New York’s Constitutional Convention: Yay or Nay? Listen to the DEBATE 9/28

New York’s Constitutional Convention: Yay or Nay?

The future of New York’s constitution is on the ballot this November 7, 2017. Every 20 years the complicated question of whether to hold a Constitutional Convention is put before the voters of the State of New York. During a convention, the State Constitution may be revised and amended.

Join CFD as we debate the pros and cons of holding a Constitutional Convention, before the Upper West Side heads to the polls.

Special Guests:

In favor

Daniel L. Feldman, Professor of Oversight and Investigation, Ethics and Accountability and Administrative Law at John Jay College



Jesse Laymon, Citizen Action New York Board Member

When: Thursday, September 28th at 7:30 pm

Where: Goddard Riverside, 593 Columbus Avenue (at 88 Street)

Q&A to follow debate

We'll also spend some time at the meeting discussing CFD’s “Take Back the House” campaign effort.  We look forward to seeing you at the meeting, and then on the campaign trail!



Join us for a panel discussion on WHO WILL PROTECT MY HEALTH CARE?   Our panelists are Mark Hannay, Director of Metro NY Health Care for All, and Steve Auerbach, a physician with PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program) New York Metro.  We'll learn more about legislation at both the Federal and State levels and how we will be impacted.  It promises to be another great CFD meeting!

Celebrate Hillary's Victory with CFD!

as she shatters that damned glass ceiling once and for all. Celebrate a Democratic sweep with Community Free Democrats and like-minded Upper Westsiders on Election Night.
at Blondie's 212 W. 79th Street
(between Broadway and Amsterdam)
8pm until the Hillary Rodham Clinton Acceptance Speech. 
We'll no doubt be crying; she'll no doubt be a bit hoarse. Bill will delight in more balloons. Bo and Michelle will start counting the days until they can drive their own car again. And Community Free Dems and friends will be licking the hot wing sauce from our fingers. At Blondie's, surrounded by several dozen big-screen TVs.


Maggi Peyton Wake - Friday, Oct. 28

PHOTO CAPTION: Maggi Peyton (left) in 1976 with Mim Kelber, Bella Abzug and Harold Holzer. Photograph by Diana Mara Henry.


Maggi Peyton, a founder of Community Free Democrats and the Park West Village Tenants Association (along with Jerry Nadler), and a feminist who had the political eye of a mother hawk and the stamina and heart of a dancer, passed away Tuesday night. Our club honored her at our annual gala in April. Our hearts go out to her sons Randy and Sean and to all of those who knew her. It was an honor and a joy to know her.

Her wake will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 28, at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, NW corner of 81st and Madison. Please spread the word.

It's almost frightening that we will have to carry on without her. Maggi preferred to remain humbly behind the scenes, but those in the know knew you had to get to Maggi, to talk it over with her, to find out who to connect with to reach your political or governmental goals, or just to vent and bellyache. An activist and leader who also knew the value of patience, she was the quintessentially calm repository of relationships among grassroots community people and powerbrokers alike, here on the Upper West Side and throughout Manhattan. A ballet dancer by training with a remarkable understanding of people, she became a trusted aide to Congresswoman Bella Abzug and later worked for four Borough Presidents - Andrew Stein, C. Virginia Fields, Scott Stringer and Gale Brewer. She also was a founder of Women's Political Caucus and the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (with Bella's daughter Liz). Maggi handled valuable bits of inside information like an air traffic controller, guaranteeing that each piece would be directed to the proper runway and arrive safely at its useful destination. She shared what she knew if you could be trusted with it, and you could always trust her. So very many secrets have been snuffed out with Maggi's passing.

Scott Stringer has said time and again, "Maggi didn't work for me. I worked for Maggi."  We know that Maggi worked for all of us, and it worked.

Acclaimed Lincoln historian Harold Holzer, a close friend of Maggi's, wrote this article in the Oct. 27th City and State:

The Last Debate - Join CFD; See Hil Seal the Deal!

9-26inviteJoin CFD members, friends and elected officials to watch the final Clinton/Trump 2016 Presidential Debate Wednesday, October. 19, at Blondie’s sports bar, 212 W. 79th St. We start at 8 p.m. The debate runs from 9 to 10:30. You could watch at home, but there's nothing like experiencing collective cheers and moans as our amazing candidate, whom President Obama has called the most prepared candidate ever to assume the Presidency, takes the stage to trump Trump's slings and arrows.

The event is open to the public, but you must RSVP to!!!

Local activists and elected officials like Scott Stringer, Gale Brewer, Linda B. Rosenthal, Mark Levine, authors and celebrities have stopped by past CFD debate watches. (Even the famous like to leave their apartments once in a while to commiserate with a crowd.) We’ll be joined by generations of Democrats – those who remember Nixon melting his pancake make-up under the studio lights and some who weren’t around yet when Walter Mondale asked Gary Hart “Where’s the Beef?” in 1984. (We were all around for Romney’s assurances that he’d reviewed “binders full of women” four years ago.) It’s going to be a good, good night. So please join CFD and your neighbors for light refreshments and a cash bar.

9/26 CFD Debate Watch Party at Blondie's

Be With Her & CFD for 9-26inviteDebate Party

Join CFD members, friends and elected officials to watch the first Clinton/(Can this really be happening?)Trump 2016 Presidential Debate Monday, Sept. 26, at Blondie's sports bar, 212 W. 79th St. We start at 8 p.m. The debate runs from 9 to 10:30. Since this event will serve as CFD's September meeting, as usual the event is open to the public, but you must RSVP to!!!

Local activists and elected officials like Scott Stringer, Gale Brewer, Linda B. Rosenthal, Mark Levine, authors and celebrities have stopped by past CFD debate watches. (Even the famous like to leave their apartments once in a while to commiserate with a crowd.) We'll be joined by generations of Democrats - those who remember Nixon melting his pancake make-up under the studio lights and some who weren't around yet when Walter Mondale asked Gary Hart "Where's the Beef?" in 1984. (We were all around for Romney's assurances that he'd reviewed "binders full of women" four years ago.) It's going to be a good, good night. So please join CFD and your neighbors for light refreshments and a cash bar.


May 26 - Endorsement Meeting

At Community Free Democrats' May meeting on May 26, at 7:30 PM, at Goddard Riverside Community Center, NE corner of West 88th and Columbus Avenue, we will be voting to endorse candidates in the following upcoming races:

NYS Assembly, 69th District (Daniel O'Donnell is incumbent)
NYS Senate, 29th District (Jose Serrano, Jr., is incumbent)
NYS Senate, 30th District (incumbent Bill Perkins and challenger Brian Benjamin)
NYC Senate, 31st District (Micah Lasher and former Councilmember Robert Jackson)

All candidates for these offices will be addressing us and taking questions, so come get informed and involved!

I hope to see you next Thursday.

Stephanie Lasher
CFD President

Apr 28 - Endorsements & Presentation from Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal

Here's a reminder -- and update -- about the CFD meeting on Thursday, April 28th, 7:30 PM at Goddard Riverside (Columbus Avenue & 88th Street ). The meeting will feature:

  • Statements by candidates for Judicial Delegates, followed by an endorsement vote
  • Statements by candidates for Democratic State Committee, followed by an endorsement vote
  • Consideration of Endorsement of candidates for US Senate and NYS Assembly, 67th District
  • And saving the best for last, a presentation by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal about the budget, her legislative accomplishments, and other matters of timely interest.

Feb 25 - CFD Annual Meeting: Criminal Justice Reform and Club Elections

Come to our meeting on Thursday, February 25th, 7:30 PM, at Goddard Riverside, 88th and Columbus, for an informative and timely panel discussion about criminal justice reform, focusing on pre-trial and sentencing issues. Our panelists will include (with possible later additions):

Donna Henkin, Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Defense Division
Fran Hoffinger, The Hoffinger Firm PLLC, partner
Irwin Shaw, Attorney-in-Charge, Legal Aid Society, NY County Criminal Division
Moderator: Jason M. Clark, Assistant Atty. General, Office of NYS Attorney General

Hardly a day goes by, it seems, without some reference to criminal justice reform, at the Federal, State and local levels. Whether it’s police conduct during arrests, or pre-trial and sentencing issues like bail reform and the age of juvenile jurisdiction, or incarceration initiatives aimed to reduce recidivism, or post-release constraints, current procedures are under review, with abundant suggestions for reform. Our panelists will explain those current procedures, expose the problems, and explore proposed fixes. The first step in getting pro-active is getting smart -- let’s take the first step together.

And, at the same meeting, momentarily turn your attention from the national Presidential Primaries to the election of CFD’s officers and board members-at-large. Renewing members need to pay their 2016 dues (and any arrears) in order to vote. New members cannot vote until 60 days after initially joining the club, but even if you can’t vote in the club elections, it’s a great year to be part of a political club and at this meeting you’ll get to hear from the people who will be responsible for the club over the next 12 months. Not to mention you’ll get the member rate for our Gala on April 3rd, and be able to vote in club endorsements and for judicial delegates later this year.

The candidates are listed below:
President -- Stephanie Lasher
VP-Communications – Arlene Karole
VP-Programming – Janice Oppenheimer
VP-Membership – Zvi Bassan; Hilda B. Classon
Fundraising Director – Suzanne Jacobson
Recording Secretary – Irene Dess
Corresponding Secretary – Ron Walton
Treasurer – Rob Gottheim

Board Members-at-Large (25 to be chosen)
Bob Amsterdam
William King
Judy Bader-York
Rachel Landis
Alec Barrett
Micah Lasher
Richard Oppenheimer
Mark Diller
Erica Overton
Renee Goodstein
Maggi Peyton
Susan Gwertzman
Stephanie Pinto
Marion Harris
Ben Schachter
Ray Hodell
Sharon Silberfarb
Valerie Horst
Ana Singh
Sam Hudis
Milagros Stanley
Joan Yazmir

We look forward to seeing you on February 25th!

April 3 - CFD's 47th Annual Spring Gala!

Dear Friend of Community Free Democrats,

Please join us for CFD's 47th Annual Gala on Sunday, April 3, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Bella Luna Restaurant, 584 Columbus Avenue (between 88th and 89th Streets). It’s a highlight of the New York political calendar, where we break bread and chat with leaders who make us proud to be Democrats with progressive values. With so many races, from President and U.S. Senate on down, we’ll have lots of gossip to trade and plans to map out.

Our very own Congressman Jerry Nadler will receive CFD's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Stephan Russo, widely-acclaimed Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center, will be awarded our Distinguished Community Leader Award. The Michalski-Leutner Community Activism Award will recognize several neighbors in both the 67th and 69th ADs who make a huge difference. We’ll salute activists working together to block a high-rise nursing home from being built on overdeveloped West 97th Street, specifically, Maggi Peyton and the Park West Village Tenants Association, along with Rene Kathawala, who’s both a PS 163 parent and the attorney representing the Parent Association in their struggle. We’ll also honor Melissa Elstein, indefatigable co-founder of the West 80’s Neighborhood Association.

For decades, CFD leaders like Jerry Nadler, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal have contributed to the Upper West Side's nationwide reputation for progressive Democratic leadership. By helping CFD continue to be a proving ground for excellent public servants, you’ll be helping keep our party and its principles strong.

Your contribution and presence will help advance our shared political and social agenda, including fighting to expand affordable housing, rent laws and other tenant protections; advocating for workers' protections and a living wage; protecting the environment; and clearing paths to equal justice in areas such as voting rights, criminal justice and human rights.

Sponsorship categories, which include a listing on the invitation, are: Angel ($1,500), Benefactor ($550), and Patron ($350). The regular ticket price is $250 (no listing). Invitations to this popular event will be circulated to approximately 2,000 West Siders and political and civic leaders, and sponsors will be featured on the CFD website,

The deadline to be included on the invitation is March 15, 2016. Direct any questions to Suzanne Jacobson at or 212-873-5187. We look forward to seeing you on April 3.


Stephanie Lasher
President, Community Free Democrats

We gratefully acknowledge the sponsors of our reception

Hon. Jerry Nadler & Hon. Joyce Miller
Hon. Linda B. Rosenthal

Hon. Adriano Espaillat
Hon. Marc Landis and the Landis Family
Hon. Mark Levine

Judith Bader-York & Elizabeth York
Alice & David Belgray
Hon. Gale Brewer
Hon. Daniel Marks Cohen
Mark Diller
Hon. Richard Gottfried
Robert Gottheim
Hon. Jason Haber & Hon. Cory Haber
Ray Hodell
Hon. Brad Hoylman
Hon. Suzanne Jacobson
Ed Kornreich
Craig Kraus
Micah Lasher & Elizabeth Mann
Stephanie and Albert Lasher
Harlan Levy
Hon. Daniel O'Donnell
Janice & Richard Oppenheimer
Hon. Bill Perkins
Hon. Nick & Michele Prigo
Hon. José M. Serrano, Jr.
Hon. Keith L. T. Wright
Joan & Martin Yazmir

You can pay online here or make checks payable to Community Free Democrats and mail to Suzanne Jacobson, CFD Fundraising Director, 40 West 75 Street, #1B, New York, NY 10023.

Contributions to Community Free Democrats are not tax deductible
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