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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Jul 232018
 

The July 12 Membership Meeting Was All About Petitions, Canvassing, Immigration and Resolutions

Full Meeting Minutes Here

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.

Under New Business:

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.

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Jun 012018
 

The May 2018 Membership Meeting Focused on NYS and Judicial Endorsements

May 2018 Membership Meeting Minutes

May 2018 Membership Meeting_Cynthia Nixon Endorsement

Cynthia Nixon Presenting at the May 7, 2018 Candidates Forum

Erik Coler congratulated everyone for the great job done on the Candidates Forum on Monday.

After reviewing the endorsement rules, Erik Coler, President, asked for a motion to allow the Executive Committee to endorse for the AG position in the fall. It was asked and approved.  The May 2018 Membership Meeting then went on to the business at hand.

Frank Nervo, former VID member and President, made his presentation for the 1st Judicial District. He was endorsed, 38 votes to 2 no endorses.

Comptroller Tom Dinapoli was endorsed 35 to 2 no endorses. He had spoken previously at the Forum, and was not present.

Liz Krueger, candidate for the 28th District State Senate seat, was not present but was endorsed 36 to 3 no endorses.

For the 2nd Judicial District, three candidates were present, Wendy Li, Rob Rosenthal, and Grace Park*, but Grace withdrew to run in the County-wide race, deferring to Rosenthal. Rosenthal eventually won, with 25 for, 14 no endorses and one recusal.

The field for County-wide Civil Court was large, with seven candidates. The winners were Grace Park, with 26 votes and Shah Ally, with 28 votes. Elissa Kates and Nicholas Moynes took themselves out of the running. The rest were: Eric Gray, with 11 votes, Elsa Hampton, with 5 votes, and Ariel Chessler with 7 votes.

Now it was time for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor positions. The candidates (except for Cuomo) had appeared at the Forum, so they did not present again. Cynthia Nixon got the Governor endorsement, with 20 for and 15 no endorsements. Cuomo got 3 votes. For LG, Kathy Hochul got it with 20 for and 4 no endorses. Jumaane Williams got 4 votes.

May 2018 Membership Meeting_Nadine Hoffmann

Nadine Hoffmann Awarded in April for her Lifetime Activism. Seen here with Tony and son, Jason.

This meeting also covered results from the April fund raiser:  Lois Rakoff and Nadine Hoffmann spoke for the Gala Committee. The Gala was a huge success, with Nadine’s speech for Ravi Ragbir the highlight. Nadine thanked everyone and said she was still playing it back in her head! Tony said the Gala made $26,000 and everyone was paid up 100%, which was unusual.

Erik next read Laurie Hardjowirogo’s Voter Reform Committee Report. (Laurie wasn’t present.) Five thousand GOTV postcards were mailed and phone banks were activated to help the IDC challengers. Their next meeting is Saturday.

Deb Sherman and Allison Stowell now spoke about the Gun Reform Committee, citing the Youth Over Guns march on June 2. Their top priority is passing the Extreme Risk Protection Order, with the help of Brian Kavanaugh. In order to put more pressure on the Governor, they would like to distribute 3,000 postcards in defense of the bill, to pass out at the march. Ed Yutkowitz will be writing a Times editorial on the bill and gun safety.

For the Campaign Committee, Tony Hoffmann announced there would be a joint meeting of this committee and the Voter Reform Committee at the clubhouse on Saturday. Petitioning starts June 5, and he welcomed people to the Petitioning Breakfast, with free bagels and cream cheese.

At a Special May 29th Meeting there were revised Judicial endorsements as well as a required endorsement for Keen Berger for Female District Leader for the 66th Assembly District.

Due to a glitch, the position of Female District Leader for District 66 Part A was left vacant, so Keen Berger was nominated and seconded. She delivered a short speech in which she mentioned her three points of interest: education, immigration, and elections. After this, she was elected by the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot, after a vote.

After this, Tony Hoffmann nominated David Siffert as Judicial Delegate because one of the elected delegates could not serve. After discussion, he was seconded and elected when the Secretary cast one unanimous ballot

Because Grace Park* had dropped out of the running for the judgeship, Ariel Chesler was proposed instead, and after discussion was elected by the Secretary casting one unanimous ballot.

President Erik Coler proposed an amendment to the agenda to include Alison Greenberg’s “Xenophobia Resolution“. This passed unanimously. Alison Greenberg read her revised Resolution, which passed unanimously. It will be sent to local clubs and editorial columns.

Full Special Meeting Minutes HERE

 

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Jul 102017
 
gerrymandering_David Daley

David Daley talks Gerrymandering

Redistricting on Steroids is the gerrymandering model David Daley revealed in his June 8th appearance at VID

Erik introduced Dave Daley, author of “Ratf**ked;  the True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy”.  He delivered a riveting talk on how the Republicans took over in 2010 by using computer modeling to gerrymander and steal elections.  Gerrymandering, which can be traced back to at least 1788, has resulted in 69 of 99 state legislatures and both houses in 35 states to be controlled by Republicans in a country in which both parties are pretty evenly represented, with Democrats slightly ahead.  Dave called the new computer techniques, dreamt up by Karl Rove, “gerrymandering on steroids”.  He warned that the hard work is yet to be done to undo this catastrophe, the structural problems are deep and difficult to undo, and the usual electoral solutions may not be enough.

Dave recommended Dems should push voting rights, labor rights, and women’s rights.  He warned that the Supreme Court has ruled against racial gerrymandering but has never ruled on partisan gerrymandering.  Changes to the electoral college lose whenever they are brought before SCOTUS, because there is no precedent.  He also cautioned that there is no happy ending–winning elections will not redraw the lines.  He advocated concentrating on governorships to start the hard work.  This instigated a robust discussion.

You can read or  listen to an NPR interview with Mr. Daley here

Regular Business – State Politics, Petitioning, Housing and the Environment

President Erik Coler opened the meeting with a discussion of the 311 issues from the last meeting.  He proposed putting together “complaining blocs” –adding other complainants who live nearby and getting them to call 311 also.  May’s Trivia Night was a big success; Trivia Night will resume in July.  VID plans to sponsor a street festival June 17, with the opportunity to hand out literature and secure signatures on petitions.  There will be a Community Service Day in early July–Lois Rakoff will contact Washington Square Park to work out details.  

The Petitioning Kickoff Breakfast is scheduled for June 10th at the clubhouse, with appearances by Corey Johnson, Carlina Rivera, Scott Stringer, and Chris Marte.  And Keith Wright will be sent a letter regarding his new lobbying job.

gerrymandering_Keen Berger

Keen Berger at Trump Tower Protest in May. Photo: Nadine Hoffmann

Keen Berger opened her report with an anecdote about a homeless panhandler she encountered on the F train while she was with her grandson.  She makes it a policy not to give, but it made her think about Comey and a need to change the system.  She called for retaking Congress and working for impeachment.

Next, Rachel Lavine, State Committee Member in the 66th AD, gave a report.  She outlined the two functions of the Democratic State Committee–electing candidates for statewide office in case of a vacancy, and putting forward resolutions to shape the party platform.  She asked for the VID to support their resolution to remove Jeff Klein from leadership of the IDC.  He will be asked to find another party and another line to run on.  All members of the IDC will have their clubs approached to request that they either run as Dems or on another party line.  

gerrymandering_IDC Protest

VID members participated in May protest at Trump Tower. Photo: Nadine Hoffmann

There is also a plan to request that Governor Cuomo share money with state Dem candidates–at least $1M should be redistributed to local races.  In addition, the Committee wants to amend rules so they have 25 days instead of 10 for petitioning–and to encourage more progressive members.   The NYS Progressive Caucus wants to make the State Committee more democratic and more progressive.  They will urge a vote to support these resolutions at the next meeting at the end of July.  Jim Yates proposed no party funds should go to the IDC, and Ben Yee is also very supportive.

On Saturday (6/10), Brad Hoylman will be at the clubhouse to deliver a talk on the IDC.  

Laurie Hardjowirogo has been working in NY’s 19th CD.  She’s been door knocking and getting out the vote.  On Saturday, Brad Hoylman will be at the clubhouse to deliver a talk on the IDC.  

Nat Johnson and his team have been working on shutting down Indian Point and composting.  Frieda had a screening of a film on Indian Point at her house, which was very successful.

Tony Hoffmann gave a report on petitioning–He said he has never seen such enthusiasm, and he asked for volunteers.

Erik gave a report on Affordable Housing.  He’s going after bad landlords–those getting J-51 tax breaks and illegally destabilizing tenants.  He said there has never been a club which has created affordable housing, and promised a class action lawsuit by the end of the month.

You can read the full Meeting Minutes of June 8th here.

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