Sunday, November 20, 2016

Summary of November 16 2016 Meeting

BALLOTS for our Tenant Association election - Jan. 18, 2017

We distributed ballots for the tenant association elections coming up on January 18, 2017. If you would like to run for the board or for the executive committee, please email Sue ( at  ) janak  dot  org.

POSSIBLE MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT (MCI) increase coming after balcony repairs.  Stellar has sought permits to repair our balconies.  In other buildings, that has meant an MCI.  It won't be for a couple of years, we think, but we're gearing up to fight it.  So please contribute to our Legal Fund!  Contact your floor captain or our treasurer, Joan.

  • If you have bedbugs and Stellar's exterminator is not coming, let the Executive Committee know.
  • Don't let anyone take up broken floor tiles. They contain asbestos.  Ask Stellar to cover them with other flooring.

LARRY WOOD spoke.  Larry is Director of Organizing at Goddard Riverside. Goddard is a settlement house with some 20+ projects and programs, including the Senior Center at 598
Columbus Avenue and the arts center - and after-school program -  at 647 Columbus Avenue.  It has been around for 30 years and provides representation for tenants, social works, and more.  Larry has worked the gamut and has served in groups working toward building and preserving affordable housing funded by the federal, state, and city governments.  He has worked on the Right to Counsel campaign, the Real Rent Reform campaign, and more.  More than that, he has been a dedicated and sane voice int eh tenant activist community.   

The federal elections are changing the course of the government in Washington, but we also voted for state representatives.  As has been the case for the past few decades, the Democrats control the Assembly and the Republicans control the State Senate.  

The upshot:  We're in no worse position than last year.  But since the rent laws are NOT up for renewal this year, there will be less focus on them.  So we may be able to nibble around the edges.  The edges WE want to nibble on: 
  • limiting Major Capital Improvement increases so they are not permanent rent increases - even after the expense has been paid, and
  • requiring renewal of leases for market-rate tenants. State Senator Liz Krueger has proposed this.
In NYC, we're doing better than expected:  
  • With legal representatives getting $60 million (instead of $6 million!) in NYC now, evictions are down.  Since evictions are the major cause of homelessness, that's very important!
  • We got a rent freeze for the second year in a row for rent stabilized tenants.  
Tenants asked questions about the federal elections and how they would affect us.  We speculated about what's likely.  Our building will probably be fine.  But public housing, education, food stamps, and other support for the poor will likely suffer with serious budget cuts.