CHCA Meeting Minutes: October 2010

The meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association, Inc. was held on October 19, 2010 at LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

PRESIDENT’S OPENING 7:32 PM:

Ms. Porter introduced the Association for newcomers:
annual dues: $30/yr per household, $125/yr for merchants
and gave boundaries of Crow Hill: Eastern Pkwy to Atlantic on Franklin, Eastern Pkwy to St. Marks on Bedford and the streets in between
We will have election of Board members in February with nominations in January

With out wanting to be alarmist: be aware of crime in the neighborhood: there was an attempted rape at 769 Sterling Pl, keep your windows, especially those on fire escapes, locked

Nina reviewed the issue of the potential intake center at the Bedford/Atlantic Armory: Armory currently houses an assesment center, the City wants to add an intake center. The community is fighting against this. It is not good for the community or for the homeless. CBAAR (Coalition for Bedford Atlantic Armory Reform) has been in contact with the new commissioner of DHS: Seth Diamond. No immediate plans to open the center but when the center at Bellevue closes the city intends to move it here. Each of us must keep an eye on the shelter and watch for any changes in activity.

Eve: introduces the board members. (Evangeline Porter: President, Stacey Sheffey: Vice President & Treasurer, Nina Meledandri: Project Manager, Hodiah Davidson: Asst Treasurer).

Announcements:

  1. Importance of attending the upcoming Landmark meeting: Tue, October 26th 11:30 1 Center street, 9th floor to support the calendaring of 13 buildings on Park Pl.
  2. There will be an SOS peace march.starting at Utica & Eastern Parkway and on 11/18, a screening of a film about gun violence by SOS here at LaunchPad
  3. The Kids Halloween Parade and pumpkin painting will be Sat 10/30 starting at the garden on Dean between Franklin & Park at 3:30 and ending at our garden on Franklin between Sterling & Park and on to LaunchPad after
  4. Leaf collection for compost & mulch will take place at the Crow Hill Community Garden Sat 11/6 & Sun 11/14 from 11-2
  5. We are looking into getting a Big Belly Solar Powered Trash Can for Franklin, talking to Leticia James for funding. Please call 311 and complain when you see overflowing trash cans on Franklin.

Pawn Shop protest was successful! Last meeting people asked questions regarding the pawn shop. We reached out to Sen Adams, Assemblymembers Jeffries and Camara, Councilwoman James to support our protest, City Planning has informed us that the location is not zoned for Pawn Shops, we thank the 77th Precinct & Officer Pierre-Louis for their assistance with the protest

3 major concerns from the community were raised during the protest: lack of jobs, fair credit in the community and illegal landlord conduct. Crow Hill will address these issues starting with housing and we have invited our Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries to speak on this.

Guest Speaker: Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries:
Without continued intensity from the community the pawn shop owner could be successful; his office understand the issues that come w/the pawn shop including supporting criminal activities One of the biggest challenges I face is trying to deal w/the lack of affordable housing, protecting rent stabilized or rent controlled tenants, regulating landlords seeking to take advantage of increase in rents,
The great diversity of our community is threatened by the housing market, if a lawful rent gets to 2,000 (set 15yrs ago as a luxury number) you can take that apartment out of rent stabilization and rent it for whatever amount you want. Ex: get someone out of a $900 apartment, and you can turn around and rent it for 2,500-3,000). The Assembly and Senate are working hard to fight this including legislation to raise the rate from 2000 to 49000 inorder to remove the incentive to force people out.
Statutory vacancy bonus: current rent stabilized tenant leaves for any reason, w/o any changes needed you can charge the next tenant 20% more. No limitation on the nature of the action or inaction by the landlord that may have caused the vacancy. With Councilmember James have launched an initiative to document tenant harassment. This is a problem that faces everyone. Should unify all of us. not a race issue, its about the color green. Its about the landlord… they are responsible. If anyone you knows is being harassed; experiencing a landlord who refuses payment of rent, does not do necessary repairs,, refuses to renew a lease, please have them fill out a complaint form the Attorney General has agreed to do an investigation. If found unlawful and illegal, the landlords will be brought to court/investigation.

Questions:

What is being done to increase ownership opportunities in the community?
Project Reclaim: designed to encourage banks to transform empty buildings, at least in part, from luxury market rates to affordable housing. In the past few years significantly “posh” buildings were popping up in the community and they were not built for us. They were built before the economy collapsed. The loans on these buildings need to be financially restructured on building by building, bank by bank basis.

If I live in a rent stabilized building and am being offered money to leave, do I have to take it?
No, you have to be given the opportunity to renew and $10k is not enough money to leave. People need to think about what a move will cost them, what a potential increase in rent will mean AND how much it is worth to the landlord for them to leave, then you can negotiate, start at $200,000

What about small business loans and how they are not lending to us?
These banks were on life support, we bailed them out and now they refuse to lend us the money Business out reach center helps small business owners to connect.

80/20 buildings that are offered by the state.
Every new building since 2008 that has been subsidized with tax dollars needs to have 20% affordable housing with 50% of those units residing in that Community Board. You can enter into a lottery a list of buildings can be gotten from Jeffries’ office

Comment on the behalf of the landlords:
N ot all landlords are evil and they are facing rising costs of energy, insurance, water, property tax

Garnett: merchants need to boycott the local banks from coming to our neighborhoods and refusing to lend us money. These banks are making a lot of money from our tax money!

Eve: 6 months ago Chase Bank said they will sit with the Merchants! Advised they will meet with us.There was a credit union a few years ago on Bedford & Fulton street but it closed because not enough people wanted to join. Eve will go to chase bank and speak. She will have them here at a next meeting.

Our November meeting will bring representatives from institutions that help provide employment. Crow Hill knows we have a problem with getting the word out to the community; help us w/flyer distribution. Will reach out to our Panamanian friends to see who they can bring to the community.

Public Safety
Institute v Landlords of 6 story or taller buildings can give permission to Police Department to patrol the public spaces of the building, use roof for serveillance, make arrests in hallways, etc. The police will have keys to the building

We advise everyone to attend the 77th Precinct Community Council meetings: 2nd Monday of every month at 7:30, location travels throughout the community you can call 718-735-0634 to find out where the meeting will be held

Introduced Renee Collymore who ran for 57th Assembly District, Female Leader

Guillermo Phillips spoke representing the Panamanian community. A proposal has been submitted to the three Community Boards involved to co-name a stretch of Franklin Avenue: Panama Way. When people were moving away from Franklin avenue they still stayed here. If a street can’t be named for a country, how can Korean Way be allowed but not Panama Way. Kevin Phillip asks: what has any of the Panamanians done for the Avenue?

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

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