At the May 11th meeting, VID endorsements for City-Wide candidates were voted upon after reports from the Voter Outreach, Environment, Affordable Housing and Gala Committees.
The VID endorsements for City-Wide candidates followed a highly successful and well-publicized Candidates Night at the LGBT Center on May 2nd [read The Villager’s coverage]and the general meeting’s focus on Club committee work and community issues.
The meeting began with a request from President Erik Coler to the membership to itemize a list of community concerns. The responses included tax issues, civil rights protections, parks, after school programs, a new bathroom in the Jefferson Market Library. Also mentioned were bike racks, broken sidewalks, potholes, “curb cut” ramps, less stop and frisk, noisy clubs, mental health care, more mom and pop stores and small business in general. Also traffic congestion, lack of coordination at construction sites, participatory budgeting, and fair wages for service employees, eliminating tipping. There was, additionally a big discussion about the coming work on the L train, and how that would affect the neighborhood, along with the need for more benches, elevators and escalators in the MTA.
Laurie Hardjowirogo, chair of the Voter Outreach Committee reported on their work to support Democratic candidates in Republican held Congressional Districts. CD 19 currently held by John Faso has been a target of their efforts. John Patrick Maloney’s Town Hall in Faso territory attracted over five hundred people, along with members of the activist group Indivisible. More of these will be held, with Kirsten Gillebrand, Chris Murphy, and others. The object is to raise money and attract volunteers to organize voters to overturn such Republican seats.
Nat Johnson’s Environment Committee reported on progress in curbside composting pick-up. Community Board #2 approved a resolution calling for this type of curb-side pick-up. He also reported that Deputy Commissioner Bridget Anderson had set goals for recycling, with zero waste going to landfills by 2030. Single stream recycling is targeted for 2020, but organic compost is contaminated with plastic bags and must be separated. But, for every ten buildings that commit to curbside composting, the city will send a truck for pickup. Already StuyTown is committing to organic recycling. This summer, on July 25, there will be a Food Waste Fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center.
Nadine Hoffman, co chair of the Gala Committee, announced that the event grossed $37,170.00, with over 150 attendees. Dr. Alec Pruchnicki donated $150 by selling 15 copies of his book for $10 each and donating the money.
In the Affordable Housing arena, Erik Coler gave an update on the 421a tenants initiative. You can read about in The Villager. In early June, he will be going to buildings where units have been illegally destabilized, and advise them to sign onto a lawsuit on a contingency basis.
And the winners of VID City-Wide endorsements were:
Borough President – Gale Brewer Comptroller –Scott Stringer Public Advocate– Letitia James Mayor – Bill DeBlasio
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.
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.
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.