NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 5, Issue 8

August 9, 2005


General Meeting Held, New Board Elected
Staff Changes, Requests
Chapter News:
News from the Web


There have been a few developments since the last issue came out. NYRA Berkeley has continued its efforts to lower the voting age. NYRA’s former South Regional Captain has become the West Regional Captain. NYRA-NYC remains active in the effort to lower New York City’s voting age, and NYRA’s annual election attracted more voters than ever before. NYRA’s new board is full of competent, active members who understand youth rights and have already proven their commitment to the organization.

General Meeting Held, New Board Elected

On Saturday, August 6th, NYRA members from throughout the country gathered at LaGuardia High School in New York City for NYRA’s general meeting. Held annually, NYRA’s general meetings are an opportunity for members to meet in person, hear the annual report, and hear the election results before anyone else.

This year eighteen people attended the meeting, many more than NYRA has had in the past. NYRA-DC President Katrina Moncure, Former NYRA-Vermont President Ken Boring, NYRA President Alex Koroknay-Palicz, and five of NYRA’s nine board members were in attendance.

The meeting began with the annual report, which was written and delivered by Alex Koroknay-Palicz. The report offers a detailed account of NYRA activity over the past year, and it will soon be made available online. This years report was far more upbeat and optimistic than reports from years past, indicating a sign of the breakthrough year that we have had. The report covers media appearances, fundraising, chapter activity, technological developments, and all the other things that have changed NYRA so dramatically since last August. It also has an appendix with graphs and charts related to our cash flow, web site traffic, and other important things.

After the report was read, those attending the meeting discussed the year to come. NYRA members brainstormed strategies for the coming year, especially for recruiting, fundraising, and chapter development. Among the ideas presented was the creating of NYRA yahoo groups for cities that have many NYRA members, but no chapters. It was noted that these groups could then be used as catalysts for real chapters. Other people mentioned that NYRA-NYC might want to consider purchasing ads in local newspapers.

After this discussion, the 2005-2006 board of directors was announced. NYRA’s new board is as follows: Alex Koroknay-Palicz, Keith Mandell, Robert Reynolds, Scott Davidson, Pamela Tatz, Jess Caralize, Jay Leff, Katrina Moncure, and Chris Howell. All of these people have already put considerable time in to the organization, and everyone was pleased with the results. NYRA had fourteen people running for the nine seat board, and many of those present felt that we had more than nine candidates capable of doing a good job. The election was by far the most competitive in NYRA’s history.

After the results were announced, the food arrived, and everyone enjoyed pizza and beverages courtesy of Ana Hevesi and Jason Kende. Later some people from the Future Voters of America arrived and the meeting moved outside so photographs could be taken. Unfortunately, we learned that the people at the front desk had been turning some people away, including Councilwoman Gale Brewer. But aside from that, the meeting was tremendously successful.

Staff Changes, Requests

As was reported in the last issue, Svend La Rose has resigned as West Regional Captain to serve as NYRA’s Research and Education Director. Kelvin Oliver has subsequently resigned as South Regional Captain to fill the void in the west left by Svend La Rose. Adam King, Kelvin Oliver’s former assistant, has been promoted to Kelvin’s old position. All of these men are seeking assistance in their various duties. If you are interested in being the Assistant Regional Captain or Public Outreach Officer for the south, please email Adam King. If you are interested in being the Assistant Regional Captain for the west, send an email to Kelvin Oliver. If you are interested in helping Svend La Rose in the department of research and education, please contact him.

Chapter News


On July 12th, NYRA Berkeley held a rally on Shattuck Avenue in support of a proposal to allow seventeen year olds to vote in school board elections. After unsuccessfully lobbying the Berkeley City Council to pass a resolution in support of any state legislation that would allow cities to lower their voting ages, the chapter decided to approach the issue in a slightly different manner. Kris Worthington, a councilmember who has long been a strong supporter of NYRA’s voting age efforts called this new approach “…a creative compromise that addresses the concerns of others.”

The rally attracted some significant media attention. The Daily Californian and the Berkeley Daily Planet both published articles about the event, quoting NYRA-Berkeley President Chris Howell, NYRA Vice President Robert Reynolds, and others. You can find links to these articles in the news from the web section.

The California Democratic Party’s Executive Board Meeting was held in Sacramento from July 29-31. On the ballot were two resolutions calling for the lowering of the voting age. One called for it to be lowered to sixteen, the other, to fifteen. If either had passed NYRA-Berkeley’s voting age efforts would have the full support of the California Democratic Party. Zach Hobesh and Chris Howell of NYRA-Berkeley, along with Natasha Hull-Richter, a NYRA member from Orange County, traveled to Sacramento to express their support for the resolutions. Neither resolution passed, but some time ago the CDP passed a resolution in support of lowering the voting age to seventeen.


Jason Kende and Ana Hevesi have been hard at work preparing for the recent general meeting, and working up support for Councilwoman Brewer’s voting age bill. They had a meeting with several members of the Future Voters of America Party, and people from Councilwoman Brewer’s office. By all accounts the meeting was a success. NYRA-NYC is quoted in an article that is linked in the news from the web section. They have also done a lot of work in preparation for the general meeting, which NYRA expects will be the best in its history.

News From the Web

(NYRA is quoted or mentioned in all the articles linked below.)

NYC’s Godzilla: Youth Suffrage Activists – http://www.connectforkids.org/node/3286

A push mounts to lower the voting age – http://journalism.nyu.edu/ujw/2005/ujvote.htm

Holyoke Mall enacts escort rule for teens – http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny–mallrats0712jul12,0,623425.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

Is the drinking age worth the wait? – http://www.dailyherald.com/story.asp?id=74417

Berkeley Teens Seek Ballot Measure to Win Right to Vote – http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=07-15-05&storyID=21843

Teens Rally to Promote Proposal for Youth Vote – http://www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=18999


A lot of good things lay ahead. NYRA has just held the largest meeting in its history. The NYRA membership has elected nine directors who have already done much for NYRA, and will almost surely be active on the board. In the past we have had directors with excellent credentials, but little experience in the youth rights movement. More often than not these people have failed to live up to expectations. This year however, we have a board comprised entirely of individuals who have proven their value to NYRA in other capacities. I am very optimistic about the 2005-2006 term. 2004-2005 was great by our standards, but I think if we continue to work hard on campaigns in Berkeley, New York, and elsewhere, 05-06 will be even more incredible.