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

November 7 Ballot Endorsements

At the Oct. 12th Meeting VID voted upon November 7 Ballot  Endorsements

VID voted to oppose proposal #1 and approved proposals # 2 and #3.  For City Council District 1 there was no endorsement.

On the first of the November 7 ballot endorsements asking for a majority vote for a Constitutional Convention, VID unanimously rejected the proposal and thus agreed with the opinion of the New York Civil Liberties Union at the September meeting.  Question #2, “Allowing the Complete or Partial Forfeiture of a Public Officer’s Pension if He or She is Convicted of a Certain Type of Felony,” and question #3 “Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes” received unanimous approval at the October meeting.

 You can see the full text of all three proposed ammendments here.

Because VID’s primary endorsed candidate, Christopher Marte, was defeated by incumbent Councilperson Margaret Chin, the membership then took up the question of whether to make a second endorsement for the General Election.  Mr. Marte, as a result of several write-ins on the Independence Party line, moved to take up the option to running as an Independence Party candidate.  After a lengthy debate, that considered whether a Democratic Club should endorse an Independence Party candidate at all,  the membership voted to make no endorsement with 19 votes.  Marte received 11 votes and Chin 5.

November 7 ballot endorsements were not the only topics of the October 12th meeting, however.  

November-7-ballot-endorsements_YeeAfter reports from District Leaders Keen Berger and Arthur Schwartz (who announced that he was leaving the Village Reform Democratic Club), County Committeeman and County Committee Secretary, Ben Yee reported on the status of several rules changes that had been introduced at the County Committee meeting in September.  Though anticipated to be reviewed by the Rules sub-committee, they have not.  The Executive Board, which had met before, decided to table the resolutions. The County Committee will reconvene in three months to review certain resolutions–in particular, one asking Keith Wright to step down from one of his positions, and also one asking the IDC to rejoin the Democrats or not get support from the party.  Ben applauded Rachel Lavine’s work with the Progressive Caucus as very important.   You can read more about the NYS Progressive Caucus here.

And get updates from Ben Yee here.

Laurie Hardjowirogo briefly of her campaign in CD 19 against John Faso. Both Laurie and Jen Hoppe announced coordination with the Keep VA Blue initiative, Nov 4th with a bus leaving NYC for an overnight in a tight district in Pennsylvania to get out the vote.  Tony Hoffmann and Laurie discussed VID palm cards to be distributed at every polling place in the district letting voters know ofour opposition to the Constitutional Convention.  The Supreme Court nominees must be endorsed, but because of time limits, he asked for permission for the Executive Committee to make the endorsement.  This passed unanimously.

The last item on the agenda was a visit from Marc Fliedner, running against Cy Vance for NYC District Attorney.  He offered a summary of his background and qualifications–30 years of criminal justice experience, mostly prosecuting hate crimes, and sex crimes.  He has since found a Manhattan residence, so he will qualify for the ballot.  Erik Bottcher spoke up for his work in the LGBTQ community.

You can read the full minutes of the October 12th Meeting here.