Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congratulations to the New Board Members!!

I am out of town at the moment and was not able to attend last night's meeting, but I will be given notes in the next day or so and will post them at that time.

But, in case you haven't heard, the two new candidates, Jeff Kagan and Michael Annunziata were voted onto the Board.

So, the University Towers Board for 2008-2009 is:

Doug Boettner (President)
Michael Annunziata
Rodney Hurley
Jeffrey Kagan
Diana Leidel

Congratulations, once again!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scheduled Power Outage in 122: Friday, May 30th

According to Management, 122's building electricity will be taken off-line this Friday, May 30th at 10am to "remedy the cause of the previous episodes of blown fuses ... [as] identified by a licensed electrician [who] will resolve the issue by upgrading the fuse panel to a circuit breaker panel."

There is a sign posted by the lobby elevators which says that the outage may last about 2 hours, but the previous outage was under 15 minutes. I'll get a more accurate estimate from Management later today.

Power to apartments will not be affected.

Many of the building's systems will be affected, including the following:

  • elevators
  • lobby/hallway/stairwell lighting
  • water pumps
  • boiler (heating/hot water)
  • laundry facilities
  • electromagnetic door locks (swiper entry) on external doors

Since the outage will be for such a short time, residents should not notice any difference in heating and hot water.

The lobby and hallways will be dark; stairwells will be unlocked and lit with emergency lighting.

The keycard swipers will be offline, and all three entrances will remain unlocked. Additional staff will be available to maintain security.

Elevators will be brought to the lobby approximately 10 minutes prior to the outage, where they will remain until power is restored.

Residents will be asked not to begin washing/drying any laundry after 8am so the laundry room may be closed at 9:30am. The laundry room will be reopened approximately an hour after the outage.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge 125th Birthday Celebrations This Weekend!!!

Whether you remember the 1983 celebrations or not, this will be a special treat for all New Yorkers and visitors -- only this time, it will go on for five days, starting tonight at 7:45pm with a Brooklyn Philharmonic concert in the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.)

For a quick guide to the festivities, which will include performances, tours, fireworks, a spectacular light display every evening from 9pm to 11pm, and more, go to the Official NYC Visit site, or view the Daily News' 52-page brochure.

You may also find the quick links in this Gothamist article useful.

The weather should be sunny and warm this weekend, so get out there, enjoy yourself, and wish our beautiful bridge a happy 125th!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Candidate Spotlight: Robin Lance

In preparation for the upcoming election for UT's Board of Directors, The Blog has invited all candidates to submit a statement about themselves and their vision for UT's future.

University Towers (UT) is a diverse, open community centered in a prime downtown Brooklyn location. UT has grown through the years into its own character of presence and sustainability while changes occur on every corner of its boundaries.

In the future, UT has to continue to maintain its integrity and be competitive with the dynamics of the surrounding community. We will have to be vigilant with our public perception and maintain our property in a state of good repair. In doing so, our efforts need to be balanced between changes that directly affect our property, either internally or externally with decisions inclusive of the entire community. This would include keeping in mind that which impacts our shareholders’ quality of life and our financial stability.

I think that as a Board member, I will be pro-active and watchful for the issues affecting the UT property and the concerns of its shareholders.

Robin Lance

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Candidate Spotlight: Jeff Kagan

In preparation for the upcoming election for UT's Board of Directors, The Blog has invited all candidates to submit a statement about themselves and their vision for UT's future.

Dear Members of the University Towers Community,

I would like to formally announce my intent to run for the University Towers Board of Directors.

Some of you know me, but many of you do not. I hope to meet you all in the upcoming weeks and months. For now, I'll tell you a little bit about myself and why I am asking for your support at the upcoming Annual Meeting on Monday, June 9, 2008.

I have decided to run for the Board to be more involved in the community in which I live, working with the current Board and management to make University Towers one of the best "destinations" in Brooklyn. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, with new buildings going up on all sides of us, I feel that we have the ability to shine a little brighter than we already do, and show the real estate market that UT is the place to be!

I have been a shareholder at University Towers since November, 2006. I am a Brooklyn native, born in Crown Heights (40 years ago this July...). I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Trenton State College, and a Master of Arts in Television Broadcasting from Montclair State University. I've been working at Home Box Office (HBO) for the past 16 years, and I am currently a Manager in the HBO Program Scheduling Department where I create on-air schedules for the HBO Family and HBO Comedy channels. I hope many of you enjoy my work.

I am a self-starter. I believe in honesty, accountability, and fairness. I am extremely resourceful and bring creativity and innovation to the table. I have years of experience working with people, both on an individual level and in the group dynamic. I'm very approachable and I always look at every situation in an objective manner. I have served on four Boards for various nonprofit organizations over the past 15 years.

My first focus, if elected, will be to work with the current Board on ways to improve communications to the shareholders, by advocating for a more active website and more frequent updates on the discussions and decisions made by the Board. I realize that serving on the Board is a great responsibility which must be juggled along with one's own full-time job and other personal activities. I feel that I can assist the Board in streamlining the communication process with a more effective means of reaching the shareholders, while at the same time, not adding too much to the current workload.

You will have the opportunity to meet me in person at the "Meet the Candidates" event on Wednesday, May 21st in the UT Community Room. I look forward to telling you more about myself, as well as answer any and all questions about my intent as a Board member.

The above information may help you when deciding who to vote for on June 9th. If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to answer them. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to focus my abilities on my UT community, to help make University Towers better for everyone.

I encourage everyone to get involved and vote on June 9th, regardless of the candidate(s) you support.

Thank you,

-- Jeff

Monday, May 12, 2008

Voting Q&A and Meet The Candidates, Wednesday May 21st @ 7pm

In an effort to raise community awareness about the importance of voting in our co-op -- which is, after all, a mini-democracy -- several members of the Yahoo Group (including me) assembled information about the current candidates and voting procedures.

And, yes, we've been standing around in the lobbies during the evening, meeting many of you and sharing thoughts and concerns.

For your convenience, those documents are posted in their entirety here.

We hope to see all of you at the Meet the Candidates forum next week!

Dear Shareholder,

Over the last few weeks, some of the shareholders have been gathering the answers to some “frequently asked questions” about University Towers, the Board and the upcoming election procedures. This information was collected during informal meetings, as well as from the Yahoo Group.

Attached is a document which we hope will assist the shareholders in better understanding the procedures involved with the Annual Meeting and Election of Board of Directors, as well as knowing a little moreabout the role the Board plays in the University Towers community.

Please read through them so you are fully aware of the procedures.

If you have a question that is not represented, or if you’d like clarity on any of these answers, you should contact a member of the current Board of Directors. Their contact information is below.

The following individuals are running for the Board in the June, 2008 election:

Doug Boettner

Current Board President, Shareholder
191 Willoughby Street
dboettner@universitytowersapts.com .

Tania Gordon

Current Board Vice President, Shareholder
191 Willoughby Street


Rodney Hurley

Current Board Vice President, Tenant
122 Ashland Place

Jeff Kagan

New Board Candidate, Shareholder

191 Willoughby Street


Robin Lance

Current Board Vice President, Shareholder
191 Willoughby Street

Diana Leidel

Current Board Vice President, Shareholder

122 Ashland Place


Thank you,

Residents Group of University Towers

Annual Meeting & Election: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Annual Meeting and Election of Board of Directors?

Every year, in accordance with the by-laws of University Towers, the shareholders must gather for a meeting (called the “Annual Meeting”) at which time the Board of Directors and Management report on the current status of our co-op, as well as upcoming plans, and a recap of the past year. At this meeting, an election is held to decide who will be elected to serve on the Board for the next 12 months. Shareholders each get a specific number of votes, depending on the number of shares they own in the co-op, and they cast these votes for the candidates of their choice.

To summarize the “big picture,” there are 7 seats on the Board of Directors at UTAC. Because over 70% of UTAC shares have been sold, shareholders vote for 70% of those Board seats—currently 5 seats out of 7. Theremaining two seats belong to the sponsor, Rothenberg & Rosenfield, Inc. (RRI), and shareholders do not vote for those. At some point during the year, we expect that new apartment sales will push us over 80% sold, and we will gain another Board seat (and RRI will lose one).

Who is running? How do I learn about the candidates?

Come to the Meet The Candidates event on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 7:00pm in the Community Room at 122 Ashland Place. The candidates will be part of a moderated Q&A session, and after, they will answer shareholder’s individual questions. If you are unable to attend this event, feel free to contact the candidates via email.

In an effort to educate voters on each candidate’s positions on hot topics, a questionnaire will be distributed to each candidate. Their answers will be made accessible to shareholders as soon as possible. All candidates will be encouraged to return this questionnaire along with any other items they wish to be considered with their profile.

Why should I vote?

Your vote is VERY important in each election. As a shareholder, your participation in this process is crucial for two reasons: First, it is necessary that a quorum exists before the election can qualify as legal, meaning there must be a minimum of 51% of the shareholders participating the election, either in person, or by proxy.

Without 51% shareholder participation, the meeting is canceled and rescheduled for a future date.

Second, your participation works to your benefit, by helping to select the next group of Board Members who will represent YOU in decisions about the UT community. Please take the time to stand up and be counted in theelection process.

How do I vote? How many votes am I entitled to?

Voting takes place at the Annual Meeting, which will be held at the Long Island University Campus, 1 University Plaza, on Monday, June 9, 2008 at 6pm. Please arrive early to check-in.

For now, what is important is that shareholders are voting to fill 5 seats.

At the Annual Meeting, first, determine the total number of shares you have to vote:

Multiply your shares by the number of non-sponsor Board seats. Again, for the June 2008 election, there are 5 non-sponsor Board seats. This is the total number of votes you have.

You may distribute your votes across the five candidates in any way you choose.

For example, a shareholder in Apartment 4-X has 802 shares. That shareholder will multiply 802 by 5 (the number of non-sponsor Board seats) and get the number 4,010. This is how many votes that shareholderhas. These 4,010 votes may be used however you choose.

IMPORTANT: Do not exceed the maximum number total votes, or your entire ballot will be disqualified and none of your votes will be counted.

Here are some vote distribution samples:

Sample A: You may cast all of your votes for one candidate.

Candidate 1 ---------- 0
Candidate 2 ---------- 0
Candidate 3 ---------- 0
Candidate 4 ----- 4,010
Candidate 5 ---------- 0

Total votes: ---- 4,010

Sample B: You may divide your votes up in different amounts, as long as they add up to the total you’ve calculated.

Candidate 1 ----- 1,000
Candidate 2 ------- 500
Candidate 3 ----- 2,000
Candidate 4 ------- 500
Candidate 5 -------- 10

Total votes: ---- 4,010

Sample C: You may divide your votes up in equal amounts, as long as they add up to the total you’ve calculated.

Candidate 1 ------ 802
Candidate 2 ------ 802
Candidate 3 ------ 802
Candidate 4 ------ 802
Candidate 5 ------ 802

Total votes: ---- 4,010

When do I vote?

At the Annual Meeting on Monday, June 9, 2008 at 6pm. RRI has mailed the details to all shareholders already, well in advance of the meeting.

What if I can’t make it to the Annual Meeting?

Your votes are still very important! You may vote by proxy. A proxy is another person (shareholder or non-shareholder) whom you designate to vote on your behalf. A proxy form is attached to this packet for your convenience.

How do I fill out a proxy form?

See below. The first priority is to designate your proxy. Fill out a Proxy Form and return it to the Management Office at 191 Willoughby Street in Brooklyn, or to Rothenberg & Rosenfield, Inc. at 505 Park Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

This is what the first section of the Proxy Form looks like:

IMPORTANT: If you do not cross out the names “Michael L. Rothenberg, Daniel L. Rosenfield,” your proxy will automatically be Rothenberg and Rosenfield (the Sponsors), regardless of whom you indicate on the line below. If you write in a proxy name, you must cross out the sponsor’s names to make your choice of proxy eligible.

The person you choose as your proxy must attend the Annual Meeting at LIU on Monday, June 9, 2008, 6pm. They must bring identification. The election hosts will hand your ballot to your proxy. The proxy must then fill out the ballot as illustrated above. The individual you select to be your proxy should be someone you know and trust to vote of your behalf.

What are the responsibilities of the Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors ensures sound management of the co-op resources; acts as trustees on behalf of the shareholders; sets long-range goals and plans for the future.

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Board of Directors oversees many aspects of the University Towers Community including hiring and evaluating co-op management, long-range strategic planning, financialoversight, interviewing potential buyers, security issues, and the general quality of life of the residents.

The Board is required to meet approximately every 6 weeks for its regular Board meetings. Additionally, the Board meets once a month to interview prospective new residents and it is expected that Board members chairone of the Board committees and attend those meetings.

May I run for a Board seat?

Yes. Anyone may run for the Board. Shareholders will receive an information packet about the Annual Meeting in the mail. If you are not a shareholder, you should be able to obtain a packet from the ManagementOffice. You are encouraged to promote your interest as a candidate by coming to the Meet the Candidates event, as well as posting comments on the University Towers Yahoo Group and University Towers Blog.

I’m not interested in being a Board Member, but how else can I get involved?

There are so many ways to get involved at University Towers! Here are some:

• Initiate ideas and post them to the Yahoo Group for discussion. The Yahoo Group can be found at (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/universitytowers).

• Join a committee: Quality of Life, Security, Finance, or one of the ad-hoc committees that are created from time to time (e.g. Holiday Party, Easter Egg Hunt, etc.)

• Have a good idea? Write a brief proposal and pitch it to the Board.

• Write an article for the University Towers Blog (http://universitytowers.blogspot.com/)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Second (Quarterly?) Pot Luck

For four hours during the evening of Saturday, May 3, 2008, University Towers residents gathered in the 122 Community Room, sharing delicious food, drink and good conversation.

The buffet table overflowed with various baked pastas, Asian noodle and rice dishes, pulled pork, chicken casserole, an out-of-this world vegetarian chili, pies, cookies and ultra-fresh Beard Papa cream puffs (provided by yours truly, who can't cook to save her life).

Like the first Pot Luck in February, the party was more about having fun and getting to know each other than UT-related business. Conversations revolved around everything from Fort Greene Park, children (two of which were in attendance :-> ), celebrity sightings, our favorite episode of Star Trek, and so on and so on.

But, towards the end of the evening, we spent about a half-hour talking about the upcoming election for UT's Board of Directors.

The Pot Luck had initially been promoted as a "Meet the Candidates" event, in addition to a party, but Jeff Kagan and current board member Diana Leidel were the only two candidates who were able to attend the event due to the short notice in planning it.

Fortunately, both were very articulate about their desires for the development of the University Towers community.

Diana shared the degree to which she and other board members have participated in various community groups -- including Community Board 2 (she noted that while it is difficult to get a seat on the Board, Robin has attended many meetings to stay abreast of developments).

Jeff expressed a desire for a clearer definition of UT's Board roles. For example, no one is designated as Secretary, Treasurer, etc., as is the case in the other boards on which he serves. Further, he stressed the importance of improving communication between the Board and the UT shareholders.

The remaining time was spent assembling a Q&A about the voting procedures at UT, as well as a list of questions that can be asked of the candidates at the upcoming "Meet the Candidates" session, this Wednesday, May 21st, in the Community Room -- at which, I hope, most if not all of the candidates will be present!!

Both the Q&A and Question List will be published on this blog during the next week.

At the end of the night, as we cleared the tables, happy and well-fed, many residents suggested that this would be a nice event to hold on a quarterly basis.

But instead of "meeting the candidates" perhaps it would be a nice way for new residents to get to know their new neighbors -- and for the rest of us to get to know each other a bit beyond saying "hi" in the elevator (but isn't it nice that we do that here! :-> ).