April 11 General Meeting

April 11 General Meeting_Williams

Jan 6, 2019 at the LGBT Center, Public Advocate Candidates Forum – Jumaane Williams

The April 11 General Meeting Celebrated a Birthday, Two Unapposed District Leader Nominations and an Endorsement for Jumaane Williams

The April 11th General Meeting also welcomed State Legislators Brad Hoylman and Deborah Glick and heard updates from seven committees.

FULL MEETING MINUTES

The meeting opened with President David Siffert blowing out the candles on his vegan birthday cupcake–Happy Birthday, Dave!   Then the agenda was unanimously adopted.

State Legislation

Assemblymember Deborah Glick gave a speech on the passage of legislation in the Assembly, including the plastic bag ban, and a panel to determine the details on congestion pricing, with funds going to the MTA.  Funding for electronic pollbooks passed, and funding for early voting sites, mostly upstate.  Most importantly, some significant criminal justice reform was passed, including measures to ensure speedy trials and bail reform.  Unfortunately, the pied-a-terre tax did not pass, but the millionaire tax was extended, and a mansion tax, with funds going to the MTA.  The MTA made a commitment to 50 new accessible stations to be built over the next ten years.

State Senator Brad Hoylman appeared to speak on the budget.  He opened by saying he was happy to be back at VID.  Hoylman said the outcome was better than last year’s:  a $100M program for nurse-family partnerships, services for homeless youth and LGBT organizations like the Center and GMHC, and transgender legal defense and education funds.  The Senator was disappointed with the lack of improvement in the public financing of elections.

Criminal justice reforms in discovery, bail reform and speedy trial guarantees are areas of improvement.  Sen. Hoylman spoke of subway funding and the lack of a pied-a-terre tax.  On a happier note He spoke of a process bill, with Liz Krueger chairing the Finance Committee.

On Trump’s taxes–he introduced legislation to authorize the NY State Tax Department to provide the tax returns as soon as requested.  A spirited discussion ensued when he spoke about the measles epidemic.

In his President’s Report, David mentioned that Jen and the County Committee candidates were running unopposed and had the required signatures.

Committee Reports

Sara Kimbell of the Gala Committee reported they were in the final planning stages, with Honorees being Corey Johnson, TrueBlueNY and noIDCNY, and longtime member Frieda Bradlow.  The event will be held at Tio Pepe and Sing Out Louise will perform.

Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee announced the next meeting on April 24 at Frieda’s house, with issues to be discussed for the next year.  Anne Heaney announced a rally on April 18 to oppose the Williams Pipeline, an entirely unneeded project.  There was a discussion about the bag fee.

The Gun Reform Committee, with Sara and Deb Sherman, started their report by quoting statistics–last year there were 772 gun-related deaths in New York State.  In the nation, 100 people a day die, with 262 schoolchildren killed.  Comptroller Tom DiNapoli agreed that NY State will divest from companies that invest in guns.  He sent letters to Wells Fargo and the credit card companies explaining the risks in investing in guns.  Six anti-gun bills were not signed by the Governor, making it important to pass ERPO in more states in order to pressure him.  The next general meeting will have a speaker from Gillibrand’s office on gun issues.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee congratulated everyone on their petitioning efforts.  The club got 1600 signatures, which is fabulous.  He especially commended Ed Yutkowitz and Jen.  There was a discussion about this year’s primaries.  Jen thanked everyone for carrying her name on petitions and announced her engagement to Cameron Krause!

Mar Fitzgerald, of the Education Committee, said she had created an agenda and will notify members about a venue.  She discussed dyslexia, asserting that it’s a social justice issue, where many children who have it are labeled disruptive.  She outlined some future events regarding schools.

David Siffert spoke for the Animal Advocacy Committee, saying that Linda Jacobson had provided lots of information regarding neutering and spaying.  Fur and foie gras are issues coming up.

David Siffert made the report for the Out-of-District Campaign Committee, as Laurie Hardjowirogo was not present.  Two candidates being considered were Jahana Hayes and Dustin Reidy.  Sara made a list of possible candidates and spoke briefly.

District Leaders

District Leader Keen Berger opened her report saying she was happy the club got many signatures on the petitions and that Jen (Hoppe) will be the next DL.  A presentation on dyslexia was made to CB2, and the Community Board will pass a resolution.  

Arthur Schwartz, male DL, was next, announcing that even though he was not endorsed by the club he had carried petitions for Jen, Jumaane, and about a dozen County Committee candidates.  The lawsuit against the closure of Beth Israel Hospital prevailed, with the hospital to file a new plan in June.  They have already closed their maternity, cardiac, and neo-natal departments.  He will be in court Thursday, and there will be a Town Hall sometime in May.  The coalition is currently working with Harvey Epstein.

Someone is trying to stop the Halloween parade, and Arthur will be representing the parade.  He’s working for Bernie, and expecting to petition next year in the Presidential primary–delegates must petition also.  Arthur will also get involved in Trader Joe’s stopping its delivery service.

Public Advocate Endorsement

Jumaane’s Campaign Manager, Trip Yang, gave a history of Jumaane, and outlined issues for the Public Advocate like affordable housing and providing a constituent services desk–he’s currently hiring more people.  There was a discussion about the SHSAT test and the problem of providing more diversity.

An election was held on whether to endorse Jumaane for the next Public Advocate term, and he won the club’s endorsement, 30 to 2.

New Business

Marlene Nadle distributed a flyer urging the members to take a strong stand against Trader Joe’s decision to no longer deliver groceries, which will negatively impact seniors and the disabled.  She urged members to write the CEO Dan Bane, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Trader Joe’s Company, 800 South Shamrock Avenue, Monrovia, Ca. 91016.  Call 626 529-4629, or go their web site, traderjoes.com.  Through the help of VID member Erik Bottcher, Corey Johnson has sent a protest letter to the CEO, and the Villager has written about it, but more is needed.

Sharon Woolums mentioned her new article on the SBJSA in the latest Villager.

 

Keen Berger Day

March 2, 2019 Proclaimed Keen Berger Day

It is hard to imagine gathering petitions, pamphleting outside poll locations, hearing reports from the grassroots of the 66th Assembly District, Part A or marching into a County Committee Meeting without the presence of Keen Berger, who announced last month her wish to hand the batton to new talent.  Though we don’t expect her to abandon her fervor or presence in marches and sit-ins for women’s rights, immigration reform, voting rights or any of the other issues she has championed with and for VID.

Saturday’s celebration came first among some very special and much-in-demand elected leaders who didn’t want the moment to pass without expressing their appreciation…and among 50 or more VID members who crowded into the small, but highly efficient, VID Clubhouse at 26 Perry St., picking up their petitions for the next primary candidates as they left.  

See the definitive momento that Ed Yutkowitz wrote in The Villager

Among many special momentos offered was a presentation by NYS Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Deborah Glick officially citing that March 2, 2019 was Proclaimed Keen Berger Day in New York State.

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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

Notes from VID’s New President

VID’s New President, David Siffert Presided Over the First Meeting of the New Year

Here’s his meeting wrap-up…

VID's New President_David SiffertFirst

I would like to congratulate our new officers — Erik Coler as Treasurer, Kathy Slawinski as Recording Secretary, Ed Yutkowitz and Jonathan Geballe as Corresponding Secretaries.  The 2019 Executive Committee includes 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, and Elissa Stein.

Second

If you are interested in coming up to Albany on Tuesday, January 15, to lobby with True Blue NY for the People’s Platform, you can sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/U8i1DKWmu186Z6ex2.  There is a bus leaving from 14th St. and 4th Ave. at 7am, and Jonathan may be driving.  Please get in touch if you are interested.

Third

If you are interested in participating in postcard writing events, there are a few campaigns to encourage Florida voters to sign up to vote by mail: 

  • Sunday, Jan. 13, 2pm-4:30pm,  near Washington square (Sarah O’Neill) – email for address: sqoneill@mac.com
  • Monday, Jan. 14,  9am-11am, Le Pain Quotidian, Bleecker & 6th Ave (Downtown Nasty Women)

There are also some campaigns to flip the Virginia legislature (RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sister-district-ny-12-13-14-postcards-to-virginia-tickets-54533754929)

  • Sunday, January 20, Lower East Side, 2-5pm
  • Sunday, January 20, Upper East Side, 3-6pm
  • Thursday, January 24, Chelsea, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Saturday, January 26, East Village, 2-4pm

Fourth

For more events and actions, I highly recommend you sign up for the weekly United Thru Action (UTA) list — it’s put together by VIDers!: 
https://unitedthruaction.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=5d39856e5e769397f8feaaa33&id=2db91abf42

Fifth

On the Dilley Pro Bono Project:  If you were inspired by the work being done there, here are some things you can do to help:

  1. Volunteer, or encourage your friends to volunteer, by emailing volunteer@caraprobono.org.
    • If you are a lawyer who speaks Spanish, this is a required trip, both for you and for the cause.  If you know any lawyers who speak Spanish, tell them that they have to sign up for this program — as much for themselves as for their clients.
    • Data entry team.  If you are willing to do simple data entry, you can be of assistance!
    • Remote Spanish-English Interpretation Provide remote Spanish-English interpretation for volunteers on the ground who don’t speak Spanish!
  2. If you do not have time, you can donate by clicking here: https://secure.everyaction.com/BS6Q9eElpEuRBxDyh9WxiA2?ms=CARA-Dilley_Artesia-OTG.  The project is severely underfunded, and basic office supplies are often purchased by staff and volunteers out-of-pocket.  You can also directly purchase items off the DPBP Amazon Wish List here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2NM5FBYOV8T4X.
  3. If you have neither the time nor the money, spread the word on social media!
  4. If you are an experienced immigration attorney, and you are really ready to dive in, DPBP is hiring a Managing Attorney: https://aic-1.jobsoid.com/j/16977/managing-attorney-dilley-pro-bono-project.
  5. If you’d rather work more locally, Liane’s organization has many volunteer opportunities available.  You can start by checking their website here: https://www.catholiccharitiesnyvolunteer.org/.

Thanks to all of you, and see you at our next meeting, on February 14.

Best,
David