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

 

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

 

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

VID Celebrated a Progressive 2019

VID Celebrated a Progressive 2019.  And the Elation Was Tangible.

VID Celebrated a Progressive New Year_Jerrold Nadler

Village Independent Democrats celebrate 2018 with hoards of friends and elected leaders

For 2018 VID Celebrated a 2019 on December 9th thanks to our venerable host, Frieda Bradlow and Son, Robert Bradlow.  The highlight was a visit by Congresssman Jerrold Nadler, soon to be Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who, in spite of an intensive media schedule, chose to share candid insights with his loyal VID constituency. 

Among other notables intent on the VID celebration were:  

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman, NYS Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilmember Brad Lander, Councilmember Mark Levine, Judge Frank Nervo, Judge Carol Feinman, Judge Melissa Crane, Judge Wendy Li, Judge Alexander Tisch, Judge Jennifer Schecter, Judge Louis Nock, Judge Grace Park, Susan Dess, Judicial Candidate, Kim Parker, Judicial Candidate.  Executive and members from other NYC political clubs were also in attendance:  Allen Roskoff, President Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; Michael Schreiber, Past President Chelsea Reform Democratic Club; Jeanne Wilcke, past President Downtown Independent Democrats.  The conversations were jubilant and incisive.

Here’s the slideshow:

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