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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Mar 072015
 
Saving small business_Panel

Panelists (left to right): Jenny Dubnau, Alfred Placeres, Steven Null, Steven Barrison ,Esq, Lincoln Anderson, Robert Perl and Mark Crispin Miller

 

UPDATE:  On March 5th there was  a small business forum co-sponsored by The Villager and VID, at Judson Memorial Church

On Thursday, March 5th at 7 pm neighbors, local business people, and a panel of experts convened for a Small Business Forum to discuss means to save and protect small businesses.  It was held  at Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South. The forum was organized by Sharon Woolums, long-time VID member and the panel moderated by Lincoln Anderson, Editor-in-Chief at The Villager.

The Issues

Currently landlords determine the destiny of small business owners, their workers, and, ultimately, the character and culture of an entire community.  But two pending legislations, looking at the issue from opposite directions claim to be the solution to save our small businesses.

  1. A new resolution introduced January 22 at City Hall calls upon Albany to pass legislation establishing a property tax credit for commercial landlords who ”voluntarily” limit rent increases upon renewal as incentives to not rent gouge.
  2. In City Council committee: the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, (S.B.J.S.A.) regulates lease renewal process giving rights to business owners to arbitrate fair lease terms and 10 year leases.
  3. OR…is there a better solution?

Panelists:

Steven Null
Owner of three start up small businesses in Manhattan in mid 1970’s. Founder of Coalition for Fair Business Rents in mid 1986, the first citywide advocacy group to stop the high rent increases. Researched and wrote the original Arbitration Bill introduced by former Councilmember Ruth Messinger in 1986.  Appointed to first Mayoral Small Business Advisory Task Force by Mayor Dinkins. Founder of Coalition to Save Small Businesses in 2008 Co Founder of Small Business Congress in 1991.  Help rewrite the Arbitration Bill for Council Member Robert Jackson which became the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. 

Alfred Placeres
Founder NYS Federation Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and former member of USA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chair of eastern US district; member of both City and State advisory committees on small business over the past 25 years.

Jenny Dubnau
Spokesperson for The Artist Studio Affordability Project – coalition of arts groups fighting to preserve our city’s arts and cultural organizations.

Steven Barrison , Esq.
Member of the Board of Directors of the New York Main Street Alliance since 1992.  President and founder of Bay Improvement Group, a local main street coalition based in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; Co-Chair Coalition To Save NYC Small Businesses; Attorney for 25 years representing both landlords and tenants in commercial lease negotiations, citywide.

Mark Crispin Miller
NYU professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. Known for his writing and activism on behalf of democratic media reform; a strong voice and organizer for the Village community’s fight against the proposed NYU expansion; an outspoken critic of overdevelopment and the social consequences of rapid gentrification of a community which follows aggressive unchecked speculation. 

Robert Perl
President of Tower Brokerage, and a real estate specialist in the East Village. Mr. Perl’s company has rented thousands of apartments and stores and have sold scores of buildings and development sites.  He has been active in civic matter affecting the community and appeared on several panels dealing with neighborhood development and has given an accurate assessment of the role real estate plays in changes to a community.

The Options Discussed

1. Small Business Jobs Survival Act
2. Tax incentives to landlords to not raise commercial rents 
3. The use of Zoning reform to stabilize a business strip
4. Create a Small Business Retail Retention Task Force  
 
 
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Dec 232014
 

Saving Small BusinessesVID Member Sharon Woolums addresses the issue of saving small businesses…

in an insightful Talking Point piece in The Villager (December 18) titled Mom-and-Pop shops: Are they too small to save?

To Ms. Woolums saving small businesses centers on the failure of the New York City Council to act on the proposed  Small Business Jobs Survival Act (S.B.J.S.A.), which was originally introduced by Councilmember Ruth Messinger in 1986, has been bottled up in a Council committee for the past four years, and denied a vote by the full City Council for 28 years.

For this piece she interviewed Councilmembers Corey Johnson, Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez on the issue.  As a counterbalance, she elicited comments from Mr. Sung Soo Kim a 30-year veteran in the fight to save small business and founder of the Korean American Small Business Service Center.  Mr. Kim also created the first Small Business Bill of Rights in New York City.

The sixth in a series that Ms. Wollums has authored on saving small businesses, it concludes with a call to action to move the legislation forward in 2015:  Voters must act by all means possible: e-mail, tweet, phone, Facebook, petition and write letters to the editor. It takes 26 City Council votes to follow the will of the people and pass legislation that will save our small businesses. As for the Village — and the rest of New York — if this crisis does not end now, we won’t recognize this unique place we call home.

Here are the links to the others in the series:

There’s only one way to save our small businesses

V.I.D. (again) approves small business bill; Will Council?

It’s time for final push to pass small business bill

Who has the guts to fight for our small businesses?

Will a Democrat for mayor stand up for small stores?

At the Dec 13, 2013 meeting VID passed a resolution in support of small business preservation

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