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

 

Feb 14th General Meeting

The Feb 14 General Meeting Passed two Resolutions, Endorsed Two Judicial Candidates, Endorsed Candidate for Female District Leader for the 65th AD and Elected Judicial Delegates. Whew!

An epic Feb 14th General Meeting began with VID President David Siffert addressing Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget rule affecting grassroots organizations, requiring anyone giving over $500 to register as a lobbyist.  He said we needed to be together and organized, and mentioned that Deborah Glick and Brad Hoylman were against it, and we needed to work with Deborah.

David introduced the Resolution in Support of Public Financing of Elections, which passed 26 in favor and 4 against, with one small amendment. Voted a second time, there were 35 in favor and one abstention.

This was followed by general discussion of the much longer Statement of Legislative Priorities, each of whose Parts passed, with amendments.  The vote was Part I, 18 in favor, no opposed or abstentions.  Part II, 23 in favor, no opposed or abstentions.  For Part III, there were 15 in favor, no opposed or abstentions.  On Part IV, 16 in favor, one opposed, no abstentions.  Part V, 17 in favor, one opposed, no abstentions.  Unanimously voted, Part VI, has 15 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions.  Legislative priotities, Part VII, had 20 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions.  Part VIII, 18 in favor, one opposed, no abstentions;  Part IX, 19 in favor, no opposed or abstentions;   Part X, 12 in favor, 10 opposed and three abstentions;  Part XI, 20 in favor, no opposed or abstentions; And Part XII, 21 in favor, no opposed or abstentions.

Deborah Glick addressed the club, speaking of the many bills in progress, especially the Reproductive Health Act, a ban on conversion therapy, the Child Victims Act, voting rights, and a possible Dream Act.  A discussion about the Governor’s attack on grassroots organizing followed, with David promising to send a letter to the Governor from VID on this topic.

 

Civil Court Endorsements

Now the Civil Court Judge candidates spoke.  Eric Schumacher spoke but was not seeking an endorsement.  Robert Rosenthal and Ashlee Crawford spoke, both seeking endorsement.  Grace Park and Chris Chin also spoke, but were not seeking endorsements.  Ashlee and Robert were both endorsed, Ashlee with 38 in favor, and Robert with 42 in favor.

Jenn Hoppe Candidate for District Leader

NYS Senator Brad Hoylman acknowledges Jenn Hoppe as candidate for female District Leader to replace Keen Berger who has stepped down from the post.

District Leader Endorsement

Now District Leader Keen Berger spoke of her fourteen years as DL, and how VID now had two excellent candidates for female DL, Elissa Stein and Jen Hoppe.  Elissa and Jen spoke, and a discussion followed.  Jen won, 26 to 24 with one no endorse vote.

Arthur Schwartz spoke, asking for a VID endorsement for male DL.  A spirited discussion followed, with a split vote, 24-24, meaning no endorsement.

The election of Judicial Delegates and Alternates now ensued, with Karla Moskowitz, Kelly Grace Price (alternate only), Sharon Woolums, Irene Kaufman, Kathy Slawinski, Allison Stowell, Jen Hoppe, Elissa Stein (alternate only), Ed Yutkowitz, Melissa Carty, Jonathan Geballe, Lois Rakoff, and Judith Jacobson nominated.  The vote was:

Judicial Delegates

Jen 26
Allison 26
Irene 25
Jonathan 24
Judith 22

Alternates

Ed 21
Carla 21
Elissa 21
Kathy 21
Lois 19

Others

Sharon 17
Melissa 13
Grace 9

Other Business

Tiffany Hodges made a plea for volunteers for Ben Yee, candidate for Public Advocate.

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, announced a meeting Tuesday, with discussions on plastic bags and the climate, and a resource map.

Allison Stowell, of the Gun Reform Committee, announced a meeting March 5.

Full Meeting Minutes HERE.

Endorsements and Resolutions

Let the Endorsements Begin…

We’d like to congratulate VID’s endorsed candidates: Robert Rosenthal and Ashlee Crawford for Civil Court Judge, Jennifer Hoppe for Female District Leader, Jennifer Hoppe, Allison Stowell, Irene Kaufman, Jonathan Geballe, and Judith Jacobson for Judicial Delegates, and Elissa Stein, Karla Moskowitz, Kathy Slawinski, Ed Yutkowitz, and Lois Rakoff for Judicial Alternates.

In addition to the elections, VID passed two resolutions. 

 The first was in support of public financing of elections and can be found here.

The second outlined our legislative priorities for the year.  It is quite long, and can be found here (as amended).

Fair Elections for New York

Fair Elections for New YorkFair Elections for New York, Saturday, Feb. 23rd, starting at 1:00pm at Washington Irving High School . 

Join Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney who will be leading the discussion to support New York’s challenge to enlarge voting rights and lead the nation in adopting public matching funds for its state elections. NYS legislators will be attending and speaking. The event is being organized by Citizen Action of New York, the historical lead of the Fair Elections campaign, Empire State Indivisible, and Public Citizen.

Register at EventBrite or find information on Facebook.