Meeting Notes, September 18

Over thirty members of the Four Freedoms Democratic Club convened at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at 6:30pm on the evening of Thursday, September 18, 2014. The following are brief minutes from the meeting.

First, President Kim Moscaritolo welcomed everybody and emphasized the importance of hosting events on Roosevelt Island, as well as everywhere around the district. We are very excited to be the political club of choice for many Democrats on the Island and look forward to working together to help increase local political engagement!

Next, State Senator Jose Serrano addressed the membership. He reiterated how important it is to be accessible to the residents of Roosevelt Island, a key part of his oddly-shaped district. He further discussed how the future of state government depends on reforming the way that we operate, and how essential it is that the State Senate return to Democratic control. We are always appreciative to hear from our local elected officials, so thank you, Senator!

Rebecca Seawright, newly elected Democratic nominee for State Assembly, then addressed the club about her campaign and issues important to it. She stressed her support for Roosevelt Island, noting that she and Congresswoman Maloney toured the Island after the election. She then gave an update about the fight against the Marine Transfer Station--she held a press conference about the project and spoke with the governor about it, so the battle continues! Finally, she announced that her campaign is moving full speed ahead for the general election; even though we live in a Democratic district, it is still of vital importance that we turn out every Democrat to vote for the Democratic ticket this November. Be on the lookout for Seawright campaign events between now and November.

Gabe and Dillon updated the club on elections and our treasury. In short: we didn't win everything that we wanted to, but we fought hard and managed to reelect Ruth Halberg to the State Committee, as well as elect one judicial delegate and two alternates. Particular plaudits were given to Jonathan Piel for his spirited and impressive campaign for State Committee. As for the treasury, we have several thousand dollars after spending just under $5000 on Executive Board-approved election activities (palm cards, a mailing, pizza for volunteers). In the near future, we have plans to spend ~$400 on space for upcoming meetings and ~$2500 on our holiday party, leaving us with over $1500 going into next year. Dues for next year are now being collected--renew your membership ($20) now!

Madelaine Piel also gave us an update from the Judicial Convention, which was held on Tuesday, September 16. She informed us that Judge Kathryn Freed was nominated without opposition, though there were a lot of other judges who declined their nominations. The evening featured many spirited speeches, including a lot by members of local clubs, and we are thankful that Madelaine (as well as our delegates) were there to represent the club and report back!

Teresa gave an update about the Climate March, which ended up being very well-attended by club members. The FFDC remains committed to advocacy for and discussion of environmental issues and we look forward to hosting more events on this pressing issue in the future. Dillon gave an update about Share Better (f/k/a the Illegal Hotel Coalition). The club had a discussion about the pros and cons of increased regulation on Airbnb, with the resolution to consider this as part of an issues forum on housing. Finally, Kim discussed the Right to Counsel bill.

During Member Time, Sarah Anders from CM Ben Kallos's office shared information about participatory budgeting. For an explanation of participatory budgeting, please see http://benkallos.com/pb. We strongly encourage every member to attend a neighborhood assembly to learn more and get involved! Next, David Garland, Republican candidate for State Assembly, briefly addressed the membership.

Next, Ethel Romm discussed the closure of a local senior center on Rhode Island. The club thought this might make for another interesting topic at a prospective housing forum. Finally, Michael Dillon brought up the issue of outgoing Assembly Member Micah Kellner currently holding two important party positions (District Leader and State Committee Member). This goes against the reform tenets for which our club stands, and we discussed the proper path forward to register our public displeasure with this occurrence. The club agreed to come up with concrete proposals (e.g. a Letter to the Editor) and present them at an upcoming meeting for the club to vote on.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15pm.