Loft Board Meeting Report: March 1

TOPIC OF THE DAY: schedule and procedures for upcoming public hearings on Loft Board rules.

In response to our letters (and the efforts of NAG, EWBLTA, DNA, Erik Dilan, Steve Levin, and Vito Lopez), the LB insisted that they would not bunch together too many hearings on one day. They will hear testimony for each rule separately and allow 3 minutes of testimony per speaker on each rule. They will release the rules 60 days before hearings.

They will have at least three hearings (i.e. of four rules each). Better 4 hearings of 3 rules, but at least we are getting somewhere. They seem to understand that they should not stack two really weighty rules in the same hearing.

However, they did not make any mention of allowing the Board to ask questions of people giving testimony — which used to be standard procedure. And Chairman LiMandri said they would “try” to have meeting time between hearings for the LB to discuss our concerns and suggest changes, but did not promise this. Those of you who were witness to the rule-making on Incompatible Use will remember that real dialog and deliberation are crucial, so we need to continue to press the Loft Board to open up the process.

There was a lengthy discussion of a corner case in the draft harassment rule 2-02 where if one unit in a building has an outstanding harassment case, the landlord can’t buy the rights of any unit until the harassment case is completed. I don’t know if this is a serious problem or a rare one, but it’s a typical example of the trade-offs that occur between law & order and tenant rights, even where the LB is ostensibly on our side. It is frustrating not to have drafts of these rules so we can be sure what they are talking about!

They also discussed the fine schedule in the new rule 1-11.1, and in particular there was a lot of debate about the scale of harassment fines. There was a lot of Board support for increasing those fines (especially from Shelton!), so your letters can make a big difference. The violations of most concern to tenants are usually harassment and interruption of service. (If you know of other important ones, please let us know.)

A more detailed report can be found on our google group: groups.google.com/group/NYCLT/loft board meeting report

FINALLY, AS YOU KNOW:
If we do not show up and write letters they simply will not listen to us. Chuck DeLaney does a great job of raising tenant concerns and sticking to his guns, but LiMandri will roll right over him if we don’t back him up. It’s show up or shut up, everyone!

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