ACE Blog

State budget crisis will hurt families, community groups

October 3, 2008

As the subprime mortgage crisis continues, newspapers and TV are flooded with stories of bail-outs of major banks, crashing stock markets and constant uncertainty. But how will this all affect smaller local businesses and non-profits? Who will bail them out of their financial woes?

Yesterday, Governor Patrick announced massive cuts in the state budget due to declining revenue, including a September shortfall of $188 million. The Governor has imposed a hiring freeze on non-essential jobs and suspended pay raises that were not in union contracts. His proposal also includes cost-saving measures like getting rid of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

There are approximately 36,000 Massachusetts non-profit organizations that currently employ roughly 14 percent of the Massachusetts workforce. Without security in the market, these organizations are at risk. Read more...

City Council hearing to address local economic issues

October 2, 2008

In Washington, Congress and the Bush administration are scrambling to stop the downward spiral of our financial markets. The plans in discussion would require a large investment of taxpayer money to buy the assets of failing financial institutions and save them from collapse.

Here in Boston, community, labor and political leaders are demanding that in addition to solving the current economic crisis, we must also focus on saving our communities from the impending collapse.

Speakers included members of CLU and Boston Workers Alliance

ACE partner Community Labor United (CLU) and other organizations in the Secure Jobs, Secure Communities Campaign held a press conference Tuesday announcing a Boston City Council hearing on corporate responsibility during the financial crisis. Speakers collectively called on businesses who are holding strong through the current economic meltdown to fill the gap in the bailout proposal – the gap between Wall Street and Main Street. Read more...

Bailout? ACE wants a buildup.

September 30, 2008

Join the October 1 rally at 4 p.m. in the JFK Building, Boston

Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman authored an opinion piece on why the federal government’s response to the financial crisis needs to be green. While the bursting economic bubbles of the past have been painful, the United States has at least been left with improved infrastructure. For example, the country has benefited from the railroads left behind after the railroad bust and the information superhighway left behind after the dot-com bust.

The banks and subprime lenders that profited from the subprime boom and are now suffering the bust have left no positive legacy for the nation. Their policies were based on deceptive financial practices rather than investment in infrastructure or innovation. Instead of railroads or the Internet, we are left with evictions.

Solutions to today's economic crisis should not be centered on giving more money to the corporations that have been working against our communities through predatory lending and evictions. Solutions should help our communities grow into more sustainable, healthy, and vibrant places to live. Investing in the green economy will do just that. Read more...

Listen to TRU on Boston Public Radio

September 19, 2008

ACE Member John Cater at a TRU training

What happens when an NPR reporter rides the #66 with TRU Organizer Lee Matsueda and ACE Member John Cater? Find out on the segment "Riding the Bus," aired last month on WBUR.

Host Meghna Chakrabarti interviews riders along the route, talks to the MBTA Director of Operations and Service Development and compares an MBTA bus to a loud, crowded and smelly box.

Said Lee, "I think the experience that an every day rider has on the bus hasn't changed. There are more people on the bus, but the overall quality of transit, the crowding, the drivers, these things have continued." Read more...

Have you voted yet?

September 16, 2008

Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts. If you haven't gone to vote, it's not too late - polls close at 8 p.m. If you'd like to register to vote, come by ACE's office to pick up a voter registration form. You may also register online. To be able to vote in the November election, you must register to vote by Wednesday, October 15. Also, see your sample ballot and find your polling location by entering your address here. For more information about voting, see MassVOTE and Have a good Primary Day!

Latest on anti-eviction campaign

September 15, 2008

Protestors gather at Paula's house

Two weeks ago, Paula Taylor was evicted from her foreclosed home in Roxbury by Bank of America. This happened despite her offer to pay rent until a new owner was found.

In July, Bank of America was unable to evict her, thanks to the help of rallying community members.

Since then, Paula, along with residents and political leaders, have been urging Bank of America to open dialogue on the matter, including during a rally held recently at the Dudley Square branch. Instead, the bank manager referred supporters to a public relations office and sent the police, a constable and a moving team to forcefully remove her.

A heavy police detail of roughly 15 to 20 officers arrived, including a special unit to cut through blockade chains at entrances to the house. Four people were then cuffed and arrested. Police then followed the crowd to the Bank of America Grove Hall branch where supporters passed out information about the bank's role in the foreclosure crisis. Read more...

Grabauskas raises salaries for MBTA managers while state scrambles for funding

Update: 8/20/2008

Yesterday evening the Globe reported that General Manager Dan Grabauskas, under pressure from the Patrick administration, agreed to rescind the nine percent executive level pay raises he approved last week. Instead, employees making less than $70,000 will receive a three percent increase.

August 19, 2008

This summer TRU members have surveyed close to 900 riders about bus service

On August 12, Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen announced that the state's transportation agencies have agreed to pool their resources in an effort to help the MBTA and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Like the T, the Pike is facing a severe budget deficit. While the T is planning a large fare increase in 2010, the Pike is currently deciding whether to raise tolls in January. It's unclear what Secretary Cohen's effort will yield at this point. The Globe reports that Cohen is considering suggestions from agency officials and will make those ideas public.

Opportunity for youth expression

August 12, 2008

Every week about 25 youth attend REEP's Teen Café at ACE

Every Thursday afternoon the ACE office fills with the sounds of enthusiastic young people. They're participating in the weekly Teen Cafés, hosted by Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project.

The Cafés, which draw an average of 25 teens, offer a space for youth to talk openly about issues that concern them. The agendas are driven by the interests of the youth present. Davel, a fifteen year old summer organizer with REEP, says the café discussions impact the young people who participate. "They're intense, complex and wild," he says, "The youth can talk about all the issues teens have to deal with, like pregnancy, violence and stereotypes. We talked about the N-word once and it was really deep." Read more...

ACE interns get down and dirty at urban farm

August 6, 2008

ACE intern by the entrance of the ReVision House Urban Farm

ACE interns Amara, Becky, Brian, Cathy, Kathleen, and Sadie got a taste of farming in the city last Thursday afternoon as volunteers at the ReVision House Urban Farm in Dorchester. The interns were put to task spreading fertilizer around collard greens and cauliflower and weeding around bean plants. The farm is tucked away on Fabyan Street in a residential area, hidden from the main traffic streets. Also included are two other sites nearby. All three sites together make up a total of one acre of "farmland."

The farm is truly an urban farm. It is situated on previously vacant lots, which held triple-decker apartment buildings before burning down in 1970. Furthermore, there are no full-service grocery centers within the Farm's zip code of 02124 – creating a "food desert." This poses a problem for the residents living in the area with limited access to transportation to the full service grocery stores located miles away. ReVision’s small farm is able to produce enough for a farm stand, farmer's market stands (with a Brookline farm) at the Milton Farmer's Market, and 75 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) full-price and low-income shares in conjunction with Drumlin Farm. Finally, half of its produce goes to the 22 women currently staying in women's shelter ReVision House, located across the street, all for free. Read more...