General Membership Meeting

January 14, 2016

On Thursday, January 14th, the Village Independent Democrats (VID) held their monthly meeting in St. John’s Church on Christopher Street. The meeting began with an update by club President Nadine Hoffman and District Leader Keen Berger on various local political activities. Berger presented a progress report on the upcoming opening of the Morton Street Middle School, focusing on enrollment, catchment area, and the ability to meet the needs of children living in the immediate neighborhood.

Jonathan Geballe reported on legislative proposals for a Voter Empowerment Act that will automatically register people to vote as soon as they turn 18. The details of the Act are now being worked on in the New York State Legislature.

Tony Hoffman outlined the schedule for petitioning, primary elections, and state and national elections over the next ten months. He also reported on some progress in the Candles for Clemency campaign, which encourages the governor to use his pardon power for many more state prisoners.

The VID also elected new officers including a treasurer, recording secretary, two corresponding secretaries, and an executive committee.

Marti Speranza, newly appointed Director of the recently established Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WENYC), made a special presentation on how this budgeted city program helps women maintain or establish small businesses in New York City, a field which is overwhelmingly male dominated. The program will provide free counseling, mentoring, and assistance for basic business needs such as financing and legal issues. Although designed for female entrepreneurs, counseling and classes will not be restricted to women; male small business owners can also participate.

Assembly Member Deborah Glick also made a surprise presentation on a variety of issues including her opposition to a budget proposal allowing mixed martial arts (“cage fighting”) in New York State, and cuts in state funding for CUNY. She also outlined proposals to combat non-consensual pornography, such as “revenge porn,” which overwhelmingly victimizes women. She ended with a request for individual club members and others to get involved in supporting Hillary Clinton, although the club as a whole did not make an endorsement in the presidential election. (See the January 2016 issue of WestView News.)

Club member Catharine Wolpe encouraged club members to get involved in the Citizens Preparedness Program, which trains volunteers to assist in natural and man-made disasters. Jonathan Geballe reported that the VID Tenants Clinic, which provides free legal advice in tenant/landlord disputes, has expanded as more lawyers have volunteered their time.

— Alec Pruchnicki

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