Monday, September 19, 2022

What a meeting!

Sept. 14, 2022

What a meeting!  In addition to many, many tenants from our building, we had tenant leaders from Park West Village, Westgate, 50 West 93rd Street, and 5 West 91st Street, among others.  We also had AM O'Donnell's chief of staff, State Sen. Brad Hoylman, and City Council Member Gale Brewer (from the district just south of ours).  The backyard was full of light, of people, and great questions.  Thanks to Ray von Dohren for setting up the sound system, to Joan Browne for staffing the greeting table, to Mr. Anonymous (at his request) for setting up the Community Room, to staff member David for helping set up the chairs, and to Jodi Brockington for the photo.  

Left to Right below: Sen. Hoylman, Sue Susman, Council Member Gale Brewer, and Gabriel Lewenstein, chief of staff to Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell. 

I. Announcements

Come to our pre-Halloween fundraiser on Sat., Oct. 29, 2022. Show your love for the tenant association and pick up some sweets for your sweetie. 

Health: Updated COVID boosters are available for free at RiteAid, CVS, Walgreen's (Duane Reade), and shortly at the Ryan Center.  There's Terrific News aAbout the New Covid Boosters (NY Times).

Safety:  If you live alone, make sure the super has your keys. (It's also required by law.)

Vermin: Mice in your apartment? Make sure the exterminator checks every single radiator, under your sink, and behind your toilet and stove to block off the entry points.  Mouse traps are not enough!

II. From the office of Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell 

Gabriel Lewenstein, Danny O'Donnell's chief of staff, announced some of the events happening in the neighborhood, including 
  • Electronics recycling (which we don't need because we have it in our own backyard - just ask the super, Sako, if you have electronic equipment to recycle.)
  • Rat Academy training for building supers and staff
  • Volunteer clean-up of Broadway
  • Meet the Commissioner of Sanitation on Wed., Sept. 21 at 6:30.  If you'd like to share questions in advance of the meeting, please submit them hereYouTube Link: Click here to watch the YouTube live stream or copy/paste this URL into your browser: (advance registration not required)
Gabriel also mentioned Leijia Hanrahan, in his office who can help you with tenant issues - including getting on SCRIE and DRIE (senior citizen and disabled rent increase exemption).  Other staff can help you with other issues that arise.  Contact them!

III. State Senator Brad Hoylman

Sen. Hoylman thanked Upper West Siders for voting for him in the Democratic primary for this larger and different district: until now, he has been representing lower Manhattan from east to west (including the enormous Stuyvesant Town).  The general election is November 8, 2022, and one of his primary opponents will be taking him on as an independent. 

Sen. Hoylman serves on the State Senate's judiciary committee, which is particularly important right now as Gov. Hochul considers whom to nominate to the state's highest court.  With seven members (and either one or two vacancies), these appointments can make an enormous difference in terms of redistricting, housing law, and more. 

The senator addressed specific issues and answered questions including covering these:

HOUSING He helped pass the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to keep tenants in their homes during the pandemic. 

Sen. Hoylman supports "good cause eviction" and thinks it may get passed this year or next - although these things can take years, as did the 2019 Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act.  

Good cause eviction would protect tenants who are NOT rent regulated.  The statute would
  • bar eviction except for good cause
  • require renewal leases in most cases
  • limit rent increases unless the landlord could show more is really needed.
ENVIRONMENT and CONGESTION PRICING  Sen. Hoylman has sponsored bills on clean energy that include labor standards and worker protection. He is concerned about congestion pricing unduly impacting outer boroughs to which traffic would be re-routed (social justice!).  

EDUCATION  The state should ensure all children get an education meeting basic secular standards, without exceptions for yeshivas or other private schools. (A recent NY Times article pointed out that of 1000 yeshiva students who took state tests, 1000 failed.)

HEALTH  Sen. Hoylman has strengthened state vaccination requirements.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION  He is promoting legislation to end discrimination against transgender and LGBQ people.

ABORTION He strongly supports women's right to full reproductive health access, including abortion. 

IV. Council Member Gale Brewer

Although Gale represents the district just south of ours, she came to our meeting and spoke about what it means to have women in the leadership in the City Council.   Gale now heads the City Council's Oversight Committee, but has introduced many bills to help us, including those on this page.  They range from women's and tenants' rights to historical buildings and dark store fronts.