Saturday, September 19, 2009

Summary of Sept. 16th General Tenants Meeting

GENERAL TENANTS MEETING - SEPT. 16, 2009

ALBANY REPORT

Background Our building an tens of thousands of others in New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Rockland counties are under rent stabilization. The law that puts us under rent stabilization must be renewed in 2011. The fight to renew it - in the 2010 legislature - is the background for current struggles to expand the coverage of rent stabilization and to prevent landlords from removing tens of thousands of apartments from rent regulation.

Click on http://www.metcouncil.net/publications/sept09.pdf for a terrific article in Met Council on Housing's newsletter, Tenant/Inquilino, on the Albany situation.

There are 3 bills very important to tenants in this building - including market-rate tenants.

1. Promoted by the Real Rent Reform Campaign (of which we are a member) and Housing Here & Now (R3/HHN), the bill would repeal vacancy decontrol - a landlord's right to take a vacant apartment out of rent stabilization by raising the rent to $2000. Importantly for market-rate tenants, the bill would re-stabilize your apartment at the January 2007 rent (with one exception for apartments de-regulated before that date whose rent was $5000 or more). This bill would reduce landlord motive for ousting stabilized tenants from their apartments. The bill has passed the State Assembly but not the State Senate.

2. This bill would put into rent stabilization all buildings that
leave or have left Mitchell-Lama without regard to when they were built and without the "unique or peculiar circumstances" loophole that we've been fighting in court. (So far the trial court has not ruled in the case.) The bill has not passed either house of the state legislature, but we have a new sponsor in the Assembly and the hope of more action in the Senate - if not this year, then in the January term. This bill is second on the R3/HHN agenda.

3. This bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, would
roll back rent increases for "Major Capital Improvements" once they are paid for. The bill passed the Assembly but not the Senate.

No important tenant bills were on the agenda when the State Senate reconvened on Sept. 10th (having been hijacked earlier in the summer) - although a big tenant presence made the senate leaders sit up and take notice. The State Senate and Assembly may reconvene at the end of September and take up the big tenant bills. If that is likely, we will need an even bigger tenant presence in Albany. So we may call on you to go up, or to sit at a table in the lobby and sign your neighbors up to go.



NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT

Jewish Home & Lifecare (JHL) on 106th Street asked the City Council for an exemption from new zoning rules that would limit building heights. The exemption was granted so that this community facility could built tall luxury housing to support its mission as a nursing home. However, JH is now planning to swap its 106th Street site with Chetrit and Gluck for the parking lot between Park West Village and the library on 100th Street. So there are three concerns:
  1. Whether the City Council will remove the zoning exemption and limit the building height on 106th Street since the beneficiary is a private developer, and
  2. Whether JHL, should be allowed to build a 22-story facility reducing open space
  3. Whether any latitude should be given to JHL which Medicare.gov awarded a "much below average" rating (June 2009), unless it fulfills its mission to patients.
Our elected officials are working on the first issue; so far only a coalition of neighborhood groups including the Park West Village Tenants Association and Westsiders for Public Participation are working on the second and third. See www.preservewpn.org for more information.

The Central Park tennis court concession owner has received permission to install a bubble cover (held up by blown air) for winter games. Now he's looking for money with which to do it.

BUILDING REPORT

What we've won so far . . . Our complaint of reduced services to the State's Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR) has pressured Stellar to
  • reopen the backyard
and provide
  • seating in the lobby
  • an updated TV antenna, and
  • a new intercom that should be finished at the end of September.
Since the CPGTA's Executive Committee has been meeting with Stellar monthly, we've also gotten
  • an updated mail directory,
  • second bins in the compactor rooms,
  • laundry room window screens, and
  • anti-pigeon spikes on the roof.
We're still working on window blinds and repaired hallways.

Bathroom vent filters on the roof are supposed to be cleaned more regularly. The vents suck air out (the fans are supposed to work intermittently, not full time), so you may see dirt on the room side of the grille, which you can wipe off. If you see dirt blowing
into your apartment, contact Carlos. Please do not cover the vent: if you do, you will create a loud noise and tremendous suction in the vents of other people in your apartment line. (It's also a good idea, healthwise, to always have air pulled through the apartment - especially in months when you keep the windows closed.)

If you have soapy water coming from your kitchen sink drain, tell Carlos.
Please put all repair requests in the book at the guard's desk.

Financial Report
: Treasurer Joan Browne reported on our finances and will be issuing updated statements to tenants who have recently contributed. We're asking for annual dues of $25/household for new tenants and $10 thereafter, and $100 in legal fund contributions.
Fundraising: We're hoping for a raffle again this year with Prudence Opperman and Rosa Delgado leading the way. We've had successful raffles of restaurant meals and Broadway shows in the past, so stay tuned.



Pot Luck Party:

It will be December 12th in the Community Room - and we need volunteers. Please contact Sue.


The Executive Committee
Sue Susman, president, sue [at] janak.org
Na'ava Ades, vice president, naavaa [at] gmail.com
Joan Browne, vice president & treasurer, jbbrownefaison [at] att.net
Steve Koulish, vice president, eskoolman [at] yahoo.com
Prudence Opperman, vice president, prueward [at] aol.com

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