Friday, January 20, 2017

Jan. 18 2017 meeting was terrific! Summary and updates here.

The General Tenants Meeting was well attended, and we congratulate all the members of the election committee, including Rich Jordan and Letty Orellano, and the new Board (at the end of this summary).

Valentine's Day is coming soon.  To make sure you have something sweet for all the sweeties in your life,  pick up some chocolates at our 

tenant association table in the lobby 
Saturday, February 11th 
from 11 AM to 5 PM, 
and leave your 2017 dues ($10/apartment) and legal fund contributions ($100 - payable as you can afford it).  

If construction noise is WAY too loud, call 311 and send your complaint number to Sue. 

Our Speaker: 
To a packed house, Thomas Mellins spoke about the history of the Upper West Side - from the days it was mainly rural (before Central Park was constructed), up to now.  He explained the never-ending tension between private developers and government regulation which is often spurred by community activism and a progressive social vision.  (Look at some of Tom's books for a historical perspective by decade.)  Interestingly, the first regulation was not for affordability but for sanitation: Better ventilation and plumbing for the poor meant less tuberculosis and malaria to infect the rich who lived nearby.  

The 10,000 or so people who had lived in what became Central Park in the 1850's became residents of the Upper West Side. The park itself was not completed until 1873.

Corruption in the construction of what became Park West Village across the street from us may have been the first crack in the armor of renovation czar Robert Moses,  But Park West Village was consistent with the general policy of putting public housing and private affordable housing near each other in NYC, so that those displaced by construction might find a place to live.  

Our development was one of many along the 20 blocks of Columbus and Amsterdam that were part of the West Side Urban Renewal  area.  Most of the buildings were large, and most were and are only temporarily affordable:  Buildings built under Mitchell-Lama and Title I of the Federal Housing Act of 1949 have time limits.  They were public-private partnerships, since the government provided the impetus and tax breaks, and the private developers provided (some of) the money and actual construction. 

About half of New York renters live under some form of regulation - Mitchell-Lama, Title I, Section 8, NYCHA (public housing), and rent stabilization and rent control.   NY State took a leadership role in affordable housing before the federal government did.  Currently, it is NY State (and not federal) law that controls rents in the City.  

Mayor de Blasio is on track to build the number of affordable apartments he has proposed. However, two questions remain: 

1. Whether the number being built and preserved (such as in Stuyvesant Town) exceed the number being lost through de-regulation as a result of vacancy decontrol, which motivates landlords to get tenants out, and

2. Whether the number being built are sufficiently affordable.  That has been a constant struggle.

Congratulations to:
President: Sue Susman
Vice presidents

Na'ava Ades, Denis Hayward, Richard Jordan, Steve Koulish, and Ray Von Dohren
Treasurer:  Joan Browne
Additional Board Members:

Maria Acevedo
Wassie Ayalew
Jodi Brockington (a new addition!)
Rosa Delgado
Barbara Geller
Debbie Gonzalez
Helen Merber
Sharon Davis
Letty Orellano
John ("Bones") Rodriguez (a new addition!)
Maxine Soares

The next board meeting will be Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 in the Community Room at 8 PM.

Our next General Tenants Meeting will be on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 with representatives from our public library and Bloomingdale Aging in Place, who will talk about neighborhood activities for young and old.  

Thanks, as ever, to those who provided refreshments:  Joan Browne for the coffee and tea,  Rich and Pat Jordan for the milk, Claude Saucier for the water, and Steve Koulish for the fruit and cookies.

Disregard the mail about "You can choose your electric company."  We can't: our electricity is submetered.

We have to let in the building staff check our smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. We've asked assistant building manager Trevor to let us know WHEN Carlos is coming around. (He came to some apartments on Jan. 19th.)