Categories: Thrive

St. Pete City Council takes bold stand on Green New Deal, Equal Rights Amendment

The St. Petersburg City Council took two steps towards the progressive Democratic agenda Thursday, taking stands in support of two hot button progressive issues: the Equal Rights Amendment and the Green New Deal legislation.

In all, seven speakers spoke in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment and six in favor of the Green New Deal, representing organizations like the Athena Society, Progress Florida, the League of Women Voters and the Eckerd College Democrats.

Council member Gina Driscoll submitted both agenda items for Council’s consideration. The Green New Deal resolution is the latest in Driscoll’s move to own the sustainability issue. Driscoll also spearheaded the “No Straws St. Pete” legislation, banning plastic straws in restaurants and bars by 2020.

Each agenda item passed, the only “no” vote coming from Council member Ed Montanari on the Green New Deal resolution.

The Equal Rights Amendment resolution urges the federal delegation to support the Equal Rights Amendment and asks Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature to take steps toward ratifying the amendment.

“I think it’s time for us to stand up as a city and ask our state to join the 37 other states that have passed this,” Driscoll said of the Equal Rights Amendment. “We need Florida to be that 38th state and make this happen for our country. It is long past due. It’s unbelievable to me that in this day and age I’m not seen as quite as important as a man. It’s time for that to change and I want that change to come from St. Petersburg.”

The Green New Deal resolution also urges the support from the federal delegation, and asks the delegation to enact implementing legislation for the plan, which combines economic justice and climate measures to address the multi-faceted nature of climate change.

Both measures are largely symbolic, much like the resolution passed earlier this year in support of federal “Medicare for All” legislation.

“As a city we’ve been quite proud of leading the way when it comes to addressing climate change,” said Driscoll, touting St. Petersburg’s record on climate issues. “As the first city [in Florida] to commit to 100 percent clean renewable energy and as one of just 25 cities chosen to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, we really have made a name for ourselves as a leader. I think we should use that wisely. We can’t solve the problem on our own, we’re one city.”

Council member Darden Rice, an environmental activist before her election to City Council, agreed with Driscoll. “Like you, sometimes I pause with some of the resolutions that ostensibly don’t seem to have a lot to do with our immediate sphere of responsibilities and City Council powers,” said Rice. “But it is important for us to take a stand and for us to show our leadership. On climate change in particular, our city has been a leader.

“The science is clear,” Rice said. “What is very unclear – the uncertain part of it all – is political will. What are we doing politically to curb the inputs of carbon into the atmosphere? The leadership that this city takes is actually very important.”

Montanari defended his no vote for the Green New Deal resolution.

“I’ve read House Resolution 109, that makes up the Green New Deal,” he said. “I just want to say at the outset that there are a lot of things I’m for when it comes to the environment, but I can’t support this resolution at this time. I do believe in climate change, I oppose offshore oil drilling, I supported our biosolids to energy project, I supported the sea grass mitigation project, I supported the ISAP report, I’ve supported infrastructure investments across the board to reduce overflows into our waterways. I support and want to be proactive in protecting our tree canopy and planting more trees. But this resolution and the bill in Congress is just a bridge too far for me.”

Megan Holmes

Megan Holmes is managing editor of the St. Pete Catalyst. By day, Megan writes, project manages and practices untraining her oxford comma habit at the St. Pete Catalyst. By early morning and late night, she lives at CrossFit9 with a barbell in her hands. She believes that exercise is the greatest prescription for every ailment, but that a hot cup of coffee and a nice sour beer will do in a pinch. She loves all things local – so you might spot her trying out a new eatery, biking around this beautiful city, or walking her beloved Shiba Inu, Max.

View Comments

  • The green new deal is a joke! How about you fix the city’s sewage problem?! That’s a better use of resources!!! Banning straws? That’s another joke. How about you ban cigarettes...they pollute our ocean exponentially more than straws. Not to mention destroy our outside space for non smokers! Ban smoking in any public place!! That would have not of an impact!
    Does this mean we are going to get a train/rail system? Public transit other than the shitty bus? Does this mean council is going to vow to never fly again? Doubt it! Do as I say...not as I do!

  • Great news that St Petersburg Council has approved Florida's ratification of the nearly 100 year old Equal Rights Amendment that we of National Equal Rights Amendment,Inc., our nonprofit with 300 000+ members have been lobbying for 19 nonstop years, unpaid, 18/7. The bill that 4 of us Leaders created and launched in 2009, ten years ago, WAS HEARD IN A U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON April 30, this year, 2019! And warmly received. A Congressional vote is upcoming!

    An historic moment, as the Equal Rights Amendment has been asleep since the riotous days of the 1970s ended 36 years ago. This marks the first time Congress has heard this noble bill in all those 36 years.

    That, and the ratification of two more states, Illinois and Nevada also occurred very recently during those 36 years of no movement of this Amendment..

    So, it is wise that St. Petersburg heard and passed support for this, our bill that has skyrocketed it lately.

    This proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendment states:

    "Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State ON ACCOUNT OF SEX." Simply, it makes Sex Discrimination that both male and female experience, though females (even little girls) experience. We struggle for equal rights for male and female alike, even as we are issued death threats by members of the Other Political Party.

    Some points to be made:
    1. This means that when passed, this Amendment will benefit males, too. Think guaranteed just alimony and support and more. Studies show that in nations already with similar precepts
    a. Gross Domestic Products climbed; respected economists here predict a 15% jump in our own GDP once this Amendment ratifies--JUST ONE MORE STATE!
    b. studies also predict that passage will promote America's stability. Others predict a wave of nationwide healing of schisms, and still other analyses predict improved marital harmony, lower divorce rates when sex-equal treatment is America's standard.
    c. and states of the U.S. that already have ratified/voted for, already have LOWER abortion rates than those which have not yet.

    There is Much more to what you, male or female, are missing until that final state legislature ratifies. The money is on Virginia State. We are all gathering there with our 3 other partnering organizations in solidarity from now until VA votes on its state officials on September 9th to assure its passage.

    Our web site, http://www.2passERA.org, awaits your perusal to find What this Amendment will DO; why it is SO Overdue in U.S.A. RAPE adjudicated as the soul-searing crime that it IS..and Much More.

    THANK YOU, ST. PETERSBURG COUNCIL for your support of this Amendment's Florida ratification to push it over the top for advancement of American democracy.

    P.S. While we would be happy to receive Gov. Santis' approval of this Amendment's passage, he does not vote on that. Your Florida legislature will determine its fate. So your visit to your Senators to urge their YES vote is essential to its passage! Email us from our http://www.2passERA.org (in updating stage)for our help and to sign up for our sporadic National Equal Rights Amendment News UPDATES or see daily reports at FBK Pass the Equal Rights Amendment.Love hearing from you. Sandy Oestreich, Founder-Pres.,Nat'l Equal Rights Amendment Alliance Inc.; Fmr elected official; Professor Emerita; Nurse Practitioner etc.

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