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Holyoke citizens group offers alternative proposal to privatization of wastewater treatment plant
cos009.jpgA local resident’s group, Holyoke Citizens for Open Government (HCOG), will present a proposal to the Board of Public Works at their meeting on 12/16/04, 5:30pm at 63 Canal St., Holyoke. The proposal is for a public-public partnership as an alternative to privatizing the Berkshire Street Wastewater Treatment Plant.
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17 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Environment : Social Welfare
Stop privatization of wastewater in Holyoke
Open Letter to the Aquarion Company

Attn: CEO Charles Firlotte.

Dear Mr. Firlotte and Aquarion,

Your subsidiary, the Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts is the only bidder on a contract to design/build/operate the wastewater treatment facility and CSO abatement project in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where I would be one of your future ratepayers.

Mr. Firlotte, your company appears to be an honorable institution, and I mean no disrespect when I say that many of us in Holyoke don’t want the company to come here. We’ve formed a group called the Holyoke Citizens for Open Government, and although the contract is nearing final approval, we are doing what we can to halt the process.
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12 Dec 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Environment : Labor : Social Welfare
Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
A bill proposing to repeal the Commonwealth's ban on "cross endorsement" voting was filed in the House of Representatives on December 1. It is titled "An Act Providing Voters with More Ballot Choices."

Lifting the ban would allow two political parties to nominate and vote for the same candidate. This type of voting helps minor parties to build their strength, while avoiding the common pitfalls of the winner-take-all, two-party system. Supporters of a minor political party's platform are often reluctant to waste their vote on a candidate with no chance of winning - or in a close vote - inadvertently defeating the major party candidate who more nearly shares their views.
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09 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Politics
Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
Despite the cold wind and dripping rain, over 60 people gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil organized by City Life/Vida Urbana in support of the Community Stabilization Act (CSA), which the city council will vote on, Wednesday.

The CSA would provide protections for tenants against rent gouging and unfair evictions by empowering elderly, disabled and low-income tenants to protest rent increases of over five percent. All other tenants would be given the right to protest rent increases of over ten percent. The bill would also provide protection against foreclosure for small homeowners.

[Update: The CSA lost 8-5 in the City Council vote.]
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08 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
IMG_0930.jpgUp and coming youth activists may be just the thing to breathe fresh life into Boston’s anti-war movement. Protesters at December 4th’s rally, which started at the Boston Commons bandstand and included a march down Newbury Street, exhibited an enthusiasm not seen at earlier demonstrations this year. More than 15 persons spoke and led the crowd in chanting various slogans, such as “Drop Bush Not Bombs!!!” and “Money for Schools Not War!!!” The day was peaceful for the most part, although after the march a group of about 50 persons decided to challenge the police and “take to the streets,” blocking traffic. Pushing matches and harsh words ensued but no arrests or serious injuries have been reported.
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06 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Education : International : Organizing
Why I Support the Somerville Divestment Initiative: An Israeli's View
As an Israeli immigrant living in Somerville, I strongly support the Somerville Responsible Investment Resolution, which urges all investors in the city to divest from companies involved with Israel's human rights violations and from Israel Bonds. I am sad to see my country of origin hurling itself down a path of self-destruction and I feel a responsibility to stop it. The Israeli people are good people, you just have to shake them up and awaken them to the fact that they are heading in the wrong direction. And this is what this divestment initiative will do.

[Update: The Somerville Divestment Initiative failed to pass a vote by the city's Board of Alderman.]
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02 Dec 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : International : Politics
Bostonians Rally on the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine
PalestineFlag.gifOn November 29, 2004, the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, about forty people gathered from 6:00 to 7:00 pm for a rally in Harvard Square organized by the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights (BCPR). They joined people around the world, expressing their solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle to end their occupation by Israel, an occupation that sees Palestinians murdered and humiliated on a daily basis, their homes and villages destroyed, and their best agricultural land and aquifers confiscated. As people at the protest argued, it is particularly important for Americans to oppose the Israeli occupation, because the United States government is not the even-handed broker in the conflict that it depicts itself as, but in fact Israel’s chief supporter worldwide.
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01 Dec 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Indian labor leaders to visit Boston
BOSTON -- A delegation of Indian labor leaders will address "outsourcing" and other international labor issues at a public event in Cambridge on December 2. Members of the tour are seeking a dialogue with U.S. workers about mutual interests in the fight to defend good jobs and ensure fair labor standards.
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30 Nov 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Labor
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