And Now A Word From Our Assemblyman…
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Every evening the Mister checks the mail. And every evening he faithfully presents the latest campaign “material”— with commentary— for my delectation. I will refrain from publishing what he had to say about this one. No worries, I have plenty to say…
- On the subject of “safer” streets: the last I checked a LOT of people— including not one, but TWO Transportation Chairs of Community Board 1— were quite vocal and pro-active about the manifold number of pedestrian/bicyclist safety and traffic woes hereabouts. Methinks both preceded Mr. Levin’s tenure as our City Councilman. While it is laudible that he helped push the matter, the fact of the matter is what has been accomplished thus far (there’s still a long way to go) is not, by any means, exclusively his handiwork. Plain and simple. Step back, Steve.
- While I am on the subject of safer streets, Levin fails to note that it was under his watch that crime has increased in the 94th Precinct. Specifically, Greenpoint— his “home”. I attended the Community Council meetings. The idea of bringing back “block watchers” and “neighborhood watch groups” was presented by concerned citizens. Nonetheless, our City Councilman saw fit to do nothing until the problem got too much publicity to ignore. And even then meeting he conducted with Mr. Lentol conflicted with a Land Use Committee meeting regarding Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street. Hmm.
- “Fairer Budget”: the concept of participatory budgeting is a good one. The way it is implemented, however, is not. Since (for all intents and purposes) all the outreach is done online, less affluent/tech-savvy citizens and communities are precluded from the process.
- Greener Brooklyn: the repaved pathways and benches at McCarren are nice— but what about essentials like trash cans, port-o-lets and, yes, toilet seats? These may not be the stuff of excitement (or campaign mailers), but they are necessary. As for WNYC Transmitter Park: this has been on the table (so to speak) for decades. I know this because awesome ladies like Irene Klementowicz fought long and hard for it to happen. This is not Mr. Levin’s achievement by a long shot. Above all, calling a walkway, benches and one new park a “win” for his north Brooklyn constituency is laughable. Really.
- Stronger education: while I find his rhetoric (especially as it pertains to charter schools) compelling, I have to wonder whose work he is taking credit for on this one?
In closing I have to say I am disappointed in Mr. Lentol for endorsing Steve Levin. Then again, I was also disappointed when I read this from the New York Times a couple months ago…
Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, Democrat of Brooklyn, sponsored a bill to retroactively extend tax breaks to developers who had converted old factories into luxury lofts. That bill passed the State Senate. Alas, it foundered in the Assembly. And that, he noted, broke the hearts of a few developers.
“Was this proposed tax break for these properties a good thing or not? I can’t say,” Mr. Lentol said. “I don’t have enough knowledge to say it’s a good thing or bad thing.”
And if legislators don’t ask, why should anyone else?
That is an excellent question.
I have noticed your posts and am glad you continue to bring light to the issue of lofts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated. With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law. (As the law stands presently, no. — Ed. Note) However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits. I do not want to see a repeat of that event. I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible. All I can do is try to spread the word about the Loft Law…
…so that tenants in such spaces can apply for coverage that they may be legally entitled to. Of course, the Loft Board will make final determinations about each application individually.
When queried about the rather notorious property that is the former “Sweater Factory Lofts” last November by the New York Times, Mr. Levin had nothing to say. In the meantime the owner(s) of this illegal loft conversion are getting $2,700 – $3,400 month in rent— and, no, the living conditions are not so hot the last I heard…
The former “tenant” of this “room” (which I can assure you is QUITE illegal) paid $925.00 a month. Loft law application FAIL.