for State Senate

Middlesex & Worcester

 

Terra, a former municipal official with  decades of business experience, believes we are in a state of crisis. And if we do not immediately embrace fiscally, environmentally, and socially sustainable solutions, that our lives will change dramatically and irrecoverably in our lifetimes.



Principles:


- TRULY Affordable Basic, Clean, Safe Housing is a right

- Clean Air/Water and Food is a right

- Basic Health and Mental Health is a right

- Black Lives Matter / Poor People's Campaign has got it right

- Open/Green space (parks, recreation) is a right

- Heritage is a right (preservation of important buildings/monuments

- Transit is a right in urban environments

- Safe/Walkable streets are a right

- Healthy environs free from harmful toxins [ incl GMOs, EMF/5G, etc] is a right

- Poverty is not a crime


[[SEE POSITIONS ON THE Ballot Questions BELOW]]


Focus Areas not yet being addressed at the statehouse:


- Land Use Controls to ensure enough Affordable Housing, Open Space, Water:

  • Residential Building moratorium everywhere except cities, and only then where projects where 50% of all housing units are reserved for people making 50% median-income or lower and 20% are reserved for people making 30% of median or lower
  • Commercial Building moratorium, except for sustainably oriented enterprise, with neighborhood permission.
  • Ban eviction for developers. Enact eviction protection (see Lynn ordinance, the Mayor decides)
  • Peoples' Housing Board [the neighborhood decides what gets built to  ensure what is built is affordable to existing residents] 50% of all housing units in all projects will be reserved for people making 50% median income and below, including 30% for people making 30% and below.
  • Transfer Tax, developers pay 10% that goes into an Affordable Housing trust to pay for TRULY affordable housing


- End Institutional Oppression:

  • Prison Justice/Reform including the ACLU's path for Massachusetts & Restorative Justice for all non-violent crimes, end: cash bail, private prisons for profit. Rename "Law Enforcement" to "Public Safety". Stop militarizing police...we are not "civilians" because you are not military.
  • Due Process for Immigrants, including tighter state regs than Federal process guarantees, restrict ICE operations in MA [we should not spend Massachusetts resources and put Massachusetts people/workers at risk to help the Feds do their work]
  • End forced adoption/child-abduction for profit [ICE has abducted thousands of children, Adoption for Profit abducts thousands per day, it's less expensive to provide the basics to birth parents than to pay foster/adoptive parents-for-profit.] No forced adoptions due to poverty.
  • Living Wage / Basic Income Guarantee [less expensive and more just than welfare]
  •  End unfair student recruiting practices, which fool people into enrolling in training programs which don't result in the promised jobs
  •  End church immunity & prosecute church sexual abuse
  • Environmental equity: standards for public access to open/green space, no-new-pipelines/toxic chemical production
  • Universal/Single-Payer Healthcare
  • Free lunch (this already exists, but we need to organize it and get information to people)
  • Network Neutrality (bridging the digital divide), NO 5G antennas on telephone poles without neighborhood permission
  • School equity,$/pupil spending, environmental access
  • No surveillance data shared w/ federal agencies, without a person's opt-in permission
  • No historic buildings demo'd for development without neighborhood permission


Positions on existing efforts:

- YES, on Question 3 Transgender Rights Ballot Question

- YES, on Question 1, to limit the number of patients [Terra originally supported the union-led effort. But another union is now opposing this. She needs time to sort our her position on this]

- I'm torn on Question 2 because the language uses the term "artificial entities" instead of "corporations". "Artificial entities" is being used to target unions. The people who are leading the Queston 2 effort, who will probably be on the Commission if passed, are the same people advocating for an Article V amendment at the US level which would put our entire Constitution at risk, along with 100 years of labor and environmental law. Prefer to start at the state level where we have control over the Constitutional Convention process, like weed and gay rights, we can start at the state level...one state at a time. We all want a US amendment, but why risk so much, when we can start right here at home. www.PassMassAmendment.org

- YES to PassMassAmendment's effort to limit non-resident campaign donations to $100 per individual and $15,000 for PACs

- NO to Safe Communities Act: we do NOT want to codify federal regs into State Law. We should rewrite this.

- NO to the fake affordable housing industry greenwashing efforts which are  misnamed "Smart Growth". We need to rewrite these bills to actually get TRULY affordable housing, guaranteed open space protections, etc. [Please THANK Statehouse Leadership for NOT passing these fake affordable housing/environmental bills. As written, they are a total giveaway of our land use authority to state agencies and developers. AND they were proposing doing it without a statewide water study! or eviction defense! Expect these to be refilled, and be ever vigilant!]

- Housing Bond Bill, yes, except that it doesn't limit the money to ACTUAL affordable housing...it allows industry to use the money to build for "up to" 80% median income ($70K/year+)...do you think they will build for people making less, when they are allowed to use the money to make a higher profit?

- YES to prison reform bills...nice job!



Terra believes in the following principles of justice advocated by the Green Rainbow Party. These may be considered "high ideals". But Terra believes we can achieve these, and do it affordably in our lifetime.


Party Agenda

Preamble:

The Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the U.S. In 2002, the GRP united the Massachusetts Green Party and the Rainbow Coalition Party on the basis of their shared values and aspirations.

Our Ten Key Values rest on understanding the interconnectedness of people, planet, and peace. We emphasize the ability of human beings to work together because they recognize their sustaining role within the diversity and complexity of healthy living systems and robust human societies, without which peace is impossible.

In Massachusetts, as in much of politics today, interdependent social and ecological systems are splintered into scattered and contentious issues. In contrast, the GRP sees the various crises of our times -- in human rights, the environment, the economy, and electoral politics -- as the result of the unending excesses of corporate capitalism and greed which threaten democracy by dominating our political systems and mass media.

As we map out a plan of action, we do not expect our government to do for us what we can and want to do ourselves. But neither will we allow our government to desert us as we struggle against unequal conditions that we cannot control on our own. In the world’s richest -- yet least taxed -- industrial country, we should not be made to fight each other for crumbs, while global corporations and the most wealthy among us fill their pockets.

To counter the exploitation of people and the planet, the GRP seeks to strengthen and revitalize our communities so every person can be a creative contributor, have a decent life, and be free from fear, discrimination, and hopelessness. To that end, we seek to reclaim and rework the economic and political activities of our Commonwealth.

I. Healthy Communities

Healthy communities are places where people thrive and find meaning in their lives. Communities where all find a place and a livelihood are more stable and better able to deal with physical and social crises and disasters. Growing income inequality and the continuing transfer of wealth from the less to the more affluent undermine our society and the shared understandings on which it is based. We propose measures to strengthen the vitality of Massachusetts communities, funded with savings from superseded programs and shifts in sources of local and state revenue.

Basic Needs: To enable all to participate in their communities, we will prioritize measures to meet basic needs, adding community based programs to the standard safety net. We will act to facilitate local food production and make healthful, affordable food available in all communities, assure adequate and affordable housing for all, and provide universal health care. We will fund services which strengthen communities, including, but not limited to, early childhood education, day care, after-school and outreach programs, adult education, special needs and arts programs.

Community Connections: Residents need opportunities to connect with work that helps their community and its environment, as apprentices, volunteers, or employees at living wages. On the job training, public service projects, and other enterprises with social benefit should be encouraged by government agencies and the private sector, as well as by residents.

Public Schooling: We propose to improve public schooling, making sure that all schools are funded to meet the needs of their children, are run democratically, and are staffed with teachers who are able to cultivate in children a sense of autonomy, a spirit of cooperation, critical thinking, empathy, and an appreciation for diversity. Such schooling, free from the influence of private corporate agendas and militarism, should encourage students to develop practical understandings and skills for living in the wider world.

Transition to Work: College attendance should not be a requirement for many jobs. State-supported colleges should provide for specialized learning or serve as a platform for professional education. For those who seek it, higher education and research opportunities, as well as professional training, must be made available without incurring debt for tuition.

Justice System:Justice System: The criminal justice system must serve community needs, giving priority to prevention, rehabilitation and solutions that create healing for individuals and communities. We must end police brutality, oppose the use of excessive force on unarmed individuals, be committed to ending systemic racism in law enforcement, and call for an end to the war on drugs and mass incarceration. We should treat substance abuse and addiction as public health problems. We must eliminate mandatory sentencing. Correctional facilities must protect rights of prisoners and their families and must not be run for profit. 2015 October Revision

Revenues: The Massachusetts tax system must be revised to make it fair and progressive, relieving the burden on people who are experiencing financial difficulties. This should be done at both state and local levels. Government revenue should eventually shift from taxes on incomes to taxes on profits, land and resource use, excessive consumption, and environmental pollution. This should enable development of universal minimum income (3) to allow democratic participation for all.

II. Sustainable Economies

Economies are systems developed by ordinary people working together to meet their needs. Ecologically sound economies conserve and recycle natural resources and fully involve human capabilities and imagination and are responsible to the future of humanity. The prevailing global "economic" system, controlled by the powerful, is wasteful, predatory, and destabilizing. Accepting this model, Massachusetts has failed many sectors of its population and permitted widespread degradation of its land, water, air, and ecosystems. We will strengthen local and regional economies, encouraging sustainable enterprises that are rooted in and responsible to their communities, while promoting regional and trans-regional collaboration.

Innovation: The Commonwealth must establish and maintain programs and take measures to assist conversion to ecologically sound, locally and democratically controlled economies based on a mix of enterprises--cooperative, public, and private. The Commonwealth as a whole and individual towns should organize employment in projects beneficial to communities and their environments, providiing training, experience, and wages. Such programs should provide employment opportunities to all through democratically managed job banks.

Common Good: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was formed to work for the common good. To protect the commons, including land, water, air, and ecosystems, in the face of catastrophic threats posed by accelerating climate change, the Commonwealth must aggressively promote the transition to local, sustainable economies. Such economies are based on energy conservation and efficiency, distributed clean energy production, local organic agriculture, and public transportation with safe walking and bike paths between transportation hubs. Towards this end, we must generously fund environmental research, programs, and education, as well as regional planning and public transportation. The highest standards for environmental and public health protection must be applied to new and old technologies. Reducing use of energy from fossil fuels and developing alternative energy sources need persistent attention and funding.

Worker's Rights: Wage labor in the Commonwealth must be compensated with living wages adequate for a worker and dependents to afford basic housing, food, and healthcare, laying the ground for reduced working hours and job sharing. Rights of workers to organize, for safety in the workplace, and for collective bargaining must be protected. Rights of whistleblowers to share information about things that endanger society, in both private and public enterprise, must be supported.

Management of Enterprises: The Commonwealth must assume more responsibility in the operation of enterprises serving the general public, such as communications, utilities, and transportation networks. Government ownership, state or municipal, should be enabled when indicated by the public benefit. Where the ownership of enterprises is held by individuals, varieties of cooperative, democratic, and non-profit ownership should be strongly encouraged by law and policy.

Management of Money: The legislature must create a transparently and democratically run state bank to provide financial support for local sustainable economies and enterprises. A state bank would also lessen the massive transfer of wealth to the elite that controls the privately owned banking corporations. Legislation must also enable municipal level public banks. Such institutions can fund needed investments in community and ecosystems, greatly reducing the price of public projects by eliminating near-crippling costs on interest for loans from private banks. A state-owned bank can also support local private banking. The people benefit when funds are retained locally. Local currencies, time banks, and barter systems will also reduce dependence on the dominant monetary economy.

Corporations: The Commonwealth should regularly review corporate charters and exercise its powers to assure that they act in the interest of all, not causing harm to workers, communities, the environment. or democracy in Massachusetts or world-wide. Municipalities should exercise their powers to the same end. For all the reasons described by Thomas Jefferson centuries ago, corporations and other artificial entities should not be given constitutional rights. These are reserved for individual human beings. Toward that end, our congressional delegation should be instructed to support a Constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

Trade Agreements: International treaties negotiated by the federal government can affect the economy of Massachusetts adversely. The Commonwealth's International Trade Commission must advise the state about the harmful effects of such trade treaties, which may override labor and environmental protection. The Commonwealth should challenge the legality of harmful treaties and advise our Congressional delegation accordingly, opposing all corporate activity which is not accountable to the people or the planet. The Commonwealth must not enter into contracts with suppliers who engage in human rights violations or participate in war.

III. Democratic Governance

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one individual, family, or class: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it. (4) (Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Article VII) The Green-Rainbow Party proposes to remedy the failure to follow through on the stated premise of commonwealth government over the past two hundred years through a variety of measures, as follows:

Civil Rights: The Commonwealth must protect the civil liberties of all residents, whatever their legal status. People require ready access to accurate information and the opportunity to assemble in public spaces and to exchange opinions. Voting rights must be guaranteed to all citizens. The integrity of voter choice must be respected; it is best assured by a paper trail for ballots and careful auditing of election results by nonpartisan officers.

Representative Government: Representative government requires that candidates for elected office have reasonable access to the ballot and to public information media for both state and local elections. We work towards voter rights for residents, state financing of candidacy for public office, election by majority (not plurality), and preferential/ranked choice for all candidates in primary and general elections. In a bicameral legislature, it should be possible to represent both the interests of local communities and also the broad range of opinions on conduct of state-wide affairs. Political diversity in the Commonwealth as a whole should be represented in its legislative bodies. Compact districts of roughly equal population should be drawn on the basis of shared concerns of these populations.

Participation: Democratic deliberation and decision making must be carried out as close to the people concerned as possible, and conducted in a manner which assures that all perspectives are considered. Citizen assemblies, chosen openly and freely by those most directly involved in outcomes, should be given appropriate powers in coordination with state and municipal governments. Planning, participatory budgeting, and economic development councils should be open to all affected sectors of society, and the findings of these groups must be legally and fiscally binding. Commonwealth law on 'home rule' (5) must be revisited to ensure adherence to the principle of subsidiarity.

Resistance: It may at times be necessary for the Commonwealth to contest federal laws and policies that are or may be damaging to the common good. It is a duty of all government officials to call attention to such cases. Our Congressional delegation should be instructed to support downsizing of the bloated military budget and redirecting funds to support real security through meeting critical needs here at home.

Transparency: Transparency in government operations relies on open hearings, legislative procedures that can be followed by the public, open reporting of legislative actions, and easy access to records. Financial records must be publicly available in spreadsheet format to allow for analysis by citizens. Contracts must be structured to assure competition to take advantage of innovation and efficiency. Continuous auditing of government expenditures will enable critical scrutiny, reducing waste and providing data for improvements. Instituting full cost accounting will assist decision-making by indicating long term effects on the environment and the people. Liability accounting should include future liabilities caused by land use policy and law. The ability to adapt to rapidly changing reality will determine the success of governments and the survival of the people who institute them.