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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May 032017
 

candidates night round 2Lots-O-Candidates and Lots-O-Questions at Candidates Night Round 2 last night at the LBGT Community Center.

Candidates Night Round 2 wouldn’t have happened without a whole lot of cooperation.  Thanks Laurie Hardjowirogo, Tony Hoffmann and Club President Erik Coler with major assists from Downtown Independent Democrats Village Reform Democratic Club Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club CODA LES Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (CRDC). And thanks Bill de Blasio Sal Albanese Robert Gangi Michael Tolkin David Eisenbach Letitia “Tish” James Cyrus Vance Gale Brewer Scott M. Stringer and Kevin Coenen.  You all made it an exciting night for Democrats.

So here’s how it happened:

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And, then, there was a nice clip on NY1 News this morning.

 

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Apr 282017
 

VID celebrates 60 yearsAt a well-attended April 27th event, VID Celebrates 60 Years.

We recall words on VID’s history from Ed Gold:

The club’s formation flowed from the disappointment in the 1956 presidential election when Adlai Stevenson, the hero of reform-minded Democrats, was routed once more by the war hero Dwight Eisenhower, while receiving only lukewarm support from the dominant old-line Tamawa Club in the Village, where DeSapio called the shots.

A group of dejected Stevensonians from the Village Stevenson campaign gathered in late 1956 or early 1957 and decided the Village deserved better than Tammany leadership. –  Ed Gold. The Villager and The Downtown Express,  Feb. 23, 2007.

In addition to the lively talk about National and Local politics, VID celebrates 60 years by highlighting outstanding contributions to the fabric of New York life and ethics.

For Tirelessly Advocation for New York City’s Public School Children – Shino Tanikawa, Public School Parent; Vice President of Community Education Council District 2 and Education Activist.

For Working to Make The Stonewall National Monument Honoring LGBT Civil Rights a Realty – Cortney Worrall, Northeast Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservancy Association.

For Acting on a Moment’s Notice, Going to JFK Airport to Help Those Affected by the Muslim Ban – Mark Doss, Esq., Supervising Attorney, International Refugee Assistance Project at The Urban Justice Center; Yasmine Farhang, Esq., Immigration Attorney, Make the Road New York; Camille J. Mackler, Esq. Director of Legal Initiatives, New York Immigration Coalition.

For 40 Years of Grassroots Activism and Progressive Leadership, The Very Special Inaugural VID Member’s Award – Tony Hoffmann, Former District Leader and Two-Time VID President.

VID Celebrates 60 Years Highlights

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Apr 202017
 
VID Moves Progressive Agendas

Day of Action at Washington Square Park

VID Moves Progressive Agendas with a host of initiatives

At the April 13th meeting, President Erik Coler, Voter Outreach Chairs Tony Hoffmann and Laurie Hardjowirago and Environment Committee Chair confirmed that VID moves progressive agendas.

Nat Johnson, of the Environmental Committee, reported on their three major projects:

One is the VID Resolution passed by the Executive Committee promoting curbside compost pickup.  He read this to the membership and it was passed unanimously.

Second is a thank-you letter to the Governor for forming the plastic bag recycle task force.  He said Cuomo had proposed an energy initiative to build renewable energy sources for New York State, and he wants to invite Richard Kaufman, NY’s “energy czar” to explain.

Thirdly is preparation for the Earth Day celebration, April 22 at Foley Square [see calendar].  The next meeting of the Environmental Committee will be on the 19th.  Erik Bottcher mentioned that buses would be leaving New York on the April 29th for the Climate March in DC. [see calendar].

Tony Hoffmann, who is on the Campaign Committee, reported on the success of the candidate’s forum, where candidates for the City Council Districts 1, 2, and 3 spoke, along with the two District Leaders, running unopposed.  This was co-sponsored by the Jim Owles Club and VRDC, with a standing room only crowd of 125 people.  The next forum, for Mayor, Controller, Public Advocate, and District Attorney, will be held May 2 at the LGBT Center.  This will be co-sponsored by VID, VRDC, CRD, DID, CoDA, and the Jim Owles Club.  He also announced the upcoming Jane Street Block Association Street Fair, to be held June 3.

Tony also spoke about the importance of County Committee candidates, the grassroots level of the Democratic Party, and urged people to run for this committee.  There followed a lengthy discussion about how to qualify and run. 

Erik Coler, VID President, continues the committment for VID moves progressive agendas in discussing the Day of Action and how successful it was, giving credit to Laurie Hardjowirogo.  He wants to build it into something bigger, and proposed a Trivia Night.  He will follow up on this idea.

On the Affordable Housing front, Erik commended Marlene Nadle on her letter opposing the renewal of the 421-a tax abatement.  (Unfortunately, it was passed.) He stated the J-51 tax credit should be for 100% affordable housing, but this is not enforced.  The Committee has located four buildings where tenants have been illegally destabilized, and said so far thirteen tenants have signed on for a retainer to fight the situation.  Erik stated the law has been reactive rather than proactive and must change.

Erik also read the resolution from the Voter Reform Committee endorsing Eric Schneiderman’s New York Votes Act, proposing early voting, same day registration, same day primaries, and other reforms.  This resolution was passed by the membership, unanimously.

Nadine Hoffmann reported on plans for the Gala, to be held April 27 at Tio Pepe.  Honorees are to be Shino Tanakawa, an education advocate, pro public education, who was also very active for years in the creation of the 75 Morton Street school, staff from the National Parks Conservancy for their role in establishing the Stonewall National Monument, and three pro-immigrant organizations, the NY Immigrant Coalition, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and Make the Road, all active against the travel ban.  Also to be honored will be member Tony Hoffmann for his valuable contributions to the club.

You can read the full minutes of the April 13th meeting HERE

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