Saturday, January 26, 2008

Duncan Gives Spitzer Failing Grade On 25 Green Party Challenges For His First Year In Office, Saying He Failed To "Work Well With Others"

For Immediate Release Jan. 1, 2008
Contact: Ann Link 347-226-1195

NEW YORK, NY - Alison Duncan, the Green Party of New York State's 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, gave Governor Eliot Spitzer a failing grade of "F" today on 25 Green Party challenges issued last January for his first year in office. Duncan added an additional challenge for Spitzer: to "work well with others." The challenges will be reissued for 2008.

"In 2006 Eliot Spitzer was elected in a landslide -- with a clear mandate to bring change to Albany," said Duncan. "He seems to have mistaken his mandate for the power of a dictator. Not only is the Governor's behavior undemocratic, it's also woefully ineffective. The people of New York State need a governor who can employ conflict resolution skills and creative problem solving. Our health, economic future and civil rights depend on it. That's why, in addition to grading the Governor on the 25 challenges I sent last year, I'm adding a 26th challenge on behalf of the 42,122 voters who chose the Green Party ticket. Governor Spitzer, I challenge you to work together with the elected representatives in Albany and across the state to build a more sustainable New York."


I. War in Iraq:

- bring New York State's National Guard troops home as soon as possible by using his veto power

II. Civil Rights:

- marry same-sex couples at the Empire State Plaza by the end of 2007
[D -- Spitzer submitted legislation in April to legalize same-sex marriage but treated it as a publicity stunt by refusing to spend the political capital to push it through]

- repeal the New York State version of the PATRIOT Act that he drafted with Pataki, which rescinded constitutional due process and probable cause protections

III. Health Care:

- actively promote the Legislative Commission on Health Care Coverage Act of 2005 (A.6575) sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried as a first step toward implementing universal, single-payer health care
[F -- Spitzer's efforts toward universal coverage do not include single payer]

- increase funding for public health research and programming with an emphasis on prevention, especially prevention of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS
[C -- Spitzer publicized a disease prevention plan in March but has not made AIDS prevention a major priority]

- keep hospitals open that have been targeted by Pataki's hospital closure commission

IV. Education:

- immediately follow through on his promise to invest $4 to $6 billion in New York City's schools, commit to investing $8.5 billion statewide, and commit an additional 500 million yearly to fund after-school programs in every district
[C -- Spitzer signed a bill that will increase school funding incrementally over 4 years, reaching $7 billion by 2010-11, however the aid must be more equitably distributed so that poorer districts have the resources they need]

V. Energy Policy:

- increase the percentage of electricity produced with renewable energy sources (not nuclear) to 25% in the first year, with a goal of 40% by the end of his term
[D -- Spitzer's goals of reducing NY's energy consumption by 15% below the forecasted level in 2015 and obtaining 25% of energy from renewable resources by 2013 are too modest for a problem that requires immediate action]

- promote energy conservation and research to create 25,000 new jobs for each year of his term

VI. Criminal Justice Reform:

- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to restore sentencing control to judges -- no mandatory minimums and use of alternative sentencing with a focus on restorative justice to prevent recidivism

- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to legalize marijuana and repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws

VII. Death Penalty:
- advocate against the death penalty and refuse to sign any bill to reinstate it

- commit $40 million per year for the permanent funding of legal services programs
[C -- Spitzer increased funding but not to the amount that is needed]

VIII. Housing:

- build 250,000 units of affordable housing each year of his term -002D the criteria "affordable" being that all New Yorkers are able to find housing near their work for no more than 30% of their family income
[D-- Spitzer announced financing for 800 "affordable" housing units on Dec. 14 and 730 housing units on Nov. 16, far short of what is needed]

- repeal the Urstadt Law that bars New York City from adopting rent limitations and tenant protections that are more restrictive than those allowed by the state

IX. Agriculture:

- submit a bill for labeling laws that identify food by origin (defining "family farm," "small farm), and whether genetically engineered

- submit a bill to require every public school cafeteria to serve locally grown food รข€” with a priority on small, organic farms

X. Labor:

- repeal the Taylor Law to give public unions negotiating tools that are as powerful as management's while protecting public safety

- give union organizers full access to organize workfare workers and prisoners in New York State

XI. Electoral Reform:

- promote conversion to hand-counted paper ballots

- institute instant runoff voting by actively promoting A03509 and A03510 sponsored by Assembly Member Fred Thiele to establish an instant runoff voting method for certain primary and local elections

XII. Multiparty Democracy:

- introduce legislation to more fairly define ballot status of political parties by either enrollment or the vote totals of any statewide or federal office

- introduce clean election legislation that doesn't penalize third parties
[F -- the Green Party of New York State has described the legislation Spitzer and the legislature passed last year as "stunningly inadequate" and "codifying an already rotten system," citing a need for full public funding of campaigns and a ban on soft-money donations]

- introduce legislation to provide for proportional representation of political parties on the county and state boards of elections

XIII. Public Authorities:

- spearhead a public review of public authorities including their mandates, governing structures and budgets; and implement a comprehensive reform with a focus on transparency and accountability
[D -- although Spitzer and Paterson announced on May 24 that they had submitted limited reform legislation, it remains to be seen whether they can get it passed and whether the reforms will be implemented]

NEW CHALLENGE! Work Well With Others

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