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Local Government

US State, Local Governments Bankroll Israeli Genocide In Gaza

State and local governments in the US are investing large amounts in Israel bonds, effectively helping to fund Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. The Financial Times (FT) reports that Israel Bonds, the official underwriter for the debt, has sold more than $3 billion of bonds since the war began on 7 October, three times the previous annual average. Local governments in the US, including Florida, Indiana, and Ohio, have been significant buyers. FT reports that Florida’s Palm Beach County holds $700 million of its $4.6 billion overall portfolio in Israel bonds. “I’m ecstatic that we have these bonds in our portfolio,” Joseph Abruzzo, the overseer of the county’s investments, told FT.

Local Governments Stepping In To Bolster Workers’ Rights

In recent years, cities, counties, and other localities have become innovators and leaders in standing up for working people. Responding to increased inequality, degraded working conditions, and insufficient or inconsistent worker protections at the state and federal level, localities have in many cases joined states as the “laboratories” of experimentation (as Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis described) in relation to workplace matters.1 A number of localities have come to view protecting workers and improving their conditions as part of their core municipal function. This is a joint project with the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program and Local Progress. This report provides an overview of some of the most noteworthy ways in which localities have taken action on behalf of working people in recent years.

Racism Is A Public Health Crisis

Being black is bad for your health. And pervasive racism is the cause. That’s the conclusion of multiple public health studies over more than three decades. “We do know that health inequities at their very core are due to racism,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “There’s no doubt about that.” More recently, research has shown that racial health disparities don’t just affect poor African Americans, but they also cross class lines, Benjamin said. “As a black man, my status, my suit and tie don’t protect me.”

Mexico: EZLN Announces Creation Of New Rebel Municipalities

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published Saturday a statement to report the creation of new rebel and autonomous municipalities in different areas within the southwestern state of Chiapas in Mexico. The communiqué announced the foundation of Centers of Autonomous Resistance and Zapatista Rebellion, which will comprehend “caracoles” (autonomous organized Zapatista regions), “good” government councils, and autonomous municipalities.

How Local Governments Can Provide Network Neutrality, Privacy, And Access For All

As the Federal Communications Commission in the Trump era dismantles vital rules protecting net neutrality and users’ privacy, Americans need an internet provider that they can trust and is accountable to the public, not profits. Municipal governments can provide this by offering broadband service themselves and implementing the net neutrality and privacy protections that are no longer required of private companies by federal policies. The internet has become a crucial utility, yet unlike water and electricity, quality broadband service in the U.S. is far from universal. Twenty-four million Americans don’t have access to high-speed internet at home, either because it’s not available or too expensive.

Infographic: The Preston Model

The “Preston Model” is helping inspire a new conversation about the role of local government in catalyzing locally-driven economic revitalization and transforming patterns of ownership towards democratic alternatives.  (We first featured a story about the Preston Model here in 2016.) Today, the work in Preston to redefine how—and for whom—local economic development works is at the forefront of the agenda for local Labour councillors in the UK —and front and center at the upcoming “Alternative Models of Ownership” conference in London on 2/10, featuring, among many others, The Democracy Collaborative’s Ted Howard. Major coverage for the model has recently appeared in The Guardian in the inaugural story in Aditya Chakrabortty’s new series “The Alternatives”...

Local Governments Ask FCC To Delay Net Neutrality Vote

By Jay Cassano for IB Times - When the Federal Communications Commission votes December 14 on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to repeal “net neutrality,” the Obama-era rules that classified broadband providers as “common carriers,” regulation of the internet will likely be ceded to the Federal Trade Commission. With the vote approaching, a coalition of local governments and consumer protections groups sent a letter to the FCC Monday morning asking the commission to delay the vote until a crucial, obscure court case is resolved. Leading those governments is New York City, alongside a host of high profile consumer rights advocates. At issue is the case FTC vs AT&T Mobility , which could undermine the FTC’s regulatory authority. AT&T's unorthodox argument: that because part of its business is already regulated by the FCC as a common carrier, the FTC does not have jurisdiction because of what is known as the “common carrier exception.” That exception is normally read to apply to specific activities of businesses and not the entire business itself. Nonetheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit originally sided with AT&T. The decision was later vacated and is now being reviewed en banc by the entire court.

NYC Council Unanimously Opposes Fast Track For TPP

Councilmember Helen Rosenthal warned in a video interview on Monday that if President Barack Obama signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership it could very well jeopardize recent city laws that protect working people and the environment. Rosenthal led a rally on City Hall’s steps to protest the mammoth trade agreement being pursued by the United States and 11 other countries. She then held a hearing on a resolution she’s introduced to make New York City a "TPP-Free Zone." She acknowledged it’s just a symbolic gesture, but important nonetheless to introduce because the TPP could potentially lead to job losses and the rollback of key legislation.
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