The Village Independent Democrats held their monthly meeting on Thursday, February 12 at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street. There were reports on a variety of local and state political developments by district leaders Keen Berger and Arthur Schwartz.
City Council member Cory Johnson gave a detailed account of his first year in office. He reported that he had sponsored more legislation than any other council member on topics including South Village land-marking, opposition to a private restaurant in Union Square park, low cost fresh fruit delivery, participatory budgeting, and animal care issues.
As head of the Health Committee, Johnson has concentrated on preventing budget cuts to the Health and Hospitals Corporation, Public Health programs, and office of the medical examiner, in addition to trying to make up for unexpected expenditures occurring during the Ebola outbreak. Although he believes that the need for a hospital on the West Side is clear, requirements for a state department of health Certificate of Occupancy and state funds still stand in the way.
The main educational forum for the evening was organized by club member Marlene Nadle and featured Michael McKee from the Met Council on Housing, who gave an extensive account of proposed legislative action which will occur over the next 4 months. High on the list is the desire to eliminate vacancy decontrol which has allowed landlords to transfer large numbers of apartments from rent stabilization coverage to market rates.
The club also overwhelmingly passed a detailed resolution relating to the Eric Garner death, requesting that various elected officials investigate the events further and put policies and procedures in place to prevent similar episodes in the future.
Lastly, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress was addressed with a letter of support for Representative Nadler’s already stated opposition to the speech, and another letter to other elected officials requesting they oppose it also.
The next meeting will be on March 12 at the same location.
Alec Pruchnicki is a member of the executive committee of the VID.