Monday, August 22, 2011


Jonathan Leavitt's excellent Truthout article on the last eight months of civic activism against the partnership between Burlington, VT and Lockheed Martin appeared this past weekend. Well worth the read as it shows what a small group of organisers can do to rally citizens to voice their concerns to city councilors in passing community standards about private/public partnerships about climate change.
Speaking from her "background of global economic systems, international business and sustainable business practices," Anna Guyton outlined the need to set a precedent to keep climate solution in the public and not the private sphere by passing the resolution:
"Why is it that some corporations manage to get away with fraud, misconduct, toxic pollution, child labor and human trafficking? Why is it that time after time, crime after crime, these corporations continue to do damage to people and places? The answer lies in concentrated power without checks and balances. Sure, these corporations are prosecuted, fined and made to pay for clean-up efforts (sometimes) - but does this serve as a check? No - again and again we see them commit more crimes. Does it prevent contractors from getting more contracts? No - the corruption is so deep and so broad, that their power is completely unbalanced. These are the types of corporations that we don't want to see Burlington tied to in partnership." Guyton continued, "We simply can't take that risk with an issue as important as climate change. Instead, what is needed for a city and a world without corruption is a de-concentration of that power, a decentralization of that power. The only way to do that is to build our own power and empower those who have a proven track record of sustainable business practices, like many of our Vermont companies and organizations do. And you must acknowledge the voice of the people - all these people here tonight (and many more who couldn't make it) care about community standards. Honor our voice, honor Burlington's democratic values and please pass this resolution as a first step toward ensuring good business partners for the city of Burlington."
Jonny's article is also online at the NoLockheed blog, which I recommend you bookmark it and get involved!

Take Action!
Call and email Mayor Kiss expressing your concerns about Burlington partnering with the world's largest war profiteer.
802-865-7272 (office)

#2). Write a Letter to the Editor:

#3 Call or Email your City Council
Their contact info can be found here:

Tar Sands Action

The Keystone XL pipeline is a project would pump over one million barrels of “tar sands” oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, Canada, to Texas every day. The oil in the Keystone pipeline could poison drinking water, threaten the communities it runs through, and wreck the climate.

350 Vermont is helping to coordinate a 4-day expedition from August 28th to the 31st to be a part of this historic action. Local coverage in Seven Days,  the Burlington Free PressSenator Sanders Youtube video. For those that care, there is a Facebook group.


The New York Times came out today with an editorial against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On This Day

Roberta Worrick, my Senior year English teacher at The Mountain School, wrote novels and short stories set in Africa under the name of Maria Thomas; she was a Peace Corps Writer, having volunteered in Ethiopia in 1971-73. Roberta, her husband Jeff, U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX; he represented my congressional district in Houston) and 11 others died in a plane crash in Ethiopia on August 7, 1989. May they rest in peace.

Right now - in the middle of 2011, parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are facing one of the worst droughts in 60 years, and nearly 12 million people are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. The flight which Roberta, Jeff and Mickey and the others were on was to bring food aid, too, to the Horn of Africa.

Robert came to TMS after having just graduated from Mount Holyoke. She was slim and short and looked younger than the teen agers she taught. Roberta introduced me to the poet, Denise Levertov.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Big Showdown: The People of Burlington vs. Lockheed Martin

Community Standards For Corporate Partners - The Solution is LOCAL.

Monday night - WE NEED YOU to help us pack another City Council meeting!

Monday, August 8 · 7:00 PM
Burlington City Hall
Contois Auditorium, 2nd Floor
149 Church Street
Burlington, Vermont
If you can, please show up in support. You can RSVP here, if you’re on Facebook.

On February 7th of this year over 100 Burlingtonians spoke out in City Council against Lockheed and won a resolution calling for community standards regarding Burlington and corporations like Lockheed. On June 28th that resolution passed out of committee, setting up The Big Showdown on August 8th.

Lockheed helped block the 2009 Federal Climate legislation and just four weeks ago was instrumental in stopping six states in the Supreme Court from regulating climate change.

Do we want small, local, responsible partners? Or do we want huge, transnational, fraudulent partners?

Do we want to work from the ground up, building power at the citizen level? Or do we want more top-down, concentration of power and money in the hands of the few?

Please come to show your support for transparent city partnerships with sustainable and responsible corporations that are not guilty of:

* racial, gender and age discrimination
* violating anti-trust laws, unfair competition or fraud
* contractor misconduct
* building internationally illegal weapons
* earning the majority of their profits from weapons and warfare
* incurring over $100,000 in fines for environmental damage
* engaging in or supporting child labor or human trafficking

We must protect and nurture our local businesses and organizations. Let's not risk the security and progress of our city by placing it in the hands of mega-corporations that violate these standards in the name of profit.

Please come to show your support for transparent city partnerships with sustainable and responsible corporations that are not guilty of:

What you can do to help set the stage for the Big Showdown: