Grand Street Democrats had its first regular meeting Monday night with about 100 neighbors in Seward’s community room.
Thank you to Councilmember Margaret Chin and Councilmember-elect Carlina Rivera for kicking off the meeting (and for sticking around!).
We heard from a number of you about what issues you think GSD should be standing up for, and, importantly, what we can all do to help. Those comments encouraged us to set up several initial committees, including Political & Social Action, Outreach, Big D (electing Democrats everywhere), and our Student Committee.
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We are already working on organizing a public meeting in December to take our concerns about Grand Street & Clinton Street traffic directly to local elected officials as well as the NYC Department of Transportation and our local 7th Precinct of the NYPD.
And we will be in touch after Thanksgiving with dates for initial meetings of our different committees, so that each group can start to set its own priorities.
Meet at Seward Co-op Courtyard
Grand Street just west of Pitt Street
Our friends from Corlears Hook Park have donated hundreds of daffodil bulbs to brighten up the neighborhood. And with school out on Tuesday for Election Day, we thought it would be a good time to get these bulbs in the ground.
If you are free for a couple hours of gardening along Grand Street, please join us! We will have some tools and gloves available, but not for everyone — if you have any tools of your own please bring them. Kids are more than welcome but not required!
Residents of Seward building 1 were surprised in September to find that their regular polling site in the lobby had been moved to the second floor of PS 134 on East Broadway. The official reasoning from the Board of Elections was hard to believe, that a crack in the sidewalk outside was a burden for disabled voters. (Leaving the building, crossing two streets, and reaching the second floor polling site was obviously a much bigger burden for voters than just coming downstairs.)
Fortunately, the crack was easily repaired by Seward management, and the Board of Elections has approved voters’ requests to bring the polling site back home. On Tuesday, November 7 Seward building 1 residents can easily vote again in their own building, in the community room.
What’s next for Grand Street Democrats: our first public meeting on Monday, November 13. Please join us, and encourage your politically-minded neighbors to join us as well.
The goal of this meeting is to set club priorities for the coming year and form committees to take action on those priorities. The specific activities of the club will be driven by your passions, so those of you with some time to devote to progressive causes in the neighborhood will have a tremendous opportunity to shape what Grand Street Democrats becomes.
Everyone is welcome, free of charge. But if you would like to become a member of the new club, to acquire voting privileges and have a more active say in club activities and endorsements, 2-year dues of $60 will be collected at the meeting.
On November 7 there will be three state proposals on your election day ballot. Grand Street Democrats voted Monday to recommend a “Yes” vote on Proposal 2.
It’s hard to believe, but elected officials convicted of corruption charges get to retire with full benefits in the state of New York.
A 2011 state law allowed for judges to reduce or revoke the public pension of officials convicted of crimes related to their office, but because the state constitution protects public pensions as contracts, only officials elected starting after the law went into effect are subject to its restriction. Ballot proposal 2 would amend the state constitution to give judges the power to punish officials even if they were elected before 2012.
There are still two caveats to this proposal, even if it passes:
First, as with the existing state law, pension forfeiture would not be automatic but rather would be at the discretion of a judge.
Second, this amendment would apply only to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2018. That creates a hard-to-resist window of opportunity between November 8 and December 31 of this year when veteran law makers can go all-out on corruption without worrying about risking their pensions. It also means that a certain neighbor of ours, even if re-tried and re-convicted, will continue to receive $79,222 per year from New York taxpayers for his many years of service.
On November 7, don’t forget to turn your ballot over and vote “Yes” on Proposal 2.
Monday night in the Seward Community Room, Grand Street Democrats founding members approved bylaws for our new local Democratic club, and inaugural club members elected officers to help guide the club for its first year.
Jeremy Sherber … President
Nina Watkins … Vice President
Daria Segalini … Treasurer
Judith Wind … Secretary
Bylaws will be posted soon to this website, and we’ll have a formal announcement soon about our first public meeting on November 13.
Caroline Laskow and Lee Berman scored a major upset Tuesday over the Harry S. Truman Democratic Club, a longtime base of support for disgraced former Assemblymember Sheldon Silver.
Their Grand Street Democrats running mates also won 16 out of 22 Democratic County Committee seats. These victories give this new political organization immediate relevance in the selection of a new State Senator, following Daniel Squadron’s abrupt resignation.
In the six months since its founding, Grand Street Democrats has earned a wide base of grassroots support from Lower East Siders looking for an active, inclusive, progressive political community.
Caroline Laskow said, “Trump’s win last year was a call to action for anyone with a political ethical conscience. The Truman Club’s silence in the face of Trump’s campaign and administration signalled not only their apathy but complicity. Our community deserves better, and voters today made clear they are looking for new local leadership ready to organize resistance to Trump’s radical agenda.”
Lee Berman said, “Locally, this is big news. Silver and his allies have acted as gatekeepers to local officials for decades. We are determined to celebrate the diversity of our neighborhood and make sure that everyone has equal access to their elected officials, from City Hall to Albany to Washington DC.”
Grand Street Democrats plans to hold regular open meetings, neighborhood events, and forums with elected officials for the entire community.
For more information follow @grandstreetdems on social media.