March Minutes with Many Resos

The March meeting introduced many resolutions and a very thorough presentation on NYC Organics Collection Program

MARCH MINUTES.  Among the first orders of business were various activities surrounding the March Against Guns, scheduled for March 24th and a Gun Control Forum featuring State Senator Brian Kavanaugh on March 18.  Deb Sherman and Allison Greenberg, of the ad hoc Gun Control Committee, announced a high school walkout at the Clinton School on March 14 in honor of a student who was killed in the recent shootout.  Poster making, logistics and two resolutions highlighted the discussion.  See the more on these resolutions.   

March Minutes_Rachel-Lavine

Rachel Lavine, State Committee Woman

The March Minutes also reported on the election for the two State Committee positions.  Ben Yee, current State Committeeman, running unopposed and Rachel Lavine, current State Committeewoman also running unopposed.  Ben won his endorsement with 29 in support and one no endorsement; Rachel was reelected unanimously, with 30 in support.


March Minutes_OrganicsNat Johnson, chair of the Environmental Committee, introduced Tal Zakan, Senior Coordinator of Recycling and Sustainability, who gave a comprehensive slide show and presentation on the state of composting in the Village, with advice on how to organize your building and what should and can be composted.  This was followed by an animated discussion.

A resolution calling for the MTA and the DOT to Suspend the Radical 14th Street Transportation Plan Imposed by the Shutdown of the L Train Tunnel, ran into some strong opposition.  A friendly amendment was offered re the City and Country School on West 13th Street, which was accepted, but ultimately the resolution was sent back to the ad hoc committee, composed of Jonathan, Ed, David Siffert, and Janet Liff.  Here is the final Resolution on the L Train.

Another resolution on the Tech Alley Impact on the Community was read, calling for zoning changes to be implemented to preserve affordability in the area.  This passed unanimously. 

Jen Hoppe reported on the Governor’s Report on the Status of NY Women and Girls 2018, created by Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, and Melissa DeRosa, first female Secretary to the Governor.  She presented a slideshow on five major areas:  Health, Safety, Workplace, Girls, and Family.  This was a comprehensive look at what has been done and still needs to be done in NYS regarding the status of women.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler briefed VID on gun control, the debt ceiling, tax code changes and entitlements


Congressman Nadler briefs VID on DC legislation

Coverage provided by Katharine Wolpe

Congressman Jerrold Nadler briefed VID on the prognosis for gun control, the debt ceiling,  tax code changes and entitlement legislation facing the current Congress.  First, he predicted that there would be not be much chance for passage of meaningful gun control legislation because of the powerful NRA, which lobbies for gun manufacturers.

Then he discussed fiscal issues in some detail.  To reduce the budget deficit, Republicans want to cut entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, SSI, veterans’ benefits) and discretionary spending (Section 8, funding for housing, health, and infrastructure).  In 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration, there was a budget surplus.  President Bush pushed a program for tax cuts.  There are five main causes for the current deficit: 1) 40% due to the tax cuts; 2) two unfunded wars (Iraq, Afghanistan); 3) the new Medicare drug program; 4) stimulus spending starting in 2009; and 5) the recession which started in 2007, causing lower tax receipts and more unemployment.  Nadler said that more nondiscretionary spending was needed to put more people into jobs.  European countries who cut expenses have gone deeper into recession.

If Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling which it has done 77 times since World War II, the Federal Government would default, interest rates would spike, all government spending would automatically be reduced by sequestration, and there would probably be a worldwide depression.  Since Republicans want the government to be smaller, they want to cut spending ($1.2 trillion in cuts during the last fiscal year).  Sequestration (the automatic cutting of the Federal budget by a percentage across the board) would result in a $600 billion cut in all spending including defense and social services.  Democrats would reject tax cuts for those making over $450,000 a year, and extend unemployment pay and funding for such programs as day care for children.  Nadler advocates abolishing the debt ceiling.

During the question period, he was asked about the elimination of loopholes in the tax code.  Nadler recommends adding tax brackets for higher taxes on rich people and eliminating loopholes such as  reduced taxes on corporate funds held overseas and taxing capital gains as income. He also advocates a transaction tax on Wall St. trades.

In response to a question on entitlements vs. jobs for older adults, Nadler explained that the increase in life expectancy, an argument used to support raising the age for recipients of Social Security and Medicare, was due to a decline in infant mortality and is true only for upper income, not lower income people.  He opposes a age change for Social Security and Medicare recipients, and also opposes “means testing” for receiving such benefits because it would reduce the middle class’s stake in discretionary spending for the poor, which helps provide economic security and a pathway to a better life.

Congressman Nadler would not make a prediction on whether the $51 billion funding for Hurricane  Sandy recovery will pass when the vote is held on January 15.

See also: an Op-Ed by Congressman Nadler, Jan. 11, 2013