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.

 

 

January 2019 Membership Meeting

The January 2019 Meeting Covered Immigrants Rights; a Resolution Covering State Prosecution Notwithstanding a Federal Pardon; Albany Lobbying for the People’s Platform; Officer Elections; Gun Reform; Campaigning and VID’s Environmental Agenda.

The January 2019 Membership Meeting opened with new President David Siffert introducing Senate Bill S8236.  This bill relates to State prosecution of certain offenses when a Presidential pardon has been granted.  It is intended to close any loopholes and dispense with any possible double jeopardy offenses.  David asked for a resolution in support of this bill, but Jim Yates, former judge and member of JCOPE, made some objections, saying the bill was overbroad and other versions were being considered.  After some discussion, the resolution failed, with 25 against, 3 in favor, and 2 abstentions.  Jim provided an alternate resolution:

Be it resolved:

VID supports carefully crafted legislation that permits state prosecution notwithstanding a federal pardon.

This passed overwhelmingly, with 28 in favor and 1 abstention.

January 2019_VID Delegation_People's Platform

Sara Kimbell, Livvy Mann, Jonathan Geballe, David Siffert, Tony Hoffmann among the hundreds of TrueBlueNew York lobbyists for the People’s Platform in Albany, Jan. 15.

David also reminded us that True Blue NY was sending a bus to Albany on Tuesday, January 15 to lobby for progressive legislation and solicited volunteers.  

District Leader Keen Berger opened her report by stating she had been DL for fourteen years and she would not run again.  She said it was time for someone else, another woman, to run, and urged a female VID member to step up.  She also said the club should support Jerry Nadler for Person of the Year.

 

 

 

Immigration

January 2019_Stowell and Siffert on ImmigrationThe keynote of the January 2019 meeting was an extensive report on the realities of defending immigrants rights.  David recounted his recent experiences at the Dilley Detention Center Pro Bono Project in Texas, working with CARA, an organization that provides legal services for immigrants requesting asylum.  He was joined by Allison Stowell, who spoke of the seven families she represented who were seeking reunification, and her work with the ACLU to reach this goal.  The presentation was very moving and provoked strong emotions.

Committee Reports

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, spoke of the agenda for the next year, which  will include renewable energy, organic collections, and the plastic bag bill.

Erik Coler, of the Affordable Housing Committee, noted the feature article in the Villager  that highlights one of the tenant lawsuits he’d pursued last year.  It resulted in a class action and those tenants stand to gain a substantial award.  He announced that the Affordable Housing Committee will re-activate this year to pursue more pro-tenant action.

Allison Stowell and Deb Sherman made a presentation for the Gun Reform Committee, saying they are researching their next big project and contacting other political groups to form a coalition.  They met with GAG, Gays Against Guns, in this effort.  Deb mentioned House Bill HR 8, sponsored by Jerrold Nadler, to expand background checks for gun sales.  Adding to this is a campaign against Wells Fargo, the biggest investor in guns, with Morgan Stanley second.

Tony Hoffmann and Laurie Hardjowirogo, of the Campaign Committee, opened by congratulating VID on the success of Sunday’s Forum for Public Advocate, which included 17 candidates and nine co-sponsors.  He commended Erik Bottcher, Laurie, Sarah Kimbell, Allison, Ed Yutkowitz, Elissa Stein, Zella Jones, and David for their efforts in its success.  VID endorsed Ben Yee for Public Advocate, and Tony related the petitioning schedule.  There was a discussion about potential variations in the NYS Primary schedule.

Officer Elections

Erik Coler ran unopposed for Treasurer, so one unanimous ballot was made by the Secretary, Kathy Slawinski.

Kathy ran unopposed for Recording Secretary, so another unanimous ballot was made for that position.

For the two Corresponding Secretaries, Ed Yutkowitz and Jonathan Geballe ran unopposed, so again a unanimous ballot was placed.

For the Executive Committee, nineteen candidates were nominated and made statements.  Those elected were: Frieda Bradlow, Melissa Carty, Susan Gottesman, Laurie Hardjowirogo, Tiffany Hodges, Nadine Hoffmann, Jennifer Hoppe, Linda Jacobson, Nathaniel Johnson, Irene Kaufman, Cameron Krause, Alec Pruchnicki, Lois Rakoff, Deb Sherman, Elissa Stein.

FULL MEETING MINUTES HERE

See also 

Notes from VID’s New President

April 12, 2018 General Meeting

The April 12, 2018 General Meeting endorsed two candidates, passed two resolutions and heard a report on the Democratic County Committee

Full April 12, 2018 General Meeting Minutes

April 12, 2018 General Meeting_Annete Zaner

Annette Zaner and VID President Erik Coler at the 61st Annual Awards night.

President Erik Coler opened the April 12, 2018 General Meeting by announcing three new committees:  Gun Reform, chaired by Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell, Communications, chaired by Sara Kimbell, and the County Democrats Reform Committee, with Elissa Stein and Irene Kaufman.  He also announced that The Executive Committee had agreed to make Annette Zaner VID member for life–and the membership unanimously agreed.

Jeanne Wilcke reported on the Democratic County Committee Rules Committee and how the process for reform was very laborious and detailed, with the minutes for the March meeting running to 17 pages!  There was plenty of fighting on the grassroots level, with many complaints not acknowledged by the County Committee, no unified email list for notifications, etc.  The Ethics Committee was divided on not allowing the County Leader to be a lobbyist–the vote was no, 9-3, based on language problems. Everyone agreed that the screening panel for judges should be comprised of Democrats registered in NYC.  This triggered a small discussion about who was previously on the panel, and how do incumbent judges who are challenged get a fair hearing. 

Deborah Glick rose to speak–and was unanimously endorsed.  She spoke of her efforts to take abortion protections out of the penal code and put into health care federal law, which failed.  She announced a shredding event at Sirovich Senior Center on May 1.  Money for students economically and educationally disadvantaged was restored in the budget, along with support for child care centers.  There was a $5 M matching grant for no-kill animal shelters.  There was no support in the Senate for early voting.  There is hope for a ban on fracking and money for reproductive health care in November, but we need a Democratic Senate.

Brad Hoylman was unanimously endorsed, but was not present.  Liz Kreuger will be addressed next meeting.

The Resolution on the L Train was read, and changes were discussed.  Elissa Stein discussed the 14th Street Coalition and the Arthur Schwartz lawsuit, amendments were made, and the resolution passed, with one no vote and four abstentions.

Alison Greenberg read her Resolution regarding the proposed rule changes at the LPC and calling for resignation of the chair and input from the public and preservation experts on any rule changes.  After discussion, the resolution passed overwhelmingly with one no vote and one abstention. 

Nat Johnson reported on the Environmental Committee’s focus on composting, mentioning Tal Zaken’s previous presentation on organic composting.  He toured the Simms Recycling Center in Brooklyn and will show a power point presentation.  Other concerns were the plastic bag task force, styrofoam and plastic straws.  Nat set up a future meeting with the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board. 

Laurie Hardjowirogo reported on the Voter Reform Committee’s efforts to defeat John Faso in D19.  Sara Kimbell sent 150 post cards for Conor Lamb.  There will be a phone bank for the WFP on April 15, and Corey Johnson will host a Day of Action to get Shelley Mayer elected on April 22. 

Tony Hoffmann and Laurie reported next on the Campaign Committee.  They have collected about 1,000 signatures–660 for Nadler, and 330 for Maloney.  They discussed the number of signatures needed –at least 1,250.  And they noted that petitioning for local races starts June 5th. 

At the end of the meeting’s agenda was election of Judicial Delegates.  There was a discussion about whether to change the slate, sharing with VRDC and DID.  It was agreed not to at this time, but change was possible next year.  The candidates were Jen Hoppe (19), Allison Stowell (28), Deb Sherman (16), and Grace Price (3).  The top vote getters were Delegates, and the others were Alternates.

Katharine Wolpe announced the passing of Stanley Geller on April 6 at the age of 98.  He was an early President of VID as the Club grew to prominence in their opposition to Carmine DeSapio.

 

DACA First

DACA First…Contact Your Elected Leaders

Village Independent Democrats urges support of DACA first.   We stand with elected officials, law enforcement professionals, faith and civic leaders in supporting Dreamers and DACA recipients.  We recognize their enormous positive and productive role in our communities, and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.

Here’s our message.  Copy and send,liberally, to: 
Congress Member Jerold Nadler 
Sen Charles Schumer, 
Congress Member Carolyn Maloney
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Dear Congressman Nadler,

Village Independent Democrats stands with elected officials, law enforcement professionals, faith and civic leaders in supporting Dreamers and DACA recipients.  We recognize their enormous positive and productive role in our communities, and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.
 
Since June 2012, nearly 800,000 young people who came to the United States as children have passed background checks and received permission to live and work in America.  Through DACA, they have advanced their education, started businesses, and established themselves as integral members of our society.
 
Ending DACA would put these young people at risk of deportation and separation from their families and our communities.  Not only would this would be senselessly cruel, it would remove hundreds of thousands of young men and women from our workforce.  It would cost the country an estimated $460.3 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over a decade and tens of billions more in contributions to Medicare and Social Security.  It would force businesses to incur $3.4 billion in turnover costs.
 
In late June, attorneys general from ten states threatened to sue the Trump Administration if it does not end DACA; but twice that number wrote to encourage the administration to maintain and defend the initiative
 
We urge President Trump, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and our members of Congress to keep their political and moral commitments to preserve DACA.  We also encourage President Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact legislation that replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers. The recently introduced stand-alone Dream Act of 2017 would do that and we support it.
 
Dreamers and DACA recipients have enriched and strengthened American cities, states, schools, businesses, and religious institutions.  It is a moral imperative that the the country recognize them, value them, and stand with them.  Let them fulfill their destiny in the United States of America.  

Thank you,

 

Erik Coler                                                                               
President                                                                                
Village Independent Democrats

Executive Committeee
Village Independent Democrats