December 10 General Meeting

The December 10 General Meeting Endorsed City Council Candidates and Elected VID’s 2021 Co-Presidents and Three Vice Presidents

Full Meeting Minutes Here

December 10 General Meeting - New and Old Officers

Mar Fitzgerald, left, elected Co-President and outgoing President, David Siffert, right with Kathy Slawinski, far right (Photographed in 2019).

At the December 10 General Meeting David Siffert opened with his President’s Report addressing a rumor of a special meeting in Albany to discuss sources of new revenue.  He urged everyone to get in touch with their local politicians to advocate for taxing the wealthy.  He noted that the government was withholding money from localities and services during the pandemic.  He also noted that there were many extremely wealthy people in New York who have seen their wealth grow during the pandemic.

He also gave a rundown of the calendar from December to January.

In conclusion, David noted that this will be his last meeting as President, and he thanked everyone for being supportive.  He acknowledged that it had been a truly life-changing experience and that he had met many amazing people;  VID members, other club members, and local politicians.  He was deeply grateful for a wonderful experience.

District Leader Report

Arthur Schwartz gave his District Leader Report.  He opened with a Happy Hanukkah and said this Hanukkah was truly symbolic–the rebels have overthrown the evil Greeks–the outcome is still bleak but will be better in 2021.  

He said any affordable housing in Soho or Noho should not include “mandatory and inclusionary”.  He had testified at the MTA as DL, saying raising fares will not bring people into the system.  Monday he will file suit along with Jumaane regarding empty booths in stations, which he said violated the law–there were no public hearings–and was also harmful to people with disabilities.

He said Beth Israel Hospital will not close, and there were currently 650 occupied beds.  He said six City Council members had filed a lawsuit attacking Ranked Choice Voting and said the VID Executive Committee should address this. He also said David was the best VID President the club ever had in his experience.

Candidate Endorsements

Arthur Schwartz read a statement from himself and City Council candidates Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick, , and Aleta LaFargue alleging that the VID endorsement process was compromised, and they would consequently not be appearing for endorsement.  They alleged that the VID RCV process would not be made public, and they would be designing their own forums, outside of VID and other political clubs, moderated by a member of the press.  They alleged VID had a “pre-endorsed” candidate.

David refuted this, saying there was no centralized plan for the questions, which would be open to attendees, and Erik Bottcher, the remaining candidate and VID member, was not involved.  He said the unfortunate implications were baseless.  He also said it was backward to dis a candidate who had been active in the club, and gave the example of Ed Koch, who came out of VID while he was an active member.  Allegations of improper conduct by the candidate are unfair, and there was no deviation from the VID constitution for anyone’s benefit.

Erik Bottcher, running for City Council District 3, made a presentation.  Carlina Rivera, running unopposed for City Council District 2, made a speech.  The candidates for City Council District 1, including Gigi Li, Jenny Low, Maud Maron, Chris Marte, and Tiffany Winbush, made presentations.  Two other candidates were not present–Denny Salas said he was not seeking endorsements at club forums, and Dennis Michalsky did not show.

  • Erik Bottcher, candidate for City Council District 3, received 71 votes out of 79.  Arthur Schwartz was second with 6 votes.  Marni Halasa got one–the rest all received zero, with one “no endorsement”. 
  • Carlina Rivera, running unopposed for City Council District 2, won with 64 votes against 13 “no endorsement” votes. 
  • In City Council District 1, candidate Chris Marte was endorsed with 55 votes.  Jenny Low got nine votes, Gigi Li six, Maud Maron two and Tiffany Winbush one.  

VID Officer Election

Proceeding to the election, Mar Fitzgerald and Cameron Krause were nominated for Co-Presidents, and they accepted.  There were no other nominees.  Both candidates gave brief presentations about themselves.  Linda Jacobson made a motion for a unanimous ballot to elect both candidates, but there was an objection, so their election would be bundled in with the Vice President ballot.

There were four candidates for that office:  Patricia Laraia, Gil Horowitz, Lauren Esposito, and Jonathan Geballe.  They each made a brief presentation.

After discussion and statements from attendees, the vote was taken: 

  • Mar and Cam were overwhelmingly elected as Co-Presidents. 
  • Patricia Laraia, Lauren Esposito, and Jonathan Geballe were elected as Vice Presidents.  

Committee Reports

For Committee Reports, Nat Johnson began for the Environmental Committee, saying resistance was growing against the North Brooklyn Pipeline, and the Danziger Power Plant was changing from fossil fuels to alternatives.  The Committee will hold a formal meeting in the new year.

For the Campaign Committee, Tony Hoffmann announced it was County Committee time, and people were urged to apply.  He said he will send out announcements.

Laurie Hardjowirogo, for the Out of District Committee, said there would be a phone bank Saturday for the New Georgia Project, and said after two hours there would be a de-brief where participants could hold a discussion, and she encouraged everyone to join.  David will send the link.

Under New Business:

Susan Gottesman asked if there was any postcarding to Georgia, and Laurie said she would put her in touch with Sarah O’Neill.  Sara Kimbell asked about postcarding , which sparked a discussion.

Dr. Shirley Smith thanked David for his leadership and said he would be sorely missed.  David said he will still be around.  Gil said Dave was a rock star.  Cam and Jen Hoppe thanked David, along with Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman.  

Anne Heaney asked Laurie about the Brindisi race, and was told it had come down to 14 votes, requiring a hand count.

A series of people gave thanks to David, including Jen and Cam again, Mar, Keen Berger, and Chloe Chik.  Tony proclaimed David the second-best President (Tony is a former President)–and thanked him, saying he’s a true believer.


The December 10 General Meeting was adjourned.