Feb 102015
 

UPDATE:  VID’s Feb. 12th meeting spotlighted a report from Councilmember Corey Johnson and a Forum on Rent Regulations

Councilmember Corey Johnson reported on his past year in the Council and what he looks forward to in 2015.

Forum on Rent Regulation

Marlene Nadle, Chair of VID Housing Committee

Marlene Nadle, Chair of VID’s Housing Committee added timely discussion, via a special guest speaker from Met Council on Housing, on this year’s legislative debates in a Forum on Rent Regulation.

New York State’s rent protection laws expire in less than five months, on June 15.

They almost certainly will be renewed. The question is how they might be amended by the state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Tenants throughout New York City and the suburban counties of Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland have a huge amount of work ahead to win changes that will stem the hemorrhage of affordable housing—such as by repealing the 1997 vacancy-deregulation amendments—and prevent the addition of any more pro-landlord loopholes.   Michael McKee, Met Council on Housing.

Here are the minutes of the full meeting.

You can also read some extensive coverage on rent regulation from City & State

Closing the meeting was the introduction of a resolution on the death of Eric Garner, introduced by Nat Johnson and approval for two letters, to Congressman Nadler and to Senator Schumer, introduced by Ed Yutkowitz, addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance before the US Congress pertaining tougher sanctions on Iran.

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Mar 012014
 

Forum Speakers Offer Specifics to Increase Affordable Housing in NYC

By Marlene Nadle, VID Housing Committee Chair 

Affordable Housing Forum

Marlene Nadle, VID Housing Committee Chair

“The conventional wisdom that the city can’t do anything about affordable housing is destructive, demoralizing, and legally wrong,” said tenant attorney Seth Miller. He was one of the speakers at a February affordable housing panel and film cosponsored by the Village Independent Democrats and Judson Memorial Church . The program was organized by VID Housing Chair, Marlene Nadle. Miller proposed a number of actions addressing affordable housing that could be carried out by the City Council and didn’t need Albany’s approval. They include:

  • Pass an ordinance penalizing the warehousing of apartments.
  • Pass an ordinance prohibiting the reduction of apartment units in a building and the demolition of units in a building, or only allow it if the units are replaced by affordable apartments that are offered to the displaced tenants.
  • Devote any property taken in tax foreclosure to affordable housing and stop selling tax liens.
  • Pass an ordinance tightening the enforcement of the J-51 tax abatement given to developers.
  • Change the formula for setting first rents in 421-a and other city-subsidized apartments.

Tom Angotti, a professor of urban planning at Hunter College, also added things to do to get more affordable housing that didn’t depend on the state. His suggestions, like all of the panelists suggestions, began to correct the former housing policies described in the screened film, The Vanishing City, produced by Fiore DeRosa and Jen Senko.

Affordable Housing panelists

Seth Miller, Moses Gates and Tom Angotti

Angotti’s proposals:

  •  All housing subsidized with public funds should be made permanently affordable by using land trusts and regulatory agreements.
  • Demand the city change the way it defines affordable by basing it on neighborhood median income instead of the median income for the entire metropolitan region.
  • The city should increase taxes on habitable housing left vacant for more than a year and expropriate housing vacant for more than two years.
  • Demand changes to the City Charter to give community Boards the power and resources to make major decisions on land use and infrastructure.
  • Demand an end to the public give aways to developers by doing away with J-51 and 421-a.

Moses Gates, a policy planner at the Association of Neighborhood and Community Development, supported most of these proposals. He suggested another way to get around the state was to go to the Federal level and push to have the Housing Trust funded and to get the HUD office to initiate public/private development of affordable housing. Gates also stressed the need to form alliances on housing issues with people like Public Advocate, Tish James,  City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark Viverito, and the Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, Jumaane Williams. There was a shared feeling that DeBlasio’s plan to build 200,000 new units was not sufficient. “Bloomberg built 165,000 units of affordable housing, but lost more affordable units than that,” Angotti said.

The same thing is likely to happen with the DeBlasio plan if 200,000 units are built without incorporating any of the other changes the panelists suggested.

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Related Reference: RoofLines, the Shelterforce Blog, Feb. 7, 2014, Home Rule and Rent Stabilization

 

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Dec 172013
 
small-business, trans-pacific, campaign-finance-reform

Attendees at Dec. 12th meeting

At VID’s December meeting the major topics were Small Business, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Sexual Assaults in Military, Filibuster and Campaign Finance Reform

 

Village Independent Democrats approved one letter and three resolutions at the Dec 12th meeting.  You can read them by clicking below.  Sharon Woolums introduced the resolution on Small Business Jobs Survival Act; Alec Pruchnicki and Ron Illardo presented points in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the resolution.  Club President Tony Hoffmann reviewed the points made in the letter to Sen Reid regarding his recent reform of Senate Filibusters and the Resolution for Sen. Gillibrand favoring her approach in legislation protecting women military personnel who have been sexually assaulted.

Thank you to Senator Harry Reid for Filibuster reform
Resolution in Favor of Sen. Gilllibrand’s Approach to Sexual Harrassment in the Military
Resolution Opposing Trans-Pacific Partnership
Resolution Re Small Business Jobs Survival Act

There was additionally a very thorough discussion of Campaign Finance Reform with Kristina Andreotta, of Citizen Action NY particularly focused on New York State legislation that may be influenced over the next month by positions Gov. Cuomo will announce in launching the budget and legislative priorities for 2014.

Marlene Nadle also introduced a report on the documentary, Vanishing City, which she would like the Club to sponsor as a public event.

This was also the meeting for VID members to elect a president and three vice presidents for 2014.  See the post.  

VID_Membership-Meeting-Minutes2_December-12-2013 .

 Pictures from Dec. 12th Meeting.  Photographe:r Zella Jones

 

 

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Nov 262013
 
VID General Meeting

VID Membership at May 9th Endorsement Meeting

Summary of VID’s General Meeting Minutes of November 2013.

You can view the full meeting minutes of November 2013 here:  VID Membership Meeting of November 14, 2013  To view all available VID Minutes type that word in the Search Box in the VID banner at the top of  any page.

President Tony Hoffman opened the meeting with the announcement of the passing away of Nan Robinson.  He also spoke about the meeting held the evening before by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation re:  the air rights bill signed by Governor Cuomo last night, of which VID was one of the co-sponsors, along with the VRDC and 22 other organizations.  See posting

The next general membership meeting will be on December 12 and will cover the elections for President and three Vice Presidents. 

On November 2, there was a protest against the Spectra pipeline, during which Corey Johnson and Nancy Shamban were arrested.  Other VID members also attended, along with several local politicians.  See posting.

Allen Shulkin delivered a report in which he introduced himself to the VID.  He stressed that he has been active since 1979 and that he intends to join the VID.  He wants to help the VID and speaks to Corey regularly.  He hopes to make the state committee more democratic and to strengthen the influence of the reform caucus.

Keen Berger made a report on the state of elections and poll workers, and the fact that there were many problems.  She will be sending copies of her observations to five local officials who have some authority over this arena.  It was suggested that this report should be posted on the club website, and Tony agreed.  See posting.

Keen stated her other goals of addressing affordable housing and improved schools, and how the new mayor would affect these issues.

Tom Connor spoke about the bus situation in the neighborhood, and how seniors need help in transportation.

Marti Speranza spoke of how she wanted to make the club responsive to local issues through a Community Affairs Committee.  She was given many suggestions on how to accomplish this by the membership.

Nadine Hoffman addressed the holiday party–she is organizing food donations for this event.  She also spoke of the upcoming Gala and possibly organizing events at local bars designed to attract new members.

The Forum on Affordable Housing was conducted by Moses Gates, director of Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) and Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, and Ted Houghton, executive director of the Supportive Housing Network and co-chair of Housing First!  See posting

New Business

  • John Bredin spoke of  bringing Richard Wolf to VID for a talk.
  • Alex Meadows announced that the meat-packing district wants to form a BID.
  • Marlene Nadle suggested making a list of important items to bring to the attention of the new mayor.  Tony will bring this suggestion to the executive committee.

 

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