Nov 232018
 

High Spirits Dominated the November 2018 Meeting with NYS Senate Democratic Majority and Congressional Victories Throughout the State and Nation.

Erik Coler opened the November 2018 Meeting with congratulations to a long list of VID members whose unceasing volunteerism made a tangible difference, with a special shout out to Erik Bottcher, Laurie Hardjowirogo, and Tony Hoffmann.

There was a discussion about the Public Advocate’s Forum to be held on November 12, and whether the club should co-sponsor.  The club voted to co-sponsor with the caveat that all who ask to appear will be included, possibly at future VID meetings.

Erik also announced that the elections for club President and three Vice Presidents will be held in December, and he explained the rules.

November 2018 Meeting_Keen Berger

Keen Berger moves on to the proposed Bleecker St. School after victory at 75 Morton.

Keen Berger’s District Leader report also included congratulations for the club’s role in electing Antonio Delgado, Max Rose, and Ron Kim, and the NYS Senate victories.  She spoke of her role in public schools and a possible future fight for the Bleecker Street school.  

november-2018-meeting_brad-hoylman

State Sen. Brad Hoylman discusses priorities of the newly Democrat majority senate.

Brad Hoylman, three term State Senator, gave a speech about recent victories in local races, and gave an agenda of things for the new Senate majority to implement.  Among these are voting reform, ethics reform, womens reproductive health, anti-fracking waste laws, rent laws, the NY Health Act, the child victims act, LLC loopholes, and fixing the MTA.

Rachel Lavine, State Committeewoman,congratulated Brad on his performance in the Senate, and then thanked VID for its support.  She congratulated the NYS Senate on doubling the number of women members.  She spoke of the Jeff Sessions firing and how people must urge Sen. Schumer to protest it.  She spoke of the lawsuit her wife Robbie was bringing against Trump, and how it was being combined with the NY Southern District suit against Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.

 

November 2018 Meeting_Rachel Lavine

Rachel Lavine (right) who now sits on the NYS DC Executive Committee

Next up at the November 2018 meeting was Ben Yee, State Committeeman, who congratulated Rachel on her new position on the Executive Committee of the State Committee.  There will be County Committee elections in 2019 and he urged everyone to run.  All meetings will be live-streamed on Facebook.  There was also a resolution introduced condemning the anti-Semitic mailer sent out  at the last minute against Cynthia Nixon.

 

Committee Reports

Nat Johnson, Chair of the Environmental Committee, reported the environmentally correct bags were selling well; that on Thursday mornings there will be composting on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly.  Since the holidays are coming, he urged people not to use bows, to use recyclable packaging (tissue paper is not recyclable), and pushed recyclable straws.  He also advised us about upcoming events on solar power, coastal resilience, and managing solid waste.  He urged us to call Governor Cuomo to express opposition to the Williams Pipeline.  BTW Nat circulated a link to the new improved recycline pamphlets.

Deb Sherman, of the Gun Reform Committee, passed out anti-gun postcards to be signed and advised of upcoming Gays Against Guns (GAG) meetings.

Tony Hoffmann and Laurie Hardjowirogo of the Campaign Committee talked of the campaigning they did in NY, Long Island, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  They also thanked Kate Linker and Yayoi for their help.  They spoke of the buses sent, the volunteers, canvassing and the money raised, and thanked a long list of members for their time.

FULL MEETING MINUTES

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Nov 012018
 

VID’s October Meeting Welcomed Senator Brad Hoylman, Borough President Gale Brewer and Andrew Berman, Exec Director GVSHP

FULL OCTOBER MEETING MINUTES

The October Meeting also featured reports from Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee, Nat Johnson of the Environmental Committee, District Leader Keen Berger, Deb and Allison Stowell of the Gun Reform Committee and Alison Greenberg reporting on the SBJSA bill.  Topping this off were endorsements for Judicial candidates and the ballot Propositions.

October Meeting sets up buses for out of district candidatesDiscussions began with the Campaign Committee with Tony Hoffmann speaking of buses scheduled for swing districts, with VID the leading sponsor among many downtown clubs.  Jerry Nadler is a major participant, and Scott Stringer wants to be part of the effort.  Tony also asked for volunteers at Abingdon Square for fund raising for the buses.

District Leader Keen Berger expressed optimism and exhorted people to get on buses and campaign.  She also mentioned the upcoming County Committee meeting, which she said was unprecedented, and said we could make a difference as half the club was on the Committee.  Benjamin Yee has since written about the October 29th meeting in his latest report.

Andrew Berman, Executive Director of GVSHP, addressed the October meeting about the Tech Hub and clarified his position in opposition to City Council’s Carlina Rivera.  He spoke of Carlina’s past support for landmarking protections and Rosie Mendez’s enthusiastic support for them in order to control gentrification of the neighborhood.  He faced three members of CB3, among them Susan Stetser, and Pedro Carillo of Carlina’s office, with questions.  There was a general discussion.

Gale Brewer, Borough President, spoke on the Tech Hub and the three Charter Proposals, urging a “no” vote on Proposals 2 and 3.  She claimed that even though the Tech Hub had been okayed with zoning and landmarking protections, there was still leverage to negotiate them.

State Senator Brad Hoylman spoke for Andrew Cuomo, emphasizing that it was time to unite.  He spoke of the State Senate having an operational Democratic majority and Andrea Stewart Cousins poised to be the first African-American leader.  He spoke of upcoming legislation and the need for environmental laws, subway funding, congestion pricing, and closing corporate loopholes.

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, reported on the September 20 visit to the Sims Recycling Center.  The Sanitation Department has suspended its organics collection program because of plan inefficiencies.  Deb Sherman touted the reusable VID bags, $3 for members and $5 for non-members.

Deb and Allison Stowell made the report for the Gun Reform Committee.  They said that after meeting with Brad Hoylman’s chief of staff, they were assured that ERPO would pass as part of the budget process.  In addition, issues like 3D guns, ghost guns, raise the age and bump stocks would possibly be addressed by legislation.  A letter to Joseph Popcun, of Governor Cuomo’s office, was passed around for signatures.  Allison and Deb also met with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, who were going to college campuses to ask students to sign pledges to vote.

People spoke for the three Supreme Court nominees, Lynn Kotler, Alex Tisch, and Mary Rosado and they were all endorsed unanimously.

Jim Yates spoke against Charter Proposals #2 and #3, calling them a transparent attempt by City Hall to take power from the Community Boards and the City Council.  Proposition #1 was endorsed 17-6.  Proposition #2 was not endorsed, 0-19.  Proposition #3 was not endorsed, 1-18 with 2 no endorsements.

There was a discussion for and against endorsing Governor Cuomo.  He was endorsed 19 to 4 no endorse ballots.

 

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Oct 012018
 

Congressman Nadler Updates VID at August 2018 MeetingAugust 2018 Meeting Featured Updates from Congressman Jerry Nadler and Covered Primary Plans, Immigration, Environment and Gun Reform

President Erik Coler opened the August 2018 Meeting with a request to insert the Immigration Resolution into the Agenda after the Committee Reports.  This was unanimously approved along with the rest of the Agenda.  He then announced there would be no September meeting as Primary Day falls on the normal second Thursday of the month and that that the County Committee meeting would most likely be held in the last week of August, according to Ben Yee.

Keen Berger’s District Leader Report covered the race for Civil Court Judge by Robert Rosenthal, the VID endorsed candidate.  Sheshe asked for volunteers.

Nat Johnson gave the Environmental Committee Report next, filling us in on the planned tour of the Sims Municipal Recycling Center on September 20.  The club is selling $3 reusable bags.  Styrofoam will be banned as of January 1, and there will be a town hall about composting.

Laurie Hardjowirogo spoke for the Voter Reform Committee.  The anti-IDC campaign is very successful with phone banking for Robert Jackson, John Liu, and Alessandra Biaggi.  She will be campaigning with Antonio Delgado upstate on August 26, and Kate Linker will be hosting a phone bank for Anthony Brindisi and Max Rose on August 16.  She advised anyone interested in participating to contact her for more info.

Now Allison Stowell spoke for the Gun Reform Committee.  Alessandra Biaggi had come out in favor of ERPO/ the Red Flag law, so they were planning to coordinate with the Voter Reform Committee to stage an event to support her.  Brad Hoylman sponsored S.B. 9145 to ban 3D “ghost guns”.  Allison said Cuomo was campaigning on the Red Flag bill and she was hopeful he was sincere because he doesn’t like to lose.

Jerry Nadler Update

Now the big event–Congressman Jerry Nadler gave a speech about the Mueller investigation and gave his analysis of Trump’s motives.  He spoke of Trump’s narcissism and lack of understanding of government processes, his calling the press “the enemy of the people” and calling the FBI and Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt”.  He spoke of Trump’s and Pence’s racism and negativity, contrasting him with Bernie Sanders, who had real solutions.  Trump’s solution is “Only I can fix it”.

Nadler spoke of the danger of this appeal, which is typically fascistic, and he spoke of the Russian hacking of emails and how a candidate can’t accept anything valuable to a campaign, especially from a foreign power.  He said Bernie was good at uniting the party after the election, but the split was exacerbated by Trump.

He spoke of the Hollywood Axis tape, meeting with Putin alone, the FBI investigation of Hillary, and the need to protect Rosenstein and Mueller.  He spoke of the movement to impeach the President and reminded us he is the ranking member of the Judicial Committee, who would supervise that process.  He said it was foolish to push impeachment now and that it should wait until after the election, when hopefully the House will be in Democratic hands.

Jerry also talked about the Trump assault on the social safety net and the disastrous immigration policies–and the importance of subpoenaing the tax returns.

Finally, after some questions, Jerry left to a standing ovation.

More Committee Reports

Tony Hoffmann gave the Campaign Committee Report.  He began by soliciting volunteers for Election Day, and then introduced Tiffany Hodges, who also spoke of the need for volunteers and ads and digital media.  She mentioned going to Rhinebeck to campaign for Delgado.

Tony mentioned Rachel Lavine’s campaign against Penny Mintz for NYS Democratic Committeewoman for downtown Manhattan, noting that the Board of Elections had disqualified Mintz’s petitions, but Penny was appealing the ruling, so it was unclear if she would be on the ballot.  He brought up Robert Rosenthal and Tish James, and gave Elissa Stein credit for the graphic design of the campaign literature and ads, which she donated pro bono.  Starting September 15, the club will be dispatching buses to CD’s to make Congress blue.

Dave Siffert of the Immigration and Family Reunification Committee read the new Immigration Resolution, which unanimously passed with one friendly amendment.

Last up was Ben Yee, State Committeeman of the 66th AD, who is running unopposed.  He outlined the calendar for the County Committee, with an August 18 Day of Action for Max Rose and a meeting probably on the 28th to address rules changes proposed eight months ago.

Under New Business:

David Siffert solicited volunteers to do screening interviews of immigrants for Catholic Charities.  He is also holding a postcard party at his home for Alessandra Biaggi on the 13th.

Anne Heaney advocated for a rally against fossil fuels at Cuomo’s office on the 12th.

Sharon Woolums touted her new article in the Villager advocating for the SBJSA act.

Nadine Hoffmann spoke of how she and the Recording Secretary, Kathy Slawinski, attended the City Council meeting on immigration reform and the club donated $250 in gift cards to Damyn Kelly at Lutheran Social Services.  A picture was taken of Nadine, Kathy, David, and other club members with the check.

FULL MEETING MINUTES

 

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Jul 232018
 

The July 12 Membership Meeting Was All About Petitions, Canvassing, Immigration and Resolutions

Full Meeting Minutes Here

The first item on the agenda was a vote to combine the August Membership Meeting with the Executive Committee Meeting on August 27, 2018. Erik Coler announced the passing of VID member Barbara Austin with a funeral to be held on the 17th. 

Nadine Hoffmann and Kathy Slawinski reported on a meeting they had attended at City Hall where Corey Johnson and the City Council, along with certain agencies and administration executives, made a presentation on the current state of the immigration crisis and family reunification.  It was brought out that the Council had passed a resolution urging Congress to pass, and the President to sign, S.B. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act.  This bill was sponsored by Diane Feinstein and supported by all the Dems in the Senate, without the support of any Republicans.  Most, though not all, Council members present also called for the abolishment of ICE.  And the fact that fully 25% of all those seeking sanctuary at the border are fleeing from domestic violence means these will be denied entry due the President’s new directive disallowing domestic violence as a cause for immigration. 

Tony Hoffmann made a motion for the club to donate $250 in gift cards to the appropriate agencies.  This passed unanimously.  Jen Hoppe volunteered that an agency had raised $250,000 in contributions, and had reunited seven women with their children.

Deborah Glick thanked VID for its petitioning efforts.  She also conveyed Kathy Hochul’s gratitude for VID’s help.  Deborah said it was very impressive and she was very grateful.

Ed Yutkowitz now discussed his resolution against the administrtion’s “zero tolerance” policy and urging family reunification and new policies, and urging the electeds to team up with religious leaders in order to maintain the moral high ground.  This spurred a discussion about religion’s place, and Kathy maintained that you can be an atheist and be a moral person.  Cameron Krause reminded us  there was another resolution to come out of the Immigration and Family Reunification Committee.  Frieda Bradlow stated there was an Immigration Detention Center at 201 Varick Street with detainees held over two years in cruel and inhumane conditions, and said detention conditions should be added to the new resolution.  Ed’s resolution passed unanimously.

Brad Hoylman expressed his disappointment in the last legislative session, in which nothing significant was passed.  The speed camera legislation expires 7/25 and will not be in place for summer school.  The Republicans are afraid of choice for women, so the Reproductive Health Act did not pass.  The failure of the political bosses was breathtaking.  But there was legislation to create a state hymn with Christian lyrics!  He warned about the legislature drawing the lines for Congressional seats while under the control of the R’s, and mentioned the IDC coming back to the Democratic fold.  ERPO did not pass, but Brad is working with Brian Kavanaugh to pass it in the fall.  He spoke about the failure of voting reforms, and said Cindy Nixon was not wrong to call it voter suppression. 

He advocated fixing the statute of limitations on the sex abuse of children, and transgender protections.  He declined to endorse anyone in the IDC races, saying endorsements don’t help candidates–more important is an organic voter response.  He listed the most important pickup races–James Skoufis, Elaine Phillips, and Marty Golden.

Tony Hoffmann gave the Campaign Committee Report, congratulating the petitioners, who numbered 47 to 50.  There were over 1600 signatures for Brad and Deborah, and no opponents to the judicial delegate slate.  He discussed Arthur Schwartz’s campaign, and Penny Mintz running against Rachel Lavine for State Committeewoman.  Ben Yee, State Committeeman, has no opponent.  July 19 will be the first campaign meeting, and Erik Bottcher and Laurie Hardjowirogo proposed the club take the lead to go to the CD’s to campaign.

Kate Linker was next, paying tribute to Yayoi.  She said we must take back the House, at least 24 seats, with 30 highly winnable.  There will be canvassing upstate for Antonio Delgado.  There was a discussion about busing for this.  Tony recounted that in the past all other clubs involved were asked for $500 each, with some paying what they can, and sales for cookies and buttons.  He proposed VID take the lead, and this passed unanimously.

Alec Pruchnicki said he will write an article for Westview News about CD11, Staten Island.

And Laurie’s email was read about John Liu’s last minute campaign against Tony Avella.

Under New Business:

Tom Connor outlined the situation at Greenwich House Senior Center, where the Executive Director wants to throw the seniors out and have them sent to Our Lady of Pompei, a problematic site.  They are saying they can’t raise enough money to pay the staff, and the seniors are terrified.  Erik Bottcher is on top of the situation, and said he hoped to make progress in the next few days.  Erik Coler asked Tom to write a resolution and come to the Executive Meeting. [See coverage in The Villager regarding the saved center]

Alec spoke of an article by David Cay Johnston about investigating Trump , urging the NY Attorney General to force him to release his tax returns.  He brought a letter to Governor Cuomo urging this.  Erik Coler said he will send the letter to other clubs, and it will be brought up at the Executive Meeting.

Frieda said Annette Zaner sends her regards from Village Care.  She will be discharged in August, and will go to an assisted living complex in Chicago.

The meeting was adjourned.

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