South Hampton Roads

About the South Hampton Roads Chapter

The South Hampton Roads Chapter of Virginia Organizing meets every other month at 7 p.m. at Thalia United Methodist Church, 4321 Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach. We have created issue teams so that folks can address their specific passions while standing in solidarity together in supporting each other on all issues of social justice that have been agreed upon by the chapter supporters. We are currently working collaboratively with like-minded allies on the issues of Health Care,  Economic Justice and Tax Equity, Immigration Reform, Affordable Housing, Jobs, Predatory Lending, Keeping the Ban on Uranium Mining, Transportation and Voter Protection/ Suppression Issues in the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. What's the greatest need in your community? Please join us and find out how you can make a difference!

Care for Our Earth

By Ed Maroni The future of our Earth for coming generations is bleak if we of our present world delay taking strong action to remedy our Earth's struggle to provide us sustenance. Her resources on which all living creatures depend for survival are shrinking while the demand is increasing due to population growth. The impact of such a combination for living creatures will soon be catastrophic. Food and water will become a premium for which people will be scrambling to secure, resulting in more factory farms and, perhaps, synthetic foods. Our energy supply will be in much higher demand; so, destructive practices like fracking, the harvesting of tar sand and off shore drilling will increase. Drinkable water will be a premium people will do anything for (more uranium mining, chemical, coal and nuclear plants will pose a greater threat as actually happened to the residents just outside Charleston, W. Va.). The likelihood of military action to acquire these vital resources will be initiated. China is one example of a country low on its own resources to satisfy its population and now encroaching on other nations to obtain them. The situation is tentative but each one of us can contribute to a healthier planet by our change of lifestyle, by our mindfulness to engage more in  behaviors that decrease the obliteration of resources, and by making our voices heard in the General Assembly and in Congress.

South Hampton Roads Chapter: Chapter Highlights

December 2012 Update: In the month of December the South Hampton Roads Chapter of Virginia Organizing was extremely successful in securing fifteen local meetings with state legislators to build relationship and provide essential educational information on the issues of Affordable Health Care, Keeping the Ban on Uranium Mining, Predatory Lending, Immigration Reform, and a Balanced Approach in addressing Taxes and the Budget. More than 40 folks will travel to the General Assembly in Richmond on January 22nd to follow up on these meetings and hold our legislators accountable to all Virginians. Chapter members were also successful in securing a unanimous decision from the Virginia Beach City Council in passing a resolution urging the Virginia General Assembly to Expand Medicaid in Virginia.

Marroni: The Fruits of Our Labor

Icon April 7, 2014 - 13:21 By Ed Marroni The warmer weather heralds the planting season! Growing our own vegetables can be a rewarding experience. Such action enables us to be in close contact with our Earth and to be partners with our Earth in producing food. Also, the vegetables we grow ourselves are more nutritious and tasty since they are fresh and we can control the use of feritlizer, if any. "Gardening in a Flower Pot" is the name of a garden store in Norfolk. This name for me highlights what is referred to as container gardening. A completely sunny yard or even a yard is not necessary for growing vegetables or flowers. We can grow them in containers, which can be pots, buckets, etc. Container gardening offers numerous benefits - the main one being having the freedom to move the container where the sun is shining. Also, we compose the soil so that it is rich in nutrients and weeding is not a problem. What vegetables you plan to plant will determine what size and depth the container needs to be. The plants will need to be watered more often and their number will be limited; i.e. probably, only one tomato starter to a container. For more information google Container Gardening and select the 2nd offering,"successful container gardens." Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Care for Our Earth

Icon February 9, 2014 - 20:26 This article is a condensed version of the recent Chesapeake Bay Foundation Report on polluted runoff. What a surprise and shock to learn that one inch of rainfall on an acre of impervious pavement creates 27,000 gals. of polluted runoff that, if left untreated, flows directly into the local waterways! This runoff collects everything from fertilizer, dog poop to weed killer resulting in a toxic cocktail of pollutants harmful both to humans and aquatic wild life. Further consequences are the erosion on the stream banks, the destruction of habitats and the occurence of flooding. Every year new parking lots, driveways, roofs and other hardened surfaces from development convert 10,000 acres of green filtering land in the Bay region into hard grey funnel that's equivalent to an area of land the size of D.C. Our streams, rivers and aquatic life are paying for our negligence. The good news is that there are easy, cost effective measures to reduce this source of pollution. Our state legislators need to appropriate an addtional $50 million to assist local runoff control projects for this coming fiscal year when the Va. new runoff management rules are scheduled to be implemented. SO, keep this in mind when you tend to litter, over fertilize your lawn or fail to scoop the poop.

Care For Our Earth

Icon February 4, 2014 - 03:03 At this stage of our life, hopefully, each of us has made some changes in our daily habits which help to reduce our carbon footprint. Some of the more common changes probably are recycling and replacing our incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. Perhaps, we can go a step further and adopt one of these following eco savers or some other you prefer: if your house has high ceilings install ceiling fans to save 19% yearly ;install a programmable thermostat and program it to turn itself down or off when you are sleeping or at work to save 10%; to save 9% wash your clothes in cold water which cleans as well as hot; plug your appliances into power strips and flip the switch when not in use; save all your errands that require a vehicle for a single trip; drive the speed limit or lower on highways, brake softly and accelerate gradually to gain 40%more miles per gallon. Such practices benefit us monetarily; but more importantly they benefit our Earth for whose care we have a responsibility.  Ed Marroni 

Marroni: Low Prices, High Cost

Icon December 2, 2013 - 13:39 By Ed Marroni We have been programmed to look for lower prices (and why not) in our society. Our search for low prices sparks the economy because we are inclined to make more purchases. However, in most cases this pursuit of the lowest price is costly in ways we are not aware of--people having to work for less than a living wage, poorer quality products, and abuse of our Earth.  Fracking is one of many examples. Fracking is a recently developed method used by the natural gas and oil industries to extract these fossil fuels from the Earth. Millions of gallons of fluid, typically water mixed with chemicals (including ones known to cause cancer) are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock and shale, releasing the gas and oil. This process provides the market with an abundance of gas, which lowers the price and pleases consumers and jobs are created. Sounds great until one researches the effects of fracking.  The drilling of wells and the extraction process along with the distribution of the natural gas result in methane leakage which can trap 25 times more heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 100 year period. Often the jobs provided are short term for workers already in the energy industry, not jobs for local people in the community where fracking occurs. The chemicals used are credited with having a negative effect on the surrounding communities and the risk of water and air pollution is likely.  The next times you realize you are following the program of seeking cheaper, less expensive products and services remember someone or something IS paying the cost!

47,000 Reasons to Expand Medicaid

Icon November 11, 2013 - 14:27 Published by the Virginian-Pilot on November 7, 2013 The financial case for states to expand Medicaid, as provided through the 2010 Affordable Care Act, has been well established. Over the next five years, Virginians will pay $10 billion in new federal taxes associated with implementation of the health care and insurance industry overhaul. The federal government has offered to send nearly all of that money back to the commonwealth if state leaders expand the eligibility criteria for lower-income people to receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. If the state doesn't expand Medicaid eligibility, Virginia's taxpayers will see their money go to other states, where it will be used to create jobs and improve the health of poorer residents. Twenty-five states have agreed to expand the program. From a fiscal sense, rejecting the return of Virginia tax dollars to Virginia makes no sense. Based on Tuesday's election results, more Virginians appear to recognize as much, given that they elected as their next governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who campaigned on a pledge to expand Medicaid. The financial cost of refusing to expand Medicaid is overshadowed by the human toll. As The Pilot's Amy Jeter recently reported, Virginia's intransigence ensures that about 47,000 people here in South Hampton Roads will continue to be denied coverage. They earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level - about $15,415 for one person, and $31,809 for a family of four - making them ineligible to receive the subsidies better-paid people can receive to buy insurance. Virginia has long held an embarrassing place among the stingiest states for Medicaid spending. It ranks No. 46, according to a study published earlier this year by the state Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. Virginia's current eligibility criteria restricts Medicaid only to pregnant women, children, the elderly and disabled and families living in abject poverty. A family of four with an annual household income greater than $7,146 earns too much to qualify. Moreover, Census data show 70 percent of Virginia's uninsured live in households where at least one adult works. Opponents of expanding Medicaid have alternated between claims that the federal government will never live up to its pledge to cover the statutorily designated minimum of 90 percent of costs in 2021, and that Virginia's Medicaid costs are already too high. Neither claim is based in reality. Virginia, for example, relies on the federal government to abide by federal law on all kinds of matters related to spending, including transportation and education. Gov. Bob McDonnell and other elected officials aren't rejecting federal funds for those initiatives because of a sudden anxiety over the national debt. Medicaid should be no different. Meanwhile, opponents have managed to conflate two separate programs within the umbrella of Medicaid to stir anxiety over the state's costs. Critical care coverage is provided to the disabled and elderly, who account for one-third of the people covered by Medicaid in Virginia, but two-thirds of the spending. Lawmakers have shown little stomach for reining in those costs. The remaining two-thirds of Virginians on Medicaid live in extreme poverty, or are low-income pregnant women and children. Their managed health care represents about one-third of Virginia's spending on Medicaid. This is the portion of Medicaid that the ACA seeks to expand and fully fund for the next three years through federal tax dollars that Virginians already will pay. It is also the most efficient form of Medicaid, and expansion is expected to provide coverage to close to 250,000 uninsured Virginians, the majority of them working folks.Their plight, like the obvious math that would relieve it, remains ignored by the current governor and his political allies in Richmond.