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News about the EJ movement, environmental issues and relevant political devlopments

Free MUNI for Youth: SFMTA Must Seize the Day

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:25pm

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) needs to vote on the proposal for a Free MUNI Youth Pass in March — or risk losing millions in transportation dollars that would improve the lives of San Francisco youth and their families. A broad community coalition led by young people has been campaigning for the free pass for more than a year, which would allow all San Francisco students to get to school, work, and to recreational and cultural activities.

BART Directors Approve Moving Livermore Project Ahead

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 11:54am
BART directors unanimously authorized moving ahead to the next level of work on building an extension to Livermore.

At its meeting Feb. 9 in Oakland, the board agreed to proceed with a project-level EIR and the formation of a joint powers agreement (JPA) with Livermore and the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).

Director John McPartland, whose district includes Livermore, made the motion, which was seconded by director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco.

Radulovich added an amendment that made clear the understanding that no capital improvement money for the Livermore extension would come from BART.

Directors from the older areas of BART service were worried that the Livermore project would have to tap into BART funds sometime in the future.

Directors said that BART has $30 million in reserves, which is a small sum compared to the overall budget. Further, BART faces the need for $7.5 billion in improvements for the entire current system. Much of it is for replacement of train cars that are 40 years old.

Occupy Wall Street and the US Social Forum Movement: Local and National Perspectives

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 11:38am
As Occupy Wall Street initiatives around the country develop in response to the growing economic crisis, what opportunities and lessons present themselves for those of us working to transform our society? Below we report on inisights shared with us by Maureen Taylor, the State Chairperson of Michigan Welfare Rights Union and co-chair of the Detroit Local Organizing Committee for the 2010 USSF and George Friday, National Coordinator of the Independent Progressive Politics Network and member of the USSF National Planning Committee.

Death of Oakland's Retail Plan

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 11:03am

Park Oakland loses a $1 billion a year to other cities, and without redevelopment, the city's plans for a major shopping district in Upper Broadway may be history. 

Glenda Barnhart and her partner Clay Wagers dreamed of opening a bicycle shop. In 2008, as the economic meltdown started to spread nationwide, she feared that she would lose her income as a consultant and noticed that a bike shop was for sale around the Valdez Triangle. She took one look at bike shop and walked out. The area also known as Upper Broadway — failing auto dealerships, vacant storefronts, desolation — reinforced the thought it would be a horrible idea to buy that shop.

Six months later, Barnhart noticed the bike shop was still for sale. But this time she saw signs that the area was springing back to life. The nearby Whole Foods on 27th and Harrison streets had become a vibrant attraction for area shoppers. Condos were popping up close by, new restaurants were opening, and a nascent art community was blooming. It was time, she concluded, to buy that shop — Bay Area Bikes. "If we do this now," Barnhart recalled thinking, "we will be getting on the ground floor of something big. It was my dream to retire and do what I love."

City Council OKs community benefits for Oakland Army Base project

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 3:17pm

Marilyn Bechtel/PW

OAKLAND, Calif. - A new chapter opened Feb. 7 in the long saga of efforts to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base, as the City Council approved guiding principles to assure Oakland residents priority for construction jobs and for the warehouse and goods movement jobs that are to follow.

The base is especially important to the city's economic life because it is next to the Port of Oakland, the nation's fifth busiest port, in a working-class area where unemployment is high.

Agreement on the provisions came after years of discussion, and a nine-month process that brought together labor, community members, environmentalists and the business community, with Councilmember Jane Brunner playing a major role. Participating in the discussions was the 30-organization Revive Oakland! coalition of clergy, workers, youth, and neighbors from West and East Oakland.

Besides construction jobs, the project is expected to create some 2,500 to 3,000 permanent jobs.

Wage War: Employers Stealing Millions from US Workers

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 3:06pm

Workers nationwide are losing millions of dollars each week to wage theft as their employers, some unscrupulous, others scrambling to keep their businesses afloat, fail to pay the mandated minimum wage or overtime wages, or, in some cases, don’t pay their employees at all.

Wage theft is far more common than was known just a few years ago, according to a new report from the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University.

“Employers are under a tight squeeze and looking for different ways to save money. Some are using wage theft as a business model to cut costs,” said Cynthia Hernandez, co-author of the report.

The research institute’s study comes just as Florida is debating how to handle wage theft allegations. The state hasn’t had a labor department since former Gov. Jeb Bush dismantled the department a decade ago.

Stop the Attack on Public Transit Civil Rights and Enviro Justice!

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 12:59pm

On Thursday, February 9th, TRPT  will be joining  a broad coalition of equity advocates in a National Call-in Day against the Federal Transportation bill H.R. 7.

Reasons to vote no on H.R. 7 (the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act) and maintain 30 years of dedicated federal commitment to supporting mass transit, creating jobs and protecting civil rights and environmental justice:

1. It would eliminate all dedicated federal funding for mass transit

The bill would eliminate the 2.86 cent portion of the 18 cent federal gasoline tax currently dedicated to mass transit and "replace it" with unidentified general fund revenue from the federal budget. The current dedicated federal funding formula of 80% for highways and 20% for transit would now be 100% for highways and roads! Transit operators would be forced to make historic cuts in service and institute massive fare increases as they cut operations costs to backfill billions in lost capital funds from the House bill.


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