Tammany Together reactivates, announces November 17 meeting

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We’re back, and we’re holding a meeting on Tuesday, November 17, to tell you about it!

As you may be aware, in the absence of any significantly threatening issue facing the community, Tammany Together (TT) made the decision in the fall of 2011 to go dormant until such time as a major issue presented itself. That time arrived in late 2014 with the controversial proposal to conduct drilling and heavy industrial operations in residentially zoned areas of St. Tammany Parish. Even more concerning to Tammany Together was the apparent disregard by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for local zoning regulations and local control.

The issue first came to our doorstep when the board of the Tammany Together Education Fund received and approved a request to provide financial support for the production of an educational video about oil and gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Tammany Together was then approached by a few community members who, after witnessing almost a year of random efforts and protests by local fracking opponents, recognized the need for a more organized, grass roots approach. To create a rallying point, those community members took it upon themselves to reach out for help from the town of Denton, Texas - a small community with a track record for successfully organizing and educating their community, and in so doing, accomplishing a local ban against fracking. Tammany Together agreed to co-sponsor and underwrite a very successful weekend-long series of events and workshops to discuss effective organizing strategies for opposing fracking.

All this led to the idea to officially reactivate Tammany Together, in the interest of supporting existing and future educational efforts to inform the public about hydraulic fracturing. The existing Tammany Together board agreed to reactivate the organization, with the understanding that several organizers of the educational events would serve on the Tammany Together board.

In time, as more and more of the public became aware of the threat posed by the possibility of heavy industrial operations taking place so close to a school (1.23 miles) and in a residentially zoned area, a commonly expressed frustration was the lack of a truly organized, focused effort allowing for citizen involvement. It became evident that in order to have a louder, more collective and powerful voice, the smart thing would be to rally together under a common banner or slogan, and “The Preserve St. Tammany Initiative" (PSTI) was born.

Tammany Together agreed to act as a sponsor for the initiative to allow a wider, nonpartisan community to become engaged (membership in Tammany Together is not a requirement in order to participate in PSTI). As the sponsor, Tammany Together provides PSTI with the benefits of the Tammany Together Education Fund’s 501(c)(3) charitable status, and some financial support, while allowing PSTI to be a separate organization. This arrangement allows PSTI to focus on education and awareness in regards to the threat posed by the industrialization of St. Tammany characterized by the use of hydraulic fracturing.

In the short time that PSTI has existed, 700-plus citizen supporters have been added to its roles. Our hope is that a number of these people will also decide to join Tammany Together, and that as our membership grows other issues of importance to the community will make themselves known.

Although Tammany Together had planned to have a General Membership meeting in April 2015, for a number of logistical and strategic reasons the decision was made to postpone that meeting and reschedule it for Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

What: Tammany Together General Membership Meeting (meeting is open to the public)

When: 6:00 PM, Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Where: Garden Room, Christwood Retirement Community, 100 Christwood Boulevard, Covington, LA 70433

Regarding membership in Tammany Together

Due to the lapse in activity, the Interim TT Board has decided that the fairest approach is to do the following regarding individual and organizational memberships:

1. Membership has been automatically extended to April, 2016, for any dues-paying member (individual or association) who paid at the last invoicing, or who has paid since that time.

2. Any existing or former member (individual or association) who has not yet renewed membership, as well as all new members, will be offered a 50% discount on membership dues until April 1, 2016.

To join Tammany Together, renew your membership, or subscribe to our News emails, visit www.TammanyTogether.org, and please join us at the November 17 meeting to learn more about our efforts.