May 082016
 

VID’s April Membership Meeting covered petitioning results, Candles for Clemency, the AIM Pipeline, 45 Rivington St. AND endorsements for NYS candidates.

MINUTES

The meeting opened with a reminder from President Nadine Hoffmann about the Hillary fundraiser on May 12 cosponsored by Renee Feinberg at 303 Mercer.  A vote was taken to support the Washington Square Park Music Festival fundraiser on May 8 at the Greenwich Village Music School.  Nadine further reported that former member and supporter Marilyn Appelson remembered VID in her will.

Tony Hoffmann of the Campaign Committee thanked everyone who participated in the petitioning effort reporting that VID had secured 700 signatures for Jerrold Nadler, more, he thought, than any other club. A hundred signatures were secured for Carolyn Maloney.  On other business, Tony shared that The Candles for Clemency campaign was thinking about sending a few people to the Governor’s house in Mt. Kisco to picket on a weekly basis because it would be more effective.

Nat Johnson had postcards protesting the AIM pipeline, to be sent to the Governor.

Then, the endorsements:

State Senator Brad Hoylman, running unopposed in the 27 SD, had several people speak in his favor and was eventually unanimously endorsed by acclamation.

In the Assembly, where the incumbent, Deborah Glick, was running against challenger Arthur Schwartz, required a ballot, which Glick won, 30 in favor and one abstention.

State Committeewoman/66 AD Rachel Lavine was unopposed, and after discussion was unanimously endorsed by acclamation.

The State Committeeman/66 AD was sought by four candidates;  Deley Gazinelli, Dodge Landesman, John Scott, and Benjamin Yee.  There was much discussion and many testimonials for each candidate, but Ben Yee ultimately won.  The vote was:  Deley 3, Dodge 4, John 4, and Ben 24, with one no endorsement.

Following the candidate endorsements was a call for the club endorsement of the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, to be held in Philadelphia on July 24, the day before the Democratic Convention.  After discussion, the motion passed by a vote of 21 in favor, 4 against and two abstentions.

Last on the agenda for the April Membership Meeting was a resolution regarding the City’s sale of 45 Rivington Street with a restrictive covenant for nonprofit use to a private developer planing to build condos on the property. The resolution had previously been passed by the Downtown Independent Democrats.  There was much discussion about what exactly should be done, with a final agreement to sign on to the resolution, with letters to be sent to Councilmembers Rosie Mendez, Corey Johnson, Margaret Chin, Allure (the firm to which the City sold the rights) and possibly others.  This was passed by the members unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned, in time for everyone to watch the Democratic Presidential Debate.

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Apr 112016
 

rent-control-reformRent Control Reform Is Past Due

At a time when rent-stabilized tenants in New York City are enjoying a freeze in their rents, another group of regulated tenants — the dwindling minority in rent-controlled apartments — is facing an increase of up to 9.6 percent over the next two years. New York Times, 

Since December 2015  there has been a concerted effort for rent control reform to correct this inequity, which by the very nature of the rent-controlled legislation affects seniors who have lived in their apartments since the legislation began in 1970.  The 2014 Housing and Vacancy Survey found that the median rent for a rent-controlled unit was $1,020 per month on an average income of $29,000 per year…or 42% of their fixed income. (By comparison, rent-stabilized tenants pay a median rent of just $1,300 per month with average annual salaries of nearly $41,000…or 38% of annual income).

In the NYS Assembly, Linda Rosenthal, (Assembly District 67-Manhattan) introduced AOO398, co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Felix Ortiz (District 51-Brooklyn), Walter Mosley (District 57-Brooklyn), Richard Gottfried (District 75 – West Side Manhattan) , Maritza Davila (District 53 – Northern Brooklyn), Victor Pichardo (District 86 -Bronx) , Rodneyse Bichotte (District 42-Brooklyn), William Colton (District 47-Brooklyn), Latoya Joyner (District 77-Bronx), Guillermo Linares (District 72 – Northern Manhattan), Latrice Walker (District 55-Brooklyn).

On the NYS Senate, Adriano Espaillat (Senate District 31-Upper West Side Manhattan) has introduced SO5040, the same legislation as the Assembly bill, co-sponsored by Senators Brad Hoylman (Senate District 27 – Mid Manhattan) and Bill Perkins (Senate District 30-Harlem).

The Village Independent Democrats have taken up the cause of rent control reform with a letter to Governor Cuomo from VID President Nadine Hoffmann and Executive Committee Member Tom Connor, urging his attention.

“At this point, the MBR system is well beyond the point of repair. It is antiquated and clearly is not reflective of the economic realities faced by tenants and landlords alike. In order to save rent control, and in the process, the lives of just about 30,000 seniors who have built their communities and this city, we must end the MBR and instead pass into law my bill, A.398. Any increase is an unwarranted one,” says Assemblymember Rosenthal.

 

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Jun 052015
 

Stop the Loss of Affordable Housing STOP THE LOSS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, JOIN THE FIGHT.

WE ONLY HAVE UNTIL JUNE 15 TO CHANGE THE RENT LAWS.

Get on a FREE bus to Albany to demonstrate for changes in the rent law that will stop the loss of affordable housing.   Advocates and tenants will rally in Albany on Tues., June 9. Buses will leave at 7 a.m. at 135th St. and Fifth Ave. in front of P.S. 197 and will return to New York City at 6 p.m. Transportation is free, and breakfast and lunch are included. To reserve a seat on one of the buses, call Darren at Tenants & Neighbors at 212-608-4320 x316 or contact mia.r.mcdonald@gmail.com

You can also call Gov. Cuomo in Albany at 518-474-8390 or at his NYC office at 212-681-4580

TELL HIM:

  1. DO AWAY WITH VACANCY DECONTROL WHICH LETS RENT STABILIZED APARTMENTS GO TO
    MARKET RATE WHEN THE  RENT REACHES A CERTAIN LEVEL AND CAUSES THE LOSS OF AFFORDABLE
    HOUSING.
  2. HIS PROPOSAL TO RAISE THE RENT LEVEL WHEN THAT CAN HAPPEN BY $200. IS UNACCEPTABLE.

See coverage in The Villager

With the city’s rent laws set to expire this month, tenant advocates are planning to head in force to Albany on Tues., June 9, to lobby for their extension. June 15 is the deadline for the expiration of current rent regulations.

Advocates are seeking an end to vacancy deregulation and a change to the practice of rewarding landlords a 20 percent rent increase for vacated apartments — or even more, if the tenant has resided there for more than eight years.

Currently, vacant apartments can become decontrolled if the rent is as little as $2,100; the 20 percent rent increase pushes the rent to $2,500, which is the threshold for vacancy decontrol.

Use our sample letter and send IMMEDIATELY

The deadline to stop the loss of affordable housing
is June 15, ACT NOW

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Mar 252015
 

Candles-for ClemencyApril 18 Vigil Postponed, Clemencies on the Threshold 

We have good news to report.  After over four years without granting a single clemency to anybody in prison, the Cuomo administration has promised to begin a process of identifying viable candidates for clemency and to begin issuing clemency to those deemed worthy.  This change of heart can, in large part, be attributed to the dedicated work of the people and organizations that joined Candles For Clemency.   We held a rally and a candle light vigil in front of Governor Cuomo’s home last September.  We planned on having a similar, but much larger, vigil in front of his home on April 18.

But the Governor’s office heard of our vigil and asked us to meet with his representatives in hopes that we would postpone the Vigil for at least six weeks so that they could start a clemency process. After a very frank meeting, we have decided, in good faith, to honor that request.

We are eager to see whether clemencies start rolling in come mid-May. We will be monitoring very closely and, if not, we will hold our vigil on Saturday, June 13. So please hold the date, just in case!

We want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who is part of Candles For Clemency for your dedication to the cause.  It shows that people can have their voices heard if they organize and are willing to stick their necks out.

Candles for ClemencyWe especially want to acknowledge the six members of Congress, and our celebrity hosts, who stepped forward to support the incarcerated deserving of clemency.  Many of those listed on the attached list have long been lobbying the Governor’s Office, yet consented to also be part of the effort of Candles for Clemency. And thanks to the organizations and representatives who have been attending our planning meetings. They have made this all possible.

We will keep you informed of progress towards the issuance of clemencies. If you have any recommendations for people deserving of clemency, please let us know. Also, the administration has a created an internal workgroup and an external website to encourage applicants to apply: http://www.ny.gov/services/apply-clemency 

If you know of other organizations and individuals who want to join our list of supporters, again, please let us know. Here is the current list of supporters.

We hope that this effort results in many people behind bars being given a second chance. We hope those worthy of clemency are returned to their loved ones and offered the chance to be respected and productive members of society. 

Thank you for your support,

Allen Roskoff
Founder, and Co-Coordinator, Candles for Clemency
President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

aroskoff@mac.com
Tony Hoffmann
Candles for Clemency Co-Coordinator
Former President, Village Independent Democrats
tonyhoffmann26@gmail.com
 
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