Tag Archives: policy

Successful BRT Systems: Characteristics

What do effective Bus Rapid Transit systems (BRTs) have in common?BRT

• Physically segregated busways
• Operation of trunk+feeder buses
• High station platforms
• Fare prepayment, flat fares, free transfers
• Mostly operated by private companies
• High passenger volumes
• High commercial speeds of operation
• Much lower cost than LRT or metro
• BUT: Metro-like appearance
• Distinct identity and good image

 

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SLIDESHOW: Connecticut – Tax & Budget

nunst008

Connecticut Senate Democrats Guide to the Connecticut State Budget

Connecticut Senate Republicans POV: The Dysfunctional Budget Process

A Good WordPress Site About the Connecticut State Budget

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ZIM HIV/AIDS Response: Near Tie w/SA

via http://www.thezimbabwean.co/lifestyle/health/53415/the-right-to-arvs.html

via http://www.thezimbabwean.co/lifestyle/health/53415/the-right-to-arvs.html

Although Zimbabwe was one of the first African nations to witness a decline in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the disease is as much a problem, still, as it is in the rest of southern Africa.  Adult prevalence has 24.6% of the population to 15.3%. However, “caution should be taken when interpreting the data available,” according to Avert.com.  Large numbers of homeless and displaced people aren’t regularly surveyed.

“Many people have left Zimbabwe and the ones that are left are so struck down by poverty and the collapse of the health delivery system such that they cannot access hospitals. We wonder if these figures can be trusted.”

Like many countries, the Zimbabwean government was slow to acknowledge the AIDS problem.  In 1999, a formal AIDS policy was announced.  These measures have helped, but poor mismanagement and politicalization of the issue (both negative and positive) have “overshadowed the implementation of the National AIDS Policy.”

http://www.avert.org/aids-zimbabwe.htm

FOLLOWUP STORY:
http://www.thezimbabwean.co/lifestyle/health/53415/the-right-to-arvs.html

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TESTIMONY: 2011 CT Drug Policy Bills

Good afternoon and thank you; members of the Judiciary Committee, for this audience.

My name is Daniel Malo, and on behalf of myself and the global anti-prohibitionist community,

I would like to extend my SUPPORT to the following bills:

S.B. No. 952, AAC THE SALE OR POSSESSION OF DRUGS NEAR SCHOOLS

S.B. No. 953, AAC NONVIOLENT DRUG POSSESSION OFFENSES.

S.B. No. 1014, AAC THE PENALTY FOR CERTAIN NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES.

S.B. No. 1015, AAC THE PALLIATIVE USE OF MARIJUANA.

H.B. No. 6566, AAC THE COMPASSIONATE USE OF MARIJUANA.

There has long been a concerted effort to undermine and prevent the use of the cannabis plant, recreationally, medically, and industrially.  Criminalized for just a fraction of human history, the plant has proved itself versatile and valuable to our species for a host of reasons.  Greed and the self interest of companies threatened by the potential of cannabis keep it illegal.

Recreationally, cannabis is SAFE and not the “gateway drug” it is purported to be by its opponents.   Medically, cannabis treats dozens of conditions; more recently, the plant is mentioned as a having potential benefit to cancer patients, not only for treatment, but as an avenue of research in looking for a cure.  Industrially, cannabis is an economic miracle, but that is not the subject of these bills.

Sadly, its industrial capability is the reason cannabis is criminalized.  The only dangerous part of the plant is its criminality.  Any other arguments (including moral), are “Reefer Madness.”  Legalized for all and regulated, you would see savings on all aspects of the justice system, and an emerging revenue source.  Yet, for the protection of a few industries, federal and state governments, knowingly or not, would rather:

Incarcerate at taxpayer expense – Deprive all people of a medicine

Ignore the opportunity of industrialized cannabis (JOBS!)

Cannabis use should not be criminalized!

I would ask that the committee NOT SUPPORT:

S.B. No. 1098, AAR THE SALE AND POSSESSION OF SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AND SALVIA.

While the extracts are unregulated and readily available, the salvia PLANT is safe when used appropriately and that use should be protected.  Its legality is called into question because the extracts have been used by some as an alternative to cannabis—the marketers of these extracts would tell you such.  The human body has evolved alongside salvia, and we have receptors for the chemical.  Lab made extracts are not natural, and don’t have the guarantee of accepted intake.

This is not the first time that users have shifted to a dangerous, but legal, substance because of a criminalized, safe alternative.  The crack and methamphetamine came into existence under similar means—a sad, unintended side effect of prohibition.  To get to the root of this issue, legislators should sponsor cannabis bills to make available the safe alternative, rather than continue with failed policy and their failing mandates.  Please move beyond an outmoded stigma.

Thank you, and sincerely, Daniel Malo

billseal

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TESTIMONY: HB 6475, An Act Concerning Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Good afternoon and thank you; members of the Judiciary Committee, for this audience.  My name is Daniel Malo, and I am a University of Connecticut student, organizer and concerned citizen:

I would like to extend my support to:

HB 6475, AN ACT CONCERNING MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES.

The movement to establish mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses began in the early 1950s and gained momentum in the 1970s. During this time, however, sentencing was mainly at the discretion of individual judges who could consider facts regarding the circumstances of an offense and a defendant’s past record in their final rulings.  As the crack cocaine epidemic exploded in the mid-1980s and the rate of drug-related homicides rocketed, Congress looked to mandatory sentencing for drug-related crimes as a law enforcement weapon.

In 1986, Congress enacted the Anti-Drug Abuse Act federal which outlined mandatory drug sentences. Before the 1986 law, drug offenders received an average prison sentence of 22 months. After the law was implemented, the average sentence jumped to 66 months. Prior to the law the average federal drug sentence for African Americans was 11 percent higher than for whites. Four years later, the average federal drug sentence for African Americans was 49 percent higher.

 Between 1986 and 1996, the number of women in prison for drug law violations increased by 421 percent. This led U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk-Sawyer to testify before Congress, “The reality is, some 70-some percent of our female population are low-level, nonviolent offenders. The fact that they have to come into prison is a question mark for me. I think it has been an unintended consequence of the sentencing guidelines and the mandatory minimums.”

Although Congress intended mandatory sentences to target “kingpins” and managers in drug distribution, the result has been contrary to the intent.   The law has only been beneficial to prosecutors and police, who use the threat of lengthy prison terms to persuade low-level dealers to testify against drug kingpins.  These individuals, often drug mules or street dealers, often end up serving longer sentences because they have little or no information to provide the government, creating a huge incentive for people to provide false information in order to receive a shorter sentence.

Those crowding cells are, for the most part, non-violent offenders.  Meanwhile, criminals who commit more serious crimes often spend less time in jail. More than 80 percent of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 is due to drug convictions. Drug offenders accounted for 44 percent of the increase in the state prison population from 1986 to 1991. Meanwhile, the number of drug violations increased nearly 50 percent in that time. Meanwhile, State and Federal governments have seen significant increases in the costs of corrections due to longer prison terms and an increasing prison population.

There is no evidence that tougher sentences deter drug crimes.

  • Mandatory sentencing does not eliminate sentencing disparities; instead it shifts decision-making authority from judges to prosecutors.
  • Judges are no longer able to consider other factors such as the offender’s role, motivation, and the likelihood of recidivism in sentencing.
  • Mandatory minimums fail to punish high-level dealers, but do succeed at sending record numbers of women and people of color to prison.
  • More appropriate sentencing options or changes in statute will prove to be less costly and/or more effective than mandatory incarceration.

I urge the committee to consider these factors, in their decision making, and ask that this be voted on positively to the Assembly, and encouraged through until it reaches the Governor’s pen.

Thank you, and sincerely, Daniel Malo

billseal

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Congressional Budget & Impoundment Control Act of 1974

Overview of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974

The Congressional Budget Act (CBA) has been the foundation of U.S. federal budgeting since 1974. The Act shifted budgetary control away from the Executive to the Legislature; curbing encroachment of the Office of the President upon the rights and purpose of Congress.[1] The text of the Constitution establishes Congress as the body with controlling power over the federal budget wherein only Congress has the power to levy taxes or borrow against the credit of the U.S.  Article I, Section 9 prohibits the drawing of funds from the Treasury without an appropriation by law.

The Executive Office gained power over a number of maneuvers, beginning in the 1800s to compensate for increased government spending and the ability of congressional committees to line-item manage hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriations.  “The increased size of the government combined with the increased presidential powers would be identified by Arthur Schlesinger “Imperial Presidency”.  Eventually, this resulted in fiscal conflict with Congress, in the “Seven Year Budget War” waged by President Nixon until 1974.

Spending in social programs had been on the rise with congressional approval, coupled with an ‘incursion’ abroad in Southeast Asia led to rising deficits. Nixon entered into office inheriting a fiscally troubled government… with the continuing rise in entitlement spending and the lack of sufficient economic growth to sustain an enlarging federal government weighing heavily on the budget.” In his approach to mitigate this issue, Nixon “made decisions which alienated Congress … and his actions greatly contributed to the crisis in the government which eventually necessitated the 1974 act.”[2]

An Act to establish a new congressional budget process; to establish Committees on the Budget in each House; to establish a Congressional Budget Office; to establish a procedure providing congressional control over the impoundment of funds by the executive branch; and for other purposes.[3][4]

Title X of the law, also known as the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both the Senate and the House of Representatives have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.[5]

Congress is not required to vote on such a proposal and has ignored most Presidential requests thus; effectively removed the historical Presidential power of impoundment, replacing it with a program whereby the president was required to propose to Congress the rescission of specific funding proposals. [6] Many Presidents and government officials have called for more Executive leverage to rescind Congressional spending since implementation of the Act. [7]  I personally believe that the topic of presidential, top-level, impoundment is an important notion to consider, of course, under requisite oversight of appropriately determined ‘checks and balances’.

 

[1] Wikipedia: Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Budget_and_Impoundment_Control_Act_of_1974

[2] Lee, Nooree, Harvard Law School Federal Budget Policy, Briefing Paper No. 34; “Congressional Budget and

Impoundment Control  Act of 1974, Reconsidered” http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/hjackson/BudgetActRevisited_34.pdf

[3] Wikipedia; ibid.

[4] Lee, Nooree;  ibid.

[5] http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/02C17B.txt

[6] Lee, Nooree;  ibid.

[7] Wikipedia: Impoundment; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impoundment

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REVIEW: “Green Logistics”

Originally published at Global Site Plans

Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics (2nd edition, Kogan Page), by Alan C. McKinnon et. al, is a 2013 publication covering the best green-practices in supply-chain management.  

Lead author McKinnon has written a number of articles and books evaluating supply chains, as have the other contributing authors. I evaluated the second edition of this book. A third edition is due for release in 2015.

Cover of Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics, 2nd Edition.  Cover photo is aerial shot of intersecting highways

Green Logistics begins with the historical evolution of the field, describing the origins of supply-chain greening from an initial, instinctual “public dislike of heavy lorries (trucks),” to the current examination of waste management, warehousing, route-optimization, fuel economies, and food miles.

The essays look far beyond the simple notion of “the lorry menace.” Green Logistics is a collection of academic research that discusses issues pertinent to supply chains—with heavy emphasis on those matters facing freight networks. The book covers the nuances of greening the logistics field, and demonstrates its conclusions with charts and graphs that illustrate different polls and findings. The data, while being large-in-part a collection of UK statistics, has value for any location.

Green Logistics Table

The final essay of Green Logistics is devoted to the role of government in supply chains, they being responsible for regulatory constraints on supply-chain logistics. This essay may very well hold the most important message of the book—a strong argument for implementing green logistics and an overview of yet-unmet policy needs, as well as goals that could help facilitate the practice.

It must be said that Green Logistics is not a casual or quick read. In many ways, its subjects are very technical and the book can come across as an advanced college text (it certainly weighs as much). The book’s largest use may be as a key shelf reference for a supply-chain specialist. Still, the nature of the material makes Green Logistics a prescient manual for every efficiency-seeking manager and cost- or eco-conscious executive.

Could your workplace benefit from greening its supply chain? Does it already? Does your city have any policies set in place regarding supply chain management and sustainability? Share your city’s story in the comments below.

“Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics” is a Kogan Page publicationThe Grid is giving away three FREE copies of the book. Make sure you go to the Rafflecopter Giveaway to enter to win your free copy of “Green Logistics.”

Credits: Images by Dan Malo. Data linked to sources.

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