Sep 272015

Cincopa WordPress plugin

More than 150 Candles for Clemency Lit Up Mt. Kisco on Sept 26th

In a departure from his previous policy, Governor Andrew Cuomo is establishing a system to review requests to shorten prison sentences of rehabilitated prisoners.

Four days before a planned demonstration near his Westchester County home that had the backing of a wide array of elected officials, the governor called longtime gay activist Allen Roskoff, saying, “I get it. I get it. It will be done.” Cuomo pledged to review requests for clemency from state prisoners.

The September 26 demonstration in the parking lot of the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco was the second annual “Candles for Clemency” gathering demanding that “Governor Cuomo get a heart; issue clemencies now.”  Nathan Riley, Gay City News, Sept. 27

Cuomo chief counsel, Alphonso David, addressed the demonstrators and described the new review plan: “Particular attention will be paid to prisoners who received sentences for crimes committed at a young age, elderly prisoners who pose little risk to society, and prisoners who have served long sentences but have demonstrated that their release would not harm others.” The latter may prove controversial.   David specifically offered the assistance of his office to help attorneys and advocacy groups through the clemency process.

You can also see video news coverage of the Candles for Clemency vigil by Diana Campbell on Fios News

Endorsements for the vigil included:  City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, seven local members of Congress, and 17 members of the City Council, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The event was organized by Tony Hoffmann of VID and Allen Roskoff of The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

Be Sociable, Share!
Sep 092015
Candles-for Clemency



To protest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cruel and unjust prison policies, elected officials, celebrities, religious leaders, and other people of conscience will gather for a candlelight vigil to respectfully insist that New York State demonstrate wisdom, mercy, and righteousness.

The rally and vigil will take place at the intersection of Crow Hill Rd. and Millwood Rd.,
in Mount Kisco, on Saturday, September 26 at 7 p.m.

Buses will leave New York City from 10th Avenue, (btw 16th and 17th Sts.) at 5 p.m.
Mount Kisco is also accessible by car and Metro North railroad.

New York State prison policies are in desperate need of reform. Many people are unjustly incarcerated, given unreasonably long sentences and have been placed in solitary confinement.

Prisons hold many elderly, ill and disabled people who have served excessive time, pose no threat to society, and can live productive lives and make a positive contribution to the world. They must be released. Why should people die in prison separated from their loved ones and families?

Why won’t the governor give incarcerated people a second chance? The support for clemency transcends national party lines. But in close to five years, the Cuomo administration has not issued a single clemency to anyone in prison.

In April, the Governor’s counsel, Alphonso David, promised that the governor would begin a process of identifying viable candidates for clemency and to begin issuing clemency to those deemed worthy. But he has reneged on his promise. The Candles for Clemency Rally will help ensure that Governor Cuomo hears and heeds the public demand to reform New York’s prison system, stop playing politics with people’s lives, and show mercy and compassion by issuing clemency to those who deserve it.

Principal sponsors of the rally and vigil are the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and the Village Independent Democrats. The event‘s supporters include some of New York’s most respected political, religious, and civic leaders and organizations, prison reformers, and leading figures in arts and entertainment.

Demand justice and compassion. Join us.

For more information, go to or Follow us on twitter at CandlesForClemency@candlesfor.

Allen Roskoff
Founder, and Co-Coordinator, Candles for Clemency
President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club 917-553-7180

Tony Hoffmann
Co-Coordinator, Candles for Clemency
Former President, Village Independent Democrats, at 212-741-3265

Be Sociable, Share!
Sep 032015
Campaign Groove

VID Flyers

Since this election will have a low turnout and every vote will count, it’s especially important to get your campaign groove on.

Please vote on September 10th for our judicial delegate slate.

Get your friends and neighbors to vote. The most important things you can do are:
Distribute the VID flyer/Mailer under your neighbors’ doors

Give out the literature at a polling place for an hour or two on September 10th.

If you can do either and need literature please:
1-Contact Ed Yutkowitz and make arrangements to pick up the literature from him.  His email is His home address is 3 Sheridan Sq.
2- Contact Tony Hoffmann.  His email is  His address is 100 Bank Street.  If you need large quantities (over 100 pieces) please contact Ed  snce he has the bulk of our literature
3- Come to VID on Wednesday, September 9th from 6:00-7:30 PM.  Ed will be there.
4- Come to VID on Primary Day from 7:00-8:00 AM or 5:00-6:30 PM– Tony will be there.

As for giving out VID literature the best is to do it for an hour before or after you vote at your pollng place.

Be Sociable, Share!
Sep 032015

On August 13th the VID Membership Meeting Covered a Broad List of Topics…

Cincopa WordPress plugin
 Among them young voter outreach encouraged by new VID member Eric Coler.  First stop, Union Square on August 29th; second stop Washington Square Park, Saturday, Sept. 12th.

All the other scheduled events mentioned on August 13th – election of Judicial Delegates on the Sept. 10th Primary; the next VID General Meeting, Sept 17th; Congressman Nadler’s Soiree, Sept. 21st; the Judicial Convention, Sept 24th; the Candles for Clemency Vigil, Sept 26th and the County Committee Meeting, Sept 29th are all detailed in the AUGUST CALENDAR to the right.

Other items discussed and voted at the VID Membership Meeting in August included;

  1. A resolution calling on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to oppose any bill that prohibits the labeling of GMO foods.
  2. A unanimous vote to send letters to Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez thanking them for signing on to Res. 353. (non-therapeutic antibiotics bills)
  3. Letters of support for City Council Res. No. 694, calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not to re-license Indian Point 2 and 3 with thank you’s to Councilmembers Johnson and Mendez for their support.
  4. Resolution in Support of the International Agreement to Prevent Iran from Obtaining a Nuclear Weapon
  5. Letters to Gillebrand and Schumer re Agreement to Prevent Iran from Obtaining a Nuclear Weapon
  6. Stonewall National Park site of Christopher Park.  A the resolution in favor was passed unanimously.

All of the above letters and resolutions will be posted and linked in the copy above as soon as they are made available.

And here are the full Minutes-2015-8-12

Be Sociable, Share!
Aug 222015

herman-gersonWe are saddened to announce that Herman Gerson, a past VID vice president and longtime VID member, honored with the VID Community Service Award in 2005, passed on August 20th.  He was 103 years old.

Herman was a former Greenwich Village Democratic district leader, Democratic state committee member. He was father of Alan, former city councilmember for the First District, which covers Lower Manhattan, part of the Village and the Lower East Side and Soho, Noho and Little Italy; and husband of Sophie, a former school board leader and community board member. They all lived at 505 LaGuardia Pl., where Herman Gerson was president of the board of directors and edited 505 News, the building’s quarterly newspaper. He also tutored in math at Washington Irving High School.

The service will take place this Sunday, August 23, 11:00 AM at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St. (bet. MacDoougal and 6th Ave.).
Shiva, with a community reception, will be observed Sunday and Monday, August 23rd and 24th, from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM, at the community room of 505 LaGuardia Place.


President, VID

Read The Villager Coverage

Be Sociable, Share!
Aug 072015



Tuesday, August 11, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew
(86th Street and West End Avenue)

Facebook: Fossil Fuel Use

Climate change is threatening our food and water supplies, economy, infrastructure, public health, and the future of NYC. The main cause of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), which trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet. Our panel will explore various financial strategies for how we can keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change.  Should individuals and institutions divest from fossil fuel companies?  Or, should they remain invested in these companies to influence their policies as shareholder activists?


  • Helen Rosenthal, City Council member, District 6, Chair of the Contracts Committee.
  • Liz Krueger, State Senator, 28th District, Sponsor, Fossil Fuel Divestment Act.
  • Reid Capalino, Senior Energy Analyst,  Carbon Tracker Initiative.
  • Bradford Goz, Director of Business Development, Fossil Free Indexes.
  • Scott Zdrazil, Director of Strategy and Corporate Engagement, Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
  • Shanna Cleveland, Senior Manager, Carbon Asset Risk Initiative, Ceres.
  • Geraldine F. Watson, Vice President for Finance and Operations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

ORGANIZED BY: 350NYC, the local affiliate of

COSPONSORS [in progress]: Responsible Endowments Coalition, United for Action (UFA), Green Sanctuary Committee CCNY, UU; Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Sierra Club, NYC Group; New York Society for Ethical Culture (NYSEC), West 80s Neighborhood Association, Food and Water Watch, Greater NYC for Change, Barnard Divest, the Investure Schools Coalition for Fossil Fuel Divestment, Seven Sisters Coalition for Fossil Fuel Divestment, 350Brooklyn, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), Social Action Committee of Park Slope UMC, CUNY Divest, Beloved Earth Community, Riverside Church; Broadway Democrats, Three Parks Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, GreenFaith, Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG),  NYU Divest, Bronx Climate Justice North, Grassroots Environmental Education, and Green Education and Legal Fund.

Open to the General Public
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
RSVP’s are not required.
$3.00 suggested donation at the door.

Be Sociable, Share!