Ms Charlene Benton, the long time president of the Ezra Prentice Tenants Association, has decided to retire from her position due to ill health. Bebe White, vice president of the Tenants Association, has called for a meeting of all tenants to discuss holding elections for new officers.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, in the Ezra Prentice Community Room. This will be a Tenants Association meeting, not an AVillage meeting.
Under HUD rules, all tenant associations elections must be monitored, administered and verified by an independent organization in order to be official. The meeting on March 29 will be so interested residents can learn more about the process and express their interest in serving as an officer. The date for an election will be set after that.
At the meeting last Wednesday, Rev. Marc Johnson, who is serving as Interim Executive Director of AVillage, said this is a particularly important time for tenants to get involved. He said word has reached the Tenants Association officers that Global Partners LLC, the company that owns the black tanker cars that carry crude oil and fuel products to the Port of Albany, is discussing a negotiated settlement with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
These negotiations were subsequently confirmed by both DEC officials and a Global representative, although both emphasized that talks are very preliminary and that there is no agreement to report right now.
“When it gets to the point where we think it has legs, that’s when we’ll reach out,” said a DEC official.
According to several sources, settlement talks have included both a monetary award as a “community benefits” and also an agreement on steps to reduce the amount of air pollution allowed from the tanker cars. Global is reportedly offering to partially fund a wall that would act as a sound barrier between the tracks and the residences.
Global is in litigation with DEC, which has pulled its air pollution permits for operating at the Port of Albany because of violations. Global is also being sued by several environmental organizations, and the Ezra Prentice Tenants Association is a plaintiff. Any settlement of those lawsuits would need the approval of the Tenants Association.