October 2019 Meeting Notes

CBID General Meeting Notes

Thursday October 24, 2019

  1. Welcome
    • Early voting starts Saturday!
    • Ice breaker
  2. Open spot on the CBID Executive Committee
    • Nominations: Sharon Harkey nominated
      1. Member for 10 months. Worked on campaigns in the last few years, including Doug Schneider’s district leader race. Petitioned for Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate, volunteered for Caroline Cohen. Likes bringing people into the political process, bringing people together.
    • Sharon elected unanimously
  3. In January there will be elections for Executive Committee and for Officers. 18 or 19 Ex Comm seats currently. Asher is term-limited. If you are interested in running, inform any of the current officers.
    • Anyone interested in running for officer must be nominated tonight or at the next meeting. They cannot be nominated from the floor in January. Ex Comm members can be nominated from the floor.
  4. Committee Updates
    • Climate Change / Environmental Justice Committee
      • Please everyone sign the Brooklyn Botanic Garden petition “Fight for Sunlight” on the BBG website!
      • Committee has drafted a letter to send to elected officials asking that they oppose the development that would block the BBG’s sunlight
      • Rezoning around the Gowanus Canal: Suggestion for the club to bring in someone who can teach us more about the zoning and environmental issues around the canal since there is a major proposal to significantly increase the density around the canal.
        1.  Josh Skaller suggests we host a community forum to educate members of the community on the subject.
      • Extinction Rebellion protested by holding funeral for the environment at the Atlantic Antic street festival. Some very bored plainclothes police officers volunteered to provide a police escort. There may be another funeral march on 7th Ave in Park Slope on Halloween.
      • Acme Studios is hosting a debate watching party and all the proceeds will go to raise for Extinction Rebellion. If you want to hang out with Richard Bennet, be there!
    • Events Committee Update
      • We are changing when we have our annual dinner as a response to the fact that the primary elections have moved to June. We are still exploring venues and dates. Possibly early February
    • Electoral Strategy Committee
      • First meeting of the Electoral Strategy Committee took place
      • Allison was elected Chair
      • We made a list of all of the races we’re paying attention to and divided them up between committee members to research the candidate
      • We created a timeline for creating endorsement questionnaires.
      • Other committees will be asked to submit 3 questions on their issue to candidates
      • There will be three questionnaires: District Leader, State Legislative, and Congressional
      • If anyone is interested in joining the committee, contact Allison!
  5. Early Voting Starts Saturday! Most folks here will vote at the Armory
    • Voting early will make the point that we need more early voting sites in the future so vote early!
    • There are a lot of new voting laws going into effect this year and early voting is a chance to test them all out before the main event
  6. Explanation of Ballot Measures from Karen Wharton
    • Karen is from the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting
    • QUESTIONS ARE ON THE BACK OF THE BALLOT IN 7.7 FONT. TURN YOUR BALLOT OVER WHEN YOU VOTE
    • Ranked choice voting: Instead of having one vote per office, we’ll rank up to five of your favorite candidates in order for each office.
      • If no one candidate has a majority with the first choice votes, we start eliminating whoever is in last place and reassigning their votes to the voters’ second choice. This continues until someone breaks 50%.
      • This discourages candidates from focusing only on a small subset of voters and encourages them to instead attempt to appeal to a much broader set of voters
      • This eliminates the issue of spoiler candidates
      • This would only be in the primary election, not the general election and only for municipal office.
      • Many people are concerned that this system will confuse voters. However, research from areas that have ranked choice voting indicates that voter engagement did not diminish, but education is necessary.
        1. Karen taught ranked choice voting to a bunch of elementary school kids and they figured it out.
      • If the proposal passes there will be a lot of education.
      • It would go into effect in 2021.
    • Asher discusses ballot measures 2-5 by reading them. Look them up online!
      • A few progressives oppose question 2 (about the Civilian Complaint Review Board) because they want to eliminate the CCRB entirely and replace it with something much better.
  7. Motion to Endorse the Five Ballot Measures: Passes
  8. Jesse Pierce, Candidate for Female District Leader in the 52nd AD
    • Running because she believes the Brooklyn Democratic party can be much more than it is today. We should be a standard bearer for progressive organizing and promoting progressive policy around the country. The County Committee should be front and center in that vision.
    • She has organizers canvassing to inform Democratic voters about the voting reforms to make sure people know their voting rights.
    • Jesse’s campaign team is a team of five women
    • Background: Has lived in the 52nd for 4 years. Is currently in Boerum Hill with her partner Renee. Loves meetings that happen on basketball courts.
    • She is Director of Operations at a small software company.
    • Short term goals for county: Wants to see county start following the rules that currently exist. Make party inclusive, accessible, and transparent. She also prioritizes proxy reform. Also concerned with county’s finances.
    • Josh asks: since the 52nd has a lot of political enthusiasm but its county committee is full – what is her philosophy about how to handle an excess of folks wanting to participate. Response: She believes it is important to foster a culture of participation – it’s important for county committee members to go out and talk to their neighbors, not just because it’s their obligation but because it’s important, and Jesse would like to reduce the number of people who are appointed in order to accommodate people who want to canvass.
    • Regarding the involvement of District Leaders in elections: Jesse would like to see an active Assembly District Committee and she would like to involve the ADC in recruiting poll workers.
  9. Update from Assemblymember Carroll
    • On November 18th, Bobby and Brad Lander are cohosting a public meeting with the DOT at PS 889 at 6:30 to discuss the Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Ave traffic
    • Campaign Finance Commission is a disaster: They’re going to come out with a report that will probably create a matching program. It will only match dollars of in-district contributions. Bobby considers it unworkable. It is meant to fail and it is meant to stifle participation in democracy and is counter to the purpose. The Commission has broad authority to change any election laws. The legislature has only three weeks to overturn anything this commission does or it automatically becomes law.
      1. “Lots of members of the state legislature are mendacious and craven. Not me.”
      1. The Commission’s report will come out either right before or after Thanksgiving.
    • Last week in Albany there was a forum on early childhood literacy and dyslexia screening
  10. Update from Assemblymember Simon
    • A problem with the public financing commission is they’re trying to take the city’s matching funds program and superimpose it onto the state level, and it doesn’t work statewide.
    • Closing of Riker’s and the Brooklyn Detention Center: This process is going in a problematic way. Each borough has a stakeholder group of people who live near the detention center. One of the issues is ULURP – this is a land use issue. Also considering whether the facility will be a place that provides the programs and treatment that inmates need.
    • BQE: It’s not figured out yet. An expert panel will issue a report, which is delayed. They are working very hard to get the report right. Neither of the approaches that were proposed is great.
      • This used to be a state project until they decided the city owned the roadway, but the city isn’t in the business of building bridges, the city repairs roads, so JoAnn has been working on getting the state back to the table.
  11. Amendments to CBID Constitution
    • Procedure: The club has to hear them, have the opportunity to ask questions, and then vote to approve them in two consecutive meetings.
    • These amendments specifically serve to clarify the officer positions
    • There will be two questions: The first is the definition of the officers. In our current constitution the responsibilities of the officers is not explained.
    • The second question clarifies that the club doesn’t give out email addresses.
    • Explanation of the officer roles:
      1. Changed some titles.
        1. First VP = VP of Political Strategy
        1. 2nd VP = VP of Membership
        1. Corresponding Secretary = VP of Communications
      1. The role of president is an explanation of what is already happening, with the addition of the creation of a “financial plan,” so that members have a better idea of how our money is used
      1. The two VPs get more specific responsibilities instead of how it is now, which is more ad hoc
    • In terms of the club’s list: we are only giving out names and mailing addresses, not emails. Also the use of the club’s list, instead of being determined by the standard of being in the spirit of the club, that standard will be determined by the Ex Comm.
      1. Josh spoke against the Ex Comm being empowered to deny members access to the list
    • Marty is concerned that this puts him on the hook for federal filings, which are currently completed by Rich Bennett
    • Extended discussion of the executive committee deciding whether to give out the club list. Some folks think it’s too restrictive, others think we’re giving the members’ information out too easily.
    • Discussion of VP of Political Strategy: Their purpose is to help ensure that we approach endorsements in a thorough way.
    • Vote on the first question: to change the officer positions and create descriptions for them: Motion passes
    • Vote on the second question of Article 16, the membership list: Motion passes
    • Immense thanks to the people who spent so much time and energy working on the amendments
  12. Fundraiser for Josh Skaller for District Leader at Alice’s house on November 20th
  13.  Sharon Harkey announcing an event next Wednesday at Beth Elohim on Garfield Pl.  Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez discusses his justice 2020 plan.
  14. Update from Josh Skaller on county didn’t actually happen

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