Thursday, November 15, 2012

Summary of Nov. 14, 2012 Meeting

Governor Paterson
The room was packed as former NYS Governor David Paterson spoke about changes in Albany since the election.  Based  on his two years as governor and his 22 years representing our area as State Senator and Senate Minority Leader, he showed tremendous breadth and depth of familiarity with the system (and a great sense of humor). 

He noted that the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (passed in 1973) that many tenant advocates agreed to was in fact a time bomb, with high-income decontrol  destined to de-regulate virtually all apartments. 

In response to a question from a frustrated market-rate tenant, Gov. Paterson noted that right now there are few protections to keep the owner from raising the rent ridiculously high - and to keep market-rate tenants from paying 60% of their income in rent.  (Assembly Member O'Donnell concurred, and didn't see any protection for them soon.)

While our State Senator, Paterson fought against J-51 as it now stands (and as it's waiting to be renewed). 

He also said that the tax bill that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was trying to get passed when the legislative session ended in June 2012, had some good things: tax breaks for co-op and condo unit owners - as well as the not-so-good J-51 bill.  O'Donnell was the first Assembly Member to write to Speaker Silver opposing the bill since it includes not one tenant protection.   

Gov. Paterson pointed out that even though there are shifting sands in the State Senate (Senator-elect Simcha Felder has suddenly shifted from the Democrats to the Republicans, and 4 "Independent Democrats" may also side with the GOP), Democrats won the majority of seats - and that means that pro-tenant voters are in the majority.   (He noted that even Simcha Felder's district has a lot of tenants.) So it should be easier for tenants to win more protections. He also said that advocates should not compromise - and should not be cowed by legislators. 

Governor Paterson, now a radio host on WOR710, was followed as a speaker by 
Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell.

A.M. O'Donnell said that he learned from the long fight to gain marriage equality in New York that advocates must stick to a single point - not four or five - and not offer legislators the chance to dodge by endorsing just one, or the one that is sure to fail.   He assumed that the promise to invite over 400 legislators to his wedding if marriage equality became law was not the reason they supported his bill. 

He also pointed out that some of the worst legislators are now out and sane ones in - in part as a result of the work of State Senator Liz Krueger who advised A.M. O'Donnell on which candidates needed support.  

In response to questions, A.M. O'Donnell said that stopping Jewish Home Lifecare from constructing a tall building in an inappropriate location on West 97th St. was a matter of city zoning law (rather than of approval by a state board dealing with nursing homes) but he supported his colleague Catherine Grad, a tenant attorney, who represents Park West Village residents opposed to JHL's construction here.   

He also said that the tax bill that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was trying to get passed when the legislative session ended in June 2012, had some good things: tax breaks for co-op and condo unit owners - as well as the not-so-good J-51 bill.  O'Donnell was the first Assembly Member to write to Speaker Silver opposing the bill since it includes not one tenant protection.   

His office is sponsoring free flu shots this Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 at the Ryan Center on 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.  To reserve a shot, please call 212-866-3970 or email  

(Photos supplied by the nominees.)

Mike Gaye
Marlene Melton
Following the two politicians,  Marlene Melton presented the candidates listed so far for our tenant association's Executive Committee (6 members) and Advisory Board (another 12 members).  We have three open slots for the board.  Click here for a sheet listing all the current candidates with photos as we have them.   Marlene and Mike Gaye (both floor captains) are our "election committee" for 2012.   If you’d like to run or to nominate someone, put the name on the attached nominations sheet and get it back to Marlene in 10V (212-222-0618) before the tenant association election on  WEDNESDAY, DEC. 12, 2012 at 8 PM.

Issues for the Building Manager? 
The Executive Committee will be meeting with building manager Lucio Pedraza on November 19, 2012 in the morning.  If you have issues to raise in addition to the ones below, please let one member of the Executive Committee know:
Submitted by the Executive Committee
- Sue Susman, president, sue AT janak DOT    org
- Na'ava Ades, vice president, naavaa [@] gmail  [use a dot] org
- Joan B. Browne, treasurer, jbbrownefaison [at  ] att [  Dot]net
- Rich Jordan, vice president, RICHJ214[   @  ]  aol dotcom
- Steve Koulish, vice president, eskoolman  [A T] yahoo [   .  ]  com
- Greg Murray, vice president, geeemurr [  at  ] aol [dOT]  com