Month: June 2019

Akron MHP-Victory in New York *press release*

PRESS RELEASE:

All,

See below. New York state has passed Bill A8281 (and signed by the governor), MH Action, who the Akron MHP had been working with, breaks down what the bill states that will really help our mobile home park from predatory investors like SCI.

All your letter writing, phone calls, and emails, to legislators, has paid off.

We hope that this bill will help push SCI, even more, to sell the park back to us.

Also below is a link to the the actual bill A8281

AMHPTA
Akron Mobile Home Par Tenants Association
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/a8281

From MH Action

A decade ago, manufactured homeowners on Long Island started pushing for rent stabilization. In December, families in Akron decided enough was enough and went out on rent strike. This past year, residents in Sullivan County took their corporate owner to task for code violations. Over the past six months, seniors, families, veterans, immigrants, and people with disabilities who call manufactured home communities home joined together to take action as part of the multi-racial, intergenerational statewide housing movement — the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance.

Leaders from manufactured home communities across New York and across the country called elected officials, wrote letters, testified at hearings, and rallied arm-in-arm with our tenant allies to demand that the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo heed our call for housing justice.

It can be hard to pin-point exactly when the political winds started to shift towards our vision for housing justice — a vision that every family has a decent, affordable home in a healthy and vibrant community.

But we do know why those winds shifted. Because we organized.

One of the four MHAction legislative action teams made up of community leaders and staff making their voices heard in Albany at the Upstate/Downstate Housing Alliance’s May 14th Day of Action: Matt Chapman (IA), Azucena Garza Bulger (TX), Laura and Chris Sprankle (UT), Rosa Pizano (CA), Linda Reynolds (IL), Carl Mazza (FL), Susana Pimento (TX), Kevin Borden (NY), Liz Voigt (NY) with New York Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz.

Our movement made enormous leaps this year in New York with new protections that block greedy landlords from imposing unjustified rent hikes and trapping people in abusive rent-to-own contracts. We are excited to take this momentum into other fights we are waging in California, Iowa, Utah, Illinois, Florida, Delaware, New Hampshire and beyond, and to continue pushing forward for more wins in New York.

We made giant strides, but there are still more steps we need to take to ensure everyone has a decent and affordable place to call home. Let’s take this victorious moment to reflect together on our journey for housing, racial, economic, and gender justice. Let’s thank each other for our efforts.

Onward,

MHAction National Core Leadership Team

P.S. See below for an outline of the policy advances that range from rent justification to reforms to rent-to-own contracts to homeowners’ rights.

Overview of Policies Won in New York:

— Rent Protection: The bill adopts the first protections against unjustified rent increases for manufactured home residents in New York. Community owners cannot increase rent (including all rent, fees, assessments, charges, and utilities) more than 3%, except if justified by an increase in operating expenses, property taxes, or costs directly related to a major capital improvement. Residents can sue in court if a rent increase above 3% is not justified. Even if an increase above 3% is justified, the rent increase cannot go above 6%, unless the court approves a temporary hardship exception.

— Tenant rights if existing or prospective owner is going to change the use of the property: If the community owner is going to change the use of the property and no longer operate it as a manufactured home community, the community owner cannot evict tenants for 2 years and can be ordered to pay each homeowner up to $15,000. Also, if the community owner receives an offer from a buyer and the buyer is going to change the use of the property, then the homeowners and tenants must be given 140 days to put together their own offer and have the right to purchase the community.

— Reforms to rent-to-own contracts: Rent-to-own contracts must clearly detail specific information about the home and the payments so renters understand the terms, and they cannot charge any additional fee at the end of the contract for transfer of ownership. If a tenant with a rent-to-own contract is evicted, the community owner must refund all the rent-to-own payments. The bill also clarifies that a tenant with a rent-to-own contract is a renter until ownership transfers and the community owner is responsible for warranty of habitability and major repairs until ownership is transferred.

— Requirements for lot rent leases: Leases must include Homeowner/Tenant Bill of Rights that will be developed by the Department of Homes and Community Renewal. If the community owner does not offer a lease, the tenant has all the same rights has a leaseholder and cannot be evicted except for allowable reasons (such as non-payment of rent). Also, a community owner cannot increase rents under tenants are offered a lease.

— Reforms to other fees imposed by community owner: Tenants only have to pay attorney’s fees to a community owner if ordered by a court. And late fee can’t be more than 3% of what tenant owes and can’t be imposed before 10 days after due date.

For the full Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 click here:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s6458

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Garlic Scapes in June

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, it is the middle of June.  It’s been wet and gloomy and soggy, but it’s June.  Most people think of berries and asparagus this month.  I do too, but in my little world. I stalk my garlic (which was planted in Fall) for the “scape”.

First, a bit about garlic:

There are 2 varieties.  “Softneck Garlic” is the variety you see most at the grocery store.  This is the type that is sometimes braided.  Most of it in the grocery comes from China (and tastes like soap).  Softneck Garlic does not put up a flower, and it has many little cloves.

“Hardneck Garlic” is a heartier variety.  It has larger cloves, and it tastes like garlic.  In June, Hardneck garlic puts up a stalk that curls on the top.  This is called a “scape”.  If left to it’s own devices it would keep growing, and a flower would form on top.  That flower would then turn to a seed head and explode little tiny garlic seeds. They look like mini garlic cloves.  But we don’t let it get that far for a few reasons.

If you leave the scapes on, they will rob the developing clove underground of energy to grow.  Then there is the foodie part.  People search out farmer’s markets and farm stands for them. Only when they are still curved.  When they straighten out the stalk gets too fibrous.

img_2876
The Scape is the hook looking thing shooting up the middle

Then you can do zillions of things with them.  They taste like a mild green garlicy goodness.  I chop them in the food processor, put them in those ice cube trays with lids and freeze them.  Then pop one in soup, stew, red sauce or whatever.  You can also make pesto out of them.  Roast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil for a side veg.  I’ve food processed them and mixed them in with hummus too.

Just remember, they are truly seasonal, get them while you can!  Mine are in my garden, but you can find them maybe at Weggie’s, and I know Singer Farms has them at some point in the season.

Now we wait til August for the garlic harvest!  -JAP-

Lights, Camera, Akron!

All the buzz around town is about the “beefy” scenes that are going to be filmed  here on Main St. Akron for Paramount Pictures, A Quiet Place 2.  That’s great news for Akron. It’s certainly exciting to have some Hollywood folks meandering around town isn’t it?

But this isn’t the only movie filmed here in our humble little town.  Murder Creek: A Short Film by Kristen Skeet wasn’t only filmed here, the writer is a local, and the story-line is actually set here. When you have an actual creek with that name, it was just screaming to be made into a movie title or a band name.  Maybe both.

With a working  title and  a budget of $5000 (raised on Indiegogo), and some friends, a short film was born. Total cost ended up being $14,000, but some of it was for equipment that can be used for future projects.

Murder Creek is a 17 minute short film that is a serial killer type story that is interwoven with the many legends and folklore about our local creek.  A cast of 14 people are in the film. It took 4 days to shoot back in September at around 5 different locations.  Editing took a lot longer.  More pick up scenes need to be shot as last year was dry and the creek didn’t have water.  That certainly won’t be a problem this year.  Some music was even provided by Neil Finn.  You know Neil Finn from Split Enz and Crowded House in the 80’s.  He is currently on tour with Fleetwood Mac since Lindsey Buckingham left. Editors Note: Notice it took Neil Finn AND Mike Campbell to take Lindsey’s place!  They needed TWO GUYS to take the place of one. I could write volumes about this.  Neil Finn and his son Liam gave Kristen permission to use a song called “Ghosts” from their album they released together titled Lightsleeper.

Murder Creek has been entered in 7 film festivals so far, and was recently chosen as an official selection for the Olympus Film Festival in  Los Angeles.

You can check out the trailer HERE .

Skeetheadshot Kristen Skeet is a local writer/artist.  She is an avid Fleetwood Mac fan, and works for a local environmental company.  She has also self published a book called Down Went Alice about a fictional rock band loosely based on………Fleetwood Mac.  You can check out her new site Artist Corner for more information!  -JAP-

 

 

 

 

 

Rumors and Gossip and Dish….

Get your best corpse outfit ready because there is a rumor circulating on the street that there will be an open casting call coming up for extras for “the movie” here in Akron.   There were a  lot of questions about this before.  There has been no official announcement,  just chatter.  I have no specifics as of yet, but will post info as it becomes available.

And we wait….-JAP-