Letters to the editor, Feb. 23

Tenants should control commercial spaces

Permit me to follow up on last week’s excellent letter from Larry Edward (“Commercial property an issue in conversion”).  I recently submitted a list of questions to the Tenants Association regarding the conversion.  I am especially concerned about Brookfield having ownership of the professional offices, retail space, garages, and unsold apartments.

We will lose lucrative income that would go towards operating costs.  Without that income, condo maintenance fees will be much higher.  The competitor, Guterman’s website indicates that it’s customary for a sponsor to get the commercial space. Maybe, but we’re not a single building with just two or two stores. (I asked Guterman if they’d do a deal without it, but they have not answered my question on their website as of Feb. 16.)

Any outside entity that controls the commercial space can lease to businesses that we would not want.  They will say it’s not in their interest to do so, but if they want to maximize income, they will certainly do so.  Further, if any of the commercial space is sold as a commercial condo, we will be stuck permanently with such businesses.

The Tenants Association should structure this deal so that WE own all commercial space. The TA meeting, phone conference call, websites, and T&V articles seem to repeat the same few talking points. Here’s hoping tenants took the opportunity to write the TA about the “meat and potatoes” issues.

Kathleen Dragulski, ST

Church vs. state on birth control debate

With apologies to all my many Catholic friends (my wife is Catholic too)…this “debate” about the President’s plan to insure that all women who wish to access contraception may do so is possibly the most inane and politically irresponsible discussion I have ever heard in my many years in politics. (My wife agrees with me).

Political conservatives and the church seem to agree that abortion is among the greatest of scourges on earth. They believe that to “terminate” an unwanted pregnancy for almost any reason is a mortal sin. Now they are telling us that for a woman (or man) to take steps to “prevent” an unwanted pregnancy from occurring in the first place i.e.: contraception before the act of sex is really wrong too!

I guess the view being expressed here is that people should engage in unprotected sex with all the associated health and pregnancy ramifications and just let God decide when a woman will become pregnant or maybe contract some sexually transmitted disease.

Suddenly I feel like we are in the year 1012 not 2012. Perhaps the Church can be given dispensation on this issue since they want to remain blindly faithful to original scripture or at least their interpretation of such.

But the holier than thou pious politicians who claim, as Rick Santorum so often does that they want to get government out of people’s lives and now try to foist “Dark Age’s thinking” to control people’s behavior, well it is just despicable.

If a woman (or man) does not wish to use contraception, so be it. They are free to make that decision. Nobody is trying to force their beliefs on them. But if women or men wish to avail themselves of methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies then they should have full access to that.

If the soon to be Timothy Cardinal Dolan wishes to exhort his faithful from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s church on the evils of contraception then he should do so. However lecturing the President of the United States on a social and health issue is not within his purview. I just hope that my expressions on this issue do not cause some clergy to recommend that I burn in eternal hell.

I guess these days you just never know.

Steven Sanders, PCV

The high cost of living

To the editor:
I write to address a letter regarding inflation and the cost of living that was published some time ago.

In it the writer stated that if the price of tuna fish got too high he would simply switch to peanut butter.

Accordingly, I compared the prices:
The cheapest tuna fish, store brand chunk light, is $3.17 per pound.
The cheapest peanut butter, store brand creamy or chunky, was $3.00 per pound. Hence, his savings is 2 percent.

But the coming increase in the price of stamps wipes out that 2 percent, and my rent base is astronomically higher than a postage stamp, tuna fish or peanut butter.
That is going up 3.75 percent.
How many people’s incomes are keeping up with that?

My insurance is going up 5 percent, too, and I just cut back on cable to prevent that from increasing.

So with the price of public transportation also going up, I implore the letter’s author to explain what he will subsist on after he, too, will soon no longer, as rents and other necessities go up, be able to afford a pound of potatoes, carrots or onions, much less the chicken to make a soup?

Billy Sternberg

Proposed district maps ridiculous and racist

Re: Story, “Duane, Krueger: New district lines a scheme,” T&V, Feb. 2

The existing State senators are responsible for census redistricting. The document is ridiculous, supremely anti-democratic, and racist on its face. On the macro level, the plan jams an extra 10,500 into each New York City proposed district, and subtracts the same amount from upstate districts. The Senators take the 285,000 voters scarfed from city districts and set up a bogus new 63rd district out near Erie, Pa. And micro, just Google “LATFOR”, and look for SD 16, over in Queens; 11 and 15 are also atrocious.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to veto this so-called plan. If he doesn’t, we know which side he’s on.

Andrew Lawrence, PCV

Thank you

I want to thank the wonderful woman who found my pink and brown colored handbag on the bench near Playground 12 in January and turned it in to security. You didn’t leave your name so this is the only way I can say thank you to you. Thank you to security too.

Name withheld, ST

4 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Feb. 23

  1. In reply to: Kathleen Dragulski, ST

    Dear Kathleen: In all plans for conversion whether to coopeative or condominium ownership as we have mentioned many times, we believe that the very best course is for the tenants to buy the apartmemnts at the lowest reasonable price below the “market”.

    The sponsor shoud make a profit not from the sale of the apartments to the tenants, but from the sale of vacant apartments to the “public”. The sponsor should also separately own and operate the commercial and retail space as well as the parking.

    Of course all of the commercial and retail space as well as the parking has to pay its “pro-rata” share of all common area charges including taxes, utiilities, refuse, maintenance, etc. Additionally, in a cooperative conversion, we believe that the commercial space, retail space and the partking should have to pay a determined pro-rata portion of the common real estate mortgage that encumbers the whole property, thereby lowering the monthly maintenance costs to the apartment owners.

    Gerry Guterman
    Guterman Westwood Partners, LLC

  2. How nice of Mr Guterman to share a “pro-rata” contribution from the commercial and parking facilities. Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that the parking facility ALONE probably currently contributes a substantial (my guess is close to 5%) of the net operating costs of the complex. The commercial space is also a significant revenue stream. I appreciate that Mr. Guterman wants to make a profit, but saddling the tenants with higher common charges in perpetuity, while guaranteeing himself perpetual commercial profits doesn’t seem fair, or in the best interests of the tenants.

    I’d say…. let’s find a less greedy sponsor.

    • I don’t understand this response at all. Right now there are only 2 horses in the race: Brookfield and Guterman. Guterman has stated its position and given a base price estimate that seems quite low. We know very little about Brookfield’s plan. I too have asked if Brookfield intends to own the commercial space but have heard nothing. (Am ready to give odds on this.) So if a sale is possible, although we will have no direct input into CW’s decision, our choice will be to broadcast a preference: Brookfield or Guterman. That’s it.

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