The start of the New Year was all about standing up and being counted…
Throughout Manhattan VID Members and friends gathered to support progressive agendas. At the January 11 General Meeting, Erik Coler got the ball rolling on standing up and being counted by introducing his newest idea – posting anti-Trump fliers in coffee shops to stimulate membership in VID. [Meeting Minutes Here]
NYS Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli
This meeting also hosted NYS Comptroller Tom DeNapoli who regaled the club with a speech congratulating Jerry Nadler, Brad Hoylman, Deborah Glick, and others. He complimented the VID holiday party and spoke of the intricacies of the comptroller’s office and the financial soundness of the city, then took questions about prison reform, Medicaid and nursing homes.
On the Immigration front, Keen Berger and Erik Bottcher reported on the demonstration for Ravi Ragbir, head of the New Sanctuary Coalition. Erik Bottcher spoke about the rally, which was attended by Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and during which two Councilmembers, Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez, were arrested. Keen also mentioned Jean Montreal, who also is in danger of deportation.
The Environmental Committee met on January 19th. Nat Johnson, Chair of the committee, reported that the Trump administration was undermining EPA regulations, which required public hearings, not being held in New York. He urged members to register objections at the EPA website. The night before they had met with the Manhattan Solid Waste Management organization.
Laurie Hardjowirogo solicited volunteers for the True Blue anti-IDC phone banks.
On Saturday, January 20th a large number of VID Members and friends gathered for the Women’s March. (See the slideshow for Tony Hoffmann’s pictures).
On January 22, VID Member, Livvey Mann host a second-home registration phone bank.
On January 25th there was an anti-IDC demonstration in front of Senator Flanagan’s office.
And, then there were the Inauguration festivities for Councilmember Carlina Rivera and for Council Speaker Corey Johnson (also depicted in the slide show – thank you Tony).
Seven years ago, VID was crucial in getting Jean Montrevil released from detention — he was on his way to Haiti and death. Since then he has raised his four children (his youngest is now at Brooklyn Tech), paid taxes, helped many people, and …. of course, checked in regularly and never had any brushes with the law.
Nat Johnson, VID’s Environmental Committee Chair; John Franceschina. President, New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) and Greg Hale. Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy & Finance, Office of the Governor
REV’s 2030 goals include a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; 50% of electricity from renewable sources; 23% reduction in energy consumption of buildings from 2012 levels. Ambitious but as Greg Hale, Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy & Finance, Office of the Governor says, “Doable.” Their strategy is to support a broad range of renewable options, from rooftop solar panels to grid-scale wind farms, all with an emphasis on integrating these diverse energy sources into the grid. Simultaneously, New York is working to reduce soft costs and other market barriers to make these solutions more competitive in the energy market. To accomplish this REV has embarked on more than 40 initiatives covering seven categories:
Another fast-growing option utilizes Geothermal energy. John Franceschina, President, New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) explained the process and benefits for using ground-source heat pumps to heat and cool buildings in New York State. First, it is a naturally available and steady resource; the earth itself is a solar collector as well as an energy storage system. Geothermal heat pump (GHP) Systems are extremely scalable, from low income housing to community loops serving multiple buildings on college campuses (such as the Skidmore Energy Node Project). Since the Renewable Energy Forum, on December 11, 2017, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan and New York State Senator Robert Ortt announced the passage of their new law allowing geothermal heating & cooling systems to be included in New York’s On-Bill Recovery Financing Program. This program, administered by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), allows homeowners, small businesses and not-for-profits to finance energy efficiency improvements through a charge on their utility bill.