I'm looking forward to a 2024 full of growth and improvement for our association. But since it's hard to predict accurately without optimism taking hold of the pen, I will write this letter by looking back to inform you of the actual, concrete progress made last month.
Events-wise, it felt good to have a Worcester event Dec. 6. El Basha West hosted us for a nice evening of baklava and sanitary code. We had 32 in attendance, average in this post-pandemic world but sustainable. Worcester, Waltham and Springfield regions now have regular quarterly events in the works.
We were also proud to introduce members to a connection made through our energy advocacy at the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). Daikin Europe has an air-to-water heat pump they intend to bring to the U.S. I have come to believe air-to-water is going to be a primary way to retrofit away three-decker emissions. I've spent a lot of time the last two years exploring alternatives. The Daikin solution is novel (in the U.S. market) and badly needed where baseboards or radiators provide heat. Expect more to come on this.
Our annual business meeting concluded and the results are discussed in this edition. Personally, I'm looking forward to working with our new director, Erin Zamarro. She is profiled in this newsletter, as well.
There are a lot of shenanigans going on lately. We describe in this newsletter how the appeals court panel of three justices ruled against our public records case. That surprised me. When I was at the hearing listening to Peter Vickery argue, I thought one – if not two – of the judges really understood what we were saying. We discussed our appeal to the SJC in this newsletter.
I submitted a public records request to the Department of Public Health. Our goal is to understand how they were able to corrupt the state sanitary code into a client intake machine by putting their client intake link into a mandatory form. DPH replied with an astonishing proposed fact: that during the last four and a half years, legal services have emailed back and forth with DPH more than 2 million times, an average of 1,200 times per day. More to come on this story.
Rent control is poised to feature prominently at the State House in the next six months. I wrote an op-ed for the Banker and Tradesman, describing how rent control reduces state aid to surrounding towns.
We also launched RentControlHistory.com. This took the better part of the last three months of writing, plus we raised and spent a significant (for us) sum on web development. In the broader sense, the data collection effort has been years in the making. Additional phases of work are planned, culminating in research-ready databases of rent-control minutes and boarded up properties. If you find this newsletter light on content, RentControlHistory.com is why. We'll be back at full power for the March edition, once team members return from family leave.
Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing. Please join as a member, encourage others to join, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support. We aim to hire both a full-time educator and policy advocate.