CBID September 2019 General Meeting Notes

  • WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
    • Allison and Alice presiding, Asher is out of town
    • Thanks for patience (didn’t enter the church until 7:20)

GUEST SPEAKERS

  • JOSH PIERRE
    • Running for the 21st State Senate District
    • Biographical background, grew up in Flatbush
    • Underfunded schools; housing crisis; reform campaign finance system; artificial energy crisis (opposes Williams Pipeline)
    • Questions:
      • Plans to address housing issue, developers – background in finance (Comptroller’s Office), investing pension $ in affordable housing; knowledge gap from recent laws so we need robust enforcement, know-your-rights; need to build affordable units (city or state-owned land should be kept 100% affordable in perpetuity); diversity of incomes in housing is better; recreate Mitchell-Lama initiative to spur more folks towards homeownership
      • How much $ have you raised – won’t disclose until filing in January
      • Any endorsements – campaign is three weeks old, have sat down with a number who have given positive signals
  • ERICA VLADAMIR
    • Running in the 12th CD – east side of Manhattan, midtown, Queens (Astoria, LIC), Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Greenpoint)….Representing a piece of the city means fighting for the entire city
    • Co-founder of Sexual Harassment Working Group, no longer active member to keep politics separate from policy
      • Four men in the room, came out against Jeff Klein in 2018
      • New leadership in 2019 fought with us, not against us
    • Need to raise our voices in Congress
    • Questions
      • Carolyn Maloney has been an advocate for women, what do you have to offer that she doesn’t – one thing to sign on and say you support, another to do the work. There’s more to being a representative. Education crisis, my career is in education. The federal government has a lot of control over what happens in our schools; our reps need to focus on education. Carolyn doesn’t sit on those committees, haven’t seen her focus on the issues that impact NYC advocates.
        • Support Green New Deal, don’t take $ from corporate donors
  • RACHEL EVE STEIN
    • Running for District Leader in AD 52 (Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Vinegar Hill. Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Heights)
    • Biography – Democrat my whole life, grew up in affordable housing, attended NYC public schools; volunteered on dozens of campaigns, delegate for Bernie in 2016, campaigned for Hillary in Philly
      • Helped to create a grassroots anti-AirBNB group – organizing skills, printed out educational fliers, used data to target, chalking
    • Fierce advocate for climate crisis – everything we do has to be mindful of climate; on Kings County Democratic Party and State Committee, would advocate for the party to make operations more energy efficient, greener, less waste, and advocate for a stronger party platform on climate
    • Questions
      • Never met a District Leader, no one ever called me or knocked on my door; do you have a plan to activate those kinds of people? – I plan to be very visible, tend to go lots of community events, frequent local businesses in the district. But also see DL role and County Committee as organizing infrastructure. Should engage CC members and ensure all seats are filled so people have the resources they need to support a Democrat who needs help
        • Providing templates, talking points – making it as easy as possible for people to go out and talk to neighbors
      • Website – RachelEveStein.com with platform and bio, also on Twitter @RachelStein
  • CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE – Alice
    • Updates from Committee
      • Simon – 4 groups in Brooklyn (350 Brooklyn, Arise in Sunset Park, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion – has a Park Slope chapter)
        • First major event this Sunday, funeral march through Atlantic Antic starting at Atlantic & Columbia near the water, down to the Apple Store
        • Handouts – list of events going on, and a few fliers
      • David – introducing Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, one of our best assets in Brooklyn; right now there is a proposal for two 39-story towers right across the street that will cast a shadow across significant parts of the garden
    • Ethan Lustig from BBG, Director and Community Affairs
      • Current issue: Request for a rezoning to facilitate construction of two 39-story, 460-foot towers along Franklin Ave
        • 100 feet taller than any nearby building
      • Why: Graphic showing reduced sunlight due to shadows cast by proposed towers, as much as 35 hours
        • Conservatories and greenhouses are most significantly affected – propagation of plants for the entire garden
      • Zoning along Washington Ave was specifically put in place with current height limit to protect access to sunlight for the garden – our position is to maintain current zoning
    • What can we do?
      • Circulating a petition for administration and local councilmembers – text SUNLIGHT to 484848
      • Check out exhibit inside the Conservatory to give a sense of the impact
      • Tell friends and families
      • Communicate with local officials – protect our treasured green spaces
    • Questions
      • (Marvin) Why can’t the Board of Directors march mega-donors down to City Planning Department to stop this
        • there was a Scoping Hearing where BBG was able to make their feelings heard; don’t understand how City Planning could approve the project as is, or how local councilmember could approve a project that hurt the garden. Campaign has been underway for a while.
      • (Peter) Sen. Parker and Assmblywoman Richardson are supportive; BP Eric Adams will wait to make a public stance until public hearing. Cumbo has not responded to me.
        • Worried by answers like that. Cumbo’s position is not to approve anything that would harm the garden
      • (James) Two developments 16-stories high that BBG has not come out against.
        • We are a garden, not a housing organization – we didn’t have concern about the impact from that development. Shadows don’t hit as much, and mainly on administrative building.
      • Matt Stern) Changes to state and local law?
        • Don’t know the answer. Looking at other similarly focused campaigns in other areas (Central Park), they have run into disparity between stories and height; lots of loopholes developers can use (mechanicals in the middle of the building enabling them to build even higher). Some state officials are looking at legislative ways to close those gaps. But to my knowledge no change preventing this. Key is not changing the zoning map
      • (Alice) What can CBID do to help?
        • Bringing groups into our coalition, if CBID would officially take a stance on the issue, and then encourage membership to sign petition, stay involved, look out for future events.
      • Land use process update?
        • City Planning is reviewing; once they certify or not, developer either has to make changes or eventually go to Community Board 9 à Borough President, borough board votes yes or no à City Council (yes or no)
      • (Diana) Spoken to the developers?
        • Not yet directly. We don’t believe the zoning should be changed. We aren’t obligated to move since the zoning was put in place for this specific reason.
      • (Amanda) Have you engaged CB9?
        • Yes, and yes in the past – heading out there next month. Chair just turned over but working closely with them.
      • Mayor’s office involvement?
        • In theory yes – City Planning does the Mayor’s bidding
      • (Josh Skaller) Land use decisions usually fall through the City Councilmember’s office, rest of the Council typically defers to the member who represent that district, so all pressure should go on Laurie Cumbo. I’ve seen a large affordable housing package as the sweetener, which needs to be acknowledged.
        • Not trying to make this a fight over housing vs green spaces. Believe we can do both.
      • (Jim Brennan) is the developer seeking a variance or change the zoning itself?
        • Text amendment, re-zoning this lot and one more lot over
        • Even if the Community Board votes no this could still go through the process
        • I think CBID’s focus should be on the Borough President
      • Who is the new manager for CB9?
        • District Manager role is vacant, Fred Baptiste (sp?) is new chair
      • (David) Letter to Borough President is a good idea, but list of organizations to join on may be most immediate action step.
  • JOSH SKALLER: Move that CBID empower the Executive Committee to draft a letter to the Borough President, cc:ed to the Community Board, in opposition to the project as it stands now, with language that the Executive Committee deems appropriate
    • David: Friendly amendment to also sign on as a supporter on the BBG’s website.
    • Josh: seconded

Discussion? Call the question?

  • UNANIMOUS VOTE IN FAVOR
  • CLUB BUSINESS (Allison)
    • Electoral Strategy Committee (Marvin invited to speak, defers to Allison)
      • Proposed to function similarly to judicial committee – have a committee that will take the time to research candidates coming before the club. Our endorsement process is sometimes feelings-based, want to streamline and make a better system.
      • Marvin: Also create guidelines for deciding which races we want to get involved in
      • Discussion:
        • Josh – very much in favor of ExComm looking at races that would be of potential interest to the club; very concerned about ExComm making recommendations to the club. We need to constantly validate the general membership’s ability to weigh in and participate in the endorsement process.
        • Marty – sometimes candidates come here (like CD 12 candidate, where we’ve never endorsed), we need to figure out how to prioritize. I would think this committee would do the groundwork and then recommend to the entire club about endorsing people.
        • Allison – one of the most valuable things we can do for general membership is provide information and research about candidates.
        • Marvin – committee will involve all members
        • Diana – my understanding is that endorsement recommendations weren’t a part of it, but creating questionnaires and structure for the endorsement process.
          • Allison – what I met about recommendations was which races we should spend our time on, and creating a rubric or some other system for picking certain districts, not just because we know someone who’s running
        • David – understand Josh’s concerns, but we already have a judicial committee that makes recommendations for endorsements; don’t believe that committee has undue influence
        • Howard – judicial races are a different breed, screening panels are traditional measure for reform clubs; suggest that when looking at races, CBID doesn’t really have a catchment area (yes we do), but we should start by defining our geographic area but I don’t know that we want to be that restrictive. Blake Morris was frustrated by NKD’s committee decision to not endorse in his race.
        • Cheryl – concurring with Howard’s point. We do have a natural area, the 52nd AD and the 44th AD, and their overlap. Set up some sort of mechanism that retains flexibility.
          • Erica: constitution officially lays out those districts plus 51st and 57th as our area
        • Rich – not written into law yet, so if people want to participate there will be a meeting.
      • Allison: Anyone interested, wanting to get more info or help hash this out – MEETING AT JOHNNY MACK’S ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 21
        • Passing around a clipboard to get info and reminder
        • Matt Stern – helped make NKD’s criteria to decide when they get into a race, echo Cheryl’s point
    • Recording Secretary
      • Melissa Turoff resigned the role, Executive Committee has already approved interim appointment, requires club vote
      • Ben – threatens to delete all of the above notes
      • Marty – moves to nominate Ben Theodore for interim recording secretary
        • seconded
      • Unanimous vote
    • Executive Committee
      • With Ben’s move to officer, new opening on Executive Committee – just for the next few months until January
      • Cheryl – nominates Diana Gonzalez
        • Diana – active in Brooklyn politics a very long time, joined CBID recently. I do have a fair amount of free time and want to be more involved. Joined Events Committee, happy to help!
      • Alice – nominates Simon
        • Simon – flattered by Marty asked me how long I’ve been a member, I did not join before March, don’t want to risk immediate impeachment
      • Ben – nominates Sharon Harkey
        • Sharon – Member since January, happy to be a member of this club, want to be able to contribute and want to make more things happen
      • Discussion
        • Josh – on Diana’s behalf, she has worked on a great number of campaigns close to CBID, first met her on Chris Owens’s congressional campaign and I think she’d be a great addition
        • Marty – candidates should step out
      • Votes
        • Cast by show of hands
      • Diana is elected to the Executive Committee through December
      • Sharon is encouraged to run again in January
  • NEW BUSINESS
    • Brooklyn for Peace Gala on the 7th – vote on placing an ad in their journal
      • Cheryl – not a partisan group, very worthy organization, have supported them for a very long time in the past
      • Marty – full page ad is $600
      • They’re not allowed to buy ads in our journal, so they pool their money and put their ad in as Friends of…, and they usually buy a table
      • Suggest not just doing a full page ad but pay for a couple tickets for people from the club, we have $33K in our checking account, we have the money, it’s great food, tickets are $150 each
      • Discussion
        • Diana – can we also send invite to the full club?
          • Marty – Yes, we can do an e-blast
        • Judy – outgrowth of Parents for Peace from 25-30 years ago; event is at a Brooklyn Heights church
        • Cheryl – headliner is Zephyr Teachout
        • Marvin – how do we decide who gets the ticket?
  • MOTION: Place an ad for $600 – from Cheryl, seconded by Diane
    • NEAR-UNANIMOUS VOTE, 1 ABSTENTION
  • MOTION: Allocate $300 towards tickets to subsidize club members who want to attend – if just two we pay full price, if more it’s split between then – from Marvin
    • Marty – we need a closing date; vote on this first
    • 19 in FAVOR
    • No objections, no abstentions
  • Follow-up on Move the Money Campaign, for City Council to hold hearings on what $ the city needs for purposes and how much is going to the military
    • If anyone wants to sign a postcard, will hand them out
    • Cheryl: Confusion about meeting location tonight, brought food that is sitting downstairs in the kitchen. Would like to give perishables to club members so it doesn’t go to waste.

Marvin: Thanks to Alice and Allison for stepping up to lead

  • ADJOURNED at 8:48 PM