Building a Secure Green Ithaca
by Paul Glover

Most of us are proud to live in Ithaca, our progressive, gorges city centrally isolated on the cutting edge of social change. However, the world many of us here want to create, a world of good work and friends and health and ease, is restrained by local, national and global elites for whom nature and labor are disposable.

Even in Ithaca we find that conservatives do not conserve and liberals do not liberate. The proof is that many Ithacans endure poorly-paid service jobs, with lots of struggle to pay for rent and groceries. We see many having a hard time getting medical and dental care. Even the middle class is worried.

This need not be so, because Ithaca is such a wealthy city. There's enough money in Ithaca today to enable EVERYONE to work creatively a few hours daily and then to relax with family and friends and enjoy top quality healthy food prepared by some of the finest cooks in the nation, to enjoy clean, low-cost warm housing, clean and safe transit, high quality handcrafted clothes and household goods, to enjoy creating and playing together, growing up and growing old in a community where everyone is valuable, all in the midst of one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

And to do this while replenishing rather than depleting the health of the planet. While enriching rather than exploiting workers here and around the world.

However, our abundant wealth has not yet been translated into widespread community well-being because local money is instead poured down the drain, lost as food bills to agribusiness; lost as purchases from chain stores; lost as energy payments to NYSEG; lost as payments to auto manufacturers, to oil companies and auto insurance companies; lost as rent payments to absentee landlords; lost as tourist dollars to hotel chains; lost as medical payments to drug companies and HMOs; lost by destruction of agricultural land for suburbanization; lost in pumping clean water across town for flushing wastes; lost as tax payments to state and federal agencies which often do more harm than good; and discarded into landfills.
This current systeem retards genuine progress by flushing money out of town, as fast as it comes in. Some local people prosper by being agents for leakage-- like commercial bankers, developers, and City Hall bureaucracies which front for them.

Democratic and Republican leaders have traditionally accepted this hierarchy. Therefore we see not only leakage of local money but leakage of local authority. Ithaca's current mayor has been telling low-income consumers that they need to back this system, so they can get cheaper goods. Big box development would instead keep these people powerless, while feeding one of the biggest businesses in Ithaca-- City Hall itself.

The alternative is locally-controlled economic development, featuring mutual aid systems, food and fuel buying clubs, barter networks, business incubators, limited-equity co-housing, import replacement programs, health funds, local currency, bikeways, energy efficiency programs, re-use warehouses, and so forth, as introduced inside.

Among the three candidates for mayor this year, I'm the only candidate who is ready to continue to resist chain retailer expansion (city-owned lands in Southwest Park are not yet leased) and highway expansion, while fostering expansion here of a locally-controlled mutual enterprise system that makes Ithaca an unprecedentedly beautiful American city and a national example of people's power.


We face endlessly higher taxes to pay for reduced City services. Mere compentent management is not enough-- we need to explore bold new directions. Even if you're doing well today (good job, good benefits, homeowner) you know that an unstable economy could sink it all. Great change is coming to Ithaca. Orderly transitions begun today will place Ithaca ahead of other cities tomorrow. Nothing less is liberal, nothing less conserves.

To solve big budget problems, Ithaca needs to think bigger than big box stores. The costs of serving chain retailers (road building & widening & repair, traffic control, sewer, water, drainage, air & water pollution, police & fire protection, subsidy for underpaid workers, commuting time, loss of local businesses, etc) are greater than the sales & property taxes they pay.
We'll prosper instead by creating mutual aid systems (buying clubs, local stock exchange, barter networks, import replacement, etc) described at
Our City, County and School District are trapped in greater demands and limited income. We will need to do more with creativity than dollars.

1. Reduce traffic: 2/3 of City budget is direct or indirect subsidy to automobiles. For every 10,000 fewer cars on a street there are lower repair costs.
2. Print money (Ithaca HOURS), spend it for government services and accept it for tax payments.
3. Reduce firefighting needs, and reduce fire insurance rates by making housing fire-resistant.
4. Reduce police expenditures by creating good jobs and healthy youth culture with less alienation and economic desperation.
5. Reduce health insurance costs. See below.
6. Nonprofitize: bid certain work to local nonprofit groups which pay livable wage, keep overhead low, empower workers, and unionize.
7. Quit hiring expensive consultants. Rely on local expertise. We have enough talent to start another Cornell.
8. Cease pickup of leaves and small branches. These should be composted within neighborhoods.
9. Require Cornell and IC to pay for fire protection proportionate to the alarms and coverage needed by student and campus neighborhoods. If City budget limits require reduced fire services, Cornell would become less safe.
10. Municipalize electric distribution. Groton residents pay half the kwh rate. They can spend their money with local businesses instead of NYSEG.
11. Begin sewerage reform. By relying on clean NSF-approved composting toilets, we'll reduce water treatment and pumping loads 50%, which reduces water system costs.
12. Tax local income progressively. Begin charging 10% of state income tax on incomes above $60,000. State must approve.

Seniors, young families, African-Americans and low-income workers are having a harder time buying and maintaining homes in the city.

1. Tax absentee landlords-- those who live outside Tompkins County.
2. Limited-equity housing: When City or INHS get control of housing, through tax default or sale, resale price should be half of median income, with priority sale to lowest-income people residing in the house at least five years.
3. Community-build and sweat equity for low-income residents should be offered.
4. Superinsulation and superwindows should be rewarded with tax credits or abatement of assessment increase. Gas/electric efficiency is the foundation of community power.
5. Retrofits with thermal mass, solar water heating, solar greenhousing should be rewarded with tax credits or abatement of assessment increase.
6. Rent control as last resort, if programs and incentives do not lower 10% of rental units to maximum 25% of lowest-paid full-time wages.
7. Livable Wages also reduce the proportion of wages paid as rent and make ownership more possible.
8. Penny-per-gallon gasoline tax can apply to energy-efficiency retrofit fund for lowest-income residents. This raises about $200,000/year. Needs state approval.
9. Building/zoning code reforms to permit strawbale, compost toilets, elder cottages, etc.
10. Senior/youth housing connections to bring together those needing help with those needing housing.
11. Tree plantings to reduce heating and cooling fuel use.

Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange (WISE) can gather capital for ecodevelopment that enriches the community.

1. Insulation co-op: installation
2. Solar co-op: installation and repair.
3. Food processing of regional agricultural produce: canned, pasta, dehydrated, tortillas
4. Food buying club storefront sells near wholesale
5. Building disassembly rather than demolition
6. Re-use warehouse featuring name-your-own price sales, distributes new and like-new clothes and housewares to those in need.
7. Cargo bicycle manufacture enables us to move kids and groceries without cars.
8. Vacancy surtax on empty storefronts: 25% after 3 months; 50% 4-12 months; 100% after one year.
9. Import replacement program connects everybody for everything, reducing dependence on imports.
10 Eco-tourism: B&B, pedicabs, cabs, discounts for those arriving by train, bus, sailboat, bike, foot.
11. Flexible Manufacturing Networks bring together tools and skills to fill joint contracts.
12. Invest part of City pension funds into dedicated accounts in local credit unions and TCTC, to accomplish the above

We've reached the limits of our capacity to squeeze more cars through Ithaca. Hereafter, to thrive economically we'll need to learn new ways to organize our mobility and to decentralize services to rely less on automobiles.
Glover has written extensively about the benefits of fixed rail trolleys, bicycles and bike lanes, more and smaller buses, and decentralization of neighborhood services that make walking and wheelchairs more practical.

1. Bikeways to make bicycling safe for going to work, school, getting groceries, visiting friends.
2. Smaller buses save purchase, maintenance and fuel costs, which could go instead to purchase more buses and drivers to serve more routes. Another penny-per-gallon gasoline tax can lower bus fares.
3. Trollies are more than transportation. They move the spirit of the city.
4. Decentralization of services reduces the need to travel for work, school, groceries, childcare.
5. Cornell limit undergrad cars, as in years past, or make campus parking conditional and revocable. Provide tuition/discount coupon incentives to students who leave cars home.
6. Park & Ride + shuttle with incentives for use.
7. Traffic calming requires a safer pace.
8. Progressive Street Reclamation replaces paving with playgrounds, parks, gardens.

Most of the City's budget increase is to pay health insurance for City employees. At the same time, many Ithacans have no health insurance or pay too much for it. Others stay in jobs they don't like, just for health security. The federal government should pay all health costs, but HMOs have bought too much political power. So we have to take control and do it ourselves.
1. Partner with County, Cornell, ICSD health plans for lower rates. Invite all residents to join.
2. Community-wide self-insurance: instead of paying millions of dollars yearly to HMOs, we can pool our money to cover every need. In the short run, shift to higher-deductible HMO, fill in with Ithaca Health Fund.
3. Clinics for medical, dental, preventive and holistic care: providing care free or at-cost, hiring local people, financed by memberships and by savings above.
4. Prioritize clean air, clean water, clean food and exercise-- healthier living lowers health insurance premiums and costs.


Greens are centrists because we directly address the central concerns of average Americans.

· Prime founder of ithaca HOURS local currency, 1991, which doubles the local minimum wage to$10.00 within this trading network.
· Received Tompkins County Human Rights Award 1996
. · Wrote and promoted the City's first livable wage ordinance 1998
· Established United Workers of ithaca, 1997, to organize service workers.
· Founder of ithaca Health Fund now insuring dozens of Ithaca service workers,
· author of "Ithaca 100 Years Ago," the first working-class history of Ithaca (1976)
· author ot Amazing ithaca History Calendar 1976, the “people’s history of Ithaca,"
· full-time antiwar activist 1970-73.

• Bicycle commuter who does not use automobiles
• Founder of Ithaca Bicycle Planning Commission 1989 (now Bicycle Pedestrian AdvisoryCouncil)
• Founder of movement to prevent four-lane highway up West Hill 1976-1989
• Founder of Cornell-ithaca Safety Committee (ClSCO), to prevent 177-foot incinerater.
• Core group member of Stop Wal-Mart 1992-1995
• B.A. in City Management with specialization in ecological urban design · Founder of Citizen Planners of Los Angeles 1983,featuring urban ecology.
• author of Ithaca Power (survey ofIthaca’s fuel system)
• Founder of Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange (WISE), gathering eco-development capital.
• Founder of the Ithaca Trolley Authority 1992
• Founder of the los Angeles Greens 1984
• Founder of the Ithaca Green Party 1989