Saturday, April 15, 2006
Tenants Association embarks on ambitious survey campaign
In the survey will be questions about whether or not people have been stuck in lifts, whether people feel included in the community, whether rents are appropriate or too high and also how people feel about a range of ongoing issues from repairs to GHA's underspend.
You can help out by filling in the survey when a volunteer comes round, but also by taking some of the surveys, getting involved and asking your neighbours! If you can help with the survey in any way and you're a resident in the area please let us know either c/o the George's X Chalkboard (0141 332 2902) or via our email address - CedarTA@googlemail.com
They are not interested in supporting local residents and will just make matters worse if their belligirent stance is anything to go by.
Cedar residents should organise their own TA and make sure GHA & Queen's X know these fools represent no one.
Secondly what is the 'political agenda' of the tenants association? As much as I feel we have one it is get tenants and residents repairs carried out, to promote a strong and active community and to campaign for improvements in the area. We are not interested in getting into a bunfight with the GHA or anybody else.
Also you ask for people to let GHA and Queen's Cross (by which I assume you mean Queen's Cross Housing Association) know that we don't represent anyone. It's hardly GHA and Queen's Cross HA's business to take an interest in who represents Cedar residents, and it's up to the residents themselves.
Currently to list our achievements so that people reading this website get a hint of the 'political agenda' we have currently been pursuing we have forced GHA to carry out repairs on electrical wiring, we have got NTL to cover up its switchboxes and we have just carried out some successful casework in getting a tenants problems resolved. Currently we are taking up the issue of a tenants' waterpressure to allow washing machines to run and we are involved in a survey to find out - democratically - what the issues are that most concern the vast body of tenants so that we can best try to get these matters resolved.
I would ask of you tho, why do you feel so strongly about an organisation such as a tenants association, that you're writing to encourage people not to support it? Do you live in Cedar Court, and are encouraged to feel this way by the association campaigning on repairs issues? What do you feel is the political agenda of Cedar Tenants Association?
I find it deeply suspicious that people in GAP are trying to promote themselves as a tenants association as opposed to encouraging tenants to organise themselves. THAT to me is a political agenda.
I think the tone of the notices you post is dubious. What do you expect to achieve by using belligirent language directed towards the LHAs? Agression breeds only entrenched non-compliance.
What was the point of turning up at the Anti-social Behaviour meeting and spouting off about gentrification? The locals turned up to try and get issues likes neds, vandalism, CCTV addressed. It seemed to me and others you were simply using the opportunity to crowbar a political agenda into the meeting.
The fact you got shouted down speaks volumes for your level of representation.
If you want to get things done, then I suggest you stop getting everyone's backs up.
Listen to what residents concerns are and don't approach the people than can address them with a sneering point-scoring attitude- it's counterproductive.
Will your democratic survey address a democratic mandate?
Finally, I won't be sneering about what you have achieved. Thank you. I just hope you can tone down the politics, the agressive stance... perhaps then people will trust you enough to support your involvement in a more active manner.
Oh, and now I know why my washing machine takes a geological age to fill.
As has been stated elsewhere, everyone in the tenants association lives in Cedar Court. As said above the tenants association is not there to get into bunfights with the GHA - it's obvious that this isn't productive.
The tenants association was not invited to speak at the recent anti-social behaviour meeting, altho some of us were present in the audience and asked questions of Stephen McAvoy.
Membership of the association is open to everyone who lives in Cedar Court, and all decisions are taken in meetings that are open to everyone in Cedar. All you have to do is come to the meeting a pay your pound. It seems like you have a number of ideas on how to move things along yourself, why not come along the next meeting?
You have as much say as anyone else, altho sniping from the sidelines at the activities of others when they are trying to improve the area, get people's repairs carried out and get much needed investment into the flats is perhaps not the most constructive way to have your say. As you point out belligerance is not always the answer.
On the point you keep raising about political agendas and on 'gentrication' the tenants association has no specific policies on 'gentrification', altho I'm sure we could get a variety of views on the subject.
We do however want to see money spent on the flats, on security doors, cameras and concierge cover for the maisonettes and on youth facilities for the kids and we are angry that the GHA underspent its budget for the area by 52%, in the year that block 65's lift was off for four and a half months. Currently no members of the association are in any political parties.
Could you explain the relationship between GAP, Chalkboard & CTA? What percentage of what overlaps into what if any?
I may very well have confused on for another and lumped them all in together???
I take it the Cedar Street blocks are included in the CTA?
We ceased to meet there since the landlord stopped us from doing so after we decided not to become an RTO. GHA cited health and safety reasons for not allowing access to the tenants meeting room here. However other groups continue to meet in this room. We don't regard this as constructive, or good for tenant participation.
Currently we use the George's X Chalkboard and the Woodside Halls as meeting spaces but as the Chalkboard is cheaper we tend to use that for our business meetings.
"I take it the Cedar Street blocks are included in the CTA?"
If you live in the blocks you'll have received half a dozen fliers, and have seen a dozen or so posters.
As stated membership is open to all Cedar residents and there is no committee which takes decisions without asking the membership. All of our meetings are general meetings and open to everyone in the Cedar Court area. We also regularly hold public meetings to put our decisions as an association to the wider Cedar Court community. Currently we are just taking up issues that affect Cedar Court and the St George's Estate and we're happy to work with other residents groups and groups with similar aims to achieve improvements for tenants and homeowners and their families.
If you want to spout off about so-and-so's political agenda there are half a dozen political parties that are active in this area.
However if you want to get involved with us Zorro then come along to the next meeting! :-p
Any resident who wants to work constructively towards getting some much needed investment and to get residents issues dealt with and repairs carried out would be more than welcome.
The only reason I am bothering to respond to you is to because I am both bored with a little time on my hands while I wait for a phone call, the other reason being that it relieves my irritation after having to read you. Believe me, if I were not between tasks right now I would not spend time on such a diversion.
As you realise we all like a good conspiracy theory but it is by their secrecy and lack of humanity and inaction that I judge the landlords and it is by their courage, in the face anonymous puckish, goblins with the guile of Iago, that I judge Cedar Tenants. It is time to support Cedar Street Tenants Association, born and developing in public view unlike YOU and your sleekit masters with your hidden agenda which evidentially includes the atomisation and degeneration of communities starting with the neglect of housing and thus a disregard for the wellbeing of the inhabitants. Very best wishes Cedar Tenants Association with your continued efforts to bring to public notice the legitimate concern at the injustices perpetrated in the name of so called regeneration. And continue to encourage the free association of tenants even if you have been denied a meeting place in defiance of the Housing Act 2001 (Tenant Participation) .
It did mean that when GHA stopped us meeting in the tenants room we were able to offer the chalkboard as an alternative meeting space. We've always said its better to meet in the tenants meeting room as its more convenient for people.
To clear up another of your questions, "GAP" no longer exists. It was just the group that met in order to get the space together. Now we're just the chalkboard. "GAP" was always a silly name that we inherited.
Both the chalkboard and CTA have open meetings, although the tenants assoc is only open to those who stay in Cedar St, or if the TA wants them to be there for whatever reason eg we invited Steven MacAvoy to a meeting a couple of months ago.
All decisions are made democratically, by members of the group at the open meetings. We are having the survey because we're aware that lots of people with issues do not come to meetings for many reasons, the commonest ones I hear being work commitments and child care. We want to make sure that the TA is working on those issues most important to the majority of tenants.
I hope we have answered your questions and it would be great if you felt you could get more involved in the TA in whatever capacity.
I also agree with you that the comments by Bob on behalf of the chalkboard were terrible! He is not in any way a part of the TA however, as he does not live in Cedar St, and so that is an entirely seperate point.
The chalkboard's guiding principle is written up in various places in the centre although I can't rattle it off the top of my head for you, but it is about democracy, self organisation, open communication and self sufficiency (I think, but as I said, I can't remember it word for word)
We have a policy of allowing anyone that wants to use the space apart from political parties and people with oppressive politics eg racists.
I'm not here to start a flame war- doesn't look like the only taker is much sport anyway.
In fact, I only checked back here to see if my post was deleted. I was pleasntly surprised to see it wasn't and was actually quite deftly addressed. Quite surprising given the tone of my post which was a rather miffed response to the Anti-social Behaviour charade and and irritating poster in our entrance.
If "people" have a problem with anonymity then I suggest they open the code up for the site and disable the option. Perhaps a biometric ID system would allay fears of serious organised subterfuge- yes, that's a joke.
Apart from that my name wouldn't mean anything to anyone anyway.
Now on to the serious replies:
Thanks Alice & Ginger.
Well my initial stance was pretty much catalysed by confusing Bob @ that meeting as being one and the same as CTA.
Sorry for that misinformed rant. But thanks to a (largely) reasonable response I'm actually feeling quite interested in checking you out.
Hopefully I can spur a few other residents into attending also.
I may allow any pretty ladies to pat me down for concealed wire taps.
Sorry about that. The highrises are much easier to leaflet for any meetings which are upcoming, and often when trying to gain access to the closes in the maisonettes to distribute minutes or fliers members of the tenants association have been refused access. So we asked some of our members who stay in the lowrises how best to alleviate this problem, and sticking posters to doors was something that was suggested as a way forward.
We also always, always, always get complaints from people that '[they] didn't get a leaflet' or see a poster.
Ideally what we'd like to do is get our own noticeboard out on Cedar Street but there's obviously money and vandalism issues with that at the moment.
We try and use the noticeboards that are there in the higrises but we have had to make official complaints about that in the past, when GHA refused to put anything we produced up (no matter how conciliatory and constructive the tone!) because they were insisting we didn't exist. We now usually get access to these but it's still no good for the lowrises.
Do you think there is a better way of doing things - bearing in mind that currently most of us work or are unavailable during the times service buzzers are operational?
"In fact, I only checked back here to see if my post was deleted. I was pleasntly surprised to see it wasn't and was actually quite deftly addressed."
Thanks! We're trying to promote discussion and a community that talks to one another.
If the confusion is there that is an issue that we'll have to address, so that tenants and residents are made aware of who we are, what we do and why we're doing it. As we've said before tho you'd be more than welcome to the group if you're into what we're trying to do, altho I'm not sure if our remit extends to providing women to frisk you.
I'll definitely do my best to come to the next meet. Any date set so I can pencil it in?
Yeah, I think some sort of clarification of who the CTA are might be good after the ASB meeting- it seems a few folk are labouring under the same mistake as I am.
I have to say, I was really impressed at the turnout- as well as the demographics. I thought I'd be there on my tod.
What planet was that Chairman on though???
I'll mull over some of the problems you have outlined and see if I can come up with some constructive suggestions.
You can email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next meet up will be tomorrow, Thursday, at 7:30pm but hopefully it will be just to make sure we have all the houses covered to be surveyed. It would be great if you coud come along and pick up surveys to do your close or give to your friends and neighbours.
We will be meeting at the George's X Chalkboard as it is warm, dry and has a kettle to make cups of tea.
We suggested it would be less intimidating for people if they did the survey in pairs, and that it might be better if it was a male/female pair because some women might not feel comfortable with strange men knocking on their doors!
So on Thursday I hope that we will just be getting into aors and then starting to survey people.
We already have a pile of surveys that someone managed to photocopy at work.
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