Letters, Week of Dec. 12, 2012

Southbridge Response

To The Editor:
As a member of the board of directors, and treasurer of Southbridge Towers for the past 6 years, I would like to commend Ms. Meade for writing a well-balanced article (news article, Nov. 28 – Dec. 12, “Southbridge group presses its board for more input”).  Ms. Meade stated that there were five issues of concern that were raised by the shareholder group that is led by Mr. Hovitz.  However, in her account she did not address the fifth issue, which was about “the $5+ million we received for the sale of the Delury Park property.” In response, the board presented a full-page explanation, complete with 2 Excel schedules exhibiting the inflow and outflow of monies through our reserve accounts. Every dollar is accounted for.

These funds were used to improve the facilities for the safety and enjoyment of all our cooperators and included new outdoor lighting that provide better lighting and are more energy efficient, an upgraded security system, new playground facilities for Southbridge families with children, new intercom, and design of upgraded lobbies that feature new and larger mailboxes. In addition, $1.5 million of these reserves were used to reduce losses from operations for the fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12. This was possible ONLY because the board leased our commercial property at 55 Fulton St. to Key Food at market rent. The additional commercial rent eliminated the deficit for the current fiscal year and the store has been a great addition to the neighborhood. Despite these benefits a number of cooperators opposed this lease, preferring an empty store and a 15 percent maintenance increase.

Mr. Hovitz ostensibly organized this group to provide cooperators with greater input into the management of Southbridge. It’s important to note that Mr. Hovitz, and any other cooperator, have multiple opportunities to participate. They may run for the board of directors, which Mr. Hovitz did unsuccessfully the last two years and may volunteer for one of the regular committees. These committees have significant input in decisions that affect all cooperators. I find it surprising that a shareholder who is so concerned with the decisions made by the current board has not volunteered for any committee during the six years that I have served on the board.

The bottom line is that Southbridge is a very well managed cooperative. The recent response to Hurricane Sandy, and the reaction of our cooperators to the response, which has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforces the fact that our managers, staff and board of directors care deeply about the well being of our cooperators.
Ronald Guggenheim
Treasurer, Southbridge Towers

Job well done

To The Editor:
As a community advocate, I have always considered our local media to be vital in accomplishing our goals.

The Downtown Express continues to be an integral part of this effort. Aline Reynolds served our needs as both reporter and editor while fulfilling her responsibilities to NYC Community Media, her employer. We know this is not always an easy balance. We wish her well and bid a sad farewell.
Paul Hovitz

Publisher’s Note: We too are sad to say farewell to Aline Reynolds. We appreciate and thank her for her hard work here, hope our relationship with her continues, and wish her the best for the future.
Jennifer Goodstein
Publisher, Downtown Express

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