October 2019 Meeting

VID’s October 2019 Meeting Covered the County Committee, Early Voting, the New York Health Act and a Vote on the Five Ballot Proposals for NYC Charter Revisions.

President David Siffert opened the October 2019 meeting with an account of the recent County Committee meeting, saying the acting chair had refused to count votes, upsetting Arthur Schwartz, the law co-chair of the County Committee and our District Leader, who tried to make the process fair.  There will be no elections for two years, so David warned us we must get our ducks in a row.

Health Care ForumThe New York Health Act Forum was a fabulous success, organized by Alec Pruchnicky and featuring Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Senator Gustavo Rivera.  Other panelists included: Dr. Mary O’Brien with Physicians for a National Health Program; Kim Behrens, RN with Physicians for a National Health Program and New York State Nurses Association and Dr. Margaret Flowers with Health Over Profit. 

There will be a Gun Reform Forum on November 21st.  The November General Meeting will be about court reform.  The December meeting will cover endorsing a Presidential candidate and electing a VID President and three Vice Presidents.

District Leader Report

Jen Hoppe gave the District Leader report, repeating that the County Committee meeting was a mess and commending those who attended.  A group led by VID and DID attempted to get a rule change on the agenda to prohibit County Leaders from lobbying going forward.  (Keith Wright, the current County Leader, is a registered lobbyist.)  DID President Richard Corman and Vittoria Fariello, District Leader, will be meeting with Kyle Ishmael, First Vice Chair of the County Committee, to discuss this goal.  A discussion followed.

Speakers

Tiffany Townsend, the Democratic Commissioner of the Board of Elections in Manhattan and a District Leader with the Eleanor Roosevelt Club, led a talk on the new early voting schedule.  Early voting starts October 26 through November 3, with November 5 as the regular voting day.  She said early voting is meant to give people more access to voting.  There is also the option of using an absentee ballot.  Currently nine early voting sites are establlished, with possibly more in future elections.  The Board of Elections is building a new website with more information. 

State Senator Brad Hoylman announced that today we celebrate the passage of a plan to improve safety on the West Side Highway with a new lower speed limit, from 35 to 30 mph.  He emphasized that the Hudson River Park is the most visited park in the Northeastern U. S., and visitors must be protected.  He’s also pushing a ban on floating billboards, with support from the courts.  The Governor recently signed legislation that he pushed with Assemblymember Deborah Glick directing that  State Liquor Authority licenses be published online.  And legislation mandating vaccination has already been introduced and hopefully will pass in 2020.  He urged us to ask every legislator to pass this.

Indiana Porta, Director of Outreach, spoke on the five Charter Revisions which will appear on the ballot this election.  On the First she gave a detailed explanation of Ranked Choice Voting and the other provisions covered.  After her talk, a vote was taken on all five proposed revisions, and all passed.

New York Health Act – Vote to Endorse

Alec Pruchnycki led a discussion on the New York Health Act, with members expressing the pros and cons of the legislation.  At one point Dr. Gil Horowitz made a motion to revisit endorsing the resolution within 60 days.  After discussion, this was defeated with 9 in favor and 25 against.

State Senator Brad Hoylman spoke up for the resolution in favor of the NY Healthcare Act, saying health care is a human right, and we have let down our fellow humans for decades.  He said there will be cost savings, and implored Democratic clubs to be very outspoken in their support.  Now that the Dems are in control of the State Legislature, we have to stand up for the poor.  Brad made the point that he was a co-sponsor of the bill, and urged a vote to support.  The vote was taken, and was successful, with 26 in favor, 6 opposed, and 5 abstentions.  Resolution

Committee Reports

Tony Hoffmann, of the Campaign Committee, announced that there will be a full Committee report at the VID clubhouse on October 15.  On October 19, there will be visibility events at Abingdon Square and St. Marks Church.

Jon Verbalis gave an introduction to his new Enforcement Committee, saying it will address the lax to non-existent enforcement of city laws and codes.

For the Environmental Committee, Nat Johnson reported that there was a forum on October 7 on recycling sponsored by Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman.  Organics collection will be available in all of Manhattan, with pickups three times a week.  On October 20 there will be a tour of the Staten Island compost facility and a meeting with Robert Politzer of the Citizens Compost Lobby.  The committee is working on a resolution against Federal bill HR 763, a carbon tax legislation which will be detrimental to the environment.

Cameron Krause spoke for the Gun Reform Committee, saying there will be a forum on November 21 featuring New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Full Meeting Minutes Here

VID Gun Reform Committee Goes to Washington

VID’s Gun Reform Committee Headed by Deb Sherman Was Front and Center on Feb. 6th

VID Gun Control CommitteeThe Gun Reform Committee was present at the FIRST House Committee hearing on Gun Control, Chaired by Congressman Jerrold Nadler.  VID Gun Reform Committee Chair, Deb Sherman said:

February 6th is the first hearing on gun violence in nearly 10 years. It is Congressman Jerry Nadler’s first hearing as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee signaling his priority on sensible gun legislation. VID’s Gun Reform Committee was at the hearing to support his leadership and the importance of H.R. 8.  We made sure we were present.

Following an intensive effort by Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell to bring this issue front and center, VID has formed an enthusiastic Committee to spearhead this initiative.

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee focused on a bipartisan bill called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks for all firearm sales and most firearm transfers. It has 230 House co-sponsors, including five Republicans.

Despite the obvious need to address the source of gun violence, Congress, for too long, has done virtually nothing. But now, we begin a new chapter,” said Judiciary Committee Chair, Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat.  Reuters, Feb. 6, 2019

 

August 2018 Meeting

Congressman Nadler Updates VID at August 2018 MeetingAugust 2018 Meeting Featured Updates from Congressman Jerry Nadler and Covered Primary Plans, Immigration, Environment and Gun Reform

President Erik Coler opened the August 2018 Meeting with a request to insert the Immigration Resolution into the Agenda after the Committee Reports.  This was unanimously approved along with the rest of the Agenda.  He then announced there would be no September meeting as Primary Day falls on the normal second Thursday of the month and that that the County Committee meeting would most likely be held in the last week of August, according to Ben Yee.

Keen Berger’s District Leader Report covered the race for Civil Court Judge by Robert Rosenthal, the VID endorsed candidate.  Sheshe asked for volunteers.

Nat Johnson gave the Environmental Committee Report next, filling us in on the planned tour of the Sims Municipal Recycling Center on September 20.  The club is selling $3 reusable bags.  Styrofoam will be banned as of January 1, and there will be a town hall about composting.

Laurie Hardjowirogo spoke for the Voter Reform Committee.  The anti-IDC campaign is very successful with phone banking for Robert Jackson, John Liu, and Alessandra Biaggi.  She will be campaigning with Antonio Delgado upstate on August 26, and Kate Linker will be hosting a phone bank for Anthony Brindisi and Max Rose on August 16.  She advised anyone interested in participating to contact her for more info.

Now Allison Stowell spoke for the Gun Reform Committee.  Alessandra Biaggi had come out in favor of ERPO/ the Red Flag law, so they were planning to coordinate with the Voter Reform Committee to stage an event to support her.  Brad Hoylman sponsored S.B. 9145 to ban 3D “ghost guns”.  Allison said Cuomo was campaigning on the Red Flag bill and she was hopeful he was sincere because he doesn’t like to lose.

Jerry Nadler Update

Now the big event–Congressman Jerry Nadler gave a speech about the Mueller investigation and gave his analysis of Trump’s motives.  He spoke of Trump’s narcissism and lack of understanding of government processes, his calling the press “the enemy of the people” and calling the FBI and Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt”.  He spoke of Trump’s and Pence’s racism and negativity, contrasting him with Bernie Sanders, who had real solutions.  Trump’s solution is “Only I can fix it”.

Nadler spoke of the danger of this appeal, which is typically fascistic, and he spoke of the Russian hacking of emails and how a candidate can’t accept anything valuable to a campaign, especially from a foreign power.  He said Bernie was good at uniting the party after the election, but the split was exacerbated by Trump.

He spoke of the Hollywood Axis tape, meeting with Putin alone, the FBI investigation of Hillary, and the need to protect Rosenstein and Mueller.  He spoke of the movement to impeach the President and reminded us he is the ranking member of the Judicial Committee, who would supervise that process.  He said it was foolish to push impeachment now and that it should wait until after the election, when hopefully the House will be in Democratic hands.

Jerry also talked about the Trump assault on the social safety net and the disastrous immigration policies–and the importance of subpoenaing the tax returns.

Finally, after some questions, Jerry left to a standing ovation.

More Committee Reports

Tony Hoffmann gave the Campaign Committee Report.  He began by soliciting volunteers for Election Day, and then introduced Tiffany Hodges, who also spoke of the need for volunteers and ads and digital media.  She mentioned going to Rhinebeck to campaign for Delgado.

Tony mentioned Rachel Lavine’s campaign against Penny Mintz for NYS Democratic Committeewoman for downtown Manhattan, noting that the Board of Elections had disqualified Mintz’s petitions, but Penny was appealing the ruling, so it was unclear if she would be on the ballot.  He brought up Robert Rosenthal and Tish James, and gave Elissa Stein credit for the graphic design of the campaign literature and ads, which she donated pro bono.  Starting September 15, the club will be dispatching buses to CD’s to make Congress blue.

Dave Siffert of the Immigration and Family Reunification Committee read the new Immigration Resolution, which unanimously passed with one friendly amendment.

Last up was Ben Yee, State Committeeman of the 66th AD, who is running unopposed.  He outlined the calendar for the County Committee, with an August 18 Day of Action for Max Rose and a meeting probably on the 28th to address rules changes proposed eight months ago.

Under New Business:

David Siffert solicited volunteers to do screening interviews of immigrants for Catholic Charities.  He is also holding a postcard party at his home for Alessandra Biaggi on the 13th.

Anne Heaney advocated for a rally against fossil fuels at Cuomo’s office on the 12th.

Sharon Woolums touted her new article in the Villager advocating for the SBJSA act.

Nadine Hoffmann spoke of how she and the Recording Secretary, Kathy Slawinski, attended the City Council meeting on immigration reform and the club donated $250 in gift cards to Damyn Kelly at Lutheran Social Services.  A picture was taken of Nadine, Kathy, David, and other club members with the check.

FULL MEETING MINUTES

 

May 2018 Membership Meeting

The May 2018 Membership Meeting Focused on NYS and Judicial Endorsements

May 2018 Membership Meeting Minutes

May 2018 Membership Meeting_Cynthia Nixon Endorsement

Cynthia Nixon Presenting at the May 7, 2018 Candidates Forum

Erik Coler congratulated everyone for the great job done on the Candidates Forum on Monday.

After reviewing the endorsement rules, Erik Coler, President, asked for a motion to allow the Executive Committee to endorse for the AG position in the fall. It was asked and approved.  The May 2018 Membership Meeting then went on to the business at hand.

Frank Nervo, former VID member and President, made his presentation for the 1st Judicial District. He was endorsed, 38 votes to 2 no endorses.

Comptroller Tom Dinapoli was endorsed 35 to 2 no endorses. He had spoken previously at the Forum, and was not present.

Liz Krueger, candidate for the 28th District State Senate seat, was not present but was endorsed 36 to 3 no endorses.

For the 2nd Judicial District, three candidates were present, Wendy Li, Rob Rosenthal, and Grace Park*, but Grace withdrew to run in the County-wide race, deferring to Rosenthal. Rosenthal eventually won, with 25 for, 14 no endorses and one recusal.

The field for County-wide Civil Court was large, with seven candidates. The winners were Grace Park, with 26 votes and Shah Ally, with 28 votes. Elissa Kates and Nicholas Moynes took themselves out of the running. The rest were: Eric Gray, with 11 votes, Elsa Hampton, with 5 votes, and Ariel Chessler with 7 votes.

Now it was time for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor positions. The candidates (except for Cuomo) had appeared at the Forum, so they did not present again. Cynthia Nixon got the Governor endorsement, with 20 for and 15 no endorsements. Cuomo got 3 votes. For LG, Kathy Hochul got it with 20 for and 4 no endorses. Jumaane Williams got 4 votes.

May 2018 Membership Meeting_Nadine Hoffmann

Nadine Hoffmann Awarded in April for her Lifetime Activism. Seen here with Tony and son, Jason.

This meeting also covered results from the April fund raiser:  Lois Rakoff and Nadine Hoffmann spoke for the Gala Committee. The Gala was a huge success, with Nadine’s speech for Ravi Ragbir the highlight. Nadine thanked everyone and said she was still playing it back in her head! Tony said the Gala made $26,000 and everyone was paid up 100%, which was unusual.

Erik next read Laurie Hardjowirogo’s Voter Reform Committee Report. (Laurie wasn’t present.) Five thousand GOTV postcards were mailed and phone banks were activated to help the IDC challengers. Their next meeting is Saturday.

Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell now spoke about the Gun Reform Committee, citing the Youth Over Guns march on June 2. Their top priority is passing the Extreme Risk Protection Order, with the help of Brian Kavanaugh. In order to put more pressure on the Governor, they would like to distribute 3,000 postcards in defense of the bill, to pass out at the march. Ed Yutkowitz will be writing a Times editorial on the bill and gun safety.

For the Campaign Committee, Tony Hoffmann announced there would be a joint meeting of this committee and the Voter Reform Committee at the clubhouse on Saturday. Petitioning starts June 5, and he welcomed people to the Petitioning Breakfast, with free bagels and cream cheese.

At a Special May 29th Meeting there were revised Judicial endorsements as well as a required endorsement for Keen Berger for Female District Leader for the 66th Assembly District.

Due to a glitch, the position of Female District Leader for District 66 Part A was left vacant, so Keen Berger was nominated and seconded. She delivered a short speech in which she mentioned her three points of interest: education, immigration, and elections. After this, she was elected by the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot, after a vote.

After this, Tony Hoffmann nominated David Siffert as Judicial Delegate because one of the elected delegates could not serve. After discussion, he was seconded and elected when the Secretary cast one unanimous ballot

Because Grace Park* had dropped out of the running for the judgeship, Ariel Chesler was proposed instead, and after discussion was elected by the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot.

President Erik Coler proposed an amendment to the agenda to include Alison Greenberg’s “Xenophobia Resolution“. This passed unanimously. Alison Greenberg read her revised Resolution, which passed unanimously. It will be sent to local clubs and editorial columns.

Full Special Meeting Minutes HERE