Weiner rewrites history
At the Tenants Association Mayoral Forum, Anthony Weiner was asked about his 1994 City Council vote in favor of gutting rent regulations. His answer was dishonest.
Weiner defended that vote by telling only half a story while, at the same time, presenting a distorted view of NY’s rent regulation system. He portrayed his vote as being about taking rich people out of rent-regulated apartments.
He should know that under NY’s rent regulation system, the tenant isn’t regulated, the apartment is. So his vote took the wealthy tenant’s rent-regulated apartment out of the system (forever), not the tenant.
More importantly, he neglected to address the other, more devastating, part of the bill that has allowed landlords to permanently remove apartments from rent regulation when they become vacant.
Mike McKee of Tenants PAC met with Weiner in 1994. McKee says Weiner was one of the few City Council members who actually understood the bill’s dire consequences. Despite that and the promise he made to McKee and other tenant advocates not to vote for the bill, Weiner voted for it anyway.
Since Weiner’s 1994 vote, about 5,000 apartments have been deregulated thanks to the “luxury decontrol,” part of the bill of which he’s so proud. “Vacancy decontrol,” the other part of the bill that Weiner neglected to address, is responsible for the permanent deregulation of approximately 400,000 apartments and has led directly to the lousy situation we endure today in ST-PCV.
Every single voting resident of ST and PCV should remember this about Weiner come November.
John Sicoransa, ST
When does free cost too much?
I live in one of the PCV buildings that flooded in Hurricane Sandy, and I finally ventured down to the temporary laundry room last week.
The basement looks like a war zone, but I knew that. The stackable washers and dryers are old, used equipment, but I knew that. There are no laundry carts, but I knew that too. We’ll overlook that I selected a cold water wash and got hot water instead because that’s the least of my experience.
After I put my wash in the machine, I notice that water is dripping from an overhead pipe. I walk outside the laundry room and see that the outside door — the security door — is wide open. There’s a cart with electrical equipment, but no one is around, so I close the door.
The temporary laundry room doesn’t have a call box, the door doesn’t lock, and I can’t tell if there’s a functioning security camera in the basement. An outside worker wearing no ID comes from the porter’s rest room, and I tell him he has to keep the door closed (he turns out to be a really good guy).
I call maintenance at 9:59 a.m. Call time is 13 minutes, 7 seconds — most of that waiting for someone to answer. I report the water problem to Jenna and also that condensation from an overhead pipe is dripping. She says she’ll file a report.
When my clothes finish washing, I put them in the attached dryer, which is full of ink that is baked onto the drum. The housekeeper using the machine before me cleaned the lint filter in the dryer.
As I’m waiting for the clothes to dry, I notice that the pipe is dripping not only onto the floor but into the overhead fluorescent light fixture.
I call maintenance again at 10:49 a.m.; this time the call lasts only 2 minutes, 37 seconds. As I’m speaking (I didn’t get the woman’s name), I see water gush out of the light fixture and onto the floor. The woman I’m talking to says desultorily that she’ll report the problem. I insist that it’s an electrical emergency. She responds in the same unhurried way that she’ll file a report.
Now it’s just plain unsafe in the laundry room.
I warn another tenant who has come down not to step in any of the wet areas of the floor. I grab my clothes out of the dryer still wet. I notice that all sorts of lint is hanging out of the bottom of the dryer door. I go upstairs and come back down to post a sign: Electrical danger — water dripping from light fixture.
Two outside electricians happen to be working in the basement. They ask me what the problem is. I show them the dripping pipe and the water on floor where the fixture leaked. They say that the pipe is supposed to be wrapped and that they’ll relocate the light fixture.
I go downstairs about 2:30 p.m., and they have moved the fixture so that it’s no longer under the offending pipe. Did maintenance ever come? I doubt it. The pipe was still unwrapped.
The temporary laundry room is located in the old bike room. There’s a hole in one of the walls with some taped-up wires hanging out and old newspaper shoved in the opening — this was there when the TA did a survey of the building in November, 2011. When management painted this room in preparation for using it as a laundry room, they just painted over the wires and the paper.
I will not be going down to the basement again. There is absolutely no security. The laundry room is wide open. All the other parts of the basement are accessible to anyone who can get down there — plastic sheets with zippers are no protection. With workers leaving the security door open, anyone can get in and wait for the opportunity to — well, write your own scenario.
In addition, a basement-level window is wide open on the front of the building, an invitation to rats, squirrels, and anything else that wants to explore (I’ve seen this in other affected buildings in PCV). Could management be more irresponsible in setting up this situation, which is so hazardous in so many ways?
Name withheld, PCV