Tag Archives: Mayors

At Paris climate change summit, mayors call for divestment

A group of mayors from around the world issued a letter this week calling on other cities to divest from fossil fuels in order to support the transition to renewable energy.

The letter contains signatures from mayors of Portland, Oregon; Bristol City, UK; Moreland City, Australia; Boxtel, the Netherlands; Santa Monica, California; and more.

“Mayors have a vital role to play in the transition to a new energy economy. It is time we invest in supporting our communities instead of destroying our climate. Please join us and divest from fossil fuels,” the letter states.

In 2013, Seattle became the first city to commit to divesting, followed by Canberra, the first national capital to join the movement. A growing number of cities and local governments have joined the divestment campaign in the lead up to the Paris Climate Talks.

“Cities know firsthand the problems brought about by fossil fuels, from urban air pollution to rising seas,” said 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve. “They’re also seeing the opportunity for reinvestment–the money they take out of companies like ExxonMobil can be then invested in companies that are creating green jobs in their community. These cities are helping move the divest-invest discussion into the realm of public policy, setting an example for state and national governments as they do.”

On Dec. 3, 350.org announced that 20 French cities, including Paris, Dijon and Bordeaux, had endorsed fossil fuel divestment.

In the last few months, major cities like Oslo, Melbourne and Munster have also joined the campaign.

Overall, more than 50 cities around the world have passed some form of divestment commitment, with many more campaigns underway. Total divestment commitments have surged to over 500 institutions representing $3.4 trillion in assets.

“In the lead up to the COP21 Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris, we, as concerned mayors and municipalities representatives, are calling on our colleagues to follow our steps and divest their city’s assets away from fossil fuels,” the mayors wrote. “Through divestment, we have accelerated the transition to a sustainable future, we urge you to follow this path.”

Signed by…

Mark Mark Buijs – Mayor of Boxtel, the Netherlands
Councilman Seth Yurdin, Providence, RI, USA
Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene, Oregon, USA
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol City, UK
Kevin McKeown, Mayor of Santa Monica, CA USA
Thomas Donegan, Chair, Board Of Selectmen, Provincetown, MA, USA
Brad Pettit, Mayor, City of Fremantle, Australia
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Mayor of the City of Melbourne, Australia
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, Oregon, USA
Samantha Ratnam, Councilor, Moreland City Australia
Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, Norway
Councillor Robert Dryden, Mayor of Cambridge, UK

Feds release 5-year plan for Great Lakes

The Obama administration this week announced a new 5-year plan for the Great Lakes that will accelerate efforts to address toxic pollution, invasive species, farm runoff and restoring plant and wildlife habitat.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy released the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s action plan on Sept. 24 during a meeting of Great Lakes mayors in Chicago, saying it is a roadmap for federal agencies to target the “biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

Congress has appropriated $1.6 billion since 2009 for the restoration effort.

The updated plan continues work in core areas while addressing concerns about how well the program is meeting its objectives.

The EPA coordinates the program with support from 10 other federal departments. 

Efforts across an eight-state region have included removal of toxic sediments, rebuilding wetlands and uprooting invasive plants. The program also has supported the fight to prevent aggressive Asian carp from reaching the lakes.

The updated plan also says that new projects should consider climate change. For example, wetland plants and trees would be selected for suitability to warmer temperatures. Watershed restorations would be designed to handle more frequent and intense storms, which could cause heavier erosion and runoff.

Republican mayors urge passage of LGBT nondiscrimination bill

A group of Republican mayors — including Appleton Mayor Timothy Hanna — is encouraging the GOP-led House to pass a bill to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT people.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group, announced the endorsement of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed with bi-partisan support in the U.S. Senate but then stalled in the U.S. House, where Republican leaders have refused to allow any action.

In recent weeks, support has fizzled for the bill among civil rights leaders concerned about its broad religious exemptions, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that businesses can have religious beliefs.

However, the president, Senate leaders, Democrats in the House and some advocacy groups want to see ENDA enacted this year.

To reach that goal, Log Cabin Republicans launched a campaign to collect endorsements from Republicans across the U.S.

“In a workplace environment, people should be judged on their merit and the quality of their work product,” Mayor Brian Smith of Irvington, New York, said in a news release on July 30. “This is an issue that started for me 40 years ago when one of the greatest Mayors, Ed Koch, was pushing for this while he was in Congress. The fact that it hasn’t been passed in 40 years is a disgrace. I believe history will look poorly on anyone who doesn’t support ENDA, whether it’s 50 years from now or 10 years from now. America is — and should be — a place where the freedom to be who you are should not be a barrier to your ability to have a job and provide for your family.”

Log Cabin Republicans executive director Gregory T. Angelo said, “Right now, in a majority of states, there are no state laws prohibiting an employer from firing or refusing to hire someone simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is time for the House to hear the message of these Republican mayors: pass ENDA now and give all hard-working Americans the workplace protections they deserve.”

Republican mayors backing ENDA include, in alphabetical order:

• Scott Avedisian of Warwick, Rhode Island.

• Robert Blais of Lake George, New York.

• Dale Berman of North Aurora, Illinois.

• Jim Brainard of Carmel, Indiana.

• William Brown of Riverton, New Jersey.

• Kevin Burns of Geneva, Illinois.

• Frank Catalina of Peekskill, New York.

• Suzette Cooke of Kent, Washington.

• John Dennis of West Lafayette, Indiana.

• Nicholas DeSantis of New Stanton, Pennsylvania.

• Mark Epley of Southampton, New York.

• Timothy Hanna of Appleton, Wisconsin.

• Sophie Heymann of Closter, New Jersey.

• Scott Kaupin of Enfield, Connecticut.

• Marvin Natiss of North Hills, New York.

• Michael Nohilly of Interlaken, New Jersey.

• Sarah Reinhardt of Spring Park, Minnesota.

• Angelo “Skip” Saviano of Elmwood Park, Illinois.

• Sarah Sherwood of Abbeville, South Carolina.

• Brian Smith of Irvington, New York.

• Jill Techel of Napa, California.

• Pam Triolo of Lake Worth, Florida.

• Bruce Kennedy of Sea Cliff, New York.

Cheers for Heineken, Guinness, Sam Adams; beer-makers won’t toast gay bans

The nation’s largest civil rights group is hailing decisions by major brewers — Guinness, Heineken and Sam Adams — to drop sponsorships of St. Patrick’s Day parades that discriminate by excluding openly LGBT participants.

“As corporate America continues to lead the charge for LGBT equality, today three of America’s top brewers are helping us say no to anti-LGBT discrimination,” said Deena Fidas, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program. “This year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be served up with a pint of fairness.”

Yesterday, Guinness released a corporate statement, saying: “Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all.  We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade.  As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation.  We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”

Earlier, Sam Adams announced that it wouldn’t sponsor Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

And Heineken also has taken a stand against the discrimination by the parade organziers.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh both declined to march in their cities respective St. Patrick’s Day parades, citing discrimination against LGBT people.

10 U.S. mayors unite to address climate change

Mayors from 10 major cities this week unveiled a united effort to boost energy efficiency in buildings to cut as much climate change pollution as generated by 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles every year and lower energy bills by nearly $1 billion annually.

The cities participating in the City Energy Project are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.

The project is an initiative from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation and gets inspiration from New York City’s sustainability efforts, as well as funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, along with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a news release, said, “New York City’s sustainability efforts are a major reason our greenhouse gas emissions are down 19 percent since 2007 and our air is cleaner than it has been in more than 50 years. They have also substantially driven down energy costs for consumers. “The City Energy Project will bring the significant economic and environmental benefits that energy efficiency has to offer to other cities — and accelerate progress by helping them learn from each other’s successes.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the project a promising opportunity. He said, “More energy efficiency means new jobs and continued economic growth, and a more sustainable City, which will lead to a further increase in the quality of life for the people of Chicago.”

Largely due to their electricity consumption, buildings are the largest single source of U.S. carbon emissions, representing 40 percent nationwide — more than either the transportation or industrial sectors. That number is even more dramatic at the city level, with more than half of carbon emissions in most U.S. cities coming from buildings — and in some cities as much as 75 percent. Much of the energy these buildings use, however, is wasted.

But there is technology and there are best practices that can make buildings vastly more efficient.

“City skylines have long been symbols of aspiration and innovation — this project takes that to a new level,” said Laurie Kerr, director of the project for the NRDC. “These mayors are showing there is the political will to put people to work to build a healthier, more prosperous future for America’s cities. In the face of a changing climate and increasingly extreme weather, they know they must act now to make their cities more resilient and sustainable.”

The project is projected to save ratepayers a combined total of nearly $1 billion annually on energy bills (at current prices).

Freedom to Marry wants more mayors to say ‘I do’ to equality

The Freedom to Marry campaign is enlisting citizens in the effort to encourage mayors to join a broad-based and nonpartisan group of municipal leaders in backing equality for lesbian and gay couples.

The goal is to increase the number of mayors on the record as supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry and to have every state represented in the campaign.

To find out if the mayor of a city supports the freedom to marry, go to the Freedom to Marry website, which also contains information on how to encourage a mayor to join the campaign.

In Wisconsin, mayors for marriage equality include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Bayfield Mayor Larry MacDonald and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

There are petitions on the site asking Racine Mayor John Dickert, Appleton Mayor Timothy Hanna, Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman, West Allis Mayor Dan Devine, Green Bay Mayor James Schmitt to join the equality drive.

Ohio mayors join Freedom to Marry club

Six Ohio mayors have joined the growing Mayors for the Freedom to Marry group formed earlier this month and announced at a conference in Washington, D.C.

The Ohio mayors who have signed the pledge circulating at city halls across the country include Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Don Plusquellic of Akron, Edward Kelly of Cleveland Heights, David Berger of Lima and Sara Drew of Stow.

The pledge states, “As mayors of great American cities, we proudly stand together in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. We personally know many gay and lesbian people living in our cities who are in committed, loving relationships, who are active participants in the civic life of our communities, and who deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life. …Our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part. Studies have shown what we know through our hands-on experience – that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive.”

Equality Ohio, a statewide LGBT civil rights group, is encouraging other mayors to sign the pledge in advance of Freedom to Marry Day in February.

List of mayors in Freedom to Marry drive released

Early Jan. 20, dozens of mayors came out for the marriage equality. The announcement of the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry coalition was made from Washington, D.C., where a winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors took place.

Who’s part of the bipartisan group?

The list, in no certain order, includes:

Michael Bloomberg – New York

Annise Parker – Houston, Texas

Thomas Menino – Boston

Jerry Sanders – San Diego

Antonio Villaraigosa – Los Angeles

Tom Barrett – Milwaukee

William Bell – Durham, N.C.

Stacey Patch Bernot – Carbondale, Colo.

Cory Booker – Newark, N.J.

Ardell Brede – Rochester, Minn.

Tony Calderone – Forest Park, Ill.

Stephen Cassidy – San Leandro, Calif.

Mark Chilton – Carrboro, N.C.

Chris Coleman – St. Paul, Minn.

Dennis Coombs – Longmont, Colo.

Frank Cownie – Des Moines

John Duran – West Hollywood, Calif.

Rahm Emanuel – Chicago

Peter Fosselman – Kensington, Md.

Laura Friedman – Glendale, Calif.

David Glass – Petaluma, Calif.

Mike Gin, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Michael Hancock – Denver, Colo.

John Hieftje – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Sylvester James Jr. – Kansas City, Mo.

Mark Kleinschmidt – Chapel Hill, N.C.

Don Lane – Santa Cruz, Calif.

Edwin Lee – San Francisco

Craig Lowe – Gainesville, Fla.

Karen Majewski – Hamtramck, Mich.

Mike McGinn – Seattle

Lori Moseley – Miramar, Fla.

David Narkewicz – Northampton, Mass.

Michael Nutter – Philadelphia

Frank Ortis – Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Steve Pougnet – Palm Springs, Calif.

Jean Quan – Oakland

Clarissa Rowe – Arlington, Mass.

RT Rybak – Minneapolis, Minn.

Helene Schneider – Santa Barbara, Calif.

Pedro Segarra – Hartford, Conn.

Jeffrey Slavin – Somerset, Md.

Paul Soglin – Madison, Wis.

Marilyn Strickland – Tacoma, Wash.

Nick Tell – Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Setti Warren – Newton, Mass.

Dana Williams – Park City Park, Utah

Jan Marx – San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Alex Morse – Holyoke, Mass.

Jeri Muoio – West Palm Beach, Fla.

Don Ness – Duluth, Minn.

Mel Nieuwenhuis – Delavan, Wis.

Kitty Piercy – Eugene, Ore.

John Preece – Delbarton, W.V.

Thomas Richards – Rochester, N.Y.

Matthew Ryan – Binghamton, N.Y.

Robert Sabonjian – Waukegan, Ill.

Ann Schwab – Chico, Calif.

Eric Senter – Franklinton, N.C.

Francis G. Slay – St. Louis

Joe Sinnott – Erie, Pa.

Angel Taveras – Providence, R.I.

Elizabeth Tisdahl – Evanston, Ill.

Samuel Adams – Portland, Ore.

Tom Bates – Berkeley, Calif.

David Berger – Lima, Ohio

Richard Bloom – Santa Monica, Calif.

Bruce Botelho – Juneau, Alaska

Christopher Cabaldon – W. Sacramento, Calif.

John Callahan – Bethlehem, Pa.

Craig Cates – Key West, Fla.

Joshua Cohen – Annapolis, Md.

Michael Coleman – Columbus, Ohio

Joy Cooper – Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Karl Dean – Nashville, Tenn.

Paul Dyster – Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Bill Finch – Bridgeport, Conn.

Bob Foster – Long Beach, Calif.

Ava Frisinger – Issaquah, Wash.

Marie Gilmore – Alameda, Calif.

Vincent Gray – Washington, D.C.

George Heartwell – Grand Rapids, Mich.

Bobby Hopewell – Kalamazoo, Mich.

Edward Kelly – Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Mark Kruzan – Bloomington, Ind.

Timothy Leavitt – Vancouver, Wash.

Lee Leffingwell – Austin, Texas

David Lublin – Town of Chevy Chase, Md.

Mayors to back marriage equality

Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide, will launch Mayors for the Freedom to Marry on Jan. 20 during the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C.

More than 75 Republican, Democrat and Independent mayors from cities across the country have pledged to support gay and lesbian couples’ freedom to marry, according to the advance notice from Freedom to Marry.

By creating Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, the city officials hope to expand public and political support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

The broad-based coalition of mayors includes Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Annise Parker of Houston, and is chaired by mayors Jerry Sanders of San Diego, Thomas Menino of Boston, Michael Bloomberg of New York and U.S. Conference of Mayors president Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.