November President’s Message

Hello CBID family,

When I decided to run for CBID President, I set our goals for 2018 to both focus on our electoral work and to expand our reach.  I feel tremendously proud of the work we have all done towards those goals.  During the Spring, we were mobilizing petition efforts for Max Rose and Yvette Clarke.  Over the summer we petitioned, canvassed, called, and texted for Zellnor Myrie, for Andrew Gounardes, for Doug Schneider, and contributed our time and efforts to other anti-IDC races.  Post Primary, we honed our focus to Max Rose, Andrew Gounardes, and Liuba Grechen Shirley.  And the other night, MSNBC called Max Rose as the first red to blue Congressional flip of the evening.  By the end of the night, Democrats gained a strong control of the House and and immensely strong grip of the New York State Senate.

We have a lot to celebrate.  We also didn’t win every race.  And we never will.  But the way that we conduct ourselves and the drive that we put into our work is what is most important.  We will continue to work tirelessly with one another, with other communities, and build off the ideals and values that bring us together.

This month’s meeting will look at that — what do we stand for?  What do we want to fight for in 2019?  2019 will be a shift for us, away from electoral politics and into legislative action.  (PS – I do know we’ll have a tough and short Public Advocate race, everyone loves canvassing in the snow, right?!)  2019 will be a year that we have to pass legislation that we’ve been fighting for and has been held up by Cuomo and the IDC.  Reproductive rights, voting reform, immigration rights, and much, much more.  We’re going to spend our November meeting discussing, prioritizing, and then writing action plans towards our ideals.

We have proven we can mobilize and win elections, we will keep that energy going and prove that we can fight for and pass legislation on a State and Federal level.

Thank you all for all you have done.  I want to take a second and single out a few people who have gone above and beyond this year, and acknowledge their tireless work — Erica Cohen, Melissa Turoff, Hilary van Santen, Rich Bennett, Marty Bernstein, Allison Mingus, Ali Manning, Joe Criscione, Ben Theodore, Cheryl Kraus, and Cheryl Wertz all have done amazing work, and worth an extra thank you the next time you see them.


Asher Novek
CBID President

May Presidents Message

May President’s Message

Dear CBID,

We are just about through this year’s busy endorsement season.  After our May meeting we’ll be in the full swing of things election wise. Between the Congressional Primaries under a month away and petitioning for our State candidates ramping up, it’s time to start putting our feet on the pavement and getting to work. This is now the crucial time for CBID to make an impact in these elections.

We’ve had hearty discussions, we’ve met with the candidates, we’ve debated and done our due diligence. Now we have to stand for them and do what I personally think is the actual fun part of all this – engaging with voters. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to help turn out the vote. Yes, New York’s laws are antiquated and suppress new voters; yes, we’re in the bottom of voter turnout; and yes, we need real legislative change to those things.  But while we advocate for those reforms, we can also knock on doors, make phone calls, and talk to our neighbors in the mean time.

We’re not going to see real voting reform, or reproductive rights reform, or immigration reform, or public education spending, or anything unless we flip the House and flip the State Senate.  We can make substantial changes right here and get behind candidates who truly represent the values we want to continue fighting for.  And the way to do that isn’t a secret.  It’s knocking on doors, it’s getting petition signatures, it’s making phone calls.

I hope you can all prioritize making some time in the coming weeks and months.  Being a part of CBID has personally led to some of the most meaningful relationships I can remember, and it begins with voter outreach and connections.

Let’s get to work!

Asher Novek
CBID President

April Presidents Message

I’m going to do something that, to be honest, I’m not sure I really should. I’m going to comment on a race and its candidates before our official endorsement. But I feel like it’s important to start talking about this sooner rather than later. You may have seen this past weekend that Governor Cuomo lost the endorsement of the Working Families Party and basically “declared war” on the progressive grassroots movement. Losing the support of the WFP isn’t as big a shock to me, as I’ve been closely working with them on a number of issues, including fighting the IDC, but Cuomo’s seemingly ‘I-didn’t-want-to-be-your-friend-anyway’ attitude towards progressives is a bit shocking, although it really shouldn’t be.

In a time when the progressive grassroots are doing great work and winning amazing victories it seems strange to me that Cuomo is fighting that momentum. It is odd that in a time where the Federal government can and will do very little for us, that he would take such a strong stance and double down on basically what amounts to his own arrogance. Well, I think people are finally seeing who he really is and what he really stands for (not much).

My biggest takeaway from Cuomo casting aside progressives is this — we don’t need him. We will fight to take New York State back both in the Senate and in Congress this Fall. We will fight to get real progressives past the primaries and get them over the finish lines in November. And we will do so working with other grassroots groups. We will work with activists and fighters, and we will do it in a coalition around the State and Country. We don’t need the support and arrogance that comes with any institution wrapped around this Governor and his inability to put the needs of his constituents ahead of his ego.

While Cuomo is truly a disappointment, there are some people who exemplify the passion and fight that I expect of true progressives. Club member Sherese Jackson recently spoke on behalf of Indivisible Bk – basically saying that the time is up for politicians to sneak by on their faux laurels. Take a minute and watch her, and watch the Congressmembers behind her realize “ok, yeah, we’re gonna work with you.” Just try and not be fired up after that, I dare you.

I also want to give a couple more shout outs and thank yous to Hilary Van Santen for opening up her home to the wonderful meet and greet we had with Congressmember Clarke. And thanks to Melissa Turoff for helping plan a very successful karaoke night with the Southwest Brooklyn Democrats.

There’s a lot going on now – we’re going to be ramping up our Congressional support with canvassing and phone banks. We’re going to plug people into the special elections happening over the next 10 or so days. We’re going to get everything ready for a heavy summer of petitioning and canvassing for all the State Senate candidates that we have endorsed and will be endorsing. We’re going to win these Congressional, state senate and assembly primaries, and keep going through September and into November. And we will do so with our allies and friends.

Asher Novek
CBID President

President’s Message – February

President’s Message

Hello CBID!  I am incredibly grateful and humbled to take on the Presidency of the Club.  For those who don’t know me, I have worked around local politics and civic engagement for the last 9+ years.  I have worked on the governmental side of things, on campaigns, and on civic awareness and participation projects throughout the City.  CBID has always been my political home, and I’m excited about what we have in front of us.

What do we have?  Well, to be honest, a whole lot of work.  Since the Presidential election we have been talking about 2018 as a target and bullseye to gear our work towards.  And now we’re here.  We have both Congressional races around the country and State Senate races here at home of the utmost importance.  We have the ability to flip both the House of Representatives and the New York State Senate.  I can’t think of two bigger whales to go after – not that I condone the hunting of whales, you can take up issues with that metaphor with Melville.

In order to make substantive change in this City and this country, I see two main things we all need to do: focus and push ourselves.  I will admit that sometimes I get totally overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead.  Between interviewing candidates, researching races, then getting into petitioning for both Federal and State races, canvassing, phone banking, text banking…it can seem daunting.  I want to stress something I try to tell everyone: you don’t have to do everything.  No one will do everything.  But if we work together and keep organized (which, in large part, is mine and our Executive Committee’s job), then everyone can stay focused on their work.  Do you love petitioning?  Do you feel passionate about one candidate in particular?  Do you want to focus on phone banking?  There are always options and always work to do, but the first step is YOU identifying what you want to do.  We will make sure to plug you into the right effort, don’t worry about that.  But it begins with you.

Second, I want to mention that all of us need to push ourselves into more uncomfortable territories.  Activism should take us our of our comfort zones, and if it’s not, then ask yourself why.  Door knocking, attending protests, lobbying legislatures, calling representatives – there are so many ways to DO something, I want to challenge all of us to do something that is more uncomfortable than we normally do.  These actions aren’t all we can do, often times the little things end up meaning more.  That also extends into conversations we have.  If someone makes you uncomfortable in the way they talk about race or gender, but you’ve never been comfortable to bring it up to them – do it.  These little actions are just as important as the bigger, more public ones.

Activism is all on us and starts with yourself.  It starts with you asking for help.  Then we can and will help one another and work together.

Asher Novek