2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements

VID Elects 2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements at January 9th Meeting.

Full Meeting Minutes Here

David Siffert opened the 2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements meeting with a discussion about how to handle endorsing civil judge candidates in light of the fact that the County’s panel will not report out approved judges until the day after our February meeting.  He suggested three options:

  • One, to hold a special meeting on the Tuesday after the regular meeting to address the endorsements.
  • Two, to leave the endorsements to the Executive Committee.
  • And three, to hold an extra long meeting on the normal date, February 13. and allow Exec to re-endorse for any candidate the club endorses but who does not get reported out of the panel

It was agreed to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, February 18th.

As petitioning has already started and we have not endorsed, he advised the members that there were petitions present and could be signed.  He also brought everyone’s attention to a demonstration at Judson Church on January 16th to protest the deportation of Jean Montreville, a member of the church.  He also noted problems in the use of new BMD’s in the election, and their vulnerability to hacking.  Lastly, he promoted a demonstration in Albany on the 21st, to stop the use of solitary confinement and support taxing the rich instead of slashing social programs.

VID 2020 Officer Elections

David outlined the election rules for Judicial Delegates, and their duties, and an election was held.  The delegates were:  Jonathan Geballe (30 votes). Alison Greenberg (30), Ed Yutkowitz (29), Rick Braun (27), and Allison Stowell (27).  The Alternate Delegates were Irene Kaufman (26), Linda Jacobson (25), Karla Moskowitz (24), Lauren Esposito (23), and Kathy Slawinski (22).  Three other candidates – Lois Rakoff, Judith Jacobson, and Kelly Grace Price received fewer votes.

The election of VID Treasurer was next, with Mar Fitzgerald winning with the Secretary casting one unanimous vote in acclamation.

Kathy Slawinski won the Recording Secretary position by acclamation with one unanimous vote.

And the two Corresponding Secretaries were won by Jonathan Geballe and Ed Yutkowitz unanimously by acclamation.

Last was the election of the Executive Committee.   The winners were Lois Rakoff, Susan Gottesman, Frieda Bradlow, David Saperstein, Nancy Shamban, Linda Jacobson, Nadine Hoffmann, Lauren Esposito, Nat Johnson, Keen Berger, Erik Bottcher, Melissa Carty, Patricia Laraia, Alec Pruchnicki, and Patrick Doherty.

NYS Candidate Endorsements

 Assemblymember Deborah Glick opened her presentation by wishing everyone a happy new year and thanking everyone for supporting impeachment.  She asked for the club’s endorsement, touting bills for the Reproductive Health Act, banning conversion therapy, protecting artists living in lofts, and an annual donation of $5 million to the Humane Society.  She also spoke of a state education discipline bill and the “gig economy” bill.  After Q & A, she was endorsed by 31 votes to 5 “no endorsement” votes.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman made his presentation, opening by saying VID was his home club, and it was a pleasure and an honor to be our State Senator for many years.  He spoke of his advocacy for voting reforms and Automatic Voter Registration, LGBTQ rights, battling child sexual abuse, removing dangerous chemicals from the environment, and banning ghost guns and robocalls.  He’s also taken the lead on tax equity, and passed legislation to require Trump release five years of his tax returns (in litigation), lead on tax equity, including carrying a pied-a-terre tax bill, and passed legislation to require affordable housing, and new tenant protection laws.  After Q & A, he won endorsement by 38 votes to one “no endorsement” vote.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman gave her remarks, opening by saying she was a Warren delegate and had petitions to be signed.  She spoke of her history as a founding member of the progressive caucus in the State Committee, and the progress of the committee in leaving machine control.  The caucus proposals include a moratorium on fracking, marijuana reform, transgender rights, gender inclusive language, a minimum wage for farmworkers, ousting the IDC, and ethics.  She also mentioned the sexual harassment accusations against Jeff Klein.

Ben Yee, State Committeeman, now gave a capsulized version of his time on the committee.  It’s his third term and he’s written six resolutions which all passed, making him the most successful in that respect.  He spoke about promoting transparency and successfully getting bylaws and officers on the NY State website.  He also told of his resolution on how to choose DNC members, ethics reform for the State Committee, and efforts on handling sexual harassment.

After Q & A and discussion, both Rachel and Ben were endorsed by a vote of 36 in favor and 2 “no endorsement”.

District Leader Report

District Leader Jen Hoppe now gave her report.  She spoke of how she and Vittoria from DID had formed a progressive caucus in the County Committee and they were very opposed to the Chair being a lobbyist.  She spoke of how she and Melissa Carty were supporting Elizabeth Warren, and had a discussion about the Warren rally.

Committee Reports

David Siffert reported for the Animal Advocacy Committee, citing that Carlina Rivera and Corey Johnson had helped pass a suite of animal welfare bills with Erik Bottcher’s help, and the problem of city shelters not allowing pets.

Tony Hoffmann spoke for the Campaign Committee, reminding us that petitioning starts February 25 for Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, State Committee, Judicial Delegate, and Civil Court on the Congressional level.  He said he would inform members when to pick up petitions.  The Kickoff Breakfast will be February 29th at the clubhouse.

Tony also reported for the Out-of-District Elections Committee, saying they will be meeting to decide who to support, and getting other clubs and organizations involved.  He spoke of the difficulties in campaigning with this year’s demographics, requiring hiring two buses.  David noted the next meeting would be on January 11, followed by a clubhouse cleanup.

Rachel Lavine volunteered that there will be bakeoffs with volunteers to explain Ranked Choice Voting.  David solicited volunteers for the Gala Committee.

Mar Fitzgerald, of the Education Committee, said lots of things were in the works, with some resolutions coming.  She wants to meet at the end of the month.

Deb Sherman, of the Gun Reform Committee, said that Nick Smith, a Jumaane staffer, will speak on a more holistic approach to gun reform at a future meeting.  They want to raise awareness and funds for violence “interrupters”, and there will be two resolutions on ghost guns to include “80% receivers”, which are undetectable by metal detectors.

New Business

Katharine Wolpe spoke of an action on the 10th in front of the closed Nativity Church, sold for luxury housing–to protest luxury housing and instead promote affordable and senior housing.  Also, there will be an event on the 26th, an Evening of Interfaith Recitation and Music, involving thirteen different religious institutions.

David now synopsized the month’s events:

January 10, Nativity Church demo
January 16, the Judson Church demo
January 21, the Albany HALT/Solitary demo
January 22, DID will be hosting a forum on the Presidential candidates at the Gibney Dance School.

He reminded us that there were Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Young, and Amy Klobuchar petitions present.  Rachel said she will be petitioning at Abingdon Square for Elizabeth, and Cam Krause said he will have Andrew Yang’s petitions.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

December Membership and Endorsement Meeting

The December Membership and Endorsement Meeting Elected Four VID Officers, Passed on a Presidential Endorsement and Introduced Two Resolutions and Three Letters

Full Meeeting Minutes Here

District Leader and State Committee Reports

Jen Hoppe, in her District Leader report, spoke of trying to form a progressive caucus in the NY Democratic party, and meeting twice to do so.  She has proposed meeting again in January to decide how to push a progressive agenda.  She is also working with Jumaane’s office to attempt securing paid vacation for NY workers.  She also urged members to call Senator Susan Collins at 207 622-8414 and urge her to vote “yes” on impeachment.

Arthur Schwartz, District Leader, gave his report , noting that Mount Sinai Beth Israel had filed a CON (Certificate of Need) to build a new hospital, and gave some statistics, noting that the emergency room, which had previously experienced 87,000 visits a year, had scaled down to 70,000, but the new ER was projected to only accommodate 40,000.  An article recently appeared calling the Mount Sinai ER a “war zone”–Arthur will provide more info re email.

He also discussed the East River Park Resiliency Plan, requiring the building of a ten foot wall over the current park, taking years and destroying trees.  Harvey Epstein and Brad Hoylman are opposed, and there may be a possible suit re “park alienation”.  Kathy Slawinski noted that Councilmember Carlina Rivera was in favor of this plan, and previously okayed the Tech Hub without the promised zoning restrictions.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman, identified herself as the cofounder and chair of the NY Progressive Caucus.  She has been meeting with farmers to secure a minimum wage bill for farm workers.  She is also working with Corey Johnson’s office to create a pipeline for agriculture in New York schools.  Most of these school providers are huge contractors, not small family farms.

Club Officer Election

President Siffert now explained the rules for voting for President and three Vice Presidents of VID, and opened a speakers list.  A motion was made to reelect David Siffert as President by having the Recording Secretary cast one unanimous vote, which passed.  In addition, Allison Stowell, Sara Kimbell, and Cameron Krause were also elected Vice Presidents in the same manner.

Presidential Endorsement

The endorsement vote for the US Presidential candidate followed.  After much discussion, a ballot was taken.  The results:

Elizabeth Warren 11
Amy Klobuchar 2
Pete Buttigieg 5
Bernie Sanders 3
No Endorsement 24

As a result no endorsement was made.  A motion was made for Captain’s Choice, allowing members to campaign for the candidate of their choice, and this passed unanimously.  Tony made a motion to revisit the endorsement of a Presidential candidate at the March meeting and this passed with 33 in favor and one abstention,

Resolutions and Letters

Now David read a letter addressed to Senator Brad Hoylman asking him to organize opposition to the recommendations of the Public Finance Campaign Commission, which he deemed undemocratic, and bring them in line with the existing parallel Gold Standard legislation prepared in consultation with the Brennan Center.   Tony Hoffmann asked that the letter also be sent to Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and Jim Yates proposed sending a similar letter to the entire legislature.  After discussion, a vote was taken to send the Hoylman letter, with 30 to send, 3 opposed, and one abstention.  The letter will be sent to Brad, and another, shorter letter will be composed for the legislature, to be voted on later in the meeting.

Next, the PAWS Act Resolution was discussed, making it easier for veterans to obtain service animals.  After debate, this passed with 29 in favor and one abstention.

Now a resolution in support of A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes)/ S.2279-A (Hoylman), reducing the transmission of HIV by making post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) available to minors who have experiencing sexual assault.  This passed unanimously, with 30 in favor.

Tony read the letter which Jim Yates had penned urging the rejection of the report of the Campaign Finance Reform Commission, to go to the legislature and Deborah Glick, in addition to the already approved letter to be sent to Brad Hoylman.  A vote was taken, and the letter to the legislature passed unanimously with 36 votes.  The Deborah Glick letter passed with 32 in favor and 3 abstentions.

Committee Reports

David announced that the Campaign Finance Committee met last week and was working on how to move forward.  They will investigate finances and present the report to the club for approval.  The Gala Committee will start to be formed, and David asked for volunteers.

Mar Fitzgerald of the Education Committee was not present, but John Bredin gave a speech on the importance of education and asked to join.

Nat Johnson gave a report for the Environmental Committee, announcing that the 45 day comment period for the Brownfield Cleanup Project (250 Water Street) had been extended, thanks in part to a write-in campaign by the club.  The committee will be passing out 10 point fliers urging people to recycle during the holiday season and use less wasteful materials.  State Senator Todd Kaminsky has sponsored legislation against PFAs (used in “compostable” bowls) and other pollutants

Allison Stowell of the Gun Reform Committee, reported on the Gun Violence Forum, which was well attended and had a great panel.  Ed Yutkowitz wrote a great article on it for The Village Sun.  The aim was partnering with other communities to mitigate gun violence.  Also, Nick Smith has been invited to the next meeting, and the committee will be submitting 1100 signed postcards for gun reform.

Tony Hoffmann, of the Campaign and Out-of-District Committees, reported on organizing to send buses to important states–this will start earlier, probably around the end of July.  David interjected on the need for money to pay for the buses, and some details on the scheduling.

Presentation

Now a presentation was made by two members of RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison).  Jose Saldana and David George gave a history of the organization, begun by three formerly incarcerated people, Mujahid Fareed among them.  Jose spoke of the Elder Parole Act, making those of 55 years or older, with 15 or more years in prison, eligible for parole.  He also spoke of the Fair and Timely Parole Act, mandating that the parole board evaluate release based on the present person rather than the crime committed.  He urged everyone to join him in Albany January 14–RAPP is seeking to mobilize 500 people.  David added that they will also coordinate with HALT/Solitary and True Blue on January 21.  He urged people to visit nycaic.org to join or donate if unable to attend.

Democratic Primary Endorsements – UPDATE

The election season starts on December 12th, when VID will vote on their Democratic Primary Endorsements for President.

It is also the night that the membership will elect VID’s 2020 President and three Vice Presidents.  Now would be a good time to sign on or renew your membership, if you haven’t already.  Only paid up members will be able to vote.  Click here for Candidate and Member rules for Dec. 12th

Additional Democratic Primary Endorsements

The January 9th Membership Meeting will host candidates for NYS Senate and Assembly as well as State Committeewoman and State Committeeman for the 66th AD.  Added to the January 9 agenda will be the election and endorsement of five Judicial Delegates and 5 Alternates to the Judicial Democratic Convention, election of the remaining VID officers for 2020: Treasurer, Recording Secretary, 2 Corresponding Secretaries and 15 members of VID Executive Committee.  Click here for Candidate a Member rules for Jan. 9th.

At the February 13th Membership Meeting we will hear from and vote for endorsement the Candidates for US Congress,   Click here for Revised Candidate and Member rules for Feb. 13th.

Due to factors beyond our control, we will not be endorsing for Civil Court at the February 13 meeting.
Instead, we will be endorsing at a special VID meeting on February 18.

At the February 18th Special Membership Meeting we will hear from and vote for endorsement the candidates for Civil Court-1st Municipal Court, Civil Court- County Wide.  Click here for Candidate and Member rules for Feb. 18th.

 

You will find all the details, including the rules for candidates and members for endorsements on our new Democratic Primary Election Calendar 

It’s going to be a busy year – Stay Tuned!

November 2019 General Meeting

The November 2019 General Meeting Gave Focus to NY County Committee, Surrogacy Legislation and the Productive Work of VID’s Committees

Full Meeting Minutes Here

President David Siffert reported that he had met with Keith Wright, who was nice and friendly, but not much concrete got done.  Keith said that Ben Yee wanted to activate the County Committee, but seemed hostile to Keith, so walls were built.  Keith said he doesn’t do anything without Barry Weinberg’s say-so.  David also said he was trying to set up a meeting with Greg Sumas, co-chair of the County Committee, and wondered if he should meet with Cynthia Dody of the Board of Elections.  A discussion followed.

District Leader Reports

District Leader Jen Hoppe reported that she had discussions with other District Leaders and club presidents, along with David and Ben Yee, about what we want the County Committee to be.  There definitely had to be a more progressive vision for the party.  To amplify, she suggested elected leaders need to adhere to a pledge.

On Election Day Jen went to all 16 poll sites, and was impressed with how seriously people take their jobs as poll workers.  She attended an early voting seminar and early voting went really well.  

She also mentioned that Jumaane was working on a bill, Intro 800, mandating paid vacation time for all NY workers.  She advised us to go the PaidTimeOff.NYC website to sign the petition.

District Leader Arthur Schwartz gave his report.  He touched on the County Committee anomalies, his lawsuit against the 14th Street busway, and the WBAI lawsuit.  He spoke of the City Council approval of the plan to shut down the East River Park for 5-7 years and said it should have been argued in court as “park alienation”.  He cited other lawsuits regarding Harvey the fruit man and a bike rider run over by a cab, in which the police did nothing.  His lawsuit regarding the removal of the 14th Street bus stops is still ongoing.  And he said if anyone was interested in being a Bernie delegate, please speak to him.  He explained the process of being a delegate for any candidate.

November 2019 General Meeting Speakers

Marc Solomon gave a report on surrogacy.  He said New York has virtually no laws regarding legal parentage or surrogacy, and NY laws needed to be modernized across the board.  He cited the bill S2071B/A1071C legalizing surrogacy agreements, and led a discussion on it.  President Siffert made an argument in for a resolution in support of the bill and it passed, with 30 in favor, 1 opposed, and 1 abstention.

Jim Yates, former judge and member of JCOPE, made a presentation on the repeal of Section 50-a of New York Civil Rights Law, providing confidentiality for personnel records of police officers maintained by the NYPD.  He provided a history of the law and the fact that until 2016 these records were publicly available and argued they should be again, especially because this new interpretation of the law was used to shield Officer Pantaleo after the death of Erroll Garner.  After this speech, a resolution in favor of repeal of Section 50-A was passed with 29 in favor and one abstention.

Committee Reports

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, gave a report on a letter President Siffert had written to the Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan of the Brownfield Cleanup Program at 240 Water Street.  This letter, to Project Manager Rafi Alam, asked that the public comment period be extended to March 1st to allow the community more review time.  (250 Water Street is the former site of three mercury thermometer factories, a mercury warehouse, and a gas station.  The proposed luxury tower could expose the community to the toxic chemicals currently underground.)

After this report, it was decided that VID would send the letter, with 22 in favor and none opposed or abstained.

Nat then gave a report on the Environmental Committee, saying the committee will be discussing the NYS Green New Deal bill S2878B at their next meeting and will ask the club to support it.  He also distributed a ten point holiday statement flier advocating a more eco-friendly recycling plan.  Deb Sherman advocated for Tru-Earth, an eco-friendly laundry detergent, available on Amazon or the Tru-Earth website.

David Siffert gave an update on the Animal Adocacy Committee, noting that the bill banning foie gras in NYS passed.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee stated that the VID visibility campaign went really well on both the east and west sides, and it will resume in the spring.  He also gave a calendar of the elections and endorsements of the next three VID meetings.  

Grace Price, of the Campaign Finance Committee, said she was focusing on Cy Vance and had sent out a draft of egregious campaign violations.  She said Vance had run out of money but had created 12 new positions, and she asked if anyone was interested in writing a letter to the Comptroller.  This spurred a discussion.

Mar Fitzgerald of the Education Committee spoke on bills for lead testing and diversity plans.  A schools diversity advisory group was formed and Jumaane wanted to make it permanent.  She noted that CB2 had passed a resolution for screening for dyslexia, and said she would introduce a school bus resolution to make mileage shorter for buses to qualify.

Allison Stowell and Deb Sherman started their Gun Reform Committee report by speaking on the shooting in Santa Clarita in which two students were killed.  They reminded everyone of their upcoming forum in which Rebecca Fischer of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence would appear along with a panel of community activists devoted to mitigating gun violence.  They also said their post card campaign was going well.

New Business:

David noted that State Committeewoman Rachel Lavine was hosting a fundraiser for Amanda Farias, running for City Council, on December 10.

Libby (last name?) spoke on the Commission on Campaign Finance Reform with a deadline of December 1.  She said activists were coming to meetings to get action and get the Commission to change course.  She said a phone relay would launch Monday to get it done in 2019.

Keen Berger cited her book launch–a book on grandmothering–at Judson on Sunday the 24th.

Grace Price said Close Rosies is suing the mayor.

Our new members, Analise, Barbara Good, Liz Crotty, and Carol Yost, announced themselves and their reasons for joining.

And Jen Hoppe announced a candidate forum for all women running for office sponsored by Amplify Her.