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Press Releases

Endorsement for NY State Senate: PAUL NEWELL

D.I.D. had an excellent and vibrant meeting with four candidates vying to replace NY State Senator Dan Squadron. Each candidate presented and answered questions from members of D.I.D. and the public. The quality of the candidates and the questions presented were noteworthy.

After hearing from all candidates, D.I.D. and members of the public convened for lengthy discussion on the qualities of the candidates and how each would best represent the needs of the district and the state. A vote was then taken by D.I.D. members.

The Downtown Independent Democrats overwhelmingly endorsed District Leader PAUL NEWELL.

Paul Newell's extraordinary knowledge and advocacy work in every nook and cranny of the district, including the Brooklyn part of the district, carried the day. Members felt Newell's work over the years on many of the district's most complex and diverse issues gives him a head start representing us in Albany.

Several candidates have been in City or State office and their knowledge is of a great benefit. Yet these positives did not at the end outweigh District Leader Paul Newell's vast experience and involvement with the issues we face downtown.

The Democratic County Committee will meet in a few weeks to pick a NY State Senate candidate to represent the Democratic Party on the ballot in November.

August 30, 2017 
Downtown Independent Democrats

Downtown Independent Democrats

Statement on Proposed Neighborhood Improvement District

The Downtown Independent Democrats (DID) are deeply concerned with the addition of a proposed Neighborhood Improvement District (NID), between Murray Street and 59th Street. The scale and size, along with the ethical quandaries surrounding this NID - a re-branding of Business Improvement District - make the proposal unsatisfactory for the communities within its borders. The NID should not be approved by the local Community Boards, City Planning Commission, Borough President, and City Council.

There are too many questions regarding the organizational structure and implementation of the NID that will go unanswered until it is already in place. This is the first official NID in New York City and the precedent it sets could have lasting implications for future urban planning.

The precedent established by the creation of this NID could be used to justify NIDs for other projects that are the responsibility of the City of New York and State of New York.


"Carve-outs" which exclude existing BIDS (Hudson Square, Downtown Alliance, Times Square, etc.) as well as new developments (including Hudson Yards and the World Trade Center) are arbitrary and unfair.

Residents within the NID’s borders are rightly concerned that the process will create additional financial burdens without fair and equal representation. The Communities within the proposed NID are rightly concerned that the State of New York and City of New York are not taking responsibility for the upkeep of Hudson River Park (HRP). HRP was founded to be self-sufficient; the maintenance and upkeep of the park is not the responsibility of an arbitrarily chosen group of residents that live in proximity to the park.

Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program, is open to firms that:

* Are located in Flood Zone A, on the south side of Chambers Street or below
* Have 50 or fewer employees
* Have gross annual revenues of $5 million or less
* Have been open for at least a year (or have a 5-year lease)
* Are open at the time of application, or (for those located in buildings closed for storm-related reasons) are scheduled to open by April 2013
* Are able to document loss and replacement costs not covered 100% by insurance or other reimbursement
Applications for the Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program are scheduled to be available by December 1 and will be processed on a first-come, first-served appointment basis, for as long as funds are available, through December 31, 2012. To review eligibility criteria and submit an application, click HERE. To request more information, please e-mail


List of Resources
Dear Friend,

While it's been nearly three weeks since Sandy hit, our recovery efforts are still in full swing. Around my district and other parts of the city, there are still significant challenges getting people back into their homes and their services restored -- including at a number of buildings throughout the Financial District and at Knickerbocker Village.

Please continue to check my resource page for information on disaster assistance, volunteer opportunities, and other issues, and don't hesitate to contact my office if I can be helpful.

Of course small businesses have also been severely impacted. Some businesses are now back up and running -- but they need our help, and I hope you'll join me in supporting those that were impacted by the storm. Many are still not open.

If you're a small business that was impacted by the storm, it's important to focus on all aspects of the recovery process now. I've compiled this list of resources for NYC businesses in need of help. Please share widely.

First Steps:
As a first step, please register with FEMA and receive a FEMA ID by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or visiting The deadline to register is December 31, 2012.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened a Business Recovery Center, open weekdays from 9AM to 5PM and Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM: 79 John Street, 2nd Floor, Lower Manhattan. A complete list of centers in NY is available here. (We are pushing for additional Business Recovery Centers in Chinatown and elsewhere.)
I've worked with FEMA, SBA, and my colleagues to open additional Post-Sandy Pop Up Assistance Sites throughout the district. Click here for a continually-updated list.
NYC Small Business Services is providing on-site assistance for local businesses. Submit a request here or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions.

The New York Business Development Corporation and NYC Small Business Services have teamed up with Goldman Sachs to provide NYC businesses with loans of up to $25,000. Loans are interest-free for the first six months and 1% interest for the following 24 months. An application is available here. 
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering loans of up to $2 million for businesses and private non-profits. The interest rate is 4%. The application deadline for these loans is December 31, 2012. More information, including how to apply, is available here.
A side-by-side comparison of the two loan programs is available here.

Tax Exemption:
The NYC Industrial Development Agency will provide assistance through the Hurricane Emergency Sales Tax Exemption Program (HESTEP), providing exemptions of up to $100,000 for each affected business on purchases of building, construction and renovation materials, machinery and equipment, and other items and services needed to rebuild. Fill out the application and mail it to

Connecting Resources and Needs:
The NYC Economic Development Corporation has set up a program that allows businesses to donate their space, power, internet, and professional services to businesses in need. A list of free temporary workspaces is available here.
If you're able to donate resources to businesses in need, please fill out this form.

Work Interruptions:
The NY State Department of Labor's Shared Work Program provides an alternative to laying off full-time employees. You can reduce the number of hours all employees or a group of employees work, and they can receive Shared Work Benefits. Apply by calling 518-457-2635 or by visiting a One-Stop Career Center.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for New Yorkers who lost their job or income due to the storm. The deadline is now February 4, 2013 and claimants have up to 90 days to submit proof of employment or self-employment. To apply, call 1-888-209-8124 (1-877-358-5306 for anyone who lives out of state). More information is available here.

Additional Questions?
Please visit or
The State has set up an Emergency Assistance Hotline: 1-855-NYS-SANDY (1-855-697-7263).
Download this flyer to share.
You can also visit my Post-Sandy Resource Page for continually updated information.

Please share this email and my resource page with business owners or others who may find it useful. Of course these programs alone won't ensure full recovery. You can check out this ABC7 story on some of the potential solutions we're considering for our local businesses.



Daniel Squadron
New York State Senator



Downtown Independent Democrats is the oldest and largest progressive Democratic organization in Lower Manhattan and has represented New York Cityʼs Financial District for 40 years. We have been committed to social justice and equality as well as to the general improvement of the quality of life of Lower Manhattan for that entire time.

In light of these two missions, the Downtown Independent Democrats:

  • Shares the Occupy Wall Street Movementʼs grievances on the growing and unsustainable economic inequality in the United States.
  • Endorses Occupy Wall Streetʼs call for increased regulation and accountability for the financial services sector, including reinstatement of legislation similar to the Glass-Steagall Act. The DID recognizes that a robust, dynamic, stable and well regulated financial services sector is essential to the life of our neighborhood, our city and our country.
  • Commends the OWS organizers for their outreach to community members on quality of life and noise concerns, while calling upon them to improve on this front especially in the area of drumming as well as to continue their engagement with our neighbors.
  • Recognizes the NYPDʼs difficult and important role in maintaining public safety and calls upon them to use maximum restraint when dealing with non-violent political protest.

The people - united – will never be defeated.


Approved: DID Meeting October 7 2011


Monday, November 14, 2011, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

You are cordially invited to attend our Fall Fundraiser.

at Little Italy’s

La Mela Ristorante

167 Mulberry Street

(between Broome & Grand)

Have a Drink!

Eat Great Italian Food!

Meet elected officials, candidates, District Leaders,

community organizers and friends.

We have a lot of work to do in this crucial time.

Support Downtown’s largest progressive Democratic organization!

$100 contribution for officials and candidates much appreciated

$25 for Members and Friends!  (Includes membership for new members.)

DID welcomes your support.

2011 D-Notes 66th District (pdf)
2011 D-Notes 64th District (pdf)



9/10 Unite and Commemorate 9/11

Condolences to DL Jean Grillo

2 pm Sat July 2 TriBattery Pops Celebration

Cuomo may lift hydrofracking moratorium

10 AM FRI Rally to Stop Closure of our Downtown Firehouses



We Commend Our U.S. Armed Forces

4 Events including DID ANNUAL FUNDRAISER



DID Elections + Annual Fundraiser + Survey

NYS Sen Squadron Sunday + Rent Regulations


What happened at our meeting

Thur Feb 24 6:30 PM DID Meeting

Memorial Mass for Anne Compoccia

TOWN HALL - Tonight

Candlelight Vigil for AZ Tragedy - Tues 7 pm Union Square

Invite Jan 13 + DID Meeting Jan 24



- Vote NO on BOTH City Charter Proposals

- Hydrofracking Position Statement

- Cordoba House Position Statement

- Charter Revision Position Statement

- St. Vincent's Position Statement

RE: James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act

TO: U.S. State Senators

FROM: Downtown Independent Democrats, New York, NY

DATE: December 16, 2010

As a nation, we must support those who responded during 9/11 and the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.

Over nine years have passed since the attack but the memories are with us daily. We are slowly rebuilding the bricks and mortar from that day of devastation. We as a nation must now rebuild the lives of our 9/11 responders and give them hope that as a nation we stand behind them.

The Zadroga Act will create one permanent program. It will then be up to our electeds and our government agencies to ensure that the program is administered well and that funds are used wisely.

There can be no more delay in helping those who helped our nation. The bricks and mortar may return, but we cannot return the health of our 9/11 responders without help.

9/11 responders were of all political parties, it made no difference in our hours of need. They did not turn away from us, we must not turn away from them.

With deepest respect,

Downtown Independent Democrats



WE URGE YOU TO SIGN THIS PETITION from Democracy for America requesting the NY State Assembly support a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The NY State Senate passed a bill putting a one-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in NY State until further research is done.

But the NYS Assembly MUST do the same. The deadline to put the bill on the agenda is next Monday, November 29.

Otherwise, all is nullified and must start over again in January.

Oil and gas industry representatives state "opponents of hydrofracking don't understand what they're opposing".

Send a strong message to your electeds that we, the concerned citizen and voter, know EXACTLY what we are opposing.

We have been hoodwinked enough, we are not that dumb. Let's not be watching hearings in Washington a few years from now on this too.

Here is our prior position statement issued in July:




The Downtown Independent Democrats demand:

1. Prohibit hydraulic fracturing for gas in and around the NYC Watershed area; and

2. Declare a moratorium in all other areas of New York State; and

3. Withdraw the draft NYS Department of Conservation Report  (SGEIS) and address its inadequacies.

It was the Wild West with mortgages and we had an economic collapse.

With the BP Gulf Oil Spill, we have an environmental, financial and health crisis.

Regulations and oversight did not keep up with the financial industry or the drilling industry. We are at the same crossroads with hydraulic fracturing techniques - where unknown chemicals are mixed with water and are injected under high pressure into rocks to create fractures to recover oil or gas not recoverable by other techniques. At risk is the irreversible contamination of our water supply, air quality, and property damage.

The Marcellus Shale gas reserves are large and it is tempting to close budget deficits by allowing hydraulic fracturing. The economy is in dire straits, people need jobs and gas reserves are in the ground. To partially close a short-term budget gap with a long-term water crisis is no solution.

The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) issued a draft report (SGEIS[i]) that more and more experts are finding is terribly flawed - from weak regulatory oversight of the drilling and transporting of natural gas, to the integrity of well casings, to the handling of the hydraulic slurry and backflow of water contaminated with chemicals and radiation, to the handling of leaks and spills, to land reclamation, to the emphasis on self-regulations.

The draft should be withdrawn and no final report issued until all the inadequacies are addressed and a comprehensive plan is developed to protect NYC's watershed and NYS‚ water from hydraulic fracturing.

We cannot rely on nor do we have confidence in the energy and other companies who purport the safety of hydraulic fracturing techniques, including the disposal and transportation of large amounts of toxic waste waters.

Nor do we have confidence in our government agencies on the regulation and oversight of these companies.

The State of New York, as landowner, must not seek to close its budget gap by leasing mineral rights connected with our public lands while at the same time that it is charged with protecting the environment for all New Yorkers. Nor should hydraulic fracturing on nearby private land be allowed under public lands.

Follow the money - increases in the real estate and payroll tax rolls are a short-term panacea for a potential long-term crisis. We have been given stern warning signs from recent crises. We are responsible for the stewardship of our environment now, and for the generations after us.

There are not adequate treatment facilities in place for the waste water. It is not acceptable that these toxic waters be held in storage tanks - like storage of nuclear fuel, to be dealt with another day - or to be trucked out of state to make it someone else‚s problem.

We call on NYS Governor Paterson, DEC Commissioner Grannis and Region 2 Administrator Enck and all our elected officials (Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Nadler, State Senator Silver, State Assembly Member Glick, State Senator Squadron, and the NYC Council) to ban hydraulic fracturing in and around the New York City Watershed, enact a moratorium in New York State, withdraw the Department of Conservation report and address its inadequacies, and - above all - protect our water, wildlife, forests, farms, our health and economy.

[i] Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement



June 2, 2010

Downtown Independent Democrats (DID), the oldest and largest progressive Democratic organization in lower Manhattan, tonight endorsed the below listed candidates for election in 2010. DID further passed four resolutions pertaining to St. Vincent’s Hospital, the Cordoba House, NYC Charter Revision and human trafficking.

Votes were cast by secret ballot at a meeting of the full club. DID President - Jeanne K. Wilcke presided.

  • NYS Governor - Andrew M. Cuomo
  • U.S. Senate (Class 1) - Kirsten Gillibrand
  • U.S. Senate (Class 3) - Charles E. Schumer
  • Lieutenant Governor - Bill Samuels
  • NYS Attorney General - Eric T. Schneiderman
  • State Comptroller - Thomas P. DiNapoli
  • U.S. House (8th District) - Jerrold Nadler
  • U.S. House (14th District) - Carolyn B. Maloney
  • NY State Senate (25th District) - Daniel L. Squadron
  • NY State Senate (29th District) - Thomas K. Duane
  • NY State Assembly (64th District) - Sheldon Silver
  • NY State Assembly (66th District) - Deborah J. Glick
  • Female State Democratic Committeemember (66th AD) - Rachel Lavine
  • Male State Democratic Committeemember (66th AD) (M.) - No Endorsement
  • Civil Court, District 1 - Joan Kenney
  • Civil Court, District 1 - Carol Feinman
  • Civil Court, Countywide - David Cohen
  • Civil Court, Countywide - Matthew Cooper
  • Civil Court, Countywide - Leticia Ramirez

The below resolutions were passed by the club in open session.

"St. Vincent's Hospital provided essential care to all our community, and in particular to seniors, the poor and the uninsured. Its closing is a tragedy. Downtown Independent Democrats calls upon all our elected officials to convene a thorough investigation into St. Vincent's management, bankruptcy and closing. We further call upon our elected officials to ensure that a full service hospital replaces the old St. Vincent's on that site. Specifically, we call upon the City Planning Council, Community Board 2 and the New York City Council to zone the land under the old St. Vincent's Hospital exclusively for community hospital use - and pledge not to allow any variances in the absence of a full service hospital."

"In recognition of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his congregation's good neighborliness since at least 1983, in appreciation of the large investment in our community it represents and in celebration of our community's and our city's traditions of tolerance and pluralism, Downtown Independent Democrats welcomes Cordoba House to our neighborhood."

The Charter Revision process being essential to our city and our democracy, Downtown Independent Democrats calls upon the Charter Revision Commission to follow these guidelines:
  1. Frequent, open public forums in every corner of the City;
  2. Outreach in various languages using internet, multi-media/ webcasting technology and community & religious institutions;
  3. Transcribing and posting all testimony and meeting/hearing information online;
  4. Clear and concise ballot questions and extensive, multi-lingual public education about what voters can expect to see on the ballot on Election Day.
  5. Any future changes to the City Charter as passed by the voters of New York City be subject to ratification by the voters.
"Downtown Independent Democrats (DID) support Mayor Bloomberg's new public education campaign to end human trafficking. DID calls upon the next NY State Attorney General join with the 39 other state Attorneys General to monitor Craigslist for human trafficking ads and to set rigorous screening standards. Behind the facade of these ads lies a well-documented world of human trafficking and child exploitation. In addition, we ask that other publications and sites, such as Backpage, be held to the same accountability. DID also commends Brooklyn District Attorney Hynes' announcement of a new unit and hotline to crack down on such trafficking."



Lower Manhattan, May 25, 2010 - Downtown Independent Democrats (DID), the oldest and largest progressive Democratic organization in lower Manhattan, held its most successful fundraiser to date this past Sunday. DID has thrown annual events since its founding almost 40 years ago in 1971.

Approximately 120 people attended the event hosted at DID Treasurer and stalwart Sean Sweeney's loft on Greene Street - another record for the club. Jeanne Wilcke, DID's newly elected President, was thrilled with the response. She also noted, "This is a crucial time for our neighborhoods. With severe economic hardships, school overcrowding, hospital closures, WTC redevelopment and a crisis in Albany, our community has never needed its voice heard as urgently. Today's strong turnout and fundraising numbers will strengthen that voice and our ability to advocate for good government".

Aware of Downtown Independent Democrats' central role in community debates, Lower Manhattan's elected officials showed up in force. Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Anthony Weiner were joined by State Senator Daniel Squadron and NYC Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio and City Councilmember (and DID member) Margaret Chin. NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Keith Wright sent representatives. Candidates Reshma Saujani and Kevin Coenen Jr. also attended - as did Community Board One Chair Julie Menin and numerous judges and judicial hopefuls.

In addition to Wilcke and Sweeney, DID District Leaders Jean B. Grillo and Paul Newell, Vice-Presidents Jim Stratton and Adam Silvera and Secretary Alex M. Li welcomed the guests. Li, a 21-year- old recent NYU graduate, saw potential for a new generation of political action downtown "My generation has been energized by Barack Obama's grassroots campaign two years ago, and that momentum is beginning to infect local, community politics."

Underlining DID’s energetic and transparent new approach, Ms. Li tweeted the entire event at
For pictures of event see the Photo Gallery at DID’s website at


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