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A Trailblazing Tenants Union Forced A Mega-Landlord To The Table

New Haven, Connecticut - Things looked bleak on Blake Street when, at around 3:30 p.m. on August 19, Jessica Stamp and 15 of her neighbors found eviction notices taped to their door. Ocean Management, Stamp’s landlord and one of New Haven’s most powerful companies, seemed intent on getting her out. But 13 days later, on Sept. 1, Ocean called off the evictions and came to the bargaining table to negotiate the first agreement of its kind between a landlord and tenants in Connecticut. In those 13 days, a local tenants union realized just how powerful they’d become.

The Tragedy Of Misunderstanding The Commons

Guilford, CT — A thousand people gather on the Green, sharing umbrellas and straining to hear the valedictorian above the thunderstorm. She’s talking about the Green, a sixteen-acre park at the center of town where townspeople get together for concerts, picnics and the annual high school graduation. The speaker does not mention that we are sitting over bodies interred in the seventeenth century, for the Green has served other purposes: At various times it’s been a burial ground, a marching ground, a grazing ground and even a campground for townsfolk who lived too far from church to make it to town and home in the same day.

Why Exposing Evils Of Medical Debt Doesn’t Fix The Problem

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont proposed on February 2 to purchase and forgive roughly $2 billion in medical debt owed by state residents. Along with similar proposals in other jurisdictions, the plan offers desperately needed relief from stress and fear to thousands of people who are struggling to pay their current outstanding medical bills. Unfortunately, these programs will do nothing to prevent millions more Americans from falling into the country’s healthcare financial meat grinder. Meanwhile, three major credit reporting agencies have decided to expunge paid-off medical debts and outstanding debt less than $500 from credit reports, and provide people a year’s grace period before adding new medical debt to credit reports.

Dollar General Workers Stare Down Historic Union Vote

In less than two weeks, a tiny group of a half dozen workers in Barkhamsted, Connecticut will vote on whether to become the only unionized Dollar General store employees in America. These six people in a small town about 20 miles northwest of Hartford now find themselves positioned to gain a historic toehold for organized labor inside a booming, low-wage industry. But it will not be easy. Few companies have prospered since the beginning of the pandemic as much as Dollar General. The company boasts that three quarters of all Americans now live within five miles of one of its nearly 18,000 stores. The Washington Post reported that foot traffic at those stores has risen by a third in the past two years. Dollar General’s stock price has boomed during the pandemic, and the company is now worth almost $50 billion.

Earth Day Was Peace Day

New Haven, CT - At the direction of local musician Freddy B, New Haveners marked Earth Day by singing, clapping and waving posters to the chorus of the anti-war classic “Give Peace A Chance.” Freddy B (aka Freddy Brown) was among more than 30 people who gathered by the Amistad memorial outside City Hall late Thursday afternoon for a combined Earth/Peace Day celebration organized by the City of New Haven Peace Commission and Teen Climate Activists with help from New Haven Climate Movement, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization, Greater New Haven Peace Council, and New Haven Friends. The event united organizations that promote anti-gun violence, climate justice, and peace/antiwar causes. Earth/Peace Day also served as a public response to a non-binding referendum on the 2020 municipal election ballot...

How Some Of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

Westport, CT - A dirt field overgrown with weeds is the incongruous entrance to one of America’s wealthiest towns, a short walk to a Rodeo Drive-like stretch replete with upscale stores such as Tiffany & Co. But this sad patch of land is also the physical manifestation of a broader turf war over what type of housing — and ultimately what type of people — to allow within Westport’s borders. It started when a developer known for building large luxury homes envisioned something different back in 2014 for the 2.2 acre property: a mix of single- and multifamily housing that would accommodate up to 12 families. A higher density project is more cost efficient, he said, and would allow him to sell the units for less than the typical Westport home.

One Of The Wealthiest States Might Pass An Opportunity To Tackle Housing Segregation

Despite its liberal reputation — and Democrats controlling the legislature for the last 23 years and the governor’s mansion for nine — Connecticut is one of the most segregated places in the country. And with thousands of residents pouring into the streets this month to protest racism, housing advocates and progressive Democrats saw an opportunity to change that, calling for an overhaul of the state’s exclusionary housing laws. That opportunity, however, appears to be fading. At the state Capitol, Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative leaders have shelved a raft of proposals that could spur more affordable housing, after ending the legislative session early this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nader To Connecticut Reps: Is Aetna Why You Are Wrong On Healthcare

By Ralph Nader for The Nader Page - There are 109 colleagues of yours who are co-sponsors of HR 676, Congressman John Conyers’ single payer bill in the House that provides full Medicare for all with free choice of doctor and hospital. Yet not one of you — members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation — has co-sponsored HR 676. This despite majoritarian support, with a recent Pew poll showing 85% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents saying the federal government should be responsible for health care insurance. Why are you not representing your constituents on this critical reform that, as demonstrated in other countries, is much more efficient, provides much more choice and has better outcomes? The uniformity of your non-participation in this growing legislative movement sticks out like a sore thumb. Even colleagues of yours from Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee are co-sponsors. It would behoove you in your forthcoming town meetings during the Congressional recess next week to discuss the reasons why for so many years you have avoided endorsing HR 676. I have asked several people in Connecticut, who are your voters, why you have taken your rejectionist stance.

Does Connecticut’s Green Bank Hold Secret To Future Of Clean Energy?

By Jan Ellen Spiegel for Inside Climate News - ROCKY HILL, Conn.—Bryan Garcia, president of the Connecticut Green Bank, said he knew five years ago when it was created that it would be an important model for funding clean energy projects. He didn't know it might become critical for funding them. In the face of a Donald Trump presidency that dismisses climate change and threatens to ignore its solutions, the future of clean energy may rely heavily on new approaches like the ones pioneered by the Connecticut Green Bank, the first-ever statewide one.

One City’s Reform Plan Reduced Race-Based Police Stops

By Clara Romeo for Truth Dig - The Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice and the Blue Lives Matter movement in support of police officers have put a spotlight on tensions regarding American police forces’ treatment of minorities. These tensions have been persistent and widespread, but improvements are possible and small changes can make a positive difference, judging by one Connecticut community that might be viewed as a test case for how to resolve some of the conflict. After the Hamden, Conn., Police Department was singled out in a 2015 state-sponsored study for conducting disproportionate stops of African-American motorists
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