ACE Blog

Governor announces Transportation and Economic Security Plan

February 23, 2009

ACE member Michelle with Governor Patrick after the press conference

At a press conference on Friday, Governor Patrick announced a broad set of goals for transportation funding and reforms. Although the proposed six cents per gallon of new gas tax revenue dedicated to the MBTA may not be enough pay down the $2.7 million backlog of system maintenance and repair, the Governor's plan is a step in the right direction.

Our legislature must act now to prevent the imminent MBTA fare increases and service cuts. We support a combination of additional revenue to the MBTA, restructuring and reform, while making concrete improvements for T riders. For example, the Governor has called broadly for increased accountability. Read more...

TRU legislation to stop fare increases and service cuts

February 20, 2009

At last week's MBTA Board Meeting the Massachusetts Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, Jr. offered a grim look at where the T is headed. Without both reform and new revenue, the T is destined for "an endless spiral of fare increases and massive service cuts." State lawmakers must act immediately and decisively to avoid:

TRU working to stave off potentially dire situation for riders
  • Increases in fares of 20 to 25 percent
  • 50 percent cuts in evening and weekend subway and commuter rail service
  • Elimination of the 20 highest net-cost-per-passenger bus routes
  • Elimination of RIDE van service to nine communities
  • Along with other consequences that will harm those who rely on the MBTA

Transporting riders to employment and employment opportunities, education, health care, shopping, culture and recreation destinations is vital to keeping Boston's economic engine running. Nearly 35 percent of Boston residents do not own a car, and over 32 percent of Boston residents use the T to get to work. The T also plays a crucial role in reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Read more...

Civil rights battle rejoined

February 11, 2009

Excerpts from the new civil rights bill

In the afterglow of a historic inaugural, it's tempting to view the necessity of fighting for Civil Rights as an archaic call to arms.

But for progressives immersed in the mechanics of changing lives, it serves as a milestone, not a destination: While much has been accomplished, much needs to be done.

In Massachusetts, a new bill addressing equality, an Act to Restore Enforcement of Civil Rights, sponsored by Representative Byron Rushing and State Senator James Eldridge, was introduced in the state legislature last month. ACE is a founding member of a large and growing coalition of organizations supporting the bill because we believe it will help achieve environmental justice.

If passed, the bill would grant people the right to sue in state court if a state program or policy has a disparate impact based on race, color, national origin or gender. The bill would fill a void in Massachusetts civil rights laws. Read more...

CORI reform on the horizon

January 16, 2009

Thanks to the work of groups like the Boston Workers’ Alliance (BWA), Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reforms are beginning to take shape in Massachusetts.

Visiting the State House to push for CORI reform

Last year, these efforts spurred Governor Patrick to issue an Executive Order on CORI, resulting in new proposed regulations by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).

CORI is a database created in the ’70s for use by law enforcements agencies. Today, the BWA says about 10,000 organizations can access CORI reports and that these records are "used to deny people jobs, housing credit and student loans." The campaign for CORI reform aims to end discrimination for qualified ex-offenders who have paid their debt to society.

In its draft of new CORI procedures, the EOHHS recommends that rehabilitated offenders be "given a fair opportunity to be employed and reintegrated successfully into the workplace." Read more...

Happy Holidays from ACE!

Happy Holidays from ACE!

December 26, 2008

Thanks to your support, it's been a fun and productive year at ACE. Together, we have made great strides for environmental justice in the Boston area and beyond.

To learn more about our work, please sign up for our e-newsletter.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. Looking forward to posting more blogs in 2009!


ACE Gift Memberships now available!

December 12, 2008

With the holiday season in full swing, wouldn't it be nice to get all your gift shopping done and do good at the same time?

For the person on your list who seems to have everything, why not consider giving an ACE Gift Membership?

ACE Gift Memberships, the present recommended by Dave and David of REEP

We'll send a welcome card that shares your gift, ACE swag and an introduction to environmental justice work.

Your recipient will also receive our monthly (occasionally semi-monthly) newsletter to keep in the loop on upcoming events and campaigns.

What could be better than that?

Gift Levels:

For a $15 donation, your friend, family member or colleague will receive a Welcome Card, an ACE Membership Card and an Annual Report Booklet. A $40 donation will add in a T Riders Union (TRU) T-shirt, featuring our signature transit justice program. A $75 donation includes all of above, plus our 20-minute video that showcases the people and stories behind our work. Read more...

New study examines high asthma rates in Dorchester

December 5, 2008

Did you know that asthma is more prevalent in New England then anywhere else in the country? Or that African Americans who were born in the U.S. are three times more likely to develop asthma then African Americans born outside the country?

Exhaust from diesel trucks contribute to the air pollution in Dudley Square

A 2005 study of asthma rates in Dorchester published in the Journal of Asthma last month discovered these statistics and showed a strong correlation between asthma and environmental factors in children. This shows what we have long known, that the disproportionate share of environmental burdens in neighborhoods of color like Dorchester and Roxbury adversely affect the well-being of residents. ACE Board Member Neal-Dra Osgood worked on this groundbreaking research, surveying Dorchester residents to compile asthma information. Read more...

New coalition tackles state energy crisis

December 2, 2008

The Energy Empowerment Coalition met on November 25 at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall to rouse community support for more programs to address the Commonwealth’s energy needs this winter and in the future. Speakers included Senator John Kerry, Reverend Hurmon Hamilton of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Marina Spitkovskaya of ACE

11-08 Faneuil Hall Energy Rally. Photo courtesy Rob Garrity


Formed by a growing number of individuals, public officials and organizations dissatisfied with the Commonwealth’s Winter Energy Cost Task Force report released last month, the new coalition wants the state to take a more aggressive and collaborative approach to the looming fuel crisis outlined in the report. Read more...

State cuts will slow toxics use reduction and energy efficiency

November 24, 2008

It concerns us greatly that Governor Patrick has announced drastic cuts in the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA), the program in the Energy and Environmental Affairs office that helps industries reduce and eliminate their use of toxic chemicals and processes. The proposed cuts to OTA are so severe that they will prevent OTA from functioning effectively. We urge Governor Patrick to re-think those cuts.

Cuts to OTA would slow toxic use reduction. Photo from US Dept. of Energy

A study performed two years ago found that OTA helped industries reduce the use of toxic chemicals in Massachusetts by hundreds of millions of pounds. The study showed that companies did far better at reducing their toxics after being helped by OTA than they did before working with OTA. It was the first time an assistance program like OTA proved its effectiveness, and the report was applauded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and written up in environmental journals.

People living and working near industries assisted by OTA, as well as the workers in those industries, are the biggest beneficiaries of the reduced use of toxic chemicals. When less toxic chemicals are used, there are lower risks involved in their transportation, storage, use, and disposal. This results in less air pollution, water pollution, hazardous waste and fewer toxins in our products. Read more...