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.
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.
L-Train, KidsRise, Endorsements, Campaigning were the mail topics at February’s General Meeting held at PS 41 on the 8th. John Weatherall spoke a meeting addressing the L train shutdown at a February 14 MTA Open House.
Chris Marte made a report on 85 Bowery, a building where almost 75 residents, children and seniors among them, were evacuated because of structural issues which the new landlord had not addressed. He had disputed the status of the building as rent-stabilized and had not fixed the staircase for two years, so the court ordered the evacuation and gave the landlord two weeks to do the repairs. The tenants, many of whom don’t speak English, were sent to a homeless shelter in East New York, where they were packed six to a room. Both VID and DID sent letters to the local electeds. There’s more background and an update here.
Keen Berger spoke of her work with the New Sanctuary Movement, the deportation of Jean Montrevil to Haiti, and the future deportation of Ravi Ragbir. Both of these people are activists in the NSM. Nydia Velazquez introduced a private bill to rectify the situation. Eric called for a motion that VID support special bill HR 4937–this passed unanimously, and Jonathan Geballe will work on it and send it out.
Assemblymember Deborah Glick introduced Julie Menin–she worked with Julie and CB1 after 9/11, then Julie ran for Borough President, after which Ms. Menin became the Consumer Affairs Commissioner and is now the Media and Entertainment Commissioner, where she is working on womens’ issues such as pay disparity. Deborah applauded her for her long history of community organizing.
Julie expressed her happiness to be back and spoke of NYC Kids Rise, her program to provide low-income children a $1,000 college savings account. She is also involved in protecting the undocumented. In Media and Entertainment, her focus is on various programs to provide women opportunities in film and onstage, including a $5M fund for women filmmakers and playwrights. She also promotes sustainability and when a production is in the neighborhood, everything must be bought locally.
Following Commisssioner Menin the Club listened to the candidates running in the Democratic Primary for Federal offices. The endorsements went to Gillibrand, Nadler and Maloney after in-depth discussion.
Nat Johnson reported for the Environmental Committee, speaking of the four pillars of the Committee: use less and reuse, use everything more efficiently, protect the neighborhood and world environments, and assure progressive policies rooted in social safety nets and environmental justice. There will be a presentation in the VID March 8 meeting featuring Tal Zakan, Senior Coordinator, Organics Outreach, DSNY, to discuss recycling. There will also be a Town Hall followup on these same themes.
Laurie Hardjowirogo recounted a great meeting two weeks ago where phonebanking at Livvey Mann’s persuaded 50 voters to re-register upstate at their second homes. The Committee is working with organizations like True Blue and people like Julian Spector, and will host a forum with Ross Barkan and Andrew Gounardes at Greenwich House.
Tony and Laurie outlined the last Campaign Committee meeting, which was attended by 19 people and set the calendar for endorsements. There will be a forum for statewide candidates on May 7, and a breakfast March 3 which Nadler will probably attend, and petitioning begins March 6.
Our busy November began with a bus trip to Virginia, coordinated by Jen Hoppe with the usual cookie sustainance from Keen Berger. Tony Hoffmann congratulated the Election Committee and VID Members on their incredible performance. November 7th, even though in the world of excitement, this year’s election was not near the top (in NYC). The weather in the morning was cold and in the evening, it rained. Laurie Hardjowirogo, Ed Yutkowitz, Elissa Stein, Irene Kaufman, Jen Hoppe, and Erik Coler led the pack.
The Voter Reform committee’s Laurie Hardjowirogo was very happy to announce that the three candidates she campaigned for upstate all won. Where Indivisible groups were active, results were good; where they weren’t, results were not so good. The second phone bank for upstate second home owners got many people to re-register, and a few went to the True Blue Summit, in late October There was still a lack of transparency with the DNC, and she was concerned that millennials, who will outnumber baby boomers in 2020, are mainly registering as Independents.
A rally on November 13 at Cuomo’s office on Fifth Avenue urged him to stop the Williams Pipeline and commit to transitioning NYS to renewable energy.
Paul Newell reported on the County Committee where certain reforms were pushed at the September meeting, with seven resolutions proposed. Five were straightforward rules changes, but the seventh one, regarding Keith Wright, was quite controversial. It called for Keith to resign one of his positions, County Leader or lobbyist. A Rules Committee has been convened and will meet in three months, which has never been done before–most meetings are held every six months. He urged anyone interested in proposing rules changes to let Keen know–he said we can convene a new meeting, and he feels we will win. The Democratic party must be set up to be open to outside groups and other activists.
Assemblyman Deborah Glick spoke, advising everyone of her seminar on climate change held November 28 at the New School. She also spoke of her proposal of an enhanced TAP for private colleges.
The November meeting featured a discussion of Mt Sinai/BethIsreal Hospital; Judy Wessler and Anthony Feliciano represented the community–Mt. Sinai/Beth Israel declined to attend, saying they had already spoken enough on the issue. Jonathan Geballe had put together a resolution re Beth Israel. There was a discussion, and Tony Hoffmann recommended putting together a committee comprised of Susan Gottesman, Zella Jones, Alec Pruchnicki, Marlene Nadle, and Judy Wessler and Anthony Feliciano. They will meet before the next membership meeting. This passed unanimously. SEE THE FINAL RESOLUTION.
Again, a substitute amendment re Executive Committee members running for Judicial Candidate positions at a different club, saying the amendment that passed was meaningless. Susan proposed tabling this to the Executive Committee meeting. This passed with 25 for and one abstention. It will be re-introduced at the December meeting.
There was an election for two new Executive Committee members to fill two vacancies. The candidates (and election results) were Deb Sherman (22 votes), Irene Kaufman (19 votes), Yvonne Sherwell (9 votes), and Cam Krause (2 votes). So, the new members are Deb Sherman and Irene Kaufman.
Rounding out the busy November schedule, Laurie announced a November 16 phone bank against the IDC.
Here are the FULL MINUTES of the Nov. 9th, 2017 General Meeting.