by Tom Ellis
ALBANY, NY: Theresa Portelli, Green Party candidate for NYS Comptroller, spoke at the August 13 SPB dinner about Why is the Green Party challenging the Governor? Theresa said she was born in Brooklyn and her parents came from Ireland. She worked as a counselor at a teen jail in NYC for ten years, was elected to the Albany city school board for a term, retired three years ago, was a PEF member, and now works as a Hospice volunteer. She said the Green Party reflects her interests.
Greens, she said, are a universal party in more than 100 nations; Greens favor social and economic justice. She finds it sad that one can swim in the Hudson River both north and south of Albany but not in the capital region.
She and fellow Green Party candidates are challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo and his slate for numerous reasons, one being his attempts to raid the Clean Water Fund to finance construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, an inappropriate use of funds supposed to be used for Clean Water. Another Green plank is opposition to hydrofracking. She asked why should we allow the destruction of our land and water so someone else can benefit and only financially. Organic farmers, she said, will flee the state if fracking begins. She said many suspect Cuomo will approve fracking after the election. “What will be able to do then?” she asked. Greens also oppose the transport of vast quantities crude oil through our communities now occurring; she said this it is very dangerous and people have been killed elsewhere.
Ms. Portelli identified numerous parts of her platform. These include increased revenue sharing from the state to local governments, equitable school funding, retaining the stock transfer tax that is now immediately rebated, divestment from fossil fuels and private prisons, progressive tax and budget policies, delivering a prospective to pension recipients, establishing a pension advisory committee, establishment of a state bank to avoid Wall Street fees. Theresa is also a criminal justice reform advocate, favoring downsizing courts and prisons, and removing drug use cases from the criminal justice system.
During the Q&A she said fracking chemicals need not be disclosed in most states, insisted we must organize to block fracking in NY, and said, “We can’t treat Mother Earth like this. She’s not going to like it. Demand a seat at the table. This is do or die time for fracking.”
John Wolcott asked if she had any recommendations to make alternative energy more economical for people. Theresa mentioned the successful Solarize Troy project and hopes too see a similar one in Albany in 2015. John said, “The more we invest in it the more economical it becomes.” Teresa said, “Let’s look for real solutions…We need more creative thinking.”
Regarding the lengthy oil trains that pass through the capital region every day, she doubts if there is any safe equipment or if the tracks are adequate. She said, Cuomo could declare a moratorium and ban oil trains in New York State. Why doesn’t he do it?” Speaking about climate change, she said, “We live on one planet. Corporations do not own it. Live simply so others can simply live.”
Published in October/November, 2014 Save the Pine Bush Newsletter