GSD Resolution on Party Registration Deadline

Adopted at regular meeting 5/16/19.

Grand Street Democrats supports New York State Committee Members in their efforts to move the deadline for Democratic party registration for voters to 25 days before any primary.

Update: One of our State Committee Members, Chris Marte, let us know this morning that he will be voting for the “Let All Democrats Vote Amendment” at today’s State Committee meeting. He sent us a fuller explanation of the rules change, which is included below:

This amendment would change the “Primary Participation” section (Part Two, Section A, 2) of the NYSDC 2020 Delegate Selection Plan and would guarantee that all New York voters who apply to join the Democratic Party at least 25 days before the 2020 Presidential Primary get to vote in that Primary. As currently written, this section states that participation in the Presidential Primary will be limited to New York voters who have enrolled in the Democratic Party by October 11, 2019, which is over six months in advance of the Presidential Primary, and the longest waiting period in the entire nation. 

It is critical that we pass this amendment for several reasons:

  • The draft delegate selection plan does not comply with the DNC Delegate Selection Rules.
    • The “Primary Participation” section of our delegate selection plan does not meet the requirement that State Parties are to do everything in their power to guarantee a change of party enrollment deadline no earlier than the voter registration deadline of 25 days in New York.
    • DNC Rule 2, Section J requires State Parties to ensure “an open and inclusive process” in the selection of convention delegates by “revising State Party rules and encouraging administrative rules, legislation, or considering litigation to… allow voters to switch parties at least as late as the deadline for registering to vote.”
    • DNC Rule 2, Section C requires State Parties to take “all feasible steps” to eliminate excessively long waiting periods for voters to change their enrollment status, including revising Party rules.
  • If the State Committee does not amend its delegate plan and fix this problem, it could cost NY delegates and money.
    • DNC Rule 21, Section C(6) states that the DNC may take action against State Parties that have “failed or refused to comply” with the DNC rules by reducing the size of the NY Delegation to the National Convention, diminishing the voice of New York Democrats in the nomination process.
    • DNC Rule 22, Section C gives the DNC the power to force non-complying State Parties to pay for a private selection of delegates, which could cost the party millions of dollars.

The “Let All Democrats Vote Amendment” not only brings New York in compliance with the DNC, but also meets the national average time required to change Party enrollment and matches New York’s new-voter enrollment deadline (of 25 days before the Primary). For the 2020 Presidential Election, it is critical that we pass this amendment and not miss the opportunity to capitalize on the energy of the Primary to build Party enrollment and to demonstrate the Party’s commitment to fundamental democratic values and fairness.


GSD Resolution on East River Park Draft EIS

Adopted at regular meeting 5/16/19.

The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project is “designed to reduce the risk of floods from coastal storm surges and/or flooding from high-intensity rainfall events.” (The full draft environmental impact statement prepared by the City is available here.)

The City’s $1.4 billion proposal would bulldoze three miles of shoreline parks from Montgomery to 25th St., add landfill, and raise the entire park 8-10 feet as a flood wall against the East River. Construction would start in March 2020 and last 3½ years, by the City’s estimate. Nearly seven years after Superstorm Sandy, the City has no plan for flood protection before the project is complete.

The City’s plan is problematic and needs to be reconsidered.

  1. The environmental impact of the construction project would be devastating, with all existing trees and other plant life destroyed and the loss of significant park components such as the Seal Park and the FDR-era amphitheater.
  2. Construction will close more than 60 acres of parkland along the East River without any plan to replace this vital recreation space during the time of construction.
  3. The City’s track record with large-scale construction projects, in particular those at East River Park, offer no assurances that construction (and loss of park use) will last only 3½ years.
  4. The City has provided no independent engineering review of the necessity of its proposed plan or comparative feasibility of other plans.
  5. After years of delay from the City, residents are now rushed to approve this plan based on an upcoming deadline of initial funding from the Federal government.
  6. Nearly seven years after Sandy, the City still has no plan for immediate flood protection.

We recommend the following:

  1. Commit to any East River Park construction in stages so that parts of the park are kept open and usable for the duration of the project.
  2. Work immediately with our Congressional representatives to extend the deadline to spend Federal funds, and delay the approval of this project, so that the ESCR review process is not rushed.
  3. Convene an independent panel of engineering specialists to review the City’s current plan and proposed alternatives like East River Alliance’s recommendation to extend the park over the FDR Drive. Expert panels have either reviewed or been proposed for large-scale construction projects on the L Train, BQE, and East Side Connector; the Lower East Side deserves the same consideration.
  4. Provide immediate flood protection, even if short-term. There are many types of deployable barriers that could be used to protect the Lower East Side from storm surges while a long-term solution is thoroughly explored.
  5. Commit to other plans to mitigate the impact of loss of park access, including providing transportation to alternate fields, investing in playgrounds and parks in the neighborhoods adjacent to East River Park, and designating alternate protected bike lanes as part of the East River Greenway
  6. Preserve and repurpose existing historical and landscape components of the park.

GSD Resolution on M14 Service Cuts

Adopted at regular meeting 5/16/19.

In March, the MTA surprised our local Community Board with a plan to cut 40% of the M14A and M14D stops below 14th Street — 50% of the M14A stops below Delancey Street.

In the two months since then, Grand Street Democrats engaged diverse community groups, participated in protests, collected petition signatures from our neighbors, spoke out on TV, plastered social media, showed up at community meetings, rallied our local elected officials, and won significant improvements to the MTA’s plan for seniors, students, and people with disabilities.

In addition to the work of our own District Leaders and members, there is credit to go around:

  • All of our elected officials — from City Council up to Congress — rallied against the MTA’s proposed cuts and supported community members’ demands to restore all local stops to the M14 bus route.
  • Jose Ortiz and the members of The Senior Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT), who started a petition that collected 5000 signatures and organized a successful May Day rally and march for seniors on Grand Street to protest the bus service cuts.
  • Daisy Paez, our next-door-neighbor District Leader, who rallied neighbors on the streets and online, stood up at community meetings, and led the May Day rally on Grand Street.

There is also still a lot to keep fighting to change:

  • The MTA made no attempt to reach out to the community before announcing its proposed service cuts.
  • The MTA “open house” meetings were designed not to encourage but to stifle community input.
  • Proposed service cuts were based on agenda-driven metrics, not community needs.
  • Our neighborhood is still losing two stops south of Delancey. Those most in need of convenient public transportation have to settle for a compromise victory.
  • While the purported goal of service cuts was to speed up M14 buses, NYC Department of Transportation still has no plan to mitigate traffic on Grand Street, which is the biggest factor in slow bus speeds below Delancey.
  • Our neighbors above Delancey have lost even more local stops on the M14A and M14D bus routes because of the MTA’s misguided approach to transit policy in the East Village and Lower East Side.

Proposed letter to elected officials regarding air quality during L Train shutdown

At our fall meeting on Thursday, Grand Street Dems will have a chance to approve the following letter to our elected officials urging them to make sure air quality tests are conducted before and during the L Train shutdown to monitor the air quality in neighborhoods like ours that will see a significant increase in diesel bus traffic.

Read the proposed letter below.

Update: The letter below was approved by Grand Street Dems at our meeting on 10/4/18. The letter has also been signed by many other neighborhood groups and local officials. The final letter can be viewed here:

Update 2: In a big victory, the MTA has agreed to monitor air quality all along the bus route during the L Train shutdown. 

Grand Street Democrats urges formal review of MTA/DOT mitigation plan for L Train shutdown

At last night’s regular meeting, Grand Street Democrats approved the following resolution:

The L Train East River Tunnel requires extensive repairs that will disrupt the commute of thousands of New Yorkers for 18 months or more. These repairs are necessary, and the disruption is unavoidable. However, the current MTA contingency plans fail to adequately address the challenge. For example, with the current plan, non-HOV cars will be forced off Delancey onto smaller streets that already suffer from congestion and unsafe conditions for pedestrians. We urge the MTA to consider several important changes to its plans and approach.

  1. Fully review the impact on residential streets surrounding the 14th Street and Delancey Street corridors, particularly along Grand Street and Clinton Street.
  2. Assign electric buses, not diesel, to the Delancey and 14th Street corridors. The sheer volume of additional bus traffic on these routes as part of the mitigation plan makes diesel a disastrous choice for air quality.
  3. Provide long-overdue access for people with disabilities and elderly to all subway stations undergoing renovation.
  4. Vet mitigation plans through a formal and collaborative environmental review and impact study and commit to getting approval from Community Boards in the affected neighborhoods before work begins.

We support the lawsuit brought by community groups, individuals, and organizations representing the disabled which would require the MTA and NYC DOT to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and prepare an environmental impact statement.

We urge our city council members and state representatives to officially support these efforts to improve the existing L Train contingency plan.

Executive committee authorized to negotiate full slate of delegates with GSD nominees

At last night’s regular meeting, GSD members initiated the process for determining this year’s slate of judicial delegates and alternates from Assembly District 65. Four members were nominated to join the slate of delegates, and the executive committee was authorized to negotiate the final make-up of the slate with other Democratic District Leaders from AD65.

The GSD nominees are Ian Rosenberg, Diego Segalini, Hariette Skidelski, and Peter Herb. Since members ranked nominees when voting, these nominees will be considered for the final slate in this order.

GSD members also approved a resolution to give the executive committee authorized to negotiate a full slate of judicial delegates (5) and alternates (5) with the other Democratic District Leaders from AD 65. The delegates endorsed last night by GSD members will make up AD65 Part A’s contribution to that slate.

GSD supports Lower East Side Historic District

Preliminary Proposed Lower East Side Historic District.
At our regular meeting on February 8, Grand Street Democrats voted to support the designation of an historic district on the lower east side. The proposed district encompasses historically intact buildings south of Delancey Street between Forsyth and Essex Streets (including many of the buildings around the Tenement Museum).

The area has been defined by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, a group of local preservationists who were instrumental in getting parts of the East Village designated as historic districts.

If you want to support this initiative individually, please add your name to the petition for a lower east side historic district.

The text of our letter to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission is below.

Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Chair Srinivasan,

Manhattan’s Lower East Side is recognized as America’s iconic immigrant neighborhood with unsurpassed architectural, historical, and cultural significance to our city, state, and nation. Its great variety of age-old tenements, institutional, and commercial buildings not only enrich the streets with architecture based on human scale and beautifully crafted ornament, but have given the community and its residents a cohesive and stable environment with a strongly identifiable sense of history and place.

The only way to effectively preserve the historic streetscapes of this vital neighborhood is through New York City historic district designation. Therefore, we call upon the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark, without delay, the historically intact areas of the Lower East Side south of Delancey Street, as proposed by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and Friends of the Lower East Side.

Grand Street Democrats is a local club of active Lower East Side residents. We have a keen interest in honoring the unique history of our neighborhood while preserving the area’s opportunity to continue to grow and thrive. Please let us know if there is anything more we can do to assist the LPC in this matter.

Jeremy Sherber, President
Grand Street Democrats