inc.
Thank you for signing up on http://occupywallst.org

Our mailing address is:
The Occupy Solidarity Network, Inc.
1133 Broadway, Suite 1215
New York, NY 10010

Friday, November 15, 2013

To help @RebelDiaz send people to protest SOA "School of the Americas" (a/k/a School for Torture)

On Sunday, November 17, the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) is having a fundraiser for The South Bronx Delegation to The SOA Vigil.

The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) Presents:

The SOA ShutDown!!!
Sunday Nov. 17th from 4-7pm

$5-$10 Sliding scale donations!!!
Performing Live!
Los Leones..
Hosted by Rebel Diaz..
DJ Charlie Hustle on the 1s and 2s....

BMHCLab: 1303 Louis Nine Blvd
2/5 train to Freeman
BX 19 bus to Freeman and Southern Blvd.....

Join thousands of torture survivors, migrants, artists, students, nuns, unionists, veterans, and social movement activists from across the Americas at the gates of the School of the Americas (SOA; also known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, WHINSEC), where we reaffirm our resistance and our creativity in the face of Empire. The November Vigil is not just a protest, but also a place where we come together as a community to mourn, resist, strategize, debate, learn, celebrate, and heal. The vigil weekend includes concerts, theater performances, film screenings, as well as workshops and caucuses.

P.S. For information on how to get to Columbus, Georgia, visit http://soaw.org/november/info/how-to-get-to-columbus/