Letters to the Editor, Oct. 17

Why are short-term renters targets for A.G.?

Re: “Airbnb won’t cooperate with A.G. investigation,” T&V, Oct. 10

To the Editor:

I am intrigued that Eric Schneiderman decided to prioritize investigating Airbnb. Wasn’t he supposed to be prosecuting the banksters responsible for our continuing economic disaster? Come to think of it, where are those indictments?

Rich people don’t sublet their homes for short periods. Middle-class homeowners and renters do. There may be some nefarious businesspeople subletting to even lurkier subtenants on Airbnb, but I’m pretty sure most of the people using Airbnb to make money or have a place to stay are ordinary middle class people. Some people rent out their apartments because they have lost jobs and are traveling, looking for work. Others are having difficulty paying their monthly costs due to stagnating wages combined with continually rising co-op maintenance fees and endless assessments.

Again, the rich don’t have these troubles. Should middle-class homeowners be forced to sell their apartments or incur credit problems because of temporary financial setbacks?

I can’t sublet my apartment on Airbnb due to the fact I store confidential materials here, but if that wasn’t an issue I probably would occasionally sublet it.

I have fond memories of the “illegal” sublet I rented as a young graduate student in 1990. If that apartment hadn’t been available, I never would have been able to live in Manhattan, close to my school and internship. Again, this type of issue is not a problem for the rich — only for the middle class.

Schneiderman and Liz Krueger might want to think about the fact that most of the middle-class people who sublet on Airbnb in New York are registered Democrats…

Sincerely,

Anne Rettenberg,
Kips Bay

Sukkah in park not unconstitutional

Re: Letter, “Sukkah doesn’t belong in public park,” T&V, Oct. 10

To the Editor:

The writer who objects to sukkahs in public parks has gone beyond the facts in stating, “the Constitution espouses the separation of church and state.”

The First Amendment forbids legislating, “an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and Article VI forbids a religious test for holding federal office. An establishment of religion, the thing forbidden, is a requirement that all citizens worship God in the manner of only one religion and must contribute to its financial support.  Allowing the free exercise of religion means that every citizen may choose to worship God, or not, in the manner he or she deems right, and in doing so may exercise all the other First Amendment freedoms — of speech, the press and peaceable assembly.

The Constitution mandates freedom for religion, not freedom from religion.

Yet Mendy Weitbaum may have exceeded these rights, in the same way one would by erecting a personal sign in a public park suggesting, “Drink Coca-Cola,” or “Fly American Airlines.” Yet, if he did exceed his rights, it’s because of erecting a symbol of his personal preferences, not because the symbol is a religious one.

Don Murray, ST

Re: Letter, “Sukkah doesn’t belong in public park,” T&V, Oct. 10

The phrase, “separation of church and state” is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson used it in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to assure them that the state of CT would not interfere with their religious practices.

James Madison said the purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit Congress from establishing a national religion. Just because someone doesn’t want to see a sukkah, a cross, or anything else in a public park doesn’t make it unconstitutional, so the rabbi can put up a sukkah anywhere he wants.

Thank you for your consideration.

Joan Carmody,  PCV

‘Interesting’ owners

They have three transients in every eight apartments; they send you reminder notices on the day they’ve cashed your check; they inspect your apartment to insure that you’re using your 22-year-old refrigerator; two of five washing machines in a laundry room meant for over 100 apartments are unplugged. They hang padding 24/7 in elevators that rent stabilized tenants have paid for so transients can readily move in and out. They are the most interesting landlords in the world.

Name withheld, ST

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3 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Oct. 17

  1. Re: “Interesting” Owners: Ain’t that the truth! We are living in a dorm/hostel/notellmotel/illegalhotel situation and paying top dollar for the privilege! Also, when it comes to the “Accounting” Department, I think the Crazy Gang are running it. They couldn’t run a beer fest in a brewery they are so incompetent!

  2. Re: Why are short-term renters targets for A.G.?

    Sorry, but I did NOT sign up to live in a TRANSIENT HOTEL when I signed the lease for my APARTMENT. Signing that lease entitles me to a reasonable expectation of living in a secure building. Living in a building where people are renting out their apartments to UNKNOWN INDIVIDUALS for profit does not meet that standard of a reasonable expectation of security. OCCASIONALLY loaning/renting your apartment to a friend or relative – people you actually KNOW – is one thing, but making money by inviting STRANGERS into your home, which, since we inhabit the same building, is also MY home, is completely different and completely unacceptable to me. I am happy the the AG is investigating this problem and upholding the law against these kinds of rentals.

  3. I have seen people “storing” their roll-along luggage in the bushes by my building! I’ve also seen them store their luggage in the laundry room with “please do not remove this” notes on it. Almost every day I see people in Associated, with roll-along luggage, picking up food from the hot table and heading into ST. Maybe they are just tenants coming back from a trip and picking up food, but there are an awful lot of them and most of them have that “tourist” look of the type I used to see (and be) when I was young and used to go on cheapie trips to Europe and different parts of the country and stay in cheapie hostels, etc. (Takes one to know one!) I never thought that my “respectable” apartment complex of my adult years would become one of those “flops.” Well, seems there is nothing we can do about it as management (that’s a hoot considering who calls itself “management” – more like rent collectors/opportunists) doesn’t care. It’s not surprising that we have such a serious problem with bed bugs, theft, human waste in the stairwells, etc. Are they going to request an MCI for the poo and pee in the stairwells? They’ll probably call them “add-on bathrooms.”

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