The January 2019 Meeting Covered Immigrants Rights; a Resolution Covering State Prosecution Notwithstanding a Federal Pardon; Albany Lobbying for the People’s Platform; Officer Elections; Gun Reform; Campaigning and VID’s Environmental Agenda.
The January 2019 Membership Meeting opened with new President David Siffert introducing Senate Bill S8236. This bill relates to State prosecution of certain offenses when a Presidential pardon has been granted. It is intended to close any loopholes and dispense with any possible double jeopardy offenses. David asked for a resolution in support of this bill, but Jim Yates, former judge and member of JCOPE, made some objections, saying the bill was overbroad and other versions were being considered. After some discussion, the resolution failed, with 25 against, 3 in favor, and 2 abstentions. Jim provided an alternate resolution:
Be it resolved:
VID supports carefully crafted legislation that permits state prosecution notwithstanding a federal pardon.
This passed overwhelmingly, with 28 in favor and 1 abstention.
David also reminded us that True Blue NY was sending a bus to Albany on Tuesday, January 15 to lobby for progressive legislation and solicited volunteers.
District Leader Keen Berger opened her report by stating she had been DL for fourteen years and she would not run again. She said it was time for someone else, another woman, to run, and urged a female VID member to step up. She also said the club should support Jerry Nadler for Person of the Year.
The keynote of the January 2019 meeting was an extensive report on the realities of defending immigrants rights. David recounted his recent experiences at the Dilley Detention Center Pro Bono Project in Texas, working with CARA, an organization that provides legal services for immigrants requesting asylum. He was joined by Allison Stowell, who spoke of the seven families she represented who were seeking reunification, and her work with the ACLU to reach this goal. The presentation was very moving and provoked strong emotions.
Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, spoke of the agenda for the next year, which will include renewable energy, organic collections, and the plastic bag bill.
Erik Coler, of the Affordable Housing Committee, noted the feature article in the Villager that highlights one of the tenant lawsuits he’d pursued last year. It resulted in a class action and those tenants stand to gain a substantial award. He announced that the Affordable Housing Committee will re-activate this year to pursue more pro-tenant action.
Allison Stowell and Deb Sherman made a presentation for the Gun Reform Committee, saying they are researching their next big project and contacting other political groups to form a coalition. They met with GAG, Gays Against Guns, in this effort. Deb mentioned House Bill HR 8, sponsored by Jerrold Nadler, to expand background checks for gun sales. Adding to this is a campaign against Wells Fargo, the biggest investor in guns, with Morgan Stanley second.
Tony Hoffmann and Laurie Hardjowirogo, of the Campaign Committee, opened by congratulating VID on the success of Sunday’s Forum for Public Advocate, which included 17 candidates and nine co-sponsors. He commended Erik Bottcher, Laurie, Sarah Kimbell, Allison, Ed Yutkowitz, Elissa Stein, Zella Jones, and David for their efforts in its success. VID endorsed Ben Yee for Public Advocate, and Tony related the petitioning schedule. There was a discussion about potential variations in the NYS Primary schedule.
Erik Coler ran unopposed for Treasurer, so one unanimous ballot was made by the Secretary, Kathy Slawinski.
Kathy ran unopposed for Recording Secretary, so another unanimous ballot was made for that position.
For the two Corresponding Secretaries, Ed Yutkowitz and Jonathan Geballe ran unopposed, so again a unanimous ballot was placed.
For the Executive Committee, nineteen candidates were nominated and made statements. Those elected were: Frieda Bradlow, Melissa Carty, Susan Gottesman, Laurie Hardjowirogo, Tiffany Hodges, Nadine Hoffmann, Jennifer Hoppe, Linda Jacobson, Nathaniel Johnson, Irene Kaufman, Cameron Krause, Alec Pruchnicki, Lois Rakoff, Deb Sherman, Elissa Stein.