The Ithaca Democratic Socialists has outlined its plans to make TCAT free and fund the potential loss in revenue. The campaign, called FreeCAT, argues that free mass transit would help address issues of “systemic marginalization and racism, systemic classism, [and] the climate catastrophe.” According to the Ithacan, the campaign further argues that Cornell should fund the majority of TCAT’s loss if rides were made free. The DSA cites how Cornell’s tax exemptions make it the ideal candidate to fund the project. As a non-profit, educational institution Cornell is generally exempt from local property taxes on its massive land holdings. FreeCat also points to how 75 percent of all TCAT rides serve members of the Cornell Community. They released a public petition in March of last year. It has received about 400 signatures so far, still 400 shy of its 800 signature goal.
The Albany County District Attorney’s office and the state Board of Elections is pressing forward with an investigation of fraudulent nominating petitions. The investigation concerns 11,000 duplicate signatures submitted in nominating petitions for Republican gubernatorial candidate Representative Lee Zeldin. According to the Times Union, investigators decided to move forward after the duplicate signatures were found throughout the petitions—a sign that the signatures were purposefully concealed. State Republican official, John F. Haggerty, Jr., is under particular scrutiny due to his leadership role in filing the petitions. In 2011, Haggerty was imprisoned for more than a year after stealing and money laundering $750,000 from former New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign.
Zeldin’s campaign was not directly involved in the submitting of the petitions.
Last Wednesday, the Enfield Town Board hosted a presentation pitch for Community Choice Aggregation, a sustainable energy program modeled after Ithaca’s Green New Deal. According to the Ithaca Voice, the program would allow Enfield residents to lobby collectively for improved energy contracts. It also bypasses traditional barriers to alternative forms of energy, such as housing contracts and inadequate credit scores. The presentation, led by Paul Fenn, president of Local Power LLC, stressed finding a balance of economic growth and climate-friendly policies. Fenn’s organization works to decarbonize homes, install solar panels, and ensure buildings adhere to energy efficient standards.
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