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August 21st, 2016

Glenn Martin of JustLeadershipUSA

Guests: Green Party Nominee for President Jill Stein and JustLeadershipUSA Founder Glenn Martin

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Green Party Nominee for President Dr. Jill Stein

Full interview

Stein explains why if she receives 5% of the vote it’s a huge victory for the Green Party:

JS: “If we get to 5%, which is about where we are in the polls right now, then suddenly we are a recognized major party, we then receive funding to the tune of, I believe it’s, $20 million. It’s an amazing amount of funding that enables us to really grow the foundation of the party. … [But] I wouldn’t rule out getting into the White House because that 43 million [people in America with student loan debt] is enough to do it and if everyone who wanted to vote for us, because this is the right thing to do, if everyone stood up and did that we wouldn’t split the vote, we would flip the vote, because most voters do not want Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They are the most disliked and untrusted candidates in our history. This is that realignment moment. It’s a Hail Mary moment!”

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Stein hits Clinton for appointing “fossil fuel lobbyist” Ken Salazar as her transition team head and for “moving to the right as the Republican Party falls apart”:

JS: “Remember, Hillary just appointed one of the foremost advocates of fracking; one of the biggest fossil fuel lobbyists out there is now in charge of Hillary’s transition team, a guy who was pushing for this terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is an attack not only on workers, not only on public health and the environment, but even on democratic sovereignty: Ken Salazar. … He’s a big proponent of the Trans Pacific-Partnership. So the talk that we’ve been getting from Hillary is not the walk that she’s been walking over the past many decades and she’s shown now that she’s really moving to the right as the Republican Party falls apart … So this is a realignment election.”

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JustLeadershipUSA Founder Glenn Martin

Full interview

Martin explains de Blasio is the target of the Close Rikers campaign and points out that it will take 1 ½-4 years to get all children off the island:

GM: “The Mayor, to be clear, is the target of our advocacy work because he is the elected official, the policy maker, that can stand up and say ‘This is wrong, we need to do something, and I’m the one that is going to take us in the right direction.’ And we have not convinced the Mayor yet to do so. He has worked with his criminal justice coordinator’s office to get the young people off Rikers—something that we asked for—but even after putting $170 million in the budget to make that happen and beginning the land use part of this initiative, it still can take anywhere between a year and a half and four years just to get those 205 children off Rikers. And all together there’s about 8,000 people on Rikers on any given day and about 70,000-plus admissions each year, so it’s a great place to start, but we really need the Mayor to spend much more political capital to make this a reality.”

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Martin explains how he thinks Governor Cuomo can be integral in shutting down Rikers:

GM: “The effort that got closest to closing Rikers, going back to the Koch administration, included a potential purchase of the land from the state and that obviously created some impetus, because it is expensive to close down Rikers and to figure out how to redesign our jail system, and an injection of resources by the state [and] some level of interest by the Governor in particular in that piece of land for some other type of use, I think would help drive the conversation.

And we have had conversations with counsels to the Governor as part of our campaign and have heard [and] … the Governor has said publicly, one, that he is intrigued by the idea and that he wants to hear more, and two, that he wants to see a plan. Mayor de Blasio dismissed the idea outright without a plan and I’m happy to say the Speaker of the City Council in her thoughtfulness decided to create an independent commission chaired by [former New York State Chief] Judge [Jonathan] Lippman) to at the very least take a look at the idea of closing Rikers and what that might involve and how much money might be saved.

People will say, ‘If you close Rikers how do you know you’re going to save those $209,000 per bed per year. Well, our response is, number one, you only have one way on and off Rikers; it’s a bridge and that bridge has 30-plus Corrections officers working on stations. That alone is extremely expensive. But you also have officers patrolling the water around the island. You have an electricity generating factory there, you have a laundry, you have a bakery, you have all the things you need to run an island, and many of those costs actually dissipate if you have a smaller, more community based, more humane jail system.”

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Martin says state constitution should be amended to address solitary confinement:

GM: “Where we haven’t done as much of a good job in New York and where having something written into the [New York State] Constitution would be helpful is conditions [of] confinement, particularly solitary confinement. Internationally, putting someone in solitary confinement for more than 15 days is defined as torture. And yet in New York State we have people who spend years in solitary confinement and on Rikers it’s been a struggle to get the administration and the Mayor’s office to adopt international human rights standards around solitary confinement and even when we do work to minimize the number of people in solitary confinement, we put them into other incarceration situations that by definition technically it’s not solitary confinement, but by practice any person with common sense would say, ‘This is solitary confinement.’ And so opening up the space for those sort of meaningful discussions as a way for us to collectively think about what are values are, and how our values need to extend to people who are charged with crimes, but also convicted of crimes, as a way to protect who we are as New Yorkers and as human beings, I think would be a very meaningful discussion.”

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Martin says prisons in communities not dangerous, as evidenced by jail in swanky downtown Brooklyn:

GM: “If you think a jail is going to make your community less safe, go to downtown Brooklyn and have a look at the community with the Brooklyn House of Detention. That community has more  million dollar condos within 100 feet of that jail than any other jail I’ve ever seen in this country. I think some New Yorkers would actually live in a condo on top of the jail if they had the opportunity.”

Link to audio

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