Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Only aggressors are those stopping feeders

Re: “Are Stuyvesant Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V story, July 14

Dear Sabina.

“A child was bitten by a squirrel in Stuy Town.” Can you share with us where and when this happened? Was the child taken to the hospital? In that case which hospital? It is very unprofessional to report such a thing without proof. We don’t need that in the Town & Village newspaper or any other newspaper. How come this is reported as a fact by you when the spokesperson for StuyTown property Services said that no proven incidents involving squirrel bites have been reported to management?

How come this is reported as a fact by you when I have been feeding squirrels with my two children in Stuyvesant for a long time and haven’t seen any “aggressive” ones?

A few weeks ago we were feeding the squirrels when one security guard approached us, stating he was “advising” tenants not to feed the squirrels because a child was bitten by one.

As I told this guard and a few women who have approached me: Thank you for the advice, but I will not stop feeding the squirrels because that is not a true story.

One young woman told me she had a friend whose neighbor’s baby was bitten by a squirrel. When I asked her if she was present when that happened, she said no. When I asked her if she knew this person, she said no. But she did tell me to stop feeding the squirrels because they “look aggressive.”

On another occasion, a woman who was walking by with her daughter and grandchild while I was feeding the squirrels, stopped me and asked if I would consider stopping feeding the squirrels because they had bitten a child. When I replied that I would not consider it, she couldn’t believe it. I didn’t argue, I didn’t curse and I have never been disrespectful to my neighbors, but this is getting ridiculous.

The mom who according to your article was on a community Facebook page should spend her time doing something productive instead of spreading rumors that only other gullible people could believe. The “I heard, my friend told me, my neighbor saw” etc. show the level of carelessness and irresponsibility of this person.

The resident Carolyn Hurley again repeats what other people are saying, “I heard…” In her opinion the squirrel feeders are more aggressive than the squirrels. Really? It is absurd to say that leaving water for the squirrels is aggressive. And it is extremely stupid to say she is alarmed due to the peanut shells left in playgrounds because she is allergic to peanuts. Are you serious? No one should worry unless one plans to eat what is left in a playground.

If people would put that energy towards other really important things, they would feel much better. But complaining about squirrels or dogs or birds shows how mean and miserable human beings can be. It is extremely rude when people curse or fight because squirrels are being fed. Not everybody likes squirrels, but if you don’t like them you should keep it to yourself and respect other people’s likes.

I have to mention that also on the other hand we have met people who have thanked us for feeding the squirrels. It is always a pleasure to find people who see squirrels as cute and beautiful animals who count on some people to have something to eat.

I invite people who are complaining about this nonsense to quietly see how some people in Stuy Town feed the squirrels. We don’t bother anyone.

Squirrels are hungry and thirsty and that is why they need food and water.

I kindly request you not to be a part of this madness.

Laura Callaghan, ST

Squirrels need compassion, not complainers

Re: Story, “Are Stuyvesant Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?”, T&V, July 14

Dear Ms. Mollot,

I live here in Peter Cooper and this is the first time that I decided to write to any newspaper.

We have been living here for two years and we chose Peter Cooper for the park-like setting. Myself and my three children feed the squirrels and the birds all the time. I want to teach my children the love of caring for animals so they can grow up to be loving and caring persons because I believe people who have pets and those that are truly compassionate to all animals are exceptional persons.

During my two years in Peter Cooper I have never, repeat never, found any squirrel to be aggressive towards us. These poor animals are so afraid of human beings and dogs. I can’t comprehend the motive that you had to allow such a perverse article regarding the squirrels. I have had a few encounters in front of my children with some elderly people that for some reason or another hate all types of animals. They are the same people who always complain about the quality of life in their lives, but perhaps they can achieve real happiness if they try to change their behavior and accept that being old is not that bad and it should be considered a blessing.

My husband and I are contemplating the idea not to renew our lease and move to Battery Park City where we can live with young families close to our age. Peter Cooper has become a place with too many restrictions and let’s face it: This place is just an overpriced “city project” for high income people.

To take away from my children the pleasure of feeding the squirrels not acceptable to us.

A more positive article could have been: “Adopt a squirrel day” or “Adopt a little animal today.” Perhaps you can keep this in mind for the future.

Stella Stein, PCV

What’s wrong with a judge’s honesty?

To the editor:

Steven Sanders’ “The  Apologetic Justice Ginsburg,” T&V, July 21, is a first rate example of what we have not learned in the course of our moral evolution.

Should we see it in Sanders’ way, he gave his readers example upon example that Donald Trump is an entirely different matter in American politics. The difference between Trump and many Americans cannot be framed as a difference in opinions.

But while Mr. Sanders grants Justice Ginsburg her First Amendment right to speak her mind about Trump, he argues that as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg should have sat out presidential politics.

Surely Mr. Sanders knows that German jurists failed and failed miserably what conscience they had during the formative years of fascism.

For those who think that we are not like that; allow me to straighten out the tenses: Germany too was not like that before it became exactly that! By her action, Justice Ginsburg showed us our own moral sensitivities, but it is up to us to see her in that light.

John M. Giannone, ST

Shout-out from a fan of Frank Scala

Re: “President of Republican Club running against Kavanagh,” T&V, July 28

I immensely enjoyed the article about Frank Scala. He is such a community man, and your piece summed up all his attributes. I was chair of CB6 from 2004-2006 as well as chair of its BASA committee for years. Frank was at each and every meeting, providing faithful service on behalf of our community.

He has been president of the 13th Precinct Community Council for about eleven years, and I proudly serve as his vice president. This is just one of many, many areas where Frank steps up to the plate loyally and thoroughly.

Again, a delightful article which Frank deserves 150 percent. Thank you for showing our neighborhood what a stellar man he has been and continues to be!

Very truly yours,

Carol A. Schachter, ST

30 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4

  1. Dear Sabina, I am so sorry that my neighbors take their aggression out on you. May I apologize, to you, on behave of all of them? Sincerely, Peg Donohue S/T p.s. The name of this newspaper is Town & Village NOT Bitch & Moan

    • That’s very presumptuous to apologize on behalf of other people! You must feel very, very important!

  2. Thank goodness the naysayers at the Tenants Association and its secretive Foundation have been unsuccessful so far in stamping out the Farmers Market.

    Thank you Town and Village for profiling yet another of our valued family farm partners.

    • Secretive Foundation?!? That’s a good one, Susan Lee. LOL. You actually made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that! Really.

  3. The tenants committee will be asking the City for accountability over the $40,000 in taxpayer dollars channeled to the STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc.

    The Foundation is a secretive non-profit organization which accepts taxpayer dollars, but does not have a website, produce financial statements, file tax returns, or otherwise account for the taxpayer money that it has received.

    • Susan, which tenants committee are you referring to? I have never heard of the STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc. Is there something devious going on?

      • Eloise,

        The Tenants Association Foundation can be found if you search the records of the New York State Secretary of State.

        You’ll paperwork indicating that it accepted grants from City Hall at the same time that the directors of the Tenants Association (same persons) voted to hand over 5,000 units to the control of the Housing Authority.

        So: yes.

        • Could be a coincidence. How do you search those records? Is it something that can be done online or do you have to go somewhere to search them?

    • Contrary to your comment, their website can be found at STPCVTA.org.

      The opening copy on the website reads:
      “The Nation’s Largest Tenants Association

      We are a 100% volunteer-run organization, with a dedicated Board of Directors, a statewide footprint, and we take pride in being considered, as the New York Times wrote, the strongest and best organized tenants association in New York City.

      Message Center 1 (866) 290-9036”

      I’m sure they’ll provide you with their financials since they file them yearly.

      BTW, who the hell is the tenants committee and why do you have such contempt for people who fight for your QOL?

      • The TA fights for our QOL? That’s laughable, especially considering the fact that they turned their backs on a tenant that was fighting a major QOL issue when the bunker was being built. The bunker which the TA was ok with.

        Also, the tenants SHOULD NOT have to call them to see the financials. They should be released to all tenants on a yearly basis. In all my time here (50+ years), I have never heard of the financials being released, so don’t make a statement saying “I’m sure they’ll provide you with their financials since they file them yearly,” because it is a complete lie.

  4. Many people would think they are the same thing. However, they are separate organizations:

    The STPCV Tenants Association, Inc. is different from the STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc.

    The “Foundation” has been quietly receiving city funds. It receives city funding from City Hall, and then it does not account for how it spends its money. It reported receiving a significant grant from the NYC Department of Youth Services.

    And, no, the Tenants Association (organization #1) also does not disclose its financial statements. All other non-profits put their financial statements right on the front of their website.

    The TA has never made its financial statements available to the public. The public does not know how many dues-paying members it has (if any).

    We were told recently that dues had to increase to $50, and yet, the “Foundation” appears to be sitting on substantial cash reserves.

    • The TA is led by a shady group of individuals that forget about the power of the internet. Nothing is a secret anymore! I am sure they will try and say that this is not them, but it is.

      Susan Steinberg – We all know you read this. The time has come for transparency from the TA. Open your books (financials and meeting minutes) before a lawyer forces you to.

    • According to the information on those links, they have zero assets! I rather doubt that. Maybe they are like the MTA and keep two sets of books!

      • They do. They have their TA, which is the organization that we all know about, and the STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc., which is obviously where their assets go.

        Anyone that pays their increased $50 membership fee is a sucker, and I am currently in contact with some friends that are lawyers to see about the repercussions of what they are doing with these assets and the membership fees (Berlin Rosen, perhaps?).

    • What the hell did I request? Was this just a way for you to continue your mean-spirited campaign against the TA? You never answered my only question: Who is the tenants committee? That is all.

  5. Since there is a lot of talk about the non-existent TA that has my blood boiling, I decided to go to the TA website to see what they are saying about themselves:

    1) The NY Times called them the largest TA IN THE WORLD. A quick Google search quickly dismisses that… the first link shows a TA in Canada with an actual membership of 3,000. Until the STPCV TA releases it’s membership numbers (and a lot of other things), this claim is completely false. Also, how did the Times get the secretive membership info???

    2) The TA history shows absolutely no true successes. The Blackstone deal? Absolutely not! The post-Sandy rent reduction? The tenants deserved, and probably would have gotten more without the TA getting involved. The history page reads nothing more than a political speech that claims a ton, but has no real substance.

    3) The CURRENT Board Chair is Kevin J. Farrelly. This happens to be the attorney that filed the paperwork in 2011 for the STPVC Tenants Association Foundation, Inc. This “Foundation” has received an exorbitant amount of money from City Hall.

    The TA is crying poverty with their increased membership fees, but with $30,000 funneling in to the TA “Foundation” from City Hall, why is more money needed? The tenants of PCVST need to wake up from this TA nightmare, and they need to do it quickly.

  6. One of my neighbors received a yellow bulletin dated July 2016 from the TA and he gave it to me. It did have rather a lot of useful information in it, including what to do if you got served with a golub notice. It explains the difference between “real rent” and “preferential rent” and probably that info was of great benefit to a lot of people. What I was a bit concerned about, however, was a one-page insert titled “PUBLIC MEMBERSHIP PLEDGE.” It instructed the tenant to to enter their name, address, etc., and then tick one of two boxes. The first box agreed to let the TA and all of its lawyers, etc., etc. to deal with any claims, concerns, etc.. The second box stated that the tenant did not wish to become a Public Member and agreed that any settlements, claims or benefits accrued by the TA would not be available to them as they had not signed the Public Member Pledge.

    I thought this was a bit much! If you are a member of the TA (or even if you are not) any benefits the TA wins for the tenants should apply to everybody regardless of whether or not you are paid-up member of the TA and regardless of whether you signed a pledge!

    This organization seems to be very fond of pledges and pressuring TA members to sign them and I rather question the validity and legality of these pledges. Anybody else get one of these? I didn’t get the bulletin because I am not a TA member and I doubt I ever will be. If they were a bit more above-board and less secretive, I might change my mind.

  7. Bravo, Eloise, well said!

    The TA needs to give its own pledge to support all tenants — not just those Board meetings who are cozy with City Hall. Or its dues paying members, who number fewer than 200.

    A few other questions are:

    * What did the Tenants Association promise City Hall in return for the funds it received in 2014 and 2015? What do its board minutes show?

    * Did the TA promise to go along with City Hall’s potemkin-village affordable housing plan? The plan created an “affordability waiting list”, which was handed over to the Housing Authority to be administered. It will no doubt be populated with friends of the various constituencies that supported the de Blasio campaign — children of big developers, who show meager income, and thus qualify for the “affordable apartments.”

    * Did the TA promise to walk back its ironclad pledge (supported by 9,500 Unity Pledges) to pursue a condo conversion? That pledge evaporated fairly quickly.

    The Tenants Association and the shadowy “STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc.” need to release their full minutes as well as its detailed financial statements.

    • The landlord expressed no interest in the TA’s condo conversion plan.

      Pretty sure pledges are necessary now that we don’t file individual PAR’s for our own buildings…I believe that a new arrangement was made with the old landlord that allowed the TA attorney to file one PAR for all buildings in ST-PCV which saves legal fees for all concerned. The pledges allow TA attorneys to file PARs on our behalf.

      Having filed PARs in the past for myself, I can assure you that the process is pretty complicated and next to impossible to accomplish without legal representation so I was happy to have access to the TA and their attorney for their help. Too bad though that the DHCR acted as toady to the landlord.

      • I’m a member of the TA and received one of those pledge forms. I haven’t got round to completing it yet because I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. It looks pretty innocuous to me. I think there is strength in numbers and the TA stared-down CW when they came up with some ridiculous MCI and I seem to remember we were all asked to sign something then. All MCIs are ridiculous, but some more ridiculous than others.

  8. From The New York Times:

    “When I moved in in 1980, they showed you a floor plan and an address and you had a week to make up your mind,” said Susan Steinberg, the president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. As one of the complex’s 5,000 or so rent-stabilized tenants, she pays less than $1,400 for a one-bedroom.”

    • What’s your point, if you have one? Anyone who has lived here since 1980 or earlier will have a much lower rent than the bloodsucking prices they are charging new tenants. By the way, I think that “article” in the NYT was an advertising piece commissioned by Management! It was very, very one-sided!

      • Not to mention that ALL of the apartments here enjoy the protections of rent stabilization, not just the 5000 Susan Steinberg’s unit was cited as being one of. Yes, there are wild differences in the amount of rent people pay here (ridiculously), but that 5000 should have had the clarification that her unit was one of the lower priced apartments due to the length of her tenancy. That’s how rent stabilization (RS) works, among other ways, but ALL units here are protected until at least 2020 and 5000 units will be for far longer, according to the terms Blackstone agreed to.

        Were Urstadt were repealed, I suspect that protections for all would last for longer periods of time and that preferential rents would also be increased by only the amount the RGB determines annually. MCIs and IAIs would likely also be addressed (and thus could result in fewer “surprise” perpetual and retroactive charges). Sadly, as long as the State Senate remains Republican, Urstadt (which denies NYC its “home rule”) will continue to be the law of the land. If NYC had control of its own housing stock, not the state, these rent disparities and protections would be enjoyed by more tenants who need and could benefit from them. The bonus would also be a more stable supply of affordable housing stock and a more stable community.

        • Great point about RGB, IAI, QOL and MCI and RS.

          However, like some commenters here, you are distracting these readers from what is germane: the Tenants Association and the shadowy “Foundation” are operating as a tax-exempt tax-shelter — hiding income from public scrutiny.

        • Marie, I actually agree with you on this one! The TA and it’s supporters try and shy away from the questions at hand with separate topics.

          We all just want to know about the TA Foundation, a foundation founded in 2011 at the Law Offices of Kevin J Farrelly (TA Board Chair), and the contributions this Foundation has received from City Hall.

  9. The Tenants Association needs to account for how it spends its dues.

    We don’t know it it has 50 members, or 80 members, or no members.

  10. @Susan Lee, another commenter has asked you twice who the “tenants committee” is, that you referred to “The tenants committee will be asking the City for accountability over the $40,000 in taxpayer dollars channeled to the STPCV Tenants Association Foundation, Inc..” Will you be answering who the “tenants committee” is or will you just keep arguing with others, throwing stones, and not answering that question? I also want to know you the “tenants committee” is. I may find the TA secretive but have never found them to be less than transparent regarding their financials. Before you go off track, please, just answer who this “tenants committee” is. Thank you in advance.

    • Hello,

      The tenants committee is a committee that has met several times in buildings to develop a safe and reasonable alternative to the Tenants Association.

      The group is in favor of the farmers market, and tolerant of neighbors of all ages. The tenants committee is pro-tenant and pro-QOL.

      I am sure you’ll be getting a note under your door about a meeting in your building soon.


  11. The first thing we are asking is that the Tenants Association produce full financial statements for itself and for its “Foundation”.

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