The Civic Scene: New tenant group head tackles quality of life

By bob Harris

Leon Greenberg, a tenant in the Fresh Meadows Development for 30 years, has assumed the leadership of the Fresh Meadows Tenants Association from the longtime president, in Dave Buchwalter.

Leon is a active individual who had owned textile mills and is now in the textile importing business. He is interested in his community and attended a recent meeting of the West Cunningham Park Civic Association after a leader from that group attended his FMTA meeting. The two groups have long worked together for the benefit of the community as a whole.

At the recent FMTA general membership meeting a large crowd heard City Councilman Sheldon Leffler and his legal council, Bernice Siegel, discuss the topic of rent stabilization. Also speaking was Florence Fisher, who represented CLOUT, which is an umbrella group of tenant associations in New York City.

Their concern is that the current rent stabilization law will end by March 31, 2000 and the City Council must pass and the mayor must sign a renewal of rent stabilization by then. The discussion reflected the concern about this problem.

In a telephone conversation Greenberg, who is a feisty individual, told of his desire to work with Steve Stadmeyer, the property manager of the Fresh Meadows Development. The management has opened a Women's Senior Citizens' Center in the 6700 building, which on Tuesdays at 1 p.m.. provides bridge instruction. They are hoping to open a more extensive center in the future.

Greenberg explained that the proposal of management to charge a $40 fee from tenants who locked themselves out of their apartment has been reduced to $20. He also spoke of efforts to find a contractor to effectively clean the hall carpets in the 6700 building.

The Fresh Meadows Tenant Association Newsletter, always printed on green paper, is full of information for the tenants. The recent edition discussed rent stabilization guidelines, J 51 Tax Abatement, required maintenance services, their work with the Police Department and the 107th Precinct, Heating Requirements from Oct. 1 through May 31 and the need for the tenants to join the FMTA so they can have the necessary clout to accomplish what needs to be done. All the FMTS Steering Committee members are volunteers.

The FMTA works with State Assemblyman Mark Weprin, State Senator Dan Hevesi and Councilman Sheldon Leffler. They cooperate with the West Cunningham Park Civic Association that is to their south, Community Board 8 and the 107th Precinct Community Council.



The Mexican community in New York City wanted to celebrate the feast of the Virgin of Guadelupe as practiced in Mexico. The NYPD objected to the plan to let people run to 26 churches throughout New York City on the grounds that last year it was too disorganized and required too many police. A compromised scaled-down event was finally accepted by both sides. This is good because we must respect each other's religious beliefs or our own will be in danger. This problem has exposed the fact that most of the Mexicans living in New York are undocumented or illegal aliens. The City Planning Department thinks there are 150,000. I wonder how accurate that figure is! I wonder how much taxes their immigrants or their employers pay toward the services they receive. Will any register for the census and thus give us federal aid to pay for the services they use?

As much as I feel the transit workers should receive a fair settlement, they may have hurt themselves by not settling earlier. The mayor is praising the dollar vans that pick up people for a $1 fare because he needs them with a strike looming. Yet it is these vans that draw people from the buses, which causes the MTA to reduce service, which in turn makes more people use the vans in the outer boroughs. Now the Taxi and Limousine Commission will license these vans for Manhattan.

The MTA should have known better. The union should have known better. Remember what the Newspaper Guild did to the many newspapers that used to hire so many workers for the city newspapers? Sometimes when you win you lose.

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