Jan 312013

VID Members gathered on January 10 to hear Congressman Nadler and to vote for new officers and an Executive Committee

On January 10th VID members gathered for the 2013 Annual Meeting.  You can read the full VID General Meeting Minutes January 10 2013.

The meeting began with a report from District Leader Keen Berger updating on the progress of the proposed new school at 75 Morton St., an announcement regarding State Senator Brad Hoylman’s swearing in ceremony and an announcement about choosing the new Part A and Part B boundaries of the 66th election district.

Following Keen’s report was a typically thorough review of congressional politics from Congressman Nadler which you can  see in our previous post and summarized in the attached VID General Meeting Minutes.

The VID General Meeting Minutes also provide a thorough run down on the elections of that meeting as well as the reports of the newly formed 2013 Elections Committee, the Fund-Raising Committee and the Technology Committee.

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     Posted by at 2:34 pm
    Jan 132013

    Congressman Nadler briefs VID on DC legislation

    Coverage provided by Katharine Wolpe

    Congressman Jerrold Nadler briefed VID on the prognosis for gun control, the debt ceiling,  tax code changes and entitlement legislation facing the current Congress.  First, he predicted that there would be not be much chance for passage of meaningful gun control legislation because of the powerful NRA, which lobbies for gun manufacturers.

    Then he discussed fiscal issues in some detail.  To reduce the budget deficit, Republicans want to cut entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, SSI, veterans’ benefits) and discretionary spending (Section 8, funding for housing, health, and infrastructure).  In 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration, there was a budget surplus.  President Bush pushed a program for tax cuts.  There are five main causes for the current deficit: 1) 40% due to the tax cuts; 2) two unfunded wars (Iraq, Afghanistan); 3) the new Medicare drug program; 4) stimulus spending starting in 2009; and 5) the recession which started in 2007, causing lower tax receipts and more unemployment.  Nadler said that more nondiscretionary spending was needed to put more people into jobs.  European countries who cut expenses have gone deeper into recession.

    If Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling which it has done 77 times since World War II, the Federal Government would default, interest rates would spike, all government spending would automatically be reduced by sequestration, and there would probably be a worldwide depression.  Since Republicans want the government to be smaller, they want to cut spending ($1.2 trillion in cuts during the last fiscal year).  Sequestration (the automatic cutting of the Federal budget by a percentage across the board) would result in a $600 billion cut in all spending including defense and social services.  Democrats would reject tax cuts for those making over $450,000 a year, and extend unemployment pay and funding for such programs as day care for children.  Nadler advocates abolishing the debt ceiling.

    During the question period, he was asked about the elimination of loopholes in the tax code.  Nadler recommends adding tax brackets for higher taxes on rich people and eliminating loopholes such as  reduced taxes on corporate funds held overseas and taxing capital gains as income. He also advocates a transaction tax on Wall St. trades.

    In response to a question on entitlements vs. jobs for older adults, Nadler explained that the increase in life expectancy, an argument used to support raising the age for recipients of Social Security and Medicare, was due to a decline in infant mortality and is true only for upper income, not lower income people.  He opposes a age change for Social Security and Medicare recipients, and also opposes “means testing” for receiving such benefits because it would reduce the middle class’s stake in discretionary spending for the poor, which helps provide economic security and a pathway to a better life.

    Congressman Nadler would not make a prediction on whether the $51 billion funding for Hurricane  Sandy recovery will pass when the vote is held on January 15.

    See also:  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/276703-the-debt-ceiling-must-go an Op-Ed by Congressman Nadler, Jan. 11, 2013

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      Jan 132013

       VID completes new slate of officers and elects 2013 Exec Committee on January 10th after a stimulating update from Congressman Jerry Nadler,   (See related post) VID completes new slate of officers and elected a new executive committee for 2013.

      The full slate of officers now includes:

      Tony Hoffmann – President
      Nat Johnson, Marti Speranza and Peter Crosta – Vice Presidents
      Linda Jacobson – Treasurer
      Alexander Meadows – Corresponding Secretary
      Lucia Fedora – Recording Secretary

      The new Executive Committee includes:

      Frieda Bradlow; Georgina M. Christ; Tom Connor; James W. Fraser; Jonathan Geballe, Ex Officio; Nadine Hoffmann; Ronald L. Illardo; Irene Kaufman; Ann Kjellberg; Marlene Nadle; Ellen Peterson-Lewis; Alec Pruchnicki; Yvonne Sherwell; Katharine B. Wolpe; Celia Wu; Annette Zaner

      After presentations from the Fund Raising, Election and Technology Committees the list of this month’s committee meetings were announced.  All meetings will be held at VID- 26 Perry Street- Below Ground Level Floor.  They are:

      Campaign Committee: Monday, January 14-7:00 PM;  Peter Crosta- Campaign Chair; David Kruger-Campaign Coordinator

      Fundraising Committee:  Wednesday, January 16-7:00 PM;  Nadine Hoffmann, Marti Speranza- Co-Fundraising Chairs

      Technology Committee:  Tuesday, January 22-7:00 PM;  Nat Johnson and Lucia Fedora, Co-Chairs



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        Jan 022013

         The VID holiday celebration at Frieda Bradlow’s home was, as usual, a warmly welcome event in spite of the rain, wind and chill of December 16th.

        Well-wishers included:   Congressman Jerrold Nadler; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; State Senator-elect Brad Hoylman; Councilwoman Letitia James; Councilwoman Jessica Lappin; Manhattan BP Scott Stringer, Rachel Lavine- Democratic State Committeewoman -66th Assembly District; District Leaders Jennifer Rajkumar (DID), Keen Berger (VID); Julie Menin, former CB#1 Chair and Candidate for Manhattan BP; David Gruber, Chair CB2 and Corey Johnson Chair at  CB4 and candidate for City Council.  Representing Gov Cuomo was Erik Bottcher, the Governor’s assistant for community affairs.  Representing Council Speaker Christine Quinn were Christine McLaughlin and Scott Melvin who presented a lovely Proclamation, on Christine’s behalf, honoring Frieda for her active community life.

        Also present at the VID holiday celebration were new  officers Tony Hoffmann, Nat Johnson, Marti Speranza and Peter Crosta.  Among other VID stalwarts were Jonathan Geballe, Celia Wu, Eli Hausknecht, Nadine Hoffman, Sharon Woolums,  Katharine Wolpe, Georgina Christ, Anne Heaney, Tom Connor, Deley Gazinelli;  members and friends – Judge Frank Nervo, John Bredlin, Dodge Landesman, Peter Smith, Alexander Meadows, Alec Pruchnicki, David Reck and many others who then moved on to the vigil for the Connecticut tragedy and against gun violence.

        All were fortified by an amazing array of delicious home-made pot luck offerings and healthy doses of conversation on fiscal cliffs, gun control, fraking, entitlement protections and local elections in 2013.

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