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Saturday, January 24, 2015
The Tenants Association: Worthless or Helpless?
So how's your Tenants Association doing? What is it doing?
While we appreciate the self-sacrifice of spending one's free time in the TA and trying to help our community, what does the TA have to show for its efforts and accomplishments? And it's not even a case of accomplishments in a "victory" sense, but just some serious movement that is putting pressure on management to make things work here effectively for the middle class, and some serious fight in retaining whatever affordability is possible in ST/PCV? (Though affordability is now becoming a joke to more and more residents here.)
What I experience from the TA is secrecy and stubbornness. Tenant concerns have been raised about the legality of certain procedures on the part of the landlord, whether it's the growing student population that is packing itself into 1 or 2 bedroom apartments, whether it's the addition of wall partitions that change the occupancy of an apartment (but, at the same time, officially NOT its occupancy), whether it's many other matters, but the TA refuses to respond to these issues.
Instead, the TA, joined at the hip to our councilman, Dan Garodnick, has placed much of its energy on the pipe dream of tenant ownership of this property. That's it. That's the TA's plan for this community. People in the know privately laugh at this dream, but even if by some very small chance (about 1%) tenant ownership would become a reality, it would be a tenant ownership of a few, while the rest of our buildings would be under the lordship of a Big Read Estate landlord or a conglomerate of such landlords whose vision for this property is much different than ours. And "affordability" would be severely diminished and on the way to expiring in the years to come.
If the TA is going to disappear one day (and that appears to be the logical direction of its life span), then let it at least go out with a fight and not with a whimper about conversion. "Please, Sir, can I have an apartment to buy? Pretty please."