Transcript from LWV Candidates Forum
The biggest issue of our times is climate change. It feels as if we are reliving Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Today the world is burning up and those with power are fiddling, even here in Corning.
If life as we know it is to continue, every person on the planet, every business and every community must do whatever they can to cool the planet.
I have worn this BeNice button for four years. It is a great philosophy to live by, but it does not help much to get things done! I’m done with just being nice. We need to act. That is why I am running.The City of Corning owes its current prosperity almost entirely to the company that bears its name. My husband used to say that Corning Glass Works, as it was, changed the world three times. Perhaps, with their continued help, the people of Corning can be the catalyst that changes the world a fourth time.
What is the most critical issue?
Not everyone will see it as critical, but the issue I will tackle first is waste management. This includes household garbage, waste from restaurants and businesses, sewers and storm water, yard waste and recycling. There is no one system throughout the city and the result is inefficient and inelegant. It is also ugly. The first thing people see coming into Corning see is dumpsters, often overflowing. Or the waste water management plant.
I will address it - as I will every issue - by convening a citizens working group to develop a plan. The first item on that plan has to be establishing a composting facility in or near the city. I’m pretty certain - based on what I learnt at Maine Compost School - that the yard waste facility on 414 could be adapted to an aerated windrow system using solar power. Work on that could start January 2nd.
More low income housing?
Yes and no. Yes, because obviously there is a need for affordable housing. The most obvious development is Lamphear Court where the residents will definitely have better residences. Will they be paying the same? I don’t know. Will they have reduced utility bills because of efficiencies in the new buildings? I don’t see any solar panels. In fact I don’t see solar panels mentioned in Corning’s code, except to say that new buildings need to be sited so that the developers MAY include solar energy.
The no, is that there is a body of research that says the most obvious outcome of low-income housing is to keep the residents low-income.
So I would support improving multi-unit rental units, putting some pressure on landlords to be more involved with the general well-being of the city. Perhaps invite a few to be part of future planning.
Is Remediation of toxic sights doing enough
Yes. Although I would rather see them cleaned up through bioremediation. If the army can get rid of unwanted TNT through composting, we can process the soil removed from polluted sites and use the product to improve roadsides, or medians. Even parks, because composting breaks down most compounds and the remaining elements are dispersed.
Then there is phytoremediation which uses certain plants known as hyperaccumulators which draw certain elements - particularly the heavy metals - out of the soil, or water. The concentrated metals can then be sent to a toxic landfill if necessary, but there is developing technology that can extract them for reuse.
The DEC’s preferred method of covering contaminated sites with concrete or tarmac is not an environmentally friendly solution.
What to do with a $1 million dollars
I would add it to The Mayor’s Fund which I intend to establish starting with my stipend. This fund would be to help micro-business get started. Businesses like picking up organic waste and transporting it to the compost facility. Businesses like my house cleaners who are struggling to get established because they can’t afford insurance, and without insurance they can’t get commercial clients. Businesses like a repair co-operative where anyone with anything to repair calls one number and is directed to someone who can help. Even a business that collects those items that can’t be repaired and finds creative ways to reuse them. My daughter has 3,500 DVD cases. Any ideas?
Is climate change important? And what to do
I have already answered the first part of that question. As for the second part. Baby steps. I developed an initiative which I called 20 by 2020. The idea is for each of us to reduce our environmental impact 20% by the end of next year. When I started there was quite a lot of time, now, not so much. However, we can try. On the back table there are copies of the little handbook I put together on minor changes you can make to your life that collectively will make a major difference to the planet. Feel free to take one, and if they run out I have more.
And you can find out more on November 21st when I am giving a presentation right here as part of 24 hours of Climate Reality. Or you can come to the Women’s March Elmira in January when I will be speaking (for a whole three minutes) about climate justice.
To sum it up in one word I would have to say education.
When my kids were at school I was very active in PTA and PTA-led activities. I’ve been involved with the library. I had bookstores (buying Bookmarks was an appalling business decision, but I did not want Corning to be without a bookstore). I am a docent at both CMoG and the Rockwell but I am fighting with them so I’ll move on quickly. I have taught at 171 and presented workshops on a variety of topics in different locations. I tried to become a teacher but New York State didn’t want me, unless I became a citizen. (which I did in January 2016 by which time I was far to old for a new career.)
I read recently about a Portuguese woman who described herself as an intervener. I like that term. Some people might use busy body instead, but to me it means being aware of what is happening around you and taking action when it seems necessary. This can take the form of picking up garbage or perceiving a need and trying to fill it. It can be weeding a public space or driving a neighbor to a doctor’s appointment. It means caring.
Or, being nice.
The Mayor has a very important role in the running of the city. They get to set the agenda, and the items that are included set the tone. I want citizens to help set that agenda. I want to see the Council become proactive and spend time discussing how systems can be improved.
Above all I want the citizens of Corning to reconsider our current way of life. Can we find a better way going forward?
Whatever the next two years hold, "let’s try to leave the world better than we found it, take no more than we need, try not to harm life or the environment, but make amends if we do." quoting Paul Hawken