ORGANIZING NOTES

May 14, 2024

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor Struggles That Make A Difference

 

 

Trading Trees for Solar Panels Will Not Address Climate Change!

Why has Massachusetts lost over 5,000 acres of forests, farmland and natural lands to large industrial scale ground mounted solar? Why isn’t solar being put on sites like parking lots and the built environment?

One answer – it’s too easy for the private multinational corporations to bully municipalities into giving them permits. The corporations’  weapon is an outdated zoning law from 1950, and amended in 1985. The law, Chapter 40A, Section 3 of the state’s Zoning Act and the so-called Dover Amendment, was intended to protect small, on site residential systems, not today’s industrial scale projects that clear-cut up to hundreds of forested acres for one project.

What can you do? Help Responsible Solar Massachusetts, Community Land & Water Coalition, Smart Solar Shutesbury, Save Massachusetts Forests and a statewide network of climate and conservation groups (including ORMA’s Climate Crisis Working Group, and the Trees As A Public Good Network) to get rid of this law!

Ask your state legislator to cosponsor Senate Bill 1319/House Bill 2082, “An Act regarding municipal zoning powers.” Send a letter here or write or call! 

The bill is before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government. Call or email co-chairs Senator Jacob Oliveria and Representative Carole FIoila. Ask them to make a favorable recommendation by June 31, 2024. Find out more on CLWC’s website here.

Photo Below: In Southeastern Massachusetts, large landowner AD Makepeace Co. has clearcut over 500 acres of forest for large solar. Some sites in Carver and Wareham are shown here. Read more about the Wareham Planning Board’s effort to ensure proper solar siting here and the years long battle with an out of state shell company. Makepeace is planning another approximately 250 acres of clear cutting for solar. Contact Responsible Solar MA at responsiblesolarma@gmail.com to find how to help. 

 

Heads Up!

 

The November 2024 ballot is likely to include several ballot initiatives.  ORMA has endorsed many of them, so prepare yourselves for lots of work.

ORMA-endorsed

Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers

This gets #1 billing because it has formed an important coalition of workers and tenants that is sponsoring a public event in Boston (above) on Wednesday, May 15 on the Boston Public Common at 1:00. One Fair Wage has launched its drive, which is opposed by restaurant owners.

Performance Audit of the State Legislature

Introduced by Auditor Diana Dizoglio and backed by ORMA and many organizations, including the Democratic State Committee, the Democratic state leadership strongly opposes this move toward transparency. The next hurdle is for supporters to collect 12,429 certified signatures by mid-June. In effect, that requires gathering  25,000 or more signatures as inevitably some signatures will not be certified.  You can help.

Remove the requirement that students pass the MCAS before graduating. 

Teachers strongly support this measure because there is no evidence that standardized testing provides meaningful data about the effectiveness of teaching as MCAS scores correlate with student family wealth.  You can learn about this at an upcoming virtual forum on Wednesday, May 29 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. MCAS and Equity: Does high-stakes testing close “the gap?” Please register for the forum at https://forms.gle/o5iioFu9TvYTxbgJ7.

Gig workers

Lyft, Uber, and their corporate allies are sponsoring an initiative to classify app-based gig workers as independent contractors and therefore ineligible to form a union.  There is a separate initiative, sponsored by unions, that would classify gig employees in transportation as workers and therefore eligible to unionize.  One or both measures might be on the ballot.  Unions are still lobbying for the legislature to make this law, thus removing the need for an initiative.  This battle is very tangled.  This week Attorney General Andrea Campbell brought suit against the companies for misclassifying their drivers.  As with any proposed ballot initiative, if the legislature passes a law that accomplishes the goal of a proposed ballot, the ballot goes away.   Whether the legislature does that for gig workers still hangs in the balance.

 

We invite you to The Virtual UnConvention: Uniting Progressive Activists for Change on June 2, 2024, from 2 pm – 4 pm on ZoomWe are concerned about the loss of 15,000 members in the Democratic Party and want to re-engage those and other people at this critical time in our history. Please help us spread the wordOur goal is to organize around progressive issues that are in the platform but not supported by the Party or the conventionContinue Here For More Information and Links

 

Just The Facts, Please

The Northeastern University student newspaper, The Huntington News, recently exposed a successful action by school administrators to use a manufactured charge of antisemitism as an excuse to call on police to arrest pro-ceasefire student demonstrators.

Late in April a counter-demonstrator, carrying an Israeli flag, called out, “Kill the Jews!” and called on demonstrators to repeat the phrase.  This event was captured in a video that the paper published. 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1784215258439073912

 

Subsequently, the paper reported, a university statement said, “The use of virulent antisemitic slurs, including ‘Kill the Jews,’ crossed the line, We cannot tolerate this kind of hate on our campus.”

The widespread reporting that pro-Palestinian demonstrations feature antisemitism needs to be reassessed with an understanding of the use of such tactics by administrators and the police.  In another incident, at UCLA, police allowed pro-Israeli forces to attack a demonstration without interference. Then they broke up the student demonstration and arrested protestors on charges of violent behavior.

 

The Mass Defense Committee as part of the Lawyers Guild is defending the arrested student protesters. Please donate here

 

By Elizabeth Tamton

 

Mothers Out Front is a growing national movement of thousands of mothers and allies mobilizing for a sustainable, just future for all children. Together, we organize, fight for our communities, and win! When we each give what we can, it adds up to a force for change that’s impossible to ignore. We are building an inclusive movement where mothers’ voices are front and center. Members participate in the decision-making and development of climate

action campaigns based on the needs of their communities. In Boston, our work extends from the national, state, local, to the personal level. Some exciting projects we have worked on recently include our Clean Heat/Clean Air campaign, advocating for clean energy in Boston’s biggest buildings, promoting Boston Community Choice Energy, and improving air quality in daycares and Boston Public Schools through effective air filtration systems. On May 18 (with a rain date of May 19), we invite you to join our 2024 Jamaica Plain Green Living tour. This is an event that gives people the opportunity to meet with local residents and experts who have made choices to live greener in various ways. By hearing their stories and asking them questions, you can learn about ways to live a greener life and advocate for broader change to promote climate justice. Consider joining one of our four Boston teams: Downtown, East Boston, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain! Go to https://www.mothersoutfront.org  to learn more and sign up for one of our teams.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Join fellow activists from across the Commonwealth to build momentum for key progresssive priorities on Beacon Hill!

Never lobbied before? Don’t worry – we’ll have a training session before sending you off to meetings.

 

      If you would like to work with ORMA Members on

  • Climate Change
  • Community-Based Alternative Emergency Response Teams
  • Ranked-Choice Voting
  • Housing For All       

ORMA depends on your support to continue Bernie’s Political Revolution to create a society, a politics, and an economy that works for everyone, not just billionaires, corporations and the political elite.

If you value Organizing Notes and its twice a month distribution schedule, please make a donation to ensure its continued existence.

Invest in Change Now!

 

Please send requests for action items, articles or upcoming events

for the next Organizing Notes to 

beccobrien.orma@gmail.com by Thursday, May 23rd

We’d love to have you send us your favorite pictures of Bernie here in MA!

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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