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.





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.


See also 

Notes from VID’s New President

December 2018 General Meeting

The December 2018 General Meeting called for establishing issue priorities for 2019,

heard District Leader reports, reviewed the particulars for the Tech Hub with Councilmember Rivera…and elected a new President and three Vice Presidents for 2019.

The December 2018 General Meeting opened with President Erik Coler announcing that the next Executive Committee meeting would be held on December 17 rather than Christmas Eve, the usual last Monday of the month.

District Leader Keen Berger gave her report, stating that the club had spent a lot of money on the election and it worked.  She talked of the Trump meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and said possibly the negotiation over immigration could be conducted differently.  This sparked a general discussion on the topic.

December 2018 General Meeting_Rosenthal

Judicial candidate Robert Rosenthal thanks VID for working so hard toward his election …in spite of his loss this time arund.

Next, Robert Rosenthal expressed his thanks to the club for its help in his losing campaign.  He noted that the VID palm cards devoted 50% of their space to him and he was deeply grateful.

Environmental Committee Report

Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee made four announcements.  First was that Manhattan SWAB had a brochure online on recycling and organics collection.  Second was that, because of Corey Johnson, there would be a new composting site on Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street.  Third was that the Public Advocate had proposed a law to provide an organics collection depot in all city buildings.  And fourth was the December 4 rally for a radical bill to lower the carbon footprint.

Treasurer and Campaign Committee Reports

Tony Hoffmann delivered the Treasurer’s Report, stating that the club’s finances are quite healthy.  Switching hats, Tony, also a Campaign Committee Chair, spoke of the successful VoteBlue 2018 campaign, of which VID was the principal club participant.  This involved 18 buses and numerous volunteers sent to four out of six CDs, resulting in the winning of six State Senate seats.  He also reminded us there was a Public Advocate election in February, and that VID, along with 7 or 8 cosponsors, would hold a forum on this on Sunday, January 6, at the LGBT Center.  Erik Bottcher will co-chair, and after the forum, VID would make an endorsement.

Arthur Schwartz, male DL, (and Jumaane Williams’ lawyer) reminded us that petitioning starts December 4 and lasts only 12 days.  Tony discussed the nomination process and said if no clear winner, petitioning would be done by Captain’s Choice.  There was general discussion.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera

December 2018 General Meeting_RiveraCarlina Rivera, City Councilmember began by commending the work VID did to oust the IDC and for the big wins in the State Senate.  She said the Council had passed a really great budget under Corey Johnson, a really great supervisor.  She cited Fair Fares, and stated Corey had been very good to her for funding.  The Councilmember talked of school funding, food pantries, the Merchant’s House win, community gardens and the Village Alliance.  And continued by itemizing legislation she helped pass:  taking on Airbnb, rents, preventing bird trafficking, the “state of the storefront” bill, the L-pocalypse, and air quality monitoring.  Ms. Rivera said she was heated attending monthly meetings regarding landmarking in District 2, and the renovation of water mains in Manhattan.

The Tech Hub

The conversation then segued to the Tech Hub, the positive aspects of the project, and the benefits of Tech Hub training, reporting that CB3 is also highly in favor of the Tech Hub because of the opportunities it provided.  In reply to criticisms for not securing Landmarking for the broader area, the Councilmember recounted her LPC asks during the course of the Tech Hum negotiations including reconsideration of the St. Denis Hotel, slated for demolition.  In the end seven buildings were approved for Landmarking as opposed to the 193 originally proposed.  Ms. Rivera talked of the benefits of the developer’s plan:  more students and $200,000 in scholarships every year for 99 years, with 20% of the trainees to be district based.  She explained the original asks, for more landmarking and zoning restrictions, were “off the table” according to the mayor and real estate interests, but she would continue to meet with the mayor and the LPC to fight for more preservation.  There was a heated discussion prompted by several members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation with some VID members able to ask questions as well.

Officer Election

Next came the election for club President.  David Siffert, the only candidate, was not present because he was at the Mexican border trying to help immigrants, so Jen Hoppe read his statement.  The vote was 39 for Dave, with 2 invalid and 1 for Jen.

Following was the election for the three Vice Presidents.  There were three candidates– Erik Bottcher, Sara Kimbell,and Allison Stowell, and each candidate made a statement.  All were elected through acclamation, with the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot.

After the election, Frieda Bradlow, VID member since 1982, proclaimed the club had had no greater President than Erik Coler.  Tony echoed this sentiment, with one caveat–Erik was second best after Nadine, Tony’s wife.  He led the club in a standing ovation for Erik.

December 2018 General Meeting_SchwartzBetween the two elections Arthur Schwartz, District Leader, gave a report in which he said he had rejoined VID and voted for the first time since 1998.  He said he had been involved in a number of things in the district, among them a suit he filed a year ago to stop the closure of Beth Israel Hospital.  After nine to ten months, the judge decided not to dismiss the suit.  Mount Sinai Beth Israel wanted to sell the hospital building for residential use but there was a problem with zoning–the site was not zoned for residences–so they were over a barrel.

There was also a suit over the L train stoppage, with discussions continuing over the 14th Street bus situation, and Arthur advocating for some cutouts for certain traffic.  He said VID had done a great job on the elections, with some issues needing to be pushed.  He said voting reform should be easy, campaign finance reform is needed, and the NY Health Act may get passed, but has some opposition from unions and the government.  He noted that as of now there are 21 people running for President and we should get them to come to VID.



November 2018 Meeting Minutes

High Spirits Dominated the November 2018 Meeting with NYS Senate Democratic Majority and Congressional Victories Throughout the State and Nation.

Erik Coler opened the November 2018 Meeting with congratulations to a long list of VID members whose unceasing volunteerism made a tangible difference, with a special shout out to Erik Bottcher, Laurie Hardjowirogo, and Tony Hoffmann.

There was a discussion about the Public Advocate’s Forum to be held on November 12, and whether the club should co-sponsor.  The club voted to co-sponsor with the caveat that all who ask to appear will be included, possibly at future VID meetings.

Erik also announced that the elections for club President and three Vice Presidents will be held in December, and he explained the rules.

November 2018 Meeting_Keen Berger

Keen Berger moves on to the proposed Bleecker St. School after victory at 75 Morton.

Keen Berger’s District Leader report also included congratulations for the club’s role in electing Antonio Delgado, Max Rose, and Ron Kim, and the NYS Senate victories.  She spoke of her role in public schools and a possible future fight for the Bleecker Street school.  


State Sen. Brad Hoylman discusses priorities of the newly Democrat majority senate.

Brad Hoylman, three term State Senator, gave a speech about recent victories in local races, and gave an agenda of things for the new Senate majority to implement.  Among these are voting reform, ethics reform, womens reproductive health, anti-fracking waste laws, rent laws, the NY Health Act, the child victims act, LLC loopholes, and fixing the MTA.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman,congratulated Brad on his performance in the Senate, and then thanked VID for its support.  She congratulated the NYS Senate on doubling the number of women members.  She spoke of the Jeff Sessions firing and how people must urge Sen. Schumer to protest it.  She spoke of the lawsuit her wife Robbie was bringing against Trump, and how it was being combined with the NY Southern District suit against Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.


November 2018 Meeting_Rachel Lavine

Rachel Lavine (right) who now sits on the NYS DC Executive Committee

Next up at the November 2018 meeting was Ben Yee, State Committeeman, who congratulated Rachel on her new position on the Executive Committee of the State Committee.  There will be County Committee elections in 2019 and he urged everyone to run.  All meetings will be live-streamed on Facebook.  There was also a resolution introduced condemning the anti-Semitic mailer sent out  at the last minute against Cynthia Nixon.


Committee Reports

Nat Johnson, Chair of the Environmental Committee, reported the environmentally correct bags were selling well; that on Thursday mornings there will be composting on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly.  Since the holidays are coming, he urged people not to use bows, to use recyclable packaging (tissue paper is not recyclable), and pushed recyclable straws.  He also advised us about upcoming events on solar power, coastal resilience, and managing solid waste.  He urged us to call Governor Cuomo to express opposition to the Williams Pipeline.  BTW Nat circulated a link to the new improved recycline pamphlets.

Deb Sherman, of the Gun Reform Committee, passed out anti-gun postcards to be signed and advised of upcoming Gays Against Guns (GAG) meetings.

Tony Hoffmann and Laurie Hardjowirogo of the Campaign Committee talked of the campaigning they did in NY, Long Island, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  They also thanked Kate Linker and Yayoi for their help.  They spoke of the buses sent, the volunteers, canvassing and the money raised, and thanked a long list of members for their time.


Election Day Buses Ready to Roll

Let’s Finish This !

Election Day Buses

Election Day buses ready to roll.  Sign up  for Antonio Delgado (NY 19) and Liuba Grechen Shirley (NY2) TODAY

Here’s the link:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flip-the-vote-blue-bus-nov-6-election-day-to-ny-cd-2-and-cd-19-registration-51938518507?aff=vid

Buses load at 8:00 am and leave promptly at 8:30 am from Union Square East (15th Street in front of Raymour and Flannigan). We return to the City between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm, depending on traffic. 


Thank You

Campaign Co-Chairs
Tony Hoffmann- Tonyhoffmann26@gmail.com
Laurie Hardjowirogo- laurieh2ster@gmail.com 
Erik Bottcher- ebottcher@gmail.com 

Erik Coler- erikcoler@gmail.com