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Annual Report. An organization that is well-run and that has an auditor who is familiar with their books should be able to make Annual Reports available in four months, tops. The fact that it takes us six months raises the concern as to whether our books are not being managed properly.

 

Bike Racks Vote on this issue!. After more than a year of inactivity, the Board published a new questionnaire to further explore the issue of bike racks. Hopefully that's an indication that the project will indeed go forward.

 

Communications. On July 9, Shareholders received flyers from the Board which were characterized by remarkable detail and directness. I am hopeful that this the beginning of change at Seward Park, but it is too early to be sure.

 

Cooper Square Improprieties? Serious questions were raised at the Informational Meeting about money owed to us by Cooper Square.

 

Corporate Image. Seward Park has traditionally not paid attention to its corporate image. These pictures show some highlights and are by no means exhaustive!

 

Dirty Water Vote on this issue!. My hot tap water is often dirty, with a dark tone and what looks like bits of @#!!* floating in it. I complained about this many times and was assured me that the problem was known, the water was safe, and that improved filtrations systems were being put in place. But month after month the problem persists.

 

Dog Run Vote on this issue!. The latest buzz is that a portion of our property will be designated as a dog run. This is surprising considering the severity with which the no-dog policy is laid out in all Seward Park documents.

 

Election Corner. Since its inception in 2004, SPBuzz has been the place to turn for full coverage of SPHC Board Elections. We heartily encourage the full participation of our Candidates and community.

 

Election Proxies Vote on this issue!. With every election over the past few years, our system of using proxies has come under scrutiny. The use of proxies lends itself to abuse, most notoriously in cases where candidates were discovered to have picked up signed proxies from Shareholders and filled in the votes themselves.

 

Fine Fare. There have been complaints about Fine Fare for years, and Seward Park shareholders, as owners of the property, have demanded that our Board and Management step in to impose minimal standards on how that supermarket is maintained and run. It seems that the store has been improving in recent months, yet the problems continue.

 

Flip Taxes. At a meeting on November 21, 2006, our Board rejected proposals to increase flip-taxes. It is likely that the decision not to go along with that plan was influenced by the strong views expressed at the Informational Meeting. At a later meeting, a scaled-down variation of the original plan took effect in which Flip-Tax on first-sales was raised to 17½%, and the provisions for insiders to have a lower Flip-Tax rate was discontinued.

 

The Garage. Our garage has been the subject of great expense, inconvenience, litigation, and rumor. I've dug into a number of issues. Here are my findings.

 

The Garage Waiting List. I identified several people who were wrongly removed from the Garage Waiting List and one who received a spot out of order. While I am prepared to wait my turn for a parking space, I expect the list to be managed properly, fairly and accurately. For this reason I have set out to investigate details of these irregularites.

 

Hester Street Property Vote on this issue!. Seward Park Housing owns property that runs along the edge of the park to Essex Street. Of all the possible uses that have been put forward for the space, the ones to receive most serious consideration are relocation of our trash compactor and the establishment of a dog-run.

 

How Much Can You Get? First sales, second sales, insiders, outsiders, brokers, expenses, delays. How much can you really get for your apartment?

 

Informational Meeting 2005. Notes on the meeting at which the central issue was an increase in the flip-tax.

 

Maintenance. In a recent interview, Stoney Welsh was asked if our maintenance team is large enough. He responded: "... it's not so much a numbers' game as an education a redirection of priorities." With such an education, none of the eyesores shown here would persist.

 

New Elevators. New elevators were installed in my section. Overall, these elevators are attractive, fast and reliable. But some aspects are very disappointing.

 

No Dogs Policy Vote on this issue!. The Board recently voted to remove the No Dogs Affidavit from applications to purchase apartments, but the fact that dogs are not permitted is still abundantly clear as stated in our House Rules, By-Laws and Proprietary Lease. Why remove the affidavit without changing the rule? Such decisions seems outright sneaky; whose agenda is being served? Shouldn't we first address the Dog question once and for all?

 

Off-Hours Access to Management Office. Our Management Office's office hours are very inconvenient for people who work outside of the home full-time. A shareholder offers some good suggestions.

 

Planning. One highlight of last year's Annual Meeting was the yelling about the new Park. Yet the people yelling neglected one crucial point: the details they were yelling about were all shown on the architectural renderings that were posted for public comment! Evidently Board Members and volunteers are not always the best equipped to make such decisions.

 

Recreation Rooms Vote on this issue!. I received a flyer under my door regarding establishment of a women's club. How come there is no check box for "I strongly object to the establishment of such a club?" I can't imagine there is broad demand for gender-specific clubs as opposed to general community rooms. The idea of exclusive clubs seems destined to turn any community center into a de facto senior center. But regardless of whether you share this opinion or not, isn't it worrisome that the issue was never brought out to Shareholders at-large? Who is deciding these things and on what basis?

 

Recycling. I've long been putting off writing on recycling. Not because it is a hard topic to write about, but that the situation is so absurd. The situation we face is illegal, ecologically unsound, dangerous, unsanitary and revolting.

 

Recycling Guide. A convenient guide showing what to recycle as part of NYC's recycling program.

 

Reverse Mortgages Vote on this issue!. The value of SPHC property has skyrocketed in recent years, and many of our senior neighbors are "equity-rich", but hard-pressed when it comes to disposable income. This difficult state of affairs can be eased through what is known as a "reverse mortgage".

 

Right of First Refusal Vote on this issue!. Seward Park’s Right of First Refusal policy allows the Board to reject a Shareholder's application to sell an apartment to a desired person, and instead force them to sell it directly to Seward Park at the same price. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that apartments are not sold below market value — the co-op collects a flip-tax based on an apartment's selling price, and it is therefore in our financial interest that apartments are sold for the highest possible prices. However, the policy as it exists is not at all in our community's interest.

 

Security Concerns. An incident in Building 3 in mid-December revealed that many of our security cameras were not operating. This problem is presently being addressed.

 

SP Official Newsletter. One issue raised at the last election (and the one before as well, if memory serves) was that communication was a priority and that regular newsletters would be published. Yet in the whole year our board has managed to print a single newsletter, and the latest edition, submitted in January, has been sitting unapproved for months.

 

SP Official Website. The New Seward Park Website looks promising, with areas for all the information we'd expect to see, and ample opportunities for readers to submit information of their own. Webmaster Eric Mandelbaum seems to have created a very useful site. There is just one thing missing — adequate information from our Board.

 

SPURA. The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) project is a plan to develop a large amount of property between Grand Street and Delancey Street with primarily lower-income housing. The plan is very hotly contested, but it seems that it is on the agenda of some local politicians to push the project through. The 1700 families residing at Seward Park have a great interest in this issue; it is therefore very much in our interests that someone from our Board attends relevant meetings, represents our interests, keeps us up to date, and solicits our signatures and participation as this process moves forward.

 

Storage Space. Obviously we are limited to how much space we can allocate to storage, but if space goes unused, it serves no one. And aside from making the best use of our space is the question of how existing space is allocated.

 

The Local Buzz. Supporting local businesses can benefit us all — we can get great fantastic products and services, we can meet more people in our community, and we can help our local economy thrive.

 

Toilet Clogging. It is clear that the water-saving toilets installed some years ago are just not up to the job! It is ironic to think how much water is being wasted with the repeated flushing of water-saving toilets. In any case, in this article, fellow shareholders offer advice for minimizing the problem.

 

Wanted: A Grassroots Approach. Shareholders are calling for more transparency, better communication, improved process and increased accountability... In June.