March 14th General Meeting

March 14th General Meeting_Schwartz

Arthur Schwartz, David Siffert and Kathy Slawinski

March 14th General Meeting Introduces Five Resolutions

…and Hears Six Speakers

President David Siffert opened the March 14th General Meeting with a reminder that Primary petitions must be turned in by March 28.  He also noted the Assembly must be urged to adopt public financing of elections, and mentioned that there was a push to primary certain Assembly members.  He spoke of the article in the Villager about Jen Hoppe’s candidacy as District Leader and the party honoring Keen Berger’s fourteen year legacy in that office.  He mentioned the elected officials present at Keen’s party, including Jerry Nadler, Deborah Glick, Brad Hoylman, Scott Stringer, and Carolyn Maloney.  

Keen gave her report, saying she was stunned at how happy everyone was with her, and stating the electeds know VID is an important club because we have petitioned for them all.  She said instead of getting a golden parachute, she received a golden clipboard!  She spoke of how great both candidates running for her position were, and how close the vote was, but now it’s time to choose a President.

David spoke of the Public Advocate race, saying we were lucky that Jumaane had a good plurality.

Nat Johnson made his report for the Environmental Committee, discussing the waste collection project for the High Line, which has some problems.  The city may revert to single stream, meaning all waste will be thrown out together and then sorted after pickup.  Nancy Anderson will be at the next meeting to talk about sustainability in NYC, and all are welcome.  

There was a discussion about recyclables in the Village, and where to turn in books, electronics, and other stuff.  There will be a Green New Deal Forum on March 20, which is free but requires an RSVP.

Tony Hoffmann, of the Campaign Committee, said we must get our candidates on the ballot.  Once we get Jen on the ballot, she will win, but we need 750 signatures.  He made another plea for volunteers.

President David Siffert followed up, saying we need public financing of state races.  He went with Kate Linker and two others to speak to Deborah Glick, who supports it, but Carl Heastie does not.  It’s in the Executive and State Senate budgets, but the Assembly pulled it.  David said now that the IDC is gone, we know who to blame, and urged members to speak to their Assembly members.  There was a general discussion about the details of the proposed legislation.

March 14th General Meeting_Brad Lander

Brad Lander discusses proportional voting

Ranked Choice Voting – Councilman Brad Lander

Brad Lander, City Councilmember from the 39th District in Brooklyn, delivered a talk about ranked choice voting for primaries or special elections.  It is already being done in Miami, Santa Fe, and San Francisco and many states, and was once done in New York as well.  It is one way to insure that the winning candidate is really voted for by a majority, and it encourages more campaigning and cooperation between candidates.  In addition, it’s popular with the voters.  The software and machines capable of doing it already exist, and candidates with less than 51% of the vote can be chosen in an instant runoff.

District Leadership

Arthur Schwartz, Male District Leader, opened with the hope that we could work together even though he didn’t get the endorsement of the club.  He is petitioning on his own, but has Jen and Jumaane on his petitions.  He’s not sure if anyone else is running for Public Advocate.

He attended Bernie’s kickoff in Brooklyn, which was well-attended.  He noted that there are a lot of people registered as Independents or with no party–40% no party in New York State.  He is attempting to get 100,000 of these voters to register as Dems–a very important project.  Because of the 14 or 15 candidates running in the Primary, he said VID can wait until petitioning in January or choose early.  DSA will support Bernie.  He said things will change with the Board of Elections because of decisions by Corey Johnson.

As for the 14th Street Coalition, the lawsuit has been dropped because of Corey’s insistence.  The L train will not shut down, and there will be a meeting with the DOT.  The County Committee will have a meeting in mid-July–the rule changes have made it easier to get items on the agenda.

State Committee

Next up was Ben Yee, State Committeeman.  He thanked everyone who supported him in the Public Advocate race.  He said he was appreciative and grateful and would buy any supporter a drink at the Gala.  He said the Chair of the State Party, Byron Brown, resigned and was replaced by Jay Jacobs.  Because of rules changes, anyone who wants to run can submit a page on why they want to run.  Votes are now done by division instead of voice vote, which was highly subjective.  Rachel Lavine, State Committee Member and President of the NYS Progressive Caucus introduced a resolution against fusion voting, which passed at the last State Committee meeting.  Ben is very optimistic about the new Chair and the new rules.

March 14th General Meeting_Education Committee

Mar Fitzgerald, head of the new Education Committee

Mar Fitzgerald, head of the new Education Committee, now spoke on her list of most urgent obstacles for public schools.  #1–homeless students;  47% of PS 188 students are homeless.  #2–support for the LGBTQ community.  #3–economic equity;  74% in District 2 are economically disadvantaged, and may have trouble getting info and materials in their language.  #4–affordable pre-K and child care;  pre-schools are extremely expensive.  #5–class size;  the umbrella is equity and diversity.  She mentioned the current debate over the SHSAT and the scandal of wealthy people buying their children into prestigious schools.

There was a discussion about the three school districts in Manhattan and where they are.  She made an appeal for volunteers for the committee.

David announced the Animal Welfare Committee, and asked for volunteers. He also brought up the Gala on May 2;  members will pay $125, non-members $200, and there are sponsorship tiers.  Anyone with financial issues will be accommodated.  Corey Johnson and Frieda Bradlow will be honored.

Resolutions

FULL MEETING MINUTES

 

July 12 Membership Meeting

The July 12 Membership Meeting Was All About Petitions, Canvassing, Immigration and Resolutions

Full Meeting Minutes Here

The first item on the agenda was a vote to combine the August Membership Meeting with the Executive Committee Meeting on August 27, 2018. Erik Coler announced the passing of VID member Barbara Austin with a funeral to be held on the 17th. 

Nadine Hoffmann and Kathy Slawinski reported on a meeting they had attended at City Hall where Corey Johnson and the City Council, along with certain agencies and administration executives, made a presentation on the current state of the immigration crisis and family reunification.  It was brought out that the Council had passed a resolution urging Congress to pass, and the President to sign, S.B. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act.  This bill was sponsored by Diane Feinstein and supported by all the Dems in the Senate, without the support of any Republicans.  Most, though not all, Council members present also called for the abolishment of ICE.  And the fact that fully 25% of all those seeking sanctuary at the border are fleeing from domestic violence means these will be denied entry due the President’s new directive disallowing domestic violence as a cause for immigration. 

Tony Hoffmann made a motion for the club to donate $250 in gift cards to the appropriate agencies.  This passed unanimously.  Jen Hoppe volunteered that an agency had raised $250,000 in contributions, and had reunited seven women with their children.

Deborah Glick thanked VID for its petitioning efforts.  She also conveyed Kathy Hochul’s gratitude for VID’s help.  Deborah said it was very impressive and she was very grateful.

Ed Yutkowitz now discussed his resolution against the administrtion’s “zero tolerance” policy and urging family reunification and new policies, and urging the electeds to team up with religious leaders in order to maintain the moral high ground.  This spurred a discussion about religion’s place, and Kathy maintained that you can be an atheist and be a moral person.  Cameron Krause reminded us  there was another resolution to come out of the Immigration and Family Reunification Committee.  Frieda Bradlow stated there was an Immigration Detention Center at 201 Varick Street with detainees held over two years in cruel and inhumane conditions, and said detention conditions should be added to the new resolution.  Ed’s resolution passed unanimously.

Brad Hoylman expressed his disappointment in the last legislative session, in which nothing significant was passed.  The speed camera legislation expires 7/25 and will not be in place for summer school.  The Republicans are afraid of choice for women, so the Reproductive Health Act did not pass.  The failure of the political bosses was breathtaking.  But there was legislation to create a state hymn with Christian lyrics!  He warned about the legislature drawing the lines for Congressional seats while under the control of the R’s, and mentioned the IDC coming back to the Democratic fold.  ERPO did not pass, but Brad is working with Brian Kavanaugh to pass it in the fall.  He spoke about the failure of voting reforms, and said Cindy Nixon was not wrong to call it voter suppression. 

He advocated fixing the statute of limitations on the sex abuse of children, and transgender protections.  He declined to endorse anyone in the IDC races, saying endorsements don’t help candidates–more important is an organic voter response.  He listed the most important pickup races–James Skoufis, Elaine Phillips, and Marty Golden.

Tony Hoffmann gave the Campaign Committee Report, congratulating the petitioners, who numbered 47 to 50.  There were over 1600 signatures for Brad and Deborah, and no opponents to the judicial delegate slate.  He discussed Arthur Schwartz’s campaign, and Penny Mintz running against Rachel Lavine for State Committeewoman.  Ben Yee, State Committeeman, has no opponent.  July 19 will be the first campaign meeting, and Erik Bottcher and Laurie Hardjowirogo proposed the club take the lead to go to the CD’s to campaign.

Kate Linker was next, paying tribute to Yayoi.  She said we must take back the House, at least 24 seats, with 30 highly winnable.  There will be canvassing upstate for Antonio Delgado.  There was a discussion about busing for this.  Tony recounted that in the past all other clubs involved were asked for $500 each, with some paying what they can, and sales for cookies and buttons.  He proposed VID take the lead, and this passed unanimously.

Alec Pruchnicki said he will write an article for Westview News about CD11, Staten Island.

And Laurie’s email was read about John Liu’s last minute campaign against Tony Avella.

Under New Business:

Tom Connor outlined the situation at Greenwich House Senior Center, where the Executive Director wants to throw the seniors out and have them sent to Our Lady of Pompei, a problematic site.  They are saying they can’t raise enough money to pay the staff, and the seniors are terrified.  Erik Bottcher is on top of the situation, and said he hoped to make progress in the next few days.  Erik Coler asked Tom to write a resolution and come to the Executive Meeting. [See coverage in The Villager regarding the saved center]

Alec spoke of an article by David Cay Johnston about investigating Trump , urging the NY Attorney General to force him to release his tax returns.  He brought a letter to Governor Cuomo urging this.  Erik Coler said he will send the letter to other clubs, and it will be brought up at the Executive Meeting.

Frieda said Annette Zaner sends her regards from Village Care.  She will be discharged in August, and will go to an assisted living complex in Chicago.

The meeting was adjourned.

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning

VID’s General Meeting Covered L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning and More…

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning were the mail topics at February’s General Meeting held at PS 41 on the 8th.  John Weatherall spoke a meeting addressing the L train shutdown at a February 14 MTA Open House.  

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning_Chris Marte

Chris Marte discusses 85 Bowery

Chris Marte made a report on 85 Bowery, a building where almost 75 residents, children and seniors among them, were evacuated because of structural issues which the new landlord had not addressed.  He had disputed the status of the building as rent-stabilized and had not fixed the staircase for two years, so the court ordered the evacuation and gave the landlord two weeks to do the repairs.  The tenants, many of whom don’t speak English, were sent to a homeless shelter in East New York, where they were packed six to a room.  Both VID and DID sent letters to the local electeds. There’s more background and an update here.

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning_Berger

Keen Berger

Keen Berger spoke of her work with the New Sanctuary Movement, the deportation of Jean Montrevil to Haiti, and the future deportation of Ravi Ragbir.  Both of these people are activists in the NSM.  Nydia Velazquez introduced a private bill to rectify the situation.  Eric called for a motion that VID support special bill HR 4937–this passed unanimously, and Jonathan Geballe will work on it and send it out.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick introduced Julie Menin–she worked with Julie and CB1 after 9/11, then Julie ran for Borough President, after which Ms. Menin became the Consumer Affairs Commissioner and is now the Media and Entertainment Commissioner, where she is working on womens’ issues such as pay disparity.  Deborah applauded her for her long history of community organizing.

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning_Menin

VID Feb. 2018 Meeting with guest speaker, Commissioner Julie Menin, Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment, describing NYC Kids Rise program

Julie expressed her happiness to be back and spoke of NYC Kids Rise, her program to provide low-income children a $1,000 college savings account.  She is also involved in protecting the undocumented.  In Media and Entertainment, her focus is on various programs to provide women opportunities in film and onstage, including a $5M fund for women filmmakers and playwrights.  She also promotes sustainability and when a production is in the neighborhood, everything must be bought locally.  

Following Commisssioner Menin the Club listened to the candidates running in the Democratic Primary for Federal offices. The endorsements went to Gillibrand, Nadler and Maloney after in-depth discussion.

Nat Johnson reported for the Environmental Committee, speaking of the four pillars of the Committee:  use less and reuse, use everything more efficiently, protect the neighborhood and world environments, and assure progressive policies rooted in social safety nets and environmental justice.  There will be a presentation in the VID March 8 meeting featuring Tal Zakan, Senior Coordinator, Organics Outreach, DSNY, to discuss recycling.  There will also be a Town Hall followup on these same themes.

L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning_Audience

Tony Hoffmann, Sara Kimball, Laurie Hardjowirogo

Laurie Hardjowirogo recounted a great meeting two weeks ago where phonebanking at Livvey Mann’s persuaded 50 voters to re-register upstate at their second homes.  The Committee is working with organizations like True Blue and people like Julian Spector, and will host a forum with Ross Barkan and Andrew Gounardes at Greenwich House.

Tony and Laurie outlined the last Campaign Committee meeting, which was attended by 19 people and set the calendar for endorsements.  There will be a forum for statewide candidates on May 7, and a breakfast March 3 which Nadler will probably attend, and petitioning begins March 6.

See Full Minutes