Topic

social justice

106 petitions

Update posted 3 hours ago

Petition to Keith Perry, Charles Clemons, Bryan Avila, Kimberly Daniels, Eric Eisnaugle, Barbara Watson, Joseph Abruzzo, Ben Albritton, Colleen Burton, Neil Combee, Brad Drake, Jay Fant, Patrick Henry, Kristin Jacobs, Chris Latvala, Amber Mariano, Wengay Newton, Cary Pigman, Scott Plakon, Holly Raschein, Clovis Watson, Matt Willhite, Jayer Williamson

Keep local control of our utility!

We call on our state legislature to oppose Representative Chuck Clemons' and Senator Keith Perry's bills (HB 759 & SB 1568), which seek to remove authority over Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) from the City of Gainesville and place it in the hands of unaccountable political appointees.  We assert that GRU is owned by the City of Gainesville, Florida.  When we do not agree with the policies and programs of our utility, we will seek change through GRU's Board of Directors, our elected City Commission and the Utility Advisory Board.  Where changes are needed, those changes should be decided upon by our community.  We support ongoing local conversations regarding GRU governance.  We do not, however, need or want the intrusion of Tallahassee politicians in governing our local utility.   Background: For the fourth year in a row, Senator Keith Perry (and now Representative Chuck Clemons) have chosen to represent the demands of the Chamber of Commerce over their own constituents. Despite ongoing and repeated public outcry, they are attempting to force a ballot initiative that would replace our locally-controlled governance of GRU with political appointees who have no accountability to the public, GRU customers, nor any regulatory authority. These appointees would be empowered to exercise the power of eminent domain, issue revenue bonds, dispose of utility system assets, and even write their own rules and code of business conduct. Further, they would have the authority to substantially reduce the amount of GRU's annual transfer to the City's General Fund, thereby holding our City hostage to an unelected, unaccountable Authority. Yet members of the Authority could not be recalled by the customers of the utility nor by the citizens of our community. This bill opens the door to the privatization of our publicly-owned utility and has been opposed by the Gainesville City Commission, the Alachua County Commission, Representative Clovis Watson, and the Florida Municipal Electric Association. It also runs counter to the recommendations made to our City by the Navigant Report. We recognize that GRU is not a perfect utility.  But it is our utility, owned by the City of Gainesville and directed by our elected City Commissioners and the Utility Advisory Board.  We vehemently oppose these intrusions by the Chamber of Commerce, Senator Keith Perry, Representative Chuck Clemons, and other Tallahassee politicians into the local decisions of our community.  One look at the ineffectual oversight they are providing the state's privately-owned utilities confirms this assertion.  Where changes are needed in our utility, we will take responsibility for those changes locally, through citizen engagement and election of City Commissioners who best reflect our values.

Gainesville Loves Mountains
212 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Knoxville City Council, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) of Knoxville

Say No to Parkridge H1 Expansion: Preserve & Protect PEOPLE BEFORE PROPERTY

The Parkridge neighborhood encompasses approximately 1,600 homes spanning an area between E. Fifth, Jefferson, Woodbine & Washington Avenues in Knoxville, Tennessee, Parkridge has a uniquely diverse social, economic and racial composition. It is a vibrant neighborhood and its demographic mix compels people to live in community instead of suffering through isolation.   Several years ago, my husband and I bought a beautifully renovated 3-story historic George Barber Victorian in Parkridge because (not in spite) of its situation in a socioeconomically diverse neighborhood. I am a Haitian-American Catholic academic, he is a white Protestant lawyer born in Knoxville, and we want our three bi-racial, multi-cultural children to be surrounded by people of all stripes. While some misinterpret our home purchase as property investment, we see it as an investment in people making up our community.  Consistent with our initial hopes, we have found that our Parkridge neighbors come from all walks of life – professionals, artists, laborers, unemployed individuals, people on disability, young families, retirees – living in community without the usual firm markers of social, economic, and racial stratification.  It is far from perfect, but in our opinion it serves these goals better than any other part of Knoxville.    The Parkridge Community Organization (PCO) initiated the process of expanding the existing H-1 zoning overlay.  The City Council then approved a request from the Metropolitan Planning Commission to study possible expansion.  The PCO has approximately 50 members, a small minority of Parkridge residents.  The proposed expansion would cover some 711 parcels, a 522 parcel increase over the existing H-1 zone. We, the signers of this petition, assert that the request of the PCO and position in favor of expansion are not reflective of the expressed opinions of many of the owners and residents who would be affected by expansion, and that expansion will not further the preservation of the diverse community that exists in Parkridge.  Further, many residents who would be affected are not aware of the nature and possible magnitude of consequences from an H-1 expansion. This petition is offered to collect and document the opposition to this expansion that exists among those individuals who would be affected by it. Expansion of the H-1 historic zone would likely serve to preserve the condition of some homes of historic value, although a significant portion of the covered homes in the expanded area are not historic in nature.  It also seems likely that the expansion of the H-1 historic zone would serve, over time, to increase property values on these historic homes.  We, the signers of this petition, assert, however, that these generally-favorable outcomes are outweighed by the other, presumably unintended consequences of the expansion: the expansion would likely serve to squeeze out (through increased rent for tenants and increased maintenance costs imposed by complying with the H-1 requirements for low-income owners) the less affluent members of the community.  This outcome is of particular concern given the reality that a substantial portion of these less affluent members are African-American, a class for whom housing issues are a pressing problem in Knoxville.  As has been documented, including in the City of Knoxville’s Consolidated Plan, “minority populations often experience a greater likelihood of having more housing problems and a greater cost burden than white residents.”  (Consolidated Plan at 47).  Further, “the data show that Black/African Americans have a housing cost burden and a disproportionately greater need for affordable housing. In fact almost 30% of Black/African American households face a severe housing cost burden (in excess of 50% of their household income).”  (Consolidated Plan at 46). In short, we are concerned that expansion of the H-1 historic zone would serve to reduce the number of low-income residents in Parkridge; which would disproportionately affect the current African-American residents; and would further contribute to the lack of quality affordable housing for minorities in Knoxville.  For these same reasons, it is the concern of the signers of this petition that the H-1 expansion, by prioritizing the physical structures of the community over the diversity of its residents, would serve to degrade the vitality of the unique human fabric that makes Parkridge valuable.  There are many other areas in Knoxville where affluent residents have access to historically-interesting and well-maintained housing surrounded by like-minded neighbors; there is only one Parkridge.  We, the signers of this petition, therefore find the currently-proposed expansion of the H-1 historic zone NOT to be in the best interest of the Parkridge community or of Knoxville as a whole and urge the City Council to reject it in its current form.  We believe that any government-sponsored historic preservation effort in Parkridge should include as paramount goals, both in explicit intention and through concrete mechanisms of protection, maintaining or increasing the availability of affordable housing as it impacts African-Americans in Knoxville and, most particularly, the preservation of Parkridge’s current unique demographic mix.

Parkridge People
61 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Kelli Linville, April Barker, Gene Knutson, Daniel Hammill, Whatcom County Council, Bellingham City Council, Michael Lilliquist, Pinky Vargas, Terry Bornemann, Roxanne Murphy

Bellingham Publicly Owned Fiber Optic Network

Publicly Owned Fiber Optic Internet As other cities embrace high-speed fiber broadband, Bellingham is getting left far behind. Our city has underutilized public fiber resources and several local Internet Service Providers eager to deploy high speed broadband, like they have in Mount Vernon, yet this is held back by rules and regulations that have not kept pace with technology. Fiber would: Create an opportunity for a public access component to make ultra high speed internet broadly accessible in public spaces, provide higher quality low-income connections to those in need, and guarantee a level of internet access to all. Give Bellingham a strong standing among Washington cities, and create valuable infrastructure that we could continue to build on in the long-term. Create jobs: Fiber would draw companies to the city, provide jobs for construction and maintenance, create new internet service providers and other innovative businesses that are made possible by ultra-fast broadband. Reduce Our Impact on the Environment: Fiber would reduce the need for travel to take place for meetings. It is also very durable and usually requires less maintenance than old infrastructure wiring, like copper wiring.   Increase property values: Wiring for fiber-optics has been shown to increase property value approximately 1% Provide a network our government could leverage to deliver data from current and future ‘smart grid’ sensors including those used for parking management, resource monitoring, air quality, muni and other needs. Over the long term smarter management could save the city money and increase our tax base without increasing taxes by reducing unemployment and creating good jobs.

Jon Humphrey
397 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Strategic Acquistions Inc, Peter Baer, Tony Hershman

DO NOT ALLOW STRATEGIC ACQUISITIONS INC TO DESTROY THE RON FINLEY PROJECT’S GANGSTA GARDEN

Help #savethegangstagarden and The Ron Finley Project's HQ that ignited a worldwide food justice revolution by signing the petition and generously giving what you can.All Ron Finley wanted was healthy food for himself, his family and neighbors. After picking up a tomato that was labeled “coated with shellac” in his local South Central Los Angeles grocery store, it hit Finley: there was a complete lack of healthy food in his community. This is true for not only Finley’s community, but most underserved populations nationwide. More than 29 million Americans live in food deserts or what Finley has termed “food prisons”.“the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys”In 2010, Finley decided to take his health and the health of his community into his own hands and “Plant Some Shit”, turning a strip of city-owned land in front of his property into a food oasis. After a citation, fine and eventual warrant for Finley’s arrest over the grass that he transformed into an edible landscape for his community, word spread quickly about the “Gangsta Gardener”, sparking a global food justice movement. Luminaries such as René Redzepi, Russell Brand, Alice Waters, Rainn Wilson, Penny Marshall, Aloe Blacc, Carson Daley, Rachel Hunter and Robert Horry reached out to Finley in solidarity of his work, followed by statewide dignitaries, namely Mayors Aja Brown, Kevin Johnson and Councilman Herb Wesson. Soon after, the Gangsta Garden began to be visited and studied by local K-12 classrooms and universities all over the world including renown institutions such as Harvard, the University of Southern California and MIT.“Kids who grow kale, eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.”Over the last few years, the owner of the RFP property has been battling with the bank and has made several attempts to receive a loan modification to no avail. The bank recently foreclosed on the property and sold it to Strategic Acquisitions Inc. RFP has requested that Strategic Acquisitions allow them to continue operating from the location as to sustain with the important work they are doing in the community. The only solution they have been offered is to purchase the property, otherwise, face eviction. HQ has grown into more than just a garden since 2010, including RFP offices, an educational center and a propagation station for more edible urban landscapes. The loss of this property is a continuation of the injustices perpetrated against the members of the South Central Los Angeles community and persons struggling with food insecurity around the world. Finley took on city lawmakers in 2010 sparking a worldwide food justice revolution. Now the world needs to rally behind him!RFP needs to raise $500,000 to #savethegangstagarden that has become a symbol of healthy change for Los Angeles and cities all over. If you have been touched by RFP or support access to healthy food for ALL communities, please sign the petition, donate on our crowdfunding site, share and comment on how the The Ron Finley Project has inspired you.

The Ron Finley Project
73,614 supporters