2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements

VID Elects 2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements at January 9th Meeting.

Full Meeting Minutes Here

David Siffert opened the 2020 Officers; NYS Candidate Endorsements meeting with a discussion about how to handle endorsing civil judge candidates in light of the fact that the County’s panel will not report out approved judges until the day after our February meeting.  He suggested three options:

  • One, to hold a special meeting on the Tuesday after the regular meeting to address the endorsements.
  • Two, to leave the endorsements to the Executive Committee.
  • And three, to hold an extra long meeting on the normal date, February 13. and allow Exec to re-endorse for any candidate the club endorses but who does not get reported out of the panel

It was agreed to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, February 18th.

As petitioning has already started and we have not endorsed, he advised the members that there were petitions present and could be signed.  He also brought everyone’s attention to a demonstration at Judson Church on January 16th to protest the deportation of Jean Montreville, a member of the church.  He also noted problems in the use of new BMD’s in the election, and their vulnerability to hacking.  Lastly, he promoted a demonstration in Albany on the 21st, to stop the use of solitary confinement and support taxing the rich instead of slashing social programs.

VID 2020 Officer Elections

David outlined the election rules for Judicial Delegates, and their duties, and an election was held.  The delegates were:  Jonathan Geballe (30 votes). Alison Greenberg (30), Ed Yutkowitz (29), Rick Braun (27), and Allison Stowell (27).  The Alternate Delegates were Irene Kaufman (26), Linda Jacobson (25), Karla Moskowitz (24), Lauren Esposito (23), and Kathy Slawinski (22).  Three other candidates – Lois Rakoff, Judith Jacobson, and Kelly Grace Price received fewer votes.

The election of VID Treasurer was next, with Mar Fitzgerald winning with the Secretary casting one unanimous vote in acclamation.

Kathy Slawinski won the Recording Secretary position by acclamation with one unanimous vote.

And the two Corresponding Secretaries were won by Jonathan Geballe and Ed Yutkowitz unanimously by acclamation.

Last was the election of the Executive Committee.   The winners were Lois Rakoff, Susan Gottesman, Frieda Bradlow, David Saperstein, Nancy Shamban, Linda Jacobson, Nadine Hoffmann, Lauren Esposito, Nat Johnson, Keen Berger, Erik Bottcher, Melissa Carty, Patricia Laraia, Alec Pruchnicki, and Patrick Doherty.

NYS Candidate Endorsements

 Assemblymember Deborah Glick opened her presentation by wishing everyone a happy new year and thanking everyone for supporting impeachment.  She asked for the club’s endorsement, touting bills for the Reproductive Health Act, banning conversion therapy, protecting artists living in lofts, and an annual donation of $5 million to the Humane Society.  She also spoke of a state education discipline bill and the “gig economy” bill.  After Q & A, she was endorsed by 31 votes to 5 “no endorsement” votes.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman made his presentation, opening by saying VID was his home club, and it was a pleasure and an honor to be our State Senator for many years.  He spoke of his advocacy for voting reforms and Automatic Voter Registration, LGBTQ rights, battling child sexual abuse, removing dangerous chemicals from the environment, and banning ghost guns and robocalls.  He’s also taken the lead on tax equity, and passed legislation to require Trump release five years of his tax returns (in litigation), lead on tax equity, including carrying a pied-a-terre tax bill, and passed legislation to require affordable housing, and new tenant protection laws.  After Q & A, he won endorsement by 38 votes to one “no endorsement” vote.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman gave her remarks, opening by saying she was a Warren delegate and had petitions to be signed.  She spoke of her history as a founding member of the progressive caucus in the State Committee, and the progress of the committee in leaving machine control.  The caucus proposals include a moratorium on fracking, marijuana reform, transgender rights, gender inclusive language, a minimum wage for farmworkers, ousting the IDC, and ethics.  She also mentioned the sexual harassment accusations against Jeff Klein.

Ben Yee, State Committeeman, now gave a capsulized version of his time on the committee.  It’s his third term and he’s written six resolutions which all passed, making him the most successful in that respect.  He spoke about promoting transparency and successfully getting bylaws and officers on the NY State website.  He also told of his resolution on how to choose DNC members, ethics reform for the State Committee, and efforts on handling sexual harassment.

After Q & A and discussion, both Rachel and Ben were endorsed by a vote of 36 in favor and 2 “no endorsement”.

District Leader Report

District Leader Jen Hoppe now gave her report.  She spoke of how she and Vittoria from DID had formed a progressive caucus in the County Committee and they were very opposed to the Chair being a lobbyist.  She spoke of how she and Melissa Carty were supporting Elizabeth Warren, and had a discussion about the Warren rally.

Committee Reports

David Siffert reported for the Animal Advocacy Committee, citing that Carlina Rivera and Corey Johnson had helped pass a suite of animal welfare bills with Erik Bottcher’s help, and the problem of city shelters not allowing pets.

Tony Hoffmann spoke for the Campaign Committee, reminding us that petitioning starts February 25 for Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, State Committee, Judicial Delegate, and Civil Court on the Congressional level.  He said he would inform members when to pick up petitions.  The Kickoff Breakfast will be February 29th at the clubhouse.

Tony also reported for the Out-of-District Elections Committee, saying they will be meeting to decide who to support, and getting other clubs and organizations involved.  He spoke of the difficulties in campaigning with this year’s demographics, requiring hiring two buses.  David noted the next meeting would be on January 11, followed by a clubhouse cleanup.

Rachel Lavine volunteered that there will be bakeoffs with volunteers to explain Ranked Choice Voting.  David solicited volunteers for the Gala Committee.

Mar Fitzgerald, of the Education Committee, said lots of things were in the works, with some resolutions coming.  She wants to meet at the end of the month.

Deb Sherman, of the Gun Reform Committee, said that Nick Smith, a Jumaane staffer, will speak on a more holistic approach to gun reform at a future meeting.  They want to raise awareness and funds for violence “interrupters”, and there will be two resolutions on ghost guns to include “80% receivers”, which are undetectable by metal detectors.

New Business

Katharine Wolpe spoke of an action on the 10th in front of the closed Nativity Church, sold for luxury housing–to protest luxury housing and instead promote affordable and senior housing.  Also, there will be an event on the 26th, an Evening of Interfaith Recitation and Music, involving thirteen different religious institutions.

David now synopsized the month’s events:

January 10, Nativity Church demo
January 16, the Judson Church demo
January 21, the Albany HALT/Solitary demo
January 22, DID will be hosting a forum on the Presidential candidates at the Gibney Dance School.

He reminded us that there were Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Young, and Amy Klobuchar petitions present.  Rachel said she will be petitioning at Abingdon Square for Elizabeth, and Cam Krause said he will have Andrew Yang’s petitions.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

July 2019 General Meeting

The July 2019 General Meeting covered planning for Primaries, affordable housing, the recount in Queens, the proposed 45 story prison construction at 124 White Street…and pidgeon kidnapping.

VID at Lenox Hill Greenwich Village Healthplex

VID’s July Meeting held at Lenox Hill Greenwich Village Healthplex

Full Meeting Minutes Here

President David Siffert opened the July 2019 General Meeting by citing the successful Primary, in which Jen Hoppe won the District Leader position unopposed, and the Judicial Delegates also won unopposed.  Among his announcements:

  • A Judicial Candidates Forum in Soho on August 5,  set up for the delegates, but anyone is welcome to attend. 
  • A call to attend  the July 12 protest of the border camps, at Broadway and Reade Streets
  • The VID picnic on July 17 at Hudson River Park
  • The Andy Kim fundraiser on July 19 at Frieda Bradlow’s house.

Our new District Leader, Jen Hoppe announced she had been in Queens helping with the Tiffany Caban recount.  She said Democratic Socialists of America and other groups had done a tremendous job with data mining and that supervising the recount was costing money, recommending donations online.  Jen also asked VID members for issues needing her attention; among the mentions were tenants rights, the census, and problem landlords. On a similar note, David Siffert mentioned he had met with Andrea Shapiro of Metropolitan Council on Housing and was trying to set up a forum on the tenant legislation already passed and possible future legislation. 

District Leader Arthur Schwartz‘s lawsuit obtained an injuncion with DOT on the 14th Street busway.  

Guest Speaker

Chris Marte on new PrisonChris Marté, State Committeeman, gave a talk on the proposed 45 story prison construction at 124 White Street.  He brought a model of the prison and emphasized that Chinatown already has three jails, and more jail beds than any other borough outside of Rikers.  The community feels it is being taken advantage of, and the Community Board voted no.  Neighbors United Below Canal Street is an organization leading the fight against the project.

Committee Reports

Nat Johnson, Chair of the Environmental Committee, opened with a discussion of the NYC Council Resolution 0864A-2019, which declares a climate emergency and calls for immediate mobilization for restoring a safe climate.  He proposed sending a letter to the sponsors expressing gratitude and support; the letter passed unanimously with 26 in favor. 

Also, Nat reported that the committee met last month with Brad Hoylman and Deborah Glick and expressed concerns about three issues: 

  • the Williams Natural Gas Pipeline, previously stopped by the Governor, which needs to be stopped permanently; 
  • the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which passed but failed to include labor provisions; 
  • HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which pretends to be climate positive but subverts the process of climate change.

Additionally, Anne Heaney and Nat met with Grace Lee of Children First, which is fighting to clean up a toxic waste site at the Seaport.  Grace would like to speak at VID in September or October.

David gave the report for the Out-of-District Campaign Committee.  In a nutshell, Dustin Reidy and Grace Park won, Tiffany Caban’s election is in a recount, and he reminded us about the Andy Kim event.

Cameron Krause spoke for the Gun Reform Committee. They’re working on a Gun Reform forum for next year.

July 2019 Meeting_Campaign CommitteeTony Hoffmann reported for the Campaign Committee along with Erik Bottcher.  The Presidential Primary will be at the end of April, and petitioning starts December 31.  There will be a forum downtown with the downtown clubs.  There was a discussion about the calendar and when to endorse.  Anne Heaney emphasized the need for a climate discussion.  The state elections are in June, with petitioning beginning in February; VID will hold an endorsement meeting in January.  The Judicial Convention is August 12 and the County Committee will meet in October.

David reported for the Animal Advocacy Committee, with the latest on the declaw bill, the fur bill, banning foie gras and pigeon kidnapping.  

New Business

Jon Verbalis again emphasized a need to enforce the laws and rules currently not being enforced by city agencies.

David said he was waiting to hear from the Christopher Street Pier for the VID picnic.

Katharine Wolpe mentioned the Elissa Stein Guest Editorial in the Villager, which prompted a discussion about the Gay Marches.

Alec Pruchnicki announced an October 6 Healthcare Forum on the NYC Healthcare Act, to be hosted by Richard Gottfried and Gustavo Rivera.  He will get the details out to the membership.

May General Meeting

President David Siffert opened the May General Meeting by thanking everyone for their efforts to help in the Gala, especially congratulating Melissa Carty and Sara Kimbell.

At the May General Meeting on Thursday, May 9th four resolutions passed; six committees gave progress reports and guest speaker, Emily Arsenault, from  Kirsten Gillibrand’s office spoke on gun control.

 

Party Leader Reports

District Leader Keen Berger’s three conclusions:

  1. Support elected officials who are doing good work, mentioning especially Jerry Nadler and Brad Hoylman. 
  2. The importance of the little organizations that are working on good goals like electing good people and correcting gerrymandering. 
  3. She agreed that the 14th Street situation is a mess and she’s glad that Elissa Stein wrote her great resolution in response. 

This sparked a discussion regarding support for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, working on the “double jeopardy” law, pushing to get Trump’s tax returns, and support for Planned Parenthood in the light of the anti-abortion campaign.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman, urged support for the upcoming delegate selection in the State Committee and the need to approve a resolution addressing NY election laws, especially regarding the time frame in which you can register or change your party affiliation. 

She also spoke on local transportation issues and the lack of inclusiveness with the community.   Rachel also said it was imperative that the House impeaches Trump, and that we should have a conversation and inform Nadler.

Ben Yee, State Committeeman spoke of the upcoming vote on the delegates for candidates.  He’s having an event to gain donations to cover the expenses of his Public Advocate campaign.

Arthur Schwartz, the male District Leader offered details on his ongoing case regarding the 14th Street changes, and how changes in the bus routes will affect the elderly and disabled.  He will be bringing another case regarding the vehicular traffic rerouting.  The Beth Israel project is at a standstill.  Then Arthur discussed the Board of Elections knocking people off the ballot.  

Guest Speaker

Emily Arsenault, of Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, gave a Gun Control update.  She expressed frustration at seeing zero progress on this issue, but said it has become a young people’s movement.  She discussed a bill, S730, regarding prior gun trafficking, which Gillibrand re-introduced in March as she does every year.  Emily discussed S42 to expand background checks, co-sponsored with Senator Murphy, and S506, the Extreme Risk Prevention Order Act, which allows family members to petition the court to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring guns.  She also emphasized Ed Markey’s bill to study the effects of gun violence.  

Resolutions

The Resolution Urging Trader Joe’s to Resume Deliveries, by Marlene Nadle with one amendment came to a vote.  Marlene thanked everyone for their help, especially Jumaane Williams, Corey Johnson, and Erik Bottcher, and urged people to call and write and express their opinions.  The reso passed, with 18 in favor and one abstention.  

Rick Braun’s Resolution for a Law Prohibiting the Use of Campaign Contributions for Personal Expenses.  This led to a discussion about what donations can be used for, and a friendly amendment was made and accepted to change some language.  The resolution passed unanimously, 22 to zero.

Rick Braun introduced another resolution calling for the creation of adequate space in Housing Court for clients and attorneys to have private communications, a problem at least since the 80’s.  This passed unanimously, with 16 in favor.

Elissa Stein introduced a Resolution on Proposed Changes to 14th Street .  After discussion, this passed unanimously, with 15 in favor.

Committee Reports

Mar Fitzgerald, chair of the Education Committee now spoke on the first City Council hearing on school segregation, in which Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza spoke for hours.  There was a discussion about the SHSAT and the protocols for admissions for Gifted and Talented students, and the disparities with race and equity.  She said there was a right-leaning faction in danger of taking over the Community Education Council, with anti-inclusive candidates and has a list of the candidates for District 2.  Mar also said she’s the Education Editor for Westview News.

Elissa Stein gave a report on the Gala Committee, saying it was a great success, netting approximately $20,000.  She gave credit to Sara as the workhorse.

David Siffert delivered the report on the Out of District Elections Committee, as Laurie Hardjowirogo was not present.  He said they were in the process of selecting candidates to back.  There will be an upcoming Dustin Reidy fundraiser.  And he mentioned Erik Bottcher’s birthday party on Saturday.

Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell of the Gun Control Committee spoke of their coming postcard campaign to advise Governor Cuomo on what legislation he should back.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee was not present, but David commended him on his great work.

David and Deb reported on the Animal Advocacy Committee’s work –they’re working on a letter regarding spaying and neutering of pets which will be sent out in the next few days after approval.  The legislation status regarding puppy mills is unclear.  Corey is involved with banning fur and Carlina Rivera is trying to ban foie gras.

New Business

Katharine Wolpe distributed fliers for the rent control lobby in Albany on the 14th.  She also mentioned that on Memorial Day weekend  Theater for the New City will be hosting the LES Festival of the Arts.  She advocating putting a small ad in the literature, which David will bring to the Executive Committee for a vote.

Alec Pruchnicki brought up the fact that the fourth Monday of the month would fall on Memorial Day, and proposed possibly rescheduling.  He also said the renovation status of the White Horse Tavern was unclear.

David reminded everyone about the upcoming Nadler Forum to be held at the Little Red Schoolhouse with himself and Richard Corman of DID to appear with Jerry.

READ THE FULL MEETING MINUTES HERE

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