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Green Party LogoDuncan Rates Paterson On 25 Green Party Challenges For His Second Year In Office; Encourages Voters To Restore Green Party's Ballot Status In 2010

For Immediate Release Jan. 7, 2010
Contact: Ann Link 347-226-1195

NEW YORK, NY – Alison Duncan, the Green Party of New York State's 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has rated Governor David Paterson on 25 Green Party challenges for his second year in office. The challenges, which are listed below, were first issued to Eliot Spitzer after he was elected to office in 2006. They include bringing National Guard troops home from Iraq, marrying same-sex couples, promoting single-payer universal health care, investing in public schools, and converting to renewable energy.

Duncan stated that Paterson was handling the state budget crisis by going soft on corporate interests.

"The strongest difference between a Green and a Democratic governor is that the Democratic governor is beholden to corporate interests and the Green governor is beholden to the voters," said Duncan. "Governor Paterson has proposed cuts in necessary public services—education, sustainable economic development, environmental initiatives, and health care—to balance the budget. This social tax leaves corporate entities off the hook while neglecting the human capital integral to the health of the state. Paterson can do this because he considers himself the only game in town."

Duncan noted that the Green Party needs 50,000 votes for governor in order to get ballot status in 2010.

"New Yorkers will have the opportunity this fall to restore the Green Party ballot status by voting for the Green Party gubernatorial candidate," said Duncan. "Ballot status will greatly increase the number of Green Party candidates seeking election to local offices--like mayor or town supervisor. It is important for voters to have alternate choices in candidates with green priorities and novel ideas for solving the state's fiscal problems. I encourage voters of every persuasion to vote "Green for Governor" in 2010."


I. War in Iraq:
-- bring New York State's National Guard troops home as soon as possible by using his veto power [F]

II. Civil Rights:
-- marry same-sex couples at the Empire State Plaza by the end of 2007 [D - Paterson supported same-sex marriage legislation that passed in the Assembly but failed in the Senate. He has stated that he will not try to win this civil rights battle in the coming year unless its passage is assured.]

-- repeal the New York State version of the PATRIOT Act that Spitzer drafted with Pataki, which rescinded constitutional due process and probable cause protections [F]

III. Health Care:
-- actively promote the Legislative Commission on Health Care Coverage Act of 2005 (A.6575) sponsored by Assembly Member Richard Gottfried as a first step toward implementing universal, single-payer health care [F - Paterson has proposed cutting Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and other health programs to close the budget deficit]

-- increase funding for public health research and programming with an emphasis on prevention, especially prevention of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS [F - Paterson has proposed cuts for many HIV/AIDS programs for next year. He has not yet said whether or not he will sign the housing bill that will allow more people with AIDS to avoid homelessness by capping their rent at 30% of their income.]

-- keep hospitals open that have been targeted by Pataki's hospital closure commission [F - Paterson has said he will help keep financially strapped hospitals from closing, but it remains to be seen whether he will follow through. The state has closed at least two hospitals for possible financial corruption. While it is vital that the state address corruption, it must find ways to eliminate corruption without leaving New Yorkers without health care services.]

IV. Education:
-- immediately follow through on his promise to invest $4 to $6 billion in New York City's schools, commit to investing $8.5 billion statewide, and commit an additional 500 million yearly to fund after-school programs in every district [F - Paterson has proposed cutting school aid for the remainder of the school year and has reversed the financial commitment made by Spitzer to increase school funding incrementally over 4 years, reaching $7 billion by 2010-11]

V. Energy Policy:
-- increase the percentage of electricity produced with renewable energy sources (not nuclear) to 25% in the first year, with a goal of 40% by the end of his term [D - On Dec. 15, Paterson approved the 2009 State Energy Plan from the New York State Energy Planning Board. Although the plan contains green energy initiatives that set it ahead of the previous plan approved by the Pataki administration, serious problems remain with the plan. Continued reliance on coal and increasing reliance on nuclear energy will magnify existing health and security issues for New Yorkers. Permitting hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas in upstate New York will contaminate the watershed that feeds much of the state. Paterson's goal of expanding transmission while keeping energy costs down will promote energy use instead of the stringent conservation measures that are desperately needed. Expanding the infrastructure for handling petroleum fuels will increase their use, further contributing to global warming.]

-- promote energy conservation and research to create 25,000 new jobs for each year of his term [D - the 2009 State Energy Plan contains a section on stimulating innovation in the clean energy economy, however progress can only be measured by the number of jobs actually created]

VI. Criminal Justice Reform:
-- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to restore sentencing control to judges -- no mandatory minimums and use of alternative sentencing with a focus on restorative justice to prevent recidivism [C - see below]

-- submit a bill to the NYS legislature to legalize marijuana and repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws [C - on Apr. 24, Paterson signed a reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, a step in the right direction to reform drug laws]

VII. Death Penalty:
-- advocate against the death penalty and refuse to sign any bill to reinstate it [C - Paterson is reportedly against the death penalty. The support for the death penalty among New Yorkers has dropped and organizations such as New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty have changed their mission to a more holistic one in addressing justice reform, so progress in this area is advancing.]

-- commit $40 million per year for the permanent funding of legal services programs [C - the Division of Housing and Community Renewal awarded millions for foreclosure prevention services for 2008/2009, however legal services remain poorly funded]

VIII. Housing:
-- build 250,000 units of affordable housing each year of his term -- the criteria "affordable" being that all New Yorkers are able to find housing near their work for no more than 30% of their family income [D - Paterson announced 12,253 units of affordable housing in 2009, far less than what is needed]

-- repeal the Urstadt Law that bars New York City from adopting rent limitations and tenant protections that are more restrictive than those allowed by the state [F]

IX. Agriculture:
-- submit a bill for labeling laws that identify food by origin (defining "family farm," "small farm), and whether genetically engineered [F]

-- submit a bill to require every public school cafeteria to serve locally grown food — with a priority on small, organic farms [F]

X. Labor:
-- repeal the Taylor Law to give public unions negotiating tools that are as powerful as management's while protecting public safety [F]

-- give union organizers full access to organize workfare workers and prisoners in New York State [F]

XI. Electoral Reform:
-- promote conversion to hand-counted paper ballots [F - the NYC BOE recently informed the state BOE that certain brands of ballot scanners can read photocopied ballots – this security issue must be resolved immediately]

-- institute instant runoff voting by actively promoting A03509 and A03510 sponsored by Assembly Member Fred Thiele to establish an instant runoff voting method for certain primary and local elections [F]

XII. Multiparty Democracy:
-- introduce legislation to more fairly define ballot status of political parties by either enrollment or the vote totals of any statewide or federal office [F]

-- introduce clean election legislation that doesn't penalize third parties [F]

-- introduce legislation to provide for proportional representation of political parties on the county and state boards of elections [F]

XIII. Public Authorities:
-- spearhead a public review of public authorities including their mandates, governing structures and budgets; and implement a comprehensive reform with a focus on transparency and accountability [C - on Dec. 11, Paterson signed legislation to reform public authorities. Although a step forward, the legislation does not go far enough to regulate public authorities.]