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.
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.
Chris 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.
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.
Tony 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.
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.