PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.

Proud to Live in a
Progressive City

November 2000
(many links below probably obsolete)

Ithaca was declared America's most "enlightened" city by the Utne Reader in 1998. We're not saints and we don't levitate, but for such a small city (30,000 urban + 20,000 suburban) we have a fabulous number and variety of social organizations. Many of these work to shift real economic and cultural power to average people, to challenge destructive power, and to defend those who are vulnerable today. They're open to new ideas.

Here is a partial list. MANY DESERVING GROUPS ARE NOT YET LISTED, and more are forming all the time. 


  • The Animal Defense League (community-based) blockaded McDonald's in 1998. Millions of dollars damage done to Cornell animal research lab in '97.
  • Militant protest outside lab by Cornell Coalition for Animal Defense. Campus animal rights newsletter is The Liberator. If you see a genuine fur coat call CCAD at 256-5003.
  • Farm Sanctuary, for discarded and abused farm animals, is nearby in Watkins Glen.
  • The Tompkins County SPCA has a zero-kill goal. They're looking for people to give pets sanctuary while new owners are being found. 257-1822



  • The city lives for kids. There are two directories: Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, produced by teens, lists ongoing youth activities.
  • Ithaca Child is "the paper for parents," dedicated to the fun and challenges of raising kids: 387-6534
  • Teen Community Center 312 E. Seneca St. 273-1888
  • Club Ithaca provides safe, fun entertainment for kids.
  • Day Care is one most powerful lobbies in City. Day Care and Child Development Council has many fine resources for day care providers: 273-0259. Family & Children's Services also keeps a list of day care providers: 273-7494
  • Ithaca Children's Garden proposes to create a gardening playground for young and old.
  • The Cabin Fever Festival is organized by Ithaca Community Childcare Center every March: 257-0200
  • Greater Ithaca Activities Center 272-3622
  • Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles has repaired and given away over 1,200 bikes, to low-income kids: 255-7108
  • is the best collection of local sports and recreation schedules. Even organizes ride sharing.
  • Skateboarders organized to demand a Skateboard Park. They pushed hard for several years and now it's been built. Rte 13 and Wood Street. Twice a curfew on teens was proposed and twice repelled by the eloquence of young people. Teens hang out on the Commons, so some merchants tried to rip up the Commons and give it back to cars. Effectively opposed.
  • see also EDUCATION



  • We print our own money. Millions of dollars worth of Ithaca HOURS have been traded since 1991, by thousands of residents, including 465 local businesses. $10,000 of HOURS have been granted to over 50 community organizations. And they make HOUR loans without charging interest: 272-3738 (9am-9pm)
  • So many business owners are progressives that they supported a radical advertising agency (American Outreach) during the '80s. They donate constantly to radical and community causes.
  • The small business base here is huge. Homebased Microenterprise Network: 273-6164.
  • Ithaca Small Business Roundtable is an online discussion found at [email protected] or via [email protected]
  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union is dedicated to grassroots economic development. Members elect Board of Directors: 273-4666 Accepts HOURS, has Youth Credit Union with revolving loan fund for kids, developing loan fund for farmers. Community Economic Opportunities (CEO) also gives new entrepreneurs a boost. What other bank plays music by musician members and gives dog biscuits to visiting dogs? 273-4666
  • The other locally-based lenders are Cornell Finger Lakes Credit Union 275-3322, Tompkins Employees Federal Credit Union 272-8567, and Tompkins County Trust Company 273-3210.
  • Crafts are major industry, with many talented full-time producers. Handwork on the Commons is one showcase of local talent: 273-9400. Ithaca Farmer's Market has about three dozen area craft vendors. 273-7109
  • Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) has made small loans for microenterprise: 273-0005
  • Justice for All promotes equity and attacks Republican/Democrat Contract on America: 273-7108





  • There are so many innovative healing therapies available here, from acupuncture to yoga, that we have had a series of directories of these services. The Foundation of Light is compiling another: 273-9550
  • AIDSWork helps the afflicted, educates the public, and advocates for resources: 272-4098
  • Though still a stronghold for many conservative allopathic professionals, Cayuga Medical Center has also expanded its embrace of holistic providers, particularly at its Pain Center, has a birthing area admitting midwives, gives discounts to Health Fund members and accepts Ithaca HOURS: 274-4011
  • Herbal medicine businesses thriveásee GreenStar tincture section. Becca's Herbs, Joniris Herbals and 7Song Botanicals.
  • Ithaca-area Health Care Action Network seeks a national health plan to protect us from greed: Tony DelPlato 273-6751
  • Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance: counseling and advocacy for those threatened with breast cancer: 277-0960
  • Ithaca Health Fund: Members pool money to cover their health care costs, reducing dependence on both HMOs and government: 387-8344
  • Ithaca Memorial Society secures dignified burial or cremation at low cost. 273-8316
  • Midwives operate here and are preferred by many.
  • Planned Parenthood is very popular; nobody messes with their clinic. Were there an attempt to obstruct entry, literally thousands of women would make phalanx to restrain "pro-lifers" Ithaca sends hundreds to march for reproductive rights in D.C: 273-1526


  • Finger Lakes School of Massage is filling Ithaca with an army of massage therapists. And a healthy army it has become: 272-9024.
  • Health Planning Council of Tompkins County 273-8686
  • Ithaca Integrated Community Wellness Center promotes holistic care: 272-8390
  • The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine is a gem: 7song: 564-1023.


HISTORY Ithaca's heritage of direct action, since the 60s, has shut down Cornell and trashed a bank during the Vietnam War, shut down the draft board, has caused costly upheaval during challenges to Cornell's investment in apartheid, has stopped construction of a nuclear power plant on Cayuga Lake, stopped construction of a fourlane highway, shut down the IRS during the Persian Gulf War, defied federal authorities who sought to capture Salvadoran refugees, elected a socialist mayor, elected a barefoot youth to school board, prohibited the transit of nuclear weapons through the city, pledged to shut down federal operations here were Nicaragua invaded, shut down a pizza shop after complaints of abuse of labor, stopped construction of a 177-foot Cornell incinerator, sent Wal-Mart away, challenged gross development, and more. Persistent demonstrations have earned a National Guard armory at the edge of the City.

At the same time, we've also built bold local institutions which prove that our needs can be met cooperatively, democratically, and ecologically.

  • Three of Ithaca's progressive local historians are Dan Hoffman 273-6933, Carol Kammen 273-5298, Nancy Bereano 272-1647.

  • The DeWitt Historical Society 273-8284 and Tompkins County Museum 272-7715 remind us where we came from. Excellent rotating displays.

    Union organizing is active, among over 14 union locals. We have unions for Bricklayers & Masons, Carpenters, Government workers, Firefighters, Laborers, Electricians, Machinists, Plumbers, and Service Workers. Their umbrella is the Tompkins Cortland Labor Union Coalition: 277-5670 See also "Labor Organizations" in Yellow Book.

  • Cornell Organization for Labor Action (COLA) pressures Cornell for better wages/conditions. listserv: [email protected], send message: subscribe [email protected]
  • Ithaca Teacher's Association 272-8950
  • Tompkins-Cortland Labor Union Coalition unites union workers. 277-5670
  • United Auto Workers (UAW 2300) has a Small Shop unit, since most large industries have quit Ithaca, leaving workers exposed to temp agencies. The county's job base declined from 47% industrial in 1950 to 5% industrial today. UAW's main forcus is Cornell. They host the Labor Day Picnic, and have produced a fine film indicting Cornell's labor practices: "In the Shadow of the Tower." 277-5670 [email protected]
  • United Workers of Ithaca is an independent union for service sector, gives leverage to transient employees. Anyone may join without waiting for the NLRB: 272-4330
  • Women's Opportunity Center gives women the encouragement and connections to rebuild their lives after trauma: 272-1520


  • Bookpress is progressive literary gazette published by Bookery: 273-5055.
  • Cable Channel 13 generates controvery. Some wild stuff. ANY videotape you provide to them will be broadcast. 277-4543
  • Clarityconnect 257-8268 and Lightlink 277-0959 are local internet providers, who allow us to create independent media online.
  • The Cobbler sharply critiques capitalism, locally and globally. [email protected]
  • Cornell Progressive: [email protected] * "Hobo's Lullaby" (Gene Endres 387-6480) are progressive local voices.
  • HOUR Town is the directory of Ithaca HOURS, features stories on ecological economic development, maximum wage, health care reform, etc: 272-3738.
  • Ithaca Child is the paper for parents, dedicated to the fun & challenge of raising kids: 387-6534.
  • IthacaNet is the premier website introducing all things Ithaca:
  • Ithaca Times, originally hip, has established enough to sell large cigarette ads, and has become wealthy enough to endorse Republicans for mayor. Many good progressive articles though: 277-7000.
  • is a daily dose of local/national news online: [email protected]
  • Magnificat is occasional voice of local Catholic Worker group, which organizes protests against militarism, promotes nonviolent solutions, visits to Iraq: 277-6932.
  • Progressive Media Alliance forced review of radio license sale, brought progressive shows to NPR affiliate, brought progressive station transmitter within reach: 272-7555.
  • WEOS-FM (89.7 FM) is from Geneva, but is our only source of progressive radio programming. One of Ithaca's favorite progams is "Democracy Now," 9am weekdays. See also locally-produced show "Unwelcome Guests" WEOS Sundays 9-11pm: "radio program about wealth, power, and people's resistance to the New World Order."




  • Largest concentration of Alternatives to Violence facilitators in New York: 387-8335
  • American Civil Liberties Union reminds government that the right to dissent and the exercise of dissent keep America free: 257-6900
  • Antiwar activity fills the streets, when U.S. bombs drop anywhere. Hundreds signed the "Pledge of Resistance" to take over federal buildings if U.S. invaded Nicaragua. IRS office was taken over for a day when Persian Gulf War began, city judges refused to prosecute. IRS moved to Syracuse.
  • Community Dispute Resolution Center pioneers adoption/custody cases with good cooperation from judges: 273-9347
  • Dances of Universal Peace weekly at Foundation of Light: 273-9550
  • Martin Luther King Day is bigger holiday here than most other holidays, with thousands participating in various scheduled activities: 272-3622.
  • National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee publishes the newsletter "More Than A Paycheck," to encourage principled tax-refusal. 269-7464
  • http:// Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) provides bail fund and counseling to inmates and the accused:272-7885.
  • Police Review Board is very firm against police abuses. Seeks balanced understanding: 275-0799
  • Suicide Prevention Center 272-1505.
  • Task Force for Battered Women (277-3203) and Ithaca Rape Crisis (273-5589) help women and men subject to violence, and also seek to change offenders.
  • Meditation and yoga are popular. See listings in HOUR Town.
  • ALL OTHER human service groups w/websites are at

POLITICS People are very opinionated here.



  • To survive, restaurants must have an ample vegetarian list.
  • ABC Cafe is vegetarian: 277-4770
  • McDonald's left the Commons and was replaced by home-grown eateries. Harvest Deli (vegan) wins! 272-1961 * We're home to Moosewood 256-8007, of course, but city has many creative local eateries-- 83 restaurantsáone for every 340 persons). As a result:
  • Viva Taqueria 277-1752 opened and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut closed.
  • Vegetarian Supper Club meets monthly, for vegetarian singles/others. 564-9413 Bob LeRoy



Nonviolent revolution is in the air. Come join the fun!