Letters to the editor, Sept. 7

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Time to show what we’re made of

When I moved to ST in the 70s, our council district then was more economically homogeneous. It included parts of the East Village, Chinatown, Lower East Side and Soho. Within this district STPCV was a Democratic powerhouse.  Not so today.

As incorporated in District 4, STPCV is still a substantial political prize but much diminished.  As District 4 cuts from 14th St. to 97th, most of its votes are outside of STPCV.  And north of 34th St, most people are co-op or condo owners.

While we in STPCV are still greatly concerned about protections for rent stabilization, north of 34th most folks are concerned about quality of life issues, property taxes and the affordability of maintenance.

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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 9

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

‘Affordable housing’ not magic words

Re: Council candidate’s top priority is affordable housing,” T&V, Feb. 2

Reading and rereading Sabina Mollot’s interview with Councilwoman wannabe, Bessie Schachter, left me wondering if Mrs. Schachter is serious.  Of course her “top priority is affordable housing.”  It is also the top priority of tenants and landlords.

I found nothing of substance on the matter of affordable housing. If this sounds/looks excessively picky on my part, may I suggest to anyone thinking that, and certainly to anyone who wishes to replace Councilman Garodnick, they familiarize themselves with New York City’s own site on affordable housing. In particular take a look at the lottery application process that one must enter in order to secure an affordable place to live.  [NYC Connect: Steps to Apply: What to Expect: Your Guide To Affordable Housing] If after reading and rereading the six-column process it doesn’t dawn on a council aspirant that the process is a comic opera in which citizens have been assigned the role of The Fool, then please consider running for dog-catcher, or squirrel keeper; just have the decency to stay out of our lives!

There are of course other difficulties. Our area lost B and C bus service years ago. We are left with a less than reliable D and a soon to be overwhelmed A.  I say “soon to be overwhelmed” because I don’t see that our area is prepared for the numbers that will soon be upon us from the new apartments on 14th and C, along 14th between A and B, between A and First, and on A between 12th and 11th.

I should think that with such legal assaults on our way of life, those who crave Dan Garodnick’s seat would move beyond irrelevant autobiography pleasantries and requests for conversation.

John M. Giannone, ST

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For homebound, Citymeals-on-Wheels offers more than just food deliveries

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village.  (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

Council Member Dan Garodnick tagged along on a recent Citymeals-on-Wheels delivery to some of his neighbors, including Ellen Fidelman (pictured). Seventy recipients of the regular meal deliveries live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. (Photo courtesy of Council Member Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

It was 35 years ago when Gael Greene, a food critic, read in the New York Times that many seniors would be going without meals on Thanksgiving weekend. Greene immediately called chef and cookbook author James Beard, who, along with the city’s Department of the Aging, worked together to raise enough money to get 6,000 meals delivered to the homes of the elderly in time for Christmas. The project, Citymeals-on-Wheels, didn’t end there, though. It continued to ensure that New York’s senior citizens wouldn’t have to go without meals on weekends or holidays when senior centers are closed. Demand for the service has only increased since then, with 18,000 homebound elderly currently benefitting from the program each year.

Seventy of those individuals live in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, an increase from 2014 when there were 47.

To qualify for the home deliveries, seniors can’t be physically able to shop or cook for themselves. For that reason, the organization has also become a lifeline for isolated individuals.

More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century. All recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane, 39 percent use a walker and 16 percent use a wheelchair.

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Bills take aim at predatory equity

Tenants hold signs at a rally at City Hall, followed by a City Council hearing on legislation aimed at curbing the practice of predatory equity. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tenants hold signs at a rally at City Hall, followed by a City Council hearing on legislation aimed at curbing the practice of predatory equity. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Halloween, dozens of tenants holding spooky signs rallied at City Hall to bash landlords as vampires if they engage in predatory equity. The event was held prior to a City Council hearing on a package of bills that were aimed at stopping the blood-sucking practice.

Predatory equity is generally defined as when a landlord purchases a property with a high level of debt that could only be expected to be paid if the owner aggressively tries to get rid of rent-regulated tenants and replace them with higher paying ones. Tactics that could be considered aggressive by landlords include harassment via frivolous lawsuits, a lack of basic maintenance, illegal fees, constant buyout offers or construction that’s unsafe or seems gratuitously disruptive.

One of the City Council members pushing legislation, Dan Garodnick, gave the example of Stuyvesant Town’s sale to Tishman Speyer a decade ago as a prime example of predatory equity.

“This is when landlords overpay for buildings with the speculation that they will be able to deregulate units and drive out tenants,” he said. “You’re not making them enough money so they will try anything to get you out of there. This is harassment.”

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Letters to the Editor, Sept. 15

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

A few points on previous squirrel letters

Re: Letter, “T&V story was squirrel slander,” T&V, July 28, written by the author of this letter and other letters about squirrels

Dear Ms. Sabina Mollot,

First I would like to apologize because now we understand that T&V was purposely misled when you wrote the article about “aggressive squirrels.”

To Judith Swearingen, I would like to let her know that we stand 100 percent in support of Mr. Salame’s letter on July 28. The fabrication of lies (regardless if it is against an ethnic group or animals) with the sole purpose of creating fear, panic, mistrust and hate towards a person, persons, ethnic group, religion is illegal and immoral to say the least. J. Swearingen missed the point of the letter. May I remind her that a subtle racism and antisemitism continue to exist in certain sectors of the society. I was also very impressed with her pseudo mental analysis of Mr. Salame’s other battles that have nothing to do with the squirrels.

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Third person enters race for Garodnick’s City Council seat

Jeff Mailman is currently a legislative aide to Council Member Liz Crowley of Queens. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Jeff Mailman is currently a legislative aide to Council Member Liz Crowley of Queens. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick appears to be heating up with a third person announcing his candidacy.

That person is Jeff Mailman, an East Midtown Democrat who’s currently a legislative aide to Queens Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. Mailman had told Town & Village in February that he was seriously considering a run.

Others to get into the ring already are Stuyvesant Town Democrat Joshua Thompson and Peter Cooper Village resident Diane Grayson, who said she may run as an Independent.

During a recent interview at Aroma, a coffee joint near the Civic Center legislative building where he works, Mailman discussed his platform, which focuses on public safety, improved schools and quality of life issues.

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Garodnick not running for mayor

Council Member Dan Garodnick

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Christian Brazil-Bautista

The list of possible contenders for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s seat just became a bit shorter. Council Member Dan Garodnick, whose name has been thrown around as a possible challenger for the position, denied that he was eyeing a run at the mayoral seat.

“No,” Garodnick said when asked at an event on Tuesday if he was going to run for mayor. The event was the B’nai B’rith luncheon, where he gave a presentation titled, “Midtown East Rezoning: What’s Next?”

Garodnick, a Democrat who is serving his third term as a council member, has remained vague about his future plans. Previously, he ran for comptroller, bowing out after Scott Stringer declared his candidacy. Stringer eventually defeated Eliot Spitzer for the position. In 2013, he conceded in his bid for the city council speaker seat, resulting in a unanimous vote for Melissa Mark-Viverito. Term limits prohibit him from seeking re-election next year.

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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why Garodnick should aim higher

Re: Story, “Garodnick’s $1.M campaign war chest,” T&V, Jan. 21

Your page one article notes a Daily News anonymous source:

Hon. Dan Garodnick, our City Council Member, “may be looking towards the comptroller or attorney general seat if they open up.”

Page 50 of this week’s New York Observer, however, quotes comptroller Tom DiNapoli:

“The secret is that being comptroller is the best job in state government.

“I don’t want people to know that so they don’t come after my job.

“There’s still more work to do here,” he continues.

Accordingly, that job doesn’t seem to be opening up.

This begs two questions:

(i) Who, including the days of Tammany Hall, was ever elected directly to statewide office from the New York City council?

(ii) If Hon. Dan Garodnick wants to make a statewide name for himself, he should challenge Governor Cuomo. If I was his strategist, I’d say strive for the gold.

Dan was preempted from the city comptroller’s primary and, subsequently, had to concede from the speaker’s race. He’s not winning statewide office.

And remember, he balked when considering running a primary against Brad Hoylman because he wanted to be close to home. Therefore, his considering statewide options seems quite a shift from the geographic priorities he set for himself fewer than four years later. After all, he’d have to spend more time in Albany in statewide office than members of the legislature do.

So if I were part of his brain trust, I’d have him make a statewide name for himself by running a gubernatorial primary against Andrew Cuomo.

And if his strategists don’t realize that runners up in Gubernatorial primaries are memorable while runners up in AG and comptroller primaries are not, then they’re not worth their commissions.

Billy Sternberg, ST

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Time to own is now, before students take over

To the Editor:

Here we go again. The big move-in by students, new grads and those just starting their first jobs.  The SUVs and U-Hauls are here with hopeful parents bringing the usual bric-a-brac items needed for city living. And it’s three or four to an apartment to split the rent that no one else can afford alone. Say hi to them and ask how long they might be living here, and they will say a year or two and then on to other pastures.

Unfortunately these people will be heard howling in the courtyards when they come home from their weekend drinking and bar hopping and then on to clip-clop with their high heels on the uncovered floors to wake up their neighbors at 3 or 4 in the morning. They use the laundry carts as moving aids to get their things from street to floor. But none of them will help create a viable community where neighbors get to know each other over the years. They are just here to fill their “dorm” time and for the landlord to fill vacancies when there are few others.

So what’s the solution?  It’s time for PCV/ST to be converted into co-ops or condos. Where people will own what they live. Where neighbors will be neighbors who care about each other and care about what they own. Demand that this be done.

Demand that CW do this. And at a reasonable conversion rate that is affordable to all the tenants who live here today and to those that have been living here for 30 or 40 years or more.  If CW won’t comply, demand that they do. Get someone bigger than them so they will. If the Tenants Association can’t do it, find someone else who can. If our elected officials can’t make it happen, vote for those who want it converted and who will make it happen. It’s time. We have all been waiting long enough and we don’t want to wait any longer.

See you when I own my apartment. And everyone is a proud owner.

Larry Edwards, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Cartoon, March 27

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Thanks to those who helped save The Players

The Gramercy Park community is excited that The Players has finally decided to do the right thing to “Help Save The Players” by electing a highly qualified and dynamic new president, Arthur Makar, and putting a Strategic Turnaround Plan in place.

This is an important first step in the process of addressing the club’s debt, reforming its governance, and rebuilding its membership. For the first time in a very long time, we can be hopeful about the future of The Players.

In light of this, we’d like to acknowledge the efforts of those who “Helped Save The Players” by documenting and reporting the gross mismanagement and dire circumstances at the club, as it accrued $4 million in debt and was in “imminent danger of closing.”

Since a major focus of the GPBA’s mission is historic preservation, we could think of no more important challenge to undertake than to help save The Players. The club not only stands as a monument to theatre life in New York City, but is a cultural treasure of the American people. Its 1844 Greek Revival townhouse at 16 Gramercy Park South is a National Historic Landmark, and sits on one of the original lots laid out in the 1831 Samuel B. Ruggles Gramercy Park Trust. A statue of The Players’ founder Edwin Booth, sits in the center of Gramercy Park.

Because of our community’s passionate interest and concern for The Players’ survival here, we refused to be bystanders as the club’s facade and financial circumstances continued to deteriorate. We felt it was our obligation to work closely with the media to bring to light the alarming findings of The Players Financial Audit Committee’s (FAC) 18-page report, documenting its shocking mismanagement.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the FAC, spearheaded by Lee Pfeiffer and Lynne Lerner, for their relentless pursuit of the truth, despite many obstacles put in their path. The FAC’s dogged determination and countless hours of work led to their extensive report detailing the desperate circumstances at the club. It was their report, which was the catalyst for the turnaround of the club.

We also want to thank Town & Village Editor Sabina Mollot for her outstanding reporting of the mismanagement and dysfunction at The Players. Mollot, who is widely known for her excellent in-depth investigative journalism, was someone we counted on at every turn to bring to the public’s attention the sad state of affairs at The Players.

Without the determined efforts of the FAC, the media and The Gramercy Park Block Association in exposing the truth, we believe The Players had little chance of survival on Gramercy Park.

Arlene S. Harrison
President, The Gramercy Park Block Association
Trustee of
Gramercy Park

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Editorial: Town & Village endorses de Blasio for mayor, Garodnick for Council

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio

In September, Town & Village endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor, because we believed out of all the candidates in that cluttered ballot, he was the best hope for the middle class in this city, in particular the city’s tenant population, because he would be the most effective fighter. At this time, with de Blasio set to face off against Joe Lhota, we still believe that to be true.

We do not however believe the fear mongering arguments by Lhota that if de Blasio is elected, New York City will return to the bad old days of muggers and squeegee men ruling the streets. This is simply the kind of mud slinging that reads as desperate as Lhota’s numbers in the polls continue to show that the residents of this city are in deed ready for change after 12 years of the same Republican mayor. We also don’t buy Lhota’s blasting of de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” shtick as being divisive, because that kind of division doesn’t need to be manufactured; it’s long been felt by people who have for some time been living in fear of being priced out of this city as the mayor has taken a mostly hands-off approach to matters like disappearing rent regulated housing and salaries that just haven’t kept pace with rising housing costs, including the yearly increases approved by the Rent Guidelines Board.

While Lhota has said he was committed to building new housing by offering tax incentives, de Blasio has been a lot more specific in his promises to build more of the affordable kind of housing and in protecting the existing stock of it by having City Hall work with (or put pressure on) the governor to get results in Albany on local housing laws. In an op-ed in this newspaper, he discussed the community of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in particular, noting that, “It’s the responsibility of the city to ensure that these homes and other affordability housing are never beyond the reach of middle class New Yorkers.”

Lhota believes de Blasio to be an all-talk-and-no-action kind of candidate, but as with any election, all voters can do, whether they support de Blasio or Lhota, is decide whether their campaigns seem credible. In Lhota’s case, his platform is built around admittedly worthy goals of job creation in fields like bio-tech and science and also helping the economy by encouraging more tourism. However, when it comes to affordable housing, his only real plan is to review how taxes are charged to property owners. This won’t necessarily lead to lower costs for owners or tenants.

Interestingly, although de Blasio’s accepted plenty of real estate campaign cash (as Lhota’s been quick to correctly point out) the Democratic candidate still won the primary. This was in all likelihood based on the big promises he has made to the middle class and voters will be watching to see if and how he intends to make good on those promises if he can pull it off again and win the general election on November 5. That said, we hope he does. De Blasio has our endorsement for mayor.

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Hurricane Sandy: A look back

It’s hard to believe it’s been exactly a year since Hurricane Sandy battered and in some cases destroyed entire neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey. Manhattan fared better though it certainly wasn’t spared; repairs are still being made around the city including in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

One year later, a plan is in place for the “East River Blueway,” which would help protect the East Side waterfront from the Brooklyn Bridge to 38th Street from future disasters via salt marshes and beaches, and Con Ed has recently announced improvements to its substations to help prevent future blackouts (and explosions).

Below are some photos that were published in Town & Village after the superstorm that were taken on the night Sandy hit or within the next few days.

14th Street between Avenues B and C (Photographer unknown)

14th Street between Avenues B and C (Photographer unknown)

14th Street and Avenue C (Photographer unknown)

14th Street and Avenue C (Photographer unknown)

One of many tree casualties in the neighborhood, this one was found at 23rd Street and Avenue C. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

One of many tree casualties in the neighborhood, this one was found at 23rd Street and Avenue C. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Damaged car in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Ingrid Devita)

Damaged car in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Ingrid Devita)

The cleanup effort begins in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Ingrid Devita)

The cleanup effort begins in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Ingrid Devita)

National Guardsmen give Council Member Dan Garodnick a demonstration on how to prepare packaged meals that were distributed to residents. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

National Guardsmen give Council Member Dan Garodnick a demonstration on how to prepare packaged meals that were distributed to residents. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Downed tree in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

Downed tree in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

See even more post-storm photos here, and in case you missed it, here’s Town & Village’s update on the status of repairs at the buildings in hard-hit Peter Cooper Village.

 

Waterside celebrates 40th anniversary

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday night, hundreds gathered at Waterside Plaza for a celebration of the complex’s 40th anniversary that included a concert by the George G. Orchestra, dancing under the stars and a fireworks display over the East River.

Waterside owner Richard Ravitch, between schmoozing with tenants and local politicians, said he never could have imagined the evening’s landmark celebration when, close to 50 years ago, he was trying to convince city officials that the building of a four-tower complex east of the FDR Drive would be a good thing.

“Never in the world,” he said. But he kept pushing for the plans and eventually succeeded in getting federal legislation passed so that Waterside’s buildings could be constructed directly over the water.

“(Mayor) Lindsay was excited about this,” recalled Ravitch. For a while, he noted, Waterside also rented apartments to the FBI “so they could eavesdrop on North Korea.” These days, Waterside is home to 4,000 people, including 200 employees of the United Nations, and there are also two onsite private schools, United Nations International School and British International School of New York.

Over the years, Ravitch said the biggest challenge of running the property is staying on top of its upkeep.

“If you do this responsibly, you have to preserve the infrastructure, even if it means less money in your pocket.”

Ravitch lives uptown rather than at Waterside, explaining, “Every time I raise the rent, some tenants get… unhappy. So it’s never a good idea.” Tenants seemed receptive to the landlord on Thursday though, even greeting him with cheers when he addressed the crowd briefly to discuss the history of the complex and the land it was built on.

He noted the fact that Waterside, the first property to be built east of the FDR Drive, was designed by Lewis Davis, whose son Peter Davis is today the general manager of the property. When introducing him, Ravitch said, “When I was dabbling significantly in public service, I knew I’d have to find an extraordinary person who could raise tenants’ rents, but remain beloved by tenants. That person turned out to be the son of the genius who designed Waterside.”

Ravitch also had words of praise for Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal. Though he admitted she “gives me agita several times a year,” he also called her a tough leader for tenants.

He then went on to discuss how long before Waterside was even a concept, the area that now houses the four-tower complex was an important part of international history. In the 1940s, when the United States was trying to help the British with supplies, the ships they were delivered in, which could not return to the U.S. empty, used rubble from the ground in English city of Bristol as ballast. That rubble was then emptied in the area that now houses Waterside before the ships would take on more supplies. Waterside management was made aware of this bit of history a couple of years ago through the English Speaking Union and now has a plaque on the Plaza to commemorate it.

Also joining Ravitch to discuss the history were a couple of special guests, Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill, and Ava Roosevelt, the widow of William Roosevelt, David Roosevelt’s half-brother. Local politicians also appeared at the event, including Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Dan Garodnick and Council Member (and borough president Democratic primary winner) Gale Brewer.

Along with the brief ceremony, the evening included complimentary hot dogs and burgers grilled outside on the Plaza, music, dancing as well as dance performances by the Syncopated City Dance Company, a video tribute to the complex and entertainment for kids.

Basements in PCV still closed

Garodnick asks for timetable,

CW says approvals from city take time

Generators outside Peter Cooper Village buildings during early stages of the cleanup/repair efforts in November  Photo by Sabina Mollot

Generators outside Peter Cooper Village buildings during early stages of the cleanup/repair efforts in November
Photo by Sabina Mollot

 By Sabina Mollot

Nearly eleven months after Hurricane Sandy, Council Member Dan Garodnick has called on CWCapital to finish the repairs in hard hit buildings in Peter Cooper — especially since they were supposed to have been completed this month.

This was a timeline given by management, and noted Garodnick in a letter to CWCapital Asset Management Vice President Andrew MacArthur, was last mentioned in an official property update to residents in August.

“It is now September, and as far as the residents can tell, none of those basements appear close to opening,” said Garodnick, in the letter, which is dated September 4.

He added that residents deserve at least an update with some sort of explanation since residents in 15 PCV buildings have had to do without bike storage or laundry rooms. (Those buildings have had temporary washers and dryers.) Residents have also been unable to access the basement to get in and out of their buildings. Meanwhile, instead, Garodnick said, the only updates residents do get are for things management wants to promote.

“The updates being sent out give information about more whimsical matters like last week’s photo contest — with no word about these basic services,” said Garodnick. Though he was the one to push CW to give residents a timetable for the completion of the work, Garodnick said he never expected that the September date wouldn’t be enough time. “This has taken far longer than anyone could have reasonably expected,” he told T&V, “and residents deserve an explanation and compensation.”

Following the loss of Sandy-related services in 15 Peter Cooper buildings and two Stuyvesant Town buildings, the Tenants Association filed an application for rent reductions with the state housing agency. However, there has still been no decision on that, the Tenants Association said this week, and in his letter, Garodnick called on CW not to wait for that claim to be resolved before paying up.

“We’re getting close to the one-year mark here,” he said.

Garodnick said that as of Tuesday he has not gotten a response from CW, but on Wednesday, after being asked for comment from T&V, Brian Moriarty, a spokesperson for CWCapital said that the delay is due to the slow process of getting city approval for the various aspects of the work.

“As we’ve said, rebuilding the 17 basements that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy is a complex project that, beyond the physical work and procurement of materials with long lead times, involves numerous agencies that must review and approve plans for every aspect of each basement’s infrastructure and careful scheduling and staging of contractors to ensure the work is completed as quickly and safely as possible with the minimum disruption for our residents,” Moriarty said.

“As such, it is not uncommon for construction projects of this scale to take a long time. Although some residents may not yet see physical work being done in their basement, we assure you that significant progress has been made in all basements. We are making every effort to finish this work as soon as possible, and expect it will be done later this fall.”

Moriarty said that as far as the rent rebates are concerned, the Tenants Association’s application, previously slammed by CW in a court document as “petty” and “mean-spirited,” was also helping to slow things down.

“We offered to sit down with the TA in January to negotiate exactly that,” said Moriarty. “However, they declined to meet and elected to file a diminution of services claim instead.  It is disappointing as many of the steps the TA has taken have actually prolonged our ability to get the required approvals.  It seems that this could have been more easily resolved.”

In response, Garodnick said, “Rather than get into a he said, she said about TA management negotiating, CW should just do the right thing and compensate tenants.”

Though we were unable to reach the Tenants Association by press time for the print edition, TA Chair Susan Steinberg and President John Marsh later responded to say that the application for a rent reduction doesn’t affect management’s ability to restore the laundry rooms. They added that filing the application strengthened their ability to negotiate.

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 5

Mendez is a fighter for tenants and the poor


Re: “Mendez, hoping to improve housing crisis, running again,” and “Opponent, East Side pastor, says poor have been ignored,” T&V, Aug. 29

To the Editor:

I was interested to read your profile on both of the candidates in the Democratic Primary in the Second District, which immediately abuts my own.

Since your piece took pains to be balanced, I thought it worth pointing out to your readers that this is not really a close call – Rosie Mendez deserves to win this one decisively.

I have served in the City Council now for a number of years, and have had the great pleasure of calling Rosie Mendez a colleague and a friend.  She is an impressive advocate for tenants, for seniors, and for the poor.  She has stood with me every time I needed her – and even played a critical role in our efforts to protect tenants’ interests in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper.

As Chair of the Committee on Public Housing, Rosie also has been a tremendous advocate for residents of those communities. She has secured $10 million for security enhancements and disability access, and in 2008, she restored $38 million to prevent the closing of community centers.

In the days immediately after Superstorm Sandy, Rosie and her staff were among the first responders on the Lower East Side, where they coordinated with local nonprofits to ensure that stranded residents received the necessities they needed. Since the storm, she has has diligently worked on an emergency plan to make sure that the city is better prepared for our next storm.

I have also enjoyed partnering with Rosie in supporting our local public schools – many of which, like PS 40 and PS 116, physically sit in her district, but serve both of our constituents.  I look forward to continuing that high level of collaboration on all issues.

Rosie is one of the toughest leaders I know, and I encourage the residents of the Second Council District to send her back to City Hall to fight for all of us, even those of us who live next door.

Dan Garodnick,
City Council Member,
District 4

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