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

October Meeting Minutes

VID’s October Meeting Welcomed Senator Brad Hoylman, Borough President Gale Brewer and Andrew Berman, Exec Director GVSHP

FULL OCTOBER MEETING MINUTES

The October Meeting also featured reports from Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee, Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee, District Leader Keen Berger, Deb and Allison Stowell of the Gun Reform Committee and Alison Greenberg reporting on the SBJSA bill.  Topping this off were endorsements for Judicial candidates and the ballot Propositions.

October Meeting sets up buses for out of district candidatesDiscussions began with the Campaign Committee with Tony Hoffmann speaking of buses scheduled for swing districts, with VID the leading sponsor among many downtown clubs.  Jerry Nadler is a major participant, and Scott Stringer wants to be part of the effort.  Tony also asked for volunteers at Abingdon Square for fund raising for the buses.

District Leader Keen Berger expressed optimism and exhorted people to get on buses and campaign.  She also mentioned the upcoming County Committee meeting, which she said was unprecedented, and said we could make a difference as half the club was on the Committee.  Benjamin Yee has since written about the October 29th meeting in his latest report.

Andrew Berman, Executive Director of GVSHP, addressed the October meeting about the Tech Hub and clarified his position in opposition to City Council’s Carlina Rivera.  He spoke of Carlina’s past support for landmarking protections and Rosie Mendez’s enthusiastic support for them in order to control gentrification of the neighborhood.  He faced three members of CB3, among them Susan Stetser, and Pedro Carillo of Carlina’s office, with questions.  There was a general discussion.

Gale Brewer, Borough President, spoke on the Tech Hub and the three Charter Proposals, urging a “no” vote on Proposals 2 and 3.  She claimed that even though the Tech Hub had been okayed with zoning and landmarking protections, there was still leverage to negotiate them.

State Senator Brad Hoylman spoke for Andrew Cuomo, emphasizing that it was time to unite.  He spoke of the State Senate having an operational Democratic majority and Andrea Stewart Cousins poised to be the first African-American leader.  He spoke of upcoming legislation and the need for environmental laws, subway funding, congestion pricing, and closing corporate loopholes.

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, reported on the September 20 visit to the Sims Recycling Center.  The Sanitation Department has suspended its organics collection program because of plan inefficiencies.  Deb Sherman touted the reusable VID bags, $3 for members and $5 for non-members.

Deb and Allison Stowell made the report for the Gun Reform Committee.  They said that after meeting with Brad Hoylman’s chief of staff, they were assured that ERPO would pass as part of the budget process.  In addition, issues like 3D guns, ghost guns, raise the age and bump stocks would possibly be addressed by legislation.  A letter to Joseph Popcun, of Governor Cuomo’s office, was passed around for signatures.  Allison and Deb also met with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, who were going to college campuses to ask students to sign pledges to vote.

People spoke for the three Supreme Court nominees, Lynn Kotler, Alex Tisch, and Mary Rosado and they were all endorsed unanimously.

Jim Yates spoke against Charter Proposals #2 and #3, calling them a transparent attempt by City Hall to take power from the Community Boards and the City Council.  Proposition #1 was endorsed 17-6.  Proposition #2 was not endorsed, 0-19.  Proposition #3 was not endorsed, 1-18 with 2 no endorsements.

There was a discussion for and against endorsing Governor Cuomo.  He was endorsed 19 to 4 no endorse ballots.

 

May 12th Membership Meeting

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The May 12th Membership Meeting carried a full agenda AND a Civil Court Candidate Forum

Meeting Minutes_May-2016

President Nadine Hoffmann opened the May 12th Membership Meeting by noting how nicely the VID Gala was written up in The Villager by Lincoln Anderson.  There were also some nice pics from this event.  The March for a Clean Energy Revolution, which we endorsed, will take place on July 24 before the Democratic Convention.  Members agreed to spread the word regarding this event.

45 Rivington Letter to DeBlasio (see more details in our previous post), was unanimously passed for distribution.

District Leader Keen Berger said she had two good things to report.  Several CB2 members held a well-attended meeting with Jerrold Nadler regarding the dedication of Christopher Street Park to LGBT rights.  The second item was about some school district “carve out” blocks on 12 Street North–residents of these blocks were unhappy about being zoned out of PS 41.   CB2 is pushing for their re-inclusion.

Next came the election of the judicial delegates.  VID, DID and VRDC were each to contribute two delegates and two alternates.  This arrangement passed overwhelmingly, with one nay vote.  VID nominees were Nadine Hoffmann, Jen Hoppe, Cormac Flynn, Zella Jones, Erik Coler, and David Saperstein; the finally elected delegates were Jen and Cormac, with Zella and Nadine as alternates.

Tony Hoffmann, Campaign Committee Chair, now opened the Special Candidates Forum for Civil Court, co-sponsored by VRDC, DID, and the Jim Owles Club.

The Civil Court Candidates included:

Margaret Chan
Shahabuddeen Ally
Josh Hanshaft
Emily Morales Minerva
Nicholas Moyne
Phaedra Perry
Robert Rosenthal

Each candidate gave a four minute presentation followed by up to six minutes of questions from the audience.  All the candidates were impressive and the discussion was spirited.

The meeting was adjourned, with the reminder that the endorsement meeting will take place on May 23 at 8pm at Greenwich house.

 

VID Forum on School Options a Success

Many new faces at VID Forum on School Options

VID Forum on School Options - Nadin

Forum Moderator, Nadine Hoffmann

Charter schools, public schools, parental and community schools all got lots of attention at VID’s General Membership Meeting on November 13.  Discussions about public funding (they all are publicly funded), parent and community involvement (a must) and Department of Education bureaucracy (usually a detriment to quick action and cheaper materials) was enlightening.

One of most contentious issues was the inequality between charter and non-charter public schools over additional funding and extra resources. Many argued, also, that co-location of schools in the same building often leads to reduced space for non-charters and a sense of unfairness to students. Questions of student selection and teacher retention were also brought up.

An uplifting part of the discussion was a realization that the problems are not insurmountable. All along the education spectrum, leaders have begun to work together, hoping to share what works and to improve what is failing.  It takes a huge leap of faith on all fronts, but the future of our students depends on it.

The panelists included:  Eric Joerss, Deputy for Government Affairs, the NYC Charter School Center; Barbara McKeon, Principal, Broome Street Academy Charter High School;  Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters;  Tamara Rowe, Community Education Council, District 2.

See the article in The Villager…and the pictures below

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