Feb 232015
 
Small Business Forum

Photo Courtesy of Change.org from their petition calling for action on the City Council Small Business Jobs Survival Act.

On March 5th there will be a small business forum co-sponsored by The Villager and VID, at Judson Memorial Church

On Thursday, March 5th at 7 pm neighbors, local business people, and a panel of experts will convene for a Small Business Forum to discuss means to save and protect small businesses at Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South. The forum has been organized by Sharon Woolums, long-time VID member.

Currently landlords determine the destiny of small business owners, their workers, and, ultimately, the character and culture of an entire community.  But two pending legislations, looking at the issue from opposite directions claim to be the solution to save our small businesses.

  1. A new resolution introduced January 22 at City Hall calls upon Albany to pass legislation establishing a property tax credit for commercial landlords who ”voluntarily” limit rent increases upon renewal as incentives to not rent gouge.
  2. In City Council committee: the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, (S.B.J.S.A.) regulates lease renewal process giving rights to business owners to arbitrate fair lease terms and 10 year leases.
  3. OR…is there a better solution?

Join panelists:

Sung Soo Kim – Called the “Godfather of Small Business” due to his founding the Korean American Small Business Service Center, the oldest small business service center in NYC; co-founding the New York City Small Business Congress and Coalition to Save New York City Small Businesses; creating the Small Business Bill of Rights given to elected officials since 1993; and chairmanship of the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Board, appointed by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani.

Alfred Placeres -  Founder NYS Federation Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and former member of USA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chair of eastern US district; member of both City and State advisory committees on small business over the past 25 years.

Jenny Dubnau – Spokesperson for The Artist Studio Affordability Project – coalition of arts groups fighting to preserve our city’s arts and cultural organizations.

Jack Segan – Spokesperson and community affairs for Jetro Foods: city’s largest wholesale supplier to restaurants and grocery stores, with warehouses in 4 boroughs.   Mr. Segan has worked daily for 19 years in addressing the problems of the mostly immigrant owners. His 17,000 clients are all independently owned and represent approximately 10% of the city’s small businesses.

Mark Crispin Miller- NYU professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. Known for his writing and activism on behalf of democratic media reform; a strong voice and organizer for the Village community’s fight against the proposed NYU expansion; an outspoken critic of overdevelopment and the social consequences of rapid gentrification of a community which follows aggressive unchecked speculation. 

Robert Perl – President of Tower Brokerage, and a real estate specialist in the East Village. Mr. Perl’s company has rented thousands of apartments and stores and have sold scores of buildings and development sites.  He has been active in civic matter affecting the community and appeared on several panels dealing with neighborhood development and has given an accurate assessment of the role real estate plays in changes to a community.

If you haven’t read them already, here are links to previous Villager coverage on the issues

Mayor and speaker are M.I.A. on small businesses      1-22-2015                It’s time for final push to pass small business bill         11-21-2013

Mom-and-Pop shops: Are they too small to save?             12-18-2014   Who has the guts to fight for our small businesses?      7-03-2013

There’s only one way to save our small businesses            9-11-2014                 Will a democrat for mayor stand up for small stores?    6-06-2013

V.I.D. (again) approves small business bill; Will Council?   2-06-2014                           

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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
 

VID’s Feb. 12th meeting will spotlight a report from Councilmember Corey Johnson and a Forum on Rent Regulations

Councilmember Corey Johnson will report 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 will bring 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

You can also read some extensive coverage from City & State

Closing the meeting will be 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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Jan 142015
 
Climate Justice by Nadine Hoffmann

Nadine Hoffmann,  VID President, submitted this letter to the Villager on Jan. 8th, supporting VID’s stance on Climate Justice

Climate justice, now!

The Villager, January 8, 2015

To The Editor:
At its last general meeting, the Village Independent Democrats unanimously passed a resolution on Government Action Against Climate Change. To those who know V.I.D.’s history and commitment to progressive causes, this will be no surprise.

V.I.D. has been in the forefront in the fight to protect our environment. Our early support of Zephyr Teachout and Timothy Wu in the recent Democratic primary was critical to their success and likely influenced Governor Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking.

V.I.D. has also been a leader in the fight against the Spectra pipeline, whose development unfortunately now allows high-pressure fracked gas to pass very near a playground on the West Village waterfront. 

Climate change poses a grave and imminent danger to our community. Greenwich Village is vulnerable to the dangers posed by rising sea levels.  Indeed, many New York City residents — especially those residing in Manhattan — live in areas that have been designated as flood zones. Rising sea levels and increasingly volatile weather caused by climate change threaten the infrastructure of our city and could severely damage our economy. 

Climate change could even render the city unlivable in the foreseeable future. And the same is true for coastal areas throughout the United States and the rest of the world.   

With our resolution, New York City’s oldest and most progressive political club calls for immediate government action to address the issue of climate change. We urge our fellow Villagers to join our call to protect future generations of New Yorkers.
Nadine Hoffmann

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Jan 142015
 
Talking-Point

Tony Hoffmann, past President of VID published this article which appeared in the Notebook section of The Villager, on January 8, 2015.

Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch and the great V.I.D. split

The Villager, January 8, 2015

BY TONY HOFFMAN    |  The passing of Mario Cuomo is sad. He was a liberal lion who gave us hope. People just liked listening to his voice. He was so eloquent. The fact that he also espoused the progressive values that so many of us deeply believed in was icing on the cake. Mario Cuomo will be missed by all New Yorkers.  He will especially be missed by those of us at the Village Independent Democrats who were involved in electing him governor in 1982.

This story starts in 1981 when Ed Koch was running for re-election as mayor. Even though many of us endorsed Koch in 1977, and worked to get him elected, we were disillusioned with him. His rightward drift and his tendency to divide as a tactic for governing alienated many of us.

When the liberal assemblyman from Brooklyn, Frank Barbaro, announced for mayor, we jumped on his bandwagon and tried to get him a V.I.D. endorsement. However, Ed Koch still had many friends and supporters in V.I.D. and he carried the day. He also easily won the primary and the general election for a second term as mayor.

Mario-CuomoIn 1982 Governor Hugh Carey announced that he wasn’t running for a third term. First, his lieutenant governor, Mario Cuomo, and then Mayor Koch proclaimed that they would seek to become the next governor of New York.

This set the stage for a rerun of the battle between the pro-Koch and anti-Koch forces at V.I.D. It was an epic. In those days, a person could join V.I.D. and had only to wait 30 only days until they could vote. Both sides busily recruited new members. Many of us contacted relatives that we normally only would see at weddings and funerals.

The V.I.D. membership list was scoured with a fine-toothed comb. Dues came tumbling in. Finally, the big endorsement meeting came and went. Even though Mario Cuomo received a plurality of the votes cast, he didn’t receive a majority. “No endorsement” received enough votes to prevent either candidate from receiving a majority.     

Another vote was scheduled for a couple of weeks later. Again, well more than 300 people were in attendance, including a number of reporters. This time Mario Cuomo got a majority and received V.I.D.’s endorsement.

Cuomo’s endorsement was all over the news that evening and for days to come. Not only was V.I.D. the first major political club to endorse Mario Cuomo for governor, but V.I.D. was Ed Koch’s home club. That was news and it gave Cuomo a major boost in his underdog campaign for governor. Cuomo never forgot what V.I.D. did for him and stayed close to us throughout his 12 years as governor.

One of the consequences of the endorsement of Mario Cuomo by V.I.D. was the formation of the Village Reform Democratic Club (V.R.D.C.). Let me explain. In December 1982 V.I.D. held elections for president and three vice presidents of the club. In reality, this election was for control of V.I.D.

The pro- and anti-Koch forces each put up a slate of four candidates. They recruited to such an extent that the auditorium at P.S. 41 had to be rented to hold the meeting. Over 1,000 people showed up to vote.

In the end, the pro-Cuomo people had the larger “family network” and won all four officers. Subsequent to these two losses, the pro-Koch folks left V.I.D. and formed V.R.D.C.

And the pro-Cuomo people changed the V.I.D. constitution to extend the waiting period before a new member can vote to 90 days.

 

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Jan 122015
 
VID Members Reviewed Pier 55 Proposal

Rich Caccappolo provides an overview of info presented to CB#2

At the January 8th meeting VID members reviewed Pier 55 Proposal

Keen Berger introduced Rich Caccappolo, Chair CB#2 Parks Committee; Susan Aaron, also of CB#2 but speaking on behalf of Friends of Hudson River Park and Kate Horton, a British theater executive and member of the theater production crew, that also includes George C. Wolfe, the former producer of the Public Theater and Stephen Daldry, the director and producer, for a discussion of the Pier 54/Pier 55 proposal.  The proposal is described in the NY Times as, “a $170 million, futuristic park built atop an undulating platform 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline with a series of wooded nooks and three performance venues, including an amphitheater.”

Conceived as an offering to the City by Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, Mr. Diller has agreed to provide $130 million to build the park through a family foundation; an additional $39.5 million would come from the city, the state and the Hudson River Park Trust.  Plan Details (Proposed Lease, Environmental Assessment).

VID Member discussion centered upon questions of environmental compatibility and sustainability and upon potential impact if the development had air-rights to sell. Others raised objection to the additional millions to be provided by the City and State when such funds could be used to sustain other NYC parks obligations.  Still others had questions regarding the facility once the initial 20-year lease expired.

There is a Public Hearing on January 12th, from 5:30-8pm at the Eisner and Lubin Auditorium, New York University Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 4th Floor.  See The Villager’s coverage of the Jan 12th hearing.

New York Times coverage – November 2014

The Villager Coverage – December 2014

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Jan 122015
 

New Officers MeetingAt the January 8th meeting the membership elects new officers and passes resolutions

With a full house Nadine Hoffman, VID’s new President opened a lively meeting to elect new VID officers for 2015: Treasurer(s), Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretaries and Executive Committee.  This meeting also included an update from Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, via Eric Bottcher and discussion and passage of two resolutions and two letters:


And the new officers election results?

Recording Secretary- Kathy Slawinski
Corresponding Secretaries- Jonathan Geballe, Ed Yutkowitz
Co-Treasurers-Frieda Bradlow, Ellen Peterson-Lewis
Executive Committee
Ex-Officio:
Tony Hoffmann
At Large Members:
Tom Connor
Jim Fouratt
Nat Johnson
Ann Kjelberg
Rachel Lavine
Alec Pruchnicki
Barbara Reuther
Nancy Shamban
Sharon Woolums
Annette Zaner
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