May General Meeting

President David Siffert opened the May General Meeting by thanking everyone for their efforts to help in the Gala, especially congratulating Melissa Carty and Sara Kimbell.

At the May General Meeting on Thursday, May 9th four resolutions passed; six committees gave progress reports and guest speaker, Emily Arsenault, from  Kirsten Gillibrand’s office spoke on gun control.

 

Party Leader Reports

District Leader Keen Berger’s three conclusions:

  1. Support elected officials who are doing good work, mentioning especially Jerry Nadler and Brad Hoylman. 
  2. The importance of the little organizations that are working on good goals like electing good people and correcting gerrymandering. 
  3. She agreed that the 14th Street situation is a mess and she’s glad that Elissa Stein wrote her great resolution in response. 

This sparked a discussion regarding support for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, working on the “double jeopardy” law, pushing to get Trump’s tax returns, and support for Planned Parenthood in the light of the anti-abortion campaign.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman, urged support for the upcoming delegate selection in the State Committee and the need to approve a resolution addressing NY election laws, especially regarding the time frame in which you can register or change your party affiliation. 

She also spoke on local transportation issues and the lack of inclusiveness with the community.   Rachel also said it was imperative that the House impeaches Trump, and that we should have a conversation and inform Nadler.

Ben Yee, State Committeeman spoke of the upcoming vote on the delegates for candidates.  He’s having an event to gain donations to cover the expenses of his Public Advocate campaign.

Arthur Schwartz, the male District Leader offered details on his ongoing case regarding the 14th Street changes, and how changes in the bus routes will affect the elderly and disabled.  He will be bringing another case regarding the vehicular traffic rerouting.  The Beth Israel project is at a standstill.  Then Arthur discussed the Board of Elections knocking people off the ballot.  

Guest Speaker

Emily Arsenault, of Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, gave a Gun Control update.  She expressed frustration at seeing zero progress on this issue, but said it has become a young people’s movement.  She discussed a bill, S730, regarding prior gun trafficking, which Gillibrand re-introduced in March as she does every year.  Emily discussed S42 to expand background checks, co-sponsored with Senator Murphy, and S506, the Extreme Risk Prevention Order Act, which allows family members to petition the court to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring guns.  She also emphasized Ed Markey’s bill to study the effects of gun violence.  

Resolutions

The Resolution Urging Trader Joe’s to Resume Deliveries, by Marlene Nadle with one amendment came to a vote.  Marlene thanked everyone for their help, especially Jumaane Williams, Corey Johnson, and Erik Bottcher, and urged people to call and write and express their opinions.  The reso passed, with 18 in favor and one abstention.  

Rick Braun’s Resolution for a Law Prohibiting the Use of Campaign Contributions for Personal Expenses.  This led to a discussion about what donations can be used for, and a friendly amendment was made and accepted to change some language.  The resolution passed unanimously, 22 to zero.

Rick Braun introduced another resolution calling for the creation of adequate space in Housing Court for clients and attorneys to have private communications, a problem at least since the 80’s.  This passed unanimously, with 16 in favor.

Elissa Stein introduced a Resolution on Proposed Changes to 14th Street .  After discussion, this passed unanimously, with 15 in favor.

Committee Reports

Mar Fitzgerald, chair of the Education Committee now spoke on the first City Council hearing on school segregation, in which Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza spoke for hours.  There was a discussion about the SHSAT and the protocols for admissions for Gifted and Talented students, and the disparities with race and equity.  She said there was a right-leaning faction in danger of taking over the Community Education Council, with anti-inclusive candidates and has a list of the candidates for District 2.  Mar also said she’s the Education Editor for Westview News.

Elissa Stein gave a report on the Gala Committee, saying it was a great success, netting approximately $20,000.  She gave credit to Sara as the workhorse.

David Siffert delivered the report on the Out of District Elections Committee, as Laurie Hardjowirogo was not present.  He said they were in the process of selecting candidates to back.  There will be an upcoming Dustin Reidy fundraiser.  And he mentioned Erik Bottcher’s birthday party on Saturday.

Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell of the Gun Control Committee spoke of their coming postcard campaign to advise Governor Cuomo on what legislation he should back.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee was not present, but David commended him on his great work.

David and Deb reported on the Animal Advocacy Committee’s work –they’re working on a letter regarding spaying and neutering of pets which will be sent out in the next few days after approval.  The legislation status regarding puppy mills is unclear.  Corey is involved with banning fur and Carlina Rivera is trying to ban foie gras.

New Business

Katharine Wolpe distributed fliers for the rent control lobby in Albany on the 14th.  She also mentioned that on Memorial Day weekend  Theater for the New City will be hosting the LES Festival of the Arts.  She advocating putting a small ad in the literature, which David will bring to the Executive Committee for a vote.

Alec Pruchnicki brought up the fact that the fourth Monday of the month would fall on Memorial Day, and proposed possibly rescheduling.  He also said the renovation status of the White Horse Tavern was unclear.

David reminded everyone about the upcoming Nadler Forum to be held at the Little Red Schoolhouse with himself and Richard Corman of DID to appear with Jerry.

READ THE FULL MEETING MINUTES HERE

April 11 General Meeting

April 11 General Meeting_Williams

Jan 6, 2019 at the LGBT Center, Public Advocate Candidates Forum – Jumaane Williams

The April 11 General Meeting Celebrated a Birthday, Two Unapposed District Leader Nominations and an Endorsement for Jumaane Williams

The April 11th General Meeting also welcomed State Legislators Brad Hoylman and Deborah Glick and heard updates from seven committees.

FULL MEETING MINUTES

The meeting opened with President David Siffert blowing out the candles on his vegan birthday cupcake–Happy Birthday, Dave!   Then the agenda was unanimously adopted.

State Legislation

Assemblymember Deborah Glick gave a speech on the passage of legislation in the Assembly, including the plastic bag ban, and a panel to determine the details on congestion pricing, with funds going to the MTA.  Funding for electronic pollbooks passed, and funding for early voting sites, mostly upstate.  Most importantly, some significant criminal justice reform was passed, including measures to ensure speedy trials and bail reform.  Unfortunately, the pied-a-terre tax did not pass, but the millionaire tax was extended, and a mansion tax, with funds going to the MTA.  The MTA made a commitment to 50 new accessible stations to be built over the next ten years.

State Senator Brad Hoylman appeared to speak on the budget.  He opened by saying he was happy to be back at VID.  Hoylman said the outcome was better than last year’s:  a $100M program for nurse-family partnerships, services for homeless youth and LGBT organizations like the Center and GMHC, and transgender legal defense and education funds.  The Senator was disappointed with the lack of improvement in the public financing of elections.

Criminal justice reforms in discovery, bail reform and speedy trial guarantees are areas of improvement.  Sen. Hoylman spoke of subway funding and the lack of a pied-a-terre tax.  On a happier note He spoke of a process bill, with Liz Krueger chairing the Finance Committee.

On Trump’s taxes–he introduced legislation to authorize the NY State Tax Department to provide the tax returns as soon as requested.  A spirited discussion ensued when he spoke about the measles epidemic.

In his President’s Report, David mentioned that Jen and the County Committee candidates were running unopposed and had the required signatures.

Committee Reports

Sara Kimbell of the Gala Committee reported they were in the final planning stages, with Honorees being Corey Johnson, TrueBlueNY and noIDCNY, and longtime member Frieda Bradlow.  The event will be held at Tio Pepe and Sing Out Louise will perform.

Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee announced the next meeting on April 24 at Frieda’s house, with issues to be discussed for the next year.  Anne Heaney announced a rally on April 18 to oppose the Williams Pipeline, an entirely unneeded project.  There was a discussion about the bag fee.

The Gun Reform Committee, with Sara and Deb Sherman, started their report by quoting statistics–last year there were 772 gun-related deaths in New York State.  In the nation, 100 people a day die, with 262 schoolchildren killed.  Comptroller Tom DiNapoli agreed that NY State will divest from companies that invest in guns.  He sent letters to Wells Fargo and the credit card companies explaining the risks in investing in guns.  Six anti-gun bills were not signed by the Governor, making it important to pass ERPO in more states in order to pressure him.  The next general meeting will have a speaker from Gillibrand’s office on gun issues.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee congratulated everyone on their petitioning efforts.  The club got 1600 signatures, which is fabulous.  He especially commended Ed Yutkowitz and Jen.  There was a discussion about this year’s primaries.  Jen thanked everyone for carrying her name on petitions and announced her engagement to Cameron Krause!

Mar Fitzgerald, of the Education Committee, said she had created an agenda and will notify members about a venue.  She discussed dyslexia, asserting that it’s a social justice issue, where many children who have it are labeled disruptive.  She outlined some future events regarding schools.

David Siffert spoke for the Animal Advocacy Committee, saying that Linda Jacobson had provided lots of information regarding neutering and spaying.  Fur and foie gras are issues coming up.

David Siffert made the report for the Out-of-District Campaign Committee, as Laurie Hardjowirogo was not present.  Two candidates being considered were Jahana Hayes and Dustin Reidy.  Sara made a list of possible candidates and spoke briefly.

District Leaders

District Leader Keen Berger opened her report saying she was happy the club got many signatures on the petitions and that Jen (Hoppe) will be the next DL.  A presentation on dyslexia was made to CB2, and the Community Board will pass a resolution.  

Arthur Schwartz, male DL, was next, announcing that even though he was not endorsed by the club he had carried petitions for Jen, Jumaane, and about a dozen County Committee candidates.  The lawsuit against the closure of Beth Israel Hospital prevailed, with the hospital to file a new plan in June.  They have already closed their maternity, cardiac, and neo-natal departments.  He will be in court Thursday, and there will be a Town Hall sometime in May.  The coalition is currently working with Harvey Epstein.

Someone is trying to stop the Halloween parade, and Arthur will be representing the parade.  He’s working for Bernie, and expecting to petition next year in the Presidential primary–delegates must petition also.  Arthur will also get involved in Trader Joe’s stopping its delivery service.

Public Advocate Endorsement

Jumaane’s Campaign Manager, Trip Yang, gave a history of Jumaane, and outlined issues for the Public Advocate like affordable housing and providing a constituent services desk–he’s currently hiring more people.  There was a discussion about the SHSAT test and the problem of providing more diversity.

An election was held on whether to endorse Jumaane for the next Public Advocate term, and he won the club’s endorsement, 30 to 2.

New Business

Marlene Nadle distributed a flyer urging the members to take a strong stand against Trader Joe’s decision to no longer deliver groceries, which will negatively impact seniors and the disabled.  She urged members to write the CEO Dan Bane, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Trader Joe’s Company, 800 South Shamrock Avenue, Monrovia, Ca. 91016.  Call 626 529-4629, or go their web site, traderjoes.com.  Through the help of VID member Erik Bottcher, Corey Johnson has sent a protest letter to the CEO, and the Villager has written about it, but more is needed.

Sharon Woolums mentioned her new article on the SBJSA in the latest Villager.

 

March 14th General Meeting

March 14th General Meeting_Schwartz

Arthur Schwartz, David Siffert and Kathy Slawinski

March 14th General Meeting Introduces Five Resolutions

…and Hears Six Speakers

President David Siffert opened the March 14th General Meeting with a reminder that Primary petitions must be turned in by March 28.  He also noted the Assembly must be urged to adopt public financing of elections, and mentioned that there was a push to primary certain Assembly members.  He spoke of the article in the Villager about Jen Hoppe’s candidacy as District Leader and the party honoring Keen Berger’s fourteen year legacy in that office.  He mentioned the elected officials present at Keen’s party, including Jerry Nadler, Deborah Glick, Brad Hoylman, Scott Stringer, and Carolyn Maloney.  

Keen gave her report, saying she was stunned at how happy everyone was with her, and stating the electeds know VID is an important club because we have petitioned for them all.  She said instead of getting a golden parachute, she received a golden clipboard!  She spoke of how great both candidates running for her position were, and how close the vote was, but now it’s time to choose a President.

David spoke of the Public Advocate race, saying we were lucky that Jumaane had a good plurality.

Nat Johnson made his report for the Environmental Committee, discussing the waste collection project for the High Line, which has some problems.  The city may revert to single stream, meaning all waste will be thrown out together and then sorted after pickup.  Nancy Anderson will be at the next meeting to talk about sustainability in NYC, and all are welcome.  

There was a discussion about recyclables in the Village, and where to turn in books, electronics, and other stuff.  There will be a Green New Deal Forum on March 20, which is free but requires an RSVP.

Tony Hoffmann, of the Campaign Committee, said we must get our candidates on the ballot.  Once we get Jen on the ballot, she will win, but we need 750 signatures.  He made another plea for volunteers.

President David Siffert followed up, saying we need public financing of state races.  He went with Kate Linker and two others to speak to Deborah Glick, who supports it, but Carl Heastie does not.  It’s in the Executive and State Senate budgets, but the Assembly pulled it.  David said now that the IDC is gone, we know who to blame, and urged members to speak to their Assembly members.  There was a general discussion about the details of the proposed legislation.

March 14th General Meeting_Brad Lander

Brad Lander discusses proportional voting

Ranked Choice Voting – Councilman Brad Lander

Brad Lander, City Councilmember from the 39th District in Brooklyn, delivered a talk about ranked choice voting for primaries or special elections.  It is already being done in Miami, Santa Fe, and San Francisco and many states, and was once done in New York as well.  It is one way to insure that the winning candidate is really voted for by a majority, and it encourages more campaigning and cooperation between candidates.  In addition, it’s popular with the voters.  The software and machines capable of doing it already exist, and candidates with less than 51% of the vote can be chosen in an instant runoff.

District Leadership

Arthur Schwartz, Male District Leader, opened with the hope that we could work together even though he didn’t get the endorsement of the club.  He is petitioning on his own, but has Jen and Jumaane on his petitions.  He’s not sure if anyone else is running for Public Advocate.

He attended Bernie’s kickoff in Brooklyn, which was well-attended.  He noted that there are a lot of people registered as Independents or with no party–40% no party in New York State.  He is attempting to get 100,000 of these voters to register as Dems–a very important project.  Because of the 14 or 15 candidates running in the Primary, he said VID can wait until petitioning in January or choose early.  DSA will support Bernie.  He said things will change with the Board of Elections because of decisions by Corey Johnson.

As for the 14th Street Coalition, the lawsuit has been dropped because of Corey’s insistence.  The L train will not shut down, and there will be a meeting with the DOT.  The County Committee will have a meeting in mid-July–the rule changes have made it easier to get items on the agenda.

State Committee

Next up was Ben Yee, State Committeeman.  He thanked everyone who supported him in the Public Advocate race.  He said he was appreciative and grateful and would buy any supporter a drink at the Gala.  He said the Chair of the State Party, Byron Brown, resigned and was replaced by Jay Jacobs.  Because of rules changes, anyone who wants to run can submit a page on why they want to run.  Votes are now done by division instead of voice vote, which was highly subjective.  Rachel Lavine, State Committee Member and President of the NYS Progressive Caucus introduced a resolution against fusion voting, which passed at the last State Committee meeting.  Ben is very optimistic about the new Chair and the new rules.

March 14th General Meeting_Education Committee

Mar Fitzgerald, head of the new Education Committee

Mar Fitzgerald, head of the new Education Committee, now spoke on her list of most urgent obstacles for public schools.  #1–homeless students;  47% of PS 188 students are homeless.  #2–support for the LGBTQ community.  #3–economic equity;  74% in District 2 are economically disadvantaged, and may have trouble getting info and materials in their language.  #4–affordable pre-K and child care;  pre-schools are extremely expensive.  #5–class size;  the umbrella is equity and diversity.  She mentioned the current debate over the SHSAT and the scandal of wealthy people buying their children into prestigious schools.

There was a discussion about the three school districts in Manhattan and where they are.  She made an appeal for volunteers for the committee.

David announced the Animal Welfare Committee, and asked for volunteers. He also brought up the Gala on May 2;  members will pay $125, non-members $200, and there are sponsorship tiers.  Anyone with financial issues will be accommodated.  Corey Johnson and Frieda Bradlow will be honored.

Resolutions

FULL MEETING MINUTES

 

Special Guest David Daley – June 8th

Our special guest David Daley, author of RatF**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy to appear at our June 8th General Meeting.

Special Guest David DaleyHighlighting the next General Membership Meeting will be special guest David Daley and his New Yorker reviewed book:

Today, when party functionaries draw district lines, they have at their disposal detailed census results, precinct-level voter tallies, and a cloud’s worth of consumer choices. The result, David Daley argues in “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright), is a system so rigged that it hardly matters anymore who’s running for office.  , June 27, 2016.

 The General Membership Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 8th, 6:30 pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 83 Christopher St.  Mr. Daley will be presented at 7:00 pm followed by Committee Reports and a special election for an Executive Committee open seat.

Here’s the meeting’s full agenda:

  1.  President’s Report – Erik Coler
    2.  Elected Officials

    3.  District Leaders

4.  7pm SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER:   David Daley

Author of RatF**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy
Discussion: An alarming study of the GOP’s redrawing of the American political map across the country and how to win back the country.

5.  Committee Reports

Voter Reform Committee – Laurie Hardjowirogo

Environmental Committee – Nat Johnson

Gala Committee – Nadine Hoffmann / Nancy Shambam

Campaign Committee – Tony Hoffmann & Laurie Hardjowirogo

Affordable Housing – Erik Coler

  1.  Special Election for Executive Committee Open Seat
    A member of the Executive Committee has stepped down because he has moved out of New York City and no longer have the time to serve on the committee. We will be holding a special to determine a member of the Executive Committee.
  2.  New Business
  3.  Adjournment

RULES FOR SPECIAL ELECTION OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

  • 3 Minutes speaking time per candidate
  • The highest vote-getter will be the winner