VID Endorsed Joe Biden

VID officially endorsed Joe Biden for US President! 

At the April 2nd General Meeting VID Officially Endorsed Joe Biden, Welcomed Four Speakers and Voted on the SWEAT Bill Resolution

Endorsements and Primary Voting

Joe Biden

[April 30 Update]  VID Endorsed Joe Biden with a vote of 28;  12 for Bernie Sanders, and 2 for No Endorsement.  The Democratic Presidential Primary  in New York State rescheduled for June 23, 2020 has been cancelled.  The state and federal primaries are still scheduled for June 23rd. 

  • All eligible voters in active or inactive status will be mailed an absentee ballot application for a primary or special election to be held on June 23.
  • The Special Election in Congressional District 27 is NOT cancelled and all previously submitted absentee ballots for this contest will remain valid.
  • The following Special Elections are cancelled: SD-50, AD-12, AD-31, AD-136; Queens Borough President; NYC Council District 37. The vacancies will be filled at the November General Election.

You can also download an the form requesting an Absentee Ballot here.  Application must filed by June 16th, use only blue or black ink.  Send or bring in person to the NYC Board of Elections:  42 Broadway, 7 Fl, New YorkNY 10004. 

[Note:  After making your votes on the ballot, fold the ballot and put it in a smaller envelope. Sign and date the back of the envelope. Seal the envelope and put it in the larger envelope that is addressed to the Board of Elections. Mail or deliver your ballot to your borough Board of Elections office.]

The absentee ballot you pick up or receive must be postmarked by the day before Election Day and must reach the Board of Elections no more than 7 days after the election to be counted. 

[See April 26 Letter to the Board of Elections Regarding the Presidential Primary]

Meeting Reports

David gave the President’s report.  He talked about the difficulty of activism in the era of isolation.  He mentioned the disastrous budget situation – from bail reform and discovery reform rollbacks, to Medicaid cuts, to failure to tax the rich, and more, and how it was difficult to lobby without being able to flood the Capitol building.  However, he noted that we are still doing a great job as a community watching out for each other.  He mentioned a program to make calls to seniors in the neighborhood – please email with your availability to make calls, along with any languages you speak other than English (optional).

Jim Yates added a comment that rollbacks to bail reform and discovery reform were more minor than expected thanks to work by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie fighting against both the Governor and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

See VID’s Resolution in support of 

Next, Jen Hoppe gave her District Leader report.  She noted the Presidential primary date, along with the Queens Borough President and City Council District 37 Special Elections, were moved to June 23 with the other Democratic primaries.  Jen also noted that NY-27, in Buffalo, would be a competitive race for Democrats, since the Republican incumbent is going to jail, and his (close) challenger from 2018 is running again.

Senator Brad Hoylman gave a report on the budget.  He noted that the Senate had their backs against the wall, given that the Governor has enormous control over the budget process (due to Silver v. Pataki) and given how popular the Governor is right now.  He noted some accomplishments they fought for – legalizing surrogacy, funding schools, and minimizing healthcare cuts.  But ultimately he voted yes out of support for the the conference and for Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins.  Senator Hoylman was asked about the rent freeze bill.  He responded that he is a co-sponsor and urged the club to push the Governor to enact it in the remaining months of session.

Committee Reports

The club then moved into committee reports.  The Animal Welfare committee reported that the resolution on animal welfare bills would be pushed to May for reasons related to the death of Judy Richheimer.  The Gun Reform committee reported few developments and that new gun bills might be difficult to fight for.  The Campaign Committee and Out-of-District Elections Committee gave a joint report.  Brad Hoylman has an opponent, who is an anti-vaxxer, and Penny Mintz decided to primary Rachel Lavine.  Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, and John Wang also have races.  We will be doing a mailer and evaluating other ways to campaign for our candidates.  Meanwhile, Vote Blue has raised over $8000 for buses, but work is on hold due to the quarantine.  We hope still to be able to send the buses between Labor Day and the Election. The Campaign Finance Committee reported no update.  The Education Committee reported on schools, which are now doing remote learning, with some success.  Food is available for pickup from schools as well.  There was no Environmental Committee report.  The Housing Committee reported the need to work on the rent freeze bill.  [See Joint Letter on Rent Relief]

Guest Speakers

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein addressed the club.  He noted that Beth Israel’s vacant beds were being used for COVID-19, though the long-term future is unknown.  He also gave an update on the budget, noting that he voted against parts of it due to failures on criminal justice, budget justice, and healthcare funding.

Tosh Anderson introduced the resolution supporting the SWEAT bill.  He noted that wage theft has always been a problem, but it’s an even worse problem now during the pandemic.  However, the fate of the bill is also much more in the air due to the crisis.  VID’s SWEAT resolution passed, with 22 in favor, 1 opposed, and 3 abstaining.

Councilmember Ben Kallos gave an update on NYC procurement in response to the pandemic, including the creation of new hospital beds.  He noted that the operator of beds in Central Park was using only Christian volunteers, possibly in contravention of the law, but that we desperately need the beds, and turning them down could cost lives.

Borough President Gale Brewer gave an update on her efforts in terms of procurement and education of the constituency.  She noted NYC Food Czar Catherine Garcia saved our food supply by negotiating with distributors at the Hunts Points facility.  She also touted the census, urging members to fill it out, and hoping Manhattan would have the highest response rate of any borough. 

Here are the Full Meeting Minutes.  You can view the video of the Zoom meeting here:  If it won’t play, you can download it to you computer or phone and then play the file, though the file is large.

[See also VID Letter in Support of Jean Montrevil Pardon, April 29, 2020]

We will resume our regularly scheduled meetings in May, but they will of course remain virtual, via Zoom, until it’s safe to meet in person.  To access the meeting on Thursday, May 14, at 6:30pm, contact VID President David Siffert for link and ID#.