Jan 172019
 

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

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    Jan 112019
     

    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

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      Jan 102019
       

      The Public Advocate Candidates Forum 2019 Featured 17 Candidates and Nine Clubs

      Held at the LGBT Center on West 13th St, the Public Advocate Candidates Forum 2019 attracted hundreds of activist voters with no shortage of questions to ask of the candidates.  And, the well-credentialed roster was certainly up for the task.  VID endorsed Benjamin Yee for Public Advocate, in a members-only meeting following the Forum.

      Candidates

      The candidates included, in order of appearance, Jared Rich, an Attorney;  Nomiki Konst, a progressive activist and watchdog journalist; Raphael Espinal, NYC Council;  Danny O’Donnell, member of the NYS Assembly;  Dawn Smalls, an Attorney; Daniel Christmann, business owner; Ron Kim, member of the NYS Assembly; David Eisenbach, a history professor at Columbia University; Benjamin Yee, activist and State Committee member; Jumaane Williams, NYC Council; Theo Chino, businessman; Ofeoma Ike, activist, former deputy executive director of the de Blasio administration’s Young Men’s Initiative; Sami Desu, journalist turned activist; Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice;  Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Speaker of the NYC Council; Latrice Walker, member of the NYS Assembly; Michael Blake, Member of the NYS Assembly and Ydanis Rodriguez, NY City Council.

      Another Forum on Jan 29th

      VID is co-sponsoring another Downtown Public Advocates Forum with Grand Street Democrats on January 29th at 6:00pm at the Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway.  Make your reservation.

      Possibly More Run-Offs

      With so many currently elected leaders vying for the post, there could be more run-off elections to follow.  “Depending on the outcome of the February election we could have another — or possibly two other — special elections in 2019 as well,” said Amy Loprest, Executive Director of New York City’s Campaign Finance Board.  The February 26th run-off election will be followed by an off-cycle primary in September, and a general election in November. That’s three elections all in 2019. And that’s the minimum.  WNYC has a podcast on the subject.

      Also appearing at the Forum were NYS Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Richard Gottleib who filled a pause while some candidates were arriving with updates on this year’s Assembly agenda. 

      Sponsoring Clubs

      The co-sponsoring clubs were Village Independent Democrats, Grammercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats, Grand Street Dems, Hells Kitchen Dems, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Samual J. Tilden Democratic Club, Downtown Independent Democrats, Chelsea Reform Democratic Club and the Stonewall Democratic Club.

      You can learn more about VID’s endorsed candidate, Benjamin Yee HERE.

      FULL FORUM MINUTES HERE

      Coverage in The Villager 

       

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        Jan 042019
         

        Cuomo Announces an L-Train Reprieve

        L-Train-Reprieve

        Stemming from a Report by Engineering Experts from Columbia and Cornell Engineering Schools, the L-Train Reprieve Involves  a Series of Recommendations  that Would Employ Innovative Techniques to Streamline the Scope and Timeline of the Tunnel Repair Project 

        The MTA has confirmed that the recommendations can be achieved with full operation weekday service and closures on weekends and nighttime – one tube at a time.  It is estimated that the project could be completed in 15 to 20 months.  

        The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today accepted the recommendations of a panel of engineering experts that determined a complete closure of the L-Train Tunnel is unnecessary. The report – which followed weeks of extensive review and analysis by the deans and faculty of the Columbia University and Cornell University engineering schools – presents a series of innovative engineering methods to streamline the required repair work and limit the impact on l Train service, which provides 400,000 daily rides. Work could be completed on nights and weekends only, with a single tube providing continued service in both directions during work periods. 

        The plan has been presented to and reviewed by the MTA, and it has been confirmed that the report’s goals are achievable within a 15 to 20-month timeframe. The MTA still plans to implement additional subway service where needed, including on the G  M and 7 Trains.

        Read the whole announcement

        And VID’s Resolution of March 2018

         

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