As protests roiled the Middle East and states like Wisconsin and Indiana, a mix of elected leaders and area residents much closer to home planned a revolt of their own.
In this case however, the rallying cry wasn't about basic freedoms or union rights.
Instead, at a meeting of the Presidents Co-op Council last Wednesday, the furor was all about taxes — a subject that united elected officials and area residents of all political persuasions, friend and foe alike.
"It doesn't matter if you're a Republican, Democrat or Independent. We're all together on this," said Glen Oaks Village president Bob Friedrich, who joined two former political opponents, Councilman Mark Weprin and Assemblyman David Weprin, to call for possible litigation against the city over for many Queens cooperative and condominium buildings.
In the case of Glen Oaks Village, the increases will result in the cooperative association paying 86 percent more in city property taxes in 2011 over last year — despite the fact that market values for units in many buildings throughout Queens were stuck in neutral, or in some cases, in reverse.
“These assessments are simply devoid of any economic reality,” Friedrich said. “It’s an 'Alice In Wonderland' world where values are declining and assess property tax valuation are going up.”
It's a matter that now might be heading to court.
All of the elected officials present last Wednesday agreed to add their names to any future litigation, according to Friedrich. Among those in attendance included Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, , D-Little Neck, state Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Flushing and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, D-Bayside.
Also on the table was a letter writing campaign and possible legislation capping tax assessments on co-ops, among other proposals.
"Last night was a great start and I feel that momentum is present, but there
is much more work to be done," wrote Stavisky to co-op presidents after the meeting.
Despite the prospect of legislative remedies and an approaching deadline of March 3 on tax assessment appeals with the city Department of Finance, a lawsuit against the city on behalf of the hardest-hit Queens co-op buildings seemed more and more likely.
Friedrich said he took issue not only with assessments he called "arbitrary and capricious," but the appeals process as well.
"Even if we're offered a reduction resulting in an decrease from 86 percent to 50 percent ... the starting point is still so high that our residents won't accept it," he said.