January 2019 Membership Meeting

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.

January 2019_VID Delegation_People's Platform

Sara Kimbell, Livvy Mann, Jonathan Geballe, David Siffert, Tony Hoffmann among the hundreds of TrueBlueNew York lobbyists for the People’s Platform in Albany, Jan. 15.

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.

 

 

 

Immigration

January 2019_Stowell and Siffert on ImmigrationThe 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.

Committee Reports

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.

Officer Elections

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.

FULL MEETING MINUTES HERE

See also 

Notes from VID’s New President

Affordable Housing Forum

Forum Speakers Offer Specifics to Increase Affordable Housing in NYC

By Marlene Nadle, VID Housing Committee Chair 

Affordable Housing Forum

Marlene Nadle, VID Housing Committee Chair

“The conventional wisdom that the city can’t do anything about affordable housing is destructive, demoralizing, and legally wrong,” said tenant attorney Seth Miller. He was one of the speakers at a February affordable housing panel and film cosponsored by the Village Independent Democrats and Judson Memorial Church . The program was organized by VID Housing Chair, Marlene Nadle. Miller proposed a number of actions addressing affordable housing that could be carried out by the City Council and didn’t need Albany’s approval. They include:

  • Pass an ordinance penalizing the warehousing of apartments.
  • Pass an ordinance prohibiting the reduction of apartment units in a building and the demolition of units in a building, or only allow it if the units are replaced by affordable apartments that are offered to the displaced tenants.
  • Devote any property taken in tax foreclosure to affordable housing and stop selling tax liens.
  • Pass an ordinance tightening the enforcement of the J-51 tax abatement given to developers.
  • Change the formula for setting first rents in 421-a and other city-subsidized apartments.

Tom Angotti, a professor of urban planning at Hunter College, also added things to do to get more affordable housing that didn’t depend on the state. His suggestions, like all of the panelists suggestions, began to correct the former housing policies described in the screened film, The Vanishing City, produced by Fiore DeRosa and Jen Senko.

Affordable Housing panelists

Seth Miller, Moses Gates and Tom Angotti

Angotti’s proposals:

  •  All housing subsidized with public funds should be made permanently affordable by using land trusts and regulatory agreements.
  • Demand the city change the way it defines affordable by basing it on neighborhood median income instead of the median income for the entire metropolitan region.
  • The city should increase taxes on habitable housing left vacant for more than a year and expropriate housing vacant for more than two years.
  • Demand changes to the City Charter to give community Boards the power and resources to make major decisions on land use and infrastructure.
  • Demand an end to the public give aways to developers by doing away with J-51 and 421-a.

Moses Gates, a policy planner at the Association of Neighborhood and Community Development, supported most of these proposals. He suggested another way to get around the state was to go to the Federal level and push to have the Housing Trust funded and to get the HUD office to initiate public/private development of affordable housing. Gates also stressed the need to form alliances on housing issues with people like Public Advocate, Tish James,  City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark Viverito, and the Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, Jumaane Williams. There was a shared feeling that DeBlasio’s plan to build 200,000 new units was not sufficient. “Bloomberg built 165,000 units of affordable housing, but lost more affordable units than that,” Angotti said.

The same thing is likely to happen with the DeBlasio plan if 200,000 units are built without incorporating any of the other changes the panelists suggested.

_______________________________________________

Related Reference: RoofLines, the Shelterforce Blog, Feb. 7, 2014, Home Rule and Rent Stabilization

 

The Vanishing City

Don’t miss a VID special event The Vanishing City, a documentary film on the loss of affordable housing in NYC. 

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On Sunday, February 16th you can view The Vanishing City at Judson Memorial Church, 239 Thompson St. and ask questions of housing experts following the film.

At 2:00 PM there will be a reception with light refreshments; the film begins  at 2:30 PM.  Our panel of housing experts includes Tom Angotti, a professor of urban policy at Hunter College, and Seth Miller, a partner at Collin, Dobkin & Miller LLP, who specializes in tenant law, among others.

This promises to be a very stimulating experience that should generate thought and action as we launch New York City’s new progressive political era.

You can read more about the documentary and its makers here

VID General Meeting Minutes – November 14, 2013

VID General Meeting

VID Membership at May 9th Endorsement Meeting

Summary of VID’s General Meeting Minutes of November 2013.

You can view the full meeting minutes of November 2013 here:  VID Membership Meeting of November 14, 2013  To view all available VID Minutes type that word in the Search Box in the VID banner at the top of  any page.

President Tony Hoffman opened the meeting with the announcement of the passing away of Nan Robinson.  He also spoke about the meeting held the evening before by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation re:  the air rights bill signed by Governor Cuomo last night, of which VID was one of the co-sponsors, along with the VRDC and 22 other organizations.  See posting

The next general membership meeting will be on December 12 and will cover the elections for President and three Vice Presidents. 

On November 2, there was a protest against the Spectra pipeline, during which Corey Johnson and Nancy Shamban were arrested.  Other VID members also attended, along with several local politicians.  See posting.

Allen Shulkin delivered a report in which he introduced himself to the VID.  He stressed that he has been active since 1979 and that he intends to join the VID.  He wants to help the VID and speaks to Corey regularly.  He hopes to make the state committee more democratic and to strengthen the influence of the reform caucus.

Keen Berger made a report on the state of elections and poll workers, and the fact that there were many problems.  She will be sending copies of her observations to five local officials who have some authority over this arena.  It was suggested that this report should be posted on the club website, and Tony agreed.  See posting.

Keen stated her other goals of addressing affordable housing and improved schools, and how the new mayor would affect these issues.

Tom Connor spoke about the bus situation in the neighborhood, and how seniors need help in transportation.

Marti Speranza spoke of how she wanted to make the club responsive to local issues through a Community Affairs Committee.  She was given many suggestions on how to accomplish this by the membership.

Nadine Hoffman addressed the holiday party–she is organizing food donations for this event.  She also spoke of the upcoming Gala and possibly organizing events at local bars designed to attract new members.

The Forum on Affordable Housing was conducted by Moses Gates, director of Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) and Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, and Ted Houghton, executive director of the Supportive Housing Network and co-chair of Housing First!  See posting

New Business

  • John Bredin spoke of  bringing Richard Wolf to VID for a talk.
  • Alex Meadows announced that the meat-packing district wants to form a BID.
  • Marlene Nadle suggested making a list of important items to bring to the attention of the new mayor.  Tony will bring this suggestion to the executive committee.