The December 2018 General Meeting called for establishing issue priorities for 2019,
heard District Leader reports, reviewed the particulars for the Tech Hub with Councilmember Rivera…and elected a new President and three Vice Presidents for 2019.
The December 2018 General Meeting opened with President Erik Coler announcing that the next Executive Committee meeting would be held on December 17 rather than Christmas Eve, the usual last Monday of the month.
District Leader Keen Berger gave her report, stating that the club had spent a lot of money on the election and it worked. She talked of the Trump meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and said possibly the negotiation over immigration could be conducted differently. This sparked a general discussion on the topic.
Next, Robert Rosenthal expressed his thanks to the club for its help in his losing campaign. He noted that the VID palm cards devoted 50% of their space to him and he was deeply grateful.
Environmental Committee Report
Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee made four announcements. First was that Manhattan SWAB had a brochure online on recycling and organics collection. Second was that, because of Corey Johnson, there would be a new composting site on Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street. Third was that the Public Advocate had proposed a law to provide an organics collection depot in all city buildings. And fourth was the December 4 rally for a radical bill to lower the carbon footprint.
Treasurer and Campaign Committee Reports
Tony Hoffmann delivered the Treasurer’s Report, stating that the club’s finances are quite healthy. Switching hats, Tony, also a Campaign Committee Chair, spoke of the successful VoteBlue 2018 campaign, of which VID was the principal club participant. This involved 18 buses and numerous volunteers sent to four out of six CDs, resulting in the winning of six State Senate seats. He also reminded us there was a Public Advocate election in February, and that VID, along with 7 or 8 cosponsors, would hold a forum on this on Sunday, January 6, at the LGBT Center. Erik Bottcher will co-chair, and after the forum, VID would make an endorsement.
Arthur Schwartz, male DL, (and Jumaane Williams’ lawyer) reminded us that petitioning starts December 4 and lasts only 12 days. Tony discussed the nomination process and said if no clear winner, petitioning would be done by Captain’s Choice. There was general discussion.
Councilmember Carlina Rivera
Carlina Rivera, City Councilmember began by commending the work VID did to oust the IDC and for the big wins in the State Senate. She said the Council had passed a really great budget under Corey Johnson, a really great supervisor. She cited Fair Fares, and stated Corey had been very good to her for funding. The Councilmember talked of school funding, food pantries, the Merchant’s House win, community gardens and the Village Alliance. And continued by itemizing legislation she helped pass: taking on Airbnb, rents, preventing bird trafficking, the “state of the storefront” bill, the L-pocalypse, and air quality monitoring. Ms. Rivera said she was heated attending monthly meetings regarding landmarking in District 2, and the renovation of water mains in Manhattan.
The Tech Hub
The conversation then segued to the Tech Hub, the positive aspects of the project, and the benefits of Tech Hub training, reporting that CB3 is also highly in favor of the Tech Hub because of the opportunities it provided. In reply to criticisms for not securing Landmarking for the broader area, the Councilmember recounted her LPC asks during the course of the Tech Hum negotiations including reconsideration of the St. Denis Hotel, slated for demolition. In the end seven buildings were approved for Landmarking as opposed to the 193 originally proposed. Ms. Rivera talked of the benefits of the developer’s plan: more students and $200,000 in scholarships every year for 99 years, with 20% of the trainees to be district based. She explained the original asks, for more landmarking and zoning restrictions, were “off the table” according to the mayor and real estate interests, but she would continue to meet with the mayor and the LPC to fight for more preservation. There was a heated discussion prompted by several members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation with some VID members able to ask questions as well.
Next came the election for club President. David Siffert, the only candidate, was not present because he was at the Mexican border trying to help immigrants, so Jen Hoppe read his statement. The vote was 39 for Dave, with 2 invalid and 1 for Jen.
Following was the election for the three Vice Presidents. There were three candidates– Erik Bottcher, Sara Kimbell,and Allison Stowell, and each candidate made a statement. All were elected through acclamation, with the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot.
After the election, Frieda Bradlow, VID member since 1982, proclaimed the club had had no greater President than Erik Coler. Tony echoed this sentiment, with one caveat–Erik was second best after Nadine, Tony’s wife. He led the club in a standing ovation for Erik.
Between the two elections Arthur Schwartz, District Leader, gave a report in which he said he had rejoined VID and voted for the first time since 1998. He said he had been involved in a number of things in the district, among them a suit he filed a year ago to stop the closure of Beth Israel Hospital. After nine to ten months, the judge decided not to dismiss the suit. Mount Sinai Beth Israel wanted to sell the hospital building for residential use but there was a problem with zoning–the site was not zoned for residences–so they were over a barrel.
There was also a suit over the L train stoppage, with discussions continuing over the 14th Street bus situation, and Arthur advocating for some cutouts for certain traffic. He said VID had done a great job on the elections, with some issues needing to be pushed. He said voting reform should be easy, campaign finance reform is needed, and the NY Health Act may get passed, but has some opposition from unions and the government. He noted that as of now there are 21 people running for President and we should get them to come to VID.