Saturday, April 21, 2018

Generation Z Set to Make Impact in Midterms


Hundreds of Thousands of Students took part in Walkouts and Public Protests in the wake of the Mass Shooting at a High School in Parkland, Florida, in February. Yesterday, Students Walked-Out of School protesting for Gun Reform.

Come November, those Students and millions of their Peers will make their first significant foray into Electoral Politics.

About 17 Million Members of Generation Z, those born after 1997, will be eligible to Vote by November, according to New Population Estimates released by the Census Bureau. Their numbers equal about a Quarter of the size of the Millennial Generation, those who are between the ages of 21 and 36, according to William Frey, a Demographer at the Brookings Institution who Analyzed the Census data.

While Younger Voters turn out to Vote at disproportionately Low numbers compared to Older Cohorts, this year marks the Youngest Generation's First opportunity to have an Impact. Most Public Surveys Test Voters who are over the age of 18, so the Youngest Generation's Political Views are difficult to ascertain. But if Older Generations are any guide, this Generation is likely to be more Liberal than the Oldest Voters.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center have found:

- Members of the Silent Generation, those Born too late to Serve in World War II but before the Post-War Baby Boomers, are far more likely to describe themselves as Conservative than as Liberal; 39% of those Voters call themselves Conservative, and just 28% say they are Liberal.

- About a Third of Boomers describe themselves as Conservative, compared to 39% who say they hold mostly or consistently Liberal views.

- About a Quarter of Generation X describes itself as Conservative, while 43% say they are mostly Liberal.

- Among Millennials, just 12% call themselves Conservative, and a whopping 57% say their views are Liberal. Millennials favor the Democratic Party by a 59% to 32% margin over Republicans, a much larger advantage than any other Generation.

- Only the Silent Generation tends to favor Republicans, by a 52% to 43% edge.

While Millennials are only now finding their Voice and Voting Power, the New Census Bureau estimates show Generation Z will eventually have a much larger Impact. There are 86 Million Members of Generation Z, those under 20 years old, compared with about 72 Million Millennials, Frey said.

Millennials, naturally, are getting Older. A little more than a Third of Millennials are over the age of 30, Frey said. The Older a Voter is, the more likely they are to Vote. When the next round of Census estimates come out next year, an estimated 42% of Millennials will be over the age of 30.

The Millennial Generation is about the same size as the Baby Boom Generation, according to Cheryl Russell, a Demographer and Editorial Director at New Strategist Press. Using slightly different Age definitions, Russell found 73 Million Baby Boomers, aged between 53 and 71, and 79 Million Millennials, aged 23 to 40.

But that Balance is shifting. As the Baby Boom Generation ages, their Numbers are Declining; between 2010 and 2017, almost 4 Million Baby Boomers died, Russell found, accounting for a 5% Decline in their overall Population. At the same time, Millennials Grew by 2.8 Million, thanks to Immigrants coming into the Country.

Not surprisingly, the oldest generations are declining most significantly. Since 2010, the World War II generation, those over the age of 85, declined by more than half. There are now more Americans between birth and 7 years old, 32 million, than there are over the age of 72, 28 million, according to Russell's calculations.

The Census Bureau estimates the American Population by their specific ages each year. In 2017, there were more Americans who were 26 years of age, about 4.79 Million, than any other specific age. As an indication of the growing share of Millennials as part of the Population, Eight of the Ten most common Ages fall within the Millennial Generation. The other Two, those who are aged 57 and 56, are square in the Heart of the Baby Boomer Generation.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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CO SOS Office Urges Unaffiliated Voters to Participate in Primaries for First Time


Colorado's Unaffiliated Voters will be able to Vote in a Political Party's Primary Elections for the First Time June 26th.

The New Rules stem from a Ballot Question, Proposition 108, Approved by Voters in 2016, and now Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams has launched a Campaign to Educate Coloradans about the Change and urge them to exercise their New Right.

UChooseCO, reminds Voters that they will receive Two Primary Ballots, one Republican and one Democrat, but are only allowed to Vote on one. If both are filled out, Neither will Count. The Secretary's Office is hoping to head off any possible Confusion about the New Process. "We have never to my knowledge at any point sent you a ballot and said, 'Don't vote it.' Never," Williams said in a news release.

Alternatively, Voters can pick which Ballot they want to receive ahead of time through a New Portal on the Secretary of State's website. Voters who are already Registered as Republicans or Democrats do not need to take any action to receive their Primary Ballots.

Unaffiliated Voters are the largest Voting Bloc in Colorado, the latest Voter Registration Records show. Of the State's 3.2 Million Active Voters, 36% are Unaffiliated, 31% are Democrat, and 30.7% are Republican.

Summit County is no exception, with more than 8,400 Unaffiliated Voters compared to roughly 5,800 Democrats, and 4,100 Republicans.

The Political implications of Unaffiliated Voters in the Primaries this year are unclear, but the Summit County Clerk and Recorder's Office estimated it could cost an additional $20,000 to send out all of the Extra Ballots this year.

The Closing Date for Primary Certification is April 27th.

Current Democratic Party Candidates

Renee Evette Blanchard
Adam Garrity
Moses Carmen Humes
Mike Johnston
Cary Kennedy
Donna Lynne
Roberto Padilla
Jared Polis
Michael Erwin Schroeder
Erik Monroe Underwood

Current Republican Party Candidates

Stephen Barlock
Erich Daniel Braun
Cynthia Coffman
Lew Gaiter
Teri Kear
Greg Lopez
Daniel J Macfarlane
Victor Mitchell
Doug Robinson
Jim Lennart Rundberg
Walker Stapleton

The Democratic Gubernatorial Primary is currently a tight race between U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (2nd District) and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy.
Kennedy fared well at Precinct Caucuses last month, winning more than Half of the State total. But Polis still held a narrow, 27% to 23% in a recent Poll.

The Republican field for Governor, meanwhile, is wide open, and Polling shows that far more likely Voters are still Undecided.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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WI Court Case About Holding Websites Accountable for Illegal Gun Sales


Proponents of Gun Control are making History in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals just gave Yasmeen Daniel, a Woman whose Mother was Killed in a Mass Shooting in 2012, the go-ahead to Sue the Site her Mother’s Killer used to, Illegally, Purchase the Weapon he used. Up until now, Courts have Rejected efforts to hold Websites Accountable for Harm done by the Weapons they Sell.

The Lawsuit stems from a 2012 Shooting at a beauty Salon in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Gunman Radcliffe Haughton killed his Wife, Zina Daniel, and Two of her Co-Workers there before taking his own Life. Four other People were Injured in the Shooting.

Haughton was able to buy his FNP-40 Semiautomatic Handgun and Ammunition through Armslist.com although he was Legally Barred from Purchasing a Firearm at the time due to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The Order would likely have Prevented him from Passing Federally Mandated Background Checks at a Gun Store.

Yasmeen Daniel brought Suit in 2015, alleging Negligence and arguing that the Site was designed to Encourage and Facilitate Illegal Gun Purchases. According to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which brought Suit on Daniel’s behalf, Armslist Guns had already been used in other Crimes, and at least one other Murder, even before the 2012 Shooting.

In prior Suits, Courts have found the Communications Decency Act, the Law containing a provision Protecting Websites from being Liable for what Users Post, Shields Operators from Liability for Sales facilitated through their Websites.

Section 230 says that Internet Service providers (ISP)s and Websites publishing Third Party Content would be Protected against Laws that would otherwise hold them Responsible for the Speech of their Users. It’s because of Section 230 that we have the Freedom to post Reviews on Amazon or Complain about Politics on a Wordpress site. Wikipedia and the Internet Archive exist in part because of Section 230. That mostly Hands-Off stance is also claimed as the reason Sites like Twitter and Facebook have been Loath to do anything about Violent Threats from White Supremacists or the Misogynists of Gamergate.

The Wisconsin Trial Court, too, sided with Armslist on that basis. The Appeals Court, though, Reversed the Lower Court, finding that Armslist.com, described as a “Firearms Classified Ad Website”, was more than a Passive Conduit.

The Three-Judge Panel of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals Unanimously ruled that a Federal Law that Shields Website Operators from Liability for User Content did Not Apply to Armslist LLC, the Operator of Armslist.com.

Armslist was Liable for its “own conduct in facilitating user activity,” the Judges said. They referred to the Site’s Design and Operation, which allegedly Promotes Illegal Gun Sales.

The Implications of holding Sites Accountable are Enormous. Kris Brown, Co-President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Co-Counsel in the Suit, issued an illuminating Statement: “With one in five guns sold today without a background check - many through online sales on sites like Armslist - today’s decision is a significant one toward saving lives.”










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Mike Pence's Indiana Abortion Law Declared Unconstitutional


The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has Ruled an Indiana Abortion Ban Signed into Law by then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2016 Unconstitutional.

The Law would Prevent Women from having Abortions based on the Gender, Race, or Disability of the Fetus.

"The Supreme Court has been clear: the State may inform a woman's decision before viability, but it cannot prohibit it," Judge William Bauer wrote.

Similar Bills Passed or Proposed in other States have specifically tried to Ban Abortions based on a Down Syndrome Diagnosis.

Louisiana, Ohio, and North Dakota, are the Only states with these Bans.

The Suit was brought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

The Organization's Lawyer, Kenneth Falk said: "States have been attempting to restrict abortions in ways that are clearly unconstitutional. […] We’re obviously very happy."










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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SCOTUS Could Give Native American Tribes Tools to Fight for Environmental Protections


One of the Supreme Court's lower profile Cases is nonetheless among the most Significant it will decide this Term. In Washington v. United States, the scope of Northwest Indian tribes’ Treaty-guaranteed Salmon Fishing Rights, the Justices have to Resolve a Legal Battle 30 years, or, arguably, more than 150 years, in the making.

The Parties are fighting over the meaning of Treaties dating to the 1850s as applied to a very Modern problem: Culverts. The 21 Tribes involved filed the Request for Determination from which the Case springs in 2001; that Request revived Litigation that began in 1970. They assert that State-Constructed Culverts that Block the Salmon Run violate the Treaty they Signed in the 19th Century Trading Land for the “Right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations ... in common with all citizens.”

The Tribes prevailed at the District and Appellate levels. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears Federal Appeals from Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, the Mariana Islands, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, affirmed the District Court’s Order Compelling Washington to fix most of the detrimental Culverts within 17 years and fix the rest as they required Replacement or were involved in other Construction.

At Oral arguments on Wednesday, the Court focused on Standards for finding a Treaty Violation.

The State of Washington, represented at the podium by the State’s Solicitor General, Noah Purcell, argued that the State would Violate the Treaties if “a state barrier is causing a large decline in a particular river and … it’s not justified by substantial compelling interests.”

In contrast, the Federal Government and the Tribes, represented by Allon Kedem and William Jay, respectively, argued that the Treaties are Violated by a “Substantial Degradation” of the Salmon Population. For much of the Argument, the Justices pressed each of the Litigants to provide more Clarity about their respective Tests.

The Supreme Court upheld Tribes’ Salmon Rights in 1905 and again in the 1970s, that’s why the Tribes are basing their Claim on the 1979 Ruling in which the court affirmed Tribes’ Tight to the Salmon harvest. Hope is, they’ll come through again this time. The thing is, for the Court to side with the Tribes in this Case could be a really big deal.

Framed in an abstract way, the Decision may turn on whether the Treaty conferred a Negative or a Positive Right: Do Tribes only have the Right to be Free of Direct Interference with their Pursuit of Salmon, or did the Treaty give Tribes a Positive Right to Salmon, meaning the State has to Protect Salmon and the Tribes’ Access to Salmon? To find that Treaties like this one Guarantee Positive Rights to the Tribes would be enormous; such a Finding could give Tribes grounds to Challenge a broad array of State Actions, particularly when it comes to the Environment.

As Law Professor Monte Mills, of the University of Montana, notes for the San Francisco Chronicle: While the “right to take fish” Language of the Stevens Treaties is unique to the Tribes of the Northwest, Tribes across the Country continue to Exercise Treaty Rights to Hunt and Fish in their Historical Homelands.

For example, the Decision could provide more Legal Ammunition for those supporting recent Tribal Movements in support of Bears Ears or to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Even if the Court sides with Washington, the Case is already prompting broader discussion of Tribal Rights Nationally and could lead to more State-Tribal cooperation to avoid similar Challenges in the Future.

What happens next? The Court could affirm the Ninth Circuit. That’d be ideal for the Tribes. But it could also Drag this Dispute out even longer by setting a New Standard, as Amy Howe suggests at SCOTUSblog, and sending the Case back to the Lower Courts for them to Apply the Standard.

If the Court Splits, a possibility given that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was involved in the Original Litigation, has Recused himself, the Ninth Circuit will be Automatically Affirmed.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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NYC Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Starts Its Work



Photo: Samar Khurshid

A Commission created by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Review the City Charter and propose Reforms to how City Government functions kicked off its work on Thursday with its first Public Meeting in Downtown Manhattan.

At Tables stretching across an Auditorium Stage, the Members of the Charter Revision Commission, former Public Servants, Law Professors, Attorneys, Union Leaders, and Community Activists, introduced themselves to the 20-odd Members of the Public in attendance and whoever might have been watching the Live-Stream.

Over roughly an hour, Commission Chair Cesar Perales did most of the talking at what was billed as an Initial Organizing Meeting, discussing the Law, Rationale, and Guiding Principles behind the Creation of the Commission.

“[W]e’ve attempted in forming this commission to cover the geography of all of the boroughs of the city, the ethnicities, and to have everybody represented...We’ve also called up people with tremendous government experience, enormous experience in voting rights, even a [former] member of the City Council,” Perales said. “So I think we are very well represented but in order for us to do our work, we’re gonna need the participation of the people of this city. We want them to learn as much as possible about what is in the City Charter and to come to us with ideas about revising the City Charter, making it better.”

Any Charter Revision Commission is, under the Law, an Independent body and has the Authority to Examine the Entire Charter, though past Commissions have been convened by Mayors with Limited interests in mind, a fact that Perales acknowledged Thursday. Mayor De Blasio Charged his Commission, though he cannot Control their Agenda, with looking at the City’s Campaign Finance Laws and ways to improve Voter Participation and Access.

“This mayor, much to my delight, is interested in improving democracy and improving the way we elect our leaders,” Perales said. The Commission would focus on Elections, he insisted, but would also “be looking at the entire City Charter” and the Issues presented to them at Hearings over the next few months.

Perales also Pledged a thoroughly Transparent process, before he spoke, he made sure to check that the Hearing was indeed being Live-Streamed, that would include ample Testimony from the public. “We’re gonna hear from more people than anyone ever imagined,” he said.

Among the First Acts of the Commission was the Nomination and Appointment of:

Matt Gewolb, former Legislative Director at the New York City Council, as its Executive Director.

Christine Billy, a Lawyer from the Department of Sanitation, as General Counsel.

Candice Cho, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Law Department, will serve as the Commission’s Chief of Staff.

Much of the Commission’s Staff, which will work out of the David Dinkins Municipal Building, will be borrowed full-time from City Agencies, Perales said, though the Commission can request Funding from the Mayor and already has a Budget that will allow it to Hire Consultants. “We’ll have all we need but we’re not gonna be spending a fortune on getting it,” he said.

The Commission will hold its first Borough hearing on Staten Island, though the full schedule has yet to be decided. At Thursday’s Meeting, the Commissioners did agree on a few broad Ground Rules for Public Outreach:

- Holding Multiple Hearings in each Borough at Different Times of the Day to ensure Maximum Participation

- Preventing any Barriers to Access for Immigrants

- A robust Social Media Presence

- A Marketing Campaign

“I think it’s especially important because some of these boroughs are very large,” said Commissioner Angela Fernandez, Executive Director and Supervising Attorney of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “For example, folks in East New York or in Washington Heights are unlikely to go to more centrally located...area of the borough.”

“I wanted us to take a look at the demographics of the city because things are changing, and a sense of who is where is going to be important in decisions that we make for our deliberations,” added Commissioner Una Clarke, the former City Council Member from Brooklyn.

In particular, Clarke warned of how the National Political scene and the Federal Government’s Policies could depress Immigrant input. “I think we ought to be very sensitive to the new immigrant communities. Because of what’s happening in Washington, many people will not come out and speak with us, and we have to be able to bring them out because whatever we do is going to affect their lives,” she said.

Fernandez suggested a “simple but creative marketing campaign” to invite the Public into the Process.

As the Commission does its work, examining the City Charter, City Government, and taking Pubic Testimony, it will prepare Recommendations that then go to Voters for Approval or Disapproval.

Thursday’s Meeting marked the latest start for any Charter Revision Commission convened in the recent past, and Perales conceded that they will have to work hard and fast to meet the September 7th Deadline to have their Recommendations included on the General Election Ballot in November 2018. “We’ve got some really serious time constraints,” he admitted, though he said he was “optimistic” about getting the work done.

What wasn’t raised at the Meeting was the parallel Charter Revision Commission being created by the City Council through Legislation that passed last week. The Council’s Commission will include Appointees of All the City’s Top Elected Officials and will work through this Year into the Next, to present Ballot Proposals for the 2019 General Election. De Blasio, who Appointed all the Members of his Commission, will have Four Appointees to the Council-led Commission.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Friday, April 20, 2018

NYC Council Bill Would Put Wind Turbines on Rooftops


The New York City Council will consider a Bill Monday to Standardize Wind-Turbine Installation on Rooftops as part of a Suite of Green Legislation wending its way through the Chamber.

Currently, anyone who wants a Turbine must Apply for a Special Permit from the Department of Buildings, which is Notorious for Bureaucracy. "As anyone who's dealt with [the department] knows, even the most garden-variety projects can often ensnare you in endless strands of red tape," Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-22nd District, Queens) and Sponsor of the Bill, said in a Speech earlier this year. "When you add cutting-edge technology on top of that, you're only complicating it further."

The Legislation would Standardize the Process so property Owners would know exactly what to do and Inspectors would use the same Set of Criteria to Judge every Project. The idea is to help make the City more Energy-Efficient.

A Complementary Constantinides Bill would require Officials to Create a Wind Map showing where these Devices would work Best.

Solar Panels tend to be more Cost-Effective Small-Scale Power Generators, but not all Rooftops are conducive to their Installation, creating an opportunity for Wind.

Small Wind Turbines can be used to Generate modest amounts of Power as well as make a Statement about Renewable Energy, but they are nowhere near the top of the list in terms of Potential to make the City Greener. Reducing Power Consumption of Buildings, which account for nearly Three-Quarters of the City's Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, provides the biggest Payoff.

Large-Scale Wind Farms can also move the needle; the State's Energy Research and Development Authority is working on a Plan for Turbines off the Coast of Long Island.

A Bill penned by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-3rd District), also being considered Monday, would require that All City-owned Building be powered by Green Energy by 2050. That Date coincides with Mayor Bill de Blasio's Goal of Rreducing Carbon Emissions by 80% between 2014 and 2050.

The Time Line is so long that most of today's Legislators will no longer be in Politics by the time it rolls around, but is intended to drive efforts to keep the City on pace to reach that mark.










NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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