The monthly routine for the Village Independent Democrats and the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club changed in October as they held a joint meeting and forum concerning the proposed $15 minimum wage. The meeting was held on Thursday October 17th at the community room of the Fulton Houses on Ninth Avenu
The forum started with a presentation by Steven Barrison, a lawyer and spokesperson for the Small Business Congress. He strongly supported the proposal for a $15 minimum wage, but said it was more important at this time to pass a proposal for small business support in the city council.
A detailed presentation by Comptroller Scott Stringer supported the $15 minimum, quoted a study showing that 1.5 million people would be helped and $10 billion of new economic activity would be generated. He also reported on other initiatives his office has taken on new city procurement policies to assist minority-owned and women-owned businesses, initiatives to decrease management fees for some city retirement funds and efforts to elect members to boards of directors of various corporations.
The last speaker was Charles Houston, executive director of the Queens Center for Progress, which helps people with developmental disabilities. He also supported the $15 minimum but said that it should be linked to increased funding by the state for non-profit organizations, like his, to cover the increased labor costs.
Besides the forum, there was also a business meeting of the VID, which started with reports from club president Nadine Hoffman and democratic party district leaders Keen Berger and Arthur Schwartz. State Senator Brad Hoylman, whose district includes the areas covered by both clubs, gave a report on various state proposals, especially on environmental issues.
There were also updates on a variety of club activities including Candles for Clemency, the recent Democratic party primary election, issues around the new Mrs. Green’s market, and a tour of the Lenox Hill Emergency Center.
Although there are no more joint meetings planned right now, the 65-75 people who attended this event were generally very positive about the event. —Alec Pruchnicki
Alec Pruchnicki is a member of the VID executive committee.