The meeting took place at 110 Cabrini Blvd. and got under way at about 7:15 p.m.
Elizabeth reported that at a recent Community Board 12 Housing Committee meeting, owners of a brownstone at W.173rd St. revealed plans to open a bed and breakfast. At the same meeting, NYPIRG discussed coop fuel buying for small buildings interested in forming a fuel-buyers group. This would be suitable for small owner-occupied buildings or small landlord buildings. Elizabeth also reported that the Fund for City of New York is putting together a guide to Manhattan neighborhoods. It sent a survey asking for a description of the neighborhood boundaries, to which Elizabeth responded.
Donations: HHOC received a nice acknowledgment letter from Washington Heights Development Corporation for the Medieval Festival, as well as a thank-you from the Harvest Festival. A $300 contribution was authorized for the Lotus Dance Company, a cross-cultural dance company which is participating in a festival in Inwood Hill Park next spring. Because this is a young dance company, in its third year, the contribution was larger than the $250 given to the Medieval Festival which is well established and has many supporters.
Mike Zamm reported on a letter (Sept. 30) from Lawrence Reuter, president of the New York City Transit Authority. The letter addressed several issues HHOC had raised in an August 18 letter concerning A-train service. Topics covered include rats at the 59th street station cleanliness of the 181st St. station, long wait times in the evening for the A train. Mike will continue following the A-train situation.
People should be made aware that, since HHOC has obtained not-for-profit status, contributions are tax-deductible. The next step in expanding the usefulness of our not-for-profit status is getting exemption from paying NY State sales tax.
Sarah Morgridge from Councilman Jackson’s office reported on the possibility of forming an energy target zone…a small 1, 2, or 3-block area where residents and businesses can take advantage of an energy-smart program and become energy efficient. Further information for anyone who is interested in following up on this can be obtained at NYSERDA.org
Concerning the 34th Precinct: Officer Tony Trinidad’s presence focused this discussion. Elizabeth has discussed crime prevention outreach with the 34th precinct. Lobby meetings were discussed but they have had poor turnout in the past. She suggested that officers meet with coop and condo boards to discuss topics such as burglary prevention. She also asked for material that could be scanned onto the HHOC website. Marcella urged that people who have issues with the role or effectiveness of the police in our neighborhood should take advantage of the precinct council meetings, which are held monthly for communication between the citizenry and the police. The next was to take place (in Nov.) at Ft. Tryon Jewish Center. There was discussion of the fact that following the community meeting in Oct. which was attended by the Mayor and eight commissioners, the 34th precinct now has additional coverage equivalent to one additional sergeant and eight patrol officers. There is concern that this change might be more a result of the Mayor’s upcoming reelection campaign than a response to the real need, and moreover may not be a permanent change but come down to a matter of temporary overtime being paid at additional cost to taxpayers. She asked, "How do we make this level of staffing permanent and not just for this neighborhood but for lots of other parts of this precinct and city? As an organization, how do we get across the message that we need more cops? " Elizabeth pointed out that when Sarah Fox was murdered, police protection went up; but now that extra has gone. There was also discussion about whether the community meeting helped or hurt in terms of relations with the agencies that work for us, since there were many complaints aired that were exaggerated or inflammatory. Marcella said this doesn’t mean the precinct isn’t doing a good job. "We’re not looking a ‘gift cop’ in the mouth. If the people who help us go away from a meeting like that feeling shamed and disrespected, we’re not helping ourselves. But the additional and likely temporary police protection does seem to be a band-aid solution to divert attention from the problem Elizabeth described." Budget issues are paramount, and HHOC is concerned that the police officers be given what they need to do their jobs well. Citizens may not be aware of how difficult conditions are right now: for example, the precinct has cut costs, but the result is that the officers actually have to do their own cleaning in the precinct house. The computer technology is either out of date or non-existent. For example, in order to be reachable by email, Officer Trinidad created his own email address on a private account: NYPD34PCT@hotmail.com.
Specific crime-prevention and quality-of-life issues were raised to take advantage of Officer Trinidad’s presence. Among them:
Draft notes by Doreen Mangan: the Chair/Secretary thanks her.
The next meeting was set for January 17th, 2005, location TBA.