Mar 302016
 

VID’s March Meeting featured reports on the gun violence forum, the Congressional primary, an early voting bill in the NYS legislature and the Algonquin Pipeline.  It ended with Club endorsements for Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

See the full meeting minutes here.  [Revised ]

VID's march meeting_Gun-violence-panel

Forum on Gun Violence Panel: Richard Aborn, Leah Gunn Barrett, Joel Vatsky (CRDC), Nadine Hoffmann (VID),Scott Stringer (not pictured) and Assemblyman Keith Wright

President Nadine Hoffmann opened VID’s March meeting by welcoming Congressman Jerry Nadler, who is up for reelection.  He soon left, as he could not speak at the meeting. She then reported on the March 1 Women’s Issues forum at the Red Room, participated in by VID, DID, CODA, Manhattan Young Dems, and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.  There had also been a forum on gun violence the day before, sponsored by the VID and VRDC, and featuring Keith Wright, Richard Aborn, Leah Gunn Barrett, and Scott Stringer, among others.  And she reminded the members about the upcoming Candidates Night on April 7.  See April Announcement

District Leader Keen Berger discussed campaigns in other states and candidates she was supporting like Donna Edwards, Catherine Cortez Masto, Russ Feingold and Maggie Hassan. [A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Keen Berger was supporting Chris Van Hollen who is Donna Edwards opponent.  Keen is strongly supporting Donna Edwards.]

Nadine commended Erik Coler for meeting with Assemblyman Brian Kavanaugh on the topic of early voting–the Assemblyman thinks Republicans are in agreement on this issue and it may pass in the Assembly and State Senate.  Jonathan Geballe explained what’s involved in getting this legislation passed.

VID's March Meeting_Petitioning

Jonathan Geballe, Congressman Nadler, Nadine Hoffmann, Erik Coler, Congresswoman Maloney, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman join the petition-launching breakfast at the VID Clubhouse.

Tony Hoffmann spoke about the upcoming Congressional primary on June 28 and the necessity for petitioning.  A Campaign Breakfast, paid for by Congressman Nadler, would take place at the clubhouse on Saturday.

Nat Johnson updated everyone on the environment–on February 29, Governor Cuomo sent a letter to FERC about the Algonquin Pipeline, requesting this dangerous project be suspended until a full environmental study is completed.  Nat described a circular firing squad involving FERC, NRC, DEC, and the EPA diffusing the blame by saying the others had approved the project.  There was a discussion about Int. 446, a bill introduced to prevent fracking and its byproducts from traveling through the city–26 City Council members were needed to sponsor the bill. ( Pipelines leak methane at much higher rates than previously understood, and methane is much more dangerous to the environment than carbon dioxide.)

FERC had not responded to the Governor’ s letter, so Keen proposed sending a statement to the Villager and Cuomo’s office, which was unanimously approved.  It was also proposed to send letters to Councilmembers Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez (copied to the Villager) thanking them for supporting the initiative to suppress fracking.  This too was unanimously passed.

Tom Connor, a rent-controlled tenant who is a chair on the advisory board of Greenwich House, a senior center, read a letter to Governor Cuomo regarding the unfairness of the rent raises to rent-controlled tenants, the majority of whom are senior women.  Rachel Lavine, a State Committee Representative, asked about SCRIEE having a role.  It was proposed that Nadine, Rachel and Tom meet to collaborate on the letter, and this was unanimously passed.

Next Jen Hoppe updated us on the Gala, set to take place on Thursday, April 28 at the newly renovated Tio Pepe.  The Committee is soliciting sponsors, and invites are to go out next week.  Honorees will be Ben Yee, former leader of the Manhattan Young Dems and current VP of the National Young Dems, someone (as yet undecided) from the Cooper Square Committee (addressing homelessness), and Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of NY (regarding prisoner’s rights).  Nadine said the committee had wanted to honor Susan Lerner of Common Cause, but she was unavailable.

Nadine reviewed the VID rules for endorsement of political candidates; after much discussion regarding the candidates–

  • Jerry Nadler was unanimously endorsed by acclamation.
  • Carolyn Maloney was endorsed by 23 in favor, with 3 no endorsement votes and one invalid ballot.
  • Chuck Schumer was endorsed by 19 in favor and 7 no endorsements.
  • Hillary Clinton received 19 votes, Bernie Sanders received 9 votes and one no endorsement.

And now, the pictures:

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Jan 062016
 

VID's 2016 Officers_Vote-TalliesOn December 10, VID 2016 Officers were elected and after considerable discussion the Club voted No Endorsement for the Democratic Presidential Primary.

With 32 members present, elections took place for VID 2016 officers – a President and three Vice Presidents for 2016:  Nadine Hoffmann, President; Linda Jacobson, Vice President; Erik Coler, Vice President, and Barbara Ruether, Vice President.  A Treasurer, Recording Secretary, two Corresponding Secretaries and the Executive Committee will be elected at the January 14 meeting.  Here are the election rules.

The next major portion of the meeting was the endorsement of a National Presidential candidate.  Present were Adam Stolz, representing Martin O’Malley, and Sean Patrick Murphy, representing Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton was not represented.

After lengthy discussion by members for each candidate, as well as discussion of the pros and cons of “no endorsement,” the first ballots were distributed and tallied:  Hillary 12, Bernie 12, and no endorsement 7. Since no position had a clear majority, another ballot was necessary.  The second ballot gave Hillary 10, Bernie 12 and no endorsement 10. Since again there was no clear majority, the club position is “no endorsement.

State Assemblymember Deborah Glick came by to cast her votes and to update the Club on the work she had been doing with Transportation Alternatives to redesign Fifth and Sixth Avenues, providing bike lanes and improvements to benefit pedestrians and slow traffic.

You can read the full minutes here.  And catch a few scenes below.

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Feb 212015
 

Four letters anFour-Letters-and-a-resolutiond a resolution were approved at the February 12th General Meeting.

The membership approved letters, submitted by  VID President Nadine Hoffmann and introduced by Ed Yutkowitz, to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representatives Nadler and Maloney in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s impending address to Congress.  The opening reads:

We are disheartened that House Speaker John Boehner has breached protocol by inviting Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress just before Israel’s elections and without consultation with the White House.  Further, having the leader of a foreign government attempt to influence a Congressional vote is offensive and dangerous.

You can read a recent rundown on the March 3rd visit at Talking Points Memo and read a letter from 23 Congressional Democrats to  Speaker John Boehner.

 

A resolution, proposed by Tony Hoffmann and introduced by Nat Johnson regarding further actions on the death of Eric Garner was passed after considerable semantic debate.   Here are the final conclusions:

  • Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Village Independent Democrats calls for the appointment of a state or federal prosecutor to investigate the death of Eric Garner, and
  • Be It Further Resolved, that VID calls for the New York State Attorney General to create a procedure to handle all investigations of police officers who kill or seriously injure unarmed civilians, and 
  • Be It Further Resolved, that VID calls on the Mayor and the New York City Council to strengthen the Civilian Complaint Review Board by giving it greater resources and more investigative power, and
  • Be It Further Resolved, that the VID calls on the NYC Police Department to develop policing strategies and tactics that protect and serve so that instances which alienate and humiliate poor and minority communities do not occur, and 
  • Be It Further Resolved, that the VID calls on the NYC Police Department to retrain the entire police force on tactics for dealing with minor crimes so that the chances of these incidents escalating into major confrontations are greatly reduced, and
  • Be It Further Resolved, that VID calls on the NYPD to monitor, retrain, or remove from service police officers with a history of unprofessional, abusive, or violent behavior, and
  • Be It Further Resolved, that the NYPD, the NYFD, and the Mayor of New York review the entire incident to determine whether police officers and Emergency Medical Technicians at the scene followed all necessary and proper procedures, and, if warranted, take appropriate disciplinary action,
  • Be It Further Resolved, that VID calls upon the Mayor of New York and our local public officials to hold town hall meetings and other public forums to allow communities throughout New York City to express their feelings and to offer suggestions on how to improve relations between the police and the public they are sworn to protect. 

The resolution has been distributed to Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton and additional relevant City officials.

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Feb 102015
 

UPDATE:  VID’s Feb. 12th meeting spotlighted a report from Councilmember Corey Johnson and a Forum on Rent Regulations

Councilmember Corey Johnson reported on his past year in the Council and what he looks forward to in 2015.

Forum on Rent Regulation

Marlene Nadle, Chair of VID Housing Committee

Marlene Nadle, Chair of VID’s Housing Committee added timely discussion, via a special guest speaker from Met Council on Housing, on this year’s legislative debates in a Forum on Rent Regulation.

New York State’s rent protection laws expire in less than five months, on June 15.

They almost certainly will be renewed. The question is how they might be amended by the state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Tenants throughout New York City and the suburban counties of Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland have a huge amount of work ahead to win changes that will stem the hemorrhage of affordable housing—such as by repealing the 1997 vacancy-deregulation amendments—and prevent the addition of any more pro-landlord loopholes.   Michael McKee, Met Council on Housing.

Here are the minutes of the full meeting.

You can also read some extensive coverage on rent regulation from City & State

Closing the meeting was the introduction of a resolution on the death of Eric Garner, introduced by Nat Johnson and approval for two letters, to Congressman Nadler and to Senator Schumer, introduced by Ed Yutkowitz, addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance before the US Congress pertaining tougher sanctions on Iran.

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