Daily Archives: Jan 15, 2018

He claims the president was simply going through the motions to honor MLK

By: AP

Martin Luther King Jr.’s son is claiming that President Trump was simply going through the motions when he signed a proclamation in honor the civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King III said that the president doesn’t have credibility to speak on matters regarding MLK following remarks Trump made regarding immigration from countries in Africa, referring to them as ‘s***holes’.

‘When you make a statement like you made yesterday, the question is: ‘Do you even understand why we have a Martin Luther King holiday?’ King told the news reporter at a press conference.

‘Today he’s doing what the script told him to do. Yesterday caused him to lose any level of credibility. You can talk about Martin Luther King. But the hope is you would hear and embrace what he had to say.’

Trump’s remarks have been criticized across the political spectrum, yet the president still called MLK a ‘great American hero’.

‘Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God,’ Trump said.

MLK’s signature speech is his ‘I Have a Dream’ address. MLK III referred to his father’s words while reflecting on the state of the nation.

‘We are not further away from the dream, but we are still quite a ways away,’ King said. ‘We are a divided nation. We are segregated in some regards. We still need to address racism. We are still are a racial society, but the majority of people do not harbor racist feelings.’

 

New York State still owes $4.2 billion to public schools, most of it to schools in low-income communities of color!

The executive budget that Gov. Cuomo is about to issue flouts the constitutional right of all students in New York State to the opportunity for a sound basic education in two significant ways.

First, the governor’s proposal would provide an increase of only $428 million in basic foundation aid for schools statewide. That’s less than 3.9% of the current $4.3 billion gap between the amounts appropriated for the current year and the amounts called for in the foundation-aid formula the state adopted in 2007 to ensure fair and adequate education funding after the Court of Appeals’ decisions in the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation.

Second, the governor is proposing to eliminate the foundation-aid formula effective fiscal year 2019 — and apparently return the state to the unconstrained system of political dealmaking that the Court of Appeals specifically held to be unconstitutional in its 2003 CFE opinion.

(His administration says that’s not what he’s doing, but the technical language clearly indicates that starting in 2019 school districts will be guaranteed only the amount they received the previous year, there would be no formula to justify and provide further increases, and any additional funding would depend on the year-to-year discretionary decisions of the governor and the Legislature.)

In the CFE case, the court determined that for decades, annual state aid for education had been determined without regard to actual student needs through political wheeling and dealing. The court then held that state funding for education must be determined on a systematic basis that would “align funding with need,” be based on the “actual costs” of providing students the opportunity for a sound basic education and ensure that every school has sufficient resources.

The foundation-aid formula adopted in 2007 — which has not been fully funded since 2009 — was responsive to that call.

It is true that elements of the current foundation aid formula may be out of date and in need of revision. However, to change the current formula in conformance with constitutional requirements, the state would need to institute a valid new cost analysis to determine actual current costs and develop a new, equitable distribution formula. It cannot simply revert to determining educational allocations through political dealmaking, with no regard for the adequacy of funding levels or relative student need.

Paul Francis, a member of the governor’s staff, wrote in an op-ed last year that the Court of Appeals CFE ruling at this point is merely “symbolism” and has no lasting significance. This is constitutional nonsense. CFE was not a one-time ruling issued solely to remedy the inadequate funding levels the court had found in the New York public schools at the time of the trial. Like other major pronouncements of constitutional rights, the opinions were definitive, enduring and highly significant legal proclamations that elucidated precisely the state’s continuing constitutional obligations to all of its school children.

Francis also argued that in 2006 the Court of Appeals “codified” a very low funding level that has now been met. This is not the case. The Court of Appeals in its 2006 opinion made clear that the governor and the Legislature, and not the court, had the responsibility to determine the actual cost level. What the court did at that time was to order the governor and the Legislature to overcome promptly an impasse they had reached in their attempts to comply with the court’s orders.

The court indicated that it would accept any reasonable figure the governor and the legislature agreed to within a range that included both the low number that Gov. George Pataki had advocated at the time and a much higher number that the lower courts had endorsed. Gov. Spitzer and the Legislature did overcome the impasse; in doing so, they adopted the foundation aid formula that produced funding levels at the high end of the range largely because they gave significantly greater weight to the needs of low-income students and English language learners than had Gov. Pataki.

Unless and until the State goes through a meaningful process to determine the current actual cost of providing a sound basic education and develops a new, equitable distribution formula, it is constitutionally required to continue to provide school districts the amounts called for in the foundation formula.

For the first time in city history residents are invited to influence the $500 Million Dollar Budget before it’s created!

On January 16th the Buffalo Common Council is hosting the first ever City Budget Proposal Day! At the public hearing, residents are invited to advocate for how the $500 Million dollar city budget should be spent. This is the first time in city history where the public has been invited to influence the budget before it’s created!

As an advocate for Participatory Budgeting, the Clean Air Coalition of WNY sees the hearing as a historic opportunity. The hearing will allow residents to advance a more democratic budget process, and is a real opportunity for city residents to set the spending priorities for the 2018-2019 City Budget. Whether it’s schools, roads, public safety, housing, parks, or neighborhood services, local issues are impacted by our public budget.

To celebrate this historic moment and encourage residents to take advantage of the public hearing, the Clean Air Coalition of WNY will be hosting a press conference to announce the hearing. We will be joined by other community organizations including, PUSH Buffalo, Voice Buffalo, Coalition for Economic Justice, Open Buffalo, Partnership for Public Good, and the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust.

The press conference will take place Monday January 15th, 1pm at the PUSH Grant St Neighborhood Center – 271 Grant St. Community leaders will be available for interviews.

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The Clean Air Coalition builds power by developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York

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