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.

 

 

VID Celebrates the Holidays

VID celebrates the Holidays where fun was had by all at the record breaking open house, hosted by Frieda Bradlow and her son Robert. Elected officials in attendance were Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressmember Caroline Maloney, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Councilmember Brad Lander and Erik Bottchrt representing Speaker Corey Johnson, with dozens of Judges and Judicial Candidates.

Here’s a sampling:

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Village Forum Focuses on Reducing Gun Violence

“Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Enough”
Village Forum Focuses on Reducing Gun Violence

Reducing Gun Violence

The following post is excerpted from an article written by Edward Yutkowitz

At a forum on reducing gun violence, coordinated by Gun Reform Committee co-chairs Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell and presented on Nov. 21st by Village Independent Democrats (VID) and several other Manhattan Democratic clubs, the focus was on what community groups in violent neighborhoods are doing to reduce demand for guns. Said Debra Sherman, one of the forum’s organizers,  “We want to spread the word on how all New Yorkers can support that work.”

The discussion, held at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, was moderated by Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, which is perhaps best known for fighting to regulate firearms.  But this forum emphasized that the answer isn’t more police, but rather public-health solutions to reduce violence of all kinds.

Dr. Rob Gore, an Emergency Physician and the founder of Kings Against Gun Violence, or KAVI, suggested that the problem of violence be reframed as one of trauma, not just guns.  “Environments that have a legacy of racism, poverty, violence, and lack of economic opportunities are constantly stressful and create long-term trauma.” 

Few are as close to the front lines of gun violence as Man Up, Inc., which operates in the East New York, Brownsville, and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn.  Its representatives, known as “interrupters,” have their ears to the ground and are often able to intercede in volatile, potentially violent, situations and stop them before they escalate.  As former gang members, they have the respect of the community and have achieved great success in reducing gun violence.  As Man Up interrupter Jeremy Arse, who’s known by his street name, Brother Curley, put it, his community work emphasizes that, “Love is just as powerful as violence.”

The Director of Education for NYAGV’s ReACTION Youth Program, Shaina Harrison, talked about working with high-school students to reduce gun violence.  “These are kids who often resort to violence because they feel they have no other means and don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the difficult, often brutal, circumstances in which they live.”

First Deputy Public Advocate-Policy, Nick Smith talked about the work of The Crisis Management System, which helps oversee many of the community groups working to reduce violence in New York City.  Funded with $36 million from the De Blasio Administration and the New York City Council, CMS coordinates a network of non-profit providers in 22 police precincts that offer a range of services, from mediating conflicts on the street, to job training, employment opportunities, and mental health services.  The CMS programs coordinate and complement each other, working not just with kids but their parents. 

VID has long advocated for common-sense gun regulation, but stepped up its efforts two years ago, after the epidemic of mass shootings.  “We saw how the students organized after the Parkland shootings, and felt that we had to get involved,” says Allison Stowell, co-organizer of the forum.

In June of 2018, the club started a campaign to send postcards signed by members of the community to urge Governor Cuomo to support ERPO.  This “red flag” bill will restrict gun possession by potentially violent family members.  The campaign sent 1300 cards to the Governor, who signed the bill into the law in May of this year. 

“When we think of fighting for regulating guns, we often think of large organizations that already have big dollars behind them,” Sherman adds.  “We have to make sure that grass-roots organizations in our communities are recognized, appreciated, and most of all properly funded.”

VID provided attendees at the forum with a list of practical suggestions for New Yorkers to help reduce gun violence.  These include educational resources and information on grass-roots groups that are working on behalf of communities throughout New York City.  To learn more about these ideas, contact allison.stowell@gmail.com or drsconsulting.us@gmail.com

VID Visibility Days

VID Visibility Day Tablings Have Been a Great Success – One More to Come

East Side Visibility DayWe will be holding the final VID Visibility Day of the 2019 year in two weeks on Saturday, November 2nd

On the West Side we will be at Abingdon Sq. (corner Hudson  & Bethune Streets)  from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  On the East Side we’ll be at the park in front of St. Marks Church (2nd Ave. & 10th Street) from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. 

Help collect signatures on postcards going to Governor Cuomo urging him to sign gun safety legislation that is presently sitting on his desk; register people to vote; inform people of early voting (Sunday, 11/3 is the last day); give out info on the five ballot proposals and sign up new VID members.

Please contact Tony Hoffmann with the time and place you would like to go to if participating. Erik Bottcher and Tony will be organizing the Abingdon Sq. Visibility site and David Siffert and Jen Hoppe will be organizing the St. Marks Visibility site.

On Saturday, Oct. 19th we had amazing success.  Seventeen VID’ers staffed the two sites.  Two people joined VID and numerous others took our literature and were seriously considering becoming involved. We got 283 signatures on the gun reform postcards going to Governor Cuomo and registered a number of people to vote.  We also had a lot of fun with our Jelly Bean Poll. 76 people voted to impeach and remove President Trump.  3 people voted for an inquiry only and 1 person voted to impeach only.  This highly valid and scientifically authenticated poll will continue in two weeks as long as people stop eating the jelly beans.  Below are some pictures I thought you might like to see.