Philly Green Party

Archive for October, 2006

New Report: Getting Around Philadelphia10.26.06

Download and read the Transit Working Group’s comprehensive analysis of the transportation situation in Philadelphia.  The report covers five main areas of mobility:

·        Walking and Pedestrian Issues

·        Biking

·        Public Transportation

·        Driving

·        Traveling to and from Philadelphia

The report includes links to websites, statistics and budget information, recommendations for reading, and a set of policy recommendations.  This document will be the organizing framework for Green Party Transit Working Group for the next few years.

Download the report here.

Invite us to your next meeting!

We are also extremely interested in talking to folks about this report – and more importantly in the information in it!  If you have a group (any kind and any size), we would love to come to your next meeting to talk to you about transit!  To schedule a presentation, contact transit@gpop.org.

Hard Copies

If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please email transit@gpop.org.  Hard copies cost us a few dollars to produce, so donations are welcome.

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

Meeting minutes 10/26/200610.26.06

Transit Working Group

October 26, 2006 (Thursday) minutes

Black Sheep Restaurant, 247 South 17th Street

5:30 – 7:15 PM

Attendees: Hillary Aisenstein, Isabelle Buonocore, Peter Javsicas, John Litzke, Jr., David Odell, Daniel Ryan.

We welcomed John and Daniel. Daniel attended the “Philly Beyond Oil 2006″ conference and John found us through our transit website.

Philly Beyond Oil 2006. Greens played a major role here, particularly in the section on transportation. David will represent Hillary at the PBO 2006 review to take place Friday, Nov. 3 from 3-5:00 PM at the Energy Coordinating Agency, 1924 Arch Street. One positive result of PBO, we concluded, was bringing interested parties together, sharing ideas, and creating momentum to get things done. The aforementioned presence of Greens was good PR for us. We brought in $40 in sales from donations for our survey, the Kelle bike safety device and other items. Overall attendee numbers were respectable but not overwhelming (about 150). There appears to be some initiative on the part of the City to develop a response to global warming and energy matters. J. Barry Davis of the newly-formed Sustainability Working Group (City Solicitor’s Office) gave a presentation. We need to ensure that this group has citizen input and look forward to cooperating with SWG. One of the transportation section’s stated goals was to get suggestions about how to get things done on the municipal level, but the two breakout sessions yielded only limited insights in this area.

Getting Around Philadelphia. We made a preliminary decision on who should receive hard copies of Getting Around Philadelphia: George Dolphs’ mother (the survey is dedicated to George), John Hadalski and John Madera (City employees credited in GAP for their input), the state and national Green Party, the transit agencies SEPTA (Board Chair Pasquale T. Deon, Sr., Citizen Advisory Committee Chair Robert Clearfield, General Manager Faye Moore), PATCO and NJ Transit, and City organizations who are key in responding to environmental issues (Sustainability Working Group mentioned above, Managing Director’s Office, Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, City Council Committee Chairs on Streets and Transportation, City Streets Dept. , Phila. City Planning Commission). David will put a list of additional activist groups and agencies together and request input from the others. Hillary will write up an article about our survey for the Green Star.

Transit issues. David brought up the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission hearing which he and Peter attended. A number of those giving testimony were very critical of SEPTA, including the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP). Peter explained that although there are many problems at SEPTA, these are only in part the responsibility of the transit agency. SEPTA is chronically underfunded, so the State bears ultimate responsibility for these difficulties. Peter suggested that the Greens should work with other groups to facilitate the discussion about transit funding, including rural Greens. He proposed holding a meeting at the Ethical Society to which also the transportation unions will be invited. The funding commission must deliver its recommendations by November 15, so we decided on a November 20 date for holding the meeting. David will look into using the Free Library to reduce expenses.

Other issues. There is a whole host of transportation-related issues that TWG needs to be addressing. Public transit is the most obvious. Others include pedestrian and bicyclist safety issues and the connection between transportation and security. More on these at our coming meetings.

GAP printing. Daniel, David and Isabelle are contributing financially to the next printing of Getting Around Philadelphia.

Our next meeting is on Thursday, November 9 at Peter’s office (Econsult), 36th and Market from 5:30 – 7:00 PM.

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

About Transportation Working Group10.08.06

The Greens demand safe, affordable, and convenient means of transportation for all people, with special attention to the needs of people with disabilities, the poor, the very young and senior citizens.  We support forms of mobility in Philadelphia that both minimize our impact on the environment and encourage a healthy lifestyle, such as walking, bicycling and the use of public transit systems. Regional rail systems, trolleys, streetcars, buses and even taxis have their place in an integrated concept that reduces congestion, air pollution, noise, waste of fossil fuels and increases personal health and safety.

Contact transit@gpop.org to help.

News and Press Releases

Stay tuned.

Areas of Focus

There are four area of focus within the Transportation Working Group:

  • Walking
  • Biking – Bicycling is a fast, healthy, low cost, low pollution way of getting around. The Green Party of Philadelphia’s (GPOP) Transportation Working Group (TWG) will be concentrating on the needs, services, safety, and expansion of bicyclists in the city. We are working closely with various groups for input and advise (i.e.: the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia.)
  • Public Transport – The Green Party of Philadelphia took the early lead in 2003 calling for the state to provide dedicated funding for public transportation in Pennsylvania.  That campaign led to the Pennsylvania Transit Campaign, which successfully fought the proposed fare hikes and service cuts of 2004.
  • Cars – Driving motorized vehicles is a resource-intensive method of transportation in terms of cost, space, and environmental impact. The Green Party is looking at ways to shift car-based transportation to more sustainable alternatives as well as reduce the impacts of motorized vehciles to improve quality of life for all city residents.

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

Transportation Options in Philadelphia10.07.06

Consider the many options to car ownership in Philadelphia. A car-free lifestyle can free up many thousands of dollars annually. And it more than covers the costs of alternatives such public transit, taxis, or car sharing options.

Public Transit:
SEPTA’s website: http://www.septa.org
SEPTA’s trip planner makes it relatively easy to figure out how to get from one place to another by a certain time.

Car Sharing:
Join PhillyCarShare!  It’s fast, easy, and best of all, it’s now free!

Taxis:
Philadelphia Taxis

Riding your bike:
Check out various maps of bike routes in Philadelphia: http://www.phila.gov/streets/bike_route_maps.html

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

Get out of your car!10.07.06

Download the two-sided flyer that helps Philadelphians figure out exactly how much their car is costing them.  The flyer provides a brief listing of the costs of a car and compares them with riding public transportation, riding a bicycle, and/or car sharing.

Download the flyer [PDF] and distribute it to your friends, family, and neighbors.  At the very least, it will get people talking!

Posted in Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

About membership working group10.06.06

The Green Party is the fastest growing political party in the country.  GPOP’s Membership Working Group works to ensure that this growth occurs in Philadelphia in each and every neighborhood.  If you are interested in increasing the presence of the Green Party in your community, then this group is for you!

Become the Green Party’s equivalent of a Ward Leader or a Committee Person.

- talk with your neighbors about issues, campaigns, and candidates

- help gather signatures to get Green Party candidates on the ballot

- help coordinate activities and workers for Election Day

Send email to gpop@gpop.org or call 215-243-7103 and ask for the GPOP Chair or the Membership Secretary.

Notes and Updates

See Chris Robinson’s breakdown of Green Party growth neighborhood by neighborhood

If you do not know which Ward you live in, visit Hallwatch.org and click on “Find your elected officials.”

Posted in Membership Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

Philly Beyond Oil 200610.06.06

Now that this conference is over, all of the presentations are archived at www.fossilfreephilly.org.  There is also an active listserv for people who are interested in these issues.  To get on that list, visit the website or email transit@gpop.org and mention the “Philadelphia Peak Oil” list.  Stay tuned for follow-up meetings…

Philly Beyond Oil 2006

Building a Just Society Beyond Peak Oil and Global Warming

www.FossilFreePhilly.org

Saturday, October 14, 2006

8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Friends Meeting, 4th and Arch St. Philadelphia

Ever rising energy prices and global warming challenge all of us to reduce fossil fuel use by changing the way we use energy, making our city a better place to live.

Recognize the growing impact of global warming on our lives.
Join us in charting the next steps for our city

Learn about the paths others have taken which provide models to us.

·        First hand report on Cuba’s sustainable, organic agriculture

·        Hear how Austin, Texas is on target to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Meet fellow Philadelphians who are already putting solutions in place:

·        Local food production

·        Energy efficiency in buildings

·        Clean, affordable transportation

Speakers (partial list): Pat Murphy, Producer, Cuba the Community Solution; Dr. John Byrne, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware; Juan Garza, CEO, Austin Energy (invited);  Liz Robinson, Ann Karlen, Bob Pierson, Mary Corboy, Roxanne Christensen, Bill Marston, Dennis Winters, Mike Ewall, Maurice Sampson, Mike Groman

Enjoy a Lunch of locally grown, organic food

Register to participate in the Sustainability Fair to show new ways to reduce energy consumption

Conference registration is $35, or $20 without lunch.

Agenda and registration available online at: www.FossilFreePhilly.org

By Mail: Dennis Winters, (215) 988-0929, x242
ECA, 1924 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA  19103-1404

Cosponsored by: Energy Coordinating Agency, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Sierra Club of SE PA, Perks Reutter Associates, Clean Air Council, White Dog Foundation, Earthcare Working Group of PYM (Quakers), Henry George School, Farm to City

Supported by: ActionPA / Energy Justice Network, Alliance for a Sustainable Future, Green Party of Philadelphia, Sustainable Business Network

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Transit Working Group, Working Groupswith Comments Off

Lets Play War: How Militarism Is Marketed to Children10.02.06

ZNet Commentary
Let’s Play War: How Militarism is Marketed to Children
August 25, 2005
By Lucinda Marshall

My friend Loretta is hopping mad about the mail that her nine year old grandson is receiving. While military recruiters cannot ‘recruit’ children under seventeen years of age, there is nothing stopping them from waging a marketing campaign to win the hearts and minds of much younger children such as Loretta’s grandson. She tells me that he just received a mailing from the Marines labeled “Required Summer Reading” that offers him limited edition posters. As any parent well knows, anything labeled as ‘limited edition’ is irresistible to kids of that age.

Parents are becoming more aware of the presence of military recruiters in high schools because of the No Child Left Behind Act which requires schools to turn over contact information on students to the military unless the students request that their records not be shared. While this is an easy way for the military to obtain information on prospective recruits, it is only one of many ways in which the military can make a sales pitch to children.

Each branch of the military runs its own JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs. The Air Force alone runs 746 JROTC programs throughout the U.S. with plans start more this year. The programs enroll more than 100,000 students. According to the American Friends Service Committee, each program costs school districts an average of $76,000, effectively putting cash-strapped schools in the position of subsidizing the military. It is important to note that JROTC programs routinely bring weapons into schools (and teach children how to use them) and there are numerous reports of JROTC-related violence, including murder.

The programs claim that they are not geared towards recruiting, that their purpose is to teach leadership and discipline. But as former defense secretary William Cohen told Congress in 2000, JROTC is “one of the best recruiting devices we have.” (1)

When now Vice President Cheney served as Secretary of Defense, he summarized the purpose of the military quite accurately, “The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win wars. That is our basic fundamental mission. The military is not a social welfare agency, it’s not a jobs program.” Yet recruiters and JROTC programs as well as television ads routinely hawk the educational and job benefits of joining the military.

What they do not tell prospective recruits is that 57% of military personnel receive no educational benefits and only 5% receive the maximum benefit. The military frequently boasts about the great job training it provides, but according to the Army Times, only 12% of male veterans and 6% of female veterans report using job skills learned in the military. According to the Veterans Administration, veterans earn less, make up 1/3 of homeless men and 20% of the nation’s prison population. (2)

The military’s presence in schools is not limited to high schools. The Middle School Cadet program at Lavizzo Elementary School in Chicago is one example. Youngsters wear uniforms and are taught how to carry guns, a skill distinctly at odds with the policies that virtually every school has banning weapons on school property. (3)

The Navy also offers a program geared at middle-schoolers, the Navy League Cadet Corp, designed for children ages 11-14, in addition to their Naval Sea Cadet Corp which is geared towards high schoolers. The Navy offers 300 such programs reaching 11,000 children.

Another tool the military uses is to send military recruiting trucks to visit U.S. high schools. The trucks use high tech media and eye-catching graphics to whet students interest. The Army describes its Special Operations Van this way,

“The SOF incorporates several exhibits. One can experience the excitement of flying a helicopter, test your skills and landing accuracy in the Airborne parachute simulator, or improve your driving or marksmanship (sic) in the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) system.”

While the military claims that vehicles like this are for educational purposes, their own regulations indicate otherwise, stating that the vehicles are to be sent to schools that recruiters are trying to target, and that recruiters must stay with the trucks while they are open to the public. The purpose of the trucks is to “Ensure that exhibits create a favorable image of the Army and current Army enlistment opportunities.” (Section 1-5.a.) (4) (5)

The Department of Defense has been quick to understand that video games are an excellent marketing tool. On the America’s Army website, you can play all manner of war games, although as Sheldon Rampton points out in his article “War is Fun as Hell”, the games are a, “sanitized, Tom Clancy version of war.”

Not only that, but the website sexes up their offerings, providing what Rampton aptly describes as a “babes-and-bullets fantasy”, by employing a group of young attractive female gamers known as the Frag Girls to market the games. (6)

As one woman gamer describes it,

“Lord knows you wouldn’t want someone that was a real gamer and a wife and mother. What would the drooling masses have to drool over? Certainly it wouldn’t be a young attractive SINGLE female that they might think they had a chance with right?” (7)

And just to make sure there is no doubt as to what a Frag Girl is, they have their very own website which offers these illuminating definitions:

“frag /frag/ n. & v. · n. 1 number of kills. 2 a fragmentation grenade. · v. 1 to eliminate other players in multiplayer shooters (fragging).

rag·doll physics {buzzword} /ragdol fiziks/ n. 1 a program allowing videogame characters to react with realistic body and skeletal physics.

frag·doll /fragdol/ n. 1 a female gamer with the skills to dominate in multiplayer shooters. 2 a lady with the sass to use the laws of physics to her incontestable advantage.”

As concerned as many parents, schools and communities are about the impact of No Child Left Behind, the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it intends to assemble a much more comprehensive database is far more worrisome. According to the Pentagon, the database will contain some 30 million records of data about youth ages 16-25. The data kept will include name, gender, address, birthday, email address, ethnicity, phone number, education records including graduation dates, grade point averages education level and military test scores. Parents, educators and privacy rights activists have raised a number of objections to the planned database, pointing out that it violates the Privacy Act and the DoD’s own regulations about the collection of information on citizens.

Misleading advertising is always reprehensible. But when we allow our military to target children, leading them to believe that war is a game and fighting is fun, one has to wonder if the next logical step is camouflage diapers? (8)

nullNotes:

(1) “Air Force Plans To Invade: 48 High Schools Set to Start AF JROTC”. Based on research by Peacework intern Jamie Munro and materials on JROTC from the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors and the American Friends Service Committee Youth and Militarism Program. Compiled by Sam Diener.

(2) “Why Question the Military’s JROTC Program?”, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

(3) “The Children’s Crusade” by Jennifer Wedekind, In These Times, June 3, 2005.

(4) “US Army Makes Surprise Claim: We’re Endangering US High Schools”,

Peacework Co-Editor Sam Diener previously served on the staff of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. Bill Sweet, an AFSC and GI Rights Hotline volunteer, contributed research to this article.

(5) “Army’s New Special Operations Van Invading US Schools”, American Friends Service Committee.

(6) “War is Fun as Hell” by Sheldon Rampton, Alternet, August 2, 2005.

(7) “The Fragtastic FragDolls” by Danielle “Sachant” Vanderlip.

(8) There are several excellent organizations that offer more information about military recruiting and marketing to youngsters. They include:

American Friends Service Committee.

Center on Conscience and War (NISBCO).

Leave My Child Alone (has downloadable forms to opt out of having a child’s contact information given to the military and to opt out of the new Pentagon database).

Posted in Active GPOP Items, Initiatives, OPT-OUTwith Comments Off

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