Stop Corporate Takeover of Dutchess County Government-- End Illegal County Gov. Actions(!)

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Sign this petition to stop the corporate takeover of our county government here in Dutchess-- and prevent our county government from engaging in illegal activities as well-- for as our own FDR warned us seven decades ago-- "the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself; that in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.” 

First-- sign this petition to reverse and ultimately end the pervasive, destructive, and anti-democratic influence in our county government (the "naked corporate takeover" Naomi Klein warns us about re: Trump)-- here in Dutchess County-- re: jail expansion contractors, private busing industry, real estate developers, Wall Street firms, large retain chain stores and supermarkets, toy industry, incinerator/waste-hauling industry, fossil-fuel/paving/mining/pesticide industry, and voting machine corporations-- as the fact is that Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and the Dutchess County Republican Committee received over $151,000 in campaign contributions over the last 6 years from the same firms who got $56 million in county contracts (Orange and Rockland counties passed laws limiting pay-to-play, GOP leadership in Dutchess County Legislature won't even allow Orange County law on to agenda for a committee meeting here; scroll down just a bit for more detail)-- corporations have largely killed the American Dream here in Dutchess County, having slowly crushed the life out of us for decades; enough is enough.

Second-- sign this petition to make sure that the Dutchess County Department of Public Works actually follows the law and heeds to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Right Act-- as per the June 22, 2017 letter to the Federal Transit Administration from international law firm Hogan Lovells detailing exactly how racially discriminatory and illegal the Dutchess County takeover of the City of Poughkeepsie bus system is, according to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) on behalf of Community Voices Heard, the New York Civic Engagement Table, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Title VI specifically stipulates that even if the stated goal is not discriminatory, that if the effect/impact of a change in the allocation of FTA funds is racist, then that is illegal; the fact is that bus service has been decimated in Poughkeepsie for people in the Northside of Poughkeepsie-- while new routes added for white areas); see:!/2017/06/re-illegal-county-bus-takeover-in-city.html

Indeed-- bus service needs to be restored immediately to Thurgood Marshall Terraces, Lakeview Arms, bus frequency, and dozens of other streets in the City of Poughkeepsie where bus service was eliminated through the recent illegal county takeover and privatization through First Transit (a company that made $400 million in profit last year and since 2009 has held county contract to run LOOP bus program in Dutchess).  After four years of strenuous public opposition by Community Voices Heard, CSEA, Nobody Leaves MidHudson, and countless hundreds of local people with disabilities, people of color, and people of low income to this cruel and illegal county takeover, incredibly, County Executive Molinaro and Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison secretly signed a backroom deal on April 18, 2017-- a Memorandum of Agreement-- that no one knew about for over a month.  The Poughkeepsie Common Council has never passed a resolution for Dutchess County to take over bus service in the city-- and County Legislator Joel Tyner's January 2014 resolution to stop a county bus takeover was never even allowed on to the agenda for a County Legislature committee meeting.  Note as well-- the fact is that the City of Poughkeepsie bus service used to actually turn a profit ($10,000 a year)-- and the fact that 75% of the City of Poughkeepsie's twelve-million-dollar-plus deficit is due to the fact that five years ago Dutchess County radically changed its sales tax revenue-sharing formula, stealing over $2 million annually from the City of Poughkeepsie (and a half a million dollars from the Towns of Rhinebeck and Clinton as well).

And now as promised-- regarding that "naked corporate takeover" mentioned above-- re: jail expansion contractors, private busing industry, real estate developers, Wall Street firms, large retain chain stores and supermarkets, toy industry, incinerator/waste-hauling industry, fossil-fuel/paving/mining/pesticide industry, and voting machine corporations-- here are the details on how and why we need to nip proto-fascist corporate control these 9 ways of our county government in the bud:

1. Private jail contractors like Meyer Contracting are getting a $17 million contract to needlessly expand the Dutchess County Jail-- after donating $4000 to Molinaro and the Dutchess County Republican Committee (same story with Chazen Companies, whose analysis minimized groundwater contamination issues at the jail expansion site)-- while the fact is that safe innovative alternatives to jail expansion exist-- proven ways to safely lower jail population like bail reform (as Chris Christie did three years ago in New Jersey and as Washington, D.C. did 26 years ago), youth programs, jobs rebuilding infrastructure, and education ( ; ).

2. Private real estate developers like Silo Ridge/AZ, Dover Knolls/NJ, Durst/NY, andGutleber/Manhasset gave $25,500 to Molinaro over the past 6 years (why do you think our county's Department of Planning and Development under Marc's thumb haven't fought harder to preserve farmland and open space from development in eastern Dutchess communities like Amenia and Dover?).           [for inspiration to get more active on this see ]

3. Private Wall Street firms make out like bandits now with our county government-- not so with smaller financial institutions; Molinaro gave a $150 million county contract to JPMChase and a $50 million contract to Wells Fargo-- the time is now for Dutchess to do what Oakland, Santa Fe, and Philadelphia are looking into-- and what North Dakota has successfully had in place for a while now-- start a public bank.

4. Private supermarket chains like Stop & Shop and Hannafords-- the Food Industry Alliance of New York State itself-- disgustingly successfully lobbied the Dutchess County Legislature in November and December of 2016 in the midst of the holiday season to kill our county's fundamental consumer protection of our item-pricing law; Molinaro/GOP economic development strategies/practices now also prioritize large retail chain stores instead of helping local small businesses-- to the point now where Dutchess taxpayers literally pay $40 million annually in corporate welfare to large companies who pay their workers poverty wages, according to a recent Jobs with Justice/University of Connecticut report-- while Dutchess still refuses to follow good example of Erie County and make sure that any corporation receiving tax breaks from a county Industrial Development Agency has to prove pay equity for women employees there compared to male workers. ;                    

5. Private toy industry representatives and the American Chemistry Council recently actually intimidated our County Legislature from passing a law to ban toxic toys here in Dutchess-- even though Conservative GOP Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino banned toxic toys there in 2015, and similar legislation passed unanimously in Rockland and Suffolk counties as well (Albany too).

6. Private incinerator and waste-hauling firms also have far too much influence in our county government; specifically, Covanta and Emil Panichi (Royal Carting) gave Molinaro $10,450 over the last 6 years to continue feeding the growing/gaping maw of our county incinerator instead of creating ten times more jobs through recycling and composting compared to incineration/landfilling.

7. Private fossil-fuel/paving/mining/pesticide firms like Bottini Fuel ($7995), Peckham Industries ($5000), and Red Wing ($2300) continue to disgustingly fatten Molinaro's campaign warchest in his effort to expand his corporate governance statewide; the NYS Lawn Care Association has intimidated the Dutchess County Legislature from passing pesticide neighbor notification legislation-- there's a better way.( )

8. Private voting machine manufacturers and dealers have far too much power here in Dutchess in our county government-- the fact is that for literally six years now Columbia County Democratic Elections Commissioner Virginia Martin has successf
Columbia County GOP work w/Dems to hand count votes there— not here tho.

9. Private utilities (Central Hudson to be specific) have donated hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions to Molinaro-- this is beyond disgusting and a huge conflict of interest when one considers cost-saving, green alternatives like community choice aggregation, community solar farms, etc. (and stopping unneeded AC transmission line "upgrade").