New York makes it hard for citizens to influence policy. They cannot put an issue on the state ballot no matter how many signatures they gather. And although the state Constitution has a home rule provision, cities and counties lack authority to undertake some of the most basic initiatives. Even mighty New York City, with over 8 million people, must go hat in hand to Albany to request permission to reduce city speed limits, install red light cameras, open their courts at night, or raise taxes other than those imposed on property.
Thank you for the details on some of the battles that citizens are waging. Of course, the standardized tests ARE still on the menu, and while Governor Cuomo may have stopped the Fracking, there is still in the works that horror of using the Finger Lakes as a virtual massive storage tank for Fracking's detritus. In other words, the corporations have deep enough pockets to keep hiring lawyers to sue on any possible grounds possible to keep the corporate agenda at play.
There are also movements to:
- Protect women's reproductive sovereignty
- Make "Black Lives Matter"
- Stop the "repatriation" of Hispanic families (being shipped South of the Border)
- Divest (universities, union fees) from Oil Stocks and funds
- Stop the oil pipelines
- Stop Monsanto
All of the battles have at their core the need to liberate corporations (and/or the 1%) from their powerful grip over human beings along with their self-proclaimed right to define what human beings wish to do, think, eat, spend their tax money on, etc.
What's at the common core of all these battles is the disproportionate power and influence wielded by the few over the many. THAT is not Democracy; neither are gag laws, slap-suits, secret treaties, wars made on the basis of fixed "evidence," presidential kill lists, pervasive surveillance protocols, and so much else.