Transit Travel Time Has Racial Divide PDF Print E-mail

 

According to a Study of the Twin Cities


The Twin Cities’ public transit system has a racial divide when it comes to how long it takes to get to work.   A study by  Take  Action Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, ISAIAH, and the  Center for Popular  Democracy reported that white transit riders, who use transit at half the rate of minority riders, spend three weeks longer per year getting to work than white car drivers.  Black,  Asian. and Latino transit riders spend an average of 4 weeks longer to get to work than white drivers.

 

tc racial transit disparity


Infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops contribute to the transit time penalty.

Watch  Bill  Sorem's highlights  and read Michael McIntee's summary of the press conference.

 

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The Rapid Growth of Solar Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

At the Think Again Brooklyns forum last week, Lynn Hinkle, Policy Director for the MN Solar Energy Industry Association, noted that nationwide just 20% of homeowners have roofs appropriate for solar panels. However, anyone can invest in solar energy through Community Solar Gardens in which Minnesota is a leader. In the last five years, Minnesota's solar industry has expanded from $150 million to a billion dollar industry. 


Jamez Staples, President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, told us about his program for getting people from marginalized communities prepared for solar energy careers averaging $50,000 a year through combined work and study at Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other Technical Colleges.  Mr. Staples noted that growth in the use of renewables could eventually keep the $18 billion dollars currently sent to other states for coal and gas in our own state.

              The Growth of Solar Energy in MN, Think Again Brooklyns, 4/21/15 - Linda Freemon

For additional information on MN's clean energy progress, see the articles below.

 

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Bright Future for Renewable Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

wind turbine field

 

The Wind Energy Foundation’s “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” suggests Minnesota could supply more than 50 percent of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030 while creating more jobs and meeting federal carbon targets.  Wind project costs have dropped 50 percent in the last five years, while solar prices decreased 40 percent since 2010,  

However, the Wind Energy Foundation's report vastly underestimates solar’s potential contribution.  The report includes only the current 81 megawatts of solar energy in Minnesota.  Dustin Denison, president of Minnesota Solar Electricity Industry Association notes that the state’s new requirement that investor owned utilities produce 1.5 percent of their retail electricity sales from solar by 2020 will add a minimum of 450 MW by 2020.

 

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MN's Remarkable Progress in Clean Energy - Will It Continue? PDF Print E-mail

 


The
Minnesota Way

The passage of the Next Generation Energy Act in 2007 began the rapid expansion of clean energy in Minnesota.  It resulted in billions of dollars in private investment, millions paid in county tax revenue, and thousands of new jobs across Minnesota. How did it happen?

Fresh Energy presents the story of what led to Governor Tim Pawlenty's  signing one of the most far-reaching and bipartisan bills in a generation:

http://fresh-energy.org/2015/04/the-minnesota-way/



Will Minnesota policymakers follow the corporate commitment to clean energy?

Brianna Murphy, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Trillium Asset Management,  reports in MinnPost that corporations' investment in clean energy "is not only environmentally altruistic — it’s a way to boost corporate profitability while addressing the risks of climate change."  (The two branches of the MN legislature passed energy bills that have opposite goals.  The MN Senate passed an energy bill that would increase the percent of electricity produced from renewable sources to 40 percent by 2030.  The MN House, in contrast. passed a bill that would roll back the requirements of the 2013 energy bill.)  Read Ms. Murphy's article:

https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2015/03/will-minnesota-policymakers-follow-corporate-commitment-clean-energy


 

Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

 

John Farrell is a top expert on distributed energy  in our state and the nation.  He has shown how the shift from fossil fuel based to renewable energy can contribute to the economic growth of communities throughout the U.S. because renewable energy does not have to be centralized as do fossil fuels and nuclear power.   Farrell is the Director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.   He also publishes the monthly Think Again MN newsletter and is a past Vice-President of Think Again MN.

Farrell is  the author of
Energy Self-Reliant States, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential highlighted in the New York Times,  showing that most states don’t need to look outside their borders to meet their electricity needs.  He’s also written extensively on the economic advantages of Democratizing the Electricity System, published a rich interactive map on solar grid parity, and refined policies (like Minnesota’s solar energy standard) so they support locally owned renewable energy development.

Listen to John Farrell's webinar, "Unveiling the Five Pillars of Energy Democracy, " especially the first 20 minutes.  Follow the slides below the audio presentation.  Read his 2014 article "Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota" to find out how Community Solar Gardens work.  Read Farrell's recent article "Why Minnesota 's Community Solar Garden Program is the Best" to discover why Minnesota will soon have more solar gardens than all other states combined.   To keep up with the latest developments in renewable energy in Minnesota, the U.S.,  and Europe,  subscribe to his weekly email newsletter at the top or bottom of the webpages for the above webinar and articles.


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Why Is the U.S. Electorate So White? PDF Print E-mail

 

Because Our Voting System Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

 

By Stephen Wolf, The New Republic, December 24, 2014

 

"Elections lack democratic legitimacy when they do not reflect the wishes of the citizenry. In the case of the United States, we're carrying a legacy of an electoral system that was designed and built to favor white voters. That it still works that way isn't a shock. What's shocking is that we know how to fix it, and still haven't done so."  Read the article.

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Don Fraser and Al Quie Focus on Future Generations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lori Sturdevant   

 

The Quie-Fraser Example

 

don fraserquieSondra Samuels said aloud what others had been thinking Wednesday at a salute to two of Minnesota's favorite nonagenarians, former Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser and former Gov. Al Quie: "I am so honored that we are not here doing a eulogy!"  Quie and Fraser were undoubtedly glad about that too.

But it was more than longevity and past accomplishments that were being praised as the two former elected officials, one DFLer, one Republican, were honored as part of the Citizens League's annual meeting and the sixth annual observance of the "Common Quest for Common Ground" series established in honor of the late Humphrey School dean John Brandl.

Samuels called attention to the work Quie and Fraser are still doing, today more together than apart, to spur organizations such as the one she heads, the Northside Achievement Zone, to lift families out of poverty via improved education for their children. With a voice thick with emotion, Samuels called them "my brothers" because "they love children and they love justice."

Read more at Startribune.com

 

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NY Times Calls for Rate Cap on Payday Loans PDF Print E-mail

 

The New York Times called for a rate cap on payday loans.  ". . .  the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that hidden fees and charges on payday loans were so high that only 15 percent of borrowers could raise the money to repay the total debt on time without quickly borrowing again."  See the New York Times editorial.

 

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Payday Lending Power Point from Senator Hayden PDF Print E-mail

 

jeff haydenSenator Jeff Hayden was not able to attend our last forum on "Low Cost Alternatives to Payday Lending."  He sent the Power Point which he had prepared for his presentation. 

 

You can download it at:

http://myaurora.org/aurorawiki/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=811

 

 

 

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Resources for Managing Your Money PDF Print E-mail

 

Make Your Dreams Come True

Control Your Money, Debt, and Credit

 

 

You can manage your money so you don't need to incur the huge costs of payday loans.  Yes, going to a payday lender to cash a check or take out a loan is easy, and the people who serve you are often friendly.  However, that friendly assuring manner comes with a big cost.  You will typically be required to pay back three times as much as you borrowed.  You can find out how to manage your money so that you can keep more for yourself and your family by taking advantage of workshops offered in and near Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center as well as online courses.

 

Workshops

 

financial planning couple 2Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin offers workshops on budgeting, controlling your debt, and maintaining a good credit rating, as well as on the rights and responsibilities of renters, home ownership, and financial management for senior citizens.  You can find the upcoming courses by clicking on the homebuyer, renter, and financial literacy courses in the left hand column of their website:

http://www.capsh.org/

TopLine Credit Union offers a variety of seminars related to youth financial literacy, paying less for college, survival budgeting, getting out of debt, retirement, insurance, homebuying, and business. You can find them at:

toplinecu.com/upcoming_seminars?slidenum=1&#chart

 

Online Education

 

financial planning couple

TCF Bank has an online Financial Education Center.  It offers modules that include an summary of what is included in the learning module, the instructions on the topic, and a brief quiz to check if you understood the lesson. Each module you complete is checked off. Eight lessons are currently included at the TCF Bank Education Center: Savings and Investments, Mortgages, Overdrafts, Payment Types and Credit Cards, Credit Scores and Reports, Identity Protection, Insurance and Taxes, and Financing Higher Education.  You will need to check in with a password which you enter the first time you use the Center.  Get started at:

https://www.tcfbank.com/about-tcf_community-relations_financial-education.aspx


Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin has online instruction for home buying at:

https://capsh.frameworkhomeownership.org/Default.aspx

 

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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

steve simon

 

Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

 


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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